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The 14500 battery is one of the most common rechargeable lithium-ion batteries on the market. Often referred to as AA lithium-ion flashlights, 14500 torches are highly energy efficient with a low self-discharge rate.
We have some helpful tips on how to find the best 14500 flashlight. Furthermore, we review five of the top-rated products to reveal which one is truly the best.
Why Choose a 14500 Flashlight?
Flashlights tend to be categorized by the type of battery they use. 14500 flashlights come with 14500 lithium-ion batteries. This type of battery is similar in size as regular AA alkaline batteries; however, they have a higher voltage.
AA alkaline batteries usually have a voltage rating of 1.5, whereas 14500 batteries rate at 3.6—so you can see that there’s a distinct difference.
That difference is important. A 14500 battery will fit into the same slot as a lower voltage ‘AA’ battery yet provides over 2x the voltage. Multiple cells will multiply that voltage difference. Using a 14500 battery in a non-compatible flashlight can damage the drive or the LED bulb.
VERY IMPORTANT: Do not use 14500 Li-Ion cells in a flashlight which is not designed for them
Furthermore, don’t expect the performance to be the same as a 14500 flashlight.
A product designed for Alkaline AA batteries will be likely to have a bulb, circuitry and reflector that are not as powerful or efficient as in a 14500 flashlight.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
Due to the slim size of 14500 batteries, flashlights are generally on the smaller EDC (Every Day Carry) side. 14500 flashlights are lightweight—they’re easy to pop in a pocket without it feeling bulky or irritating.
Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries such as the 14500’s are excellent for flashlights. Because they’re rechargeable, it cuts down on replacement batteries.
With a set in the flashlight and spares on charge, you’re ready to go at any given moment.
No Memory Effect
Battery memory effect is a decrease in the longevity of a battery’s charge. This is caused by recharging a battery before a complete discharge. The battery will act as if it has discharged when it hasn’t.
With Nickel-based batteries—such as NiCad—incomplete discharging tends to affect them significantly. In a flashlight, you’ll notice the efficiency of the light decreasing sooner.
However, 14500 lithium-ion batteries don’t suffer from this memory effect.
You don’t have to worry about letting the battery fully discharge between recharges. In some cases, it’s better for the battery only to be partially discharged.
Finding the Best 14500 Flashlight for You
Before you head out to buy a new flashlight, there are a few points we’d like to share to help you find the best product for you. Below you’ll find a few helpful points to consider when buying a new flashlight:
Light Output and Distance
Light output (lumens) and beam distance are two essential factors to consider when looking at flashlights. These two ratings will give you a quick insight into the performance of each flashlight without needing to try them first.
The lumens rating will tell you how intense the light is while the beam distance will show you how far the light reaches. 14500 flashlights generally deliver between 500 and 1000 lumens—this is more than regular AA alkaline torches. If you want more than 1000 lumens, cr123 and 18650 flashlights are better.
The run time of a flashlight is how long the light can run before you need to recharge or change batteries. Run time depends on the setting the light is on—we’ll get more into modes in a minute. Higher lumens require more power, which will drain the battery quicker and shorten the run time.
Manufacturers will usually display run time on the lowest setting—some are more specific and provide run time estimates for each mode. It’s important to remember that the run times are only estimates.
If you only need a flashlight for general-use, one lighting mode is sufficient. However, if you need it to handle different situations, you’ll want more than one lighting setting.
Some flashlights feature three basic modes, low, medium and high. When in low, the torch delivers minimal lumens (around 1). However, when you switch it to high, you’ll receive all the lumens the product has to offer.
High-end flashlights can feature a turbo mode, SOS and strobe mode. If you’re often out hiking or camping in remote locations, these features will come in handy in emergencies.
The most common position for the on/off button on flashlights is the tail cap switch; however, side switches are becoming more prominent. There’s a bit of a debate when it comes to side switches vs. tail caps—most flashlight enthusiasts prefer the tail cap because it won’t accidentally get pushed.
If a flashlight has more than three modes, a separate “modes only” switch is handy. Some flashlights feature a rotating bezel—either as an on/off switch or for the modes. This type of control will require two hands to operate.
Most flashlights are either aluminum alloy or plastic. Tactical flashlights will usually feature stainless steel around the head to increase impact resistance.
When it comes to aluminum, not all are alike—thinner materials are lighter but more fragile.
Manufacturers of top-end products use titanium, which is both robust and light.
Reviews of the Best 14500 Flashlights
Now that we know what to look for in a new flashlight, it’s time to take a look at the best 14500 flashlights. We reviewed the top five torches and judged them on top performances and quality, using the criteria above.
Best Rechargeable 14500 Flashlight
The WUBEN E05 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a compact EDC torch. It comes with a couple of thoughtful features. There’s a magnetic tail cap that enables you to attach the light to any metal surface quickly, and a two-sided clip that allows you to attach the light to your pocket or hat.
Despite the compact design, you get a lot of power in the palm of your hand. It features six modes: low, medium, high, turbo, strobe and SOS. When in turbo, the light will deliver up to 900 lumens, whereas the low setting will deliver 1 lumen.
The WUBEN E05 has a beam distance of up to 426 feet, which is impressive for such a small product. You get a rechargeable 14500 battery with the light. The battery is easy to charge when needed, simply remove it from the light and plug it into an outlet using a USB cable.
Should it be necessary, the E05 can also run on a regular AA battery.
The heavy-duty body is both dustproof and waterproof with a rating of IP68, which means it’s useable in heavy rain.
- Compact design.
- Magnetic tail cap and dual clip.
- Can withstand extreme conditions.
- Rechargeable battery included.
- Side switch is easy to turn on accidentally when in the pocket.
Best Single Cell 14500 Flashlight
This flashlight might be small, but it certainly doesn’t compromise its effectiveness. It’s powered by one 14500 battery or a single AA battery and can deliver up to 650 lumens in turbo mode. When in low mode, it delivers 16 lumens and can run for up to 37 hours.
Furthermore, it features a mode memory which ensures that the light automatically turns on at the last mode you used.
The durable body is waterproof with a rating of IP68—it can withstand extreme temperatures between minus 4 degrees and 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it’s tested and verified to the ANSI standards with an impact resistance of up to 5 feet.
The anti-slip finish enables you to get a secure grip, even while wearing gloves. Additionally, the dual clip allows you to attach the light to your pocket or hat.
- High lumens output.
- Long run time.
- Dual clip.
- Mode memory.
- Gets hot quickly.
Best Throw 14500 Flashlight
This latest model, UltraTac A1, features a new circuit drive that makes the light brighter and the throw further.
The flashlight is a must-have for many campers, hikers and hunters due to its small size and powerful light. It features three modes, with the high mode delivering a total of 600 lumens.
As well as a 14500 lithium-ion battery that’s rechargeable when needed, this UltraTac is compatible with AA batteries. The flashlight is fitted with built-in reverse polarity protection to prevent damage, so it won’t matter if you install the battery incorrectly.
You can control the light using the convenient tail cap switch—use it to change between the settings as well.
Included is a rubber diffuser that glows in the dark, spare o-rings and a manual.
The durable design has an impact resistance of 5 feet and is waterproof and submersible to a depth of 6.5 feet. It’s highly durable and can withstand extreme conditions.
- Good throw.
- High lumens.
- Built-in battery protection.
- Handy spare parts.
- Takes time to switch through the modes.
Best Multi-Cell 14500 Flashlight
Hikers and campers who go out, no matter what the weather, will like this flashlight. The durable construction is waterproof, rated at IP65—designed to resist heavy rain and extreme temperatures. Furthermore, it can survive a 4-foot drop and momentary submersion.
The compact design makes it easy to hold, and the magnetic tail cap enables you to attach it to any metal surface. Additionally, it features a clip that allows you to hook it to your pocket.
You can also change the shape of it by rotating the head of the torch. Set it to 90 degrees when you attach it to your pocket for hands-free operation.
The flashlight runs on one 14500 battery, or if you’re in a pinch, use two AA batteries instead. You get four modes to change between, including high, low, strobe and SOS. When in high, the light will deliver up to 600 lumens with a beam distance of 413 feet.
Keep in mind that the batteries are extra.
- 90-degree twist head.
- Magnetic tail cap and clip.
- Durable construction.
- Solid click on the switch.
- Tends to overheat quickly.
Best Budget 14500 Flashlight
The Sofirn Flashlight is a small keychain torch with incredible brightness. It runs on one 14500 battery or one AA battery.
There are six light modes in total, and when in turbo mode, this little “pocket-rocket” delivers up to 800 lumens with a beam distance of 300 feet.
Apart from the turbo mode, you also get eco, low, medium, high and strobe. Despite the small size, it’s very durable, and you can use it in heavy rain and harsh conditions. It also features a switch lock that prevents accidental activation while in your pocket.
The small keychain attachment allows you to keep the light near you at all times. Furthermore, the metal clip enables you to secure it to your pocket.
- Keychain flashlight—easy to carry.
- Strong beam.
- Six modes.
- Switch lock.
- Requires double clicks to activate turbo and strobe—can take time to get used to.
14500 flashlights are some of the most common torches on the market today. There are many advantages to this type of battery, such as no charge memory effect. Furthermore, the size of the battery allows for a more compact torch with a powerful beam of light.
Most of these flashlights are also compatible with regular AA alkaline batteries; however, the lumens rating might decrease depending on the torch.
We found that the best 14500 flashlight is the WUBEN E05—it’s compact, durable and comes with a range of handy modes.