I’ve got a thing for flashlights and over the last 5 years or so have probably spent way too much money on them. Next to a good pocket knife they are easily the most useful thing I carry around with me and I’m constantly amazed by how far the technology has come since the old D-cell Maglight I used to own. I’ve included a few of my favorite lights in our store but my newest and current favorite daily carry illumination device is the Streamlight MicroStream. It’s cheap, small, and probably brighter than half the flashlights you have laying around your house. (assuming your house isn’t full of surefires of course)

Streamlight AAAI don’t recall who tipped me off to this little guy but I kept hearing people talk about them and when Amazon smartly recommended one to me for under $20 I really didn’t have much choice but to pick it up and see if hype held up. I think they are selling right now for $16 and change which is absolutely the best value high power LED light out there I think. I think a good single AAA size light is ideal for daily carrying and for years I (and many others on Candlepower Forums) have been singing the praises of the Arc AAA, but this is the first light I’ve come across that gives it some serious competition. The Streamlight is a little larger than the Arc though not by much, but it’s almost double the output of the premium version coming in at 20 lumens. It also feels a little lighter and has the convenient bonus of a tail cap pressure switch. I will say that the added size makes it feel clunky on a keychain but clipped to a side pocket you barely notice it’s there.

On top of all that it’s pretty much indestructible. I haven’t tried running over it with a car, but I’ve dropped it from varying heights (including down a flight of concrete stairs) and I know two people who have accidentally run them through a washer and dryer cycle and they have come out working flawlessly, and summer breeze fresh! This is good to know because the whole point of carrying around a flashlight is because you don’t want to get caught in the dark unexpectedly or let bad lighting get in the way of whatever you need to take care of. I use mine daily for finding the keyhole in my door after dark and looking for stuff I probably dropped and kicked under furniture, but can easily imagine an endless list of reasons you want a good flashlight on hand if there is any kind of problem. Last week I was in Toronto during a several hour blackout and was able to find my way around the unfamiliar house I was staying at and read for a bit thanks to having a light there and ready to go. If there was an earthquake in LA knocking out power for hours or days, I know these would be getting heavy usage. It’s small and doesn’t have the same self defense options as some of the other lights I have around but for a single AAA sized light it pulls more than it’s own weight for sure.

There was a time when I had a big maglight in every room of my house, but honestly I think this little Streamlight is brighter and more reliable. And for the price, I’m actually considering picking up 4-5 of them and just tossing one each in my bags and car so no matter what happens I have one around. I really can’t recommend this light enough.

(This post was originally published by Urban Journal.)