First Impressions: Mini Maglite AAA LED

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While browsing the aisles at REI recently, I wandered into the flashlight section and stopped for a few minutes. There in front of me was a large variety of lights — including several Maglite offerings.

One in particular caught my eye; the Mini Maglite AAA LED model. The packaging claimed 111 lumens of output on two AAA batteries. That made me pause and think about just how far flashlight technology has come. My first “real” flashlight was an incandescent bulb Maglite many years ago. You would place a spare bulb in the hollowed-out tailcap and hope you didn’t have to change it in the dark. That light went literally everywhere with me, never failing to turn on.

So I did what any gear junkie would do… I took that Mini Maglite AAA LED off the shelf and walked up to the register. Partly out of nostalgia, partly out of support for American manufacturing, and partly from being a die-hard flashaholic.

I’m happy to report that opening the package was like stepping into a time machine. There was the signature Maglite knurling, the perfect anodizing, the twist to focus beam, and even a spare bulb compartment in the tailcap (not that the LED model needs it). Oh, and you can remove the bezel/head assembly and put the light into “candle mode,” too. This is good for lighting up an entire room, similar to how a lantern operates. (Side note: this would probably be handy for signaling in a survival situation, almost like a flare.)

While I have no way to measure output, comparing it to other lights, I’d say that the 111 lumens rating seems accurate. Tint color is a creamy white, and the LED almost overpowers the focusing system. There is a good mixture of throw and spill with the beam, which makes it great for all-around use. Compared to the Mini Maglite AA, the AAA version seems almost diminutive and tiny in size. Maglite describes it as, “…not much bigger than a penlight.”

Some quick specifications from the manufacturer:

  • Lumens: 111
  • Beam Distance: 104 meters
  • Run Time: 2 hrs. 45 mins.
  • Weight (w/batts): 1.73 oz. (49.04 g)
  • Length: 5 inches (127 mm)
  • Drop Resistance: 2 meters
  • Modes: 1 (On/Off)

MSRP on the light is $24.50, but some shopping around should yield it for less. Honestly, I can’t think of another LED light out there that is USA-made for the price and output.