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Reviews > Lighting > Flashlights - LED > Maglite XL50 LED Flashlight > Owner Review by Brian Hartman

February 22, 2015


NAME: Brian Hartman
EMAIL: bhart1426ATyahooDOT com
AGE: 47
LOCATION: Westfield, Indiana
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 145 lb (65.80 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 20 years throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and most recently in Western USA. In addition to backpacking I enjoy family camping with my wife and kids and being outdoors in general. I would describe myself as a mid-weight backpacker. I use fairly light weight equipment and gear but still like to bring more than the bare essentials with me while on the trail.


Photo: From Maglite's website
Manufacturer: Mag Instrument Inc
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $50.50
Listed Weight With Batteries: 3.68 oz (104 g)
Measured Weight: 3.8 oz (108 g)
Length: 4.8 in (121.9 mm)
Barrel Diameter: 1.0 in (25.4 mm)
Lumens: 200 lm
Beam Distance: 735 ft (224 m)
Run Time High: 6 hr 45 min
Run Time Low: 25 hr
Water-Resistant: Yes
Colors: Red, silver, grey, blue, black
Drop Resistance: 3.3 ft (1 m)
Battery Type: 3 - AAA Cell Alkaline (included)


The Maglite XL50 (hereafter called XL50, flashlight, or light) is a pocket-sized LED flashlight manufactured by Mag Instrument Inc. in Ontario, CA.

Photo: From Maglite's website

The XL50 has a machined aluminum case that has been anodized for corrosion resistance and durability. The aluminum design also makes it very light weight, weighing in at only 3.8 oz (108 g). Despite its light weight, the flashlight still feels quite durable. At 4.8 in long (121.9 mm) and 1.0 in (25.4 mm) in diameter, it easily fits in my pants pocket or in a small belt holster. I actually prefer using a holster as it makes retrieving the light very easy. The outside of the XL50 is nicely polished so there aren't any rough edges and I really like that the head and body of the flashlight are the same size so it doesn't get caught up on other items when stored in my backpack.

The tail cap is easy to thread onto the base and the rubber o-rings help make the light water resistant but I wish Maglite would use glass lenses instead of plastic as glass is more optically clear and doesn't scratch as easily.

The XL50 is about as easy to use as a multi-mode flashlight can be. It features a rubber-coated push-button tail cap switch with three selectable modes, determined by the number of clicks used to turn the light on. The modes included are high power, economy mode, and emergency safety strobe. Regardless of which mode is currently active, a single click will turn the light off.

One Click: Activates high power for the full 200 lumens.
Two Clicks: Activates economy mode for 25% power, producing 50 lumens.
Three Clicks: Activates the strobe.


The XL50 has a runtime of 6 hours and 45 minutes on high, or 25 hours on low thanks to Maglite's advanced energy management technology called MAG-LED. MAG-LED optimizes LED output to produce a balance of light and energy efficiency. When first released several years ago, the XL50 produced 104 lumens. Since then it has gone through several LED /circuitry improvements, the first of which resulted in an increase to 139 lumens with 8 hr runtime capacity and most recently 200 lumens with 6 hr 45 minute capacity. The XL50 also has an adjustable beam that goes from spot to flood by simply turning the head clockwise or counter-clockwise.

The light uses 3 standard AAA alkaline batteries although it can be used with rechargeable batteries as well. Inserting them into the battery holder is a simple task and so far the holder has held up well to battery changes. Regarding battery life, I do not know how long the batteries last on high power as the flashlight automatically switches to economy mode after 5 minutes and cuts its light output to 25%. I assume this is to prevent excessive battery drain or prevent the LED from overheating. Regardless, battery life seems to be shorter than what's advertised by Maglite. From my observations, light output remains fairly steady until the batteries reach about 50% capacity at which point light output steadily decreases until the LED cannot be powered anymore.


Photo: From Maglite's website
I bought this flashlight to replace a Maglite 2 cell C flashlight that I've owned for many years. The new XL50 has five times the light output of my old flashlight with 30% longer battery life. In addition, this new light is half the size of my old flashlight and weighs one fourth as much. What's not to love!

Since buying the XL50, I have made it one of my 10 essential items and take it on all of my backpacking trips. In that capacity, it has traveled with me across the country and has seen temperatures from 100 F (38 C) to -10 F (-23 C). It has survived rain, sleet, snow and sunshine as well as being submerged in a creek. It has been to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and even to 9,000 ft elevation (2,743 m) in the Rocky Mountains.

As a pocket-sized flashlight the XL50 performs exceptionally well. I use it to light up the trail at night and when setting up my tent and/or cooking meals after dark. Even though the strobe setting works great for scaring off coyotes, most of the time I use the flashlight in high power or economy mode. In high power mode the XL50 provides more than enough light for any task while economy mode works great for close-up work like finding things in my backpack or reading a map. Both modes provide plenty of light and the reflector produces a very nice beam with great object illumination. The flashlight is slick enough when wearing gloves that I've dropped it several times. For this reason, it would be nice if Maglite incorporated a lanyard onto the flashlight. Due to its shape, the XL50 also rolls really well. Despite falling off picnic tables and being dropped multiple times, the light has proven to be reliable. It always powers up first time, every time and has never given me reason for concern. The tailcap switch makes one-handed operation very easy and it is protected enough to prevent accidentally turning it on.


The Maglite XL50 is a great pocket-sized LED flashlight. I'm very happy with its performance. It is small, rugged, and projects a powerful light beam. For a compact flashlight that's made in the USA with a lifetime warranty, the XL50 is a great choice.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

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