Streamlight ProTac HL4

Let me say up front this is easily the brightest flashlight I’ve owned to date. Streamlight claims 2,200 lumens with this bad boy and I have no reason to doubt that. It contains all of that power in a relatively compact size, too. However, all that said, it isn’t without faults.

The ProTac HL4 is about 8.5 inches long. The head is about 2.5 inches across while the handle is a little over an inch thick. It takes 3 of the CR123 batteries, which are included. They do seem to last a while, though, as I’ve been playing around with this light for over a month, using it quite often, and the brightness hasn’t dimmed yet.

The head is crenelated, making it at least somewhat useful for self-defense in a pinch. However, most of the weight of the light is in the handle with those batteries. It’d hurt if you nailed someone in the melon, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t any sort of primary weapon, at least not when used as a bludgeon.

The power button is a tail switch. This is one of the problems I have with the HL4. It is clumsy and awkward to have the power button located here, rather than on the side of the handle near the head. A tail switch is great for a short handled light but this one is too long, I think, for that feature. It isn’t a deal breaker, don’t get me wrong, just something to know ahead of time.

Here we have the HL4 side by side with a Coast HP550. The Coast is roughly the size of a standard Maglite. I like the thinner handle on the HL4. With the batteries, the HL4 weighs in at about 17 oz or a little over a full pound. You’ll not want to take this light on a backpacking trek. It is far better suited for keeping at home for checking strange noises in the backyard. Or, at 2,200 lumens, maybe casting shadow puppets on the lunar surface.

How bright is this light? Well, here’s a comparison. First, the Coast HP550:
Now, the HL4:

The HL4 has a frosted lens, which serves to diffuse the light a bit and prevent hot spots. That’s a great feature, especially on a light this bright. Honestly, though, I think 2,200 lumens is kind of overkill. I mean, sure, it’ll light up the entire backyard. But, it is really too bright for many mundane activities. Well, perhaps that’s not worded properly. It’ll do just fine for lighting up the woodpile in the middle of winter, for example, but it’ll also be lighting up the area around the woodpile like you’re signaling a landing pad for a helicopter.

At the end of the day, or night as the case may be, I like the Streamlight ProTac HL4. It is comfortable to use and will light up a wide area of the backyard or forest. That said, it might be overkill for many applications and you may be better served with a smaller flashlight. The ProTac HL4 retails for a little over $100 here on Amazon.