When my Coast HX3 and HX4 Cliplights first arrived, I wasn’t sure what to think of them. While both have the new efficient COB (Chip On Board) LEDs, the shape struck me as a bit odd. At first glance, they seem designed for just clipping to a hat. That would limit their use. But then I noticed the little magnets on the back. This makes them great for automotive use. Taking it a step further, the head of each unit rotates. That allows you to vary the angle. Which adds even more utility when you’ve clipped one to a pocket. With these features in mind, I set out to find out just how handy they can be.
They’re both only 3.1 inches (79 millimeters) long, and weigh just 1.83 ounces (52 grams) each. Across the top is a large button that cycles through the different lighting options. The light head rotates 180 degrees on knobs large enough to work with gloves. On one end is a small knob to access the battery compartment. Runtime for both on the included pair of Duracell AAA batteries is 3 hours, 45 minutes. Available in any color body you want, as long as it’s black.
First up is the HX3, with white and UV (Ultraviolet) output. At 80 lumens of white light, the beam is good for up to 42 feet. It’s handy for peeking in the crawlspace of your attic. Working under the bathroom sink. Finding your keys/phone/loose change under your car seat. All those little jobs that require a compact light that’s easy to direct where you need it. It’s got a wider beam than most cylindrical flashlights, which really increases the usefulness. Plus, you can switch to UV for infrequent but important tasks. Like checking to make sure your cash money is legit. And that your car isn’t leaking. Or finding out that your pets have been naughty on the carpet. Basically, things you don’t really want to know, but have to anyway. My wife clipped it to her pants and used it for lighting her path quite a bit.
This one is my favorite. Also putting out 80 lumens of white light, the second option is red. For nighttime photography, it’s quickly become my new best friend. After shining the white light to find my way, I can use the red light to verify camera settings. Over the past weeks, I took a lot of photos of Utah’s fires, and of the Milky Way, plus the moon. To focus in near darkness on the camera’s screen can be a challenge. So the red light saves what little vision I have. For my manual focus lenses with a focusing scale, it’s easy to read in the dark, using the red light. I’m certain it would come in handy when camping as well. Pretty much any time you need hands-free night lighting up close. I used it on a hat and my shirt pocket.
One of the things I’ve always liked about Coast products is their versatility. I’m sure some folks buy these lights for using at work, either in automotive or maintenance roles. And then realize they are great for outdoor use. Just like some buyers might buy them for using outdoors, then realize they’re handy for that hands-free task around the house. Either way, they are inexpensive and durable. MSRP for the HX3 is $20, and the HX4 is only $18. If you check around, you can find them for much less, making them a bargain. Of course, they’re covered by Coast’s lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship. Check them out at coastportland.com.
I’d like to thank Coast for providing their Cliplights for this review. We’ve had a lot of fun testing them, and they’ve been really handy for night time photography.