Gear Review: Sofirn SF14 EDC Flashlight

   06.11.18

Gear Review: Sofirn SF14 EDC Flashlight

The Sofirn SF14 is an everyday carry (EDC) flashlight which can use either a single 14500, or a single AA battery.

For the readers are are not familiar with the 14500 battery: The 14500 produces around 3.7 volts,  compared to 1.5 volts produced by a standard AA, and the 14500 is only 2 mm longer than a AA.

The 14500 allows compact flashlights to achieve a much higher lumen count than could be possible with a AA battery. For example, the Sofirn SF14 can reach a maximum rating of 600 lumens with a 14500, but only 230 lumens with a AA battery.

Sofirn SF14 Specifications

Weights and measurements taken from my personal flashlight.

  • Length: 3 7/8 inches
  • Diameter: 3/4 inch
  • Weight: 2.40 ounces – with a Energizer rechargeable AA battery
  • Lumens with 14500 battery – 5, 110, 600
  • Lumens with AA battery – 3, 33, 230
  • Belt clip: Yes
  • Lanyard: Yes
  • Carry pouch: No
  • Waterproof rating: IPX8
  • On/off switch: Located in the tailcap.  Push the button on the tailcap to turn on, then gently push the button to cycle through the brightness settings.
  • Strobe: No
  • Memory: No.  This means the flashlight does not return to the last setting used.  When turned off for a few seconds, the flashlight will default to its lowest setting.
  • Battery included: No

Sofirn SF14 Tests

The Sofirn SF14 was put through the standard battery of tests, which includes submersion and drop testing.

Before the flashlight was submerged, the o-rings were inspected and there was no grease on them.  Rather than changing the flashlight as it came from the factory and greasing the o-rings, the flashlight was dropped into a bucket of water without the o-rings being greased. Around 45 minutes later the flashlight was retrieved from the water, dried off and inspected. There was no water in the tailcap, body, or bezel.

After the submersion test came the drop test. The flashlight was held around four feet off the ground and dropped several times. The purpose of the drop test is to see if the flashlight flickers, or changes settings.

The first drop test was performed with a AA battery. After a couple of drop the flashlight started flickering. Rather than a flicker caused by a bad connection, this was more like a voltage issue flicker.

The drop test was performed a second time with a 14500 battery. The flashlight did not flicker with the 14500 battery.

Sofirn was contacted and asked about the flicker issue. A company representative said they were away of the problem and are releasing an updated version of the SF14 which addresses the issue.

Nighttime Testing and Beam

Using a AA battery the beam is what someone may expect from a flashlight this size. However, when a 14500 battery is used, the SF14 shows its true potential. The high setting of 600 lumens turned the Sofirn SF14 into a powerhouse of an EDC flashlight.

Sofirn SF14 230 lumens using a single AA battery
Sofirn SF14 at 230 lumens using a single AA battery.
Sofirn SF14 600 lumens using a 14500 battery
Sofirn SF14 at 600 lumens using a 14500 battery.

Typically, after running on high for several minutes the head of flashlights this size will start to get hot.  After using the SF14 for several minutes on high, the head was hot, but not excessively hot.

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Final Thoughts

Looking at the Amazon page for the Sofirn SF14 it is advertised as a keychain light. There is nothing along the lines of it being a tactical or weapons light.

For what the flashlight is advertised for, I feel it is ideal. Being able to use either AA or 14500 battery is wonderful. Chances are not a lot of people have an extra 14500 laying around the house. On the other hand, chances are a lot of people have extra AA batteries.

Sofirn SF14 flashlight

Something I would like to address is the lack of a memory. Flashlights that have a memory will return to the last brightness setting used. For example, if the SF14 had a memory and the last setting used was the 600 lumens, when it was turned back on, it would default to 600 lumens.

Having the SF14 default to the lowest setting saves our night vision. Do we really want to wake up in the middle of the night, grab the flashlight, and be blinded by 600 lumens?

Typically, I like certain flashlights to have a memory. However, the Sofirn SF14 is not marketed as a tactical or weapons light. This is a keychain style EDC light. For its intended purpose, I feel not having a memory is a nonissue.

As of writing this article the Sofirn SF14 cost $13.99 from Amazon and is available for Prime shipping. For that price range, and its intended purposes, I give the SF14 an 8.9 out of ten.

The flashlight needs a better keychain attachment, and the flickering with AA batteries needs to be addressed.

 

Full disclosure: The Sofirn SF14 flashlight was provided at little or no cost for this review.

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