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Everyone needs a flashlight. Seriously. If it’s dark, you need light to see. And we see tons of flashlights here in the Toolmonger offices, lights in almost every flavor ranging from candy coated (gimmicky) to chicken (simple and useful for everything). Over the last year or so we’ve discovered a few favorites and thought we’d share. Here’s our fourth favorite: the four-cell Maglite.

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I like flashlights, OK? Some — hi honey! — might even say I have a bit of OCD regarding flashlights. Whatever. In any case, my flashlight fascination probably started when I realized you could use them to read under the covers after your parents declared lights out. Later on, I remember upgrading my clunky D-cell flashlights with that marvel of technology, the krypton bulb.

The latest Mini Mag-lite® AA-cell flashlights come with an LED bulb (the MAG-LED™ Technology, to be specific). If you have an older model Mini Mag-lite® and want to upgrade it, the Nite Ize® upgrade kit is a good option. For around $16, you get a 1-Watt LED bulb and an end-cap “IQ Switch®” that provides three power levels (100, 50, and 25 percent), two emergency strobe levels (fast and slow), plus an integral “find-in-the-dark” small LED that flashes every few seconds.

Flashlights: can you ever have enough? Bonus question: is being obsessive about changing all the batteries in your flashlights a flashlight feeding frenzy fetish?

Nite Ize [Manufacturer’s Site]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Mag-Lite [Manufacturer’s Site]

 
Wall O' Maglites

A member of Candlepower Forums (at www.candlepowerforums.com) who calls himself sizzlechest has an awesome collection of Mini-Mag Maglites, which he shared online. His collection contains everything from run-of-the-mill units to custom-milled and wooden versions made by other forum members. Wow!

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We’ve often advised you to stay away from black Mag-Lites because a) they’re easy to lose in the dark, and b) everyone else has one, so they can easily steal yours.  Here’s a Mag-Lite that you probably won’t find elsewhere at work: silver with a waving flag.

Note: In competition with our friends at The Hardware Aisle, we’re posting lots of patriotic tools today and tomorrow.  Look for a post on Wednesday (the 4th) where you can vote for your favorite.  And don’t forget to submit your favorite patriotic tools!  If your suggestion is the reader favorite, we’ll send you a tool from the test pile — something nice.

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I learned this the hard way with my portable recording rig.  Picture this: I’m squatting at the back of a dark theater setting up my rig in almost complete darkness.  I really need to see to hook up the power, so I grab my trusty (black) Mini Mag-Lite.  But before I can turn it on, I drop it.  It’s black, the floor is black, and for that matter, everything is black.  It’s gone.  Doh!

Look, I love Mag-Lites as much as the next guy.  But buying a black flashlight strikes me along the same lines as painting your bush plane green with leaf-shaped brown spots — it’s just a bad idea.  Buy the silver ones!  Or blue.  Or red.  Just not black!  Black flashlights sort of defeat the purpose of having a flashlight; if you can’t find it, you can’t use it.

 
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I swear by my 2 AA Maglite.  When I was playing in a band, I used to carry one around in my gig bag.  (Ever try fixing your rig on a dark stage?)  Later when I was recording I carried one in my gear bag for the same reason.  I also keep one in the truck’s glovebox.  I love the fact that they’re as durable as the big ones, but much more portable.  Now they’re available with factory-installed LEDs.

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I’ve always liked Maglite flashlights because they’re durable and because they have such a nice heft to them.  If you invested in Maglites back before LEDs became all the rage — like I did — then you’ll love the fact that Maglite is now offering 3-watt LED “upgrade kits” for their older C and D-cell-sized flashlights.

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