In this post I want to make the case for the super bright AA flashlight. I personally think that they are really ideal for a bugout bag. In the event that some kind of disaster requires you to hit the road you can be pretty certain any store or house you end up at has some AA batteries around. AA batteries have to be the most common battery carried in any store and in every home as well. Plus, you can scrounge them out of remotes and other devices if you really get stuck. Try the with CR123A’s. And if the power is out so much for recharging that flashlight that runs on a 18650 battery.
There are definitely more flashlights in this category, but since I was doing my own personal research before I bought one I thought I’d share the ones I narrowed my choices down too. As soon as I make my purchase I’ll share it here with detailed photos as I do with all my flashlight purchases.
Another thing that put these flashlights on my short list is all of them allow you to drop the AA’s straight in with no extra battery holder. A holder is just one more thing to break, so if the flashlight was designed to use one I left it off the list.
The Fenix E41 has plenty of features to like and at least one not to like. So let’s get what I don’t like about the E41 out of the way first. All of the photos I’ve seen shows that this light is going to definitely be a roller. It appears that there is nothing in the design of the flashlight to keep it from rolling if set on its side on an uneven surface.
With this somewhat minor complaint out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the Fenix E41’s features. The E41 has has four lighting modes:
- Turbo – 1000 lumens
- High – 400
- Medium – 140
- Low – 20
Although it goes without saying that running just about any flashlight in it’s highest mode for longer lengths of time dramatically shortens battery life, the E41 offers enough other modes for all types of lighting applications. From what I’ve read about this flashlight, all four batteries must be installed for it to operate. There is no option to run off off two batteries. It has reverse polarity protection in case you install the batteries incorrectly. It’s short and compact in size, comes with a lanyard, spare o-ring and operates off of a single side switch. It can be used in wet and inclement weather and is water resistant down to about 2 meters.
If you already like Fenix flashlights and lack of anti-roll design isn’t a deal breaker, then this may be the flashlight for around the house or in your bugout bag.
The Fenix E41 is available at Amazon.com.
I’ll just be flat out honest with you. If I’m adding one of these three lights to my stable of flashlights it would most likely be the Nitecore EA41 2015 edition. I really like Nitecore flashlights and I particularly like this flashlight in the super bright AA flashlight niche. It definitely has horsepower at 1020 lumens, so being underpowered won’t be in issue. It has every mode you might need, particularly for a self-defensive bugout bag flashlight.
Aside from modes of 1020, 580, 160, 50 and 1 lumens, you get SOS, Beacon and Strobe modes as well. Plus the EA41 2015 Edition has (as an accessory – doesn’t come with the flashlight) a 40mm strike bezel that you can add. Add the strike bezel and given the EA41’s ergonomic design, you not only have a flashlight but a close quarters defensive weapon as well.
The Nitecore is IPX-8 rated making it waterproof down to 2 meters. The EA41 is impact resistant to 1.5 meters.
Flashlight run times are as follows:
- 1020 lumens: 1hr 45min
- 580 lumens: 2hrs 45 min
- 160 lumens: 12 hr
- 50 lumens: 30 hr
- 1 lumens: 400 hr
The Nitecore EA41 2015 Edition is available at Amazon.com.
Super bright AA flashlight #3 – Eagletac GX25A3
Unlike the previous two flashlights that use 4 AA batteries, the Eagletac GX25 A3 uses just 3 AA batteries. Even with only 3 AA batteries the Eagletac is able to run in burst mode at 1116 lumens. In fact, it is designed to run for over one hour in burst mode using Energizer Lithium batteries.
The one big feature that differentiates the Eagletac from the Fenix and the Nitecore are the number of modes you can run this flashlight in. You have the following modes to choose from:
- Variable Strobe
- Flash (high)
- Flash (low)
- SOS fast
The GX25A3 is also available with either a cool white Cree XM-L2 or a neutral white T6 LED.
The Eagletac GX25A3 is available at Amazon.com
If you need a super bright AA flashlight that uses easily sourced AA batteries then any one of these three would work well. All three lights are 1000 lumens or better, which should provide you with plenty of illumination for almost any situation.
Although there are real advantages in CR123A/18650 powered flashlights because of efficiency and output, sourcing these batteries can be more difficult. It’s been my experience that CR123A batteries you find on the shelf in a store probably have been sitting around much longer than AA batteries. I almost always buy them off the internet anyway because many stores still don’t consistently have them in stock (at a decent price). Plus, in an event of an emergency you’ll find AA batteries just about anywhere.