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Fenix WF26R review
Fenix WF26R specifications
|Brand & Model||Fenix WF26R|
|Flashlight category||Work light / Emergency Light|
|Max. output||3000 lumens|
|Max. beam distance||450 meters|
|Max. beam intensity||52,888 cd|
|Onboard charging||Magnetic charging|
|Blinkies||Strobe and SOS|
|Review publication date||January 2023|
I remember many moons ago, when a dockable flashlight called the Stinger came out from Streamlight. This was a technological marvel…. at the time. A flashlight that you could simply plop onto a charger and never have to worry about swapping out your old AA batteries or worse, expensive D-cell batteries, once they finally bit the dust. The battery tech was a little archaic compared to what is available today, but for the time?
Sheesh, it was amazing!
Nowadays, we have brighter output, longer runtimes, better battery tech, and faster charging. This is where the Fenix WF26R comes in. Specifically designed as a Work light, it operates under the same principles as the Stinger of old, but with all the better tech I was talking about. I am genuinely excited about this as Fenix is no newcomer to the flashlight industry or even work lights in general. They have an entire lineup of lights, including intrinsically safe lights that are completely safe to the atmosphere from spark energy that could cause…. ermm… “mishaps” in hazardous areas. This is, from what I can tell, not intrinsically safe as it does have magnetic charging, but is very stout and I am excited to see if it lives up to the “Workforce” moniker. Come along with me and let’s put it through its paces.
This is my first Fenix product, so I cannot confirm or deny whether or not this packaging is standard for them. What I can do, is tell you that the light is protected in an outer cardboard box that is thicker than any other hang tab style box I have seen on a flashlight to date. Everything is quite sturdy and covered in black and orange. The WF26R is displayed on the front and surrounded by information about your lighting choice, with a few specifications showing up on the bottom, right side and back. The back also includes an in depth description of the light and the whole package appears like it would be at home in a large retailer or sporting goods store. The display is very nice. Inside, there is a plastic insert that houses the Feix WF26R as well as all of the accessories. There is a separate compartment to verify your charging dock doesn’t make contact with your light. Everything else is compartmentalized to avoid things being strewn about while in motion. Everything inside the package consists of:
- Fenix WF26R
- Battery (preinstalled and isolated)
- Magnetic Charging Cable
- Charging Dock
- Spare O-Rings
- User Manual
- Warranty Card
Flashlight in use
The Fenix WF26R has a larger frame and with its ergonomics, you would think it has a switch on the body, as it fits easily into your hand in a standard carry. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, but all is well. On the tailcap, you are welcomed by two rear switches. One forward clicky to turn the light on and right next to it, an e-switch to activate your blinkies and change modes. It does come with a springy, one-way pocket clip that seems to work quite well, but at 40mm, the head is much too large to comfortably fit in your pocket.
Both buttons stand proud of any stable aluminum surface, so you are not able to tail stand or even set the light on a flat table, since there are no anti-roll flats. As a matter of fact, the head is perfectly round so it would have free reign of any table you placed it on.
There is a lanyard hole in the pocket clip I spoke of earlier, as well as two holes 180° apart on the rim of the tailcap. There is also a charging dock that comes with the light, to help you forget about having to worry about making sure your light is charged up. The light just drops right into it and, while plugged in, does all the work for you. All you have to worry about is picking it back up when you need to shine your light on something.
Because of this dock, and the size, I can’t recommend this for everyday carry and while it does have a strobe it doesn’t fit tactical use either. The WF26R as well as the entire “WF” series of lights from Fenix are designed with the workforce in mind and I do feel like this is quite fitting. The old charging dock reminds me a lot of the Stinger rechargeable lights that a lot of mechanics had. I would also extend the use case to home use as well. Living in the south and having the possibility of tornadoes, it would be ever reassuring knowing that my wife and children know where a fully charged light is. Keeping something like this propped in a spot that is very conspicuous would be a time saver and potentially, even a life saver.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The Fenix WF26R is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum and covered with an impressively thick and even coat of Type III hard anodizing. Only available in satin black, this Fenix is showing off its machining and man, is it good. The head has crenulations machined into it as well as very shallow cuts that appear almost as if there are little bits of morse code – dots and dashes everywhere. These also continue on the tailcap and are accompanied by a slanted shelf cut to allow use of both the tail switches.
On the ridges of the tailcap, there are two holes opposite each other that will allow you to attach your lanyard. Finally, the battery tube / body has what I can only describe as rows of shallow cooling fin cuts that extend the entirety of the tube, all the way up to the pocket clip recess. These allow for a firm hold on the light. It can be a little light at times, but when I was wearing gloves, it improved drastically.
Taking the tailcap off reveals the threads that are indeed anodized as well and provide a quarter turn lockout to make sure the light doesn’t come on when not intended. The threads are square cut and quite deep. They also arrived very well lubricated, but it wasn’t to the point that it was getting over everything. The lanyard that came with the WF26R is a step above the normal generic lanyard that gets shoved into the box of most other lights. This is branded with the Fenix name, has a little bit of a stretch to it, and even comes with a keeper affixed to it, so you can choose how tight you want it.
Everything here came in tip-top shape, but if you find yours has any issues, Fenix does offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty on their products. If there is any issue that comes from the workmanship or materials, they have you covered. This doesn’t cover normal wear and tear or scratches on the finish, unless it came that way from the factory.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
The Fenix WF26R has a large aluminum head and from what I can tell, the bezel and head are all one piece. They are both covered in the same anodizing and I cannot find evidence of a seam anywhere. Logic says it is there, since the “neck” is too small to remove the reflector, but their machining is top notch and everything sits very flush.
If you look past the bezel, you’ll see the AR coated lens and smooth reflector that gives the WF26R its 450m of throw. What’s unusual though, is the LED itself. On Fenix’s website and the packaging, the LED is listed as a Luminus SST-70. On the manual, however, it displays the LED choice as a Luminus SFT-70, the dedomed version of the aforementioned emitter choice.
The ACTUAL emitter on the WF26R, under observation, is the former, a Luminus SST-70 that gives you a perfectly round, if not soft, hotspot. There is a slight corona to the beam and the spill fades out neatly. The crenulations on the aluminum bezel do not show in the beam pattern, so everything stays nice and round. The SST-70 still has the dome, unlike its flat counterpart, and helps throw light and has been known to be a little brighter with the same drive current. The SST-70 is also known for being low CRI and this fits as well. On low, the CCT came in at 5500k and 67 CRI Ra, while on turbo, the temp and color rendering both jumped – to 5900k and 69 CRI, respectively. These figures were all taken using the Opple Lightmaster Pro at 5 meters.
There was a lot of tint shift as well. Things started in “very green” territory, but with the higher drive currents, shifted to only “slightly green”. Since it is a worklight and can live up to that name, a light that works, it might not be my favorite tint, but I am not going to count that against it. You don’t buy a tractor if you want to go fast.
Note: these measurements are solely focusing on CCT and Ra, and not on Lux, even though that’s the biggest number in the screen.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Length||156 mm||6.1 in|
|Head diameter||40 mm||1.6 in|
|Body diameter||27 mm||1.1 in|
Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter, and to the nearest tenth of an Inch.
|Fenix WF26R||Weight in grams||Weight in oz|
|Without battery:||150 g||7.8 oz|
|With battery||222 g||5.3 oz|
Weight is rounded to the nearest gram, and to the nearest tenth of an Oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition:
Driver & User Interface:
- Eco, Medium, High Turbo
Available blinky modes:
- Strobe, SOS
- Press and hold auxiliary switch: Activate strobe momentarily
- Single click main switch: Last used main mode
- Press the auxiliary switch: cycle through main modes (Eco, Medium, High and Turbo)
- 1 click main switch: Turns unit off
- The WF26R will resume in the last mode used.
- To Strobe momentary: Press the auxiliary switch while off.
- To Strobe locked in: While on, pres the auxiliary switch for .5 seconds
Low voltage warning:
- When low voltage conditions are present, the red battery indicator light will blink to warn the user of this condition.
- Press the auxiliary switch for momentary strobe. Click the main switch while in a momentary strobe to lock the strobe mode in. Cycle to SOS by pressing the Auxiliary Switch again.
- No software lockout, but a quick turn of the anodized tailcap breaks contact to avoid accidental turn-ons.
- No PWM Visible.
Additional/summary info on the UI:
- Fenix recommends the light be switched off when placing on the charger, but I have found that the UI will shut the light off for you if you attempt to charge.
- This User Interface is quite evenly spaced and each of the modes seems to have almost an intended use behind their brightness. The UI Is also quite intuitive and I found I was completely able to navigate it without the use of the manual at all (Although I did verify there weren’t any hidden modes I couldn’t figure out on my own.
Batteries & Charging
Fenix recommends a supply source of at least 5V/3A, so it would be safe to assume that the charging speed we should experience would follow suit, however it is not specifically stated. Using a 65W capable power brick, the highest charge current I witnessed was 2.46A, which brought a depleted battery to full in 2hr 46 min. Since the listed charge time spec shows 3 hours, I was happy to see a shorter result.
This battery is a 5000mah 21700 cell and is labeled as the ARB-L21-5000 V2. It stands 76mm from its flat base to its button top. In addition to the included battery, I did test a 71mm 21700 flat top cell and thereit was not touching the sprint on the tailcap at all. I can’t in good conscience say that it is a proprietary battery, but you are limited on the cells that would work.
The head features a post and the tailcap has one of the stiffest springs I have ever seen on a flashlight, so there is not a ton of give. Make sure you use the included cell, or have one dimensionally similar handy. I will say, this is probably the warmest I have witnessed a flashlight getting whilst charging. The nice thing about this particular Fenix though, is the magnetic interface that is being used. Similar in size to a Brinyte mechanism, the magnets seem to be a little stronger than what I remember on those respective units. Using the included magnetic charging cable on a bedside table is a treat and works quite well.
The LED indicator light, which sits right above the logo and model name, will illuminate red while charging and turn blue once all of those electrons are stored in the cell. Fenix, however, has taken it a step further and included a removable dock so you can have your flashlight always at the ready.
Not a cradle mind you, like one that sits on a table or surface, but a dock.
This dock mounts to any surface you can drill a hole into, but does not include the necessary hardware to do so. I tested it out on a random scrap of wood until I figure out where I would like this permanently affixed and it is very sturdy. The charging cable slides in and sits in a recess and provides a positive engagement to the magnetic charger, but it does seem to require finer alignment to see that indicator light up.
It reminds me very much of the old Streamlight Stinger from the early 2000s. I thought those were just the coolest thing since sliced bread. I never personally owned one as they were too rich for my blood in my younger age. The convenience of having a dock is wonderful if you always find yourself needing a lightsource but don’t want to find yourself without a charged battery. I really like this specific implementation here.
All measurements were taken using a purpose built integrating sphere and an ExTech SDL400 datalogging lux meter. The known output from a light source (273lm Convoy S2+) was then taken into account when getting my figures calibrated for accuracy purposes.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
|Mode||Specs||Lumens @turn on||Lumens @30 sec||Lumens @10 minutes|
Battery Life: Runtime graphs
The included Fenix 21700 cell was charged until the charging circuit completed and then each mode was tested. Each runtime test was done until the lights shut off unless they were to take over 24 hours.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime ANSI||Time till shut off|
|Med||8h 56min||7h 10min||11h 41min|
|High||2h 47min||3h 9min||7h 41min|
|Turbo||2h 41min||2h 59min||7h 31min|
I did stop the low test early, since this was scheduled to take almost two full days, but there was no discernable deviation to make me think anything here was going to be of issue. High and Turbo both surpassed specs and then continued on for several more hours. I do like knowing that there is still plenty of light in the “reserve tank” so to speak, even if it isn’t pumping out 1000 lumens. Finally, medium was kind of a surprise. It came in low, and by more than an hour and a half. I did run the test twice, and got similar results. Maybe they used a different cell and the stars aligned on testing day? That ended up running for an additional four and a half hours after the ANSI cutoff, so it still had plenty of light to give, too.
About ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Throw figures were calculated at 10 meters using an Opple Lightmaster Pro.
The numbers came in high, but not exceptionally so. These are within tolerances to deem them relatively accurate as I definitely do not have the testing budget that Fenix does. 🙂
About peak beam intensity: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.
Camera settings and distance: All photos taken with a Panasonic Lumix G7 with ISO locked at 5000 ISO and ev 0.0 at 70y
Beamshots of the following flashlights compared:
- Fenix WF26R
- NEXTORCH TA30MAX
- Thrunite T3
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Fenix Lighting. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Charging dock is excellent to use
- UI is very intuitive
- Further throw numbers than spec
- Fit and finish is impeccable
- Small alignment window for charging
- Short USB cord limits placement for dock
- Wrong LED listed in the manual (no points deducted)
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: a match would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
The Fenix WF26R is designed to be used first and foremost as a work light, as the WF (WorkForce) implies. I truly think this light stands out as a work light with its charging dock, nice evenly spaced modes and ease of use with the UI. I also honestly feel like this is a fantastic light for emergency preparedness. The inclusion of a Strobe and SOS send this fact home even if these modes aren’t really necessary on a work light. My three young children know all too well already what a flashlight is (I don’t have a problem, you have a problem), but knowing where one is could make a huge difference in a power outage or storm.
The dock provides this benefit, but is accompanied by the drawbacks of a short charging cord and a small engagement window for the power pins. As far as the actual light goes, I absolutely love the fit and finish of this particular Fenix and it makes me want to have more Fenix lights to compare it with. It is on the larger side, but then again, so am I.
The user interface is incredibly intuitive and to verify this, I had my wife use it without any instruction and without issue. She’s pretty awesome though.
There is a strong force to be reckoned with here and it makes me rethink if I should have ever swooned over the old Streamlight Stinger to begin with. This is considerably cheaper than those were and this is after 15 years of inflation. The Fenix WF26R comes in at $129.95 direct from Fenix. The bright output, the sturdy build and the ease of use make me want to give this 5 stars, but I am limited due to the short cord with the proprietary charging. And, since I can’t just replace it with a longer one, the Fenix WF26R is incredibly deserving of 4.5 stars