Best Batteries for Flashlights

The purpose of this post is to, hopefully, inform you on what kind of batteries are out there. When the time comes to buy more batteries for flashlights, there are lots to put into consideration.

I like to stick to the basics and like things done “old-school.” For batteries you basically have two different kinds: rechargeable vs. non-rechargeable. There are several things to put into consideration. First off, let’s get familiar with what a battery actually is. A battery is a portable electric storage unit by which cells carry an electric charge as a source of current.

Let’s keep it simple and take a look at non-rechargeable batteries. When making a choice on which battery suits your flashlight the best, it is always easier to stick to the basics such as a non-rechargeable battery. The three main brand of batteries you will see while battery shopping is Duracell, Energizer and Rayovac. All three are neck and neck for consumer batteries. The main difference between the three brands is price. Out of all three of those brands, I prefer to use Duracell—specifically Duracell Pro-Cell—with Energizer Max coming in a close second. If I am simply buying batteries for day-to-day use. The only way to go is Rayovac, simply due to how inexpensive they are.

Let’s take a look at some batteries that, in my opinion, exceed those three brands. My favorite non-rechargeable battery is the CR123A 3V NexTORCH Lithium Battery:

I was first introduced to these batteries working as an alarm technician. I quickly noticed that several alarms come with these batteries or people were upgrading to them. They feature a built in circuit protector. They have 10% more capacity than average CR123A and last 20% longer. They are a 3 volt battery with 1400mAH.

Now if you are anything like me, you are now asking yourself what does mAH mean? Well for batteries there are two different ratings on every battery: volts and amp-hours (AH). The AH rating may also be given in milliamp-hours (mAH). For example 1400mAH is equal to 14AH. The voltage of your battery should always remain the same.

Next, let’s look at rechargeable batteries. These batteries are no walk in the park. That being said, here are some things that you should know before purchasing. New rechargeable batteries come discharged and may take 3-4 charge/discharge cycles before the battery reaches its maximum capacity. If you decide to invest in rechargeable batteries, please keep in mind that they require to be discharged and recharged every 2-3 weeks. Why? They will slowly drain on their own and loose their capacitance or—in laymen terms—their ability to store a charge. It never hurts to keep you batteries clean. In fact, it is a very good idea to keep them cleaned to get the most life out of them. To clean a battery, it is best to use alcohol and a cotton swab to clean the contacts at the top and the bottom. The lifetime of the average rechargeable battery is 500-800 charge/discharge cycles. This usually translates into about three years for the average user.

Another term to become familiar with is “memory effect.” It is when you don’t fully charge or discharge the battery, it forgets how much it can really store and remembers less of its capacity.  It won’t hold the charge specified on their label if it is not maintained properly. The memory effect is common with NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) batteries. 

 My favorite rechargeable battery is the Excellerator Rechargeable CR123A 3V:

These batteries are awesome and really inexpensive for what you are getting out of them. They have an extremely fast recharge rate of 85% of full power within 30 min. Also, you get three times the amount of cycles out of these. They have an average of 2000 charge/discharge cycles for these. They have an output of 3.2 volts.

The main difference between non-rechargeable and rechargeable batteries is what they are made out of. For instance NiCad batteries are always rechargeable and Lithium or alkeline are not rechargeable.

If you are looking for a battery that is going to turn your bulb into a beam, then I would suggest any battery that is nickel-zinc (NiZn) battery. These are often the brightest. However if your flashlight regulates voltage, these batteries won’t be any better than just an average battery. It is important to understand that the more volts you have the more likely you are to burn out your bulb at a faster rate.

 When buying your batteries next time, put this into consideration:

If you are in a survival situation, how good is a rechargeable battery going to treat you? Are you going to be able to stop and plug them in to recharge? Or you can look at it the other way. Are going to want to haul around a stock-pile of batteries? Wouldn’t you rather haul around just a few and rely off of those to get more bang for your buck?………..The choice is yours.


Top 7 AA Battery Operated Flashlights

Next to my EDC knife, there’s nothing that beats a good EDC flashlight. You know… One to have with you for emergencies and to show off to your friends. When you have an EDC flashlight, it makes sense to have one that takes batteries that are easy to find. Plus, a lot of people aren’t interested in purchasing expensive batteries to go with their flashlights. So, I limited this particular list to my seven favorite AA battery flashlights. You can’t go wrong with any of these, they are all great fit anywhere, take anywhere flashlights.

#7 Fenix LD10 (100 Lumens) ~$49.50

Here is one of the toughest flashlights I have ever owned. It has some great features and is extremely well built. I definitely feel confident going into any adventure with this little guy. For a flashlight with just 100 lumens, you have a 7 different output settings to fit the optimal brightness and run time for the job at hand. The LD10 is ANSI/NEMA FL1 rated.

#6 Fenix LD15 (117 Lumens) ~$37.95

Here we have the smallest, brightest, lightest flashlight that money can buy. It is a very simple design with great functionality. I like to have this every-day-carry light right around my neck on the lanyard for outdoor adventures. It is a simple 2 mode flashlight with a reliable twist switch.

#5 Icon Rogue 1  (50 Lumens) ~$29.99

Perhaps the flashlight with the most bulk when it comes down to a single AA battery operated light, but none the less it has its advantages. Preferably something of that size is easier to find and operate. The design is something out of this world with rugged aerospace-grade aluminum that makes it virtually indestructible. You will have a smooth and powerful beam with a solid high-quality LED, and long-running performance from the two stage output modes.

#4 LRI Photon Proton Pro (1000 Candle Power) ~$49.95

This is my favorite safety flashlight. For one, it has individual SOS and Morse code modes. Second, the settings and light output modes are easy to function and very practical. The design and construction looks very simple to me, but still has that “I can take this anywhere” functionality as well.

#3 XENO E03 V3 (430 Lumens) ~$29.95

This is my favorite J.B. approved light with some flash. It’s a good fit in my hand for its compact size and lightweight style. Also with the textured aluminum body and ergonomic groves for your fingers it’s a good squeeze.  One of the best flashlights for getting a lot of lumen per dollar, and with three output modes you can use this light wisely to last you a many adventures.

#2 JETBeam RRT-0 Raptor (255 Lumens) ~$114.00

No matter what dark and dangerous situation you find yourself, you can be reassured that having this on hand can help. This flashlight was designed purposefully for military, law enforcement, search and rescue, and heavy duty outdoors activities. The features and modes are easy to use in almost any condition, and just as easy with gloves on. Jetbeam takes pride in there industrial and tactical design, and it shows in the performance of this AA battery flashlight.

#1 XENO Cube Ti-Black E11-V7 (220 Lumens) ~$84.95

For the friendliest and most modern design we have the XENO Cube. Looking at it you may think that this is something too simple for that price, I can agree. But then again, I see what Apple can do with a computer or an MP3 player, and think, you get what you pay for. This is quite the bundle with a great shape. It sure won’t roll away on you, and will take anything rolling on it. Just keep it close to your chest on the lanyard. It has great quality LED white light with three modes for your convenience. I like to use this one when I want to show off a flashlight to the people.