There are so many different battery types out there right now, and a question we always get asked here is why anyone would buy an AAA flashlight, when now there are batteries that are longer lasting, lighter to carry (and therefore, smaller and more ‘portable’), and give a higher lumen factor.
Note: Lumen, abbreviated to lm, is a measure of the total amount of visible light to the human eye from a light source or lamp – the higher the lumen value, the brighter the light source is to the human eye.
The answer is availability. A flashlight that works with micro batteries, or watch type batteries, may beat an AAA flashlight when it comes to lumens and performance, but a flashlight with a dead battery is completely pointless. These small, specialist batteries are only sold in certain stores and, unless you are extremely organised and you regularly test all your flashlights, you may find yourself in a situation where your flashlight does not work, and you have no spare batteries. On the other hand, AAA batteries are sold in practically all stores and gas stations, and come in a wide variety of rechargeable and disposable versions. Naturally, as these flashlights carry AAA batteries, they will tend to be larger and heavier, and not as high powered as flashlights using micro batteries, but the fact that someone can buy batteries from anywhere, and in most cases, any time of the day or night, has meant AAA flashlights have remained popular, despite the competition from the more luminous, micro battery operated flashlights.
An aspect to look for in a good flashlight is the ability to have it on you at all times. Vital seconds could be lost while you’re fumbling around trying to find your flashlight. Many single AAA flashlights offer keychain attachments, so you can carry them around with you on a daily basis. Of course, the double AAA flashlights will give you more than twice the power of a single AAA flashlight, but they are also heavier and more cumbersome to carry.
Also, look for flashlights with LED. Instead of a traditional bulb, these lights have no glass or filament, so no worries about breaking them, and these lights tend to last several years, with you rarely having to replace them.
Lastly, consider whether you want to go for rechargeable or non-rechargeable AAA batteries. Rechargeable batteries are definitely more expensive, but work out cheaper in the long run as you can recharge them. Invest in a good charger. If you opt for non-rechargeable batteries, ensure you have a good supply of back up batteries so you are not caught short.
5 Top AAA Flashlight Choices
So what is the best AAA flashlight on the market today? We’ve reviewed 5 popular models. We will go through size, ease of use, luminosity, and performance.
Streamlight 66318 MicroStream LED Key Light
This is our smallest alkaline battery powered AAA LED flashlight on our list, with a brightness of 28 Lumens, and is also water resistant and impervious to shock. It has a 30,000 hour lifetime, is made from a corrosion resistant aircraft aluminium, and has a push button tail switch. It also comes with a removable pocket / hat clip, holster, and 1 AAA battery. The dimensions of this flashlight is tiny, coming in at just 3.5 inches in length, and weighing just 1.04 ounces. It’s so light that it can be worn on a lanyard (this flashlight comes with a handy ‘breakaway’ neck lanyard) or clipped to a hat. Despite its tiny sixe, it is still extremely durable. You will achieve a beam distance of a respectable 52 metres, and the battery will work continuously for 2 hours and fifteen minutes.
Despite it having the lowest lumen factor on our list, it is exceptionally bright and we found it was almost just as bright as its bigger brother (the Streamlight Stylus Pro, which functions on 2 x AAA batteries). Yes of course the Pro will last more than twice as long, but the fact this smaller version can output almost the same brightness is great. We also found the switch to be very good, as it operates on a ‘forward click’ motion, so you can push it slightly to get momentary-on function.
The main disadvantage we found with this AAA flashlight is that the pocket clip rotates with the threaded end cap, which can scratch the finish when you remove the cap to replace the battery. This can be rectified by placing a piece of cloth between the flashlight body and clip before you turn the cap, but make sure you do this at first disassembly, as otherwise it will be too late. The clip also exerts a certain amount of sideways pressure on the light aluminium body, so you need to be very careful to avoid cross-threading when you reinstall the cap.
Despite these small drawbacks, this is a good, solid AAA flashlight, small enough for you to carry all day, with a great battery life.
ThorFire PF02 Cree LED Pen Flashlight Tactical EDC Penlight
This is a small alkaline AAA flashlight coming in at around 5.7 inches, and will weigh less than 2.5 ounces with 2 AAA alkaline batteries. Please note; this flashlight does not come with batteries, so you will need to buy some first.
Despite its small size, this is also a very robust flashlight, as it is made from aircraft grade aluminium alloy, which is also corrosion resistant, giving many years of use. It is also shockproof, waterproof and impact resistant, and comes with a clip so you can clip it to a pocket if needed. The clip is also removable, so if you rather throw it into a pocket or bag, the option is there. It boasts a lifespan of 20+ years of run time, and has 3 different modes; Low, high and moonlight. It has a very similar ‘forward click’ switch to the previously reviewed flashlight for momentary operation. What’s more, this flashlight always reverts back to moonlight mode when switched off. This stops accidentally causing glare or hurting someone’s eyes because you have ‘left’ the flashlight on high mode (considering the high mode is at 150 lumens, the highest on our list, this safety precaution is a must). This high lumen factor is also a major advantage if you wanted to use this flashlight as a means of disorientating an assailant. Other advantages of this flashlight is that it is styled in the same way as a tactical penlight and can be used as such.
Some gripes we had with this flashlight was the clip making the flashlight rather uncomfortable to hold, as well as the on/off button being difficult to operate using your thumb. We wish the on/off button was over the lip as, unless you have quite dainty thumbs, we found it difficult to operate, and needed to use the tip of our thumbs – rather uncomfortable.
The clip is removable, but it can be cumbersome to get off, and if you’ve clipped the flashlight onto your pocket, you could be wasting valuable seconds getting rid of the clip so that the flashlight is comfortable to handle.
Nebo Larry and Lucy Flashlight 8 Led Work light
This is our most keenly priced AAA flashlight, and boasts 8 powerful LED lights that provide 60 lumens of bright white light. It also has a rotating magnetic clip which will give hands-free lighting, as you can attach it to virtually anything. It is made from reinforced plastic, and is shock-proof and water-resistant. It is 6.4 inches long, and weighs 3.2 ounces, therefore our largest and heaviest flashlight on this list.
For the price, this is a fantastic flashlight, and the manufactures claims that it is ‘indestructible. Having said that, they only offer a one year guarantee. However, be warned, there are serious issues regarding how long this flashlight will last. We heard of one unlucky reviewer who received one of these flashlights with only7 out of the 8 LED lights working. We also found that, after a few months, the LED lights become intermittent, and we had to bang the flashlight on its side to get them all to light up. It seems that there is a bad connection to the battery, and it’s this that causes the intermittent flickering. An inexpensive option, if you really don’t have the spare cash to get a more expensive flashlight.
MAGLITE Mini MAGLITE LED 2AAA Flashlight
This is the second smallest alkaline AAA flashlight on our list, at a small 5 inches long with a weight of 1.73 ounces. It is made from anodized aluminium and provides a very respectable 84 lumens in brightness. The unique selling point of the Maglite is that it does away with having any switches. Instead, twist the head to turn it on and off. It comes with a decent pocket clip and 2 AAA batteries.
This AAA flashlight is one of the most powerful on the list, creating powerful even light, and will last about 5 hours of continuous use. Some users, used to having a switch, may find the twist on and off aspect a bit annoying, but we found it very easy to operate. We did notice that the batteries seemed to rattle inside the body, however, which can be annoying. We wrapped the batteries in tape and we found that seemed to stop the rattling. Also, when we turned the head, the head can get a little loose, which causes some flickering.
Streamlight 66120 Stylus Pro Penlight with White LED, Red
This is the most expensive alkaline AAA flashlight on our list, and with a whole host of features, you really do get what you pay. It is It’s made from machined corrosion-resistant aircraft-grade anodized aluminium alloy, and boasts a scratch resistant polycarbonate lens, which the makers claim is unbreakable. The makers have also drop-tested this flashlight at 6 feet, and claim this flashlight still worked incredibly well. This flashlight is O-ring sealed, which keeps out dirt and moisture. One reviewer even found their ‘lost’ flashlight at the bottom of their water tank…….after 8 months! And it worked as good as new. The high-flux LED light will give you around 30,000 hours of light, brightness is around 48 lumen, and will run for up to 6.25 hours continuously. It features a rubber push-button tail cap which is very quick and easy to use with just one hand, although the push button is quite stiff, to stop it accidentally turning on in your bag or pocket. Keep this in mind, as if you have problems with arthritis in your hand, or plan on giving this to an elderly relative, they may have problems switching this flashlight on and off.
It comes with a tear-resistant nylon belt holster, 2 AAA batteries, and the sturdiest pocket clip (made of steel) we’ve seen on a flashlight, and which makers claim is unbreakable. As to be expected from a premium product, the maker’s offer a lifetime warranty with this product. It’s also our second lightest flashlight on our list, at a mere 1.64 ounces with batteries in.
Our best AAA flashlight choice:
Our reviewed flashlights range from the cheapest at just under $9 to just under $21, and your choice will ultimately come down to your budget, as well as what you plan on using your flashlight for, and where you are likely to store and use it. Let’s quickly recap on the 5 best AAA flashlights.
The Streamlight 66318 MicroStream LED Key Light is a good, mid-priced AAA flashlight, and is the smallest and lightest of our flashlights (3.5 inches long and weighs 1.04 ounces). It’s so small it can be clipped onto a hat comfortably, or worn on a lanyard. It has a lumen factor of 28, which is the lowest on our list, but still a respectable output. Drawbacks are issues with scratching the body as the pocket clip rotates with the cap when unscrewing to change batteries, but this is a small issue.
ThorFire PF02 Cree LED Pen Flashlight Tactical EDC Penlight is our second most expensive AAA flashlight, with the highest lumen factor of 150. It is 5.7 inches, and weighs less than 2.5 ounces This is without doubt the brightest of all of these flashlights, so bright that at ‘high’ mode it can be used to disorientate an assailant. This is the only flashlight we recommend you to have if you are wanting a tactical style penlight. There are some issues with the clip making the flashlight uncomfortable to handle, and the on-off button can be difficult to manipulate if you have large thumbs.
Nebo Larry and Lucy Flashlight 8 Led Work light is our most budget-priced flashlight on our list, and has a very good lumen factor of 60. It is 6.4 inches long, and weighs 3.2 ounces. It handles really well, but we have concerns with how long this would last, with many reviewers finding that some of the lamps start to flicker, and sometimes stop working altogether
MAGLITE Mini MAGLITE LED 2AAA Flashlight is 5 inches long with a weight of 1.73 ounces, and has a lumen factor of 84. This one of our favourites on our list, with the only real drawback being the rattling of the batteries inside the flashlight body.
Streamlight 66120 Stylus Pro Penlight with White LED is 5.3 inches long, and weighs 1.64 ounces. It is the most expensive AAA flashlight on our list, but it is almost indestructible, so you can expect many years of service for your money. Lumen rating is at 48, and it is also our second lightest flashlight. The push button is a bit stiff, but this is not a design fault, as the makers wanted to make sure the flashlight did not turn itself on accidentally whilst in your pocket or bag (after all, how useful would a flashlight be if it has drained the battery accidentally?)
So which is the best AAA flashlight in our opinion?
If you are wanting a tactical penlight type of flashlight, then the best AAA flashlight for you is the ThorFire PF02 Cree. And if you need something that you can barely feel you are wearing, then the best AAA flashlight is the Streamlight 66318 MicroStream. Our favourite, predictably, is the Streamlight 66120 Stylus Pro. It is the most expensive flashlight on our list, but buy one of these, and you will have it for life!
What Do You Think – What Is The Best AAA Flashlight?
Everyone has a different opinion on what the best AAA flashlight is and there are a lot of other great AAA flashlight options out there. Do you have another AAA flashlight that you think is the best AAA flashlight? If so, leave a message in the comments sections to share your thoughts!