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Saturday, December 12, 2020

The BEST flashlight that should be in your pocket!

 The BEST flashlight that should be in your pocket! 

I’ve carried various flashlights for decades, long before LED flashlights were possible. When LED replacement lamps started coming out, there was a renewed interest in what was possible in flashlight performance in both battery life and brightness. 

I’m the kind of guy when asked “Do you need a light turned on?” I usually reply that I have my own personal lighting while I illuminate my path. While I’ve carried different sizes of flashlights big and small, a year or so back I finally settled on one that’s a balance between size, battery life, and light output. Prior to this flashlight I used to carry a larger FourSevens Quark Pro. It used bigger AA batteries, had a multitude of modes, even Bluetooth. It was a bit over the top. Then I lost it one day. Crap. There goes $90+. So I decided to downsize a bit. The flashlight that fits this role is the Streamlight Stylus Pro

Let’s look at a few key points of this flashlight.

1. COST - The Streamlight Stylus Pro is under $20 delivered from Amazon, AND it comes with batteries. I can lose this flashlight and it’s really no big deal because it’s hard to complain about the price. 

2. SIZE. Since it uses a pair of AAA batteries it’s about the diameter of your pinky finger. That means you can place it in the corner of your front pocket and move about your day not feeling it. AAA batteries are common and low priced. We’ll talk more about batteries later. 

3. QUALITY BUILT. The clip is strong, so it holds fairly tight in your pocket. It’s also removable, which means you can replace it if it breaks. It rarely comes off by accident. I’ve never had to order one. The anodized aluminum construction makes it lightweight and you have the ability to engrave it with your info. I have a handy little rotary engraver that I love for things like this. The tail cap is o-ring sealed and the power button has a nice firm click on and off. Sure it doesn’t have precision square cut threads like a Quark, but who cares? 

It comes with a nylon belt holster which I find cumbersome and generally leave it in the pack. This flashlight belongs in your pocket!  Is it as bright as the $90+ Quark? No, but it’s plenty bright enough to assist with 99% of your daily needs. It only has one brightness level. It’s either on or off. Often said simplicity = reliability. 

Let’s talk about batteries for a minute. While I have a vast array of Eneloop rechargeables, I find that quality alkaline batteries last the longest and are the brightest. I would avoid the expensive lithium AAA batteries. Why? Because regular alkalines will warn you well in advance when it’s time to change them. The light will start to be dimmer and you will notice, however you still have usable light for some time. Lithium cells offer nearly full power until the bitter end and drop dead instantly with no warning, usually while you’re in the middle of something important. The batteries I like the best and suggest are the ones from IKEA and also the newer “leak proof” batteries from Anker - The same company who makes high quality USB chargers that everyone raves about. I don’t trust any other chargers for my Apple products other than the OEM or Anker. Costco’s Kirkland branded batteries are pretty good too. I recently had a bad pack of Duracell’s that leaked in many of my devices and destroyed a couple of them, so I stay away from them now. 

They flashlights are available on Amazon for the best price in various colors. There is even a micro version now which takes only 1 AAA battery and can fit in the smallest of pockets. You can also buy extra tail caps and clips if needed, but I’ve only lost a clip once over the years and never had a tail cap switch fail. Lastly I have a small rotary engraver that is the handiest little thing in the world for marking tools of all kinds. I have my name and cell phone # engraved in the flashlight should I ever loose it and an honest soul comes upon it. I recommend this engraver over those old fashioned plug in models with the big needle tip your dad had in the garage. It uses the same great AAA batteries I talked about and just hold it like a pen and hit the button.

Here’s are links to these items.

Streamlight Stylus Pro RED - Currently $15. Super deal!
Streamlight Stylus Micro - Smaller length, takes 1 AAA battery, not quite as bright but same great qualities. 
Streamlight spare clip & switch cap -  This is only $1 more than the clip alone, get the switch cap for the extra buck

Eneloop rechargable AAAs - Work great and good to have around house
IKEA AAA Alkaline 30 Pack - Some of the best Alkaline batteries ever tested.
Anker AAA Alkaline batteries 24 pack - Great batteries in a leakproof design
Folai Cordless Engraver Pen with diamond tip - Mark your tools ASAP!
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And heres a pic of my beat up Streamlight Pro, still working great!  I replaced the clip I lost with a new clip and black tailcap. Its only $1 more to order a spare clip WITH a new tailcap. As a bonus it differentiates my flashlight from my coworkers at a quick glance.

I enjoy sharing my experiences and life hacks that make my life easier and hopefully yours as well. 

Note that this article contains Amazon affiliate links and while I do get a small compensation if you purchase through my links, it doesn’t cost you a penny more to do so and helps me continue to write honest reviews of products I personally use. Thanks for reading!

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