Pelican 7060 LED Flashlight

Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 5 out of 5
Yeah, but: This is the first time I've seriously considered a perfect 5/5 rating.

The Long Version: In 2004 the Los Angeles Police Department had a problem: their standard-issue 2-pound Maglite flashlights were too heavy and expensive to keep using. By the spring of 2007 Pelican had turned the LAPD's requirements for a new light into a shipping product: the 7060 LED. To save everyone a lot of reading, I'll say it now: this is by far the best flashlight that I've ever used.

Here's the rest of the quick version: It's regulated with a flat 90 minute run time, incredibly bright, large but not outrageous, has two switches, and is rechargeable.

Meet the Family:

The photo above shows my collection of 'serious' lights. On the far left, giving off the lovely orange light, is my trusty 2xAA Mini Maglite. Mine was already an old light when I found it in a parking lot twelve years ago; this model is often the first "good" light people buy. For this photo it's using a pair of freshly-charged Eneloops batteries. To the right of it is my Pelican M6 2330 LED, a model that uses a pair of 3V CR123A batteries, and these cost so much that I don't keep a spare set on hand. On other side of the same coin, the batteries cost so much that I barely use the light, so they're probably still fairly fresh. Next to it is my 2410 "Stealthlight" - yes, the bright yellow one - that I reviewed here. It's also using freshly charged Eneloops, but it takes four of them. And finally, on the far right, is the 7060 LED. All of these lights have their bezels 18" from the seamless paper that forms the background, so there's no trickery involved in this photo. The 7060 really is that much brighter than the rest of the group.

There's no perfect do-everything flashlight, just as there's no one perfect camera, car, or pair of shoes. There are some that are better in each broad category, but I won't be attaching my Pelican 7060 to my keychain and I wouldn't explore a dark building with a Pelican L1 or a Gerber Infinity Ultra, which are the lights on the far left of the photo above. But if I had bought the 7060 first, it and the Gerber would be the only two flashlights that I'd own. The LAPD's 7060 is far superior to the M6 unless I really need a light that will fit in a pocket, and it's only second to the 2410 for one specific task that I rarely need. (More on that later.) The maglite has only sentimental value.

Like the kids from my high school, flashlights that are bigger aren't necessarily brighter: it all comes down to what's driving the lamp. So the fact that the 7060 dwarfs the rest of the family and that it's the brightest is a bit of a coincidence. If having a smaller size is a serious factor, you can probably find lights that use the same Cree 3W LED as the 7060 but with a more compact power supply and construction. I'll leave that as an exercise for interested buyers, because last time I did serious flashlight comparison on-line, I wound up buying the most expensive light I've ever owned.

And With That, Back to the Light:

Compared to the centre of the beam, the corona isn't particularly bright. But if you're close enough to what you're lighting that the spot is too narrow to use, then there's going to be plenty of brightness in the spill of the beam. The composite photo above gives a good impression of the brightness of the light overall. The inset image is shot at -4EV - which is recording only 1/16 as much light, or 6.25% for the metric types - and shows the ringed pattern of the beam better. There's actually three separate levels of intensity, with the width of the main beam being 10% of the throw distance, a dimmer corona being 30%, and the total spill being about 60% of the throw. If you light a wall that's ten feet away, the centre is 1' across, the brighter corona is 3' across, and the total spread is 6'. Neat.

A lot of other reviews have made a big deal about how far the 7060 throws its light, and it's very true. If you're doing serious research into this light, believe whatever the other reviews tell you. If you have a more casual interest, it's probably enough for me to say that I can put a decent spot of light on the roof of a grocery store that's at least 250m away. It's not a searchlight, but it might let me know if someone's actually stealing that car when its alarm goes off sixteen floors below in the middle of the night.

If you read as many flashlight reviews as it takes me to decide to buy a new light, you'll quickly learn that almost every LED light is said to have a "white" beam. To a normal person this is true, but I'm a photographer. The photo above is a composite of two calibration shots taken on a neutral grey target. The left-hand side is the light from the LAPD's Pelican 7060, and on the right is the effect of the Recoil 2410. (They are metered differently and can not be used to compare brightness.) The stripe running across the middle of the photo shows what a true daylight-balanced light source would be. It's a little hard to see in this small photo, and most monitors are free spirits when it comes to colour reproduction anyway, so trust me when I say that both the Pelican 7060 and 2410 are tinted green. The 2410 is a little more blue and a little less green (6050K, +25 magenta) than the 7060 (6000K, +29 magenta) which gives it a slight advantage.

So colour-critical photography is the only time that I might reach for my Pelican 2410 instead of the 7060, although the power difference might be a bigger consideration in actual use. But it's worth noting that both of these lights are passing pretty strict standards to even be considered. My M6 has only a slightly visbile green tint, but it's so not-white that it's essentially unusable (6300K, +40 magenta) for my photography. And the M6 is far better than my old 4xAA Princeton Tec "Impact XL" LED. There's a reason why the Impact isn't in the family photo - as the green sheep, it has wandered off and I can't be bothered to look for it. But once again: for normal use by a normal person there's little or no functional difference. The tint issues that are critical to photography probably wouldn't even be visible to someone who isn't attuned to looking for it.

About The Construction:

There's a certain irony to the original LAPD mandate of designing a flashlight that can't be used to beat people up. The 7060 is still a hefty light, and certainly feels tough enough that it could do some damage. The grip is very good, and the balance point of the flashlight is almost at the front switch, making it top-heavy. Add the aluminum heat-sink to the equation and I have no problem imagining some out-of-court settlements. Perhaps the LAPD and/or Pelican forgot that the Monadnock PR-24 baton that Rodney King made famous is also made from plastic?

Even with all of the comparison photos that I've seen, I was still surprised by the size of this light when I first took it out of the box. The black ABS plastic body doesn't have sex appeal of finely machined metal, which would have both reduced the case's diameter and allowed a smaller heat-sink, but its larger size makes it a better tool even though it makes it a worse toy. I was also surprised at the weight of it, since it being called 'light' is in comparison to a 3D Maglite, but others that I've handed it to have been surprised at how little it weighs. Regardless, this isn't a flashlight that gets tucked in a pocket. Pelican does include a souvenir belt holster, which might be useful for someone who rarely plans on carrying their light this way, but I've already lost mine. When I need to take it out of the house I'll just add it to the bag that I usually carry to work, which has a pocket just right for the 7060, or include it with my various camera gear.

The two bright spots below the head of the flashlight are the terminals for the recharging dock. The charger is a grey plastic that doesn't match the look of the 7060, and is designed to be wall- or vehicle-mounted. To keep the light in place in a bouncing squad car the charger must need a very tight grip on the light, and as a result it will scratch the body of the light no matter how carefully it's inserted and removed. The Pelican video shows it being snapped into place; other advice I've seen says to carefully slide the light down into the cradle. Neither works, but snapping it in is easier. It's a tool, so a few scuffs don't bother me.

The last point that's worth noting about the Pelican 7060's construction is that it has two independent on/off switches, both of which allow momentary-on control. I find that I use the one on the body more than the one on the tail, but it's certainly nice to have both. Now whenever I use my 2410 (body) or 2330 (tail) I wonder why they weren't designed with two switches. It seems like such a natural idea now that somebody's done it, but I couldn't imagine why it would be useful until I tried it.

And Finally:

Perfect marks are very hard to get around here: a score of 2 out of 5 is for something that's decent and serviceable, with a lofty "3" being reserved for something I really respect. To get a ranking of "4" requires an exceptional idea or a near-flawless execution. I'd really like to find something that gets a truly perfect score, and the 7060 comes very close, but it lacks that final spark of brilliance to put it over the edge. I'm honestly not sure what a 5/5 product will look like, but I think I'll know it when I see it. Until then, I have only the most minor complaints about what is otherwise a flawless light.


  1. Great review on a great flashlight!

  2. thanks for a pretty technical review with nice supporting evidence. My stinger just died and i've been considering this light, with my only hesitation looking at the actual brightness and penetrating ability of the beam. you've provided good responses in those areas. thanks agin.

  3. I perchased the 7060 just last week. It is just as you described.
    I have one problem. The manual says, to replace the batteries, unscrew the cap on the bottom and remove the batteries. Well, I did unscrew the bottom. I can't seem to get those batteries out. No matter how long and hard I shake it, the batteries only move forward a bit, but not nearly enough to get a grip on them to pull them out. What's that about?

  4. A#3, I'm glad that you found the review to be accurate.

    I've been able to take my battery out by using strong flick of the wrist - imagine the motion that you'd need to send the battery flying across the room, and that's about it. It does the trick, but be careful not to actually throw the battery. (Aim at something nearby and soft.) It could cause property damage, and probably isn't great for the battery, either.

    The good news is that this isn't something you'll have to do often. I expect my battery to last a couple of years - if this blog is still around, I'll add a note to this review when it finally needs to be replaced.

    Thanks for visiting.

  5. What I'm most concerned about is the long term battery life. As an aircraft inspector, my daily flashlight runtime ranges between 15 minutes to 2 hours. The battery may be adequate at first but as any rechargeable battery ages, its capacity declines. My one year old laptop battery is only good for 12 minutes now. A better option for me might be the new 8060 that can run on 4 alkaline C cells. I wish pelican offered it, at a discount, without the rechargeable battery and charger. My employer supplies our batteries.

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  7. Can the 7060 run on just normal batteries or does it only run on rechargeable ones?

  8. Erich, the 7060 only runs on its own proprietary battery. If a light that isn't tied to a single power source is important, have a look at the Pelican 8060 that A#4 suggested. It looks the same as the 7060, but is almost half-again as long; it comes with a rechargeable battery a la the 7060, but can also run on 4x "C" cells. It puts out 190 lumens, compared to the 7060's rating of 130, so it must be one scary performer. But do keep in mind that with the "C" batteries, it only hits that output for about a minute and a half. The rechargeable still packs a lot more power.

  9. Matthew I really like your review style, much more useful than most. I'm considering switching to Recoil lights.
    As a long time Pelican lights user, I'd like to add couple of observations. My primary uses for flashlights (other than around the house) are camping and sailing. While I have a few Maglights, the aluminum bodies roll around when you lay them down, and trendy aluminum is worthless for sailing lights - they corrode quickly when salt water gets near them! I'm tired of replacing tailcaps and cleaning threads. The Pelican lights are terrific, but shouldn't be stored long term with batteries in them, which lets face it is how most flashlights are stored (in the glove box etc.) I've had a couple 2400's corrode the springs in the battery pack and the lamp modules - within months! The twist-on Pelicans like the SuperSabre (which I love) will erode the metal contact tab and ring and fail to switch on in a year or two of normal use. Even so, I'm sold on Pelican lights. I'll be trying the Recoil 2410 soon.

  10. If you'd like to continue using your M6 (since it still wins with brightness for size), consider ordering some CR123 batteries online. In stores, they cost $10-15 per pair, but online you can get genuinely good-quality batteries for much, much less money:


    The nice thing about those lithiums is that unlike any other battery chemistry you can get for a flashlight, they've got a 10-year shelf life and work just fine to about -40° (alkalines and NiMH start to die out around freezing).

  11. hi matthew. thx for the reviews. i've found a lot of insight to them :D i currently use a pelican 2410 led for work (ship machinery & structure inspections) & find that after dropping my light a few times on steel decks (this is inevitable given the nature of the work) the light will begin to flicker in the on position depending on how i hold the light. have you found this to be a problem? i have contacted pelican with no real answers; they just end up replacing my flashlight (this has been like my 5th replacement). i really like the bright spotlight feature of the light & the construction of the body (fits nicely in the leg pocket of a boiler suit) but the darn thing is fragile! just curious if you've come across this same problem. thx!

  12. I haven't had any problem with mine, but it has a fairly easy life - I've dropped it on concrete (and nearly off of my 16th-floor balcony) once, but otherwise it has been coddled. While it's disappointing to hear that something designed for police use isn't able to take more shocks than that, it's great to hear that Pelican takes their warranty so seriously. Thanks for adding your experiences to the discussion.


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