Everyday Carry

Top 10 Flashlights available now, Part I

by Anthony Sculimbrene

Everyday Carry

Related Gear:
   The Beginner's Guide to EDC Flashlights
   ThruNite TT20 21700 Flashlight
   The top 10 knives available now, Part 1

Top 10 Flashlights available now, Part I

There are a huge number of very good lights out there under $100.  Unlike what is happening in the knife market, there is a solid and growing middle in the flashlight market.  I have been fortunate to review quite a few of these lights.  You can find my reviews here.  Additionally there are three other trends that are interesting and impact the sterling quality of lights you can get relatively little money.  There have three major improvements to lights in the past year or two. 

To start, emitter technology continues to improve.  This has two effects.  First you get more lumens for less power making the two common cells, AA and AAA cells, useful in flashlights again.  It used to be that only power dense lithium cells could deliver enough light to be generally useful, but that is not the case anymore.  You can easily find lights that output 100 lumens, the limit I have found for useful for doing most EDC tasks, and still use common cells. 

Second, as emitter technology improves we are getting better color rendering from emitters, that is, they are producing more accurate depictions of color (see here for more on color rendering).  Another major trend is the improvement in battery technology. It used to be that the only cells in serious lights were CR123a lights, but as rechargeable technology has improved and emitters have gotten better, we can now use a wider array of batteries.  18650s are particularly nice cells, as are CR2s and super small cells like 10180s.   This variety in battery sizes allows for a huge variety in the size and use of flashlights. 

The final major improvement is the significant upgrade to UIs.  Let’s face it, traditional twisties (twist and twist again) and clickies are cumbersome.  Don’t think so?  Hand your light to a non-flashlight person and see how easy it is for them to navigate all the modes based on your directions.  Now we have a wide variety of UIs, the best of which are easy to use.  QTC (quantum tunneling composite) material and magnetic selector rings make managing modes much simpler. 

With all this of this innovation, if you have been out of the market for a year or so, you’ll be in for a big surprise.  Here are the top 10 lights for under $100:

Number 10:  OLight i2 EOS (purchase link is to the more readily available i3, a 1xAAA version of the i2):


This is by far the cheapest light on this list, running about $25.  There are two versions, so be careful.  The one with the friction fit, as opposed to screwed on, pocket clip is crappy.  Get the screwed on clip instead.  The output is about average or slightly below for a 1xAA light, and the UI is old fashioned (twist, twist again twisty), but the form factor is darn near perfect.  The light tailstands well.  The clip is superb (provided you get the right model), and the shape is excellent with no wonkiness.  If this had a better output and a staged twisty (where the light gets brighter as you twist in one direction), it would be much higher on the list.  Seeing as both those things are relatively inexpensive to implement, Olight would be well-served making those changes and going back to the screw on clip for a future release.  This light also happens to be very “normal” looking for a flashlight making it palatable to a wider range of people.

Number 9: FourSevens Mini CR123 (aka M something, something, something)(purchase)


Okay I really hate the unintutive name changes that washed over the entire FourSevens line up about a year ago, but this is still a great light.  Its not as good as other CR123a lights out there because of a lack of a clip and a distinctly ancient, twist and twist-again twisty UI, but it has the beating heart of a cutting edge emitter and with the release of the excellent head mount, can easily switch to being a headlamp.  Headlamps are perhaps the only piece of EDC gear that rivals the fanny pack in terms of dorkiness, but man are they useful (you have the added benefit of  needing it only when it is dark, so you an hide it better than you can the fanny pack).  Despite all of that usefulness, the set up is just unwieldy 99% of the time, when a pocketable light would do.  Having the option to do both with one light is great and another sign that flashlight platforms are the way of the future.  I chose the ML-X (its current proper name) over the Atom because I like the beam pattern of the ML-X better.  The Atom AL is a good choice too, with a better UI and a magnet in the tail (surprisingly useful), but it is a mule light, a light without a reflector, and thus has a very flat, broad beam pattern.

Number 8: Prometheus Beta QR 


This is probably the best light sold on Kickstarter thus, a great source for innovative EDC gear.  The quick release mechanism is truly ingenious solving a classic problem for lights that are supposed to be carried on a keychain—how do you have an easy to use attachment point and still make the light capable of tailstanding?  Jason cleverly put together the quick release mechanism found in pneumatic tools with a truly beautiful flashlight, one that echoes his undulating shape found in his Alpha Pen and his larger flashlight.  The Beta QR runs on a 1xAAA and happens to have an amazing Nichia 219 emitter, my favorite on the market right now.  You can get the Beta QR through Jason’s site eventually, as the Kickstarter is closed now.  It should be available at well less than $100.

Number 7: HDS Executive Clicky (Rotary 200 pictured, but overall appearance is very similar)


Okay so it only hits 120 lumens.  And this bad boy is a fatty compared to other lights in the 1xCR123 format, but it is a beast.  My Rotary Executive feels like it could used as a shotgun slug with very little damage done.  There is a clip for the clicky version and it is highly programmable.  Finally it hits at exactly $100.  What’s the hook?  Oh well you have a better chance of catching a yeti doing a Shammu whale show with Nessie.  Henry’s wait list is very, very long, but if you aren eagle eye you can find one in some of the better specialty sites on line.

Number 6: Lumapower Incendio 


At the end of every car’s lifespan, when the manufacturer is about to change the chassis and upgrade everything, they usually put out a super high performance version of the old car with all of the tweaks and upgrades and improvements they discovered during the life of the car.  The Lumapower Incendio is just that light.  It might be the finest 1xCR123a clicky ever made (its competition is below).  It can hit 500 lumens with the battery pack and there is a hard to find throw head available.  The clip is nice and straightforward and the light tailstands.  Its incredibly small for what you get.  It checks off virtually every box there is for a flashlight, but for the olde timey clicky UI.  I had one and still miss it every once in a while.

Part 2 HERE - Next up, the Top 5 lights under $100. 

#reviews #flashlights #top10 #olight #foursevens #promethus #hds #lumapower #featured #top-10-2014-flashlights #top-10 #good-edc-flashlight #small-twisty-18650-flashlight #best-flashlight-under-100 #best-pocket-flashlight #top-10-pocket-flashlights #edc-light #small-edc-flashlight #brightest-aaa-flashlight-2015 #best-flashlight-under-100-dollars #top-smallest-flashlight #pocket-flashlight #best-edc-flashlight-2014 #what-is-the-best-size-for-flashlights #best-flashlight-for-100-dollars #worlds-finest-aaa-flashlight #best-pocket-flashlights-reviews #edc-flashlight #what-emergency-first-aid #top-10-flashlights #edc-flashlight-2014 #edc-flashlights #favortie-edc-lights #best-pocket-flash-light #top-flaslights-use-over-5-year #best-small-flashlights-2014 #best-1-cr123-edc-light #what-is-the-best-edc-flashlight #best-edc-flashlight-candlepowerforums #best-edc-light #recommended-pocket-flashlight #edc-pocket-flashlight #the-finest-led-headlamp-edc #best-flashlight-now #best-cr123-edc-flashlight #best-luma-range-in-a-edc-flashlight #top-10-edc-flashlights #top-flashlights-under-100 #best-edc-aaa-flashlight-2015 #pocket-led-flashlight #good-edc-pocket-flashlight #top-rated-edc-flashlights #top-10-edc-flash-lights-under-25 #best-edc-flashlight #top-ten-flashlights #carry-flashlight #best-flashlight-everyday-carry #the-best-edc-flashlight #very-good-flashlight #best-everyday-carry-flashlight #best-flashlight #brightest-single-cr123-flashlight-2014 #top-ten-pocket-flashlights #best-9-led-flashlight-edc-forum #everyday-carry-flashlight #best-double-a-flashlight-with-clip #every-day-carry-flashlight #pocket-flashlight-reviews #best-small-flashlight-review #best-led-flashlight-under-100 #best-magnetic-flash-lights-on-the-market #best-pocket-flashlights #best-small-flashlight-for-daily-carry #aaa-flashlight-with-pocket-clip #edc-headlamps #best-everyday-flashlight #best-cr123-flashlight #everyday-headlights-flashlights #edc-pocket-flashlights #best-edc-cr123-flashlight #recommended-pocket-flaslight #aaa-flashight-magnet #top-edc-flashlights #best-cheap-compact-flashlight #everyday-carry-flashlight-review #pocket-flashlights #best-cheap-pocket-flashlight #lights-for-carry #top-ten-small-flashlights #best-edc-lights #best-aaa-flashlight #best-pocket-led-flashlight #best-everday-carry-flashlight-that-can-be #clicky-edc-flashlights #edc-clicky-flashlight #what-is-bestbpocket-flashlight #best-led-pocket-flashlights #best-pocket-edc-flashlight #top-25-flashlights #aaa-led-magnet #smallest-cr123-flashlight #best-flashlight-less-than-100 #best-flashlights-under-100 #what-is-a-good-small-flashlight #best-edc-flashlight-2015-under-25 #top-pocket-flashlights #best-pocket-flashlight-brand #flashlight-size-for-pocket see all

Who Likes This (47)

38 others

Discussion (1 total)

There are no messages here. Be the first to share a comment or feedback.

1 more comments