Streamlight Stinger DS LED (NiMH) Review

A popular choice among professionals for several years now, the second-generation Streamlight Stinger DS LED features DualSwitch technology that allows independent activation with either the tail or head-mounted switch. This compact rechargeable LED flashlight is compatible with Stinger family chargers and features a new, environmentally-friendly, and higher capacity NiMH battery in select markets.

Key Specifications

  • Output: 180 lumens high, 95 lumens medium, 45 lumens low, 180 lumens strobe
  • Intensity: 17,000 candela
  • Runtime (NiCd): 2h high, 3h 45min medium, 7h 15min low, 5h 30min strobe
  • Runtime (NiMH): 2h 30min high
  • Battery: NiCd or NiMH Rechargeable Battery Pack
  • Length: 8.85″
  • Diameter: 1.62″ bezel, 1.17″ body
  • Weight with Batteries: 12.8 oz.
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • MSRP: $155-$247
  • Actual Pricing: ~$120

Pricing & Ordering

Depending on charger configuration, MSRP for the Stinger DS LED is around $200, and the light is only available in black. Most configurations can be found for around $120.

As with all Stinger models, the Stinger DS LED has package choices for charge speed, input voltage, and PiggyBack. Our recommendation would be a fast charge package, as the slow charge will take the light out of service for an extended period of time, and overcharging can reduce battery life.

In The Box

We wanted to look at the new NiMH batteries that are being offered in limited markets, so our package (item #75970) included: Streamlight Stinger DS LED, NiMH battery, NiMH notice, and user manual.

 

A typical U.S. configuration (item # 75814, shown on the right) would include Streamlight Stinger DS LED, NiCd rechargeable battery, charging cradle, 2 x mounting screws, AC adapter, Streamlight catalog, and user manual.

Batteries

Proprietary rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries (1800 mAh) are used in the Stinger DS LED. To comply with European regulations for battery disposal, a higher capacity nickel-metal hydride battery (2200 mAh) is optional for European or light-only configurations. Both battery packs can be recharged up to 1000 times.

 

To charge the light, insert the barrel of the light into the charger, and pull down until it locks. The charger arms can leave marks on the light, which is normal.

 

Streamlight advises that the “memory effect” common to NiCd batteries is rare under normal flashlight use, so it isn’t recommended to condition the battery with frequent complete discharging.

The Light

Head
The head features a coated scratch-resistant polycarbonate plastic window, a strip of rubber that provides grip on the bezel, and a partially textured plastic reflector. This hybrid reflector smoothes out artifacts in the beam pattern while maintaining throw.

The scratch resistance comes from a silicon dioxide coating that is cured onto the plastic for a minimum pencil hardness of 3H (meaning that only a pencil with 3H hardness or higher will be able to scratch the window).

Body
The light is made of aluminum and type-II anodized on the outside. Charging contacts are on the back of the light, on an elevated triangle that orients the light in the charging cradle. The body of the light is covered with rubber to help maintain a secure grip on the light.

The head mounted switch is a momentary-capable electronic switch.

Tail Cap
On the tail cap is another electronic switch, covered with black rubber. The button is recessed to prevent accidental activation, and also allows the light to tail-stand.

 

As expected, both switches are responsive with good travel.

Modes

All of the Stinger LED lights use the same four-mode user interface.

Single Click: High
A single click activates 100% mode for 180 lumens.

Click and Hold: High-Medium-Low
When either button is pressed and held, the light will slowly cycle through the three brightness levels in high-medium-low-medium-high order. When the button is released, the light will stay in the current mode. The mode can be changed anytime, whether the light is on or off.

Two Fast Clicks: Strobe
With two fast clicks, the 180 lumen strobe is activated. Once again, strobe can be activated anytime, whether the light is on or off. To return the light to high, double-click the switch again (this would turn the light off then immediately turn it back on).

For all modes, a single click will turn the light off. Since the light uses electronic switches, there is a small standby current drain of 5 µA (0.005 mA), which is negligible.

Performance

The Stinger DS LED is rated for 180 lumens with its Cree XR-E LED. Although some rings are still visible around the hotspot, the beam pattern is fairly clean due to the hybrid reflector. Streamlight has informed us that the NiMH battery is a low self-discharge (LSD) type, and can hold up to 85% of its charge for 12 months. Streamlight is currently conducting ANSI testing on the NiMH battery option.

 

The light is rated for IPX4 water-resistance, which means it can withstand splashing water from all directions, and rainfall would be nothing to be worried about.

Runtime

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

The ANSI FL-1 standardized output and runtime specifications of the Stinger DS LED were made using the standard NiCd battery pack. Runtime for the NiMH battery pack exceeded NiCd runtime by 33% even though it only had 22% more capacity, but this discrepancy can be attributed to the age of our NiCd battery. With a brand new battery, NiCd runtime will exceed 2h, but the NiCd battery we used for testing had been used in our Stinger DS LED HP for six months prior to this test.

Accessories

An anti-roll ring is included with the light, and Streamlight offers a variety of charging options and add-ons, such as traffic wands and holsters.

 

The PiggyBack charger accessory includes a spare battery and charges both the light and a spare battery at the same time. It is available with a choice of standard or fast charging for the primary charger, but only steady charge for the spare battery.

Conclusion

A proven solution on the market for several years now, the Stinger DS LED is a great combination of size and power, and is also the only Stinger LED model to feature an anti-roll solution. Other models in the Stinger family (such as the high-performance model, the Stinger DS LED HP) are available for more specific needs, and we liked the Stinger DS LED as a great multi-purpose light. If you need a rechargeable flashlight, you can’t go wrong with the Stinger DS LED!

As for the new NiMH battery, Streamlight has no immediate plans to incorporate NiMH battery options to products sold in the U.S., but it’s definitely something we look forward to. Not only are NiMH batteries more environmentally friendly, but it also gives the Stinger’s runtime a 20% boost, bringing the Stinger’s runtime above the 2-hour average for rechargeable lights.


Pros Cons
  • High, medium, low, and strobe modes
  • Direct access to brightness levels and strobe
  • Dual independent switches
  • Scratch-resistant polycarbonate window
  • Wide spill beam
  • Rubberized grip
  • 20% higher capacity NiMH battery
  • Lifetime warranty
  • NiMH battery option only offered in international markets
  • Optional spare battery charge is steady charge only

Related Links

Streamlight Stinger Series Product Page

Download the Streamlight Stinger LED and Stinger DS LED Fact Sheet

Download the Streamlight Stinger DS LED Info Sheet

Rechargeable Flashlight Comparison on LED-Resource

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