EDC Flashlights: Fenix PD20 vs Sipik

Regular readers know that after the first of the year I decided to start carrying a flashlight every day. I asked for suggestions and got quite a few good ones. I ultimately decided on the Fenix PD20 and wrote a review of that light.

SayUncle linked to that review, and the first comment to that post was a link to a $9 light that the commenter claimed “performed about the same.”

Well, I had to order one. It came in Friday.

The verdict? It’s not even close.

Now, let me go ahead and say that it’s a very good $9 light. I don’t feel ripped off or cheated or anything like that. But, comparing it to the two Fenix lights I have is about like me comparing my 13 year old Jeep Cherokee to a brand new Toyota 4Runner. They might perform the same function, but one does it a whole lot more…elegantly than the other.

The first thing I noticed was that the crenelated bezel slides up and down to get that spot-to-flood effect anyone who’s ever had a MagLite is used to. Note that it slides, not screws. That means that if you set it to “spot” and then put it in your pocket, it may be on spot, flood, or anywhere in between when you pull it out again. Not only does it slide up and down, but it also twists. The twisting isn’t functional, it’s just a byproduct of the way the bezel is attached.

Now, I’m not familiar with using those crenelations to get all stabby on someone, but it seems to me that you would want to be able to have them twist the skin of the guy you’ve just pressed your light into.

It’s also rather large compared to the PD20. That may or may not be a factor to you, but since I have to cram everything in to one pocket (when I pocket carry my PF9) that’s a major thing for me.

The big thing, of course, is the light output. Again, it’s very good for a $9 light. It vastly out performs the $5 LED light we used to use, but when put up against the PD20 its just…disappointing. In “flood” mode the coverage area isn’t any better than the PD20 (note: the PD20 does not have an adjustable beam) and in “spot” mode….well it gets a little weird there.

The beam turns from round to square. Let me show you what I mean:

See what I mean? It’s wierd. It’s also not nearly as bright:

Bottom line: The Sipik is an okay light, and well worth the money. The PD20 is much better and priced accordingly.

More pictures after the jump.

7 comments to EDC Flashlights: Fenix PD20 vs Sipik

  • Oddball

    Wow, guess I wasn’t paying attention, or I would have told you that that’s the same flashlight Naienko’s dad gave to her as a stocking stuffer a couple years ago. Yeah, it’s definitely a nice flashlight for $9, but not spectacular.

    It does have an added bonus feature with that fist shape it throws when focused. I’ve actually sat on my couch playing with the focus trying to make that fist shape as sharp as possible on the wall. Turns out the cats like to chase it. So, it will amuse bored humans *and* cats!

    As for the bezel twisting, yeah… that does take away some of it’s defensive use, but it’s obviously one of those “well, we’ll make it look cool, but not necessarily functional” type things. If you want, next time we get together, I can try some stuff to see how well it works.

  • […] The wiz has a comparison of $9 Sipik v. the Fenix PD20 as every day carry lights. […]

  • Andy

    I was the first poster on SayUncle, the one who recommended the $9 light. Years ago I would have made a argument for why you need to buy the must expensive best spec’d item available. Then I started to loose or break $100 flashlights, $120 knifes, and other expensive items which are essentially disposable. The worst is when you break or loose your new gadget before it’s even a month old. So I started looking for cheaper items that performed half as well as the expensive stuff. What I got was $10 items that performed half as well as $100 items, but, for 1/10 the cost. I could loose a $10 knife and not care. I could break a $10 light and it was no big deal. I always ordered them in pairs. I never meant for these pocket items to last 5 years. Heck, in a year someone will put out a $10 light that’s twice as good as my current $10 light.

    The other thing that drove me nuts about the expensive lights was the expensive batteries they use. I don’t really care if my cheap light chews through AA batteries. Those batteries are everywhere and cost basically nothing. The CR123 batteries can cost up to $6/ea, and you can’t find or harvest they out of tv remotes, toys, and garage door openers – nor does every corner store carry them.

    Sure, my Sipik is not a Fenix. But it also cost a fraction of what the Fenix does and uses batteries that are in every bodega and kitchen junk drawer.

    • I carried cheap $10 to $15 LED lights and I got sick of having to buy a new one every month or two when it broke or I lost it. I bought a Streamlight PT2AA and I’ve had it for well over a year now at $50 for a light it seems that I don’t lose them.

  • snoopycomputer

    I have purchased and used these ‘cheapie-LEDs’ from DealExtreme: http://s.dealextreme.com/search/akoray
    (the K-109 and K-106) For a couple bucks more than $9, you get better beam, and a few modes. Use them gently and don’t drop ’em. But if you lose it, no big deal.
    They too make great gifts.

  • Andy, I’m coming around to that point of view. I find myself misplacing my EDC flashlights pretty often, so I keep buying more flashlights and spending less on each one.

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