Less but better flashlight?


Newly Enlightened
Aug 26, 2014

I felt drawn to buy a pocket flashlight, started reading EDC blogs, then ended up here after being hypnotized by SPYs and McGizmos and Steve Kus etc

After wasting (maybe investing is a better word!) the better part of a day exploring the forums, I have a few choices in mind but thought perhaps its wise to ask what the experts think, especially since you went to the trouble to make thi sgreat little survey.

So, here's hoping you can help me?


==================Flashlight Recommendation Checklist================

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

__X_This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).

2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

__X_Up to $200. (Yes I know, no SPY or McGizmo for me :( )

3) Format:
__X_I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).

4) Size:
_X__TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).

5) Emitter/Light source:
__X_LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)

6) Manufacturer:

I A) like to support craftsmen and B) Enjoy being smug about having something special
__X_I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).

7) What power source do you want to use?

_X__I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).

I would always forget to charge rechargeables and/or lose them

8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is not a happy experience).

Well it would be cool to have all of these settings but from what I've read you can't have everything. I would rather have long lasting lower power than 10 seconds of football stadium lighting.

My lighting task priorities (1, 2 an 3 are mandatory, the rest are completely optional):

_1__I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
_2__I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
_3__I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)

_4__I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
_5__I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
_6__I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

^ ALSO I do not want to burn a hole in my hand with the high setting that some of these pocket lights have

9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.

__X_Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
These three distances
__1_Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
__2_Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
__3_5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)

10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).

_X__90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
This would be cool, but given I've selected standard batteries this is not as important as light level for me

11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.

__Preferred:_Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
__I'll settle for:_Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).

12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

_X__I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today's high end lights).
_X__I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
_X__I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
_X__Any size switch will do.

13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

2 or 3 levels is fine for me
_X__I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
_X__I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)


I care a great deal about how this tool will look. "Less, but better" as the great man said. My preference is for a metal housing, but I don't want to rule out composite or plastics as it could potentially look great.

15) Water resistance

I am going to drop this in a puddle one day, so probably IPx7?

16) Storage conditions

My sweaty pants pocket most likely

17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

Pocket/belt clip would be nice!


Flashlight Enthusiast
Nov 9, 2007
The great state of Misery (Missouri)
It doesn't meet all your needs, but the Streamlight Microstream is a great EDC pocket light. 1 AAA, 24 lumens, 2.5 hr run time. Otherwise the Streamlight Stylus Pro. 2AAA, 48 lumens, longer run time. A little longer so a little more unwieldy as a Pocket EDC, but works great clipped into shirt pocket like a pen. Both under $30 USD. Otherwise Streamlight ProTac EMS. 1 AA, 3.7/10/50 lumens, longer run time, pocket size, starts at low instead of high so less light until you need more. Under $40 USD. I have EDCed all three at one time or another and all work well as such. The Microstream and Stylus Pro also come with belt holsters if that is an option for you.


Oct 31, 2004
Consider the Malkoff MDC in 1xAA or 1xCR123 format. Pocketable, very high quality.


Newly Enlightened
Dec 20, 2011
I think that one of the Peak lights could be a good candidate. Particularly the Peak Eiger in a limited run of copper. Should run around $95 + shipping. Its also available in aluminum, stainless steel, or brass. It would run on a single AAA like the Energizer L92s. It has a variable brightness adjustment with QTC. I've never used it but some question its reliability. If all else fails, you could remove the QTC element and have a light fixed at about 50 lumens. You can also get a momentary tail switch for it along with various other options.

Of course, I always like to give a plug to the Fenix E01 for EDC. I have owned several of them for years and they aren't the brightest or most featured lights around, and they are common and cheap. Having said that, you would be hard pressed to destroy one under any normal extreme you might encounter and they run on a single AAA as well. It also comes in several colors. Buy multiples and put them everywhere. Give them away as gifts. I love these things!!

Edit: Removed links.
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Nov 12, 2010
CONUS, top left
I agree that a Peak (Eiger, El Capitan, Logan) would be a great choice ... :thumbsup:

Although discontinued, you might also be able to find a Muyshondt Aeon / Ion / Nautilus (in aluminum) for that budget.

Another option, although also difficult to find, could be one of the various JiL Lite CR2 torches (although most of these have only single-level output).

Moving even farther away from your listed requirements, TnC has recently released some new custom / limited runs (carried by RMSK). These do require Li-Ion rechargeable batteries however, and have very high maximum outputs. The HF series by MBI would also fall into this group (Li-Ion power, high output).
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Newly Enlightened
Aug 26, 2014
Thanks for your suggestions guys!

I'll have a look at the Peak. That seems to fit the bill.