Our Best AA LED Flashlight Guide

Light is something we take for granted in modern life. In most of the developed world, it only takes a flip of a switch to light up an entire room – or an entire city. Electricity has made light affordable, easy to access, and nearly ubiquitous.

wild can become an incredibly darkHowever, the story is different out in the wilderness. If you are out in the wild for any reason, you quickly realize that light is one of your most precious commodities. Once the sun goes down, the wild can become an incredibly dark, and intimidating, place to be.

It wouldn’t take more than an hour or two of being in the woods after sunset to realize that a quality tactical flashlight is an item that should be considered required equipment. Even better, arming yourself with a AA flashlight is a great idea because AA batteries are affordable, easy to carry, and easy to find.

Unfortunately, not all AA flashlights are created equal. There are plenty of bad AA flashlights on the market today, so simply heading to your local big box store to buy a couple of flashlights for outdoor purposes would be a serious mistake.

After reviewing all the top AA LED Flashlight available, we’ve selected our top 7 picks in the comparison table below. We’re confident you’ll find the perfect model for your needs.

Comparison Table

Mobile Users: For optimal viewing, tilt your phone to landscape (wide-view) to see the entire table.

Product

Wallet

Our Score

NITECORE EC21 (our top pick)

$$$$

97

Manker E11

$$$

95

Fenix E12

$$$

93

Streamlight 88033 ProTac

$$$$

90

Dorcy 41-2510

$

88

Fenix TK45

$$$$$

84

​ThorFire TG06

$$

80

Cheap flashlights are made from low-grade plastic, they don’t offer strong illumination, and they are prone to break down at a moment’s notice. When it comes to something as important as light, you can do much better than the bottom-of-the-barrel products that seem to permeate the market.

By looking in the right places, and having a plan for what it is that you want to find, it is possible to get a great flashlight for a fair price. Sure, you will probably have to invest more than you would for those cheap plastic versions, but the cost will be more than worth the return when you wind up with a product you can rely on.

To help you make the process of buying a AA flashlight a little bit easier, we have done some research on your behalf. Please feel free to use the information below to help shape your buying decision.

Picking Out the Perfect Flashlight

You should understand right from the start that there is no one AA flashlight that is appropriate for all situations. For example, one of those cheap flashlights mentioned above might be just fine for keeping in the kitchen at home in case the power goes out, but you certainly wouldn’t want to rely on one in the woods after dark.

With that in mind, there are three main factors to think about when you are ready to go shopping for your next AA flashlight. Those points are as follows –

The size of the flashlight. One of the first considerations you should make is how big or small you need the flashlight to be. Note: size does not necessarily correlate to how much light the flashlight will produce. Small flashlights are easy to carry and convenient while larger flashlights may be easier to find in the dark and they are potentially more durable over time. Think carefully about your intended usage for the product and then narrow down your selection accordingly.

Light production. This might be the single most important factor that you will have to consider while shopping. You will find that flashlight output is measured in lumens, so you should quickly familiarize yourself with this scale. The range of lumens capability that you will find the flashlight market ranges from just 100 or less for small tasks to 1000 and more for dramatic lighting power. It is important to note that the lumens measurements marked on flashlights are taken under the best possible circumstances – meaning the flashlight needs to be on its highest setting with brand new batteries in order to produce that level of light.

Materials. This is another point that depends on your intended usage for the product. A plastic flashlight will be okay for some purposes whereas an aluminum product is going to offer more durability out in the field. Models that are intended to be specifically heavy-duty might even feature areas of stainless steel in order to toughen further the product. Are you going to be using your flashlight in tough conditions where it might receive some rough treatment? If so, you will want some combination of aluminum and steel in order to make sure the flashlight can hold up to the punishment it may receive.

AA flashlightThe three points highlighted above should be sorted out before you shop for – and purchase – a new AA flashlight. However, those aren’t the only points that need to be considered. Additionally, take a look at characteristics such as beam length, run time, and water resistance.

Beam length is, obviously, the distance that the flashlight will send the beam of light when running at full power. Run time indicates how long new batteries will be able to power the AA flashlight, and water resistance is an indication of how deep and how long the flashlight can remain submerged.

It is going to be up to you to determine which of these characteristics are important to you, and which can be largely ignored. For example, if you won’t be using your flashlight anywhere near a body of water, submersion is something that you don’t need to be worried about. Create a clear picture in your mind of the exact situations that the AA flashlight will have to endure, and then pick the best model for the job.

Three Top-Rated Options

Below you will find three well-reviewed AA flashlight options, each of which is available for purchase.

Streamlight 88033 Protac

The Streamlight 88033 Protac has earned rave reviews from countless buyers. An overview of the comments left for this product indicate that buyers are happy with the illumination that the light provides, in addition to the beam length and the reliability of the unit.

While it only requires 2 AA batteries, this light is still able to produce an impressive 155 lumens on the high setting. When running on high with new batteries, the light can be expected to last for two hours, while it can put in up to 36 hours if used on low. The body of the flashlight is made from anodized aluminum, and it is rated for underwater use at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes.

The price point for this flashlight is one of its biggest selling points. Other flashlights with similar features will often retail far more expensive, so this model may prove to be a steal if it possesses the features that match up with your needs.

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Fenix Flashlights E12 130-Lumen Flashlight

Image of Fenix Flashlights E12 130-LumenThis model from Fenix Flashlights is in a similar realm to the model listed above from Streamlight. A small unit, this flashlight is only 4’’ long, making it an easy fit in your pocket or your bag. The total weight of the product is less than two ounces, so you should be able to carry it for as long as necessary to get the job done.

It runs on just a single AA battery and is capable of putting out 130 lumens when running on high. Those who have purchased and reviewed the product marvel at the amount of light that can be produced by such a small flashlight. Also, buyers feel that it is a sturdy product that has been designed to last. The flashlight can be expected to work for 40 hours on low when using a new battery, and the reach of the beam is rated at 289 feet.

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Fenix TK41 Flashlight

Image of Fenix TK41Another model from Fenix, this one steps up the light output – in a big way. While the previous model on the list offers 130 lumens, the TK41 is capable of putting out a stunning 800 lumens when set on ‘Turbo’ mode. Of course, in order to achieve this kind of lighting power, the flashlight does require a total of 8 AA batteries to be installed. And, as you might expect, you will have to pay for this power.

The reviewers can’t seem to get over just how powerful this model can be on the highest setting. There are plenty of other compliments – including build quality, ease of use, and comfortable grip – but it is the power of the light itself that demands the most attention. If you are looking for a flashlight that will illuminate even the darkest of nights, the Fenix TK41 may be the right selection.

AA batteries are inexpensive, easy to find, and quick to install. With that in mind, buying a flashlight that is powered by AA batteries makes a lot of sense. You should never need to go far to replenish your supply, and you can easily store extras in your pack for when you need them most. Any of the three models listed above is worthy of your consideration, depending on the specific uses you have in mind for the AA flashlight. For high-powered duty, the Fenix TK41 is the clear winner, but the Fenix E12 and the Streamlight 88033 are certainly worthy options for less-powerful lighting needs.

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