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Thread: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

  1. #1

    Question Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Hello, im needing advice on choosing the best AAA flash light for ultralight backpacking. Something I can use as a multi purpose flashlight and something to illuminate the tent or hut each night would be perfect.
    I really like the Maratac AAA and the Lumintop Tool which I believe are basically the same torch, but Im also very interested in the Ultratac K18 v 2019 and it comes bundled with a silicone light diffuser and has provision for a tritium vial which is perfect for what Im after, another advantage is it takes 10440 batteries.

    Being stainless steel, i was surprised it was a similar weight to the lumintop also.

    In quite overwhelmed with all the reviews im reading on various AAA flashlights, but it also seems that the battery performance of the Ultratac is better with an AA than a 10440, albeit a little lower in brightness compared to what the 10440 runs on, Ideally I would like a light that can give me a minimum of 10-20 lumens for at least 5-6 hours on a charge. Typically I would use the light for 2-3 hours each night before bed, so can get about 2 nights out of a battery.

    I was thinking that the 10440 would have given me longer battery life, but it seems that the design is more to give you more lumens rather than running time, since it would be great if you could get the low modes you get on the AAA with the 10440 and get the same brightness with longer battery life instead.

    On the upside, some people are saying its way brighter on low than what they claim on the packet, which if is the case, I could get away with running it on low and get a fair few hours off a 10440.

    Any other suggestions? on what to look for, either way, for the price its tempting to grab the Ultratac. I may find that I may find it better with AAA and get around 5 hours on medium perhaps? I also may be happy enough with the 14 hours using a 10440 at the quoted 9 lumens? Im not sure how much light you loose with a diffuser, but that would be a very useful thing for me to have.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Hello and welcome to CPF !

    Your post above has been approved.

    The one key bit of info that most typically omit from "Recommend Me" questions, is your preferred budget.

    I'm sure that others will be by soon, to advise you further ....
    ... is the archimedes peak

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    The most popular AAA light that I've seen in ultralight groups is the $14 Thrunite Ti3. It can do 12 lumens for 6 hours. Also can be clipped to the brim of a hat for hands free use. And it has an extremely dim firefly mode that is perfect for preserving your night vision.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    I recently bought a lumintop tool AAA light and it came with a glow in the dark diffuser but I didn't need it for diffusing as it has an optical LED that diffuses already. I was looking at the ultratac but the specs on it using nimh weren't any better and it costs more. I thought about using it with a 10440 but the work I do I sometimes get wet and also I have had too many lights come on in my pocket and I decided not to use lithium ion batteries in such a light. I am thinking that the ultratac was designed for nimh and alkaline but made to also work with lithium ion which explains why it doesn't get as good as runtime using it.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Hey thanks, im probably ok spending up to $100, but for the price difference on many lights, I was finding that there was not much benefit for the money spent on such models.

    I was also looking at the Surefire titan plus and peak eiger, but they are somewhat more bulky and also have some cons to those too.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by nzoomed View Post
    Hey thanks, im probably ok spending up to $100, but for the price difference on many lights, I was finding that there was not much benefit for the money spent on such models.

    I was also looking at the Surefire titan plus and peak eiger, but they are somewhat more bulky and also have some cons to those too.
    The Surefire Titan Plus AAA is EN-plated brass, and very heavy (for a pocket flashlight) ... so I doubt that you would prefer that for "ultralight" backpacking.

    The Peak Eiger is very efficient in terms of "lumen-hours" ... so that may be a plus for your purposes.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by parametrek View Post
    The most popular AAA light that I've seen in ultralight groups is the $14 Thrunite Ti3. It can do 12 lumens for 6 hours. Also can be clipped to the brim of a hat for hands free use. And it has an extremely dim firefly mode that is perfect for preserving your night vision.
    Yes I had been looking at the Thrunite Ti3. I also see they have the Ti XP-L v6 which has a higher output on full. Im quite tempted to look at this and it has the same battery life for 12 lumens at 6 hours.

    I guess i had got a bit distracted with the 10440 and been trying to find a more versatile light that accepts more battery types. I see that the specs on such AAA torches say the supply voltage is typically 1-3V, with a lithium ion, you are pushing that to about 3.7V which might explain why some people are getting away with it, even though its not recommended by the manufacturer?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Yes i believe it is heavy, and is also alot longer.
    I was put off the peak Eiger for the same reason and its even a much larger flashlight, very close to some AA and CR123 models in size.

    Perhaps I should look at the Peak Eiger again though, it does look well built.

    I was also meaning to ask about LED choice, alot of these have the option of a cool white, or a more neutral Nichia LED which gives less output over the Cree, but better for reading, so I hear.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by parametrek View Post
    The most popular AAA light that I've seen in ultralight groups is the $14 Thrunite Ti3. It can do 12 lumens for 6 hours. Also can be clipped to the brim of a hat for hands free use. And it has an extremely dim firefly mode that is perfect for preserving your night vision.
    I have one as well in titanium. Excellent little light. Just donít trust the little chain that comes with it. I attached the little keychain ring directly to the ďCĒ clip and threw away the little links that kept bending. Hope this helps.

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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by nzoomed View Post
    .... I guess i had got a bit distracted with the 10440 and been trying to find a more versatile light that accepts more battery types. I see that the specs on such AAA torches say the supply voltage is typically 1-3V, with a lithium ion, you are pushing that to about 3.7V which might explain why some people are getting away with it, even though its not recommended by the manufacturer?
    Lithium Ion battery chemistry is (usually) 4.2V (or more) when fully charged. The common labeling nomenclature is unfortunately confusing and misleading.

    Unless you really do know what you are doing, exceeding recommended safe voltage ranges is not recommended
    ... is the archimedes peak

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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by nzoomed View Post
    .... I was put off the peak Eiger for the same reason and its even a much larger flashlight, very close to some AA and CR123 models in size.

    Perhaps I should look at the Peak Eiger again though, it does look well built.

    I was also meaning to ask about LED choice, alot of these have the option of a cool white, or a more neutral Nichia LED which gives less output over the Cree, but better for reading, so I hear.
    I would consider the Peak Eiger an "average-minus" sized AAA flashlight; the aluminum will be the lightest, but the steel version is much more robust.

    The cooler tints will have the best output efficiency, but many prefer the warmer tints for more natural color (a vast oversimplification, but there are many threads that deal with this topic in incredible depth)
    ... is the archimedes peak

  12. #12

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by archimedes View Post
    Lithium Ion battery chemistry is (usually) 4.2V (or more) when fully charged. The common labeling nomenclature is unfortunately confusing and misleading.

    Unless you really do know what you are doing, exceeding recommended safe voltage ranges is not recommended
    I never realised they put out that much voltage! I always thought 3.7V was the norm for all these kind of batteries whether they be 18650, CR123, etc.

    Anyway, I wouldnt risk putting one in a light not designed for such a battery.

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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by nzoomed View Post
    I never realised they put out that much voltage! I always thought 3.7V was the norm for all these kind of batteries whether they be 18650, CR123, etc....
    There is a difference between "nominal" voltage and maximum voltage.

    There is a difference between "lithium-ion" (secondary) batteries and "lithium" (primary) batteries.

    There are differences between IMR, ICR, IFR, newer hybrid, and other chemistries.

    Yes, it's complicated
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Ok, im getting a bit distracted here, but am currently comparing between lumintop and thrunite models.

    I see here http://www.lumintop.com/tool-aaa.html that it quotes 10 hours on medium power, but they quote 4 hours everywhere else on their other models, such as the titanium one, so im assuming this is a misprint?
    If it can indeed do 10 hours, then it would win hands down for me

    Then I see there is a model called the Ant, this looks quite attractive to me and also has provision for a tritium vial, makes it easy to find in the dark.
    If i find 4 lumens on low is usable enough light, I might be happy with this and the bonus is i get over 30 hours, in saying that in a worst case scenario if i use 1 AAA battery each night, thats not really a big deal anyway.

    Would be nice if there is a way to modify the driver on these to operate at your preferred power level.
    I would imagine its just a matter of changing capacitor / resistor values on the board.
    Is anyone doing this to their flashlights?
    Right now im tossing up between the thrunite Ti XP-L v6 and the Lunintop Ant. I would probably go with the thrunite if it could take a tritium vial, perhaps there are aftermarket tail caps or i just get my mate to CNC a groove in the base?
    If the thrunite ran around 12 lumens on low and 30 lumens on medium and did away with firefly it would be exactly what I want.
    Seems there is no one flashlight that suits everybodys needs, so I may end up buying a bunch of these models anyway im thinking and try them all out anyway lol

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Paul6ppca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    How about Fenix eo5

    14 hrs at 8 lumens and twisty switch is good in the dark!

    High: 85 Lumens (Ni-MH: 1 hour; Alkaline: 45 min.)
    Mid: 25 Lumens (Ni-MH: 4 hours 15 min.; Alkaline: 4 hours 15 min.)
    Low: 8 Lumens (Ni-MH: 14 hours 30 min.; Alkaline: 15 hours)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul6ppca View Post
    How about Fenix eo5

    14 hrs at 8 lumens and twisty switch is good in the dark!

    High: 85 Lumens (Ni-MH: 1 hour; Alkaline: 45 min.)
    Mid: 25 Lumens (Ni-MH: 4 hours 15 min.; Alkaline: 4 hours 15 min.)
    Low: 8 Lumens (Ni-MH: 14 hours 30 min.; Alkaline: 15 hours)
    Had just been looking at that one last night. Not bad.

    Ive actually decided to buy a couple of different types, since I would do with more than one anyway and keep one in my toolkit when working under computer desks, etc :P

    Looking at the specs on the ultratac, I think Its not that bad, especially using an AAA in the lower modes, at 5.7 hours for 25 lumens is not bad, but I still need to know how I will go with 3-5 lumens as usable light.
    So I think I will grab an ultratac and also a thrunite and try both out and see what one i prefer.
    I might also like the twist top switch more on the thrunite than the switch on the ultratac, although one advantage is its memory that will turn it back on the setting you last had it on, thats something I really like about it.

    Im really excited to see how much more efficient future LED modules are going to become, coupled with higher energy dense lithium batteries in the years to come, i bet we will see even brighter and longer lasting EDC lights around the corner
    I think for me its just hard to find a light that lets you run at the brightness level you prefer. I guess thats one advantage with the peak eiger.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Paul6ppca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Enjoy. Itís fun looking and trying. You will find that one wonít fit all the needs. Sometime you want low output first. Other time you need(ok want)maximum output first. Depends on the situation.
    I really like being able to program,or choose either low then high or hi first. Weather it memory or programmed there are different needs for different situations.
    Have fun searching. For programming aaa light look around for an old MJP aaa light. I love mine! Itís a twisty 2 mode light you can program position 1 then twist more for position 2.
    I also love my lumintop tool Ti. It come on medium first(32 lumens )
    They can be had on eBayxxx

  18. #18

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul6ppca View Post
    Enjoy. Itís fun looking and trying. You will find that one wonít fit all the needs. Sometime you want low output first. Other time you need(ok want)maximum output first. Depends on the situation.
    I really like being able to program,or choose either low then high or hi first. Weather it memory or programmed there are different needs for different situations.
    Have fun searching. For programming aaa light look around for an old MJP aaa light. I love mine! Itís a twisty 2 mode light you can program position 1 then twist more for position 2.
    I also love my lumintop tool Ti. It come on medium first(32 lumens )
    They can be had on eBayxxx
    Programmable lights sound a great idea, I certainly will look into those!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    The UltraTac K18 is nice with the 10440 support but I'm more of a tail switch guy...the UltraTac A7 is AAA only I believe and has a rear clicky....so close to being the almost perfect AAA light but alas...no moonlight or even a low mode to speak of.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    I like tail switches too, but i guess the advantage of a side switch is that is makes it easy for one handed operation.
    Would like to see more 10440 models come to the market too, as they have huge advantages with battery life.

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by nzoomed View Post
    I like tail switches too, but i guess the advantage of a side switch is that is makes it easy for one handed operation.
    Would like to see more 10440 models come to the market too, as they have huge advantages with battery life.
    I highly recommend the Fenix LD02. It ticks off all the boxes you have described. Super lightweight Aluminum, rear tail, multi fuel, 3 modes and they can take a beating too. Over the years, mine has been swimming in the washing machine more times than I can count. Done several full rides in the Dryer too. Looks rough, but works everytime!

    Next up is the new version of the 47's Preon, done by Jason @ Dark Sucks. The clip is amazing too.

    The Fenix will run both batteries, I can vouch for this, however for safety: I suggest you stay with Eneloop Pro's and a Solar charging rig. I run the Nomad 7 by Goal Zero for camping. Kids up, gotta run. See yall later
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  22. #22

    Default Re: Need help choosing the right AAA EDC flashlight

    Quote Originally Posted by Str8stroke View Post
    I highly recommend the Fenix LD02. It ticks off all the boxes you have described. Super lightweight Aluminum, rear tail, multi fuel, 3 modes and they can take a beating too. Over the years, mine has been swimming in the washing machine more times than I can count. Done several full rides in the Dryer too. Looks rough, but works everytime!

    Next up is the new version of the 47's Preon, done by Jason @ Dark Sucks. The clip is amazing too.

    The Fenix will run both batteries, I can vouch for this, however for safety: I suggest you stay with Eneloop Pro's and a Solar charging rig. I run the Nomad 7 by Goal Zero for camping. Kids up, gotta run. See yall later
    It does look like a good unit indeed. Will probably end up getting one for its price

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