When it comes to batteries, AA batteries are the no.1 choice as they are low priced and easy to find for most EDC flashlights. Many EDCers would rather have an AA flashlight and they make great helpers for the emergency situations.
CR123 A batteries however go well in special situations and typically are more expensive than the AA batteries.
Why get a CR123 flashlight and not an AA one
It’s no secret that AA batteries are typically longer and narrower, whereas CR123 A are short and stout. The difference gets bigger as you try to build a flashlight around them. This give flashlight with two-cell configurations and AA flashlights are longer than any 2XCR123 flashlights. CR123 batteries are shorter and thicker.
When you are an EDCer, size and shape of your gear are very important, especially if you want it to fit your pocket or your hand.
The CR 123 is a lithium-celled battery. It uses a different chemical makeup than an alkaline cell and may give higher voltages. A CR123 battery needs an output of 3.0V and not a 1.5 V like an AA alkaline battery. Higher voltage means, in fact, more light which means a brighter flashlight in this case.
To get the best out of the power, you may also find CR123 A flashlights with “pocket rocket” features, like a bigger head to throw the beam farther and to manage the extra heat from the increased voltage.
When it comes to capacity, the CR123 A battery is also a good choice. This type of battery has around mAh (twice as much as an AA alkaline battery) and this translates into a longer runtime for your flashlight.
Cr123 A batteries weigh around 0.6oz, 33 % lighter than alkaline AA batteries. A CR123 A battery is 1.3” long and with a 0.6” diameter which makes the CR123A flashlights shorter and wider.
Last, but not least, an AA flashlight may run up to 7 hours and 50 minutes. A Cr123 A flashlight is able to work though for more than 9 hours and 5 minutes…
When you want something simple and don’t really need the brightest light, an AA flashlight is the right choice for you. On a plus, it’s way easier to find the right batteries when you travel or in an emergency situation. An AA flashlight doesn’t take much space to store and gives a good grip.
In case you want more power and runtime, you should definitely go with a Cr123 battery flashlight. For more convenience, you need to order batteries online in bulk and pay the extra cash for it.
The CR 123 flashlights give you the most compact carry possible, without compromising the performance.
You might get surprised also as the CR123 flashlight fits better your hand and gives more brightness than you could have ever imagines.
A CR123 flashlight is also smaller and lasts longer.
A last word
It seems that CR123 flashlights tend to win more customers day by day and, eventually, you will be able to find easier CR123 batteries. After all, the future of battery technology resides in lithium cells.
Little by little, the flashlights that last longer and give more light will become less expensive and more accessible, for sure.
Top 5 CR123 Flashlight Reviews
If you want a compact CR123 flashlight that gives you bright light for quite some time, the Streamlight 88031 ProTac Tactical Flashlight 2L with White LED and 2x CR123A is a great buy anytime. Along with these features come other good things so here are our pros:
- The Streamlight 88031 is powered by two CR123A lithium batteries (included)
- The flashlight features C4 LED output
- There are three settings: high (180 lumens for 2.5 hours), low (10 lumens for 50 hours) and strobe (6hours)
- The Streamlight 88031 is one-handed operated
- There is IPX7 rated design for the flashlight
- The flashlight is waterproof to one minute for 30 minutes
- The flashlight is 2-meter impact resistant
- The flashlight has anodized aluminum construction
- The Streamlight 88031 has an anti-roll face cap
- The removable pocket clip makes it easy to carry around the flashlight
- The pocket clip is unbreakable
- The flashlight features also nylon holster
- The tempered glass lens and impact-resistant
- The flashlight has a rugged built
- You may take the flashlight in your EDC missions and it’s able to take the heavy use
- The light the flashlight gives is very bright
- The beam is very strong
- The flashlight gets warm, never hot when in use
- The flashlight is tough and lightweight
- The flashlight is comfortable when handling it
- There is a slim profile on the flashlight
- The Streamlight 88031 has a compact shape which makes it easy to store
There are some parts we like less on the flashlight and here are the cons:
- The clip isn’t secured very well to the flashlight
- The flashlight doesn’t have a rechargeable battery feature
Sturdy, reliable and perfect for EDC, the Streamlight 88031 is still a good CR123 flashlight.
Giving an impressive 900 Lumen light, the Nitecore EC11 900 Lumens Brightest Mini Cree XM-L2 U2 LED Flashlight has many other good things related to it so here is our list of pros:
- The flashlight has 900 Lumens output when using 1 xIMR18350 rechargeable battery
- The flashlight has a comfortable dual side mode
- The power switch gives you easy access to five brightness, strobe and SOS
- The subcompact size of the flashlight fits it in your palm, pocket or purse
- The flashlight is less than 3-inch length and is weighs only 1.6 oz.
- The Nitecore EC11 works with 1 CR123 A battery or 1 IMR 1850 lithium ion rechargeable battery
- The package includes 2 Nitecore rechargeable IMR 1850 battery, UM 20 charger &lumen tactical keychain light
- The flashlight has 5 modes when using the IMR 18350: turbo (900 lumens for 30 minutes), high (300 lumens for 45 minutes), medium (160lumens for 90 minutes), low (70 lumens for 2 hrs. and 30 minutes)
- The CR123 gives you 430 lumens on Turbo mode and 1 lumen in Ultra Low
- The flashlight is IPX-8 waterproof rates, so it’s 2 meters’ submersible
- The dual switch makes it easy to use
- The secondary red LED gives constant/flashing illumination
- The high efficiency constant current circuit gives a 20 hours’ runtime
- There is direct access to ultra-low and turbo output
- The reverse polarity protection prevents damaging when battery is incorrectly inserted
- The detachable anti-rolling clip is useful
- There is tough mineral glass with anti-reflective coating for the lens
- The flashlight is made of aero grade aluminum alloy
- The flashlight is impact resistant to 1.5meters
- There is also tail stand ability for the flashlight
- The package contains also tactical keychain light, holster, Cr123 battery magazine, clip, lanyard, spare O-ring
- The light is very bright
- The flashlight is small, yet efficient
- The beam is near-perfect and great for EDC
- There is great flexibility use for batteries
Despite the many good things, there are some minor cons:
- The flashlight could use an extension tube for longer runtime
- The flashlight gets a bit too hot so additional cooling fins or metal surfaces to dissipate heat build-up would be appreciated
- As much as we like the EC 11 for being small, sometimes it’s just too small…
A CR123 flashlight that gives amazing brightness is the Olight M3XS-UT Javelot 1200 Lumen LED Flashlight M3X Upgrade Edition Three LegionArms CR123 Batteries. Apart from the great light, there are some other nice good things related to the flashlight so here are our pros:
- The flashlight gives 1200 Lumens light
- There are 4 output levels and strobe for the flashlight
- The flashlight is easy to operate thanks to the dual switch design
- The light reaches 1000+ yards so the throw is very long
- The flashlight is great for hunting or searching
- The flashlight works with 3XCr123 A batteries or 2×18650 lithium ion batteries
- You get M3XS-UT pack and Three Legion Arms, along CR123A batteries
- The flashlight is versatile and may be used in the tactical missions
- The side switch on the head gives you easy mode switching
- The Mode 1 (1200-720 Lumens) runs for 5+55minutes, whereas the lowest runs for 360 hours, giving 3Lumens light
- The flashlight has a compact design and it’s easy to carry around
- The flashlight ha impact resistance to 1 M
- The Olight is also waterproof (up to 1 meter)
- The tail cap is great for tactical operations
- The flashlight is made of aircraft-grade aluminum with a Mil-Spec Type III hard-anodized finish
- The package also contains spare O-rings, extension tubes, battery magazine and a holster
As for the cons, the price might be a bit high, despite the great performances of the flashlight.
Durable, bright and dependable, the TerraLUX TT-5 Dual Button Tail Switch Tactical Flashlight gives you plenty of reasons to buy it. Here are the pros:
- The flashlight is bright and durable
- The flashlight gives you 650 Lumens light
- There is multi-mode with Direct access strobe
- The flashlight works with 2 CR123 batteries or 18650
- The flashlight has an aircraft grade aluminum casing
- The flashlight is lightweight
- There is an ergonomic design to the flashlight
- The anti-roll handles make it easy to carry the flashlight
- There is a rechargeable power pack for the flashlight
- The flashlight comes with car charger
- The light is clear
- There are 3 different Lumen settings
- The flashlight has a feather touch and click on ability
- The flashlight features holster and lanyard for easier carrying
- The TerraLux is easy to use and durable
- The flashlight feels solid in hand and is sturdy
- The beam color is great
- The flashlight has option for weapon light mount and pressure switch
- The flashlight also comes with a sheath for attachment to belt
Some parts could use some improvement so here are the cons:
- The flashlight doesn’t go to the previous lumen setting when it’s turn on
- The price could be a bit lower
- The size is a bit too big
But, as it’s reliable and great for an EDC mission, the Terra Lex is a good option to consider for a CR123 flashlight.
When you don’t want just a CR123 flashlight, but want one that goes great in your military missions, the 5.11 Tactical.53151 Adult’s ATAC R1 Flashlight is a great buy. Here are the pros:
- The flashlight is rechargeable
- You may use also 2 CR123 batteries
- There is 216 light on the flashlight
- The runtime is around 3 hours on high mode, 67 hours on low mode and 6 hours on strobe
- The flashlight is made of aerospace grade aluminum
- The package comes with Li-Ion rechargeable pack and 2 CR123 A battery pack
- You also get a charging cradle
- There are also AC&DC connectors in the package
- The flashlight has regulated circuit for maximum output
- The contacts are gold plated which means higher performance and more durability
- The flashlight has intelligent switch with high/low/strobe mode
- The pocket clip is made of stamped metal
- The pocket clip makes it easy to carry around the flashlight
- The flashlight has black TPR soft touch anti-roll ring
- The break-away lanyard is also included
- The flashlight is long lasting
- The 5.11 Tactical 53151 has water and impact resistant construction
- The light is small, but it floods and is really focused
- The flashlight is lightweight
- There is solid built to the flashlight
- The flashlight is reliable and it never runs low
- It’s very easy to recharge the flashlight
As for the parts we like less, here are our cons:
- The color tends to wear off too fast, even though the flashlight looks nice like that also
- The flashlight gets a bit warm, not hot though
- This isn’t a low priced flashlight for sure
All in all, you get a rechargeable, reliable, bright tactical flashlight that has insert for your CR123 just as well.