What Is Tac Light Max?

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: Jul 7, 2017

As Bell + Howell’s newest option in the lineup, Tac Light Max is a compact, lightweight tactical flashlight featuring a beam that’s 22X brighter than regular models, along with five preset modes, high-grade aircraft aluminum construction, and a bulb that can last 100,000 hours.

It also comes with a magnetic base for hands-free light, a zoom function, and a tactical strobe to stun attackers and intruders. Combined with its ability to continue working when frozen in ice and boiling in water, this is why the manufacturer claims Tac Light Max is used by the military, law enforcement, and fire rescue.

Whether you need a tactical flashlight for professional reasons, emergency situations, camping and hunting, or anything else, does Tac Light Max represent a valuable option? One big component of value is price, so let’s start there.

How Much Does Tac Light Max Cost?

One Tac Light Max flashlight is priced at $19.99, plus free S&H and a $2 web processing fee. During checkout, you can purchase a second for an additional $10 fee.

Regardless of the number you order, Tac Light Max comes with a 90-day refund policy, less S&H, along with a lifetime guarantee.

Note: Based on the wording on the Lifetime Guarantee page of their website, it appears customers will be responsible for shipping charges both ways (to and from the manufacturer) in the event of a warranty claim.

Bell + Howell’s customer support can be reached at 877-415-4824.

Original TacLight vs. Tac Light Max

If you’ve been interested in tactical flashlights for a while, you might’ve had a sense of déjà vu when watching the Max commercial, as it looks very similar to the original TacLight model. In fact, you could claim that they look downright identical.

But are they? Let’s quickly compare their features side-by-side:

Original TacLight Tac Light Max
Price $19.99 $19.99
Brightness 22X brighter than normal 22X brighter than normal
Number of Modes 5 (Strobe, SOS, Low, Medium, Bright) 5 (Strobe, SOS, Low, Medium, Bright)
Shell Construction Aircraft-grade aluminum Aircraft-grade aluminum
Bulb Life 100,000 hours 100,000 hours
Works When Frozen, Boiled, & Run Over? Yes Yes
Magnetic Base? No Yes

As we can see, the only functional and design difference between the original and the updated Tac Light Max is that the latter features a magnetic base for hands-free use.

Given the number of close similarities between the two, we feel it’s relevant to quickly discuss customer feedback about the original, as well as what we learned during our own hands-on testing.

What Can We Learn From Customer Feedback?

Here on HighYa, Bell + Howell’s original TacLight had 80 reader reviews at the time of our research, with an average rating of 2.1 stars. Common compliments related to ease of use and bright light, while many complaints referenced ordering-related difficulties, quality concerns, and unexpectedly long shipping times (some waiting five weeks or more for it to arrive).

We also tested the original ourselves, finding it featured a sturdy feel and a dramatically brighter light output than a standard flashlight.

As in the commercial (which is also nearly identical to Tac Light Max’s), we learned that the original continued working when fully submerged underwater (boiling and while frozen, too), even when switching through different modes. However, we found that some moisture accumulated underneath the lens, which was easily removed by unscrewing, wiping with a paper towel, and reinstalling.

In the end, the original Tac Light left us more impressed than disappointed. We felt it featured a very bright light output that could be easily customized to our needs, and it delivered—or came very close to delivering—on most of its claims.

For more product tests: Click here to subscribe to HighYa’s YouTube channel.

Are There Other Tactical Flashlights Like Tac Light Max?

In our video review above, we also noted that when searching Amazon for the keyword “taclight,” we found a large number of similar models from different manufacturers. Many of these also came with lower prices.

In fact, during our research for Tac Light Max, we found 12 seemingly identical models from third-party companies on Amazon’s first results page alone, which were priced between $13 and $25. However, some of the higher-priced options also included two tactical flashlights, potentially delivering greater value for the money.

How to choose the right one?

When researching different options, it’s all about your needs. For example, if the price is your number one factor, The Truth About Guns notes you should keep in mind that you might need to compromise on some quality aspects.

Other considerations are:

  • Will you frequently use all the modes?
  • Do you need something to carry in your pocket, or just in your glove compartment?
  • Are you looking only for illumination, or something to also use in emergency situations?
  • Do you plan to use yours alongside a firearm?

As far as specifics, the article linked to above notes that bulbs should always be LEDs and that lumens should measure at least between 200 and 600. We contacted customer support, who advised that Tac Light Max’s highest setting outputs 3,000 lumens, placing it well above these minimum recommendations.

Pro tip: Remember that the more light a flashlight puts out, the more battery power they’ll require and the faster it will run out of juice.

Taking all of this together, it seems like Tac Light Max ticks most of the boxes.

Our Final Thoughts About Tac Light Max

While we didn’t test it firsthand, if the new Tac Light Max is anything like the original (which we did test), it seems like it could likely provide a solid value for the money.

With this said, if money is your primary factor, our research showed several essentially identical models on Amazon from third-party manufacturers at meaningfully lower prices.

If you decide to place an order for Tac Light Max, though, Bell + Howell backs it with a 90-day refund policy, although you’ll lose return S&H charges (as well as the $100 fee if you ordered the BOGO option) should you decide to process a return.

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