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Thread: Which AAA keychain EDC

  1. #1

    Default Which AAA keychain EDC

    Hi everyone,

    While looking for rechargable batteries, I ended up at a web shop that also sold flash lights. That sparked my interest in flashlights again. I've had my (incandescent) 3D Maglite for ages and I've also got a Mini (2xAA) one, both of which I like quite a lot. The mini one had some leaking batteries though, but I managed to get them out (although I damaged the finish while opening it). Anyway, seeing all these nice and bright LED lights made me decide it's time for a new flashlight.

    After a lot of reading on forums, reviews etc, I came to the conclusion that carrying a small flashlight all the time would useful. The small 1xAAA lights probably give at least the same amount of light as the Mini Maglite (haven't found a good comparison yet, so I might be wrong), and I think it should be plenty for most uses. So I want to start with a (small) 1xAAA LED flashlight to put on my keychain, powered by a low self discharge NiMH battery, and see whether that can works for all the things I now use the Mini Maglite for. My (old) MP3 player uses the same batteries, so I usually carry spare batteries for that anyway, which is a bonus.

    Reading all the forums gave a lot of information, but I'm still not sure about a few practical things:
    • Will aluminium flashlights (type 3 hard anodized) get damaged by the keys or the mini swiss army knife that it will be running into in my pocket? Is stainless steel a better option?
    • Does knurling on the flashlight damage other things in my pocket or clothes more than for example keys?


    Some things I want from the flashlight (most important ones first):
    • Durable and reliable (don't want to carry around something all the time and then discovering that it doesn't work when I need it)
    • Small enough to not be annoying in my pocket (not sure what size is small enough, but I would think thinner is better, shorter probably helps too)
    • Not accidentally turning on and draining the battery (from what I read twisty UI is better for that)
    • Nice throw/narrow hotspot, but enough spill as well (spill enough to see where I'm putting my feet while pointing far away).
    • As might light as possible without compromising other things
    • Low mode (firefly/moonlight? not sure how low as I have no reference) and maybe a medium mode as well
    • Neutral color (in all modes)
    • Preferably current regulated (not sure whether I would really be bothered by PWM though)
    • Not interested in support for lithium batteries (for safety and battery availability reasons)


    Some flashlights that I'm currently considering:

    Fenix LD01 (Alu R4 can't find the SS in a local store and it's heavy)
    Seems pretty reliable (read some issues where mode switching became unreliable)
    Aluminium might be damaged easily by keys etc?
    Bit bigger than some of the other options
    Plenty of local shops that sell it, but a bit expensive at 35 euro

    Klarus Mi X6
    I like the smooth design in stainless steel and it's nice and thin (but still pretty long)
    No tailstand (no idea whether I would use it)
    There are some reports about the battry tube "spring" going bad and the thread allowing over tightening and crushing stuff
    Quite expensive even at a "cheap" seller that does not seem very dependable (about 30 euro including shipping)

    DQG III SS
    Probably the smallest and stainless steel.
    Read some reports about the threads not being very good quality, and I'm worried about the knurling damaging other items in my pockets
    Keychain attachment might not be very durable
    Only 2 modes, and probably less bright than the other 2
    Not sure whether it's actually available and how reliable the supplier is

    I've seen some cheaper alternatives as well with different mixes of options. But these 3 seem good options that are at least very good in 1 category. At one point I thought titanium would be nice, but twisty operation and titanium doesn't seem like a very good combination. I haven't really looked at clicky ones, as they are often longer and they might accidentally turn on (might not be an issue if there is a lockout system though).

    Any considerations I might have missed for keychain/pocket use that I've missed, other good candidates, or experiences that might help me make a good choice are appreciated. I'm not planning on starting a big collection, so I'd rather pick a good one right away.

    Thanks

  2. #2

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Wow! I don't have many answers for you. Will leave that to the experts. But I just wanted to say this is the most well thought out and pre-researched question I have ever seen here, especially for a first post!

    • Will aluminium flashlights (type 3 hard anodized) get damaged by the keys or the mini swiss army knife that it will be running into in my pocket? Is stainless steel a better option?
    • Does knurling on the flashlight damage other things in my pocket or clothes more than for example keys?
    Both those question depend on how thick the type 3 HA anodizing is, and how rough (or smooth) the knurling is. Most light eventually look beat up if banged against other metal object for an extended period of time, but the good ones take a long time to get there. I haven't heard of many pocket sized flashlights with such rough knurling to damage other things or clothes.

    Good luck finding your answers!

  4. #4
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    My ITP Eos A3 is supposed to have Hard Andodizing, and after ~ 2 years on my keychain, only the corners are worn, and I throw around my keys a lot. When a friend needs light, I just slide or throw my keys over to them and the light took this abuse like a champ. It's recently replaced with the DQG III. Olight's I3 is the new version of the A3 and could be a good choice. The 4sevens Preon could be another AAA light to look at, along with the Thrunite TI. Nitecore's T5 is another stainless steel (the T2 is the aluminum version it seems).

    The threads on my DQG are a bit thin at parts, I'll see how it holds up. It is Stainless Steel, so it should cause less issues then the weaker aluminum. I kinda like the 2 mode of the DQG, low is fine for walking around the house at night and for close range tasks, and high is good when I need more light. I also have my Zebralight SC51c clipped onto my other pocket if I need a bit more throw, or if I need lower output then 5 lumen. The DQG took a bit of time to arrive, but it came in a nice small box in a padded envelope.

    It's hard to get lots of throw on a tiny keychain light and for most uses, a decently wide beam is better.

    IMO, the keys will probably do more damage to your pockets then the knurling on lights.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I carried the DQG III for a month then picked up the LD01. While the DQG is smaller and lighter, then ld01 throws a better beam. And then I installed a 10440 li-ion battery and it's really awesome now!

    Your post reads that the SS version on the ld01 is heavy, but it's not. It weighs a little more than the normal ld01, but not heavy by any means.
    Maglite xl50...Fenix E05...Nebo Redline SE...Maratac AAA...Thrunite Ti firefly...Quark x AA^2...Maratac CU Rev1...Maratac CU Rev2...Fenix LD01SS...Solarforce L2T

  6. #6

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Thanks for the feedback so far. In the mean time I've found a post with a picture on wear on a type 3 anodized aluminium flashlight, and it doesn't look too bad: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=1#post3898379. I don't mind a bit of superficial damage from use, so I guess it's no reason to pick a stainless steel one over a good aluminium one.

    I've considered the Olight i3, and it is available locally and only about 20 euro. But from what I read the ITP A3 was actually better. Also, I'm not sure about the PWM. And I'd need to remove the clip, and the screws might leave holes. The LD01 did look like a better option to me, although it is a bit wider.

    The Fenix LD01 SS did seem a bit heavy to me at 35 grams compared to 14.2 grams for the aluminium one (more than twice the weight). But I guess when the battery is included it's already a smaller percentage: http://lygte-info.dk/review/Beamshot...1-07%20UK.html and with all the other keys etc, it might be hard to notice. Finding one for sale might be hard though, so far the shops I came across didn't have it in stock.

    Maybe I'll try to find something of about the size and weight of the LD01 (SS) to check whether it bothers me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    go for Thrunite TI

  8. #8

    Default

    How about the FourSevens Preon P-0?

    Stainless Steel, magnetized at the end. Twisty operation. 0.25 lumens and 25 lumens.
    Salving Light in a Bastion of Darkness

  9. #9

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Got my wife the iTP A3 EOS Flashlight from lightjunction.com.

    Puts out 80 lumens max.

    Dave

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Gunner12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    That's what my EOS A3 looks like, except in black. They hold up well.

    Like was mentioned before, also look at the Thrunite TI and the 4sevens Preon series. Some online stores have CPF discounts (usually 5% off).
    Is buying online ok? Or would you prefer going to a store?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* emu124's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by tecnab View Post
    go for Thrunite TI
    +1

  12. #12
    Flashaholic Tegan's Dad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I just switched out my Fenix E05 for a Thrunite Ti 3/60. You can also get a firefly version of the Ti. I like having 2 levels compared to the E05, and the UI makes it easy as a loaner too. I use mine with an energizer lithium primary, but a AAA eneloop is a great choice too.

    I keep the following in my pocket with the AAA keychain light: Small Swiss Army Knife, Bluetooth earpiece, car keys/fob, and sometimes a small aluminum pill case. The pill case has shown the most wear of anything I have carried, but that's just cosmetic. I haven't seen any other issues.

    Good luck with your search, and let us know what you choose!

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* greenlight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I carry a thrunite ti right now. It beat out my arc aaa.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I'm pretty impressed with my Inova XS.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Thanks for all the new input. I spent a few more hours searching for reviews, shops etc .

    I really like the look of the foursevens Preon P0. But it's a flood light and only 25 lumen. I want something with throw and more output, even though a little light like this will never really throw a long way. But if I ever want one with a flood beam, this will be very high on my list. The magnet might cause some issues with keys though.

    The Thrunite Ti was probably left off my short list because it has less power than the LD01, only 2 modes and quite a lot of knurling, that I'm still not too sure of for pocket use. The UI does seem very nice though, and the beam seems very focussed (for a small light). And the price is very good too. But I've got some doubts about the longetivity of the rubber/foam ring and bending metal used for the 2 mode mechanism. And it's not regulated, so the output will drop when the voltage of the battery drops.

    I've seen the Inova XS, and it does look quite nice. But I don't need a button (might get pressed in my pocket) and I'm not sure about the UI with the twist at the back. I want to pretty close to my keys, probably directly on a keyring, and twisting the back with the keys near it doesn't seem very practical.

    The LD01 SS would probably be my choice if I could find a local shop that has it in stock. But it isn't available over here, and I'd probably just get the alu version locally instead of ordering abroad (if it's still available). But maybe they'll have one again around the holidays this year (with the new XP-G2 LED)? But first I'm going to try and make something that's about the size and weight of the LD01 and try how it feels in my pocket, to make sure I don't want something smaller or lighter.

    Regarding ordering, I would prefer to order locally, for warranty reasons. If there is a good reason (availability, very good deal etc), I would order on-line from a different country as well, but I'd want to use PayPal, and have a shop with a decent reputation.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by Serenity View Post
    Hi everyone,

    While looking for rechargable batteries, I ended up at a web shop that also sold flash lights. That sparked my interest in flashlights again. I've had my (incandescent) 3D Maglite for ages and I've also got a Mini (2xAA) one, both of which I like quite a lot. The mini one had some leaking batteries though, but I managed to get them out (although I damaged the finish while opening it). Anyway, seeing all these nice and bright LED lights made me decide it's time for a new flashlight.

    After a lot of reading on forums, reviews etc, I came to the conclusion that carrying a small flashlight all the time would useful. The small 1xAAA lights probably give at least the same amount of light as the Mini Maglite (haven't found a good comparison yet, so I might be wrong), and I think it should be plenty for most uses. So I want to start with a (small) 1xAAA LED flashlight to put on my keychain, powered by a low self discharge NiMH battery, and see whether that can works for all the things I now use the Mini Maglite for. My (old) MP3 player uses the same batteries, so I usually carry spare batteries for that anyway, which is a bonus.

    Reading all the forums gave a lot of information, but I'm still not sure about a few practical things:
    • Will aluminium flashlights (type 3 hard anodized) get damaged by the keys or the mini swiss army knife that it will be running into in my pocket? Is stainless steel a better option?
    • Does knurling on the flashlight damage other things in my pocket or clothes more than for example keys?


    Some things I want from the flashlight (most important ones first):
    • Durable and reliable (don't want to carry around something all the time and then discovering that it doesn't work when I need it)
    • Small enough to not be annoying in my pocket (not sure what size is small enough, but I would think thinner is better, shorter probably helps too)
    • Not accidentally turning on and draining the battery (from what I read twisty UI is better for that)
    • Nice throw/narrow hotspot, but enough spill as well (spill enough to see where I'm putting my feet while pointing far away).
    • As might light as possible without compromising other things
    • Low mode (firefly/moonlight? not sure how low as I have no reference) and maybe a medium mode as well
    • Neutral color (in all modes)
    • Preferably current regulated (not sure whether I would really be bothered by PWM though)
    • Not interested in support for lithium batteries (for safety and battery availability reasons)


    Some flashlights that I'm currently considering:

    Fenix LD01 (Alu R4 can't find the SS in a local store and it's heavy)
    Seems pretty reliable (read some issues where mode switching became unreliable)
    Aluminium might be damaged easily by keys etc?
    Bit bigger than some of the other options
    Plenty of local shops that sell it, but a bit expensive at 35 euro

    Klarus Mi X6
    I like the smooth design in stainless steel and it's nice and thin (but still pretty long)
    No tailstand (no idea whether I would use it)
    There are some reports about the battry tube "spring" going bad and the thread allowing over tightening and crushing stuff
    Quite expensive even at a "cheap" seller that does not seem very dependable (about 30 euro including shipping)

    DQG III SS
    Probably the smallest and stainless steel.
    Read some reports about the threads not being very good quality, and I'm worried about the knurling damaging other items in my pockets
    Keychain attachment might not be very durable
    Only 2 modes, and probably less bright than the other 2
    Not sure whether it's actually available and how reliable the supplier is

    I've seen some cheaper alternatives as well with different mixes of options. But these 3 seem good options that are at least very good in 1 category. At one point I thought titanium would be nice, but twisty operation and titanium doesn't seem like a very good combination. I haven't really looked at clicky ones, as they are often longer and they might accidentally turn on (might not be an issue if there is a lockout system though).

    Any considerations I might have missed for keychain/pocket use that I've missed, other good candidates, or experiences that might help me make a good choice are appreciated. I'm not planning on starting a big collection, so I'd rather pick a good one right away.

    Thanks
    Some X1 AA flashlights are X5 brighter than a FULL size D cell maglite
    Last edited by Empire; 08-20-2012 at 02:51 PM.

  17. #17

    Default

    IIRC the 4 and 6 D-cell Mag only put out 120 lumens, and the 2-D models about 50 lm. Just about any AAA keychain light is going to rival the output of Mag's largest Incan.

    Newer LED Mini Mags only put out 80 lm, so most modern AAA LEDs have them beat.

    As far as keychain duty, stainless, especially bead-blasted, holds up better than anodized aluminum in my experience. On very small, thin-walled AAA lights like the Maratac/ITP AAA I've had the head snap off from a short drop onto tile. Yet another reason to choose stainless on a small light.

    From what you posted, however, I'd look at a Four Sevens Preon 2 lm moonlight mode, 9 lm medium, 70 lumen high. Nice, warm beam, even on the bright white models. No knurling, but the anno is grippy, and the aluminum models have thicker walls on the head. They also offer a Ti model.

    • Mobile post
    Last edited by somnambulated; 08-20-2012 at 03:10 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I'm on my second LD01 for keychain use. Gave my original to my better half for her purse. It's well made, reliable,very bright and the anodized aluminum actually ages very well and the surface scratches etc only gives it character and in no way effects the performance. There are several reliable vendors for the Fenix LD01. I am totally satisfied with it and if this is your first AAA keychain EDC then I bet you will be very happy with it also. I use a rechargeable Eneloop Nmh cell in mine.

  19. #19
    Unenlightened Drift Monkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I'm lovin' my LD01 for EDC use! She sits right next to my Leatherman Squirt PS4 on my key chain.

  20. #20
    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I've been real pleased with the Thrunite TI (moonlight model). And, for use on a keychain, the tiny Preon PO is tough to beat.

    Geoff

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I also use a Thrunite Ti.

    I do not expect my AAA light to throw very far. Remember that in order to throw far, the reflector has to be large and/or deep enough to capture the light from the LED and project it forward. Or it has to have a lens that focuses the beam forward, reducing the spill light. Both add size to the light and most AAA don't bother because that takes away the advantage of keeping them small.

    I'm sure someone will be able to point you toward a custom job though.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Most aaa light got the same beampattern. xp-g+tiny reflector. And they mostly got the same max output (the single aaa battery is a bottleneck).
    For throw, buy one with a xp-e led. Less lumens than a xp-g light, but it's more throwy with that tiny reflector.

    I got all the lights mentioned in this tread so far, and i use the preon p0 or dqg on the keychain. They are far from the best, most rugged, or brightest aaa sized light i got, but size matters on my keychain.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic Danielight's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Currently, my EDC is the Olight i3 EOS (black aluminum). I also have a Thrunite Ti ("firefly" model), but that sits on my nightstand.

    ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν

  24. #24

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    I tested a bit for size with a tube of 74x18mm, and I didn't really notice that in my pocket, even though the diameter was quite a bit larger than the AAA flashlights. If it's at the bottom of my pockets, it does stand out though, and the fabric might wear out quickly at the ends because of that. So as the size doesn't seem to be an issue for me, I decided to go with the LD01 R4 (Alu), mainly because I got the impression that it's very reliable, has a bit more output that the other options, and also I could order it at a local web store that has very good reviews.

    It should arrive pretty soon, and I'm looking forward to see how it compares to my old maglites. The real test will be to see how it holds up over time, and how much use it will get.

  25. #25

    Default Small 1xAAA light

    Hi, I'm looking for a small, 1xAAA light - small, so I can keep it in my khakis at work and not look absurd.
    I guess at least a low and a high mode would be ideal, but beyond that, I'm open to suggestions...

    Thanks!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by tecnab View Post
    go for Thrunite TI
    +1

  27. #27

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Quote Originally Posted by wedlpine View Post
    +1
    Oh, one more thing. Because of how I carry it, I'll need a clip, which would seem to exclude the thrunite ti.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Don't forget about the IlluminaTi! Been using mine for a few years now and can say it is a great light.
    Beautiful titanium also! My lobster claw has worn the finish off but light still looks like new!





    Barry
    Changing the world one Flashoholic at a time...

  29. #29

    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    OK, I've done some research and narrowed it down to the fenix ld01, the preon p1, the olight i3 or the maratac aaa, leaning towards the preon or the olight. thoughts?

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Zeruel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which AAA keychain EDC

    Waldo, it seems you're going through a similar diemma as the OP and the OP has picked LD01 eventually, which I heartily agree it's a great choice. I have bought many AAA lights over the years and I always ended up using LD01 as my regular edc, either on the keychain or as my pocket edc. Also, I use protected 10440 exclusively for the extra oomph and LD01 is one of the few AAAs whose length allows protected 10440 (a tad longer than unprotected ones) to fit comfortably.

    Preon P1, Olight i3 and Maratac AAA shares similar UI, ie always start on low, then to med to hi. If you always prefer to activate your light at the lowest setting, then any of these choices is good. However, Preon P1 has the added advantage of hidden blinky modes, options to lego and FourSevens lights are backed by reputable customer service.

    To add to your confusion, I'd also recommend Thrunite TI. The UI is no brainer and the price is great. The clip is easily solved by getting a P7 Suspension Clip.

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