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There are thousands of flashlight variants on the web, and deciding which to purchase can be overwhelming.

This guide focuses on breaking down these flashlights into these main categories:

  • Battery support:  Some AA lights can also take 14500 lithium batteries which let the LED’s run much brighter
  • Switch: Can be a tail switch or an electronic side switch
  • Size and weight: For those who use these for travel or backpacking, weight matters a lot more
  • User interface and mode spacing: Lights come in a wide variety of user interfaces. We like to find ones that keep the strobe out of the main rotation, don’t have too many modes, and have a good medium mode in the 20-50 lumen range to help preserve battery life.
  • LED:  Many cheap lights still use Cree LED’s that came out 7 years ago or more.  Ideally it’s best to find the more modern LED’s such as the Cree XP-G2/3, XP-L2, XHP series or Nichia LEDs.  The older Cree R5 and XML emitters are starting to show their age.

E-switch / side switch AA flashlights