In EDC (and life in general), it’s good to have backup. Such was our thinking when assembling the work kit shown here, filled with items chosen to augment our standard daily loadout. After considering several lights to back up our trusty ThruNite Ti3, we settled on the PF04 Penlight from ThorFire. With additional power and size, the PF04 has served well in its big brother role. Read on to see how it stacked up in our four categories.
Often times, the first few moments spent with a new piece of gear can be indicative of its long term pros and cons. Such was the case with the ThorFire PF04, which nearly slipped from our hands the first time we held it. Our fault, really. We’re used to the toothy knurling on the ThruNite Ti3, something lacking on this larger flashlight. While there is some texturing to be found near the pocket clip, its 5-inch aircraft-grade aluminum barrel is a predominantly smooth affair.
With a more attentive grip in place, we subjected the PF04 to a thorough examination. Tipping the scales at 45 grams, it’s as lightweight as one could wish for a powerful penlight. Power is obtained from two AAA batteries, which make up just over half of the tool’s overall heft.
With slenderness and slightness on its side, the ThorFire slides effortlessly into the pocket of a work vest or shirt. The strength of its pocket clip is especially notable, holding the PF04 firmly in place. As mentioned above, however, the smooth nature of its chassis requires users to bear down in order to keep the light secure in their hand. Work gloves, oddly enough, seemed to help with this problem. We experienced zero issues aiming the PF04 into the dark corners of construction sites, even when surrounded by dust, mud, and other slick materials.
Perusing the included manual, we discovered that the PF04 is rated as IPX-8 waterproof, with a submersion distance of two meters. Impact resistance of one meter adds further credibility to the attractive metal construction. Badging is tasteful and prominent, contributing to a strong overall design.
4.5 stars out of 5
The ThorFire PF04 comes with three well-spaced illumination levels. After activating the single CREE XP-G2 R5 LED with a press of the excellent tail switch, users can cycle through these available modes with an additional half-press. The flashlight’s memory recalls the mode in which it was deactivated, snapping back to the same illumination once the switch is pressed. It’s a particularly useful feature, allowing users to set the default light level. Here’s a statistical breakdown of the three modes:
Firefly – 0.05 LM for 240 hours
Mid – 50 LM for 3.75 hours
High – 210 LM for 55 minutes
Max Distance: 50m
Max Intensity: 2,200cd
The PF04 also includes a built-in step down feature, which automatically switches the light from “High” to “Mid” mode after three minutes of continuous operation. This allows the light to conserve battery power in the event it’s accidentally left at full blast. It’s a great idea, though we’d gladly trade it for a “Strobe” function. Sure, you can mash the button to create a slow strobe, but this isn’t nearly as eye catching as the automatic mode found on our ThruNite Ti3.
But, 99% of the time, this is a wonderful tool to operate. It’s been an excellent companion on dark construction sites, where treacherous footing abounds. The tail switch is a pleasure to use, allowing us to instantly summon additional lumens and drive back the darkness.
Other reviewers have mentioned heat issues with the PF04. We’ve had no such problem, even after testing the light on “High” for an extended period. Yes, it gets warm, but never uncomfortable. We see this as a nonissue.
4.5 stars out of 5
So, will it replace our beloved ThruNite Ti3? No, but that’s not the point. Consider your EDC in baseball terms for a moment. If the Ti3 is the bullpen’s versatile long reliever, then the ThorFire is its shutdown setup man. (Who’s the closer, you ask? Stay tuned.)
Like many of the items we’ve reviewed lately, the PF04 was purchased specifically for inclusion in our new Vanquest SLIM organizer. Its slender profile and strong pocket clip have cast it as the centerpiece in this EDC production, a role it will occupy for the foreseeable future. We’re especially pleased with its friendly attitude toward our favorite work gloves.
But, things do happen. If anything goes south with the PF04, we’ll fall back on ThorFire’s 18 month warranty and, in the words of their website, “Friendly customer service.”
5 stars out of 5
Prices for the PF04 generally hover around $20, both on Amazon and the manufacturer’s website. We feel that this represents an excellent value, especially when considering the light’s quality construction. True, there are other similarly-priced tools offering more lumens or fancier modes. And for just a few dollars more, there are AA powered lights of similar sophistication. Keep in mind, however, that part of the PF04’s charm lies in its size. Smaller than the AA models and better put together than many of its contemporaries – It hits the sweet spot for an EDC Penlight. Add in its reputation for durability, and you’ve got yourself a heck of a deal.
5 stars out of 5
Includes one spare O ring.
Where to Buy
Amazon (Averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars over 128 customer reviews as of 11/10/16)