For a long time, the best deal I could find on effective LED flashlights was the three-pack for about twenty bucks at Costco. We have one in each vehicle. My problem with those is that they use AAA batteries
, which are just as expensive as (or even more expensive than) AA, yet have a small fraction of the life. It is very common for LED flashlights to use three AAA, because three cells provides about the right voltage to operate the LED(s) with just a resistor and no additional electronics. I would like this Coleman much more if it used AA, but at least it uses just two
AAA, which is handy because batteries are sold in even numbers and battery chargers usually hold two or four cells.
Many of the very brightest flashlights - whether LED or halogen incandescent, and often categorized as "tactical" - use expensive CR123 disposable lithium batteries. I don't want anything that uses those, but fortunately there is a common size of rechargeable lithium cell designated "18650
" which is the roughly the size of and the same voltage as two CR123 end-to-end, so manufacturers can easily offer their products for either power source. Some of these can be very bright at reasonable prices: I have 8-watt
(one-cell) and 10-watt
(two cell) models, both purchased on sale at half the regular price. The big one is brighter than needed and too big and heavy to be handy (but useful when I want to see something at a significant distance), but the smaller one is handy for going places or doing minor work in the dark.