Handheld LED Flashlights Face-off: The J5 Tactical V1-PRO Vs. GearLight S2000
Whether you’re on the 4×4 trail, in camp, hiking, or just kicking around the house, everyone needs to have a couple flashlights on hand!
Thankfully flashlights have come a long way since the days of loading up dad’s old Mag Light with two or three D sized batteries.
Those flashlights are bulky, heavy, not easily packable, and they don’t produce a ton of light to begin with!
Today there’s a wide variety of lightweight, easily packable, and long lasting battery powered LED flashlights available on the market.
What are we looking at today?
A Flashlight is a Flashlight… right?
Before we take a look at two of the most popular LED Flashlights on the market let’s understand a few of the basics.
When looking for a flashlight, there’s three primary factors you want to consider: Lumens, Battery type, and Size.
There are some other factors that you may want to consider such as Beam Distance, Peak Beam Intensity, Mode options, and Beam Adjustability…but unless you are needing to light objects a football field’s length away, you’ll be fine making your choice based on the first three factors.
Lumens is a measurement term indicating the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source.
Think about it as “brightness.” The higher the Lumens the brighter/stronger the light will appear.
Most consumer handheld LED flashlights will deliver between 200-1500 lumens.
A 40” LED Light Bar on your roof or bumper may deliver something like 15,000–25,000 lumens!
Just for reference, most standard household incandescent 60W lightbulbs emit about 800 lumens and a household 14W (75W incandescent equivalent) LED lightbulb emits about 1000 lumens in an omnidirectional pattern.
LED Flashlights are usually powered by AA batteries, AAA batteries, or an internal rechargeable battery pack.
As a photographer by trade, I have about 75 rechargeable AA NiMH batteries in my gear closet, so for obvious reasons, I strongly prefer LED flashlights that use AA batteries.
PRO TIP: I highly recommend Eneloop Ni-MH rechargeable batteries for any battery powered device. I’ve logged thousands of usage hours on my Eneloops and they are reliable and excellent!
Eneloop Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries: Check Today’s Price
When online shopping make sure you take a look at the size of flashlight you are about to purchase. If it needs to fit in your center console, small kitchen drawer, or a fully packed backpack, make sure you get one small enough!
Also, while not 100% true, usually the larger flashlight the brighter (more Lumens) it will be.
Let’s Review some Flashlights!
Ok, now that we have the basics down, lets take a look at two different flashlights, the GearLight S2000 and the J5 Tactical V1-PRO. These flashlights rank as Best Sellers on Amazon at #5 and #9 in the Handheld Flashlights category.
If you remove the UV Urine Detecting flashlights from that same Amazon Best Sellers List, the Gearlight S2000 actually ranks as #3 and the J5 Tactical V1-PRO ranks as #6!
J5 Tactical V1-PRO
After collecting a silly amount of cheap dollar-store-quality LED flashlights over the years I got frustrated. They all seemed to use three AAA batteries and all felt very cheap in construction and low in power.
I realized I wanted an arsenal of small, lightweight, quality built, and decently powered LED flashlights that only used a single AA battery instead of multiple AAA batteries. Enter the J5 Tactical V1-PRO!
I wanted to stick a few in my kitchen, office, garage, camping boxes, and of course the center console of my 4Runner. After a quick search, it seemed like the J5 Tactical V1-PRO might be the perfect option! I ended up buying about 10 total and have found them all to work very well so far.
- Max 300 Lumens
- Requires 1 AA Battery
- 3.7” x 1” x 1”
- Aluminum housing
- 3 Modes (High, Low, Strobe)
- Zoomable Beam
- Rated to illuminate up to 600’ distances
- #6 Amazon Best Seller, Handheld Flashlight (excluding UV/Urine)
- Weighs 2.3 ounces
During a night of four-wheeling on a pretty technical Arkansas trail last month, we ended up spending more time outside our vehicles assessing obstacles and spotting each other instead of inside them cruising along the trail.
The trail run was a blast, but I quickly realized that my smaller J5 Tactical V1-PRO flashlights were not as bright/strong as I wanted. The V1-PROs are perfect for the campsite and home use but I definitely wanted something brighter with a larger beam for the trail.
After that trip, I purchased a GearLight S2000 and it has met all my expectations so far! I had a chance to put S2000 to use on the trail last month and it definitely delivered the extra brightness and power that I was lacking the trip before.
- – Max 1200 Lumens
- – Requires 4 AA Batteries
- – 7.7” x 1.8” x 1.8”
- – Aluminum housing
- – 5 Modes (High, Medium, Low, Strobe, SOS)
- – Zoomable Beam
- – Rated to illuminate up to 1000’ distances
- – #3 Amazon Best Seller, Handheld Flashlight (excluding UV/Urine)
- – Weighs 1 pound
How well do they work?
Here’s a shoot out of the two flashlights with the controls as follows:
- Both the camera/tripod and the flashlights were set 22’ away from the garage EXCEPT for the very final image
- All images were taken with the same camera settings on a tripod which are:
- Canon 5D MkIV
- Sigma 35mm Lens
- ISO 3200
- f/2.2 at 1/100th
Let’s Get Started!
J5 Tactical V1-PRO, 22’ away, High power, 0% Zoomed-In (Full Wide Beam)
J5 Tactical V1-PRO, 22’ away, High power, 50% Zoomed-In
J5 Tactical V1-PRO, 22’ away, High power, 100% Zoomed-In
J5 Tactical V1-PRO, 22’ away, Low Power, Full Wide Beam
GearLight S2000, 22’ away, High power, 0% Zoomed-In (Full Wide Beam)
GearLight S2000, 22’ away, High power, 50% Zoomed-In
GearLight S2000, 22’ away, High power, 100% Zoomed-In
Gear Light S2000, 22’ away, Low Power, 0% Zoomed-In (Full Wide Beam)
Gear Light S2000, 100’ away, High Power, 50% Zoomed-In (camera/tripod appearing on bricks is actually a shadow from being 100’ away)
Both of these flashlights are excellent, work well, and seem to be sturdy in construction.
They take AA batteries which was a huge advantage for me over AAA powered alternatives. I keep one or two J5 V1-Pro flashlights in my center console at all times, but it lacks the power and brightness that I want while on the trail so I keep a Gearlight S2000 in my glovebox and make sure to install 4 fresh AA batteries before trips.
If small packable sizing and every ounce of weight matters, but strongest light beam around aren’t necessary…the J5 Tactical V1-Pro will be great for you!
If a very strong light source with wider coverage is what you need, the Gearlight S2000 might be the better choice. Im sure there are stronger/brighter products out there, but for the sub $30 category, either of these LED flashlights fit most household, camping, and trail riding needs just about perfectly!