Just for the record, I do not own the featured image.
It is the property of Smart Brands International.
I like the old school Garrity image with the sunburst better, but I chose to use their current logo because this piece is about how Garrity has fallen from grace.
I associate their old sunburst logo with their glory days, the likes of which we will probably never see again.
So, for the past few weeks, I have been romanticizing the flashlights that were on the market during the mid-2000s decade.
I had been highly fascinated by flashlights as a child, but then suppressed the interest in my teens years due to fear of harassment by peers for liking them.
In 2005, I realized that flashlights are indeed cool, and no longer did I care if someone was to harass me for liking flashlights. The strange thing is, no one harassed me like they did in grade school simply for liking flashlights and some even joined me in my flashlight hobby.
I guess that is why I am currently romanticizing the flashlights made during the mid-2000’s decade, because it was the time in my life when I finally mustered up the courage to embrace what I love, no matter what anyone else thought.
Also, there were some very nice flashlights on the market at this time.
It was a time of heated battle between the light bulb and the LED. During this particular time, the light bulb was still winning, at least in terms of brightness, throw and color temperature.
Spoiler Alert: Several years later (in about 2012 or so) the LED would ultimately win all of these categories except in terms of being EMP proof.
So lately, I’ve been looking at flashlight company websites that were archived in The Wayback Machine between 2004 and 2007.
This activity has provided me with hours of entertainment and reminiscing.
There are three companies of which I had been extensively looking at archived versions of their websites:
I had known about Garrity and Maglite since about 1998, but wouldn’t learn of Streamlight until October 24, 2004, when I saw their Stinger flashlight being sold at the then newly opened Academy Sports and Outdoors. I wouldn’t own one of their lights until some time in 2009. I actually was tempted to purchase a Streamlight Junior (the Xenon version) in January of 2006 but forewent the purchase and now I could kick myself for not seizing that opportunity. It is now discontinued and extremely rare now. At the moment I currently EDC the LED version of the Streamlight Junior and have done so since January of 2019. Academy used to sell some awesome flashlights in those days, not so much now, but I digress.
In this piece, I will focus on Garrity and how they have fallen from grace probably worse than any other flashlight company out there.
Change my mind!
Maglite has seen its ups and downs but as of now, they are making some fairly nice flashlights.
Likewise, Streamlight has always been awesome and in 2021, they are cooler than ever, though I wish they would bring back some of their vintage models just for old time sake. Plus I didn’t know about Streamlight until I was 17, so I wish they could bring back some of those vintage products just to give their more recent fans a taste of their original glory!
Garrity, on the other hand, used to be such a wonderful company, but now they are pretty pathetic. All of their current and designs look and feel flimsy. Their brightness is only marginal, especially when compared against Eveready/Energizer, their most similar competitor.
From the 1980s until about 2007, though, Garrity was making some pretty nice flashlights and it seemed they had a model for just about every market.
I do remember growing up how a lot of the men in my neighborhood had a Garrity Tuff Lite (the 1990s version.) By the way, the most recent incarnation of the Tuff Lite is pathetic, but the 1980s and 1990s versions of the Tuff Life were probably one of the best consumer flashlights out there. Their Krypton bulbs seemed to cast out such a pure white beam, even when used with simple cheap Carbon Zinc or Carbon Zinc Chloride (don’t let the phrase Heavy Duty fool you) batteries. I was given one for Christmas in 1998 and I still have it though, I need to do some restoration on it. The same quality was with their Rugged Lite series, which was introduced in 1994 but sadly discontinued sometime in 2004. That, by the way, was my favorite flashlight before I discovered tactical flashlights. My favorite version was the yellow 2AA model, which I first bought in June of 1998. I had a 4AA Garrity Touch ‘N’ Lite in my closet as a preteen. When I decided to permanently carry a flashlight on me (May 5, 2005), the model of my choice was a Garrity K009, which was a compact, almost tactical 3AAA LED flashlight that came bundled with a Nylon carrying pouch as well as red and blue lens filters. When I acquired my first job, later on in May of 2005, I EDCed a Garrity A300G. That was a 2AA Aluminum flashlight with a Xenon bulb. It was slightly similar to a Mini Maglite but sold for a few dollars cheaper. It is also probably the closest I will ever get to a Xenon Streamlight Junior! Those who know about the bulbs both of these flashlights take will get my reference…
So, if you, the reader, haven’t figured it out yet, Garrity holds a special place in my heart. Likewise, it breaks my heart to see them market these inferior flashlights that they are producing as of lately
Garrity flashlights were once sold at retailers such as Ride Aid, Wal*Mart, K*Mart, True Value, West Marine, and many truck stops.
Throughout my twenties, I had acquired many Garrity flashlights, mostly as new-old-stock at some of these retailers or on eBay.
In January of 2007, I bought a GTech LED at Wal*Mart whilst pulling an all-nighter and going out on a drive with my then-girlfriend, now ex-wife.
In the Fall of 2007, Garrity was doing remakes of some of their classic products and selling them at The Ruble, I mean, The Dollar General and The Family Dollar. I was able to get some Tuff Lites which were almost identical to the 1990s versions.
In 2011, on two separate occasions, my then-wife, now ex-wife bought me a Garrity G-Tech Floating Lantern on clearance at West Marine. When I left her, in January of 2018, I gave them back to her. Don’t get me wrong, they were built very well and they could sure cast a very sharp beam, but I was feeling a mixture of guilt and pride when I left her, and I didn’t want to keep anything she gave me aside from a pair of work boots.
I will say that while my marriage to this woman was faulty, there were some good times.
I now think that it was brain damage due to complications from her hydrocephalus that altered her personality and made her so mean.
There’s only so much I could take and in my defense, I stood by her for almost eight years after she sustained the brain damage.
Also in 2011, after seeing me post so much about it, a fellow member on CandlepowerForums mailed me a Garrity Mini Rugged Lite, which I have on my desk while I am typing this piece.
In 2013 and 2015, I purchased an iBeam 6 Volt Floating Lantern from Rite Aid. The green lantern from 2013 was NOS but the blue lantern from 2015 was brand new as Garrity had been revived. The former was better than the latter.
In 2016, I purchased an LED Tuff Lite, on eBay, thinking it would be great, but it broke a few days later, with only gentle use.
It was about that time when I realized that while Garrity had been revived, these new products were inferior.
I don’t understand how a company that once made some pretty nice flashlights now makes pee poor flashlights.
Take for example their current product line (and my scathing commentary):
9 LED 3AAA Flashlight: This is just a rebadged mass-produced cheap flashlight that would normally sell for $1 apiece but the price is jacked up a few more dollars because the name Garrity is on it. Don’t tighten the tailcap too much or it will crack!
2AA/2D Value Lite: This design of this flashlight was stolen from a similar flashlight that Energizer made in the early 2000s. Since Garrity or whoever owns them at this point wants to bring back designs from that era, how about using their own instead?
Navigator 2AA LED Flashlight: This is nothing more than a rebadged Duracell Voyager. It’s a fairly decent light but why can’t Garrity be more original like they once were?
Rugged LED Flashlight: This one is an abomination and personal to me! First of all, this is simply a rebadged Duracell Industrial. It will never be as cool as the original Garrity Rugged Lite of the 1990s which was my favorite flashlight as a child! Furthermore, if it is built like the Duracell Industrial, then it will crack all-too-easily. Seriously, why couldn’t Garrity have built it like their Rugged Lite of bygone times and simply fit it with a PR based LED module? Oh, right that would make too much sense and maybe make too many people happy!
Trailblazer LED Flashlight: This may be the only [halfway] decent flashlight in their product line. I cannot complain about the specs, but I wonder exactly how rugged this flashlight is and what grade of Aluminum is used in its construction. Furthermore, why can’t it be anodized with a black finish? Finally, I think the switch boot sticks out a bit too much.
G-Tech 2D LED Flashlight: This looks nothing like the original G-Tech and if my memory serves me correctly this current design was stolen from Rayovac. Just for the record, sorry folks, there is no cool multi-tool hidden inside either!
LED Touch ‘N Lite: A modern twist on a classic. Well, except I think since it has LEDs instead of a KPR bulb the run time of just 16 hours could be significantly improved, but what do I know?
LED Work Light Penlight: A cross between a rebadged Duracell Daylite and a knockoff of one of Streamlight’s penlights? Again, Garrity used to have their own independent and original ideas! Now they feel the need to take from others just to stay relevant? What is even more agonizing is that this excuse for a flashlight puts out a measly 45 Lumens for only 1 hour despite running on 2 AAA batteries. Those poor specs were never acceptable.
60 Lumen Headlamp: Here we have Garrity trying hard but failing to be like Streamlight. I mean it would be a pretty neat light if the design were Garrity’s original work and it was 2006, not 2021!
ibeam100 Headlamp: Looks original, indeed, but flimsy. Probably would only be useful in a corporate or academic setting for a facility director doing close up work. However, it only has one output setting and that is 100 Lumens which would likely be inappropriate for most close-up work.
Tuff MP: A multipurpose (as the MP initials suggest) two in one flashlight. I must say, this actually looks original but is neither cool nor tuff (sic.) It looks just as flimsy as almost anything else Garrity makes these days.
ibeam LED Lantern: This is certainly nothing like their original iBeam lanterns. In fact, this design was stolen from Rayovac. Gosh durnit, Garrity, couldn’t you have retained the original iBeam design and maybe just fitted it with a nice PR LED module?
LED Safety Keylite: I must admit that this looks neat and original, but the good looks don’t compensate for the shoddy performance. It gives off a measly 12 Lumens on a single AAA battery. Maybe, just maybe if it were constructed of metal instead of plastic not only could it be more rugged but a more powerful LED engine could be used. But that would mean making flashlights that are actually nice.
LED LifeLite: The website claims new and improved. I smell bovine droppings! First of all, this light gives off only 53 Lumens despite being driven by the equivalent of 3AA batteries. Secondly, it only runs for 9 hours, then it must be chucked. Not very green at all! Actually, in 2015 whatever company makes flashlights for the Wal*Mart brand Ozark Trail borrowed this idea and managed to improve on it by instead offering it to be run on 3 replaceable AA batteries, but with the otherwise same form factor.
That, my friends, is a list of all the flashlights currently made under the Garrity name.
Please know that while I at times felt pretty smug and even witty in writing these not so nice reviews, that I am heartbroken and tremendously disappointed that a flashlight company that I once loved in my childhood is now, this heartless soul-less conglomerate with cheesy knock-offs.
I don’t know what goes on in these board rooms but whatever the case it is neither wise nor fruitful. Consumers are more informed than ever these days and they now know a sub-par flashlight when they see one. If Garrity would start making flashlights like they did before this proverbial fall from grace and incorporated modern LED technology, then they just might be restored to their former glory. I won’t hold my breath for that though. While I may be respected amongst the flashlight community, these directors in these board rooms don’t give a single durn about what I have to say.
Well because of that, they have lost a once faithful and loyal customer.
Furthermore, those of you who know me well enough know how much I love flashlights and equally know that if I am saying anything ill about a flashlight, I am not taking any pleasure in my words.
I would have liked to elaborate more on this, but maybe I will in the form of fiction quite possibly about a young couple honeymooning in a lakeside cottage and enjoying some alone time by the light of a vintage Garrity lantern on a stormy late afternoon. I could incorporate a Radio Shack Weather Cube and some other cool gadgets as well! Radio Shack is another company I loved that fell from grace by the way.
UPDATE May 2021: I did indeed write such a story. The Garrity product of which I imagined to be used in this story is a model number K013G, which is a 4 LED lantern with SMART LITEZ 5-Function switch. I never owned that model, but I think it does indeed look cool, especially the translucent red model. And, yes, there is also a Weather Cube featured.
All in all, this concludes my piece.
I hope you, the reader, have been informed…
Thank you for reading and God bless.