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Thread: 'knockoff' lights

  1. #1

    Default 'knockoff' lights

    sorry if this isnt a great question, but what have people found the differentiating factors are between the inexpensive lights (ultrafire, etc) vs the name brand (fenix, jetbeam...)? Most of these inexpensive products are closing the gap on their counterparts so just curious if anyone has kind of replaced or started buying the cheaper ones ($5-$20) and what the experience has been

  2. #2
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    archimedes's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    You get what you pay for ... ?
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3
    Flashaholic DIPSTIX's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    ^what he said. Except for surefire. Im not paying hundreds of dollars for a 600lm light when i can pay zebra light the same and get a sc600

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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Which of those is a knockoff light, dipstix?
    Let's stick to answering the OP's question, k?
    Last edited by scout24; 08-06-2016 at 09:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic DIPSTIX's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Neither one is a knock off. What i am saying is that i would personally not pay for a more expensive light when there are cheaper just as reliable lights on the market. You just have to do your research and figure out what light is best in terms of output, durability, quality, and price. You will be surprised

  6. #6

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Yes so how do you argue with the value and reviews of something like this BYB 800 Lumens Rechargeable CREE T6 LED Flashlight, Adjustable Focus Handheld Flashlight with AC Charger and 26650 Battery, Bonus Solar Power Keychain Flashlight Included https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Z8X3BL4

    Or this.... OxyLED Super Bright 800 Lumens CREE T6 LED Flashlight Bundle with Rechargeable Batteries, AC Charger + Charger Base and White Tube, Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JE329YO/

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    There is no argument, and no interest.

    Isn't a knock-off a close copy of a more expensive light? And a counterfeit would have the fake brand name on it?

    In my pocket right now is a $7 flashlight but it is not a knock-off. If it does the job, it does the job.

  8. #8

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    IMHO you are paying the extra bucks for design, higher quality LED, reliability and customer service. Many cheap lights use LEDs with horrible blue tint to cut cost and brag about high output, and they might not be ready to go when you need them the most.

    For general use the two you linked are good enough but when you are out there in the woods, or in some scenarios that requires constant illumination, they cannot be relied upon.

  9. #9

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by TCY View Post
    Many cheap lights use LEDs with horrible blue tint to cut cost and brag about high output, and they might not be ready to go when you need them the most.
    You're certainly not wrong, but the LED itself doesn't really cost anything* even in expensive lights. Makes you wonder why so many expensive and top brand lights, with excellent customer service, durability, reliability, interface, heat-sinking, and aesthetic and functional design blow it with a cruddy emitter, regarding tint, CCT, and/or CRI (and PWM) (if we ignore their usually decent lumen output, driver efficiency, or electronic component quality). This actually is really annoying to me that of all the flashlights made in the world, of all the effort put into the high end mass produced flashlights, absolutely none of them (but perhaps some rare and excellent examples of custom lights which are really handmade one-offs) nail all the possible best qualities. Why can't one or two of them produce something that is perfect every-which-way? WHY???! :/ Why must there always be a compromise somewhere?

    * ZebraLight emitters, as the exception, may actually have a non-negligible LED cost because they are hand picked, which will incorporate an extra element of labor cost.
    Last edited by chillinn; 08-06-2016 at 11:13 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by chillinn View Post
    You're certainly not wrong, but the LED itself doesn't really cost anything even in expensive lights. Makes you wonder why so many expensive and top brand lights, with excellent customer service, reliability and design blow it with a cruddy emitter, regarding tint, CCT, or CRI (if we ignore their usually decent output or efficiency). ZebraLight emitters, as the exception, may actually have a non-negligble LED cost because they are hand picked, which will incorporate an extra element of labor cost.
    I was going to give a list that cheapo lights cut costs on starting from LED but then I just couldn't be bothered lol. I was once gifted a cheap knockoff light that produces a disgusting tint which drives me away from buying more cheap budget lights, this memory forced me to start talking about LED before everything else. Thanks for pointing it out though.

    BTW I believe only some of the ZL models use cherry picked emitters for minimal tint variations. I still remember the tint lottery everyone had to go through when buying a ZL light. Fun time.

  11. #11

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by TCY View Post
    I was going to give a list that cheapo lights cut costs on starting from LED
    I suppose it can make sense when you multiply a 10˘ per unit savings on producing 2 million flashlights, but from the customers' perspective, if you're willing to put down $300 on a mass produced light, what the heck is another 10˘? Even if that light is a cheapo light that goes for $5, what is another $1 to the customer for an emitter with excellent spectral output and a driver that doesn't cause migraines and grand mal seizures, that pleases the eye rather than makes it water? The idiom that comes to mind is they are bending over a buck to pick up a dime. A better flashlight will sell more units at any price point.
    Last edited by chillinn; 08-06-2016 at 11:23 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Kitrobaskin is right, I wouldn't call a light a knockoff unless it directly takes from another, more expensive design. Not all knockoffs are bad either.
    Pedanticism aside, I'll try to summarize the main points.
    1. Build quality. Better and more up to date components placed with more care. Centered, newer generation LEDs, better heatsinking, more uniform samples, etc. The gap has narrowed between the stuff you describe and the more reputable stuff in this regard, but it is far from gone.
    2. Quality control. Especially with Chinese manufacturing, QC varies wildly depending on the brand's specifications. Whether it is full cleaning, proper lubrication, or even making sure the light turns on, the more reputable brands tend to perform better in this regard.
    3. More reliable marketing. Take all marketing with a grain of salt, but the more reputable brands tend to make less wild claims with more accurate specs, so it is easier to know what you are getting.
    4. Efficient and better regulated electronics. Less PWM, better runtimes, more stable output, superior UI. Even some of my favorite budget lights fail in this regard.
    5. Durability. It is a consequence of higher build quality and stricter QC.
    6. Safety. Features like low voltage cutoff and reverse polarity protection help. Quality batteries and chargers pose significantly less fire and explosive risk.
    7. Design. From multiple switches to giving thought to waterproofing, from choices of optics to knurling considerations, the more reputable brands have better designs. Gimmicky zoom and rattling battery sleeves aren't great.
    8. Value proposition. With lights such as those you describe, you frequently see included nameless or ****fire batteries and chargers included, gimmicky zoom, 3xAAA and 18650 compatibility, and other similar features to appeal as widely as possible to the uninformed masses, but sacrifices basically everything else. Reputable brands sell you a quality light, if batteries are included (generally optional) they tend to be quality, etc. The value is in the light itself and not in cheap gimmicks and accessories.

    This last point brings up one other thing. There are quality lights even at low price points. While not quite at the same level as other frequently discussed lights, they are respectable in their own right. I refer to these as good budget lights. For example, compare a Convoy S2+ to either of the lights you posted; the difference is clear and highlights many of the points I described. The existence of good budget lights is why I refer to 'reputable brands' rather than 'more expensive lights' in this post, as the two descriptors, while loosely correlated, are not equivalent.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

  13. #13

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    I bought a trustfire on amazon that had great reviews, apparently some of the units shipped where fakes. The light is bright but one LED was DOA and there is major reliability issues, the batteries that shipped with it I threw out because I was weary about using them because they were horribly made fakes, the label had spelling errors on it so it was obviously a fake. Lesson learned, buy from a reputable dealer and if you want a quality light without gambling you are going to have to pay the price.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Thank you for clarifying your comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIPSTIX View Post
    Neither one is a knock off. What i am saying is that i would personally not pay for a more expensive light when there are cheaper just as reliable lights on the market. You just have to do your research and figure out what light is best in terms of output, durability, quality, and price. You will be surprised

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  16. #16

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Sometimes it is hard to say which light is a Knockoff. Sometimes they are made in the same Factory, but to different specs.

    For example:
    Prometheus Beta w N219a using a PWM driver with LMH mode sequence. I believe this was built by Lumintop on contract to darksucks.com and costs $79


    Sometime later, Lumintop came out with the Copper Worm with N219b and NoPWM, costs $39. The modes are MLH, but Lumintop is known to have built the ReyLight Copper Tool, on contract, with an LMH driver. Point being, Lumintop will change drivers on a contract request.


    Another example
    #35
    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin0807 View Post
    VOLLSION … made... the Tain's Ottavino and Piccolo!
    the Tain is Titanium (bottom right)
    The Tain came out AFTER the Eoslamp SP11-s, but nobody calls the Tain a knockoff. After the Tain came the Vollsion SP11-S, which some people call a knockoff of the Tain. It is true the Tain used a more expensive material, and higher polish.

    imo It is not uncommon for US businesses to use Chinese manufacturers. Maratac and Prometheus use Lumintop. They "add value" by using special materials, higher polish, different LEDs, different driver specs...

    So, a Knockoff may be a less expensive version, possibly built with less expensive materials or inferior driver or LED, but not always. The Worm imo uses a better driver and better LED than the Beta that came before.

    another example:
    First came the Maus look at the tail:


    after that came the Maratac Peanut 3rd from the left, look at the tail compared to the Maus
    Quote Originally Posted by Thud1023 View Post
    Here you go..CooYoo, Jetbeam mini-1, Maratac Peanut, DQG Hobi, DQG Spy, DQG Fairy.

    From this I speculate that both the Maus and the Peanut are contracting with the same factory. Note the Maus uses a different body design, more expensive material, and more expensive LED. I would not call the Maratac Peanut a knockoff, I just think it may be made by the same Chinese company as the DQG (and possibly the Maus), with different specs.

    another example
    The Maratac AAA is made by Lumintop on contract, to Maratac specs. But again I would not call the Maratac a knockoff, because it uses some different design elements. Note they share the same pocket clip btw. (although I ground off the pocket clip ends so my Maratacs will tail stand)


    To come back on topic, The term Knockoff means Cheap Copy, but we dont use that term for an expensive copy with premium materials...

    So in order for this thread to be more useful, I suggest that people post pics of lights that they think are knockoffs, and pictures of the light they think is being copied for less money (or copied and enhanced, for more money)

    and disclaimer, dont get upset if you own a Tain or a Muyshondt and I suggest they are made in China. They are still finished to high standards and use premium materials. Im just saying the manufacturing is probably not done in house by Mushondt nor Tain, but if you know otherwise, Im open to learning.
    Last edited by jon_slider; 08-07-2016 at 01:08 PM.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    I thought it had been posted that Tain was made in Taiwan ?

    And, as for your speculation about Muyshondt ...
    ... is the archimedes peak

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Had a ss worm (2 mode no pwm) long before the beta was released.

  19. #19

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Today I saw one called "eternal fire". No kidding.

    Promised 1000 lumens too. Only $9.44.
    John 3:16

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    I thought it had been posted that Tain was made in Taiwan ?

    And, as for your speculation about Muyshondt ...
    Where's that 10 foot pole...

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    We should remember with over 7 billion people on the planet not everyone lives on a large capacity electrical grid.

    Many people's light come from very simple sources of solar energy in low watt-hour capacities. Even a $2 flashlight in total darkness is a vast improvement.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    A few thoughts and responses to this thread:

    Dark Sucks - would like to see where the information on the Beta light comes from. To my knowledge Jason does everything he can to keep his lights USA and even more so locally made. See here: http://darksucks.com/whereitsmade.html#

    Tain - I'm kinda with scout on this one. Tain uses the same machinist that Steve Ku used to use for his V10R and LF2XT lights. How do I know this? I worked directly Yitsan for many months when doing my runs of V10R Ti e-switches.

    As far as the general thoughts of the OP on this thread I will say that I don't believe all "knock-off" lights are of sub-par quality - but I have confirmed that many of them are. Here is an off the top of my head list of things I've seen to be problematic with knock-off and cheap lights.

    1 - Thinner and lower quality metal bodies.

    2 - Poor threading where parts don't screw together well.

    3 - Terrible binned LEDs.

    4 - Extremely low-end drivers.

    5 - Low-quality wiring.

    6 - Low-quality solder. Cold solder joints. Blobs of solder all over the place.

    7 - Low quality switches.

    8 - Thermal grease all over the place when you take light apart rather than where it's needed. (ie: it's just blobbed in there)

    9 - Terrible QC. As long as the light fits together then ship it type quality.

    For me, I'd rather have a quality light I enjoy using as much as it is a tool. But as a tool I, when I know I am going to be using it a lot, I believe you get what you pay for. Does that mean I don't by cheap tools? Not at all - if I need a tool for a job that will only be done once or twice and I can't rent one or justify the cost of a quality brand new one I will make a trip to Harbor Freight. But then, if I find I use more often and would benefit from a tool with more precision and accuracy, I will consider upgrading.

    For others - if all you want is a flashlight as a tool and an object that will give you light once a month when you may need it and a cheaper version will fit your needs then go for it. Just don't be the person who comes on here complaining and bashing the cheap lights when you were already fore-warned.

  23. #23

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by jorn View Post
    Had a ss worm (2 mode no pwm) long before the beta was released.
    yes, but I think the only worm based offerings in 3 mode, Copper, and with Nichia are the Prometheus Beta and the Copper Worm

    here is my attempt at a Worm and Beta chronology, corrections invited:

    the 2 mode worm did not come in Copper, nor Nichia afaik. I believe darksucks was the first to offer Copper and Nichia in a Worm based design, with a unique QR (quick release) tail.

    I believe darksucks followed the 2 mode Worm, with a 2 mode Prometheus Beta with Nichia and QR tail (value added), not offered in copper though

    then iirc follows the 3 Mode Prometheus Beta QR Copper which was the first Copper and Nichia, Worm based option.

    If I have the sequence right, the Prometheus Beta 3 mode Copper, coincided with? or followed the 3 mode worm. But the 3 mode Worm was still not offered in Copper nor Nichia, so the Copper Beta remained unique for Copper, Nichia, and QR, (value added)

    Unless Im mistaken, after the 3 mode worm, came a Copper Worm with Nichia (with a different tail than the Worm V3). Copper Worm w Nichia has a NoPWM driver, while the Prometheus Beta Copper uses a PWM driver (like Worm V3 i think).

    There is also now a Worm V4, the first with a pocket clip, though iirc not offered in Copper, nor Nichia. I believe it also uses the NoPWM driver that Lumintop uses now in the Tool and Maratac also.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    Dark Sucks - would like to see where the information on the Beta light comes from.
    Totally valid request, thanks for reading my posts. I enjoy reading yours as well.

    in your darksucks link it says:
    "Every product I sell has a small flag icon in the header that represents the country of origin."

    it then shows a list of flags, make note of the flag for China

    now look at the Beta QR page you will see the flag for China at the top. This level of disclosure honesty from darksucks is not shared by Maratac. It is pure speculation on my part that Lumintop makes Maratac, Im open to further education.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    Tain uses the same machinist that Steve Ku used
    yes
    Thanks for adding quality info to the thread. What country is this machinist in?

    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by easilyled View Post
    Tain designs and assembles his lights but he is not a machinist. He knew the machinist that Steve Ku used to use and now he uses him for his own lights.
    Im not saying Tain lights are "knockoffs". They are unique and high quality. I just think Tain outsources, like darksucks discloses.
    Last edited by jon_slider; 08-07-2016 at 06:17 PM.

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    now look at the Beta QR page you will see the flag for China at the top. This level of disclosure honesty from darksucks is not shared by Maratac. It is pure speculation on my part that Lumintop makes Maratac, Im open to further education.
    Very valid point - I had not noticed that before. There is no USA flag to go along with it.

    edit: Just to add on as a note - after receiving the Beta ZR v2 in Electroless plate and Brass it is one of my favorite small AAA lights.

    As another note - I love Jason's clips and the Beta clip checks off as USA made.
    Last edited by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond; 08-07-2016 at 06:08 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by ShineOnYouCrazyDiamond View Post
    A few thoughts and responses to this thread:

    Dark Sucks - would like to see where the information on the Beta light comes from. To my knowledge Jason does everything he can to keep his lights USA and even more so locally made. See here: http://darksucks.com/whereitsmade.html#

    Tain - I'm kinda with scout on this one. Tain uses the same machinist that Steve Ku used to use for his V10R and LF2XT lights. How do I know this? I worked directly Yitsan for many months when doing my runs of V10R Ti e-switches.

    As far as the general thoughts of the OP on this thread I will say that I don't believe all "knock-off" lights are of sub-par quality - but I have confirmed that many of them are. Here is an off the top of my head list of things I've seen to be problematic with knock-off and cheap lights.

    1 - Thinner and lower quality metal bodies.

    2 - Poor threading where parts don't screw together well.

    3 - Terrible binned LEDs.

    4 - Extremely low-end drivers.

    5 - Low-quality wiring.

    6 - Low-quality solder. Cold solder joints. Blobs of solder all over the place.

    7 - Low quality switches.

    8 - Thermal grease all over the place when you take light apart rather than where it's needed. (ie: it's just blobbed in there)

    9 - Terrible QC. As long as the light fits together then ship it type quality.

    For me, I'd rather have a quality light I enjoy using as much as it is a tool. But as a tool I, when I know I am going to be using it a lot, I believe you get what you pay for. Does that mean I don't by cheap tools? Not at all - if I need a tool for a job that will only be done once or twice and I can't rent one or justify the cost of a quality brand new one I will make a trip to Harbor Freight. But then, if I find I use more often and would benefit from a tool with more precision and accuracy, I will consider upgrading.

    For others - if all you want is a flashlight as a tool and an object that will give you light once a month when you may need it and a cheaper version will fit your needs then go for it. Just don't be the person who comes on here complaining and bashing the cheap lights when you were already fore-warned.
    Tools is a great word.

    To me, flashlights are like pliers vs ratchets.
    Any old Harbor Freight pliers will squeeze or bend or twist things normally used for pliers.
    But some pliers are better assembled using better parts n pieces. However look-alikes do just fine for a while.

    Ratchets however... you generally get what you pay for. And durability is a must. Otherwise injuries or worse can result.

    Well flashlights are like that. For general use like lighting a shadow a few times a month, walking the dog etc just about any old look-alike will do. But when you are in situations where the light must work, the knockoff or fake is not a good idea.
    I suppose that is why so many folks (including technicians) use a celphone light. Ya gotta admit although they are not bright they are pretty dawg-gone reliable.
    John 3:16

  26. #26

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    +1
    So what light is that at the end of the tunnel?
    Tex.Proud on IG
    K4TXN

  27. #27

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    First of all I want to apologize for my ranty posts... I think after reading them again today, I may have skewed the actual topic, so its a good thing to ignore them (but I'll just let them sit).

    Second of all...

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    Sometimes it is hard to say which light is a Knockoff. Sometimes they are made in the same Factory, but to different specs.

    For example: ....
    Thank you, jon_slider, for your courage. I have long held similar suspicions about some lights and their source of manufacture, based on incredibly coincidental similarities, yet I have held back. I can't verify my suspicions.

    In many many CPF threads, in general, there is wonderful information, sharing of plain facts from experienced members that is not necessarily obvious to the uninitiated. But as often as not, once a post cuts across the grain regarding some products of beloved custom builders, often the responses are quick, one-sided, and scolding. Though I was biting my knuckles all the way through reading your post above, "oh, no! oh, no!!" LOL I am glad to see that didn't happen at all here, and you coaxed reasonable replies from some of my favorite long time members.


  28. #28

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Any body know where that TV commercial POS "THE ATOMIC BEAM" comes From?

  29. #29

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    You get what you pay for ... ?
    No you don't, not always. In fact, a lot of the time you'll over pay for things you could have gotten cheaper.
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

  30. #30

    Default Re: 'knockoff' lights

    Quote Originally Posted by 7hns View Post
    sorry if this isnt a great question, but what have people found the differentiating factors are between the inexpensive lights (ultrafire, etc) vs the name brand (fenix, jetbeam...)? Most of these inexpensive products are closing the gap on their counterparts so just curious if anyone has kind of replaced or started buying the cheaper ones ($5-$20) and what the experience has been
    What lights specifically do you feel have been knocked off? Or are you wrongly suggesting any budget light is a knock off?
    I'm as much Magaholic as flashaholic

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