Streamlight EDC Light real World Review
Today I have the great pleasure of telling you about one of my absolute, all-time, hall-of-fame EDC essentials: the Streamlight MicroStream. It’s a flashlight that goes with me practically everywhere I go.
Now, I always do my very best to offer an honest and unbiased review of every piece of gear that comes across my desk. Today is no exception, but I’ll be honest with you: I really, really like this little flashlight. It’s handy, it’s reliable, it’s inexpensive, and it feels right at home in my hand or in my pocket. Simple as that.
Let’s get one question out of the way right off the bat. Is the MicroStream the best flashlight money can buy?
Of course not.
But is it the best flashlight less than $20 can buy? Almost certainly.
Yea, sure, you could drop $50 and get a better flashlight, but you could also drop $50 and end up with a much worse flashlight. That’s one of the reasons I love the MicroStream so much. It’s not only a great EDC flashlight for the money, but it legitimately holds its own against more than a few pocket flashlights that cost twice as much.
Specs and Stats of the Streamlight MicroStream
The MicroStream has a super compact design, measuring 3.6” long and weighing just 1.1 oz. It fits in the palm of your hand just right, and is the perfect size for everyday carry. It’s not the least bit bulky, but it’s also not so small that it gets lost in your pocket.
The design is beautifully simple. It basically has two settings—on and off—and has a white LED bulb that delivers 45 lumens. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not the brightest flashlight on the market, but I’ve always found it to be more than sufficient for my EDC needs. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a brighter bulb would run out the battery more quickly.
The MicroStream takes a single AAA battery, and I love the simplicity of that. It gets 2.5 hours of runtime out of each battery, so realistically you’ll be good for a few days if you have one or two spare batteries handy. I much prefer that over rechargeable flashlights for camping and emergency situations (Streamlight also makes a 250 Lumen rechargeable version of the MicroStream if you’d rather have that).
The pocket clip fits snugly on the pocket of my jeans—not too loose, not too tight—and makes the light easy to retrieve at any moment. The MicroStream also comes with a lanyard, which I must admit, I never use, but I can understand how it might be useful to some people.
The casing of the MicroStream is made with anodized aircraft aluminum, and it has a tough, scratch-resistant, polycarbonate lens. The folks at Streamlight call the lens “unbreakable,” which is one of those words I usually roll my eyes at, but I’ve dropped mine on the pavement enough times that I can’t argue with it.
Why Choose the MicroStream
I haven’t even mentioned the on/off button on the tailcap, which is one of my favorite things about this flashlight. It takes a little more force than you might expect to click the flashlight to the ‘on’ position, but the MicroStream also has a ‘momentary on’ feature that turns the light on temporarily for as long as you hold the tailcap semi-depressed.
I’ve ended up using the ‘momentary on’ position far more often than the full ‘on’ position. It’s just more convenient. This would also be an amazing asset if you ever needed to use the MicroStream as an emergency signal. Plus, the extra force needed to turn the light on keeps it from accidentally being turned on in your pocket or backpack.
The pocket clip is well-designed too. Not only is it just right for pocket carry, but it also clips to the brim of any baseball cap, turning the MicroStream into an instant headlamp. That’s a feature I’ve been grateful for more than once when I’ve been out in the bush after dark.
There’s no end to the uses I’ve found for this little light. I’ve used it for after-dark firewood collecting. I’ve used it to look under the hood of my car. I’ve used it in emergencies when the power has gone out. I’ve used it to retrieve kids’ toys that rolled under the couch. The uses for the MicroStream never seem to exhaust themselves.
And I must admit, I am not always kind to my flashlights. Seriously, I’ve beat the heck out of this thing. I’ve dropped the MicroStream on rocks and concrete and into a lake on multiple occasions—IPX4 water resistance is another thing I like about it—and it keeps on shining no matter what.
Room for Improvement
So, after all that, is there anything about the Streamlight MicroStream that I would change if I could? You know as well as I do that nothing is perfect.
I do find that the threading inside the flashlight is a bit delicate, and it’s easy to accidentally cross-thread it while screwing the cap back on.
It’s something I’ve gotten used to, and these days I’m always careful not to damage the fine threading while changing the battery (especially in the dark).
And I suppose if I were to really get nitpicky, I’d say that the flashlight would need less frequent battery changes if it used longer-lasting AA batteries instead of AAA batteries.
I’ve heard this argument many times, and while there’s part of me that agrees with it, I also know that this flashlight would be bigger and bulkier with AA batteries, and then it wouldn’t
Streamlight MicroStream: Final Thoughts
You’d be forgiven for being skeptical of any piece of gear that costs less than $20. Believe me, I’ve bought a lot of cheap flashlights and other tools at big box stores that stopped working within a month. The MicroStream is not one of them.
I own several of these flashlights (scroll through my Instagram account, and you’ll see I’ve been using them forever). There’s one in my car, and there’s almost always one in my pocket. I’ve given them away as gifts more times than I care to recount. The Streamlight MicroStream is simply a reliable EDC pocket flashlight that I’d be happy to drop an Andrew Jackson on any day of the week.