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Friday, 7 January 2011

Kit Report: Halfords LED Torch

I have a M*****e 3D, which until now I reckoned to be the best torch I have ever used. It's robust and good-looking, and it has a powerful beam. But while it is a reassuring thing to have beside the bed (it's my jury-friendly version of a baseball bat), it's quite hefty for everyday use. I needed a good torch for my new job, something a little easier to carry about, so I dropped into Halfords to see what they had got. What they had was one of these:

It goes by the name of Halfords Advanced Cree 2C (corrected) Torch, and it's the best torch I have ever used. It is made of aluminium, of a rather pleasant gunmetal-grey colour, and the grip is slightly rubberised. At 8" long, it fits in a pocket quite easily, and yet it manages to avoid the toy-like feel of the small Maglites. It's advertised as water-resistant, and I will believe that, as it screws together with precision threads which are backed up with O-rings.

The best thing about it, though, is the quality and amount of light it delivers. The beam is very powerful, easily as good as the much bigger Maglite, although as it is an LED bulb the light is cool and slightly blue, rather than the warmer light of an incandescent bulb. But the M*****e, good as it is, has one big fault - a poor reflector design. The beam, however you focus it, has rings and holes and other artifacts which are distracting. The Halfords torch beam is absolutely clear, just a clean circle of white. I think this is the first torch I have ever seen that didn't have any dark spots in the beam pattern. You can't focus the beam, but it's perfect as it is. To be honest, I only use the beam focus on the M******e to try to get rid of the dark spots anyway.

Over the years, I have come to associate Halfords with cheap bikes and chavmobile accessories (it used to be a decent shop, way back), but this is a genuine quality item. Price on the website is £29.99, but in-store* I paid £19.99. Well worth it. I can't report on battery life just yet, but with an efficient LED it should be good.

* I hate that phrase.

Update: the link to the Halfords item is to a 2D torch, whereas this is a 2C, taking smaller batteries and therefore smaller altogether. That would explain Halfords' curious generosity when I reached the till.


  1. I've always found the corner of Halfords where they keep the multipacks of fasteners, washers, electrical connections and other such items to be an extremely useful place. Plus, I do quite rate their tool section.

    That's an impressive torch...two of those strapped to the front of my Kwak would probably improve night riding no end!

  2. Halfords are unfairly maligned by a lot of people who like to think of themselves as 'in the know'. They do indeed have some useful stuff (usually blister-packed and over-priced) and I couldn't do without them, especially since our little - and brilliant - motor factors closed a few years ago. But if you compare their offerings compared to (say) 20 years ago, they have plummeted for the lucrative chav big-exhaust market and steadily left the bits-and-bobs, pot of grease customers behind. Agreed about the tools - I have some Halfords Professional tools that have had hard service for a couple of decades and still work well.

  3. In-store is awful - but not as bad as Lloyds Bank's TV advert: "Come and see us 'in-branch'" urrrgh

  4. Makes you want to vomit, in-toilet.

  5. What batteries does it take Richard ? I stick to rechargeables now as battery prices are ridiculous. Can you get a solar powered option ? ;)

  6. I think you might have exposed an unintentional mistake, Don. It takes 2 x C cells, and the one in the link to the Halfords site is a 2D - a bigger torch altogether. That would explain the price anomaly.

    I try to avoid rechargeables for torches, for the simple reason that rechargeables tend to go quickly when they go, whereas standard batteries fade over a longer time. If it's a light you have to depend on (e.g. a bicycle light) that could be important. However, this is an LED, and I have no idea how they respond to a reducing voltage, so ignore anything I have to say on the matter. But IWHT that, being an LED, the thing is so efficient that battery purchase becomes trivial. I have thrown away an LED headtorch before now because the plastics died of old age, even though the battery (a single AA) was still in good order. Two new C cells are only a couple of quid - less bother than having to leave it in the sun all day :) I didn't see a solar option. Halfords do solar torches (follow link on the page) but they are toy items as far as I can see.

  7. Think I'll get one Richard. The LED's require very little battery power and last for ages like you said. I use my LED head torch for doing wiring jobs when the power is off and I need my hands free. I can't remember ever changing the batteries.
    I tried a solar powered torch for a while but it was hopeless. Every time it got dark the stupid thing used to fail ;)

  8. Same problem with those solar-powered lights for the garden - at the time of year you need them, there's not enough light around to charge them.

    With the way LED technology is developing, we'll soon have torches that have sealed battery compartments - by the time the battery has gone, it's ready for throwing away in any case.

  9. Name of 'old' torch edited to see if it stops the spammers. This post was attracting a huge number of spam comments, advertising M******e torches.

  10. I inspect peoples lofts for a living, and so use my torches every day. I have long been a convert to the new Cree LED torches and have enjoyed showing off how small and powerful they are to all my clients. ...until I met a client who pulled out an LED torch that out shone my latest one convincingly. Yes, it came from Halfords! I went straight to Halfords to investigate, and the entire range of Halfords own brand torches really are at the forefront of the CREE technology and are, in my experience, brighter than any other CREE torch of a similar size.


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