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Looking for a new EDC flashlight

Discussion in 'Flashlights & Other Illumination Devices' started by AsTheCrow, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. AsTheCrow

    AsTheCrow Loaded Pockets

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    Hi everyone! I’m in the market for a new EDC flashlight, but I haven’t looked at lights in a few years and am hoping for recommendations!

    I’ll be using the Flashlight Recommendation Checklist stickied in this subforum, but I’ll also be happy to answer other questions or clarify my answers if needed.

    1. I’m looking for a small light to keep in my shoulder bag that goes with me everywhere. The last light I had was a Coast HP1, which took one AA battery and was advertised as “maxing out at 190 lumens”, though I am very doubtful about that.

    I was happy with the size, mechanism, and light output, but I had two or three of them and was ultimately not very happy with the durability. I don’t think I was very hard on the clip, but it broke on every one I had. Of course, I think I was paying about $10, so there’s the problem, I guess.

    2. I will probably buy my light online, but when possible I prefer to avoid Amazon and Wal-Mart for ethical reasons.

    3. I would prefer to spend no more than $30.

    4. I imagine the light being between 3 and 5 inches long, so I guess a larger pocket or smaller holster size, based on the suggestions in the checklist. I don’t have a preference on width, and anything in this size range would be find weight-wise.

    5. I prefer LED bulbs but this is not important to me.

    6. I prefer common alkaline batteries.

    7. I’m not really sure about lumen count. Maybe 60+. “I want to do Caving”. ! really liked the output on the Coast I’m replacing, which, again, claimed to max out at 190. So who knows.

    8. Throw vs Flood. I really like an adjustable beam. There are times when I really want a wide beam, and there are times when I want a tightly focused one.

    9. I’d definitely like at least 2 or 3 hours of runtime.

    10. I guess I’d say durability is very important, but I’m willing to sacrifice this for price if necessary.

    11 and 12. I prefer a clicky sitch on the end.

    13. On and off is plenty for me, no other modes needed.

    14. I strongly prefer metal bodies.

    15. I like a clip, but it’s not a dealbreaker.


    I'd appreciate your recommendations! Thanks for reading.
     
  2. turbo6

    turbo6 Loaded Pockets

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    There's some decent single AA lights out there. Thrunite Archer 1A is nice for wide range of modes, moonlight and momentary on, which is less common in this format. Fenix makes good models as well: E12, LD09 etc. Conservative output but tough and really well made.

    UltraTac has a nice single AA model as well as Acebeam too. Lots of options so compare to narrow down exactly what you want.
     
  3. leathermaneod

    leathermaneod Loaded Pockets

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    I always recommend Streamlight for all flashlight needs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  4. Norseman

    Norseman Loaded Pockets

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    I think you could go into any hardware store or a Batteries Plus and find something that meets your standards. There’s a bunch of sites other than amazon and Walmart that sell the lights we carry l, though. For $30 I’d be looking at Streamlight - 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA Dual Fuel Professional Tactical Light - 350 Lumens or maybe a Thorfire Compact TG06S Powered by AA or 14500 Battery.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. DesertDuck

    DesertDuck Loaded Pockets

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    There really is no shortage of good AA lights

    I loved my FourSevens Quark AA, but I found the surplus of modes to be unnecessary.
    Now that FourSevens is picked up by Prometheus I'm hoping they'll make this again, had mine for years. Still going strong, but getting a little long in the tooth so I've replaced it in my EDC.

    It's very similar to the EagTac D25A, which is currently available, though both of these are a little over your budget at around $50.

    If you can learn to like a side switch the Olight S1A may be a good option. Once again, though, over budget...



    I'm going suggest the Olight i3t EOS, though it's quite a bit smaller than your request.
    AAA powered, slim and light, cheap ($20), and a claimed 180 lumen output.
    Very simple UI: 2 modes, dim and bright, switched with a soft press of the tail-switch.
    Dim is the default, so after, I think, 2 seconds of inactivity it will always come on dim first, which I find particularly handy.
    Running mine on Eneloop Pro batteries. I think the output claim is fairly accurate, but the duration is fairly low at a claimed 21minutes on max output. Eneloop Pros may extend this duration.

    I use a healthy combination of low and high output and haven't had to change my batteries in over a week so far. I'd say it's plenty sufficient for a casual EDC or as a bag-light.

    Bonus, it's super small, and the reverse pocket clip can be hooked onto a hat.
    But it won't tail-stand. Not sure if that matters to you
     
    #5 DesertDuck, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  6. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    I don't have one but the Lumintop Tool AA might be an option for you if you don't need neutral/warm tint. It has 3 modes lacking the simple on /off you like but can be had at <$20. Keep in mind the 650 lumen output is only with li-ion batteries,still it should easily top the 100 lumen mark on regular batteries.I do have the similar Lumintop Tool AAA and like it so far but AAA might be too short on run time for you.

    I would strongly suggest you consider Energizer Ultimate Lithium AAs or rechargeable Panasonic Eneloop AAs instead of alkaline. Lithium and NiMH (eneloops) offer a more consistent discharge rate and neither are likely to leak. Alkalines leak frequently and often ruin lights. If you do insist on using alkalines then I wouldn't spend much money on whatever light you buy.
     
  7. ZMZ67

    ZMZ67 Loaded Pockets

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    I really like the i3T EOS as well and have been using it in an EDC combo with other AAA lights but the run time on high is limited. Since the OP mentioned "I want to do caving" I suspect run-time on AAA lights might be a little too short otherwise I would recommend the i3T myself.
     
    #7 ZMZ67, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  8. DesertDuck

    DesertDuck Loaded Pockets

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    In truth, I think AA lights will be rather short on run-time for caving as well, as most advertise around a 1 hour run-time.

    If I was going to be doing some form of wilderness exploration I'd be taking nothing short of an 18650 powered light with at least one backup power-cell. The AA or AAA light I'd have with me as well would just be for backup/emergency use.
    Hell, my Nitecore P20 advertises a 9hr run time on the medium output level (290L), and also does an advertised 26hr on low (80L) and a whopping 4.5hr on high (800L).


    Seconded. It'll also save you money in the long run, but you can still always stop at the local {insert business name here} for normal Alkaline batteries should the need arise.
     
    Last edited by DesertDuck, Dec 11, 2018
    #8 DesertDuck, Dec 11, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
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  9. flux

    flux Loaded Pockets

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    If you want simple and zoomable and AA, just buy a cheap sipik sk68 and use that. They are ok, but not great. Zoomable lights are not recommended usually. They are not waterproof usually because of the zoomie slide and waste light/energy.

    For a simple AA light that has no silly strobe modes, check out the ultrac A1. this can also be used with 14500 batteries for drastically more output, but eneloops are fine. You can get usb rechargeable 14500 batteries if you don't want to invest in a acharger yet. The new convoy t2 is also a fairly cheap AA, 10$, can be had with warm 4000K light and has three modes. strobe is accessed by double click. It is rather throwy for an AA light.


    If you go in a cave, better have a 18650 light. They are brighter, have longer runtimes. One 18650 has the power of 4 AA batteries. Take an AA light as a backup with you.

    If you don't have a 18650 charger yet, check out the wowtac a1s for handheld lights or the wowtac A2s, which is a L shaped headlamp but can be used as regular flashlight as well. They are cheap and have a good UI and come with a micro-usb rechargeable 18650 battery, so you don't need an extra charger. both go for 30$. take Neutral Warm if you can, but their Cool White is not that bad either

    or Sofirn sc31. It costs less than 20$, comes with battery and has onboard USB charging for the 18650 battery, Also a great bundle for little money.

    If you want something very pocketable and powerful, check out the On the Road M3pro. you need to order this from aliexpress or gearbest. It runs very long with 5lm, has 2.15 hrs on medium 160 lumens, but can also outpout up to 1000 lumen in a very small package. You can lock a mode so you will only access this one with a button press and double click for turbo. neat. It is USB-C rechargeable as well and it can work normal while connected to a powerbank, which is very cool incase you deplete your battery. Costs ca. 30$ and also here 16340 battery, cable and clip are included. I really like mine.
     
    Last edited by flux, Dec 12, 2018
    #9 flux, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  10. richocrf

    richocrf Empty Pockets

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    Led Lenser P5 meets most of what you're asking for. Zoomable, single AA, tail switch. Doesn't have a clip but can add a lanyard.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
     
  11. EZDog

    EZDog EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    First of all Do Not Go Into A Cave unless you have at least 2 Lights!
    Never was the slogan 2 is 1 more apt than for Caving.

    I would get a Streamlight 1A-1LL which is a well made decent preforming light that can use either 1-AA battery or 1-123 battery thus giving you the choice of higher output or longer runtime all in the same light and has a Tail Switch AND can be programmed some to work just the way you want it too.

    Streamlight service seems good too and this is a light that feels good in hand and is not so small you will need to hunt around for it in pocket or bag probably.

    Then I would get another one.

    Yo can find them on Amazon for under $30

    I would also think a Headlamp will be really nice for caving but I would get one of these first.

    There is no end really to the choices for you and luckily if you get any lights from bigger known names they are a lot brighter,more flexible and now than they have ever been I think.
     
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  12. FiaOlleDog

    FiaOlleDog Loaded Pockets

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    ... and carry an additional way of illumination with you that differs in technology from a flashlight, such as a glowstick (glowsticks). Also they are not that bright they will light up under water and last for several hours.

    Save caving, buddy!
     
  13. tmshaffer

    tmshaffer Loaded Pockets

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    I think the Olight is a rare gem. I like the button much more than my streamlight
     
  14. flux

    flux Loaded Pockets

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    ^ a 180 lumen AAA flashligt in a cave is all fun and games, until your battery is dead after half an hour and you drop it in the dark while changing batteries.

    OP should get a decent 18650, micro usb rechargeable maybe for convenience, then he can enjoy the cave with long lasting runtimes and more light. get one of these and a backup light
     
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  15. david57strat

    david57strat EDC Junkie!!!

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    [​IMG]

    Agreed. The Sipik SK68 is super cheap, but zoom-able. It can run on a normal alkaline battery (which is not recommended - lousy output). I use a 14500 battery, in mine.

    They're not super well-built, and they are certainly not fully waterproof. I haven't yet to come across a zooming light that is, at any price point. In many instances, the ability to zoom a light sacrifices the flood, as well as the spot beam. Neither is all that great. The design of the optic makes the light very inefficient. A lot of output is lost, because of that optic. Some companies do this, better than others, but the compromise is still there.

    Also, the run times are terrible, on these lights. Output is not regulated, so the moment the voltage drops, so does the output (It's direct drive).

    I bought one, years ago, just for the fun of it, and dirt cheap. But the focusing novelty wore off a long time ago. I prefer a dedicated flood, or spot light. No compromises, there.

    Such a compact light is not capable of providing the type of heat sinking necessary to keep the light cool, at high outputs. That's a huge issue, if you're running your light at max output, for more than few moments.

    I also had a LED Lenser P7 light, which was considerably nicer than this one, but again - not spectacular, in flood, or zoomed out, for spot. It ran on 3 AAA batteries (I used Eneloops successfully). It was bulky, and I found a whole bunch of 18650 lights that performed far better, and using a single 18650 battery.

    I ended up giving my P7 to a friend, for her car. It was a far better light than her 2D Maglite.

    Once you go into 18650 land, it's hard to go back to using alkalines. You get better output, longer run times, and the size of the battery is not that much bigger than an AA alkaline battery. Also, they NEVER leak. Alkalines are notorious for leaking at the most inopportune moments. I stopped buying alkaline batteries years ago. They just don't perform that well. They're also far more expensive to run, if you use the light heavily, as you have to be constantly replacing them.

    To get the same kind of performance, from a AA light, you have to buy one that uses multiple AA batteries.

    If you pick up a decent charger, man of them can handle NiMh and lithium ion batteries, just fine. A good quality one isn't really all that expensive, and can least many years.

    Buy once, cry once.

    As for Convoy lights, I have a handful of them, and I find them to be very impressive little lights, for the money.

    [​IMG]

    They also come in a wide variety of tint choices, and you can choose how many chips they have in them (the more chips, the more amperage they draw from the battery (higher output), and the hotter they get. You have to choose what best suits your needs.

    The Biscotti firmware is extremely easy to program, so the light does what you want (want just one output? 3 outputs, and flashlight modes? Program it quickly and it work that way always, until you program it next. Those two clear C8s are loaded with XP-L U3 7A LEDS, which are extremely warm (they look like incandescent color, but with none of the problems associated with incandescent bulbs. I have them set for five modes, with mode memory (.1, 1, 10, 35, or 100% output).

    It's a great time to be a flashaholic. You have many options available to you, without having to break the bank, and without having to carry a ginormous light, to get decent output, for extended periods :).
     
    Last edited by david57strat, Dec 21, 2018
    #15 david57strat, Dec 21, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  16. david57strat

    david57strat EDC Junkie!!!

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    Agreed. You can always use a 18650 light at a low setting, and get ridiculously long run times, but you'd have the power, when needed, and it could be sustained far longer, than that of a single AA alkaline light, in a light really not that much bulkier, considering the additional output.

    I can't imagine a battery dying after only a half an hour's use; but I always use 18650 lights as EDCs, and the sacrifice in price and portability has been a small compromise to make, for the added benefit of the heftier light.

    [​IMG]
    This Zebralight SC600w Mk II L2 (pictured on the left) has become my go-to, for a super compact 18650 light. I've had this for several years (I actually bought it used, on Candle Power Forums - no complaints, whatsoever), and it's pretty much torture proof. I actually EDC this one, all the time. Nice, great combination spot/flood neutral beam, potted electronics, incremental thermally-regulated output, extremely flexible interface. The only thing that would make it the perfect light would be a tail switch, with momentary option.

    Something to consider.