AltusLumen PAD-L Flashlight - Review
The AltusLumen PAD-L Flashlight is one that is built with the company's ecologically-friendly mission fully in mind. AltusLumen states that it is the first "sustainable portable LED," that "the main housing is made of recycled and recyclable aluminum and polycarbonate," and finally that the light "is over 75% recyclable at the end of its useful life." This is all fine and good, but if the flashlight doesn't work that well, we're not really going to need to know what parts of it we can recycle, because we simply won't be buying the thing in the first place. That said, when we tested out the AltusLumen it was to see just that: is this a light worth buying? Does it work? Is there anything that sets it above the thousands of other flashlights on the market?
The functionality of the light is simple; there's one battery indicator light and one button which cycles from off, through four levels of LED brightness, and back to off again. The PAD-L is about the size of an ipod so it's easy in the hands and it has a very sleek, professional look to it.
It's also really, really bright. Not as bright as the Husky portable tri-pod that we reviewed over a year ago (we're still seeing spots from that one), but bright enough to light up a crawl space, an attic, or a camping area. The front of the PAD-L folds down and forms a kind of stand which allows you to direct the light just about any way that you could ever want. And if for some reason, you're looking for more ways to direct the light, there is also a little metal leg that folds out of the body. Did we mention that it's also water resistant?
The PAD-L comes with a very nice little zippered case which has two compartments. One for the light and the other possibly for a small digital camera or maybe the aforementioned ipod. Although the whole package is perfect for camping, we think that it would also be a good item for around the house, in a carpenter's tool bag, in a glove box. The light also comes with an interesting little 'cord manager' so you can keep a length of string with you and, when needed, hang the light from a tree branch or the hood of your car, or whatever.
Over the past few weeks, we used the PAD-L in a number of situations, ranging from a late night dog walk to an investigation into a vehicle rattle, to a quick trip into the crawlspace to check on a pipe. It was only running through the woods with the dogs that we would have preferred our old-fashioned Maglite. But in the other situations, the stationary ones, the PAD-L's ability to stand on its own (so we could have two hands free) was invaluable.
So the answer to our questions of whether or not it is a good flashlight is a very simple, 'yes.' This is a stellar flashlight and we really wish he had one back in December during our power outage.
The AltusLumen PAD-L sells for about $40 which is about right for a light of this high-quality. It takes three AAA batteries (not included).
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at February 23, 2009 5:00 AM
Flashlights are actually one of my favorite tools... I own quite a few. I have one clipped to my pocket at all times, along with my pocket knife... can't tell you how often its come in handy.
My main, EDC light is a NiteCore SmartPD D10 - it takes a single AA battery and has about 20 different brightness levels that can be accessed through an intuitive clicking method. They also make a the EX10 (a cr123 based light#, and The D20 which is a 2x AA light #about the size of a mini-maglight#. All of these lights would rival the brightness of a huge 4D maglight on high #but throw or distance wouldn't be as far b/c of a smaller reflector#
For the shop/and working other places, I often also use a headlamp. The best headlight I've ever found for close-up work is the Zebralight H30. It has three brightness levels, and a flood coverage #no bright hotspot)
Both lights are a bit more expensive than this at about $60-70, but If you want a quality tool that is durable, stand up to daily use in bad conditions, and still work every time, you need to spend a bit more $$$... I put my lights through hell + they keep working.