Best AA Flashlights of 2020


Most flashlights I review tend to run on lithium-ion batteries. This is mostly due to the power and charging function of 18650 flashlights and 21700 flashlights. While I love lithium-ion batteries, they’re not always the best battery to go with. Lithium-ion batteries drain slowly over time even when they’re not in use, so they require some maintenance. They also drain faster in the cold meaning if you’re planning on going out for long periods of time in cold weather, lithium-ion batteries may not be the best to take.  

In certain circumstances, it’s better to go with an alkaline, Ni-MH, or lithium battery. Each of these batteries have their pros and cons, but each one is absolutely useful. So today, I want to talk about 4 of the best AA flashlights. These flashlights range in size and versatility so I’ll write out what they’d be good for. 

4 of the Best AA Flashlights

It was pretty tough to pick the top 4 AA flashlights for 2020. And since we’re just into 2020, this list could change. However, I wanted to start the year off with powerful and useful AA flashlights that would work for a range of situations. Let’s get started!

Fenix LD42 1000 Lumen LED Flashlight

fenix aa flashlight ld42

Let’s start with some of the most powerful AA flashlights first. The Fenix LD42 light delivers an impressive output of 1000 lumens using only four AA batteries! You have the option to use alkaline AA, Ni-MH AA, or lithium AA batteries which is convenient. It has a nice throw to it with a maximum beam distance of 350 meters so you’ll be seeing a pretty focused beam with this light.

The user interface is quite interesting. It has a rotary switch near the head that allows you to turn the flashlight on and off and pick which brightness level you want. It’s an easy way to pick the right brightness level for whatever you need. Speaking of, the LD42 features five brightness levels that range from 5 lumens to 1000 lumens which means good versatility.

It’s a fairly compact flashlight with a length of just over 6 inches. Due to its flat body design, you may find it easier to carry in your pocket. The LD42 is a powerful flashlight, but does not have a strobe mode or any tactical features so it wouldn’t be considered a tactical flashlight. However, it would make a great work flashlight for engineers, handymen, plumbers, mechanics, and more. Take a look at the Fenix LD42 LED flashlight

Nitecore EA45S 1000 Lumen Tactical Flashlight

nitecore ea45s 1000 lume flashlight

Another powerful 1000 lumen flashlight, the Nitecore EA45S is a more tactical flashlight compared to the LD42. It does feature a similar flat body design and it’s a little over 6.5 inches in length, but it’s quite versatile. It has an awesome beam distance of 402 meters making it the best AA throw light on this list.

Not only that, Nitecore boasts that the ATR intelligent temperature control allows the flashlight to remain at a higher output for longer and the light will get warm, but never hot. I’m excited about this! With any high output flashlight, you usually have to deal with the light becoming quite hot to the touch if you use it on the higher outputs for a period of time. It’s great that the EA45S claims that it won’t get hot.

Now let’s take a look at the operation of this light. It features dual side switches where one switch turns the light on and off and accesses a momentary on while the other one cycles through the brightness levels and accesses the flashing modes. This tactical flashlight features 5 brightness levels ranging from 1 to 1000 lumens, an SOS mode, a strobe mode, and a beacon mode. It features a lock out function to prevent the light from accidentally turning on. You have instant access to turbo, low, and strobe. Also, the strobe mode can be activated whether the light is on or off which is a huge plus in tactical lights.

This may be the best tactical flashlight that runs on AA batteries I’ve seen so far. It’s definitely worth a look so check out the Nitecore EA45S tactical flashlight

Streamlight Protac 90 Pocket Flashlight

streamlight protac 90 led flashlight

Next let’s take a look at the Streamlight Protac 90 which is a 90° angle light. This is a great pocket light and perfect for everyday carry or for use on the job. It’s able to run on either an AA battery or a CR123 battery. Depending on which battery you use does change the output of the light. So with a CR123 battery you’re going to get a maximum output of 300 lumens and with an AA battery you’re going to be getting an output of 125 lumens. This is still a good output for up close work such as engineering, working on a car, or working on projects around the house.

As I said before, it’s a small light at about 4 inches in length and has a two-way removable pocket clip. This is going to easily allow you to take the flashlight wherever you want to go. You’re able to clip the flashlight however you want to whether it’s on your pocket or on your hat. Or you can remove the pocket clip entirely if you just don’t feel like having it. 

Operating the Protac 90 LED flashlight is simple with the single side switch. I do really like the side switch and you can see me talking more about it in my Streamlight Protac 90 flashlight review. This LED light also features three outputs which are the high brightness level, low brightness level, and strobe mode. If you’re wanting a simpler EDC light, the Protac 90 is a good choice because it only features the two brightness levels and a strobe mode.

It also has the Streamlight ten tap programming that allows you to choose how you’d like the flashlight to operate. Your options are: high to strobe to low, high only, and low to high. So you definitely have some options and how you’d like to operate the light. You don’t need to have the strobe if you don’t want it and you can turn it into a single output light using only the high mode. If you’re wanting a 90° angle pocket flashlight, make sure to check out the Streamlight Protac 90.

Thrunite Archer 1A V3 Great Budget EDC Light

edc flashlight thrunite archer 1a v3

The final light we’re going to talk about is the Thrunite Archer 1A V3. This is a great budget everyday carry flashlight and it’s also a great budget tactical flashlight. Honestly, for the price point it’s at, it’s really impressive. You can use either a single AA battery or a single 14500 battery. It has a maximum output of 200 lumens and is a little over 4 inches in length, perfect for a pocket tactical light.

The Archer 1A V3 LED light features a tactical tail switch and a side switch so operating the light is extremely easy. You have a momentary on and can turn the flashlight on and off using the tail switch. The side switch cycles through the brightness levels and accesses the strobe mode. You also have a memory function with this EDC light.

It features four brightness levels that range from 0.1 lumen to 200 lumens as well as a strobe mode. So if you’re new to the everyday carry flashlight scene and you want to start out with something that’s more budget friendly or you just want a flashlight that won’t break the bank, definitely check out the Thrunite Archer 1A V3 EDC light.