A lot of people don’t bother with flashlights nowadays, choosing instead to use smartphones or penlights when there’s a need to illuminate something. But of course, nothing lights things up like a good, solid flashlight.
The Fenix RC40 is the flashlight to beat. Already top of the line, it’s been upgraded with the latest Cree XM-L2 U2 LEDs, which will give out a brilliant 6,000 lumens – enough to cut a swath up to half a mile away. In comparison, a 4D alkaline Maglite might beam out 122 lumens.
Using the RC40 at a gigantic warehouse, its six-LED cluster could easily light up all sides and illuminate everything else in the way.
This powerful flashlight needs equally powerful batteries though, and not just the usual alkalines. The RC40 uses a huge 7,800mA lithium-ion cell. It is charged using a standard barrel charger plugged into the flashlight’s end. Fenix ships with an AC power brick and a cigarette-lighter adapter.
The battery status can be checked by pushing a button on the flashlight’s butt. And good news, the RC40 even has a USB Type A port so you can use the power bank to charge a phone or any other USB equipped device.
All of these ports have gaskets and the flashlight is rated IPX-8, so it can be fully submerged up to two meters underwater. Put it in the water and it can still give off a glaring beam. The RC40 is also tough, able to withstand reasonable drops without shattering or affecting functionality.
The RC40 has two buttons: the right button goes through the many power levels and the left button activates the strobe, or SOS mode. The power levels are Eco, Low, Medium, High and Turbo. Eco is 45 lumens running up to 145 hours, low is 500 lumens up to 18 hours, medium is 2,000 lumens for around four hours, high is 4,000 lumens in little less than two hours and turbo hits 6,000 lumens in an hour. Don’t expect the flashlight to run on 6,000 lumens for longer periods of time.
To keep the LEDs from overheating, the flashlight’s light output will automatically drop when it hits 149 degrees Fahrenheit, which is typical for high-performing LEDs. Pressing both buttons on the RC40 locks the flashlight, and if you try to turn it on, it will blink three times to remind you that it’s locked.
The Fenix RC40 is a “thrower,” meaning its best for lighting up objects at a distance. It’s bright enough to compete with less-efficient HID flashlights while giving you a longer battery life. Last year, Fenix had its RC40 flashlights at only four Cree XM-L U2 LEDs to 3,500 lumens and without changing the power source, was able to get the RC40’s specs up – thanks to the quick advances in LED technology.
Perhaps the biggest downside to the RC40 is the power source, as its large ARB-L3-15600 is not common and replacements are costly, around $65 on the internet. So you can only hope Fenix keeps sourcing them, because if they stop selling these flashlights, that’s it for the battery as well.
Another negative is the RC40’s bulk. Its 10.7 inch length and 4.6 inch diameter head are reminiscent of the 1990s, when large flashlights were popular. In this day and age, smaller and sleeker are king. In addition, most people won’t really need this kind of high-powered performance unless they’re in law enforcement, hunters, search and rescue or any occupation that requires lighting up large areas at night.
The RC40 doesn’t come cheap, retailing at $380+ on Amazon, but you get what you pay for in quality and performance. Those looking for the ultimate in large, heavy-duty, reliable flashlights should definitely consider the Fenix RC40.