With the advent of cheap but powerful LED technology, there's been an explosion of companies making incredibly bright handheld lights. Just like with the knife market, you can now get everything from cheap $5 no-brand lights to fancy $500 custom lights that are true works of art. Like every other part of this gear game, what appeals to me is getting the most reasonable performance for the price as possible. I don't need 1000 lumens, or even 500. I don't need a program that cycles through turbo, high, medium, low, moonlight, strobe, blink, and SOS. So here's a list of lights that I'm interested in, which exhibit all the attributes that I look for in EDC gear.
Note — Wherever lumens and runtimes are given below, those are manufacturer numbers, and not measured by myself.
There is just a cornucopia of different light brands on the market right now. Many of them are Chinese companies that produce a lot of very similar models, although each typically has a couple models that show off distinguishing features. Here I'm speaking of Fenix, FourSevens, Nitecore, Olight, Thrunite, etc. These are all high quality brands that give you a good light for a good price, and when it comes to a basic 2×AA or 2×CR123, for the most part you can get reasonably the same thing from each company.
Not a lot of good production lights are made in the United States, if that's something that matters to you. Maglites are built in the United States, as are SureFire and some Streamlight models. ArmyTek are built in Canada.
|Microstream||1×AAA||35 (2h 15m)|
|Stylus Pro||2×AAA||65 (6h 30m)|
|ProTac 2L||2×CR123||180 (2h 30m)||10 (50h)||Modes: H - S - L|
|1910||1×AAA||72 (1h 45m)||14 (4h)||Modes: H - L|
|1920||2×AAA||120 (2h 45m)||12 (9h 30m)||Modes: H - L|
|LightStar 80||2×AAA||80 (5h)||High CRI|
|LightStar 300||2×AA||300 (3h)||100 (24h)||Modes: H - L • Turn off & back on to switch modes|
|LightStar TruColor||2×AA||Modes: H - L • LightStar 300 with High CRI LED|