Maglite XL50 LED Flashlight Review

Introducing the Maglite XL50, the latest member of Maglite’s XL-series of LED flashlights! Continuing on the success of its feature-packed brother, the XL100, the XL50 boasts improved performance, increased runtime, additional simplicity, and a lower retail price, all while maintaining the key benefits of a Maglite flashlight.

Key Specifications

  • Output: 104 lumens high, 26 lumens low, 104 lumens strobe
  • Runtime: 8h 45min high, 36h low
  • Battery: 3 x AAA
  • Length: 4.8″
  • Diameter: 1″
  • Weight with Batteries: 3.68 oz.
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • MSRP: $29.99

Pricing & Ordering

As this light is just announced, availability is limited at the time of writing. MSRP for the XL50 will be in the range of $24.99 to $29.99, and the light will be available in several colors, including black, grey, silver, blue, and red.

In The Box

Included in the blister packaging are: Maglite XL50 LED 3AAA flashlight and 3 x AAA Duracell alkaline batteries, similar to the packaging of the XL100.

This is pre-production packaging and may vary from final configuration (which will state the ANSI FL1 specifications).

Batteries

The XL50 uses the same sturdy battery carrier as the XL100, and is powered by three AAA batteries. The rated specifications are for alkaline batteries, but NiMH rechargeable and lithium primaries may also be used.

The light is inoperable if the battery carrier is inserted backwards, so there is no danger of “inserting the batteries backwards.”

The Light

Head
The head features a plastic window and a deep smooth reflector. The beam can be focused with a quick turn of the head, or the head removed to flood an entire area with light. The face cap is engraved with MAG-LITE® LED XL50™ – ONTARIO, CA, USA and Maglite’s logo in bold lettering.

A glass window may be installed using Mag Instrument part #108-617, the same as the 2AA, but removing the process to remove the reflector (pushing it left and right while applying pressure on the window) has the potential to damage the reflector during removal, so if one wishes to change the window, proceed with caution! Spare parts are not currently available for purchase.

Body
The entire light is type-II anodized aluminum inside and out. The anodizing helps prevent corrosion, and also electrically insulates the light. The body is identical to the XL100’s, including the knurling, which is not aggressive enough to prevent the light from rolling. However, because the knurling runs down the side of the light, it helps your fingers maintain a steady grip on the light.

Interesting to note here is that the light does not use the flashlight body to complete the circuit from the tail of the light to the LED module, unlike most other lights. Instead, the battery carrier has a connector that goes from one end to the other, and that is how the negative terminal is connected to the LED module.

Tail Cap
On the tailcap is an electronic switch covered with black rubber. The electronic switch requires both positive and negative terminals to operate, thus requiring the specially designed battery carrier. This type of switch makes it possible for fast mode switching but also comes with a notable disadvantage, both of which will be discussed in the following sections.

Modes

Going back to a more traditional implementation than the XL100, the XL50 is about as easy to use as a multi-mode flashlight can be. The electronic switch eliminates the need to turn the light on and off to switch between modes. Instead, modes are activated depending on the number of clicks used to turn the light on.

1 Click: High
A single click activates 100% mode for the full 104 lumens.

2 Clicks: Low
With two clicks, the 25% low mode is activated, producing 26 lumens.

3 Clicks: Strobe
With three clicks, the strobe mode is activated with the light in maximum brightness. The strobe feature is designed for disorienting somebody or getting their attention.

Regardless which mode is currently active, a single click will turn the light off.

Performance

This light is rated for 104 lumens and 145 meters of throw. These numbers are a slight increase from the XL100, but these specifications also apply to the XL100, which had been under-rated. The reason for this is because Philips LumiLEDs silently revised the Luxeon Rebel LED, and the prototype XL100 used for testing featured the older emitter. However, the improved Luxeon Rebel was used in production XL100s as well as the XL50, so the packaging for the XL100 may be updated in the future to reflect this new information.

A comparison between the XL100 and XL50 quickly verified this, the lights were of equivalent brightness.

The main disadvantage of the electronic switch used in the XL50 is the presence of a standby current drain. The XL50 has a measured standby drain of 33.1 µA (or 0.0331 mA), similar to the XL100. A typical quality alkaline AAA has a capacity of about 1000mAh, which means that a set of brand new alkaline batteries will be completely drained after three years.

However, light output will decrease with reduced battery voltage due to this drain, so the XL50 would not make a good choice as an emergency light, unless the batteries are stored seperately (which is recommended practice even for lights without a standby drain, because of the tendency for alkaline batteries to leak).

Runtime

If you haven’t read our article about runtime graphs and the ANSI FL1 Standard, please click here.

Since the XL50 is not designed to be a tactical light, the light dims to 25% after 5 minutes of constant on. If the light is powered off then back on, the timer will be reset.

Accessories

No original accessories are available for this light at the time. Some accessories are compatible with the XL100, such as the OEM Maglite 2AA anti-roll ring, and Ripoffs’ BL-150 and CO-150 belt holsters.

Conclusion

This latest offering in Maglite’s XL-series of flashlights features an excellent balance of performance, quality, and simplicity, yet also manages to include a lower price point in the mix. In time for the holiday season, the XL50 is expected to arrive at a retailer near you, making an excellent holiday gift (perhaps for yourself!) that will be both functional and fun to use.


Pros Cons
  • High, low, and strobe modes
  • Low price point
  • Simple user interface
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Small standby current draw

Related Links

Maglite XL50 Product Page

Download the Maglite XL50 Flyer

61 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Just curious if anyone had run similar test on the newer 200 Lumen model. Curious to see what the drop off is and standby current draw.

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