I have been using Fenix flashlights for quite some time, including the older PD35 TAC. That has been one of my favorite tactical flashlights for the last 3 or 4 years.
The Fenix PD36R was a welcome upgrade that I was excited about. Overall, it looks and feels like a worthy competitor to any compact rechargeable flashlight from the other top brands.
But what about the performance?
Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Summary of Contents
What Is Included in the Packaging?
Opening up the box of the Fenix PD36R left me delighted. The inclusion of high-quality accessories with a flashlight always gets a thumbs-up from me.
Here are the accessories that you’ll find inside the standard Fenix black and orange packaging.
- Fenix PD36R flashlight
- USB-C charging cable
- Fenix 21700 battery
- Spare O-rings
- Deep carry pocket clip
- Warranty card
- User manual
The PD36R sports a 1600 Lumen Luminus SST40 LED and includes a USB-C port to charge the included 21700 battery. It has onboard charging via the supplied USB-C cable charger.
Even with a dual switch design, the user interface on the PD36R is straightforward and simple to use. You have the clicky tail switch which has a momentary on and a full click to turn the flashlight on or off. Next, there is the side switch which will cycle through the different outputs and give you access to that strobe mode.
It’s always nice to see a simple and straightforward user interface that you don’t need to put much thought into. The circuit is designed to deliver a steady output and there is reverse polarity protection for safety.
Note, none of the buttons offer a lockout function, However, you can slightly unscrew the flashlight body from the head and break the circuit to prevent accidental activation. Apart from a battery level indicator, the light also has a low voltage warning.
How the Fenix PD36R Flashlight Looks and Feels
Yet another reason to love Fenix flashlights, they are always sturdy and reliable. The PD36R feels great in your hand. The textured design on the body allows you to grip the flashlight easily and it’s very easy to clean. The anti-roll design is a big plus as well.
The flashlight body is made from oxidation-resistant aluminum and has an HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish. It is also IP68 waterproof, dustproof, and has 1-meter impact resistance. That is good news because some of us drop our flashlights more than we would like to admit.
Since it uses a 21700 lithium battery I expected the diameter to be wider than flashlights with 18650 flashlights. Fenix has fixed the diameter at 1-inch and with the decent amount of knurling on the body, the PD36R is easy to grip. The glass lens is toughened and has an anti-reflective coating.
I really like the USB-C charging port cover on the flashlight. It’s easy to open, but doesn’t open at all in your pocket or when using it. It’s always annoying when you have a port cover that opens really easily when you don’t want it to.
It comes with a two-way body clip which is always nice to see. The PD36R has no tail cap and due to the tactical switch at the bottom end, it will not tail stand.
Not only is it rechargeable, but it is also a powerful LED flashlight. It delivers a maximum output of 1600 lumens and has a maximum beam distance of almost 283 meters.
It features a smooth reflector and it gives you a really nice beam pattern. You have a focused beam along with a really good spill that allows you to see everything in front of you. I really do like the fact that the beam pattern on this flashlight makes it functional for a wide range of indoor and outdoor scenarios.
The PD36R uses a LUMINUS SST-40 LED which delivers a bright, cool white output. I did compare the LUMINUS LED to the CREE LED of my Fenix PD35 V2.0 and couldn’t tell much of a difference between the two. The reflector is smooth and the surface appears flawless.
The PD36R comes with a tactical tail switch that’s only used for power. For shifting between the other modes you need to use the side switch. The LED on the side switch indicates the battery level in green and red colors.
Something I’m really liking about this flashlight is the battery life. On the lowest mode, the runtime is 115 hours which is impressive. But we have seen better in other flashlights. But it’s in the higher outputs the runtimes really stand out.
With turbo mode, you get almost 3 hours of runtime, with the high mode you get almost 6 hours, and with the medium mode you get 8 and a half hours. These are extremely impressive runtimes for the higher outputs, thanks to the excellent battery performance.
As expected, there will be cut-offs in the turbo mode to regulate the thermal load. After around 2 hours in turbo mode, the PD36R will produce somewhere between 300 to 400 lumens. To its credit, the PD36R holds the peak output for a fairly good amount of time.
Fenix doesn’t mention any intelligent thermal protection system as in models like the Klarus ST15R. However, The PD36R never gets uncomfortably hot while running. But it does heat up quite a bit while being charged.
As with most high-quality LED flashlights, you expect to see multiple outputs and the Fenix PD36R delivers on that. With this flashlight, you get a total of 6 outputs and that does include a strobe mode. The brightness levels range from 30 lumens to 1600 lumens.
You have eco which is 30 lumens, low which is 150 lumens, medium which is 350 lumens, high which is 800 lumens, and turbo which is 1600 lumens. The strobe mode operates at 1600 lumens which makes it great for signaling and self-defense.
I wouldn’t count it among the brightest 21700 flashlights, but any flashlight that delivers above 1000 lumens will be bright enough for most users.
However, I was surprised to see that the eco mode was 30 lumens. I would have expected the eco mode to be 5 lumens or less so that was a bit of a surprise. I definitely think Fenix should have made that eco mode output lower, just like the Fenix PD35R that delivers 10 lumens at low mode.
Also, I wish Fenix had included a red light mode. But considering that red light mode isn’t available in more advanced models like the Fenix PD40R, expecting it in the PD36R is wishful thinking.
The PD36R uses a 21700 rechargeable battery and this is another reason why I wanted this Fenix flashlight. The 5000mAh capacity makes it much more powerful than typical 18650 batteries. the flashlight can run for around three hours even in turbo mode.
The 21700 batteries from Fenix are extremely reliable and I have seen them deliver excellent performance in the Fenix TK16 which is a rechargeable tactical flashlight. As expected, the performance is equally good in the PD36R.
One of the best features of the PD36R is the USB type-C charging function. On the side switch, you’ll see an indicator that will let you know when the flashlight is charging
The other big plus of the Li-ion battery is it can get charged within 4 hours through the USB type-C charging cable.
Fenix includes all the accessories you will need to use the flashlight right after unpacking. The overall quality of the body clip, lanyard, and holster is impressive. Just like the flashlight, you can expect these accessories to provide years of service.
Weight and Dimensions
The PD36R flashlight is relatively compact. In length, it’s less than 5 and a half inches and not as small as some other EDC flashlights. That doesn’t make it the best choice for use as a headlamp.
But even if you don’t want to carry it in a pocket, it’s light enough for a carry bag or a backpack. Excluding the battery, it weighs 3 oz, which is on the lower side.
- A powerful output
- Efficient USB type-C charging function
- Well-balanced beam between a spot and spill
- Easy to use interface
- Packs plenty of accessories
- Lacks a moonlight mode
- No shortcuts to turbo or low modes
When it comes to Fenix flashlights, you can’t go wrong with the quality. The Fenix PD36R is a phenomenal high-lumen flashlight with great specs that you’ll love within minutes of holding it. Whether you are heading for a camping trip or need an emergency flashlight, this is a solid performer.
To be honest, it’s hard to find faults with the PD36R. Still, if you are looking for a cheaper everyday carry flashlight, this may not be the right choice. But the Fenix PD36R delivers full value for your money. On top of that, you get Fenix Lighting’s rock-solid reliability along with a limited lifetime warranty.
In case 1600 max lumens isn’t enough for you, you can also check out the Fenix PD36R Pro. It captures the best features of the PD36R while bumping up the max output to a mega value of 2800 lumens.