UltraFire WF-502B Flashlight Review: Simply Disappointing

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

There is a plethora of inexpensive flashlights currently on the market. Some of them are pretty good, while others are, at best, a waste of time and money. The UltraFire WF-502B is a flashlight sold on Amazon.com that had good reviews and a great price tag: less than $9 when I purchased it.

Unfortunately, the flashlight did not work for long. I cannot recommend the light and wanted to share my experiences with it.

Quick Takeaways

  • very affordable
  • 18650 compatible
  • stopped working before any testing could be completed
  • not recommended

General Information

The UltraFire WF-502B flashlight is an inexpensive light offered for sale on Amazon.com, eBay and other e-commerce sites. It is advertised as a 1,000 lumen flashlight that runs on 18650 rechargeable batteries. The LED is rated for 100,000 hours of runtime.

It has a body made of 6061 aluminum with a claim of Type III hard coat anodizing. The tail cap switch controls 5 modes that includes three output levels plus strobe and SOS modes. Some of the advertising refers to this light as “military grade.”

UltraFire does not claim to adhere to the industry’s ANSI/PLATO FL1 flashlight testing standard.

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

According to the UltraFire website, this light has a suggested retail price of $35. However, many sites sell this light for less than $10 (without a battery.) For less than $10, I was skeptical of the “military grade” and other claims made by the company. So, at the prompting of a reader (thanks Jeff!), I decided to test one.

Testing

Prior to any testing, the light ceased working. It had not been carried outside of the home; nor had it been subjected to any impacts. It simply stopped producing light.

I purchased the light through Amazon. When it arrived, I checked it to ensure it worked and had no damage. It appeared to be in perfect condition. The light came in a thin cardboard box and was wrapped in a thin sheet of bubblewrap. I inserted an 18650 battery into it, and it worked.

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

I compared the relative light output to that of a few other lights and was immediately doubtful that this light produced anywhere close to its 1,000 lumen rating. It seemed be on par with a few 300-400 lumen lights I had on hand. Even so, a 300 lumen light for less than $10 can still be a great deal.

Since I had several other projects going on, I removed the battery and put the light to the side. Several months later, I returned to the light to begin testing. Unfortunately, it no longer worked.

I tried the flashlight with two different brands of 18650 batteries (Streamlight and Olight) with no success. I disassembled the light, cleaned the contacts and searched for any obvious problems. I still could not get the light to work.

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

I also tried the light with CR123A batteries to see if those might work. I had no more success with these than I did with the 18650 batteries.

At this point, I was outside of the 180 day warranty offered by UltraFire.

I did make a few observations about the light that did not require it to be turned on to see. One of the things I noticed is that the threads were not smooth at all. The thread cuts seemed very coarse and almost felt as though they were grinding on each other.

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

The reflector was marred. If you look at the photo above, you can see some fogging on the reflector. This fogging is not from humidity nor is it oil from my fingers. Rather, it existed when it arrived in my hands and extends all the way around the top 1/3 of the reflector’s interior. I imagine that this would have a negative affect of the light’s performance, though I have no way of measuring that since the light does not work.

Final Thoughts

Even though this light is very inexpensive, I cannot recommend it for any use whatsoever. The light worked a few times when I first inspected it. However, once it ceased working, there was no resurrecting it. It was finished.

UltraFire WF-502B flashlight review

There are much better options on the market. For the same general size with a legitimate 750 lumen output, I highly recommend the Streamlight ProTac HL flashlight. Mine has run for years in all kinds of conditions and cost me less than $70. For $10 more, you can step up to the ProTac HL-X for 1,000 lumens and the ability to use both CR123A and 18650 batteries. I’m testing this light now and have been impressed with it.

Another very good option is the Strion LED HL. It has a very good run time and is rechargeable.

Disclosures

As with all of my flashlight reviews, I fully disclose any potential biases so you can make an informed decision.

First, I’m tough on flashlights. I’ve used them all of my life and hate it when they fail. As a former police officer, I relied on them in critical situations and will not recommend anything that I would not carry myself.

Second, I purchased this light and the 18650 batteries with my own money. I was not paid by anyone to do this review. A reader asked me to review this light, and I thought it would make for an interesting evaluation.

UltraFire WF-502B Receipt

Third, I do not have any financial interest in any flashlight manufacturer or retailer. This includes ownership, stock and employment relationships.

GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website. I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.

Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.

The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.

8 replies on “UltraFire WF-502B Flashlight Review: Simply Disappointing”

Thanks for the review and your recommendation of not buying this flashlight. Wow you are a breath of fresh air I can’t remember the last time I saw a negative review of any equipment tested in a major gun magazine .Maybe they could take a lesson from you.

Hi Roger,

Thanks for reading and for offering such a kind comment.

I’ve been on the wrong end of plenty of bad deals when it comes to buying gun related gear. While it hasn’t made me any friends in the manufacturer’s end of the shooting world, I don’t want to see anyone else wasting hard earned money on poor quality gear.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read the site.

Best,

Richard

I see clearly that your light says wf502b on the body. However, the wf502b is a single function. No sos no strobe and no varying intensity. The tailcap may be the issue. Try to insert a battery but leave the tailcap off. Put something metal or foil on the neg side of the battery and touch it to the interior body or thread. See if it lights.

According to the information included with the light and that information listed on the sales page, the ULTRAFIRE WF-502B has all of the features I stated it did. As to why your information and the information provided by the company was different, I cannot say.

-Richard

I have owned and carried an UltraFire 501b for over eight years. I have replaced the tail cap a couple of times due to the tail switch wearing out. I have never had a problem with the lamp itself using 18650 batteries as well as CR123’s. Unfortunately there are many more knockoffs of the genuine UltraFire models out there than actual UltraFire lights. My 501b’s lamp has the words “UltraFire imprinted on the bottom surface of the bottom board. The two knockoffs that I have unfortunately acquired did not. Only the barrels identified them as “UltraFire” products. At the price you paid it wouldn’t surprise me if you received a knockoff. The Chinese don’t care who they copy and rip off.

This is the standard light I purchase for my techs at the shop, myself and one I have gifted to family and friends. Many of my friends are pilots and aviation mechanics. Every day carry, they love em. Purchase over 2 dozen in the past 5 years. 0 failures (sometimes rubber end cap on switch wears out after several years of daily use). Many times dropped, sometimes from 6′ ladder. No problem. The clones are often junk, the real thing from UltraFire is probably the last one you’ll need, but you’ll probably get more for your friends and family.

I have one it seemed really nice than stopped working went to replace batteries and everything in the bottom cap fell apart
Now I can’t seem to assemble it right to get it to work again

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