The Best AAA Flashlights Under $20 On Amazon

If you’re looking for a great everyday carry, “EDC,” flashlight on Amazon, but you’re overwhelmed by all the results, you’re in the right place! This post will take a look at the best AAA powered EDC flashlights for under $20 that are currently available on Amazon.com. I’ll also give my recommendation for the best value for the money option.

Best Value

$895
  • OLIGHT i3E EOS Keychain Light
  • 90 Lumens
  • 1 Hour Run Time
  • IPX8 Waterproof
  • Aluminum

Best Run Time

$2000
  • STREAMLIGHT Stylus Pro
  • 100 Lumens
  • 8 Hour Run Time
  • IPX4 Water Resistant
  • Aluminum

Best For Exotic Metals

$1995+
  • OLIGHT I3T EOS
  • 180 Lumens (high) 5 Lumens (low)
  • 21 Minutes (high) 16 Hours (low)
  • IPX8 Waterproof
  • Titanium, Brass, or Aluminum

This list will focus exclusively on flashlights powered by AAA batteries, available on Amazon.com, and under $20 USD. There are TONS of great flashlights that use different batteries, are USB rechargeable, have more features, etc. All of those will be covered in future posts, dedicated to their specific battery type and price points.

Flashlights come in all different sizes, light output levels, battery types, switch operation, material construction, and more. If you search for “EDC flashlight” on Amazon, you’ll be inundated with over 2,000 different products to choose from. This article will help cut through all the noise to make your choice for a new flashlight much faster and easier than reading through thousands of product listings. I read through them for you and came up with my top five picks for an everyday carry flashlight that is powered by common AAA batteries and is less than twenty bucks.

I’m assuming you’re just getting started with EDC and looking to buy your very first flashlight. Once you spend a little time reading up on the various options and features out there, you’ll start to see familiar brands popping up repeatedly. You’ll also find out very quickly that you can spend a whole lot of money on exotic metals, special features, and particular name brands made in the U.S. There are about a million options for flashlights available. (Okay, maybe that’s a completely made-up number, but there’s a lot. Trust me.) So, this simple list of great lights under $20 will get you started on the right foot.

For starters, just so you understand some of the terminologies you’ll encounter when shopping for lights, let’s cover some basics.

What The Heck is a Lumen?

To keep it short and sweet, a lumen is just a measurement of how bright a light source is. The higher the number, the brighter the light. A standard 60w household light bulb is roughly equivalent to 800 lumens.

When it comes to EDC flashlights, more lumens can be a blessing and a curse, all wrapped up in the same package. More light is great, but it comes at the cost of battery power, heat, and shorter run times. Your natural night vision can be blasted away into temporary blindness, if you accidentally shine a 1,000 lumen light off your front door, while fumbling for your keys.

On the more tactical side of things, if you’re trying to read a map but you negligently discharge your super awesome 2,000 lumen flashlight, you’re going to have a bad time. Ask me how I know.

It’s one thing to have a flashlight that can literally light up the night, but if it doesn’t have some kind of power level adjustment or brightness settings, it really isn’t the best choice for an EDC light. I bought a SureFire P3X Fury light when they first came out in 2013, but I very, VERY rarely use it for anything because it only has one brightness output. 1,000 lumens is awesome, but it’s just way too bright for everyday tasks. All that being said, don’t get too wrapped up in trying to find the highest lumen output (aka brightest) light possible. For the most part, around 100ish lumens will serve you just fine for most tasks.

One use case, on the other side of that argument you might want to consider, is self-defense. There’s a big difference between getting blasted with 1,500 lumens versus 40, so if a light is going to be one of your primary sources of self-defense and protection, you’ll want a light that can do both high output and low output.

What Is an Ingress Protection or IP Rating and Does It Matter?

According to Enclosurecompany, “IP (or ‘Ingress Protection’) ratings are defined in international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989). They are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies (tools, dirt, etc) and moisture.”

An IP, or Ingress Protection, rating is common for consumer products and is typically displayed as “IP” followed by two numerical digits. The first of the two digits indicates the level of protection that a particular device or product has against solid materials. The second number indicates the product’s waterproofing or lack thereof. The higher the number, the better the resistance for both dust and water. A product labeled “IP68” means that it is completely dustproof and fully submersible in water for long periods of time. If you see an X in the rating, it just means that the resistance to that type of material was not tested. IPX5, for example, means that the product was not tested against dust, but it can handle some water in certain circumstances. Here’s a handy visual aid I put together to help you understand the different levels of water protection offered from 1 to 8:

Ingress Protection chart against water for flashlights (1)

Basically, the main takeaway from this is that IPX7 or IPX8 are the only two levels that are technically “waterproof,” with level 8 obviously being the best level of protection. IPX8 and IP68 are basically the same, but the X indicates the product wasn’t officially tested against dust.

The Ingress Protection rating of the lights you consider should be a big decision point on which light you ultimately get. Keep in mind that batteries and electronics typically do not mix well with water. If you’re in a situation where you need a light and it happens to be raining sideways but you went cheap on the IP rating, you may find that your light dies right when you need it most.

If you’re in the military or law enforcement, you shouldn’t carry anything less than IPX8. We all know the terrible conditions you have to work in, so you’ll need a flashlight that has the ability to handle that harsh environment too. You should be concerned about much more important things than trying to keep water out of your flashlight, so don’t cheap out on this one.

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What are the best AAA flashlights under $20 on Amazon?

The following lights are in no particular order, other than my top three picks for best value, best run time, and best exotic materials. To see current prices and product pages, click on any of the images, and you’ll go directly to the Amazon product listing. The links are affiliated, which means I receive a small commission for any purchases you make, which supports my work at no additional cost to you. All images below were sourced directly from the individual product listings on Amazon.com or their manufacturer’s website.

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OLIGHT I3E EOS (Best Value)

OLIGHT i3E EOS flashlight
Make / Model OLIGHT i3E EOS Keychain Light
Price $8.95
Maximum Lumen Output 90
Minimum Lumen Output 90
Runtime 60 minutes (Eneloop pro 900mAh NIMH battery); 35 Minutes (AAA greenmax alkaline battery)
Ingress Protection Rating IPX8
Special Features / Modes Simple on/off, no special features or modes
Switch Type Twist head
Battery 1 AAA
Pocket Clip Type None – Key Ring Included
Made In China
Color Black, Silver, Blue, Red, Green, Purple
Order From Amazon

This little guy is small enough to carry on your keychain but still powerful enough to provide plenty of usable light for all kinds of everyday tasks. It’s roughly the size and weight of a single AA battery, so it will basically disappear in your pocket or purse until you need it. The OLIGHT i3E is also IPX8 waterproof, which is a great feature for a light at this price point. Overall, this a great option for a backup light or if you’re looking for something as small as possible but still effective. Along with OLIGHT’s great build quality and dependability, you can also have your choice of several different colors for the OLIGHT I3E, as well!

OLIGHT i3E EOS flashlight
i3E Flashlight infographic
OLIGHT i3E EOS flashlight infographic

StreamLight Stylus Pro (Best Run Time)

GearLight TAC flashlights
Make / Model StreamLight Stylus Pro
Price $20.26
Maximum Lumen Output 100
Minimum Lumen Output 100
Runtime 8 Hours
Ingress Protection Rating IPX4
Special Features / Modes Simple on/off
Switch Type Tail Cap
Battery 2 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Bezel Down
Made In USA
Color Black, Red, Silver, Blue, Gold, Orange

American-made, solid construction, and killer performance – that’s what you get with the StreamLight Stylus Pro. This light is one of the most carried EDC lights of all time. I picked up my first StreamLight Stylus Pro back around 2008-ish, when I first joined the Army, and it’s still running like a champ to this day. The simple on/off tail switch makes the light very user-friendly and easy to use. The overall profile of the light is very slim and roughly the size of a thick pen, hence the name “Stylus.”

I can absolutely recommend a StreamLight Stylus Pro to literally anyone. Looking for a low profile EDC light? Check. Police officer that needs a solid backup light? No problem. Military, EMS, firefighters, soccer moms… The list of use cases and reasons to pick one up are endless. My only complaint with this flashlight is that the pocket clip isn’t reversible to attach it to a baseball hat, and the clip can come off if you catch it on something while you’re walking. I recently lost the pocket clip on mine, which is the main factor that lead to this research and post in the first place!

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a cheap, dependable AAA light that you can buy and not worry about, the StreamLight Stylus Pro is your light.

Gear Light TAC compatibility with AAA or 186050 batteries
Gear Light TAC compatibility with AAA or 186050 batteries
Gear Light TAC compatibility with AAA or 186050 batteries

OLIGHT I3T EOS (Best For Exotic Metals)

OLIGHT I3T EOS Black Flashlight
Make / Model OLIGHT I3T EOS
Price $19.95
Maximum Lumen Output 180
Minimum Lumen Output 5
Runtime High 180lm 21 min, Low 5lm 16 Hours
Ingress Protection Rating IPX8
Special Features / Modes One-click for low mode, two clicks for high mode
Switch Type Tail Cap
Battery 1 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Reversible
Made In China
Color Black, Red, OD Green, Titanium, Brass, Unique Special Editions

I bought my first OLIGHT I3T EOS light a few months back, after losing the pocket clip for my Streamlight Stylus Pro. Being the gear nerd that I am, I opted to pay a premium for the titanium version, because, well…titanium. The OLIGHT I3T EOS works really well as an everyday carry light. It disappears in your pocket and even has a two-way clip, so you can wear it on the bill of your hat for a quick headlamp. This is also a great option if you’re into exotic metals for your EDC like brass, copper, titanium, and more. One press of the tail cap will give you 5 lumens for 16 hours, and two presses will activate the 180 lumen high mode.

Comparing my I3T IOS to my Stylus Pro, the battery life of the OLIGHT is significantly less than the StreamLight. Granted, the Streamlight Stylus Pro does have twice as much battery power (2 AAA vs OLIGHT’s single AAA) as the OLIGHT I3T EOS, but still, it was a noticeable difference after switching. The biggest contributing factor to the lower battery life of my OLIGHT was the fact that I kept accidentally turning it on while it was still in my pocket. I’ve had to change the battery in my OLIGHT I3t EOS three times in as many months, while I’ve had the same set of batteries in my StreamLight Stylus Pro for the last couple of years.

ThruNite Ti3 infographic with bad spelling
ThruNite Ti3 infographic with bad spelling
Lumintop Tool AAA flashlight
Make / Model LUMINTOP TOOL AAA
Price $15.99
Maximum Lumen Output 130
Minimum Lumen Output 5
Runtime High 30 mins, Low 36 hrs
Ingress Protection Rating IP68
Special Features / Modes Low, Mid, High, & Includes a Glow in The Dark Diffuser
Switch Type Tail Cap
Battery 1 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Remove to Reverse + Mini Carabiner
Made In China
Color Black

The LUMINTOP TOOL AAA is another example of a classic EDC keychain light without any bells and whistles. It features two modes with a 30-minute run time and 130 lumens on high, and a 36-hour run time and 5 lumen output on low. The light is activated by a simple tail switch. The included pocket clip can be removed and reversed to allow the light to be worn on a ball cap bill, as a makeshift headlamp. The LUMINTOP TOOL AAA also comes with a mini-carabiner for your keys, as well as a glow in the dark diffuser for more of a whole room illumination option. This is the only light on the list that features a diffuser like that, and the fact that it glows in the dark makes it very handy for camping, if you happen to accidentally drop it in the dark.

Lumintop Tool flashlight infographic
IP68 rated light in block of ice
Maglite Mini LED Black flashlight
Make / Model Maglite Mini LED AAA
Price $17.04
Maximum Lumen Output 100
Minimum Lumen Output 100
Runtime 3.75 hours
Ingress Protection Rating IP67
Special Features / Modes None
Switch Type Twist Cap
Battery 2 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Included and removable
Made In USA
Color Black, white, silver, grey, blue, pink, red, rose gold, purple

Ah, the mighty Maglite. This is the first light on our list that is made in the USA and available in multiple color options. Notice that this is the LED version of the light and not the incandescent or xenon versions. With the LED technology of today, the older style of bulbs is just not practical anymore. You’ll find both the LED and incandescent versions of the Mini Maglite on Amazon, so just double check on the version you’re picking up before you hit the buy button.

Maglite is a classic American brand that has deep seated roots in law enforcement and public safety industries. Maglites are some of the most iconic and recognizable flashlights in the world. According to the Maglite website, they are “often referred to as ‘A Work of Art That Works®’, the MAGLITE® and Mini MAGLITE® flashlights have been honored by the Japan Institute of Design and by the Museum for Applied Art in Germany.” I remember having a camouflage version of the Mini Maglite as a kid and comparing it to my dad’s much larger, police-issued Maglite.

Color options include black, white, silver, grey, pink, red, rose gold, and purple. Overall, the Maglite Mini LED is a solid choice.

Maglite Mini LED AAA flashlight color options
Maglite Mini LED AAA flashlight info specs
Streamlight Microstream Flashlight
Make / Model STREAMLIGHT MICROSTREAM
Price $17.91
Maximum Lumen Output 45
Minimum Lumen Output 45
Runtime 2.25 Hours
Ingress Protection Rating IP64
Special Features / Modes Includes a breakaway lanyard
Switch Type Tail Cap
Battery 1 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Remove to Reverse
Made In USA
Color Black or Red

The StreamLight Microstream offers a very small package that will give you 45 lumens of light for 2.25 hours on a single AAA battery. The body of the light is made of anodized aluminum, which helps protect the internal LED components and electronics from impacts and daily hard use. The MicroStream also features a bi-directional pocket clip, so you can easily carry it in your pocket and then clip it to the bill of your hat, when you need a hands-free light. The light uses a pressure tail cap switch with a simple on/off function. No fancy brightness levels or silly strobes here. For less than twenty dollars, you absolutely can’t go wrong with a StreamLight MicroStream flashlight! My only complaint with this light is that it is only IP64 rated, which means you can use it in light to moderate rain, but don’t expect it to survive full submersion in water.

StreamLight is one of the most recognizable flashlight brands in the world. They are an American company that was founded in 1973 with the intent of making high-quality lighting products for professional applications. A lot of police departments, fire departments, and military units are issued StreamLights because of their dependability and rock-solid performance. The StreamLight MicroStream listed here is just one example of the huge number of specialized high-end flashlights and weapon lights available from StreamLight.

StreamLight MicroStream info graphic
ThruNite Ti3 flashlight
Make / Model ThruNite Ti3
Price $15.83
Maximum Lumen Output 120
Minimum Lumen Output 0.04 “Firefly”
Runtime High 120lm 30 min, Low 12lm 6.3 hrs, Firefly 0.04lm 115 hrs, Strobe 120 lm 1 hr
Ingress Protection Rating IPX8
Special Features / Modes Firefly, Low, High, Strobe
Switch Type Twist Bezel
Battery 1 AAA
Pocket Clip Type Remove to Reverse
Made In China
Color Black
ThruNite Ti3 flashlight size in open hand

The ThruNite Ti3 is a great example of a classic EDC light – great lumen output, multiple levels, and it’s very small, so it disappears in your pocket. It has a reversible pocket clip, so you can attach it to the bill of a hat for hands-free use. It also features three brightness modes and a “hidden strobe.” Literally, the only things a strobe function is useful for are self-defense and trying to signal the International Space Station. In a defensive situation, where your only real way to counter an attacker is to use a strobe function on a flashlight, that strobe better be extremely fast and easy to activate. Attacks happen in seconds, no where near long enough to turn the light on, then off, then wait two seconds, then on again, over and over until you stumble across the strobe feature. The only time anyone is ever going to find that strobe is accidentally, when they are fumbling with the light while looking for a roll of TP in the woods. In short, I think it’s stupid, but at least you have a strobe, if you want to use it for whatever strange hobbies you have. Color options include, black, black, or black.

ThruNite Ti3 infographic with bad spelling

If you made it this far, you’re a legend! This is by no means an exhaustive list of all lights under $20. There are dozens of great flashlight manufacturers out there, and I only mentioned a few here. You may also want to check out Fenix, SureFire, and Pelican.

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