While batteries pack in higher performance and technology improves lighting, we are taking great steps in LED efficiencies so it becomes a very changeable market in the torch world. So much so, that our new friends at the LED Torch Shop told us we could pick anything out of their huge selection to review. They had EagleTac, Fenix, Jetbeam, Led Lenser, Microfire, Nitecore, Sunwayman, and Surefire.
We selected what we thought would be the two brightest and go the furthest LED Torches – an Eagletac M3C4 @ 800 Lumens and the even more powerful Jetbeam RRT3 @ 1200 lumens.
How did they go? Read on as we evaluated them in comparison to see what came out the “best for the buck”.
Specifications – Eagletac M3C4
This EagleTac M3C4 features a triple Cree XP-G R5 LED array and uses four standard lithium CR123A batteries or two 2400mAh protected 18650 Li-ion batteries. It has a staggering 800 lumen output. If you are looking for a flashlight to view objects very far away for example, in large open areas like paddocks or out at sea, this is the torch that is very well suited to that purpose.
A rotary switch allows users to dial and set brightness output instantly with just one hand. The ring is made of smooth polycarbonate re-enforced rubber for comfort and ease of use. Dial from: off > low-medium > high > turbo > strobe output setting. The M3C4 offers up to 45 hours of constant brightness runtime at low output setting (40 Lumens) using four standard lithium CR123A batteries. Expect 15% more runtime with two 2400mAh protected 18650 Li-ion batteries on the low brightness setting. The EagleTac M3C4 is rated at IPX-8 waterproof standard which makes it suitable for all weather conditions.
• Output: 40 / 150 / 360 / 800 Lumens
• Runtime: (4 x CR123): 45 / 9.5 / 3.5 / 1.2 Hours
• Runtime: (2 x 18650): 55 / 12.5 / 4.5 / 1.5 Hours
• LED: Triple Cree XP-G R5 11W LED
• Length: 16cm
• Head Diameter: 6.1cm
• Body Diameter: 4.0cm
• Battery: Four Lithium CR123A batteries or Two EagleTac 18650 2400mAh Protected Li-ion Batteries (Do not exceed input voltage of 13V).
• Weight: 375 grams
• Includes: Spare O-rings, Stainless Steel Bezel (installed), CR123A Battery Magazines, Aluminium re-enforced Battery Tray, Mil-spec Para-cord Lanyard with quick detach ability, Heavy Duty Nylon Holster w/ Flip and quick detach ability, tail switch, Diffuser, User Manual and 4CR123A batteries included.
Specifications – Jetbeam RRT3
Specially designed for military, law enforcement, self-defence, hunting, search & rescue and outdoorsman.
Max output of 1200 LED Lumens with an effective range of 600+ yards.
Circuitry efficiency allows the RRT3 maximum runtime to 250 hours.
Eight levels of brightness and functions to choose from.
Rapid Response Control Ring allows the user to easily select different brightness levels.
Stainless steel crenulated bezel can protect the head from drops and impacts and can be used as a glass breaker or defensive tool during emergencies.
Highly efficient large reflector specially designed for SST LED which allows better beam flooding and long distance throwing.
Features a redesigned high efficiency broad voltage circuit, compatible with CR123 primary batteries and 18650 rechargeable Li-ions.
Can utilise the tactical pressure switch and other available accessories which allow it to be used for a variety of purposes.
LED source: Luminus SST50
Max output: 1200 lumens(LED lumens)
Reflector: 58mm-diameter aluminium reflector
Lens: Toughened ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
Material: T6061 T6 aircraft aluminium alloy
Finish: HA III Military grade hard anodized
Battery Type: CR123×6, 18650 Li-ion×3
Switch: Forward clicky
Waterproof: IPX-8 standard waterproof
Measurements: Head diameter 63mm
Tube diameter: 46mm
Total length: 198mm
Output & Runtime:
1200 Lumens, 80 min
850 Lumens, 120 min
550 Lumens, 180 min
470 Lumens, 230 min
300 Lumens, 350 min
150 Lumens, 620 min
1 Lumens, 250 hours
Strobe: 1200 Lumens, 160 min
Build Quality Compared
We found the Eagletac M3C4 to feel like higher quality when operating the brightness ring, although it would be very marginal when compared to the Jetbeam. The Eagletac came with a diffuser lens and spare “O” rings as well as with a nice belt carry case. Not to be outdone, the Jetbeam also came with spare O rings.
Field Tests Compared
We found it difficult to show pictorially, the difference in the lighting capabilities of both torches, although it becomes reasonably evident when using them for distance at night, side by side. Consequently, we will comment on our findings in an effort to provide sufficient details so that the reader can pick the right torch for their use.
Eagletac M3C4 has a slightly less focussed beam at it’s smallest available focus best but appears to illuminate the target area up to about 200 metres equally as well as the Jetbeam. The Jetbeam RRT3 certainly illuminates further but not as far as you would expect for a torch that is considerably dearer and with 50% more lumens. With the additional battery (3 not 2) its run time is very close to that of the Eagletac.
We found that the Eagletac M3C4 ran cool even at full on position whereas the Jetbeam RRT3 ran quite hot after about 10 minutes on maximum lumens output. Both torches had easily accessible low power options to make the torches last considerably longer, and this allowed both torches to be used in close confined spaces without it becoming dazzling for the operator.
A failing of the Eagletac is that it would be turned off if the ring setting was twisted too far (towards minimum setting, which we found frustrating). Whereas the Jetbeam would go to a “just on” setting at a minimum and a strobe one setting after maximum (both good for fast operation and fail safe intruder dazzling).
Be aware that both of these torches have the potential at maximum of a significant output of white dazzling light, which incapacitates you even when having the eyes closed.
We compared both to a 10,000,000 candle power HID and whilst the LED torches were a brighter whiter light they did not come close to the distance and illumination of the HID searchlight, but they also did not weigh in at 4.6kgs and only have a light life of 15 minutes.
We would like to thank www.ledtorchshop.com.au for making the torches complete with chargers and rechargeable batteries as well as non rechargeable batteries available to us. If forced to make a decision on ONE torch only we would go for the Jetbeam RRT3 for the following reasons:
Whilst not being as easy to pocket as it is longer than the Eagletac M3C4, we found the additional length and weight at 530 grams very good as a defensive weapon should you be attacked.
Whilst either of these torches would dazzle an attacker, the additional light output of the Jetbeam RRT3 “fair burns yuh eyes out”.
The Jetbeam RRT3 had faster and better fail-safe “panic” operation.
At a recommended retail value of $189 Aud for the Eagletac M3C4 and $355 Aud for the Jetbeam RRT3 from the LED Torch Shop we find both to be good value.
Is the Jetbeam RRT3 the brightest LED torch in the market?? Out of all the highest powered torch manufacturers available at LED Torch Shop we say it is, but that is out of torches available in the market place today.
We will be interested in reviewing the brightest LED in the world if we can find one significantly higher than 1200 lumens coupled with a reasonable run time, size and weight, as we are looking to provide the ideal torch for those people who would like it for defence, hence optimum focus and brighter is better.
So stay tuned! We hear whispered rumours of 2 – 3000 lumens becoming available and if it’s any of the above manufacturers and it’s spec’s say it’s possibly better than the Jetbeam RRT 3, then we have been promised one by the LED Torch Shop to review.
If the rumours are true, let us know in the comments section and we will get one for practical comparison tests against what we’ve got, but at the moment we say the Jetbeam RRT3 is the “tops”.