Mini Mag, retail $~10.00
Manufactured by Mag Instruments (
Last updated 02-02-08


Just about everybody knows what this is. Mag-Lite has long been known for making sturdy metal, adjustable beam flashlights, and they're under millions of sinks, in car gloveboxes, garages, toolboxes, sheds, and pockets. This is their popular 2xAA Mini Mag model, and is commonly available from stores like Fred Meyer and K-mart for around ten bucks - alkaline batteries included.

It comes in an almost all-aluminum body (protected with a Type II anodized finish), and feeds from 2 AA cells.

maglite SIZE:

Mag Lites are sometimes sold with batteries (Mini Mags always are), and always come with two bulbs.

Once you install batteries, the light itself is easy to use. Just turn the bezel (head) counterclockwise until it comes on, and turn it clockwise until it stops to turn it off.

The beam can be adjusted from a tight spot to a wide flood by turning the head one way or the other.

The Mini Mag comes with a heavy-duty nylon belt holster; the light fits the holster bezel (head) up. It fits belts up to ~1.75" wide.
I do not own or use pants that require a belt however, so I'm not able to test this accessory in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

To change the batteries, unscrew the tailcap until it comes off. Tip out the old batteries (if any), and then slip in two new ones, positive (+) end first. Don't hold the light vertically and drop them in because that can damage the lamp & lampholder. Rather, hold the light horizontally and slide them in. This way, they won't smack into the lampholder with any real force.

With both of the batteries in place, screw the tailcap on. The spring may have substantial tension on it, so don't be afraid to push on the end while turning until you catch the threads. Then tighten it until it stops.

Current consumption measures 404mA on my DMM's 4A scale.

Because the Mag Lite is an incandescent flashlight, sooner or later the bulb will pop. But fear not, because a spare bulb is located in the tailcap underneath the spring; enclosed in a protective foam sleeve. Pull the spring off the tailcap and pull the foam thingie out. Carefully remove the spare bulb. Put the foam back in place, press the spring back on, and reinstall the tailcap. Don't forget to pick up another spare bulb the next time you go to the store so you won't be caught with your pants down sometime later.

But now you just want that bulb replaced. With the bulb lying nearby, unscrew & remove the flashlight head. Pull the old lamp straight out, gently place it on the floor, and stomp on it. (love to hear them pop!)
Reverse the steps to reassemble your light. That is, place the new bulb straight in the two little holes, then screw the head back on until it stops. Now you can turn your Mini Mag on, adjust the beam to your desired focus, and use it to sweep up the old bulb.
(You didn't think I was just going to let you leave broken glass everywhere, did you?)

For years, Mag Lites have been known to be among the most durable of all commonly available flashlights. They're made of aluminum, and are sealed with O-rings throughout. You can use them as a hammer in an emergency.
When I performed that terrible smack test on it (ten whacks against a concrete sidewalk: 5 smacks against the side of the bezel and 5 smacks against the side of the tailcap), only very, very, very minor damage was found. There is some extremely minor gouging to the bare Metalgrandkuwagamon - er - the bare Metalakunimon - um that's not it either...the bare a sec here...THE BARE METAL (guess I've been watching too much Digimon again! Now I'm just making {vulgar term for poop} up!!! ) on the sides of the tailcap and bezel where it was struck.

No electrical malfunctions were detected; though as many incandescent flashlights would be after this test, the beam is now a little more irregular than it was before because the filament and/or the lamp itself was knocked slightly out of whack..

Though Mag Lites aren't rated as being submersible, they are water resistant and should survive accidental falls into shallow water just fine if you pick them out of the water right away. Let me go try to drown it in the toliet and see what happens...BBS...ok, after submerging it in the cistern (toilet tank) in ~12" of water at 59F (15C) for one minute (to simulate a user dropping it into a creek or stream), no leakage was detected.

Here's proof that I really performed "The Toliet Test" on it.
This Mini Mag is pewter, not blue like the one photographed above.

Photograph of the beam (narrow) on the test target at 12".
Measures 1,108cd (narrow beam).

Photograph of the beam (wide) on the test target at 12".
Measures 18.22cd (wide beam).

Both measurements were taken on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the incandescent bulb in this flashlight.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis (narrow beam).

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis (wide beam).
Images made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Product was purchased at a Fred Meyers in Seattle WA. USA in mid-2001; the poor helpless thing has languished in a box for the last seven years until now (02-02-08).
At least it had other flashlights to keep it company.

Sturdy, proven design has stood the test of time
Batteries it needs are readily available and reasonably inexpen$ive

Dim, dim, dim!!!
Very ringy beam especially in flood mode

    MANUFACTURER: Mag Instruments
    PRODUCT TYPE: Small handheld flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: Bipin incandescent bulb
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Adjustable
    SWITCH TYPE: Twist bezel on/adjust beam/off
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
    BEZEL: Metal; lamp & reflector protected by plastic window
    BATTERY: 2xAA cells
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to very shallow depths anyway
    ACCESSORIES: 2xAA cells, spare bulb, nylon belt holster
    WARRANTY: Lifetime


    Star RatingStar Rating


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