I love getting to try out a new flashlight. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Acebeam Rider RX flashlight since its release was announced at the end of 2021, and I’ve been looking forward to an opportunity to try this one out for myself.
Acebeam has only been around for around 12 years, but they’ve made a name for themselves by creating tough, reliable flashlights, torches, and headlamps for everyday as well as tactical use. The Acebeam Rider RX is, if I’m not mistaken, the smallest flashlight in their lineup, and the best-suited for everyday carry.
If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you might have noticed that I have something close to an obsession with simple, budget-friendly pocket flashlights. I’ve tested out more than I can remember in an attempt to find the best EDC flashlights under $20.
The Acebean Rider RX isn’t one of them, for the simple reason that its price tag falls more in the $40-$50 range. Even so, I think it’s a solid buy at that price and a very well-made and dependable EDC pocket light.
The box the Acebeam Rider RX flashlight comes in is handsome and minimalist, with a nice matte finish and some basic information printed on it. Inside you’ll find the flashlight (with a rechargeable Lithium-ion AA battery already installed) along with a lanyard, a couple of spare o-rings, a minimalist instruction booklet, and a short USB charging cable (no brick, just the cable).
The flashlight has a look that I would describe as sleek and somewhat futuristic. It has a stylish double-layer design, with an outer shell that slides and snaps back and forth. It’s easy to hold and use one-handed, and even though there’s no grip to speak of, the flashlight stays firmly in place, thanks in part to the well-placed pocket clip.
Specs & Stats
The Acebeam Rider RX measures 3.77 inches long and 0.73 inches thick. It’s a little girthier than my typical EDC flashlight (I tend to prefer a AAA pocket light over a AA), but still a comfortable carry, and it fits well in my palm. The Rider RX tips the scales at 2.89 ounces, battery included.
The outer shell is made of stainless steel, and the inner body of the flashlight is aluminum. It comes in multiple colors, but I went with basic black. The inner aluminum part is blue. The Acebeam Rider RX also includes a two-way stainless steel pocket clip.
Light Quality & Modes
The Rider RX uses a Nichia 219F LED, which casts a crisp, clear, slightly cool light. The “temperature” of the light clocks in at 5000K, which is slightly toward the blue-white end of the spectrum. The CRI (color rendering index) value, which measures a light’s ability to show the true colors of an object, is an impressive 90 out of 100.
Users have five light modes available—High, Mid, Low, Ultra-Low, and SOS—offering up to 650 lumens in High and as little as 7 lumens on Ultra-Low. Battery life on each mode varies depending on what type of battery you’re using, but we’ll get into that in more detail shortly.
Use & Operation
As you turn the Acebeam Rider RX on and off, the tail button cycles through the modes in order from lowest to highest. The SOS mode (essentially a high strobe setting) is “hidden,” and can be accessed by rapidly cycling through all four modes twice. The button has some good spring to it and gives an audible and tactile ‘click’ with each press.
One feature that I really like about this flashlight is that it has a momentary-on function, which can be activated by pressing the tail button halfway, but not enough to feel the full ‘click’. The momentary-on function cycles through modes in the same order as the normal operation of the flashlight.
The Acebeam Rider RX also has memory. So if you last used the light on a particular setting, it will return to the same setting the next time you turn it on, provided that it’s been off for at least 3 seconds.
Battery Life & Charging
The Acebeam Rider RX gets pretty solid battery life, though its performance on each mode varies depending on what type of battery you’re using. On the ‘Mid’ setting, for example, you’ll get 60 minutes on a Li-ion battery, 130 minutes on a Ni-MH battery, or 52 lumens on a basic Alkaline battery.
Also worth noting is that the actual light output in lumens will vary depending on which type of battery you’re using. Suffice to say, there are a lot of variables there.
In any event, the Acebeam Rider RX comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery, so unless you have a preference for a different battery type, it’s safe to say that’s what you’ll be using, at least when you first get it. The battery can be recharged using the included USB charging cable.
Durability & Build Quality
The stainless steel casing of the Acebeam is rugged and durable, and this thing can definitely handle some bumps and scrapes. The build quality is really excellent, and the lens cap screws on and off with incredible smoothness to remove or change the battery.
The stainless steel pocket clip is also well made, with just the right amount of tension to securely affix it to a pocket, belt, or hat brim. The flashlight can be fully immersed in water to a depth of 2 meters, and the double-layer design also gives it excellent heat insulation.
I haven’t talked much about the double-layer design. It’s one of the most immediately noticeable features of this flashlight and is definitely a functional choice as well as an aesthetic one. It improves the insulation and impact resistance of the Rider RX and also allows the light to be stood up on end like a candle.
But the folks at Acebeam seem to be promoting this “cool mini gadget design” mostly as something to fidget with, which I find a little puzzling. “Hours of enjoyment and relaxation to be had for sure,” their advertising copy assures me.
Personally, I find that to be unnecessary. This is a great flashlight without it being marketed as a gadget to fidget with. On the other hand, I constantly catch myself snapping the outer casing back and forth as I write this, so maybe a flashlight I can fidget with really is a good thing!
I also must concede that, if one were to find themselves in a high-stress situation, having something to fidget with could be a very useful anxiety release. That being the case, this flashlight might be the perfect solution.
The Acebeam Rider RX is a good flashlight; it’s as simple as that. Even though my personal preference for EDC tends to be for something smaller, lighter, and simpler, I have to admit that the Rider RX is a really excellent flashlight for what it is.
I especially think this would be a great outdoor flashlight for camping and hiking. The Low mode casts a soft light that’s great for reading in your tent, and the High mode gives you plenty of light for finding your way around after dark. The reversible clip allows you to clip it to your hat and use it as a headlamp, which is super handy.
There are plenty of cheaper EDC flashlights on the market, including some really, really good ones. But even at close to $50, the Rider RX gives you plenty of bang for your buck, and I have a hard time imagining that anyone would consider it a waste of their hard-earned money.
Alan Dale is an experienced backpacker and adventure sports athlete who pays the bills by writing. Married with a small brood, Alan often has his kids in tow on many of his adventures.