Lumintop Tool AA 3.0

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Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 review

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 specifications

Brand/modelLumintop Tool AA 3.0
Flashlight categoryEDC flashlight / keychain flashlight
LEDOsram P9
Max. output900 lumens
Max. beam distance138 meters
Max. beam intensity4,750 cd
Battery config.1*AA / 14500
Onboard chargingN/A battery has USB-C port
Modes4
BlinkiesStrobe
WaterproofIPX8
Review dateMay 2024

Review intro:

In the past, we have reviewed three different kinds of Lumintop Tools, but they were titanium and copper from the second generation. This time, we are reviewing the third-generation Lumintop Tool, which boasts an increased lumen output of 900lm and an 8.7% increase in beam distance.

That’s what the specifications tell, but how does it perform in real life?

The Tool AA3.0 is an EDC flashlight that can also be added to keys. But does it perform better than its predecessor? We know that Lumintop does not always follow ANSI FL1 standards.

Let’s find out.

What’s in the package

The package is pretty basic, and in line with other AA and AAA flashlights from Lumintop. It’s a pretty basic box, with the following inside:

  • Lumintop Tool AA 3.0
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • 14500 lithium-ion battery
  • Diffuser
  • Lanyard
  • O-rings
  • Manual and QC card

The battery and magnetic tailcap are optional. Depending on where you order it, they can be included in the price, so make sure you read the description of the listing before pushing that Buy button.

It just misses a USB charging cable.

Flashlight in use, Build Quality, and Warranty

If you’re familiar with the Lumintop Tool AA 2.0, you won’t really notice any differences, because there aren’t many. They can even lego, so you swap tailcaps, heads, or battery tubes without a problem.

The only 2 noticeable differences are the LED and the tailcap. My Tool 2.0 didn’t have a tailswitch light but this one has. Not sure if my Tool AA 2.0 was an early version or anything, but I saw other people talking about a lighted tailswitch on theirs. Also, keep in mind that the lighted switch only works when using a 14500 battery. And on top of that, these lights draws between 0.6mA and 0.8mA from a 14500 from what I measured.

Lumintop also included a pocket clip that can be attached, pointing up or down, depending on the location you add it. The battery tube has 2 slots for it to fit.

It’s very much an EDC or keychain flashlight. But if you will use the optional magnetic tailcap, you need to attach the keys to the pocket clip, because the magnetic tailcap doesn’t have a lanyard attachment point. Having said this, it could still be a great backup light for camping, hiking etc.

The switch is easy to use and doesn’t feel mushy. The flashlight is a centimeter shorter when using the magnetic tailcap.

The anodization looks pretty nice, and I got my favorite color: blue. But if you’re more into other colors, they are also available in green, black, and white. (My 2.0 is white).

Warranty:

Lumintop’s warranty is good for a budget light: 30-day free replacement or repair for factory defects with a 5- year limited warranty for repairs required for problems associated with normal use. Products with built-in batteries are guaranteed for 2 years, and accessories are covered for 1 year. After the 5 year warranty, Lumintop will repair defective products for a fee. The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, abuse, modifications, or intentional damage.

LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector

Lumintop moved from CREE XPL to Osram P9, but was that a smart move?

The reflector is slightly renewed but still smooth for maximum throw. Well.. for what it’s worth.

Right behind the bezel, you can see a glow-in-the-dark o-ring that glows for several seconds after you turn the light off. It’s so weak that you won’t really notice it for more than a very short time.

At a close distance, on a white wall, you’ll notice some green and purplish hues, but when measured, they don’t seem to be so prevalent.

The hotspot is quite pronounced, with a weak spill, and relatively quick transition between them. This means that the beam is a bit throwy, and not so floody. I would have preferred a smoother transition on such a small light, and a wider beam. But that’s just my personal opinion. The easiest fix for this is to add some DC Fix on the lens to make it a smooth floody beam.

Spectral measurements:  

I used a Sekonic C800 spectrometer to measure the flashlight at 5 meters distance for Turbo and roughly 2 meters for Low mode.  

Mode:CCT:CRI Ra:duvTM30 RfTM30 Rg
Turbo7070K74.10.00307593
Low6964K69.50.00076996

Dimensions and its competition

Dimensions: 

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0MillimetersInches
Length with normal tailcap89 mm3.5 in
Length with magnetic tailcap78 mm3.1 in
Head diameter18 mm0.7 in
Body diameter18 mm0.7 in

Dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter and the nearest tenth of an Inch.

Weight

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0Weight in gramsWeight in oz.
Without battery:23 g0.8 oz
With 14500 battery44 g1.6 oz
With Eneloop battery50 g1.8 oz

Weight is rounded to the nearest gram and tenth of an Oz.

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 Flashlight comparison

Size compared to other AA flashlights

Group 1, Lumintop Tool AA 2.0 vs Tool AA 3.0

Group 2, from left to right: Olight diffuse, Olight i5R EOS, Acebeam Pokelit AA Gray, Lumintop Tool AA 3.0, Lumintop Tool AA 2.0, Reylight Pineapple AA

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 UI : User interface and driver

The Tool AA 3 has the same kind of UI as the Tool AA 2, if you’re already familiar with it. It has a reverse clicky switch, which means that you have to click the switch to activate the light fully. And once the light is activated, you simply half-press the switch to run through the menu. If you do that 6 consecutive times, you’ll enter strobe mode. That shouldn’t happen too much in normal use, unless you like playing with it.

The available main modes:

  • Low, Medium, High, Turbo

The available special modes (blinkies):

  • Strobe

How the UI works when the flashlight is still turned OFF:

  • Half-press: nothing
  • Single-click: to last used mode, mode memory

How the UI works when the flashlight is turned ON:

  • Half-press: Cycle through the menu from Low to High
  • Single-click: turns off
  • 6* half-presses: strobe
  • any other number of taps will just cycle through the menu

Shortcuts within the UI:

  • To Turbo: none
  • To Moon: none
  • To Strobe: 6 taps when on.. not really a shortcut

Mode memory:

  • Yes, it will always start in the last used mode

Blinky modes:

  • Yes, strobe mode. When on, it can be activated by 6 taps. Another tap will go to the next mode before you enter strobe.

Low battery warning:

  • Output reduces before it turns off. With Eneloop batteries you have a few minutes to replace the battery. With a 14500, you can sometimes get a few hours of extra runtime at very low output.

Lock-out mode:

  • No, but you can unscrew the tailcap
  • The original tailcap has lights inside that will draw a small current, so you better unscrew the tailcap to have no parasitic drain.

PWM:

  • Not visible by eye

Firmware / UI Conclusion:

  • It’s a pretty basic UI, and good enough for most cases, even though many people would have liked no mode-memory. That way, you would always know in what mode it will turn on next time.
  • Strobe mode is a little annoying, and I have no idea why it is implemented. Lumintop’s website says it’s for self defence, but in those situations you won’t remember that you have to do exactly 6 taps.. lol. You’ll likely end up throwing the light away and just run.

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 Charging and batteries

The Tool AA 3.0 uses the same battery format as the Tool AA 2.0, namely AA batteries and 14500 batteries.

A Lumintop 14500 li-ion battery could be included depending on where you order it. The one they include is a 920mAh battery, with the following product code printed in small font: LM14C-920. It arrived at 3.56V, which is perfect for long-term storage and shipping.

If you didn’t order one with a battery and only have a flat top 14500, you are out of luck. It won’t work with flat tops, and only with button tops. Lumintop built a physical reverse polarity protection on the driver, which basically means that a flat top can not make contact with the driver.

I tested the total charge time at 3 separate instances, and got the following charge times: 2h 25min, 2h 18min, 2h 17min. This means that the average charge time is roughly 2h 20min. It charges at about 5V and 0.5A at max speed.

During the charge, you’ll notice a red LED light up next to the positive terminal on the battery. It turns green when finished and finally just turns off. The end voltage is between 4.17 and 4.18V

Charge typeFitsNo fitAvg. charge time
14500 battery has onboard USB-CAA / 14500Flat top batteries2h 20min

Performance test

This is the gear I use for testing:

GearPurposeLink to buy
Hagner E4-XMeasuring beam intensity (throw)Inquire at Hagner.se
2* Extech SDL400Lumens and logging runtimesAmazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,
Leica Disto D2Distance for throw measurementsAmazon.com, Amazon.co.uk,
Sekonic C-800 Spectrometer for LED measurementsAmazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Uni-T UTi260BThermal Image cameraAmazon.com,

Lumen measurements:

How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards How Lumens are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards: The ANSI FL1 standards specify that output in lumens should be measured 30 seconds after turning on, as this is the standardized time for measuring brightness according to the industry standard. This is why we focus on this part in our measurements. The ANSI FL1 standards require an ambient temperature of 22 ± 3°C. We record the ambient the ambient temperature to identify potential reasons for any observed discrepancies.

The output measurements in this review are based on my homemade integrating spheres, each equipped with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter. For consistency and accuracy, a calibration light (Convoy S2+ with 249lm and a Convoy S2+ with 261lm) is measured before each set of lumen measurements.
One of the lux meters uses an ND camera filter for high-output lights to prevent the lux meter from maxing out. This is either the Kenko PRO1D ND16 for up to about 80,000 lumens or the Gobe ND32 for anything above.

All of my readings were taken from a fully-charged Lumintop 14500 and Panasonic Eneloop AA.

The measurements were taken manually at the turn on and in 30 seconds. The 10-minute numbers are taken from the runtime graph.

ModeSpecified At turn on30 sec10 min
Low (14500)20 lm18 lm18 lm
Med (14500)150 lm161 lm159 lm152 lm
High (14500)500 lm620 lm570 lm437 lm
Turbo (14500)900 lm998 lm840 lm430 lm
Low (AA)4 lm1 lm3 lm
Med (AA)30 lm28 lm28 lm28 lm
High (AA)150 lm131 lm130 lm103 lm
Turbo (AA)300 lm308 lm303 lm206 lm

I try to use rounded lumen numbers, except for maybe Low or Moonlight/Firefly modes.

You’ll notice that the turn on output with AA is lower than at 30 seconds. It seems like it has some sort of soft start.

Turbo mode with 14500 almost reached 1,000 lumens at turn on.. That’s pretty crazy for such a small light. After 30 seconds (ANSI FL1) it was down to 840 lumens. More info below.

On Eneloops it was doing a pretty good job, reaching over 300 lumens.. which is pretty good in my opinion for an AA flashlight.

Ambient temperature during testing:

  • 18.9°C

Parasitic drain:

  • With 14500: 0.6-0.8 mA (The 920mAh battery would take 1150 hours (48 days) to discharge completely
  • 0.8µA with Eneloop batteries. Much lower than with lithium battery
    • Explanation on milliamps (mA): 1A is 1,000mA
    • Microamps (µA): 1mA is 1,000µA
  • You can’t turn the lights off inside the tailcap, so you should unscrew the head or tailcap to stop any parasitic drain. Or just use the magnetic tailcap and unscrew it.

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 Battery life and runtime

How Runtimes are Measured: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About ANSI FL1 runtime standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turning on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light was actually still running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.

Runtime tests were conducted in my 50cm homemade integrating sphere, paired with the Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter. Temperatures from the moment the runtime test started.

AA= Eneloops..

ModeSpecifiedRuntime (ANSI FL1)Time till shut off
Low 1450037h
Med 14500 (22.8°C)4h3h 38min6h 03min
High 14500 (22.9°C)1h 10min56min3h 03min
Turbo 14500 (23.9°C)1h 03min57min1h 29min+
Low AA60h
Med AA (24.0°C)12h12h 00min12h 02min
High AA (21.7°C)3h3h 00min3h 05min
Turbo AA (21.0°C)1h1h 27min1h 33min

I haven’t tested Low mode with either battery. Turbo with 14500 was stopped after 1h 29minutes because I had to go to bed, and start a new runtime. But it would probably run quite a bit longer at roughly 2-3 lumens, like it did with High mode and Medium mode. Both ran over 2 hours at very low output.

After each runtime, the Eneloop NiMH batteries were down to 0.85 – 0.87 Volts.

The Lumintop battery was down to 2.88-2.92 Volts after each runtime.

Compared to other AA flashlights

AA Flashlight performance comparison chart

Below is an interactive runtime graph of several AA flashlights I tested. These are measured with AA Eneloop batteries. Even though some of the lights work with 14500 batteries, the numbers are solely for Eneloops.

Some of the following measurements were taken directly from the runtime graph below, instead of the manual measurements, simply because I only have old data for some. So they can differ from the measurements in the review.

Flashlight (and Link)At turn on30 sec10 minutes
Acebeam Pokelit AA Gray345321128
Acebeam Tac AA322306101
Convoy T2210215233
Cyansky P10335212133
Fenix E12 v2152151148
Lumintop EDC AA214170169
Lumintop Tool AA 2.0345248212
Lumintop Tool AA 3.0308303206
Manker E05140140140
Olight i5R EOS167158126
Olight i5R EOS HiCRI169158126
Reylight Pineapple v4247203177
Zebralight SC53C N261235181

Here’s a closeup graph of the first 10 minutes

Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements

About Peak beam intensity: Understanding ANSI FL1 Standards About peak beam intensity The calculated value of distance in meters at which the flashlight produces a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object). This means that the intensity has decreased so much, it becomes difficult to see darker objects, or objects that don’t reflect light. The columns ‘Meters’ and ‘Yards’ use rounded numbers.

Measurements were taken indoors with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter. The measurements were taken 30 seconds after turn on.

ModeSpecifiedCandela measuredMetersYards
Low (14500)75 cd17 m19 yd
Med (14500)575 cd48 m52 yd
High (14500)2,050 cd91 m99 yd
Turbo (14500)4,750 cd2,950 cd109 m119 yd
Low (AA)25 cd10 m11 yd
Med (AA)100 cd20 m22 yd
High (AA)450 cd42 m46 yd
Turbo (AA)?1,075 cd66 m72 yd

Unfortunately, it wasn’t able to reach close to specified beam intensity.

Ambient temperature during testing:

  • 18.9°C

Beamshots

For the following beamshots, I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 with a 50mm lens. Manual settings: ISO1600, 1/30sec, F4, 5000K. The white wall is about 5 meters away, and the wooden fence is about 4 meters.

Explore and compare the beamshots from the following flashlights:

  • Lumintop Tool AA 3.0
  • Lumintop Tool AA 2.0
  • Streamlight Macrostream USB
  • Acebeam Pokelit AA

Please note that the following beamshots are mainly intended to showcase the beam pattern and beam quality, rather than overall performance. These images are typically taken directly after activation, and in different seasons or weather conditions, and therefore do not fully represent its overall performance. For accurate performance metrics, such as output, beam distance, and runtimes, you need to look at the performance section of this review.

Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to us for review at no cost by Lumintop. We have not been paid to review, nor have we been holding back on problems or defects.

Final Verdict

Pros

  1. Affordable
  2. Simple, but good build quality
  3. Optional magnetic tailcap, and battery
  4. Number of accessories available
  5. Works with AA and 14500 batteries
  6. Reaching roughly 1,000 lumens at turn on
  7. Good performance on AA battery

Cons

  1. Strobe can be accessed by 6 clicks
  2. Unregulated output on 14500
  3. Lighted tailcap will discharge the battery within 2 months.
  4. Mode memory (and no quick access to low)

Explanation on star ratings:

1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended

Reviewer Marco
Author: Marco

4 stars: ★★★★

While our star rating provides a reliable indicator, we encourage you to read the full review to make an informed decision based on your own needs and preferences.

There aren’t many upgrades from the Tool AA 2.0, except for the LED, and lighted tailcap (which some people already had on their 2.0, but I didn’t). Other than that, it’s basically the same flashlight.

I don’t like the way that you can activate Strobe with 6 taps. It would have been better if they had just eliminated it. The lighted tailcap will discharge the battery within 2 months, so that’s still an issue for people who don’t use it every day but accidentally leave the taillight activated. (Well, you can’t deactivate by unscrewing the head or tailcap)

Perhaps adding an option to remove mode memory and an option to always start from Low or Turbo would have been nice!

Buy your Lumintop Tool AA 3.0 with a discount

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1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.