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Thread: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

  1. #1

    Default What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Hi All:

    I have been searching for a AAA keychain light that is super reliable. Iím looking for something that can be used for years and always turns on when needed. I was close to getting the stainless K18 v2019 but not convinced itís reliable enough.
    Iíd prefer a clicky for ease of one-handed use and would love it to have a strobe feature.

    Any thoughts? Thank you kindly in advance!

  2. #2

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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Clicky and complex electronics will take the reliability factor down a few notches.
    There are a few threads on tough AAA lights.
    The most reliable are twisties with potted electronics.
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
    -- Albert Einstein

  3. #3

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Peak Eiger comes to mind as super reliable. I like the Maratac AAA too. A brass twisty should twist easily one-handed.

  4. #4
    Administrator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I've always thought that the most reliable 1xAAA light would be a pair of 1xAAA lights.

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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Peak would also be my choice.

    Not much to go awry with McGizmo Sapphire either.

    As others have noted, clicky and strobe will reduce reliability.
    Last edited by archimedes; 02-21-2021 at 05:30 PM.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  6. #6

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I have carried a Surefire Titan on my car keychain for about 6 years daily now, other than some cosmetic wear from rubbing against the keys, it operates flawlessly- despite being dropped dozens of times on pavement.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Another vote for Peak Eiger.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* Timothybil's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    I've always thought that the most reliable 1xAAA light would be a pair of 1xAAA lights.
    I see you follow the mantra "Two is one, and one is none!"

    I have been EDCing a Sofirn C01S for a while without any problems, and really like the light. Comes with an O-ring for a keychain/lanyard, and the tailcap has space for a small magnet and a trit tube.
    Remember, Two is One, and One is None!.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Thanks All:
    I appreciate all of the suggestions.
    I like The Peak Eiger but first anyone know if the option with the momentary push button can still be carried on a keychain or does that choice preclude keychain carry?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic ironhorse's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Prometheus beta qrv2
    I choose to carry a flashlight because I am often kept in the dark.

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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    The momentary switch option replaces the keychain attachment. You can get a pocket clip from Darksucks that fits under the switch, then drill a hole in the clip, add a split ring and youíre all set.
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
    -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I should also throw in the Prometheus Beta. They are really well made, especially the Titanium that are lovingly made in limited quantities in the US (as I understand it). I elected to add the clip rather than the keychain ring.
    Also shown FYI are a Peak Eiger (raw aluminum Mule) and the McGizmo Sapphire.


    Last edited by Vemice; 02-21-2021 at 03:39 PM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    No props to the Fenix E01 ?
    THRUNITE > Archer1AV2|TiS|TH20|TN4A Hi...all in neutral white
    YUJILEDS BC Series 95+ HiCRI
    > Sofirn C01|Dorcy Penlight (Yuji modded)
    XTARVC4, LCTBC500, Amaloops, 1999 MAG-LITE 2D Incandescent(glass lens) Petzl Tikkina 80L ..... Fenix E01

  14. #14

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanBurn View Post
    No props to the Fenix E01 ?
    Too many failed on me at the solder joints. I prefer the Olight i3E EOS. The 120 lumen and 120 lumen copper are preferred. Hasn't failed me yet.

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    Flashaholic* akula88's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I've been using Jetbeam Jet-U for two years now. I have dropped this unit many times, and is either carried on my man-bag or on my front-pocket.
    This unit replaced my six-year-old Fenix L0D.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by akula88 View Post
    I've been using Jetbeam Jet-U for two years now....
    Currently carrying a Jet-U also, modified with a phenomenal emitter (JetUsolis) and it has been excellent for EDC.

    Still, I wouldn't consider it in the same reliability class as the Peak (especially in steel) , though.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* thermal guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Canít really get them anymore but An arc AAA! But a peak would do it to.
    If i had one day left to live i would want to be at my workplace.Because every day is like a frickin eternity.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I asked google what factors are used to define reliability of LED lights:

    LED Systems Reliability

    ďFailure of electrolytic or film capacitors is a leading cause of driver failureď

    types of reliability failures:


    from this info it seems potting is not a primary variable to reliability. The main failure seems to be a component failure in the driver, specifically, the capacitors in the power supply.

    But if potting is an important feature, the black and green body colors of the 2020 AAA Sofirn C01 are potted.

    HDS lights are potted, they recently changed sources for their power supply. They had several power supply failures in a batch of lights a couple of years ago. All fixed for free under warranty.

    So, I will add that reliability can mean the longevity of the company, for warranty, and the availability of replacement drivers, over the long term.

    but for an AAA light, the cost of replacing the whole light is similar to the cost of just a driver for other lights.. so, I would say, choose whatever AAA light has the features you want. If the light dies, buy another light, or hope for warranty service options.

    In my experience, all my lights are reliable. I have never had one die, for any reason. I have never had a warranty service claim either. (nor do I buy expecting a need for warranty service).

    The worst reliability experience I have had is with twisties, that flicker or skip modes. This was caused by too much lubrication, getting onto the pill and interfering with good contact from the end of the body tube.

    wiping out the excess lubricant, solved the "reliability" problem.
    Last edited by jon_slider; 02-24-2021 at 04:42 PM.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Outdoorsman5's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I'd currently recommend the Jetbeam U - very small, lightweight, & very nice.

    Regarding your reliability question, I've had a Fenix LOD for something like 13 years. It was on my key chain for most of those years and runs just as good today as it ever did. It's all knarled up from countless drops.

    The Olight AAA lights used to be great, but the later models were terrible. The head would come off way too easily in your pocket causing the battery to fall out as well. I lost 2 of them. Just had the tail/body on my key chain with no head or batter - just gone. I quit using those and went back to my Fenix LOD for quite a while.

    Hope that helped.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Outdoorsman5 View Post
    I'd currently recommend the Jetbeam U - very small, lightweight, & very nice.
    several posts agree with your preference. its a great choice for people that like a twisty with Mode Memory

    I prefer no memory
    so
    I EDC a Lumintop Tool most often, primarily used on Medium
    (clicky, 5 lumen minimum, 30 lumen medium)

    as an alternative that has a sublumen option, (for a nightstand/bathroom light),
    I also like the Thrunite Ti3
    (twisty, 0.2 lumens minimum, 12 lumen medium)

    sorry your olights lost their heads, I sent you a PM question about that

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    I asked google what factors are used to define reliability of LED lights:

    LED Systems Reliability

    ďFailure of electrolytic or film capacitors is a leading cause of driver failureď

    types of reliability failures:


    from this info it seems potting is not a primary variable to reliability....
    For some reason, that link doesn't work for me at the moment, but I note the chart refers to "luminaire" which usually implies a fixed lighting assembly.

    If so, physical protection via potted electronics might be less relevant in many or most installations, as compared with flashlights.
    ... is the archimedes peak

  22. #22

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Wow. Thanks for all of this great info. I know clickies arenít preferred over twisties in general for reliability but can anyone give any feedback in the stainless version of the Lumintop Ant? Seems to fit my requirements and I believe it may have a magnetic tail option that can be swapped in although I only see that magnet offered in black.

  23. #23

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by seanflash View Post
    Lumintop Ant?

    here is a reviewer I like

    it says:
    ďthe modes must be cycled to reach offĒ

    that is pretty, not "normal"

    it means turning the light off requires multiple clicks, and not always the same number, depending which level Im on.. I would pass on that UI

    a somewhat similar form factor is in the UltraTac K18, if you want to try a similar looking sideswitch light

    it turns on and off with a long press hold. (which I think is better than the Ant UI)
    It has Memory (some like that, I dont)

    as far as what metal you choose
    aluminium is the lowest weight
    titanium is inbetween
    stainless, brass, and copper are the heaviest
    none is more reliable, the choice is just personal preference

  24. #24
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    With regards to Peak's reliability, I greatly question the reliability of QTC. The Eiger I have could never find any level of tightness that didn't cause it to flicker wildly. It greatly undermines Peak's legendary design's reputation for reliability IMO.
    What kind of self respecting nocturnal being cannot see in the dark, one way or another?

  25. #25

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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by defloyd77 View Post
    With regards to Peak's reliability, I greatly question the reliability of QTC. The Eiger I have could never find any level of tightness that didn't cause it to flicker wildly. It greatly undermines Peak's legendary design's reputation for reliability IMO.
    They just revert to single mode if the QTC deteriorates.
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
    -- Albert Einstein

  26. #26
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Most of my Peak are the older pre-QTC versions.

    My understanding is that you can still order the fixed-output versions.

    I have a few of those where I've simply put in a small bit of the QTC material "loose" and that works reasonably well, although it does break down faster and will eventually need replacement (as with that in the more protected "pill" mechanism)

    Flickering with QTC may commonly be due to a tiny "crumb" of material lodged somewhere in the electrical contact path
    ... is the archimedes peak

  27. #27

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    I love my Tain Aurora, but probably most reliable is the Olight I3T EOS.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* LeanBurn's Avatar
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    With the many posts on the ultimate cockroach outlast the apocalypse, watch me beat the living cr@p out of this torture tests, so sad its out of production...I thought the Fenix E01 would at least be in the running here. I have not seen a single thread on the Olight I3T compared to or beat likewise, yet there are more than one extolling its virtues.
    THRUNITE > Archer1AV2|TiS|TH20|TN4A Hi...all in neutral white
    YUJILEDS BC Series 95+ HiCRI
    > Sofirn C01|Dorcy Penlight (Yuji modded)
    XTARVC4, LCTBC500, Amaloops, 1999 MAG-LITE 2D Incandescent(glass lens) Petzl Tikkina 80L ..... Fenix E01

  29. #29

    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    This Sofirn C01 is NOT potted and survived all the housing abuse:


    The Sofirn C01 is basically a Fenix E01 with a High CRI upgrade. (available both potted and unpotted)

    Mcgizmo Sapphire, Fenix E01, Sofirn C01, Peak Eiger, Olight i3E, differ in whether or not the light is available in High CRI, and whether the host is available in some other metal besides anodized Aluminium, such as unanodised aluminium, Copper, Brass, or Titanium

    Of the lights named in this post, Peak offers the most choices of beam profile, LED, and host material. And they are the only one that has a fully captive pocket clip option

    Peak is also the only one with a QTC option. (qtc however is reliably unreliable, there are multiple posts about flicker, and that use words like finicky when speaking of the qtc in Peak Eiger)

    The Olight i3E has the distinction of being the smallest (and brightest) of the single mode AAA lights named in this post.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: What is the most reliable AAA keychain light?

    Quote Originally Posted by jon_slider View Post
    .... The Olight i3E has the distinction of being the smallest (and brightest) of the single mode AAA lights named in this post....
    Wow, thanks for the photo ! That i3E is tiny. Could you post one with that light next to the AAA cell itself ?
    Last edited by archimedes; 02-26-2021 at 06:48 PM.
    ... is the archimedes peak

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