Durable aluminum alloy body
Adjustable quick-focusing beam
Can be charged at home or in car
Can be used while charging
Pricey for a flashlight
There’s a reason you see this type of flashlight in spy thrillers and police shows—they’re convenient, durable, and helpful. This popular rechargeable option form Maglite, one of the most trusted flashlight brands, is certified by the National Tactical Officers Association and used by professionals around the world. To see if this heavy-duty, tactical flashlight lived up to its reputation, I tested it around my house and while rounding up sheep on my farm, evaluating all the important features from design to battery life. Read on for the results.
Design: Recommended by professionals
Maglite products are designed to be tough, and the Maglite RL1019 is no exception. The aluminum body is anodized on both the inside and outside to help prevent corrosion. Weather-resistant rubber seals on the inside of the head keep the flashlight functioning in bad weather. The body of the flashlight has a diamond knurl design, which makes it easy to grip and comfortable to hold—for a short while, at least. Weighing in at 32 ounces with the included battery and measuring 13 inches in length, I thought it got heavy quickly on a 10-mile hike, even when I placed it in my backpack.
This flashlight has four activity-based function sets: general, outdoor, tactical, and law enforcement. Each has three functions. This flashlight arrived programmed in the general function set (which includes high, low, and eco modes) but its tactical function set, for example, includes momentary, full power, and strobe functions. While the variety was helpful, switching between function sets was a bit of a chore. I had to unscrew the tail cap (which is difficult, thanks to the solid construction), wait two seconds, then press and hold the on/off switch while twisting the tail cap back into position. The light blinks to show it has changed functions.
This flashlight has four activity-based function sets: general, outdoor, tactical, and law enforcement.
However, once you’re in a certain function set, changing modes is easy. All you need to is click the on/off switch, which is located near the head of the flashlight, a certain number of times. For example, in general mode, one click turns the flashlight to bright, two clicks turns it to low, and three clicks switches it to eco mode.
Battery Life: Bright with some concerns
This flashlight comes with an NiMH rechargeable battery (Maglite also sells them separately), which shines brightly at 643 lumens and has a maximum beam range of 1335 feet—until it doesn’t. According to the manufacturer, this flashlight will shine for four hours on high mode. During my tests, however, I found that it switched to eco-mode automatically after about an hour of continued use. I tried this several times and got the same result consistently. Eco mode is only 66 lumens, so there was a huge difference in light quality and beam range. It’s not a problem around the house, but if I were lost in the woods on a dark night, I’d want those extra lumens. However, the Maglit’s eco mode does have an extra-long, 37-hour runtime. Also, its low mode, coming in at 148 lumens, lasts 17 hours.
In terms of charging time, I felt that the Maglite powered up relatively quickly—in around two hours. Everything you need to charge it is included in the package: a 120V converter for home, a 12V DC cigarette lighter adapter for the car, and a charging cradle. I was able to charge the Maglite from any position. The charging cradle keeps the light in place in the car and can be wall-mounted—no more searching through drawers for a flashlight!
In terms of charging time, I felt that the Maglite powered up relatively quickly—in around two hours.
Performance: Built to last
We tested the flashlight one night while rounding up sheep and the floodlight lit up the pasture. On this night, we also tried its advanced beam focus system—by turning the flashlight head a quarter-turn, the light will switch from floodlight to spotlight. The spotlight came in handy when locating a coyote who was approaching the sheep.
Also, if a greater area of concentrated light is needed, this flashlight can be placed on its base where it can stand alone. We put this to use one night in the barn during a difficult birth of some lambs and it provided all the light we needed.
This flashlight is certified by the National Tactical Officers Association and used by law enforcement and the military.
Another highlight of this flashlight’s performance was its durability—it’s downright difficult to scratch or ding this product. To test out the manufacturer’s claim that this flashlight is drop-resistant (in distances of up to 1 meter), I dropped it onto a gravel hiking trail, a field of grass, and my concrete driveway from this recommended distance. Each time, the flashlight incurred zero damage. (It survived some accidental drops, too—our cat pushed it off an upright piano onto a hardwood floor, and our three-year-old child dropped it on a concrete patio. Every time, it was fine!)
Although this flashlight isn’t built to be submerged in water, it is IPX4 water-resistant.
To test this out, I sprayed it with a hose for five seconds and the water rolled right off. I also tested it in the coldest weather we’ve had in our area—a chilly 21 degrees—and it worked perfectly, though the handle did get cold quickly.
Price: Bright light, big price
Originally listed at around $150, you can often find this flashlight for around $100—which is still a fairly large investment for a flashlight. However, because Maglite has a reputation for producing tough, dependable flashlights that are also backed by a limited lifetime warranty, the price makes sense.
Competition: Less expensive options for everyday use
Anker Bolder LC40 Flashlight: I also tested this Anker flashlight, which isn’t as bright as the Maglight, with a little over 250 less lumens on high. However, its compact size and lightweight body—5 inches and 4.3 ounces—make it easier to carry and store. The price point of around $20 also makes it a more affordable option for at-home use, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Stanley FATMAX 10-Watt LED Lithium-Ion Rechargeable System: This flashlight, which I also tested, puts the spotlight on the competition with lots of lumens—920 of them in the brightest mode. However, the maximum battery life of the Stanley FATMAX, on high, is only one hour. Still, at around $40 cheaper than the Maglite, this is a good choice for occasional or outdoor use.
Need some help finding what you’re looking for? Read our list of the best rechargeable flashlights.
- Product Name RL1019 MagCharger LED Rechargeable System
- Product Brand Maglite
- SKU 165-000-039
- Price $149.00
- Weight 28 oz.
- Product Dimensions 13 x 2.25 x 1.4 in.
- Color Black
- Battery Life 4 hours on high, 17 hours on low, 37 hours on eco-mode
- Warranty Limited lifetime
- What’s Included Flashlight, charging unit, 120V converter, 12V DC cigarette lighter adapter, and NiMH battery pack
- Max Output 643 lumens