Streamlight TL-3 LS Flashlight, retail $89.00 (
Manufactured by Streamlight (
Last updated 05-05-07

The Streamlight TL-3 LED flashlight is an all-metal, Luxeon Star V based flashlight that uses three CR123A cells for power.

You can adjust the focus a bit by unscrewing or screwing in the head. The TL-3 comes with the head all the way tightened, and pretty much at its tightest focus.

It comes with a long, springy pocket clip, so you can clip it to your pants or coat pocket and have it stay put. This is probably where the included lanyard goes too, as there is no hole or other opening on the flashlight body to put it. The lanyard is the kind with a thin loop in the end, like you might find with digital cameras and other high-end electronics.


The Streamlight TL-3 comes ready to use right out of the package, so you don't have to run out and buy batteries for it right away. Use a knife or razor blade to slit open the top of the package; you can then pull the package open at one side and get to the goodies inside that way.

To get a shot of light anytime, press the button on the tailcap; let the button go to plunge yourself back in darkness.

To get continuous light, twist the tailcap clockwise (as if tightening) and the TL-3 will blaze to life, spewing forth a bountifully overflowing cornucopia of photons without your having to push or hold anything. Twist the tailcap counterclockwise (as if loosening) and the TL-3 will turn off.

The instructions say that loosening the tailcap an additional 1/8 of a turn will engage the LOTC (lock out tailcap) function, but that didn't seem to do anything with the sample I have.

A generously sized, adjustable wrist lanyard is included with your TL-3. By affixing the thin loop at one end of the lanyard to the TL-3's belt clip, you can then loop the other end around your wrist or arm. A pair of semi-locking slide clips along the length of the lanyard allows you to tighten or loosen the lanyard around your wrist.

The TL-3 has a somewhat focusable beam, which you can adjust by turning the head one way or other. If you turn the head counterclockwise (as if loosening it), the beam will become a bit wider. If you keep unscrewing it, the beam will get a doughnut shape to it, then it will go out. This is your signal that you unscrewed the head too far - screwing it back in will turn the TL-3 back on, and tighten the beam back up.

A trio of Streamlight brand CR123A cells is included with the TL-3, so you don't need to run to the store before you can use your new flashlight.

To change the batteries in your TL-3, unscrew & remove the tailcap, and set it aside.

Dump the dead batteries in the garbage can or the battery recycling box if your community has a battery reclamation program in place, and slide three new ones in the barrel, button (+) positive end first.

Finally, screw the tailcap back on. Back the tailcap off a bit when the TL-3 comes on. There. All done.

Current was measured at 507mA (~0.5 amps) on my DMM's 4A scale.

The Streamlight TL-3 appears to be a very sturdy light. It is made of aluminum, and the head, body, and tailcap are textured to help you keep a grip on things.

This flashlight appears to be reasonably durable at absolute minimum, and it is. I smacked this flashlight against the concrete floor of a patio ten times (five against the side of the bezel, and five on the side of the tailcap) and was not able to damage the flashlight in any manner, other than causing some rather minor gouging to the bare Metalmachinedramon - er - the bare Metalkoromon - 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 feces} up!!!) on the sides of the tailcap and bezel where it was struck. No optical, mechanical, or electrical malfunctions were detected.

It appears to have a Type II anodizing on all of its exterior surfaces. I tried to cut through the finish with the blade of a folding knife, and I was successful.
Would I really cut up a brand spanken new looking flashlight?
You bet your sweet patootie (sugar-coated toilet muscle) I would, if it's in the name of science.

You can take the clip off the flashlight with a small allen wrench if you want. Otherwise, you can leave it in place to hook it to your belt, pocket, backpack strap, or other location. An adjustable wrist lanyard is included with the TL-3 which you can hook up to a closed loop near the end of the clip if you want.

The tailcap switch has a collar around it so it doesn't stick up. This collar should help prevent unwanted activation, such as when the flashlight is in a box in the back of the car or stuffed in your camping bag. As I said earlier, the instructions say that unscrewing the tailcap 1/8 of a turn more will engage the LOTC (lock out tailcap) function, but I found I could still easily turn my TL-3 in this condition. I could still press the tailcap button and get light 3 full turns counterclockwise; beyond that the tailcap comes completely off. But that collar around the switch should be pretty effective at preventing unwanted activation, so I think I'll let this one go.

The light does have a slight "rotten Weddel seal urine green" tint to it, but it's nothing to throw a hissy fit over.
If you shined the light on a white wall in a room full of people and asked them to tell you what color it was, I'm pretty certain everybody would holler out "WHITE!!!" in response to that query.

Beam photo at ~12".
Measures 855,000mcd on a Meterman LM631 light meter.

Beam photo on a wall at about 10'

Those rectangular graphic things near the bottom are marquees from:
Midway ''Omega Race''
Sega ''Star Trek''
Williams ''Joust''
Venture Line ''Looping''
Universal ''Mr. Do!'s Castle''
Jaleco ''Exerion''
Gremlin/Sega ''Astro Blaster''
Atari ''Tempest''
Gottlieb ''Q*bert''

upright coin-op arcade video games from the 1980s.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrometer plot of the LED in this flashlight.
Ocean Optics USB2000 Spectrometer on loan from WWW.TWO-CUBED.COM.

ProMetric analysis
Beam cross-sectional analysis.
Image made using the ProMetric System by Radiant Imaging.

Test unit was sent by a fan of this website along with a number of other lighting products, and was received on 01-08-07.

UPDATE: 05-05-07
From an email I received from a website fan late this morning, comes this:

Hi Craig,

I have a TL-2 that I love, adjustable beam and very reliable. As you mentioned the tail cap lockout is a joke.

I decided to purchase a TL-3 and mine doesn't work like yours. I think they have a new model. It has a slightly dimpled reflector and turning the bezel any amount will cause the light to go out. In the TL-2 the LED holder is spring loaded and can move as you turn the bezel to focus the beam, in the TL-3 the LED holder is a solid block of aluminum with no spring and turning the bezel results in the loss of case contact and no light.

I sent the TL-3 back and they sent me a new one that is exactly the same!

The TL-3 has a larger beam but is not as long reaching as the well focused TL-2.



    MANUFACTURER: Streamlight
    PRODUCT TYPE: Small Luxeon Star LED Flashlight
    LAMP TYPE: White Luxeon Star V LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 1
    BEAM TYPE: Adjustable; central hotspot with wide corona
    SWITCH TYPE: Push tailcap intermittent, twist tailcap on/off
    CASE MATERIAL: Aluminum
    BEZEL: Stippled reflector, clear window over the end
    BATTERY: 3x CR123A lithium
    SUBMERSIBLE: Yes, to shallow depths for a short time anyway
    ACCESSORIES: Streamlight CR123A cells, lanyard
    WARRANTY: Lifetime


    Star Rating

Streamlight TL-3 LS LED Flashlight * THELEDLIGHT.COM

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