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.


ProsCons
  • 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

47 Responses to “Maglite XL50 LED Flashlight Review”

  1. nightspark says:

    Will be getting this one over the XLl00, seems easier to use.

  2. Curt says:

    The Maglite XL50 is a great little $30 light, on low beam it matches my Surefire E1 with the LED upgrade, on high beam it’s much brighter, and it dosn’t require cr123 batteries.

  3. Ken Green says:

    I have had the Mag-Lite XL50 for about one month.
    I’ve used it about 3 minutes a day, finding my dogs in the yard at night to bring them into the house.

    In that time, I have gone through TWO SETS of batteries: The ones that came with it, followed by three brand new Duracell alkaline batteries. The advertisement says that one gets 8 hours 45 minutes on high beam and 36 hours on low beam.

    This ain’t happening. Not even close. I’m very disappointed, as it gives a great light for its size. I will take it back to Home Depot for a refund.

  4. Tony Solomon says:

    I have both the XL50 and XL100. I’ve done a side by side comparison of both for brightness and longevity. They are pretty close to the same brightness but I would give the XL50 an edge over the XL100. I’ve placed both on high beam and let them stay side by side “on” to see just how long standard batteries would last. After 8 hours of continous use the XL50 was slightly brighter than the XL100 and both were brighter than a 5D Maglite with a fresh set. I don’t see how anyone could be disappointed with this flashlight.

  5. Chris says:

    Seriously needs a lanyard loop in the tail cap. Too easy to drop, damage or loose.

  6. Chris says:

    Please correct spelling loose v-> lose

  7. Stephen says:

    Great flashlight. I use one at work every day and I am not dissapointed. It’s even brighter than my 3 cell with LED.

  8. Mike says:

    This is a great little flashlight.I use this light everyday an it has not let me down ounce.I have $100 lights that are not as bright as my XL50.The battery life is outstanding it lasts 9 hours on high and 26 on low.Great little flashlight worth every penny.

  9. Tyrelle says:

    Back in the day police had the big and long MAG’s and now that we have small the XL50 MAG’s it put the others to shame. Just this one unit is all you need for anything. At first I thought 30$ for a little light was to much but that goes to show you don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

  10. Kyle says:

    I’m no electrical engineer, but if one AAA battery has a 1000mAh stated capacity (and many have 1200), then the THREE that this flashlight uses should have a 3000mAh capacity, meaning that it would take closer to 10 years to COMPLETELY drain the batteries. This would be three years longer than the typical stated shelf life (7 years) of an alkaline battery, making the standby drain far less important than you make it out to be. Now, it might matter more with lithium batteries, some of which have stated shelf lives of up to 17 years (most only claim 10, though). But, virtually all lithium AAA’s have 1200mAh capacity, which if you MULTIPLY BY THREE, and work out the math, amounts to almost 13 years to fully drain.

    Now, I’m not saying the standby drain doesn’t matter, its no fun to pull out your flashlight after 5 years and have only 50% battery capacity, BUT, it is MUCH better than pulling out your flashlight in 3 years and having NO power, which is what your review states (apparently) incorrectly. Please correct me if I am wrong here.

    Since standby current draw is the only Con you list for this product, it seems important to be correct about this.

    I am only speculating wildly here, but it seems to my that an ultra-low standby draw might actually be a GOOD thing, since voltage build up in alkalines can contribute to leakage/corrosion. I’d rather have dead batteries than leaking ones. But I really don’t know enough about the technology to make this point.

    Hope this helps anyone planning on a purchase.

  11. Robin Wang says:

    Kyle,

    You imply that batteries in the XL50 are in parallel. That is not the case with, because three AAA batteries are in series when installed in the XL50 (notice how two batteries face forward, and one faces backward).

    When batteries are in series, voltage is increased, but capacity remains the same as a single battery. When batteries are in parallel, voltage is the same as a single battery, but capacity is increased. The reason for this is that the total amount of power (watt-hour, or Whr) must remain the same, so either voltage or capacity increases, but not both.

    Hope this helps, Kyle!

    Robin

  12. Kyle says:

    Ah! I was not aware of this. I should have guessed it was drawing more voltage, since it is a high power light. I was not expecting such a lighting fast response from you, thanks for clarifying!

  13. Venya says:

    Before buying this light I am curious to know if the tail cap has the same feel, and more importantly, the same function of the big old Maglites with their momentary-on buttons since I like to use my flashlights to send Morse code messages. Many of the new advanced flashlights need a full button depression AND release to activate the light, which requires too much time for my speed of operation. Is this the case with the LX50/LX100 switches/buttons since I see they are “smart” switches?

    Thx for you time!

  14. Robin Wang says:

    Venya,

    A new type of switch is used XL-series, which has a different feel from the mechanical switches of previous incandescent lights. The switch does not need much travel, having a similar feel to a computer mouse button.

    Hope this helps,

    Robin

  15. jimf says:

    This is the best light on the market for the price and then some. it’s like the jedi light saber compared toi other flashlights. :)

  16. alohacake says:

    This xl50 is so cool,
    easy to carry
    very lite and yet it was so bright
    i always bring it with me at work and at home

    jimf is right its like a jedi lightsaber

    maglite surely did a great job on xl50

  17. don says:

    venya, this light is great except for the fact you or I ill not be able to use the end cap switch for morris code. it is a little unfortunate but the light makes up for it in other ways.

  18. don says:

    the three function switch screws up the use of the switch to flash the light in a pattern you want.

  19. don says:

    and Ken Green i have used mine for three days four hours each and still bright. use new batteries not the new ones in the drawer you think are new and your kids switched them out and did not tell you. ;)

  20. Tom says:

    I got one of these to use as I have been tranferred to the night shift working on big Boeing jets. Need something small/handy but powerful for that. And durable. And if it eats batteries per chance, I get replacements from the tool room. I looked at this and a similiar Chinese light. Decided to keep the money in the USA. Still if I was working security or police, I would consider the secondary advantage of a regular big Maglite as an emergency head-knocker or such. They can stand up to that. Get the LED bulb upgrade for your regular big D cell unit. My standard Mags will stay at home as emergency lights as they do not have an “off” battery drain. They have to work if the power fails or the door rattles at 3 AM.

  21. jalpulm says:

    Hi, I’m Jalpulm, the truth, I bought the red XL50 (to replace a Maglite 3D wt) to take camping (backpacking) with my friends. In areas of the Delta Argentino (Otamendi across the 3 ponds.) In darkness places where we go fishing, has helped me a lot, and takes its maximum power in the 5 days we stayed. Interestingly, one of those days was very foggy and gave the feeling of having a sword like the Star Wars. The distance at full power I think that reaches 145 meters, the Parana Guazu in the part that was in had a width of 800 meters, gold fish 6 to 7 kilos and bring them to the coast with the XL50 looked good and were the jumps in the tug of war.
    Maglite Recommendation: What if they could upgrade the following models Xl, place some cord to hold it better in your hand or neck, in case the same fall.

    HOLA, soy Jalpulm, la verdad, me la compre la XL50 roja ( para reemplazar en peso una Maglite 3D ) para llevarla de campamento ( mochilero ) con mis amigos . En las zonas del Delta Argentino (Otamendi cruzando las 3 balsas. ) en lugares de oscuridad total donde vamos a pescar, me ha servido mucho , y dura su maxima potencia, en los 5 dias que estuvimos . Es interesante que uno de esos dias hubo mucha niebla y daba la sensacion de tener un sable como el de la guerra de las galaxias. La distancia en su maxima potencia creo que llega a los 145 metros , el Parana Guazu en la parte que estabamos tenia un ancho de 800 metros, al pescar dorados de 6 a 7 kilos y traerlos hacia la costa con la XL50 se veian bien como daban sus saltos en el tira y afloja.
    Recomendacion a Maglite : Lo que si podrian actualizar las siguientes Xl modelos, colocarle algun cordon como para sujetarla mejor de la mano o el cuello , en caso que la misma se cayera.

  22. Abe says:

    I bought two of the xl50 flashlights and the brightness is great and it is nice and small BUT the tail switch is absolutely a 1/10 the two that I bought are broken . I am very very disappointed !

  23. rafael amcttactical says:

    water seal of rear cap fake, fail on humidity conditions, maglite can do better water resistent flash light, the flashlight works good but dont carry with you in the forest, will fail sadly, the minimaglite led dont fail even inside the water, maglite can do a better seal for the switch grade ipx8, rain resisatant its not enough,xl50 its not all conditions flashlight, maglite please do a good seal for the rear boton, or you can disarm the switch and seal it whit silicon sealant, xl50 its a good flashlight but suks whith water beter find a minimaglite led.

  24. Jim Craig says:

    I own a number of high end flashlights. This XL50 is pretty nice in my view. I work at night a good deal, and putting a light on a license plate is a very common thing for me. This light really gets out there to light up the numbers, and text on a plate. Even at 100 yards it will light up a plate, and I can use my binoculars to read it.

    Sometimes I need to light up a persons face. The light is so bright that they hide their face with an arm or hands. I consider this light a very good self defense light.

    Now, one of the main reasons I purchased the light was for lighting my home in a black out situation. One XL50 standing on its tail will light up a room very well.

    I tried the run times listed on the package and found them to be realistic.

    Rechargeable batteries were used, and the stated run time was also realistic.

    I gave my 6 children each an XL50 for last Christmas, and they all love them.

    This is my favorite around the home flashlight. My two other favorite flashlights are the RRT-0 Raptor by JetBeam, and the Pak-Lite.

    Hope this helps.

  25. KR says:

    I wish all flashlight reviews would include these two items:
    (1) PWM or current regulated.
    (2) L-M-H or M-L-H lighting sequence.

    Thanks,
    KR

  26. bob gillander says:

    I have been a curious fan of Maglites for years. Recently, however, i found, through reading an r/c airplane website, these XL50′s are being used as “landing gear” lights. The Maglites are lightweight, work really well, and produce outstanding “brightness” for landing r/c aircraft at night. I hope the good Maglite people out in Ontario, CA are reading these remarks. This lite could be used by r/c people everywhere. Maybe Maglite marketing people might want to explore this idea and use. Just saying…

  27. Bill says:

    I have recently purchased an XL50 and am impressed by the throw and brightness! It is wilderness here, and this is a very handy light.

    Mr. Wang, would you please advise me as to whether or not I should reccommend this model to a friend to mount on his AR-15, .223 rifle?

    Many thanks!

  28. Robin Wang says:

    Bill,

    Force from weapon recoil can easily damage lights that are not designed for it, and Maglite does not design their lights to be weapon-mountable. I would recommend that your friend get a dedicated weapon-light from Streamlight or SureFire.

    Robin

  29. Alejo says:

    Do you know which of the several Philips leds does Maglite use in this product? Philips link is http://www.philipslumileds.com/products/luxeon-rebel/luxeon-rebel-white.

    Thanks,
    Alejo

  30. Robin Wang says:

    Alejo,

    Most flashlight manufacturers purchase multiple bins of LEDs, so I don’t have a better answer for you. However, new lights now use the Cree XP-E, not the Luxeon Rebel.

    Robin

  31. 123 says:

    the plastic window is a scratch magnet, fresh out the box i just put my finger to see if it;s plastic or glass, clean the fingerprent with my t-shirt and bam sratched like hell. and it was a soft t-shit

  32. Brandon says:

    123,

    There is no such thing as a soft t-shirt and most scratches on eyeglasses for instance are a result of the t-shirt wiping. Dirt/dust particles and other stuff get on the shirt even if you can’t see them. That said, it’s still disappointing that a t-shirt with some dust on it could scratch up the lens so easily so I will be avoiding this model since I want something more rugged.

  33. john says:

    Just bought one and I’m impressed! I can use this for spotting deer in my backyard. Any light that needs a warning that it will cause retina damage gotta be bright! I’m going to buy a few more. Need 1 in the toolbox, 1 for taking dog out at night, 1 for the truck, etc.

    Was wondering if removing the plastic lens is feasible for I would like to be able to polish it when it gets too scratched.

    Ooh just had an idea! Take a plastic smart phone cover and cut circle and use it on the lens as protection. Replace as necessary.

  34. Robin Wang says:

    John,

    It’s not easy to replace the plastic window, and there’s also a good chance of damaging the reflector.

    You can also check with Maglite about having sending the bezel in for them to replace the plastic window with a glass one, which should hold up better against scratches. I’ve been told by Maglite that such a service will cost ~$2.

    Regards,

    Robin

  35. Dirt dobber says:

    I picked up the light about a month ago to mount on my bowfishing set up works great for 5 minutes then it starts this flashing thing between the bright and dim setting????? I read it should go to the dim setting after five but mine switches between the two… thats the only complaint I have about mine. great low dollar light

  36. Robin Wang says:

    Have you tried changing the batteries? Flickering usually means that the batteries need to be replaced.

    Robin

  37. Hardbawl says:

    $30 and American Made. The Maglight XL50 is a Bargain! It is bright enough to see targets on the 100 yard backstop behind the house. It is really small so you can put in in your pocket and have it when you need it. It takes AAA batteries, available everywhere for cheap so a spare set is easy to arrange. Need a lanyard? Electrician’s tape and a shoe lace will fix that.

    Low power is great for when you are using the light for work in close quarters. High power is too bright for that.

    You guys that moan about not being able to send Morse Code make me smile. This is a super bargan in the age of the cell phone. Hello!

    Buy one. Belay that, buy several. It is a super bargan.

  38. Bob says:

    just bought one. Very bright, easy to use. The XL 100 “interface” was just too odd to be for normal use.

    Missing a way to attach a wrist strap, the only bad thing I could say about it.

    One thing they don’t mention is the ” candle mode” , just like the 2AA mini mag’s… unscrew the focusing front lenz assembly till it’s totally off and put to the side. The beam is a VERY even and very wide angle flood, stand on end up right and face to the ceiling, even on the low setting it works great to dimly light the entire room.

  39. Robin Wang says:

    Bob,

    There is an XL-series accessory kit being planned for release in early 2013, which will include a pocket clip like the one included with the MAG-TAC. On the clip, there will be a hole for attaching a lanyard.

    Robin

  40. Critt says:

    I have a hand-held spotlight that is rated at 2 million candlepower and this XL50 seems to put out the same amount of light; throw and overall coverage. This has just flabbergasted me and I am wondering now if my hand-held spot has diminished in its’ capacity and whether or not it is even worth hanging on to it as it does not have the staying power (20 to 30 minutes)and I am constantly having to recharge it. It is 3 years old now. If anyone could “illuminate” me about this I would appreciate it.
    Love this XL50. Own 4 of them now.

  41. Thomas says:

    I have bought 2 XL50′s over the last 12 months, both battery packs have failed. A week after I bought mine the company I work for bought 4 of them, based on my recommendation at the time. All 4 of those battery packs have failed also. I cant recommend this light to anyone anymore. I carry this light in my pocket 24/7/365 and use it multiple times daily. The bulb dims frequently, even after brand new batteries, and its getting to the piont now where I have to depress the switch and lightly tap the lens to make the flashlight turn on, taking the battery pack out and squeezing it temporarily fixes this problem for the first few uses afterwards. Buying another flashlight and using its brand new battery pack fixes this problem for about 6 months until that batter pack wears out. I have seen this problem on 7 of these XL50. YMMV

  42. Robin Wang says:

    Thomas,

    Have you contacted Maglite to get the battery carriers replaced under warranty? There are a couple spring-loaded components, which might be the cause of reliability issues.

    As for the dimming, this is normal and part of the energy saving design (you can see the step-down in our runtime graph above). During continuous operation, the light will reduce output to conserve battery power.

    If you need continuous maximum brightness, the XL50 is probably not a good choice, and you may want to consider a worklight such as the Streamlight Knucklehead (you can find our review here: http://www.led-resource.com/2011/12/streamlight-knucklehead-review/).

    Robin

  43. Brian Sudy says:

    Just bought a second XL50. Lumens is now 139 (not 104) and battery life dropped to 6.5 hours. More importantly, the standby current thru the switch cap is 1/10th of what it was on the older version, so a set of batteries would theoretically last thirty years instead of three.

  44. chuck norris says:

    This is my second xl50 and although impressed with light output i am very dissapointed with quality. Switch is very sensitive. Have to beat it on my hand for it to turn on then fails again. Returned it and now the second one had same problem and now wont turn on at all. If you get this light you need to keep somewhere protected with pillows because normal use will damage the stinkin’ switch.

  45. Hardbawl says:

    The Maglite XL50 is a marvel. It is super bright, has a softer, more usable mode for work, is small, fits my pocket and uses cheap batteries. It is USA made and costs only $30. It is durable.

    Yes you can drop it. Yes you can scratch the lens. And yes, it is so damned neat that someone just might steal it. But with all it’s drawbacks is sure is nice to have one in your pocket. I have several!

  46. George says:

    Hi Robin,

    Recently I have bought the XL50 again and found the packing provides different information regarding the ANSI FL1 Standard. May I seek your advice if there is a new version on Xl50?

    Cheers.

    George

  47. Robin Wang says:

    George,

    The XL50 has been updated with a Cree XP-E LED, which resulted in the slight output increase. Other than that, there haven’t been any major changes.

    Hope you enjoy your XL50!

    Robin

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