Under the Radar

BlackFire Clamplight Emergency

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The Clamplight Emergency is the latest in Blackfire's line of innovative flashlight products. It's plastic, features a 1-watt Cree bulb that puts out 100 lumens of light, runs on four AAA batteries and has a clamp that will grip a 1-inch thick surface.

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There's a detachable red emergency beacon and a flash mode, so you can use it attached to your car's hood in a roadside breakdown. The light rotates 180 degrees on the base and will fold down 120 degrees, so there's a lot of positions available.

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The Clamplight Emergency sells for $24.99 with free shipping from the Blackfire website, but you can find them at Home Depot, in a 2-pack at Costco and from other online retailers.

Anyone who owns the original Clamplight is going to notice a couple of changes here. The Emergency can stand on a table if you fold down the feet, but the clamp will remain closed. The original comes with a switch that can hold the clamps open and maybe give the light a bit more stability (even though those switches have got to be the first thing that breaks on the original model). The Emergency also takes one more battery because it needs the extra juice to power the strobe light.

It's made of good quality plastic, but it's still plastic. Drop it down a well or run over it with a lawn tractor and it's going to crack. Even if it's not Maglite-sturdy, it's a lot nicer than the cheap LED flashlights you see in the bins near the checkout at the hardware store.

One of these in your car's tool kit is a lot safer than a safety flare and the clamp is a great idea if you're trying to diagnose engine problems at 4am.

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