In mid 2017 I bought the AYL TF89 with the purpose of testing and reviewing it for FlashlightLab. After a few months of use, I have a few thoughts to share that may impact your buying decision. Take a moment and read my review below to learn more about the features, battery life and light output.
Anatomy of the AYL TF89
The AYL TF89 is the first truly rechargeable flashlight I have purchased for a review on Flashlight Lab, so needless to say I was a bit excited to give it a whirl. The flashlight itself is on the larger end of the spectrum, measuring in at 5.5″ long and 6.25″ when the adjustable focus is out. It is 1″ in diameter around the handle and 1.25″ at it’s widest point around the head. It was the second largest flashlight in overall dimensions that I reviewed under $20. Total weight was 6.7 ounces which is the heaviest flashlight we have reviewed to date, making it ideal with its size to defend yourself.
It comes in one color, silver, which I actually like. Most tactical flashlights are black which makes them more difficult to find when you actually need it (dark colors aren’t easily visible in the dark…). The casing is made of aluminum allow and feels heavy in your hand. I wasn’t able to get this flashlight apart to measure the thickness but it seems comparable to most of the higher quality flashlight I have reviewed (similar to the Hyper V or the Refun).
The AYL TF89 has a permanent installed battery which can be charged with the included micro USB cable and 5v source. It includes a 2200mAh NiMH battery which can run for approximately 4 hours on high before needing a recharge. My arrived without a charge so if you buy this flashlight make sure you charge it before putting it away. I liked that the TF89 had an internal battery did not require removal to charge. The downside however is that you are limited to one battery, if it dies, you have to wait for it to recharge versus just installing another battery.
The description of the operating modes on the TF89 are confusing. On the Amazon page it says both 3 and 5 operating modes. When I tested mine, I was able to easily activate the high (first click), low (second click) and strobe functions (third click). Holding the rear tail cap button for a few seconds activated the SOS mode. The actual button itself is dissimilar to other tactical flashlight in that the charging port is also located on the rear cap, which requires a smaller button. It was still easily usable, but definitely different.
The AYL TF89 included a carry strap for easy transportation. This makes sense considering the size would not be ideal for a belt clip.
The Light Test
The AYL TF89 did fairly well in comparison to its peers in the “light the path” test. Holding it at a 45 degree angle at my waist, the coverage area was about 31 sqft (5′ wide x 8′ long). The average coverage we saw across 14 flashlights in this price range was 33 sqft however that included a few outliers which positively impacted the average (the median is closer to 25 sqft). At that distance however, the AYL did not stand up to its competitors with respect to the amount of light projected into the path. It was dimmer at both the center of the beam and on the edges. This made it less desirable in low light uses.
The distance test was about where I expected considering the wattage of the LED. The large lens of the TF89 and adjustable focus allows you to extend the distance of the beam pretty far. In the photo below you can see the test at 40 yards, which shows a moderate sized beam that effectively lights up the trees in the distance. The max distance which this flashlight worked was about 80 yards which is beyond the average flashlight we reviewed.
The Final Verdict
At the end of the day, the AYL TF89 did some things very well (battery charging, size) and did as expected with the light output and beam pattern. I am awarding this flashlight between 6 and 7 stars out of 10 based on my testing. I would suggest this flashlight for normal household usage however I think the rechargeable battery limits its ability as a tactical flashlight.