What's the best quality 2xAA flashlight?

Scorpion89

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
4
I'm looking for a new 2xAA flash light. I've been using a Fenix LD10 with an LD20 body (2xAA) for about the last 10 years. But it only puts out about 132 lumens according to the specs, and its rather beat-up at this point. I see things have moved on in the last 10 years quite considerably regarding LED technology.

I use the light mainly for urban exploration and camping. So it needs to be waterproof, dust proof, and shock proof. Generally just very tough.

The reason I want to stick with AA's is because I have a load of Eneloop, and Eneloop pro's, and I don't want to introduce different batteries and chargers to what I already have. Plus I don't have a need for massive lumens, more than what I have now would be nice though.

I'm not an engineer by profession, but I think like one, so quality of materials manufacture and build are very important to me. Only the best will do.

My budget is £200 ($250). What would you recommend?
 

Burgess

Flashaholic
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Messages
6,540
Location
USA
Welcome to CandlePowerForums !

:welcome:



Fenix LD22 (2xAA) is a nice replacement.
I have a couple, and really like it.


WAY under your budget,
and you won't suffer much anguish
when you drop it, bang it up, or
(gasp) even LOSE it !


Hope this is helpful . . . .


:cool:
_
 

thermal guy

Flashaholic
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
9,947
Location
ny
Malkoff makes one hell of a AA light. Not as bright as some other but fantastic build quality makes it pretty much bomb proof.
 

Scorpion89

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
4
Welcome to CandlePowerForums !

:welcome:



Fenix LD22 (2xAA) is a nice replacement.
I have a couple, and really like it.


WAY under your budget,
and you won't suffer much anguish
when you drop it, bang it up, or
(gasp) even LOSE it !


Hope this is helpful . . . .


:cool:
_

Hi :)... What a coincidence. I did actually buy an LD22, as I figured it was the logical step up from my LD20. It arrived this morning. But ether there is a manufacturing defect, or the light was not designed properly in the first place.
Let me explain: Both the head and the tail cap need to be screwed down tight to complete the circuit, but unfortunately the spring in the tail cap becomes coil-bound before both ends can be tightened fully. Obviously this is a problem. Over time I'd imagine ether the spring will eventually break loose of the board due to it being continually deformed by force, or depending on how well the top and bottom boards are secured, ether one, or both will eventually succumb to the force and break.
I would imagine this would go completely unnoticed by the vast majority of people who buy this light, and it might not actually cause any problems over time, but it doesn't sit well with me, so I'll be returning the flashlight.
 

Scorpion89

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
4
Malkoff 2 XAA

Surefire 2 XAA

HDS 2 XAA Clicky Version

Hmm... Surefire doesn't seem to make a 2xAA flashlight. At least I cant see one on they're website.
Malkoff does but they seem to be out of stock. Look impressive though. Definitely an option.
I've had a look at HDS but they're not for me. Very expensive too.

Are their any others with potted electronics, extremely robust? I'm not from the US by the way, so lights from other country's are an option too.
 

AVService

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
2,163
HDS Rotary is probably the pinnacle of 2AA
Malkoff is great for sure
LD22 is nice light but I really like my lights these days to also offer a Moonlight Mode
ET makes a 2AA D25A which is great and can be had in different emitter choices

I think I would read up on here about the tech available these days and go from there.

Welcome!
 

InvisibleFrodo

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
963
For the price, that Quark QK2A is quite a good light. I've been using it daily when I go to work since I got it.
 

Guitar Guy

Enlightened
Joined
Oct 23, 2016
Messages
581
Location
West Virginia
Welcome. Lots of great folks on the forum.

+1 on the 2AA Malkoff, as mentioned above, it's bomb proof, and well under your price limit. The 3 modes are well spaced, and I think the lowest goes down to 3 Lumens.

You may contact Gene through the website and see how long until he re-ups. It will be worth the wait. I had an LD22 for a while, and gave it to my Mom to supplement her Mini Mag. Good light but the Malkoff reminds me of military grade.
 

FNG

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
749
Location
MO
I think you should repurpose your Eneloop Pros and get an 18650 setup. Batteries are about 5 USD each and a basic charger is not that expensive so it's a very small percentage of your $250 budget. There are chargers that will handle NiMH and Li-ion as well.

18650 lights have much higher capacity (in terms of Wh) and are shorter than any 2xAA light if that matters. Although many have a ridiculous amount of lumens it doesn't mean that you have to use them on turbo or high all the time. A comparable 18650 light set at 100-200 lumens will have 2-3 times the runtime.

I've been looking for a 2xAA to 'update' my old Quark QT2A-X (only for a warmer emitter with high CRI) and the options are really limited. The purpose will be for emergencies so I only use lithium primaries in them (with plenty of spares close by). My only other reasoning for AA is that it's a common battery type and is available at pretty much any retail location in the US. Other than that I really don't have a use for 2xAA lights. Single AA on the other hand are good if you want a small form factor in width and height for pocket carry and AAA is even better if you don't mind the lower capacity.

I understand consolidating battery types and having a 'system' though. What other AA devices do you use when you're out exploring or camping? Have you ever had to do battery swaps or did your Fenix typically last throughout the trip?

Better yet, get a single AA floody high CRI headlamp (perfect for urbanex and camping) and an 18650 handheld light for general purpose use and longer throw.
 

Scorpion89

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
4
I think you should repurpose your Eneloop Pros and get an 18650 setup. Batteries are about 5 USD each and a basic charger is not that expensive so it's a very small percentage of your $250 budget. There are chargers that will handle NiMH and Li-ion as well.

18650 lights have much higher capacity (in terms of Wh) and are shorter than any 2xAA light if that matters. Although many have a ridiculous amount of lumens it doesn't mean that you have to use them on turbo or high all the time. A comparable 18650 light set at 100-200 lumens will have 2-3 times the runtime.

I've been looking for a 2xAA to 'update' my old Quark QT2A-X (only for a warmer emitter with high CRI) and the options are really limited. The purpose will be for emergencies so I only use lithium primaries in them (with plenty of spares close by). My only other reasoning for AA is that it's a common battery type and is available at pretty much any retail location in the US. Other than that I really don't have a use for 2xAA lights. Single AA on the other hand are good if you want a small form factor in width and height for pocket carry and AAA is even better if you don't mind the lower capacity.

I understand consolidating battery types and having a 'system' though. What other AA devices do you use when you're out exploring or camping? Have you ever had to do battery swaps or did your Fenix typically last throughout the trip?

Better yet, get a single AA floody high CRI headlamp (perfect for urbanex and camping) and an 18650 handheld light for general purpose use and longer throw.


Thanks all for your replies. I've had a look at your suggested lights, and I think the one I'm liking the most so far is the Malkoff. Seems like a proper bit of kit.

The thing is, I've just replaced my white label Eneloop's with new ones. My white Eneloop's are from 2009 and made by Sanyo. I've been using them for ten years now. Amazing batteries. The only reason I've replaced them is because they're all beat up. The wrapping is all peeling and one has quite a substantial dent in it. Still works just fine though, but I figured it was time to replace them, so I bought some Eneloop Pro's after being so impressed with the original Sanyo's.

I like AA for the same reason you do, in that they're readily available if you ever need to get hold of some in an emergency, or if you just run out when your on your travels. Plus I mostly use the lowest and the middle mode's on my flashlight, so my batteries easily last any trips I do. Its only very rarely that I need to swap out the batteries for fresh ones (I always carry 2 spare). So AA's work for me just fine.

I've Actually been out earlier exploring a few places. And thinking about lights while I was using mine highlighted how much a light with a more flood'y beam would suit me better, because most of the time I use the light for close use. I don't really have a use for a thrower as such. The only 2xAA light I can see with a flood beam is the Fenix FD20 with its focusing head. The focusing mechanism is all external though, and I'm not sure how well it will stand up to getting dirt and dust in the mechanism, given that its not designed to be dismantled for cleaning.
I think I might go for the Malkoff. Just need to wait till the come back in stock.
 

AVService

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
2,163
Well just to muddy the waters a little bit have you considered a single cell AA light like the ZL SC5 or SC52?
These were designed for the Eneloop and has the widest mode selection and most flexible interface going and though it is small it is also mighty!
There are few lights as efficient with an AA on the market as a ZL.

The thing with the Malkoff that may give you pause is the reason that I don't carry mine too much and that is the huge spread between the lowest and next lowest output level.

With a ZL you can select a lot more variation in level and also quickly fine tune that further while the need is there.

There is not much else out there that can act like this and I have hunted around for one for sure.
 

FNG

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
749
Location
MO
Thanks all for your replies. I've had a look at your suggested lights, and I think the one I'm liking the most so far is the Malkoff. Seems like a proper bit of kit.

No one doubts the build quality of Malkoff lights but it probably won't work well for your application. If you're used to a couple hours of runtime with the Fenix LD10/LD20 then the Malkoff will only last about an hour on its highest setting. And going from 25 lumens to 250 lumens is a huge step. People got by for a long time on 60 lumens and after your eyes are adjusted to night time 250 might be overkill but it depends on what type of exploring you're doing. I'd also like to add that Malkoff lights are over built. If your Fenix has lasted you 10 years and still kicking then the savings on a lesser expensive Chinese made light can be put to use in other areas, like 2 or 3 lights. The saying is two is one and one is none so having a backup light isn't a bad idea.

Summary of Modes: 3/25/250 Lumens
Approximate Runtime in modes: 100/20/1 Hours

For size comparison, here's my Zebralight SC64w HI, Convoy S2+, and Foursevens Quark Tactical QT2A-X. Manufacturer specs for the Quark lists a 138 lumen output on high for a runtime of 2.5 hours. The Zebralight lists 467 lumens for 3.2 hours, 245 lumens for 6.3 hours, and 118 lumens for 13.8 hours. There are 12 brightness levels in all but I just listed the comparable ones.

http://www.zebralight.com/SC64w-HI-18650-XHP35-Neutral-White-High-Intensity-Flashlight_p_232.html





The thing is, I've just replaced my white label Eneloop's with new ones. My white Eneloop's are from 2009 and made by Sanyo. I've been using them for ten years now. Amazing batteries. The only reason I've replaced them is because they're all beat up. The wrapping is all peeling and one has quite a substantial dent in it. Still works just fine though, but I figured it was time to replace them, so I bought some Eneloop Pro's after being so impressed with the original Sanyo's.

Take it as a loss or use them for other devices. Now that 18650 lights are readily available there's no reason not to get on the train so to speak. It's the same reason why incandescent flashlights are considered outdated by today's standards. It took me a long time to move to LEDs because of bad color rendition but LED technology has gotten a lot better since then. I now have lights that use a Nichia E21A, Nichia 219B, Nichia 219C, and Luminous SST-20. All are above 90 CRI. I still have my old SureFire G2Z and M6 incandescent lights (60 lumens and 250 lumens respectively) for the light quality and nostalgia. Also because I still like to keep lithium primary battery lights around for emergency purposes since they have a long shelf life, very low discharge rate, and can withstand extreme temperatures without degradation. They get used maybe a few minutes a year but mostly not at all.

I like AA for the same reason you do, in that they're readily available if you ever need to get hold of some in an emergency, or if you just run out when your on your travels. Plus I mostly use the lowest and the middle mode's on my flashlight, so my batteries easily last any trips I do. Its only very rarely that I need to swap out the batteries for fresh ones (I always carry 2 spare). So AA's work for me just fine.

Yes I keep them around but only because I have a 20 pack of Energizer Ultimate lithium batteries with an expiration date of 2039. The 2xAA light isn't used at all. If the thread title was, "What's the best quality flashlight for urban exploration and camping?" I would guarantee that almost no one will recommend a 2xAA light. I know it seems like I'm talking at you and not to you but if you're thinking from an engineering mindset then the application determines what materials you'll use, not the other way around.

I've Actually been out earlier exploring a few places. And thinking about lights while I was using mine highlighted how much a light with a more flood'y beam would suit me better, because most of the time I use the light for close use. I don't really have a use for a thrower as such. The only 2xAA light I can see with a flood beam is the Fenix FD20 with its focusing head. The focusing mechanism is all external though, and I'm not sure how well it will stand up to getting dirt and dust in the mechanism, given that its not designed to be dismantled for cleaning.
I think I might go for the Malkoff. Just need to wait till the come back in stock.

Have you thought about headlamps at all? It keeps both of your hands free. When I mentioned an additional flashlight for more throw, I didn't mean something for spotting objects at 100 meters but something similar to the LD20. Something to compliment a floody headlamp so if you're walking in the woods you can see the path in front of you.
 

Buck91

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
1,760
Location
USA
The Foursevens Quark Mkiii is *almost* a very nice light. Major breaking point for me is the non-ano tailcap threads meaning no lock out. Interestingly, the driver board is free floating as well. Had some issues with output related to the free floating driver board and their customer service left a lot to be desired. Too bad, its an otherwise well built and well designed light. :candle:

I can say the Jaxman M2 is very well built and well done if its what your looking for. Too big for a 2AA but otherwise nice.

I'm looking at the Pelican 2360 right now. Not sure what LED they are using but its rated at significantly less output than some of these boutique brands. No prior experience with pelican but I've heard good things.
 

Kitchen Panda

Enlightened
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
260
Location
Winnipeg
Foursevens QUARK QK2A MKIII is 2 AA. LED is Nichia 319A (5000K / 80+ CRI).


How does the revived Quark company compare with the original in terms of quality and service? I bought a Quark 2AA for a trip to Ghana and it was immensely useful, and solidly reliable. Bright, too - though some of the Chinese contractors had some super bright lamps also.

I've often thought that a Quark 2AA would be my standard recommendation for a flashlight - it fills most roles well, and only if you have a special task would you need something bigger/smaller/throwier/longer running.

Bill
 
Top