Incredibly bright. Extremely durable. Affordable. These are my take-aways from this Streamlight Strion LED HL review.
The HL is a new model in the Strion LED line of flashlights, introduced earlier this year. The rechargeable light is designed to be small enough to be part of your EDC, yet rugged enough to be used as a weapon light or carried daily on a cop’s duty belt.
I’ve owned several different Strion models. My question was would this one be a real improvement over the ones I already own?
My History with the Strion
I’ve owned a Streamlight Strion light in one form or another for almost 10 years now. My first was an incandescent model I reviewed at BlueSheepdog.com. It worked well, but compared to the LED HL model, it was very underpowered with only 116 lumens of yellow light. To Streamlight’s credit, it still works as well today as it did when I bought it brand new.
About two years ago, I was issued a Strion LED at my old police department. The LED version was a very big step up in lighting, offering a brighter, whiter light (160 lumens) and a longer run time: up to two hours on the brightest mode. This light, like the prior Strion, was exposed to all of the elements a street cop working in Florida will encounter: rain, humidity, salt air and the somewhat unreasonable abuses associated with a hands-on profession. The light ran great and I was very pleased with it.
When I had a chance to test the new Strion LED HL, I jumped all over it.
The Strion LED HL
“HL” stands for High Lumen, which is a very accurate description. The Strion LED HL puts out a whopping 500 lumens, just about double the standard LED model. To say this flashlight is bright is an understatement. My daily carry flashlight is the Streamlight ProTac HL. The ProTac is rated at 600 lumens, but I could tell no difference in brightness between the Strion LED HL and the ProTac HL.
The Strion LED HL has four modes: high, medium, low and strobe. The high throws 500 lumens. The medium and low modes emit 250 and 125 lumens respectively. The strobe mode operates at the full 500 lumens.
As mentioned earlier in the review, this flashlight uses a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Run time varies depending on the mode. On high, Streamlight rates the run time at one hour. With the strobe, expect about 2.5 hours. The medium power output will go two hours, while the low power mode will get about 3.5 hours before needing to recharge.
The battery will completely recharge in about three hours, and is rated for 1000 recharges. The charger has a cut off circuit that will prevent over-charging.
One of the great things about Streamlight is that the company doesn’t design new charging systems every time they introduce a new model to the line. The same charger that came with my incandescent Strion years ago will charge the current LED HL light. Recognizing that many people will want to use old chargers, Streamlight sells the flashlights without a charger at a discounted price.
The Strion flashlights use a tailcap switch for activation. A partial depressing of the button acts as a momentary on switch. Completely pressing the button in (full click) gives you constant on.
The durability of the Strion line has always been excellent. As I mentioned, this is my third Strion flashlight. The prior two served very well for years on patrol through all sorts of weather, rough handling and hundreds of recharges. Streamlight has a limited lifetime warranty on the Strion lights, but I have never had to take advantage of that policy.
The Strion LED HL seemed to be made to the same quality. For the duration of my evaluation period, I put away the ProTac HL and carried the Strion. Additionally, I attached this to an AR-15 with an Elzetta ZFH1500 flashlight mount. After several weeks of carry and running a few hundred rounds through the rifle with the Strion attached, the light was still functioning perfectly fine.
For the time being, I have left the Strion attached to the AR-15. I prefer to not have a rechargeable flashlight attached to the rifle, but until I find the right light for the job, I will leave the Strion attached.
Streamlight adheres to the voluntary ANSI/NEMA FL-1 standards for measuring flashlight performance. This includes impact resistance and water resistance. The Strion LED HP is rated to two meters impact resistance and is rated IPX4 water resistant.
Streamlight Strion LED HL Specifications
|model||Strion LED HL|
|effective range||200 meters|
|run time (high)||1 hour|
|run time (strobe)||2.5 hours|
|MSRP||$259.23 (with AC and DC chargers)|
Are More Lumens a Good Thing?
So, this light puts out 500 lumens. That is bright, but is it good? Is too much light a liability? As with many things in life, it depends.
A critical aspect of a flashlight is how the light shaped, and will that work for your needs. If you are using a high lumen light that has a very bright peak beam intensity, as measured in candela, then that light will likely have a tight, very bright beam. For illuminating an object at distance, this would be a great light.
The Strion LED HL, however, has a high lumen rating with a low-to-moderate peak beam intensity: 10,000 candela. This suggests the light will throw a wide beam, illuminating a larger area instead of having a long reach. This kind of light is much better suited for close-in work like room clearing. A single activation of the Strion will illuminate a much wider area, allowing you to see more of the room at once.
Think of the differences as a laser vs. a light bulb. Those are extreme examples, but might help you visualize what I am trying to describe. This short video from Streamlight may help:
Is 500 lumens too much? I’ve seen some people argue that anything more than 200 lumens is detrimental to your tactics. From my experience, I disagree, but a sample of one (me) is hardly enough for anyone to make a definitive statement. Streamlight continues to make the Strion LED at 260 lumens if you feel 500 is too many. Both are very good lights.
If you are looking for a Strion with a lot of reach, check out the Strion LED HP. It is rated at 275 lumens and a whopping 40,000 candela. According to Streamlight, the LED HP has an effective range of 400 meters.
Bottom line: Streamlight Strion LED HL is a very good flashlight and is reasonably priced for the level of performance it offers. It is a great light for anyone working in law enforcement or security, but is small enough to be an EDC light for many people. As I mentioned earlier in this Streamlight Strion LED HL review, I easily slip mine into a cargo pocket of my shorts and carry it all day.
Hopefully, this review has been a help to you. If you own a Strion, leave a comment below and let others know about your experiences – good or bad – with the light. If you have any questions about it, leave a question for me below and I will do my best to answer. Click here to get a Strion LED HL from Amazon. Any purchase you make through the link helps keep this site going through an affiliate commission.