Looking at the selection of AA high-powered flashlights, it is easy to see that there are very few selections that can push the output of the light over the 600 lumen mark, or even hitting a high output without the use of a ton of batteries. Thankfully, the Nitecore EA4 solves this issue with a few good traits.
The most noticeable part of this AA torch, is the output. With its CREE XM-L U2 LED, the EA4 Pioneer has a maximum output of 900 lumens with an even more impressive beam. The range of the beam can reach as far as 283 meters from only using four AA batteries, which makes it a perfect choice for those that want to stick with the convenience and value of AA batteries.
This EA4 series also has a fantastic set up of the user interface, which is similar to the Tiny Monster series. Manageable through the use of a single side switch, a full press of the button allows the user to access the turbo mode, while a half press of the switch allows the user to access the other six modes and cycle through the available choices. In order to access the strobe feature, a simple double click of the switch will engage the 900 lumen strobe, providing an extra measure of security and visibility.
The EA4 series is fairly priced, and also comes in a Neutral White version for those that prefer the ambiance of a pure white.
So far for the new Niteye brand, we’ve reviewed a great selection of lights that fit the wants and needs of any person that’s looking for a good pocket light or a good and functional tactical light. What we have yet to review, however, is a light that uses AA batteries instead of CR123′s or 18650′s. Granted that the lithium-powered cells are more powerful and better performing than the traditional alkaline batteries, but when it comes down to convenience and affordability, the Niteye EYE12‘s AA capability makes it a perfect choice for an EDC or emergency flashlight.
Using a CREE XM-L U2 LED that produces an impressive 260 lumens, the EYE12 is powered by two AA battery cells, which makes it a perfect starting light for those that are looking to delve into the high performance flashlight realm and wanting to stick with convenience first. The light has a tail switch that is used to turn the beam on and off, while the ramping ring located towards the head of the light is used to manage the lumen output, which allows the user to set the beam at a preferred mode rather than using programmed settings.
The body of the EYE12 is constructed out of aerospace aluminum, which allows the light to be durable and reduces damage by impact or accidents. The stainless steel bezel located on the head gives the light an executive finish, while it doubles over as reinforced protection of the lens and LED. Just like the other Niteye flashlights, the EYE12 comes standard with the IPX-8 waterproof rating, meaning that the light can handle heavy rain storms and can be dropped in water without any worries.
Nowadays, there seems to be a lot of flashlights that have the ability to use two separate battery types, and for an EDC light the feature does come in very handy. However, most of these lights tend to have an extender piece that needs to be attached, and if it ends up getting lost, then the light is limited to one battery type, leaving you in the dark (no pun intended) if you need to use the other battery type. Zebralight saw the issue with this design, so when they released the SC80, they actually designed the adapter piece to be placed inside of the light so that it never needs to be removed from the light. The brass piece allows the SC80 to run either a CR123 with an output of 220 lumens, or AA (preferably Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable) at an output of 200 lumens. While the internal battery adapter is unique for the Zebralight selection, the user interface remains the same as the rest of the product line, and the quality build is impeccable (just ask Casey what happened to his SC30). All in all, the size of the light makes it a great choice for an EDC light, along with its adapting brass insert and the incredible lumen output.
A newer brand that has had a fast uprising on the flashlight market, Klarus is well known for its highly acclaimed XT10: a tactial light that is made to handle some of the toughest conditions on the planet. However, this review is to discuss the EDC line of the Klarus brand, which rise above and beyond their expectations. The Klarus P series contains four different lights: P1C, P2C, P1A, and P2A. Each light has a different lumen output and battery cell capacity, which is great for those that wish to find the ideal light for the conditions that the user may endure (i.e.: output vs. convenience/pocket portability vs. run time). The Klarus P series lights come standard with IPX-8 waterproofing and a removable pocket clip.
The Olight S35 and S65 are two of the best options available for super high output lights which use the AA battery. The S35 uses 3 AA batteries and pumps out 380 lumens thanks to the CREE XM-L LED. The S65 uses 6 AA cells paired with a CREE XM-L LED allowing it to emit 700 lumens on the max brightness setting. There aren’t many AA lights which can compete with these two in terms of performance. Olight has found a way to squeeze a whole lot of power out of the normally lackluster AA platform. If you’re looking for a light which uses the ubiquitous AA battery while still having tons of output, then the S35 and S65 fit the bill perfectly.
The Olight i2 and i3 are essentially the same light. The main difference between the two is the power source. The i2 is powered by one AA battery, and the i3 is powered by one AAA battery. Both lights have roughly the same output being only 5 lumens apart. The i2 maxes out at 75 lumens, and the i3 tops out at 70 lumens. The larger reflector of the i2 will give it more throw than its smaller counterpart, the i3. Both lights have enough power to illuminate objects at 100 feet out, which is amazing considering the size of these torches. With power like this available in keychain size there is no excuse not to carry a nice EDC light. Having bigger flashlights on you is great, but having something like the i2 or i3 on you at all times is pretty much invaluable.
Spark is known for making very high quality headlamps and they are now entering the world of high end flashlights. Their headlamps have become popular because they are high quality, reliable, and most of all affordable. Spark makes headlamps that rival the big names at over half the cost in some instances. The ST5-180OW and ST5-210CW are no exception to the aforementioned rule.
The ST5 series of headlamps run off of a single AA battery which pushes a CREE XP-G LED. The 180OW maxes out at 180 lumens as the name suggests, and the 210CW maxes out at 210 lumens. Both torches produce more than enough light to get just about any job done. The 180OW has slightly decreased output due to the neutral white tint of its LED. The neutral white tint gives higher color fidelity than the cool white LEDs, but it is at the cost of some output.
Check out the video below to get a good idea of the differences between the two LEDs. The difference in output between the two isn’t huge, but it is noticeable in some situations. What it noticeable pretty much all of the time is the difference between neutral and cool white. Luckily we make videos to help you decide!
The SL5-190NW and the SL5-220CW are two of Spark’s newest lights. The SL5 series runs off of one AA cell making battery changes easy and inexpensive. The 190NW and 220CW both utilize the CREE XM-L LED giving these lights more spill than the other versions which use the smaller XP-G LED. Using the CREE XM-L does mean that these lights will not throw as far, but they will light up a larger area at once. The larger area of illumination is much more useful in most situations. A huge amount of throw is really only necessary for search lights and situations where long distances need to be covered. These two lights are functionally identical, but the 190NW will have a little less output than the 220CW. The 190NW uses a high CRI LED which tops out at 190 lumens, but it does represent colors more accurately than the 220CW. The 220CW tops out at 220 lumens, but since it has a cool tint it will not have the same color fidelity that the 190NW has. Either light is bright enough for just about any urban task, so the decreased output of the 190NW isn’t really a concern.
Spark initially hit the scene with only headlamps, but now they are venturing into the world of hand held flashlights. The SL5-210CW and the SL5-180OW are two of the new hand held lights that Spark is producing.
Both of these lights run off of a single AA battery which pushes a CREE XP-G LED. The 210OW has a traditional cool white beam with a max output of 210 lumens as the name implies. The 180OW sports a warmer high CRI tint which represents colors with more clarity. While the 180OW version does have higher color fidelity, it sacrifices output to some extent. The cool white version tops out at 210 lumens while the 180OW tops out at 180. The decrease is output is not as drastic as it sounds in use. Both of these torches sport two different switches, but unlike other dual switch lights both of the buttons do the same thing. The tandem dual switches gives the end user great versatility while using the light.
Spark has demonstrated excellent quality with their headlamps which translated over into the hand held lights. These are two of the nicest little pocket lights available.
Sunwayman is known for making quality lights in general, but one thing they do especially well is headlamps. Headlamps are some of the most useful kind of lights out there because of one simple rule, they are hands free. The H51c and H51Fc are the high CRI versions of Sunwayman’s ever popular AA headlamps.
Accurate color rendition is something that is gaining popularity in the flashlight world. The old days of incandescent lights were exempt from the color fidelity issues. With the introduction of LED emitters the issue of true color representation became known. Most LED’s emit a cool tint of light which leans towards being blue, in turn making objects appear to be a different color than they really are. High CRI LEDs emit a warmer tint which provides more natural and accurate color representation. This higher fidelity that the high CRI LEDs provide is at the cost of output, but the amount of output lost is negligible in most cases.
If true color representation is important for your uses then the H51c is a great choice. Check out the video below to get a better idea of how the warmer tint looks.