Best AAA Flashlight in 2020: Top Picks for Your EDC Needs

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Introduction

A quality flashlight is one the most important pieces of gear you can add to your everyday carry. Some people think that small EDC flashlights are antiquated these days, since most people carry smartphones equipped with onboard flashlights. In my opinion, this is a false belief.

Having a separate flashlight gives you far more versatility. A light such as the ThruNite Ti3 offers 115 hours of runtime on its lowest setting, allowing you to save your phone’s battery for emergencies. You’re also able to use your phone while using your flashlight, which is helpful in emergency situations.

Some of the best AAA flashlight designs are compact, durable, lightweight and extremely affordable. There’s no reason to go without one.

At a Glance: Our Choices for The 10 Best AAA Flashlights

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each flashlight.

How to Choose an Awesome AAA Flashlight

The following criteria is what I look for in a quality, everyday carry flashlight.

Lumens

A flashlight’s brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light. Some lights have multiple modes, ranging from 300 lumens down to just .04 lumens. Whether you want to blind an attacker or read in bed, it’s nice to have options.

Size and Weight

AAA flashlights are the ideal size for everyday carry. They’re small enough to wear on your keychain without feeling too heavy or bulky. They disappear into the watch pocket of jeans and they can clip into the front pocket of a jacket. They’re extremely versatile and easy to carry regardless of your style of clothing.

AAA batteries are affordable and readily available. They’re also compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry extras in your bag.

Design

Some of the flashlights on our list are designed to ride on your keychain. Others come with adjustable pocket clips, designed for pocket carry.

Some have thicker builds with more aggressive grip texturing and tail switches used to activate the light. Others are more slimline and minimalist, using a twisting bezel to activate the light instead of a button.

One is not necessarily better than the other. Both are excellent designs suited for different styles of carry. It’s up to the buyer to choose the right style for their uses.

It’s easier to use a flashlight when it’s not attached to a heavy set of keys. It’s also easier to activate a tail switch one handed. Another great feature of the tail switch design is you’re able to clip the flashlight onto the bill of a hat and use it as a headlamp.

However, I still prefer to carry my AAA flashlight on my keyring. It’s one less thing I have to keep track of. I know if I have my keys, I have my EDC flashlight with me. Therefore, I look for the smallest, lightest design available. Keychains are bulky enough already, without adding some big heavy flashlight onto it.

Price

Buying quality EDC gear is important. Anything that rides in or on your pockets every single day, all year, is going to see some heavy use and abuse. Especially if you choose to hang your flashlight from your keychain. It’s going to get banged around and scratched up almost immediately. Thankfully, many of the options on our list are both rugged and affordable.

Brand

Some brands are well known for being top quality, used by military and law enforcement agencies all over the world. If it’s good enough to be used in warzones, you can bet it’s good enough to ride along with your EDC gear.

Other brands are known for having decent, low budget options. They’re good enough for changing a tire on the side of the road at night, but you might not want to rely on them as your sole survival flashlight. Your choice will depend on your budget and intended use for the flashlight.

Top 10 AAA Flashlights

 #1

Streamlight MicroStream

Streamlight MicroStream Ultra-compact Aluminum body with AAA alkaline battery, 3.5 Inch - 1.04 oz - 45 Lumens - 66318,Black

Our Rating: (5.0/5)
Lumens: 45 Lumens
Run Time: 2 h 15 min
Waterproof: IPX4
Weight: 1.12 Oz

Pros:
(+) Affordable price
(+) Quality brand
(+) Lightweight
Cons:
(-) Single output mode
(-) Can’t clip onto a key ring

Streamlight is a highly regarded company that’s been making quality flashlights and weaponlights for decades.

The MicroStream is compact and lightweight, perfect for your EDC needs. Just 3.5 inches long and weighing in at one ounce. This flashlight can disappear in the palm of your hand and ride in your pocket all day without weighing you down.

This is a light designed to withstand the abuse of daily pocket carry. The housing is constructed out of aluminum with type II military spec anodizing for added durability and corrosion resistance. The lens is polycarbonate, which Streamlight claims is unbreakable and scratch resistant.

The MicroStream uses a tail switch capable of momentary or constant operation. The white LED delivers a single brightness mode of 45 lumens with a run time of approximately 2.25 hours. 45 lumens is a good brightness level for everyday carry tasks while still allowing for a decent run time on a single AAA battery.

With a five-star rating on Amazon and thousands of positive reviews, it’s clear to see that Streamlight has created a winner with the MicroStream flashlight.

The pocket clip is adjustable, allowing it to be used as a hat clip. Streamlight also claims the MicroStream is IPX-4 water resistant up to 1 meter. The package ships with a single AAA battery and a quick detach lanyard for added versatility.

If you’re looking for a simple, well proven design on a budget, the Streamlight MicroStream is a good choice.

 #2

UltraTac K18

UltraTac K18 v2017 High Lumen AAA LED Keychain Flashlight, Stainless Steel Side Button Switch, CREE XP-G2 S4 LED, Support 10440 Rechargeable Battery (Blue)

Our Rating: (5.0/5)
Lumens: 370 Lumens
Run Time: 40 hours (Low)
Waterproof: IPX8
Weight: 0.64 Oz

Pros:
(+) Extremely bright
(+) Affordable price
(+) Compact and lightweight
Cons:
(-) Can’t clip onto a keyring
(-) Can’t tail stand to be used as a candle

The UltraTac K18 is a compact LED flashlight packed with an incredible amount of features at a low budget price. The K18 flashlight is specifically designed for discreet everyday carry. Measuring just 2.95 inches and weighing only half an ounce, it’s one of the smallest lights on our list.

The small size doesn’t mean small output. The brightest level, which can go as high as 370 lumens when using a 10440 rechargeable battery, is the equivalent of a mini-searchlight.

Due to the innovative circuit board used in the K18, the light is compatible with a variety of AAA battery types including 1.5V Alkaline/Lithium AAA, 1.2V Ni-MH AAA and 3.7V Li-ion 10440.

The K18 uses a tail switch and a side button so you can easily operate the flashlight with one hand. Switch between three modes: Low, Medium and High, with a fourth hidden strobe light option which can be activated with a double click.

The lowest mode boasts a 40-hour run time which is perfect for reading in bed or navigating through your house in the middle of the night.

The IPX-8 rated waterproof housing means you don’t have to worry about using it in the rain or around water.

If you’re looking for a lot of lumens for a low price, the UltraTac K18 is an excellent choice.

 #3

COAST G19

COAST G19 Inspection Beam LED Penlight with Adjustable Pocket Clip and Consistent Edge-To-Edge Brightness,

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Lumens: 54 Lumens
Run Time: 2 hours
Waterproof: IPX4
Weight: 1.5 Oz

Pros:
(+) Affordable price
(+) Compact design
(+) Consistent edge to edge beam
Cons:
(-) One mode only
(-) Can’t clip onto a keychain

The Coast G19 is one of the most affordable everyday carry flashlights on our list. Affordable doesn’t necessarily mean low quality. This light boasts an overall five-star rating on Amazon.

If you choose the G19, you won’t be getting the most cutting-edge technology or the highest lumen output from a flashlight of this size. However, you will be getting a tough and reliable LED flashlight with a lifetime warranty from Coast.

The Coast G19 puts out a 54-lumen beam with a runtime of 2.5 hours. Excellent specs for an EDC flashlight at this price point. Flashlight technology has come a long way since the days of those bulky Maglights.

The Coast G-19 is affordable enough that you can buy a few extras to use as spares around the house or gift them to friends and family.

The light features a tail switch system for easy one-handed operation. IPX-4 rated aluminum housing for a durable, water resistant design. The pocket clip can be used to secure the flashlight in a variety of carry positions or removed entirely.

The G19 uses what Coast calls an “inspection beam,” which throws out a consistent beam from edge to edge, enabling users to evenly illuminate their work spaces.

If you’re looking for a low budget flashlight that’s still capable of everyday carry tasks, the G19 is tough to beat.

 #4

SureFire Titan Plus

SureFire Titan Plus Ultra-Compact Variable-Output LED Keychain Light, Silver matte

Our Rating: (4.7/5)
Lumens: 300 Lumens
Run Time: 1 hour (High)
Waterproof: IPX4
Weight: 2.88 Oz

Pros:
(+) High lumen output
(+) Nickel plated brass housing
(+) Pocket clip and keyring options
Cons:
(-) Expensive
(-) No grip texturing

Moving from the lowest priced EDC flashlight on our list up to the most expensive. The SureFire Titan Plus is a flashlight for the buyer who demands quality. If you talk to any law enforcement officer or armed service member, chances are they have used a Surefire flashlight in the line of duty at some point. There might be one on their hip or mounted onto their weapons right now.

The reason is clear. Surefire is a company known for their tough and reliable products. The Surefire Titan EDC flashlight is no different. This high-performance light is constructed out of nickel-plated brass which not only looks good, it’s virtually indestructible.

Rotate the head of the flashlight to choose between three useful outputs. High: 300 lumens / 1 hour. Medium: 75 lumens / 2 hours. Low: 15 lumens / 7 hours.

A versatile, weather resistant light that is perfect for emergency situations or everyday carry tasks. Surefire’s maxvision reflector throws out a wide, smooth beam every time. The removable pocket clip allows for multiple carry options and there’s also a hole on the tail cap which allows for keychain carry.

The Surefire Titan ships with a single rechargeable Eneloop AAA NiMH battery which is a nice bonus. Note: There is a 125-lumen version available at a lower price. Buyers can choose between the 300 and 125 lumen options depending on their needs.

If you want a powerful, premium built EDC flashlight, then Surefire is the brand for you.

 #5

Prometheus Lights Beta

Prometheus Lights Beta Quick Release v2 Keychain Flashlight with Multiple Light Modes, High CRI Pocket Flashlight for EDC (Nickel)

Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Lumens: 80 Lumens
Run Time: 1 hour
Waterproof: IPX4
Weight: 0.64 Oz

Pros:
(+) Quick detach keyring
(+) Three modes
(+) Minimalist design
Cons:
(-) No pocket clip
(-) No grip texturing

The Prometheus Lights Beta is a unique and innovative design that just might be the perfect keychain flashlight. There’s no pocket clip or tail switch here, so if those features are must haves for you then skip down to the next light on our list. However, if you’re looking for a compact, durable keychain flashlight for everyday carry, this is an excellent option.

The creator, Jason Hui, started his flashlight concept as a Kickstarter project. He had one goal in mind, to design the world’s greatest keychain flashlight. After testing various products and gathering input from others, the Prometheus Beta was born.

The Beta flashlight uses a quick release keychain clip. This design allows for secure keychain carry while giving users the option to easily remove the light and use it without a set of noisy keys jingling off the end. Due to the design, accidental disengagement is virtually impossible and engagement is verified by a solid click every time.

The precision grade housing is made of nickel-plated aluminum and it’s available in seven different colors. The nickel color is excellent for keychain duty, since it won’t show scratches as easily as the other colors.

The Prometheus Beta has three light modes which can be adjusted by twisting the bezel. Low: 1 lumen. Medium: 15 lumens. High: 80 lumens.

If you’re looking for a slim, lightweight EDC flashlight designed for keychain carry, the Prometheus Lights Beta is a good option.

 #6

Fenix E05

Fenix Flashlights E05 85 Lumens Flashlight, Black

Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Lumens: 85 Lumens
Run Time: 1 h 45 min
Waterproof: IPX8
Weight: 0.64 Oz

Pros:
(+) Minimalist design
(+) Affordable price
(+) Durable
Cons:
(-) Difficult to use one handed
(-) Not as bright as similarly priced competitors

Ever since Fenix exploded onto the flashlight scene in 2005, they’ve been well known for making high quality flashlights at an affordable price. The E05 model is one of the most popular keychain flashlights on the market. I’ve had one on my own keychain for years and it has served me well.

The Fenix E05 uses an aircraft aluminum housing which is waterproof to IPX-8 standard, allowing the flashlight to be submerged under two meters of water for up to thirty minutes. This is the same rugged materials used in their larger, tactical flashlights.

The E05 measures just 2.6 inches long, .6 of an inch in diameter and weighs less than one ounce, allowing it to blend in perfectly on your keyring without adding unnecessary bulk.

The light offers three modes, easily selected by quick turns of the bezel. The three modes, along with their output and run times are: High: 85 lumens / 1 hour. Medium: 25 lumens / 4.15 hours. Low: 8 lumens / 15 hours.

The Fenix E05 accepts alkaline or rechargeable batteries and run times will vary slightly depending on your choice. Fenix uses a digitally regulated output on their flashlights.

This means the light will run at a constant brightness until the battery dies, instead of dimming slowly over time. This feature allows you to get the most out of your batteries before charging or replacing them.

If you want a simple, rugged EDC flashlight for keychain carry, the Fenix E05 is an excellent option.

 #7

ThruNite Ti3

ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-G2 R5 AAA Torch Max120 Lumens LED Flashlight, Mini, Cool White

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Lumens: 120 Lumens
Run Time: 30 min (High)
Waterproof: IPX8
Weight: 0.42 Oz

Pros:
(+) Versatile carry options
(+) Firefly mode with a long run time
(+) Good grip texturing
Cons:
(-) One handed use is difficult without a tail switch
(-) No medium level brightness

The ThruNite Ti3 is a versatile EDC flashlight at a bargain price. The Ti3 features a sturdy pocket clip and a keyring, giving users the options of pocket carry or keyring carry. It’s a twisting bezel design which means there is no tail switch.

The twisting bezel design is seen as a con for some users, because it can be more difficult to operate one handed than a flashlight with a tail switch. The upside to the twisting bezel design is you’re able to stand the flashlight on its tail, enabling you to use the flashlight as a candle. The ThruNite Ti3 has three modes with an extra strobe option for emergency situations.

The three modes, along with their output and run times are: Firefly Mode: .04 lumens / 115 hours. Low: 12 lumens / 6.3 hours. High: 120 lumens / 1 hour.

The lower modes are perfect for moving around your home after waking up in the middle of the night. Anything brighter could disturb other family members and might even blind you.

The pocket clip is two way adjustable for pocket carry or attachment to the brim of your hat to be used as a headlamp.

If you can’t decide between pocket carry or keychain carry, the ThruNite Ti3 gives you the best of both options. This model wins for the most versatility.

 #8

EagleTac D25

EagleTac D25AAA Nichia 219B Keychain Flashlight 115 Lumens -NOW WITH COLOR OPTIONS!

Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Lumens: 115 Lumens
Run Time: 42 min (High)
Waterproof: IPX4
Weight: 1.6 Oz

Pros:
(+) Three output modes
(+) Two carry methods. Pocket clip or keyring
(+) Sturdy pocket clip
Cons:
(-) Lower run times than similar competitors
(-) Priced higher than similar competitors

The EagleTac D25 is another versatile EDC flashlight that offers several different carry methods. The stainless-steel pocket clip is sturdy and long, running the length of the housing for a more secure grip.

There’s also a hole drilled into the tail, giving users the option of adding a keyring. At just .4 ounces with an overall length of 2.7 inches, the D25 is the perfect size and weight for keychain carry.

The D25 uses a twisting bezel design, so there is no tail switch here. This is a con if you prefer one handed operation of a flashlight. However, the lack of a tail switch allows you to stand the flashlight on its tail to be used in candle mode. A very convenient option during power outages.

The grip texturing around the bezel still allows users to operate these lights one handed. However, nothing beats the convenience of a rubber tail switch. It just depends on your intended uses.

Another convenient feature of the D25 is the rare earth magnet embedded into the tail. This flashlight is able to stick to most metal surfaces for added versatility.

The three modes, along with their output and run times are: High: 115 lumens / .7 hours. Medium: 47 lumens / 1.3 hours. Low: 9 lumens / 6 hours.

If you’re looking for a versitible, compact EDC flashlight with a magnet embedded, this is a great option.

 #9

LuminTop EDC01

LUMINTOP EDC01 Keychain Flashlight, 120 lumens Pocket EDC Flashlight,36 hours Long lasting,3 modes,IPX8 Waterproof,Powered by AAA battery(not Included) for Indoor and Outdoor

Our Rating: (4.2/5)
Lumens: 120 Lumens
Run Time: 30 min (High)
Waterproof: IPX8
Weight: 0.42 Oz

Pros:
(+) Affordable price
(+) Ultra-compact design
(+) Three output modes
Cons:
(-) No pocket clip
(-) Lower run time than some competitors

The LumiTop EDC01 is a low budget powerhouse of a flashlight with a five-star rating on Amazon. There’s no pocket clip on this flashlight, so you’ll need to keep it on a key ring or carry it loose in your pocket.

The minimalist design is ideal for pocket carry, but it’s small size and lack of grip texturing make it somewhat difficult to operate one handed. If that doesn’t bother you, I think this light is a tremendous value for the price.

The military grade hard anodized aluminum housing is IPX-8 rated, which means it can be submerged in up to two meters of water without getting damaged. This flashlight has been tested at the factory to withstand harsh temperatures ranging from -4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

The circuit board used in this tiny flashlight regulates the output, so you won’t experience any dimming of your light when the batteries start to lose their power.

The three modes, along with their output and run times are: Maximum: 120 lumens / 30 minutes. Medium: 32 lumens / 4 hours. Low: 5 lumens / 36 hours.

The EDC01 is impact resistant to drops up to 1.5 meters, making it perfect for the daily abuses of keychain carry. The flashlight ships with a keychain, one AAA battery, a light diffuser, the owner’s manual and two spare O rings.

If you want a low budget EDC flashlight specifically built for keychain carry, the LuminTop EDC01 is an excellent option.

 #10

Fenix LD02 V2.0

Fenix LD02 V2.0 High CRI AAA EDC White Penlight with UV and LumenTac Battery Organizer

Our Rating: (4.1/5)
Lumens: 70 Lumens
Run Time: 45 min (High)
Waterproof: IP68
Weight: 0.8 Oz

Pros:
(+) Deep carry pocket clip
(+) UV light for checking IDs and money
(+) Stainless steel tail switch
Cons:
(-) No keychain carry option
(-) Less bright than similarly priced competitors

Fenix has made our list for the second time with the LD02 model. Here you get the same great build quality as the Fenix E05, just in a different design. Both of the Fenix flashlights on our list are single AAA battery, everyday carry flashlights. The difference is, the E05 was designed specifically for keychain carry and the LD02 is a penlight, designed for pocket carry.

The LD02 uses a pocket clip with a tail switch, rather than a keyring and a rotating bezel. This penlight style of flashlight is ideal for doctors, mechanics, police officers and anyone else who needs to easily access their flashlight one handed. The slim, lightweight design slips easily into a uniform pocket.

The LD02 V2.0 was recently updated to include a UV light which is perfect for bouncers, bartenders and law enforcement officers who need to check for fake IDs and counterfeit currency.

The pocket clip allows for deep pocket carry. Many competitors’ flashlights leave more of the flashlight body exposed above the pocket which could lead to accidently dropping the light. The tail switch has been upgraded to use stainless steel instead of rubber for added durability.

The four modes, along with their output and run times are: High: 70 lumens / 40 minutes. Medium: 25 lumens / 2 hours 55 minutes. Low: 1 lumen / 45 hours. UV Light: 200mW / 3 hours.

If you find the addition of the UV light helpful for your line of work, the Fenix LD02 V2.0 is a good option for you.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are some awesome AAA everyday carry flashlights on the market these days. Manufacturers just keep raising the bar on what is possible with these tiny flashlights. It can be tough to narrow your choice down to just one.

If I had to choose one today, I’d probably go with the Prometheus Lights Beta. Just because of the unique quick detach design.

Or, for a fraction of that price you could purchase several of the ThruNite Ti3s. Which is a very bright light with good run times and multiple carry methods. It’s versatile enough to be your one and only EDC flashlight. I wish you luck with your decision.

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Best Surefire Flashlights