Best Budget AA Stainless Steel?

Another few to consider:**NEW**-Olight-TC15-/Detail

Thanks for all of the great suggestions, guys! I'm gonna post some pics of the front-runners so that others can benefit:

Ultrafire C3:

N-light B1:

Olight TC15:

So far I think that the Ultrafire C3 (93mm version on Lightake) is in the lead, with the N-light C3 a close second. The Olight looks beautiful but the high-->strobe-->low UI would drive me nuts, and it seems like that light would also run best on 14500 ((I only use NiMH).

Haha, well...yes and no. I'm still active there (i.e. not banned yet), but I know I came very close to getting banned at least twice.

I don't know if any of you guys check out the Marketplace over there, but I'm the guy using the handle "UpstandingCitizen." I've had my fair share of interesting interaction with the mods over there, which ended up being a blessing in disguise because it paved the way for me to find BLF.

I would ask LT or BOB (bestofferbuy) upfront if they really still ship the 93 mm version. Sometimes budget vendors change their products without further notice.

One heads up: PWM is noticeable on all multi-mode C3s that I handled (low,medium).... if you are sensitive to that kind of stuff.

Thanks for that tip, I will definitely inquire before purchasing.

How would you compare this light (UF C3) to your Maratac AAA SS in terms of overall quality? This would be a good point of reference for me as I have owned one of these before.

98mm has the tendency to crossthread...but it is not that big of a deal as it would be on aluminium 93mm was a lot better in that respect but still not ideal. The threads of most budget lights come bone dry resulting in a nice "Sqeeek"... so some lube might also be a good idea. The threads of the Maratac are still better machined. I am not the biggest fan of GITD parts and would swap them out against black parts (18 mm I think?)...especially the front O-ring as is seems to give the beam colour a slightly green tint on the very outer rim. Our own Mr. Admin tested the Manafont 3-mode version (current regulated or high PWM?), which would be also a very nice candidate. Since you live in the US of A you should also get some nice Fenix clips. (share a lot with other BLFians if you can't reach the minimum $10 mark, shipping is only $1) My general beef with SS lights is the weight in EDC role, but they do make some nice heavy duty lights.

Additional candidates with more "bling":

TrustFire F22

Trustfire F25

The CQG S2 would be my favorite choice due to size, weight, tint and price, if it wouldn't have those darn switch issues. But until someone plays the guinea pig on their new "fixed run", I will not order it.

I'd recommend the CQG S2 from I own the CQG S1 which is a AAA version of the same light (just smaller). They are actually hand made one at a time by a very talented gentleman in China. The machining is extremely impressive and it's nearly impossible to see the seam where the tail cap and body meet unless you already know exactly where it is. Nowhere else will you find a handmade light of this caliber for the insanely low price of $17.50

Yep... the S1 is very nice, do you own the S2 and have no switch problems JohnnyMac?

Wish I could say yes, but I can’t. I’ve been waiting patiently for the promised group buy on the engraved BLF Edition of the S2 that Ric said he would do but so far it hasn’t materialized. I want the BLF Edition S2 to match my BLF Edition S1. If Ric said the switch issue has been corrected then I would accept his word on it. If for some reason there was a problem with it still I know he would make good on it so I wouldn’t worry too much either way. I admit I’m getting tired of waiting for the S2 BLF version and am considering ordering but I know as soon as I do he will offer the BLF version. LOL!

Manafont has an 'updated' version of the C3, kinda cool

Don't overlook the Aurora SH-035, I think the quality is better than the C3, it's quite an amazing light for $13

Hi Vectrex, I got 2 S2's recently (like a month ago). Here's what I had to say about it:

So yours are the supposed "fixed clickies" and you still had to do the WD40 orgy? Hmm, not sure if I will take the risk.

It has worked fine since the oil massage And the clickie on the other one was fine. My main beef was with the mode change. Otherwise I like the lights. Oh, and my vote for best AA SS so far is the group by DQG AA that I just got. Then again that might just be the new light high still talking.

I have the DQG tiny II, but I decided that I don't like twisties on anything larger than a AAA light. A DQG AA clicky light would be nice though.

I just ordered a CQG S2 NW. I long thought on DQG but TIR lens and possibly narrower beam held me a bit. I wish I hadn’t missed the group buy. That would be a price to try then.
Still, I plan to get another AAA light. Should I choose Eoslamp’s two mode AAA light or should it be DQG II this time ?


Turns blue then dies with a 14500. Gets hot enough to melt solder. Like most Auroras (Except the Sh-032/033/034) it is crap.

Oddly enough the SH-034 is the best-made light (at any price) I own. But avoid the SH-035. It is junk.

That's a Trustfire F25. Se my review around here somewhere.

Mine won't change modes on a 14500 - only on a NiMH.

Buy a Trustfire F22.

OK it is enormous. One of two lights that I've lost that I bothered to replace. The Trustfire F22 is a seriously excellent light.

The Manafont only C3 SS that Mr. Admin reviewed here is a possible alternative but the F22 won't set fire to your hands on a 14500. Most other SS AA lights will. And I've bought most of them.

Nearly all of my AA lights get fed on an exclusive diet of 14500s.

YMMV if you use NiMH only. See Vectrex then as he doesn't do lithium.

well known. good stuff. :beer:

( but anyone here could claim being UpstandingCitizen. of course we believe you. you're not as suspicious as myself. hehe. *ggg* )

Actually the beam of the DQG Tiny II NW is the best thing about this light, let's me have a whole new appreciation for TIRs... If the beam pattern and tint is anything on AA like it is on AAA... it might be a bigger reason to buy it than its size... if it only had a clicky.