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Thread: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

  1. #1

    Default Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

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

    1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

    ____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
    __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! :-)

    ____I don't know yet
    _x___Up to $25.
    _x___Up to $50.
    ____Up to $100.
    ____Up to $200.
    ____Up to $300.
    ____Essentially unlimited.

    3) Format:

    ____I am not sure, please help me decide.
    _x___I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
    ____I want a self-contained headlamp.
    ____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
    ____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
    ____I want a lantern/area light.
    ____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
    ____Other ____________________________________________

    4) Size:

    _x___MICRO - Keychain size.
    __x__TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
    __x__SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
    ____MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
    ____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
    ____I don’t know/I don't care.

    5) Emitter/Light source:

    _x___LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
    ____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
    ____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
    ____I don't know.

    6) Manufacturer:

    __x__I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
    ____I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
    ____I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a “host” or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a “drop-in” emitter from another source).

    7) What power source do you want to use?

    __x__I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
    ____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).
    __x__I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
    _x___I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
    ____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
    ____I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

    7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
    ____I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
    ____I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
    ____I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
    _x___I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
    ____I don't care

    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).

    ____I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
    ____I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
    ____I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
    _x___I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
    __x__I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
    ____I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

    _x___SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.

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

    __x__All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
    __x__Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
    __x__Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
    ____Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.
    ____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
    ____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.

    9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
    ____Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
    ____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
    ____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
    ____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
    __x__50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
    ____150+ yards (I am searching from a helicopter)

    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).

    ____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
    ____30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
    _x___90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
    ____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).

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

    ____Not Important (A “night-stand” light).
    __x__Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
    __x__Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
    ____Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
    ____I don’t know.

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

    ____Any size switch will do.
    ____I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
    __x__I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
    ____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
    __x__I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
    ____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
    ____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
    __x__I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today’s high end lights).
    ____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
    ____I don't care.
    ____I don’t know.
    ____Other, please specify____________________.

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

    ____A simple on-off with only one output level 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 want a programmable light.
    ____I want a selector ring.
    ____I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
    ____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ...---... emergency pattern)
    ____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
    ____I don’t care.
    ____I don’t know.


    ____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
    __x__Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today’s higher end flashlights).
    ____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
    ____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
    ____I don’t care.
    ____I don’t know.
    ____Other, please specify____________.

    15) Water resistance
    ____None needed
    ____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
    ____IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
    __x__IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

    16) Storage conditions
    __x__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
    ____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
    ____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
    ____Other_________________________________________ ____

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

    __x__Battery life indicator
    ____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
    ____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
    ____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
    ____“Hybrid” light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
    __x__Pocket/belt clip
    ____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
    ____Crenulated bezel
    ____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    New Jersey

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Have you read about surefire g2x pro? current version is two levels at 15 lumen and 600 lumen. Google it and read some reviews.
    You can use either two primary CR123A cells or one 16650 rechargable Li-ion battery.
    Price is about $50

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Zebralight SC64c LE. Tiny for an 18650 light. A little over your budget.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Northern New Jersey

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    If you can find one in Titainium, go the extra bucks, but otherwise the Eagtac D25A is a great little light.

    I don't have one but many like the lumintop tool
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  5. #5

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    ^ Oh that’s a good one, the Lumintop tool 2.0 would fit the bill nicely

  6. #6

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Depending on how you EDC it I see a few problems:
    1) 18650 format is bulky for a pocket carry
    2) non lithium ion based lights probably won't yield good results above about 300 lumens in output/runtime
    3) Forward clicky switches are rather uncommon especially those lights with more than 1 mode.
    Considering all of that a light that I like but don't EDC it is the Wowtac A2S. It is a right angle headlamp 18650 light that can be bought
    for about $35 comes with a headband and 3400mah 18650 battery with a built-in micro usb charging port. It has 3 normal modes
    Low-Medium-High and two other modes moonlight and Turbo. Moonlight is about 1 lumen, Turbo is 800+ lumens.
    Fenix Split rings 1400+ sent, SWIVELS now available also!
    Psalm 112:4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    The Fenix PD25 fits all criteria except the battery indicator and the fact that it’s typically $56. But if you start a membership at, you can get a discount, and it’s an absolutely perfect light for everyday carry. Out of my entire collection, I think it’s my favorite.
    Streamlight ProTac HL - SureFire P2X Fury - Fenix PD35 v2.0 - Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 - Fenix PD25 - NiteCore SRT7GT - NiteCore SRT3

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    The great state of Iowa

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Two suggestions, both of which I have and use. First, the Lumintop Tool AA 2.0. While the name says AA, it will also take a 14500 cell for greatly increased output. The other, the Lumintop GT Micro, which also uses a single 14500 cell. It is now quite as utile, since the larger head makes it hard to carry in a pants pocket, but it works find in a coat or jacket.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Thank you, just placed an order for the PD25. I used the code FENIXUSA20 to save 20% off my first order! Came to 45 and some change. This really does seem to be exactly what I was looking for!

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* Keitho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    CO, USA

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Congrats on the PD25, nice deal inclu. the battery. If you ever want to play with 18650 for higher turbo lumens and a cell that has almost 5x the Wh as the 16340, at around the same price there are a couple of lights about the same length, slightly larger diameter (22mm vs 28mm). For about the same as your 93mm long Fenix, the FW1A (101mm long) and FW3A (93mm long) have a tailcap switch; EDC18 has a side switch (94mm long); they've got different LED choices if you wanted to try a different tint, CRI. The FW1a/3a have another neat trick--an optional 18350 tube, which makes them 30mm shorter when using a battery that has about 1/3 the Wh as the 18650--I've used this length 18350 light as a "bottom of the pocket" light, as opposed to my 18650 EDC's which end up being a "clipped on the inside of a pocket" light.

    Enjoy the new Fenix!
    Last edited by Keitho; 02-27-2020 at 11:47 AM. Reason: 30mm, not 300!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Recommend me a AA/14500 or small 18650 flashlight for EDC

    Funny you mention the FW3A I just ordered one last night! I got the SST20 version. Really looking forward to trying it out, especially after reading your reply.

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