Reviews

'World's most powerful flashlight' is a huge scam

This $80 flashlight looked rad on Instagram. I should have known better.

In the pantheon of all of my idiotic purchases, I have finally arrived at what I believe to be the apex; the Nirvana of crappy consumerism; the Stupidest Thing you can buy right now.

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Meet Outlemax

“The most powerful flashlight in the world.”

Outlemax is a flashlight. Or a company. I think? I’ll be honest, I don’t know what Outlemax is, but in my defense, I’m not sure that Outlemax knows what Outlemax is. Point in case: its Instagram page.

This is the video I encountered on Instagram.

And by “encountered” I mean it was foisted into my eyeballs via a mid-scroll ad serve.

It burned a cardboard box! Cool!

Here’s another video of the EPIC Outlemax flashlight smashing up an aluminum can. Tremble ye aluminum! Thou shalt have no respite here while Outlemax reigns!

From 1,000 feet above the ground, Outlemax looks pretty cool. Most people probably don’t need a flashlight that can smash cans, or coconuts, or set things on fire, but if you’re in the market for a searchlight (a type of high-powered light used in emergencies to light rooms or find people stranded in the woods) then these dramatic Instagram videos might be enough to convince you to buy an Outlemax.

There’s just one problem.

And that’s the fact that Outlemax, to my knowledge, does not make or sell the flashlight in the ad I saw. In fact, it looks like they ripped off one made by Imalent which retails for a cool $670.

📷: Imalent MS18

This is the flashlight I received.

When Outlemax arrived at my door, the first thing I noticed was that the product I held in my hand looked almost nothing like the one I’d seen in that enthralling Instagram ad. The on/off button placement was different, the reflector was flat instead of honeycomb-shaped, and the overall design just looked... off.

Needless to say, after spending $80 on a flashlight, things were not off to a great start. Having been desensitized by years of terrible online purchases, I wasn’t going to let several glaring discrepancies bring me down. So I let the testing begin...

Let’s talk lumens

The Outlemax flashlight is bright enough to fill up a dark room. It’s bright enough to blind your neighbors. It’s bright enough to put in your bathroom and film some kind of arthouse thrasher with (it has a jarring strobe effect for funsies or for when your helicopter goes down and you need to signal for help).

Outlemax claims that its flashlight is 100,000 lumens, though there’s no real way to verify whether or not that’s true — there are phone apps for lumen measurement, but I don’t personally own a phone with a sensor strong enough to measure that type of brightness accurately. There’s also no granular description of how Outlemax’s lumen claim is arrived at or for how long one might expect to get that type of brightness.

I’m going to just eyeball here and say... it’s very bright.

A point for Outlemax, I suppose.

Wow, 50 times brighter than car lights you say! Which car? What lights? Ah, forget it, good enough.

Smashing good or smashing bad

Outlemax also appears to suggest that I can smash things with the hunk of plastic. Naturally, it was up to me to determine whether or not that was true.

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Round one: fight!

Next victim.

After quite a bit of smashing, I managed to mangle the top of an aluminum can. A quick on/off test revealed the Outlemax was indeed still kicking with no superficial damage to speak of.

Satisfactory, I guess?

The burning question

Onto the hottest topic in all the Outlemax forums (those don’t exist): Can this flashlight burn things? Rather than tell you, let’s take a break for a brief montage.

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Five minutes later... going to go ahead and say this flashlight cannot set things on fire.

“Virtually indestructible”

Outlemax claims its flashlight is, “virtually indestructible” so I introduced it to the stone steps leading up to my apartment as a test.

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Just a little roll to start.

Okay, now for the real deal.

We’re getting a little scuffy. Listen to this rattle. Something definitely got dislodged.

I threw this thing down the stairs a few times and it still turned on. I don’t know if that makes it “indestructible” per se, but if you dropped it on some rocks, there’s at least a chance it might survive.

Water you think about IP68?

Outlemax claims its flashlight has an IP68 water resistance rating, meaning it can be submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Place your bets now.

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I went with the gentler depth of a plastic punch bowl as an intro. The results?

Needless to say, Outlemax failed the punch bowl test and as a result, I wouldn’t trust its claims of IP68 water / dust resistance. Luckily this totally bricked the flashlight and absolved me of ever having to use this thing again.

I’m not overly surprised that Outlemax is 60 percent marketing scam. Their Instagram has about 700 followers and is populated with a grand total of six pictures and videos, the website looks like something I might’ve visited when dial-up was a thing, and I mean just check out this gem of an Instagram bio pictured here.

Outlemax obviously isn’t the only scam on Instagram and it won’t be the last, but I’m here to let you know that I’ve shone light into the unknown corners of Instagram’s shoddy ad serves and have discovered at least one Truth for you to hold onto...

Outlemax is total trash.