Maglite ML50L Review
Last updated 14 May 2021
Maglite ML50L – 4 1/2 stars
The torch I find myself recommending more than any other is this modern Maglite ML50L. It’s 611 lumens for an amazing 16 hours from 1 set of batteries makes it great in an emergency. Either this torch or its larger sibling, the 3 D-cell ML300L, should be one of your house torches. It’s also simple to use and reliable.
A top choice in our Best large handheld torch.
Tip: Follow the links above for the version reviewed. Older versions are still on sale.
The maximum brightness of the Maglite ML50L is 611 lumens. In the photos below, taken on Datchworth Green, the first photo is with no torch, the second showing the ML50L with the beam set to spot. The village sign on the right, about 10 metres away, is visible due to the constant slight flood even with the beam set to spot. And the white building in the distance (The Plough pub) about 100 metres away is also clearly visible.
Whilst not as compact as many compact handhelds (it’s too big to fit in your pocket), this is a great general purpose house torch or car torch. I found one at home recently that had been in a backpack for at least 2 years and it worked perfectly. Regular batteries are more reliable that rechargeable batteries in this respect. I keep one in my car door bin. You could equally keep one on the side table in the hallway. If you don’t need a torch often, then when you do need it, possibly in an emergency, it needs to be reliable. This is a torch I would definitely take camping, though not necessary hiking. 16 hours on one set of batteries, it can also provide days of dimmer, diffused light for a tent or sat outside cooking, in it’s mid or eco setting with Maglite’s light cone on top.
The on/off button is slightly sunken in to the handle near the front of the torch, so it won’t turn itself on in a bag in the car boot. But it can still be pressed easily even with gloves on.
The flood to spot beam control is changed with just a 1/4 turn of the head. On full beam there is still enough light flood to the sides so you can always see what’s in the periphery. Not all handheld torches allow you to switch from flood to beam, so this is a useful feature.
Like all modern medium to large Maglite torches, the ML50L has 5 functions: high, low, Eco, strobe & momentary. These 5 functions are grouped in 3 function sets of 3 functions: The default (set 1) is:
- High: 16 hours on 611 lumens
- Low: 42 hours on 100 lumens
- Eco: 153 hours on 20 lumens
To access these 3 functions, turn on the torch with either 1 click, 2 clicks or 3 clicks.
The finely machined aluminum body looks minimalist, is attractive and has a high quality feel. A timeless example of good design, it’s something of a carbon copy of it’s slightly larger, heavier big brother, the 3 D cell Maglite ML300L. The surface of the ML50L handgrip makes it easy to hold, not slippy, and easy to hold in gloves too. Whilst not as compact as some powerful handhelds, the ML50L is comfortable to hold on a long walk. It doesn’t feel heavy at all, and is less fiddly than some smaller torches. The ML50LX, shown on the right opposite, has a matt finish and a more pronounced knurl finish, easier to carry in thicker gloves.
Available in 2 x C cell or 3 x C cell lengths, you should buy the longer, more powerful 3 x C cell model.
In terms of usability this is a very simple torch to use. Turn it on with 1, 2 or 3 clicks to access the 3 functions in it’s current function set. Then click once to turn off. Nothing more complicated.
A deliberately simple, usable, reliable torch. I recommend this torch more than any other.
- 611 lumens for 16 hours
- 339m Beam
- High, Low, Eco, Strobe, Momentary
- Spot & flood beam
- 3 x C-cell batteries
- 453 grams with batteries
- 260mm long
- 1m drop impact resistant
- IPX4 water resistant (splashes)
- Zombie apocalypse grab bag
- Finding the cat/dog
- Urban dweller
- Rural dweller