One important consideration when choosing the best EDC flashlight for your needs is the type of battery it uses. On paper, LED flashlights that take AA batteries seem a bit out of place. They aren't the most powerful or longest lasting, nor are they compact enough to carry on a keychain like other EDC lights. But the main draw of AA batteries is their availability.
You can find them everywhere, from gas stations to grocery stores, so if your main EDC light uses it, you can bet you'll never be far away from a backup source for it. Even better: modern AA flashlights can make use of rechargeable AA batteries (or their more powerful lithium-ion versions), saving you money in the long run while giving you a performance boost to boot.
Whether it's for availability or convenience, an AA flashlight is a great choice for everyday carry. We've put together 12 of the best EDC flashlights below.
While you can't go wrong with any of the lights we're about to talk about, it helps to know a little of the terminology to make sense of these lights' impressive specs and features. To brush up, check out our beginner's guide to LED flashlights.
Nitecore's AA offering makes the most of its size and gives you a rugged flashlight loaded with tactical features. It's able to use high-powered lithium-ion rechargeables (known as 14500 cells) for a maximum of 920 lumens on its Turbo setting, while using a standard AA alkaline on Ultralow gives you 1 lumen of output for up to 102 hours. 1.5m of impact resistance and IPX-8-rated water resistance ensure a tough light built to last, while dual switches and a crenelated bezel round out its tactical features.
Olight S1A Baton
Olight makes some of the best EDC flashlights you can buy, and their AA model gives you the features you've come to expect from the brand. A soft side switch on its aluminum alloy body gives you access to its 6 modes, while also giving the light a more compact profile. The S1A is able to use 14500 batteries, to give you up to 600 lumens on its highest setting. Its TIR lens gives you an even, floody beam useful for area illumination, while a deep-carry pocket clip secures the S1A for everyday carry.
Fenix LD12 2017
The Fenix LD12's simplicity of its design and features has made it the go-to light for many EDCers, and this year it gets even better. It has ample power for everyday tasks, comes in hardy aluminum, and boasts IP-68 dust- and water-resistance. At under 2 ounces, it's easy to carry thanks to its included pocket clip. An XP-G2 LED gives it up to 320 lumens of power when using a 14500 battery (or 150 when using an alkaline AA), controlled by both a stainless steel side switch and tactical tail switch. It's everything you need in an EDC light.
Zebralight makes some of the most technically advanced and customizable flashlights in the business. For the SC52, you get 4 fully-programmable modes to suit your tasks, all controlled via Zebralight's single button interface. The SC52's unibody is milled from premium aluminum, while its circuits are potted for extra insulation. A pocket clip makes it easy to EDC the SC52, especially at only 1.4 ounces. The version in the link below comes in floody neutral white, but be sure to check out the entire SC52 line for the perfect light/reflector combination for your needs.
OK, so technically, the V11R isn't strictly an AA light in the traditional sense. It's a CR123 light that uses an extender to make it compatible with AA and 14500 batteries, but that versatility is totally worth it. Sunwayman is one of the few companies who make magnetic ring interfaces for flashlights, and they're a pleasure to use. Instead of navigating the interface with a series of clicks, you control the V11R's output (from 1-500 lumens) using the magnetic ring on its head. You'll always have the perfect brightness for your task in a compact flashlight perfect for everyday carry.
Maratac AA Titanium Nichia REV 1
Maratac's no stranger to EDC flashlights, having made revisions over the years to their flagship models, and their AA light is no different. Now sporting a new coat of Grade 5 titanium, the AA REV 1 also uses the Nichia 219 emitter, giving you highly accurate color reproduction compared to standard “cool white” LEDs. It's much more natural and pleasant to the eyes, while still giving you up to 205 lumens for 75 minutes across 3 modes. A glow-in-the-dark diffuser and reflector o-ring, pocket clip, lanyard hole, and orange peel reflector (for a brighter, tighter beam) round out its features.
It's hard not to be impressed with how many features ThruNite packs into the T10 given how inexpensive it is. For its price, you wouldn't expect an IPX-8-rated lightweight aluminum body, 252 lumens from an XP-L LED, nor a 0.2 lumen Firefly mode that lasts an astounding 240 hours. Nor would you expect accessories like a deep-carry pocket clip or diffuser to be included in the package. And even less so, the choice between a cool and neutral white tint for its emitter. What we're saying is: this is a heck of a bargain for a flashlight at any price point.
Klarus set out to break some barriers with the multi-colorway Mi7. And by barriers, we mean 700 lumens of power from a flashlight shorter than a pen. You can use both regular AAs and 14500 batteries with the Mi7, the former giving you up to 300 lumens while the latter a pocket-burning 700. It comes with 5 modes and 7 colors, all rated for 1m of impact and 2m of water resistance (IPX-8). Its aluminum alloy keeps it light at under an ounce without its battery, and the included clip and lanyard lets your EDC the Mi7 with ease.
EagTac D25A Ti Clicky 2017
Few materials are as prized in EDC circles as titanium thanks to its strength-to-weight ratio while giving off an impressive sheen. EagTac's got titanium in spades with the D25A, but don't let its shine distract you from its performance. Updated for 2017, the D25A packs your choice of an XP-L HI V3 or Nichia 219 emitter for your preference of maximum output versus color accuracy. It has a new body style with ample knurling for ideal grip, and its hardened shell is polished to a stunning finish. Enthusiasts will also appreciate the D25A's programmable interface that lets you select its output before turning it on.
L3 Illumination L11C
Color accuracy, or high CRI, used to be exclusive to higher-end lights. That is, until L3 Illumination bucked the trend by putting a high-CRI Nichia LED into their inexpensive flagship models. The L11C uses a single AA paired with a Nichia 219B LED for up to 140 lumens on its highest setting, giving you excellent color rendering in a compact flashlight that's ideal for EDC. It comes with a thoroughly knurled aluminum body to keep the L11C light but rugged, and is available in 3 colors to best match your EDC aesthetic. And at 0.7 ounces without its battery and included pocket clip, it's an inexpensive addition to any everyday carry.
ArmyTek Partner A1 Pro
Sure, you could get any old aluminum flashlight for strength and light weight, but few manufacturers can measure up to the build quality of ArmyTek flashlights. Designed for hard use in the field, these lights perform to the highest standards of water and impact resistance (to the tune of 10 meters each). The Partner A1 Pro is their AA/14500 light, with 8 modes and up to 600 lumens of output. TIR optics give it a smooth, floody beam useful for general tasks, paired with either a cool white or warm tint to best fit your preference. At about 4 inches long and 2 ounces, it's one of the toughest compact AA lights you can carry.
Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA
Streamlight are known for their no-nonsense, uncomplicated lights, and the ProTac 1L-1AA is no different. A durable aluminum body houses a C4 LED which can output up to 150 lumens on High for up to 4.25 hours with a Lithium AA battery. The ProTac is even compatible with CR123As for an extra bump of output up to 350 lumens. It also comes with a dual-purpose clip that lets you attach the light tip up or down as needed, giving you hands-free lighting when attached to a a hat without having to remove the clip. A simple and efficient flashlight for EDC.
Do you carry an AA flashlight? If you have a one that you think is worthy of the title “best,” make sure to let us know in the comments below!