AAA and 18650/18350 flashlight advice


New to the forum, been reading a lot about flashlights the past week trying to figure out what light(s) I want. I wouldn’t call myself a flashaholic (yet) but I’ve always been interested in flashlights, especially really small ones. I have an old Maglite solitaire and another LED based one (don’t know the brand) and I really like to carry one of them with me at all times, even though I rarely actually need one (maybe also because I have pretty good night vision, at least compared to some other people I know).

I’ve been reading a lot of reviews from multiple reviewers and frankly the amount of informatin is a bit overwhelming. However I do have an idea of the kind of flashlight I’m looking for so I was hoping that maybe someone could make a recommendation. I’m basically looking for two flashlights: a AAA as an EDC and a 18650/18530 just for fun (the fun part being able to get a ridiculous amount of nice looking light from a by comparison ridiculously small flashlight).

Ok, so what am I looking for in an AAA (alkaline) light:

  • Output about 100 lumen
  • Warm or neutral white with good CRI (I think I would really like the Nichia 219B)
  • Design basically a simply tube with preferrably one constant diameter over the entire length
    Something like my Maglite Sollitaire (or the Astrolux S1 but smaller with an AAA). This ‘requirement’ is why I don’t really like the Astrolux A01
  • No parasitic drain on the battery so I guess that means it must have a mechanical switch. As mentioned I will be using this light very sporadically and I don’t want to find out the battery is drained just when I need it. It might stay in the inside pocket of my jacket for months or a year before I ever take it out.
  • Solid and reliable construction
  • Preferrably black, anodized black with a bit of knurling looks good
  • Reliable electrical connections and on/off switch. With my current LED based light that is sometimes a bit of a problem.
  • Somewhat water resistant
  • No or removable clip
  • Tail-standing capability not very important
  • Easily accessible strobe to blind and therey somewhat incapacitate wrongdoers. I’m wondering, would this do anything to fend off a vicious dog? This page suggests that even a 100 Lumen light would disorient and confuse animals.

And here’s what I’m looking for in an 18650/18350 based light:

  • Output 1000+ lumen
  • Warm or neutral white, preferrably with good CRI The 3D or 5A emitters of the Astrolux S1 might be ok but I might prefer something that has a 219B.
  • I want to use protected Li-Ion batteries I actually just read some post or article that said that unprotected Li-Ions were actually ‘safer’ because there there was no protection circuitry that can fail but that doesn’t make much sense to me. I do believe he was referring to a specific type of Li-Ions, not Cobalt-based but something else. Can’t find that page anymore.
  • Basically something like the Astrolux S1 but I think I might prefer somtehing with a 219B emitter. I know about the S41 but I don’t like the design as much as the S1 and I believe it requires (?) unprotected batteries. Also I believe it’s draining the batteries quite a bit more than the S1. If the S1 came with a 219B I would probably just get that.
  • All the other requirements from the AAA above: black, cylinder design, reliable connections and switch and so on

I’m also wondering how rapidly Li-Ion batteries self-discharge when left unattended? Is there a significant difference between how long a battery will keep its charge in a flashlight in a mechanical vs electronic switch? As with the AAA flashlight I will not be using this a whole lot so if a mechnical switch means that Li-Ion will keeps its charge while inside flashlight much longer I would probably want a mechanical switch in this one too. However this will not really be an EDC so as long as it will keep a decent charge for at least 6-9 months I’d probabl be ok with that.

For both lights I would want the beam to be smooth (with no darker spots, although most of the beamshots I’ve seen look ok to me in that respect) and not too throwy, I’m not going to be using this as a searchlight.

Hope someone can give me some recommendations. I’ve really been doing my research but it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees with so many different lights available.

Look at the Lumintop Tool or the Astrolux A01. Both can be had with the Nichia LED, both are excellent lights on the AAA battery! For the 18650/18350 I would suggest the Convoy S2+ with an XM-L2 4C for a great tint. Order it with an 8*7135 driver.

Others will have more opinions as well.


Welcome to BLF, Arjan. :slight_smile:

You will not get 1000 lumen out of a high CRI 219b, very well driven it can output a bit over 500 lumen. Unless it is a triple or quad flashlight, but the only stock multi-emitter light is the S41, that you do not like.

Your name sounds like you are from the Netherlands, if so, if you like a particular led you want in a flashlight I could help swapping it in for you?

Thank you all for the suggestions so far, will look into them thoroughly. I did encounter the Lumintop Tool but can’t remember if I had noticed it also came with a 219B.

Apart from the design of the S41 I also get the impression that it runs hotter than the S1. Forgetting about CRI for a moment, which of the S1 emitters would you say comes closest to the perceived tint of the 291B on a plain white surface? 3D or 5A?

I am. Thank you for the offer, very generous and I’ll keep it in mind in case I cannot find a stock light that is to my taste.

I might even end up ordering both an S1 and S41 (unless I can find something that combines the best from both) but I believe the S41 only use 18350s while I’d prefer to use the S1 with 18650s and I’d like to settle on one type. Seems I might be in risk of becoming a flashaholic :disappointed: Does the S41 _require _unprotected batteries to function at all or does it only drop a bit in output?

If anyone has any other recommendations I’m all ears.

P.S. How is the soldering on these lights? I have seen my share of bad soldering in budget (and even not so budget) electronics and it hasn’t gotten any better since the introduction of lead-free soldering paste. Especially if some of it is done by hand for small production runs or other reasons.

Welcome to BLF

BLF 348 is a simple nice high CRI AAA light in tube

+ 1 on the 348. Nice thing about the S2+ is you can get it host only and an 18350 tube for it. Seems to be better made than the astrolux.

…and the other way around: you can get a 18650 tube for the S41 and have a longer flashlight with longer runtime. But for that set-up, perhaps best is using a not too high drain battery like the NCR18650B or you may overheat the light.

Out of curiosity I just tried a protected NCR18650B in my S41. It doesn’t work! Turbo won’t come but the protection circuit shuts the battery down…

Too bad you don’t like the shape of the Astrolux A01, since it has everything else you want.

Oh, BTW, a strobe won’t protect you from muggers or dogs.

3D tint would be closer to “neutral” than 5A= “yellower”

Yeah I find the neural white of xpl hi and XML2 as good on the eyes as the 219b
NW as option opens up a whole lot more options

3D is my go to tint for most apps where output trumps cri. It’s nice that there are choices of 18650 hosts with 18350 tubes available.

Aesthetically I would really have liked this light years ago but these days it seems I’ve taken to the anodized black, slightly knurled look. Perhaps this one is a bit too ‘civilian’ or ‘pen-like’ looking for me (which is something I totally loved as a kid, I had a pen-light back then that took 2 AAA’s and loved it).

The black knurled style looks (and only that) a bit more robust, a bit more heavy duty. Still one to consider though, it looks good in its own way and it does have the 219B. Seems very practical overall and that’s what I’m looking for in an AAA light.


I wonder if any serious research has been done into that. Incidentally I didn’t think a strobe is going to completely get rid of a mugger, but I though that perhaps it might give you just a second or two to proceed and incapacitate him through physical means (or run away if that option is available). On the other hand I don’t see how it’s likely that you’ll have time to get the light out of your pocket (especially if you keep it in your inside coat pocket) and set it to strobe :stuck_out_tongue: . Probably better to rely upon my martial arts training and get right to business.

I do also wonder how an agressive dog is going to react to 1000 lumens right in his face, especially at night. Dogs may not rely upon their vision as much as we do but it might make it more difficult for them to target you properly. I doubt much research has been done on this as it’s probably not very ethical to do so. On the other hand perhaps police dogs could use some training that involve flashlights shining in their face.

Yup. I can see it might be useful for a cop, that already has his light ready. It could give a second or so of time for him to shoot a bad guy. But unless someone really knows what to do in that second of time, forget it.

I don’t see anything unethical about shining bright lights in dogs’ faces. It just a light, you’re not permanently blinding the animals. From my limited experience, most animals show little reaction to either a constant beam, or a strobe, regardless how bright it is. Sometimes curiosity, but it never stops them from doing something. Much like people, it might buy you a second or two.

The Tool AAA does look nice but I don’t seen an option for the Nichia LED on their website, only the Cree XP-G2 (R5)??? Or it is only certain models such as the Copper Tool AAA and the Tool Ti that are available with the 219B?

While checking out the Tool AAA on Amazone I stumbled upon the Bronte BT01 which looks nice too (no 219B though), is that any good? I think they are exaggerating the lumens though so that might be a bit of a warning sign.

The Fenix LD02 also looks very nice (purely from an aesthetics pov) but again no 219B it seems.

Are any of these (plain Tool AAA, Bronte BT01 or Feix LD02) available with a 219B? Or perhaps with the the xpl hi or XML2 as mentioned above ? I might be willing to compromise on CRI if at least the tint itself is good and the beam a nice even color.

Oh my, that looks yummy! Really like the aesthetics on this one. Very cheap too (although that’s not my primary concern!

In my OP I mentioned I wanted to use protected batteries only but I’ve been reading a bit more about IMR batteries and it appears they are inherently safer chemistry-wise. What is the prevailing wisdom here? And would the Convoy S2+ work ok with IMR batteries?

I watched one of those ‘survival’ programs on Discover or something a while ago and they made fire by damaging a Li-Ion battery from their cellphone. Very agressive stuff what’s inside! I knew that already but seeing it in action is something else. Aparently an IMR would’t respond so violently to it rupturing.

While researching the Convoy S2+ I came across this:

Apparently this is a modded Convoy S2+. Would be great to put in 3x 219B. I see this being discussed in that thread overthere. Wondering how doable it is or if they are available somewhere with them installed at a decent price.

Only Richard from Mountain Electronics sells triple Convoys (with almost any led you wish for, and a great driver), but it is not cheap and shipping from the States spoils it even further!

Interesting, even if it is a tad expensive at $83 with my selected options. Seems it doesn’t use the original metal-only switch? Apparently the original switch is one aspect of the Convoy S2+ that is liked by many. Shipping to the Netherlands is $13.25 so that’s not too bad but it does bring the total to $97.07.

That’s a lot of money for a flashlight, especially compared to the regular S2+ with a 4C emitter which is only $17.20 plus and free shipping. And I still need to get batteries and a charger as well :frowning: . But it’s good to know the option is available (although black is currently sold out).

I’ve built several triple Nichia 219c lights with Fet+1 drivers. None of them works on turbo with the protected batteries I have (Keeppower and NCR18650B). They rather cry for high-drain IMR cells.

So my limited experience suggests:
EITHER: you chose a regulated driver with reduced output (that’s visually not as dramatic as it sounds!)
OR: you go Fet and IMR for full triple output (there you will run into temperature issues!)