Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

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Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 12:09 am

This is a quick review of the "LED Trekking Torch" as sold by Aldi sometime in May 2014 and May 2015 for $14.99. It is branded a Lightway W2 Cree LED 2xAA torch.

I picked one up in May as an impulse buy, and forgot about it when I went away. But I've taken it out and had a go with it now.

It comes in blister packaging, and came with a nylon sheath and two AA Alkaline batteries.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch.jpg
Aldi LED Trekking Torch.jpg (389.55 KiB) Viewed 8305 times

Official specs are:

  • 3 Watt Cree LED globe with 120 Lumen light output and light range up to 120 metres
  • IPX4 Waterproof rating
  • Impact and shock resistant
  • 2 brightness levels: 100% or 50%
  • Product Length: 160mm - I measured 155mm; body diameter 22mm, head diameter 27mm
  • Net weight: approx. 106g (without batteries) I measured 100g
  • Material: Torch housing: Aluminium, Lens: PC, Clip: Flexible, Steel, Pouch: Nylon
  • Luminous flux: 120 lumens,
  • Light colour: white,
  • Beam length: 120 metres,
  • LED life span: 50,000 hours,
  • Run time: 100% - about 2,5 hours; 50% - about 4 hours,
  • Waterproof: IPX4 (impact and shock resistant)
  • LED 3W: CREE Q3-LED (High Power LED), CREE XP-E, Photo biological safety tested (according to DIN EN 62471)
  • Accessories included: Batteries: 2 x AA (LR6) Brand Activ Energy, 1.5 V volt (included), Reverse polarity protection, Protective pouch included

The body is aluminium, and reasonably well made. The knurling around the body is nicely done and not too agressive, and the threads seem ok. No battery rattle in mine using Eneloops. I have already dropped it onto concrete from about 1.2m, and it survived with some slight scratches, but the zooming mechanism is still smooth, and it works ok.

There is a reverse clip on the end of the body, so when you clip it to something, the torch head points up. The clip is quite strong, and also has the advantage of stopping the torch rolling on an uneven surface.

The torch can tail stand so is good for being used as a candle/lantern. There is no lanyard hole or attachment point anywhere.

Head and tail can be removed with o-rings installed. The power on/off switch is in the tail cap, and is a reverse clicky - this means that you press in then it clicks on when it comes out.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch Open.jpg
Aldi LED Trekking Torch Open.jpg (393.58 KiB) Viewed 8305 times


The beam has a nice flood. Standing approximately 1m from the wall, it has a clean diameter of approximately 1m that you can see below. The light as a focus zoom head, so you can focus the lens for distance, but I highly doubt the official specs of the 120m range (More on this below). When zoomed, and still standing at about 1m from the wall, the focus point comes down to around 20cm in diameter.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch Beam.jpg
1m diameter beam standing approx 1m from the wall
Aldi LED Trekking Torch Beam.jpg (162.46 KiB) Viewed 8305 times

Aldi Trekking Torch Zoom.jpg
15-20cm beam when zoomed, standing approx 1m from wall
Aldi Trekking Torch Zoom.jpg (116.47 KiB) Viewed 8305 times


The brightness compares well with my other AA torches that output between 100-130lm.

The beam modes are High -> Low -> Off. It will always start in High mode. The Low mode is a bit disappointing. It actually isn't 50% as specified. I reckon it is about 75-85%, if not higher, so there is probably a resistor at the switch instead of more intricate circuitry. This will have a bearing on the usage life in half mode. On a pair of new alkalines on high mode, it lasted around 2 hours until I noticed significant drop in output.

The Cree emitter does appear to be an XP-E, but I haven't unscrewed the head to have a look at the circuitry or the heat sink.

As mentioned above, I have doubts on the output range of 120m mentioned on the packaging. I haven't tested this out as yet, but I am dubious, as even better quality, higher output 2AA torches like the Fenix LD22 (215 lumens and 113 metre range) or the Fenix E25 (187 lumens 156 metre range) or the Nitecore Sens 2AA (170lumens 100metre range). These Fenix and Nitecore torches also have more modes, and higher waterproof ratings, but are around 3-4 times more expensive.

Note that this torch does not accept rechargeable 14500 lithium batteries, but will accept non-rechargeable 1.5V lithium batteries.

Overall, this is an ok torch, especially considering Aldi's 3 year warranty - so save your receipt! I would say it should be worth around the $10 mark when compared with other Chinese made Cree LEDs.
Still, it's better than the overpriced Maglite Mini or Ledlenser torches you can buy at hardware stores, but not as good as 2xAA offerings from Fenix, Nitecore, Xtar, Sunwayman, etc.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby David M » Fri 03 Jul, 2015 1:45 pm

Good review.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Wed 25 May, 2016 3:21 pm

Just a heads up if anyone is interested - this "Trekking Torch" is back at Aldi on sale from this weekend the 28th May 2016 - still at $14.99.

If you end up getting this, and you also buy the Aldi fizzy multivitamins, you can make your own torch diffuser like I have:

It pops on satisfyingly on the Aldi trekking torch:

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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 25 May, 2016 4:57 pm

Pretty good price. By the photo, it seemed to be comparable to those from Aliexpress. I might buy some fizzy tablets and try your diffuser design on my existing torch.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Wed 25 May, 2016 5:32 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Pretty good price. By the photo, it seemed to be comparable to those from Aliexpress. I might buy some fizzy tablets and try your diffuser design on my existing torch.


Indeed comparable to the ones directly from China, but with better quality control that I've noticed. The equivalent 2xAA torches sold at Bunnings is at least twice the price.

In comparison to the Chinese torches, I think the Aldi price is reasonable, given the 3 year warranty they give on it.

I should update the review and say that the beam on zoom mode does cover at least 80-100m, but that is with the focus zoomed into the tight spotlight.

The included batteries I didn't use until later last year, and put them in my travel shaver. They were a bit slow in there recently, pull them out and tested them both at around 1.17V each, put them back in the Aldi torch, and it is still outputting a reasonable light. So bonus nice alkalines as well.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby Eremophila » Sun 29 May, 2016 9:21 pm

"Keith's DIY Light Sabre" :lol:

My $10 Dick Smith torch is starting to waver, so I might buy one of these as a spare.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Sun 29 May, 2016 11:20 pm

Someone mentioned on another forum that this year's Aldi Trekking torch has gotten an upgrade in the LED emitter. Apparently it is now using a XP-G2 LED, in place of the XP-E2 of the model from 2015. The XP-G2 emitter has a higher output than the XP-E2 (usually meaning it will be brighter, every thing else being equal).

I'll have to pop into Aldi and get one now to see the difference ... :lol:

Eremophila wrote:"Keith's DIY Light Sabre"


I'll get another one, and with my spare diy diffuser I can do this:
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 30 May, 2016 7:57 am

Keithy, do you know a good site page that has a good comparative summary of all the LED emitters out there? Otherwise, your double light stick will more likely to guide in some alien spacecraft.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Tue 31 May, 2016 12:29 am

GPSGuided wrote:Keithy, do you know a good site page that has a good comparative summary of all the LED emitters out there? Otherwise, your double light stick will more likely to guide in some alien spacecraft.


Heh... A mate of mine has the Nitecore TM26. That is a beast of a torch, running on 4x18650 batteries, and the output on turbo mode is something like 3500-4000 lumens with about half a kilometre distance throw. He is in a rural setting, so it's handy for him. I reckon something like that would be great for night time SAR, but it is more torch than I'll ever need.

The biggest output of my AA torches is in the 1000 lumen range and a 300m distance throw, these resemble thinner beer cans (like the Nitecore EA4/EA41, Sunwayman D40a, Thrunite TN4A, Fenix E41 amongst others) and not as practical for regular carry. They would chew through the batteries really quickly on Turbo mode, and I found myself using the medium/low settings more often.

Cree have good info on their emitters on their site, and a good doc library http://www.cree.com/LED-Components-and- ... ucts/XLamp

There was a thread I had saved on candlepowerforums http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... tter-Index but some of that info is old now, and the picture links broken.

There is a wiki I also have bookmarked that has some info http://flashlightwiki.com/Cree

And occasionally you get people that put up their test results on various Cree emitters at BLF http://budgetlightforum.com/node/19331
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby davemal » Mon 21 May, 2018 10:48 am

Just a heads up - the great Aldi trekking torch returns !

for 2018 it appears upgraded from keithys' original review with ;

- now 5W / 200 Lumen / 140 metre range
- includes lanyard.
- same $15 price.

I could use another torch and am planning on grabbing one.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby BushcrafterAU » Tue 05 Jun, 2018 7:51 pm

Nice Review.
Another torch to check out is the Varta Outdoor Sports 5w. You can get it at Bunnings for $27. I’ll probably post a review of it here soon.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 2:47 am

I had taken some earlier pics to compare the 2015 and 2016 Aldi trekking torches I have. But I forgot to upload them here earlier. I found them now, so I'll put them up.

The 2016 Trekking Torch already was upgraded to the 5W LED. The other differences seemed only cosmetic:

Printing on the 2016 says lightway on the battery compartment on oneside, and the model number and "W2" on the other side. The 2015 version didn't have the Lightway branding there, but instead "Aldi Stores" and their address. The Lightway logo was on the torch head. On the 2016 version, they hid the Aldi Stores branding underneath the zooming head.

IMG_20180521_230358-01 (Medium).jpeg
Aldi Trekking 2015 vs 2016 sides


IMG_20180521_224101-01 (Medium).jpeg
Aldi Trekking 2015 vs 2016 opposite sides


IMG_20180524_203732 (Medium).jpg
Aldi Trekking 2015 vs 2016 upgraded LED
IMG_20180524_203732 (Medium).jpg (106.08 KiB) Viewed 2251 times


Now, while I haven't picked up the 2018 version, I did have a quick squizz in store on the weekend. I don't know what the LED pill is, but it looked similar to the 5W version on the 2016 I have.

IMG_20180604_190541 (Medium).jpg
Aldi Trekking Torch 2018


Other differences on the 2018 and the original 2015 from my review above
  • 5W LED brighter and bigger throw distance (on zoom mode)
  • Shorter running time (2 hours on the 2018 vs 2.5 hours on the 2015 version vs 3.5 hours on the 2016)
  • Modes are different. They now add an SOS mode you have to click through. This could be annoying to some.
  • Lanyard hole - They added a Lanyard hole to the battery cap which is a plus
  • 1 year warranty - Disappointingly the warranty has decreased from 3 years to 1 year now (warranty on the 2016 version was also 3 years).

A word of caution if you use this torch with the included alkaline batteries - don't leave them inside unused as the alkalines will leak and can damage the tail switch.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby Lamont » Wed 06 Jun, 2018 11:57 am

Now that's how you update an already excellent review!
Thanks boyo.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 13 Jun, 2018 4:41 pm

Picked up a unit this afternoon whilst walking past our local Aldi. Had a green torch body for some difference. But was I surprised how big this unit is in comparison to my other AA battery torches.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby BushcrafterAU » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 1:55 pm

keithy wrote:This is a quick review of the "LED Trekking Torch" as sold by Aldi sometime in May 2014 and May 2015 for $14.99. It is branded a Lightway W2 Cree LED 2xAA torch.

I picked one up in May as an impulse buy, and forgot about it when I went away. But I've taken it out and had a go with it now.

It comes in blister packaging, and came with a nylon sheath and two AA Alkaline batteries.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch.jpg

Official specs are:

  • 3 Watt Cree LED globe with 120 Lumen light output and light range up to 120 metres
  • IPX4 Waterproof rating
  • Impact and shock resistant
  • 2 brightness levels: 100% or 50%
  • Product Length: 160mm - I measured 155mm; body diameter 22mm, head diameter 27mm
  • Net weight: approx. 106g (without batteries) I measured 100g
  • Material: Torch housing: Aluminium, Lens: PC, Clip: Flexible, Steel, Pouch: Nylon
  • Luminous flux: 120 lumens,
  • Light colour: white,
  • Beam length: 120 metres,
  • LED life span: 50,000 hours,
  • Run time: 100% - about 2,5 hours; 50% - about 4 hours,
  • Waterproof: IPX4 (impact and shock resistant)
  • LED 3W: CREE Q3-LED (High Power LED), CREE XP-E, Photo biological safety tested (according to DIN EN 62471)
  • Accessories included: Batteries: 2 x AA (LR6) Brand Activ Energy, 1.5 V volt (included), Reverse polarity protection, Protective pouch included

The body is aluminium, and reasonably well made. The knurling around the body is nicely done and not too agressive, and the threads seem ok. No battery rattle in mine using Eneloops. I have already dropped it onto concrete from about 1.2m, and it survived with some slight scratches, but the zooming mechanism is still smooth, and it works ok.

There is a reverse clip on the end of the body, so when you clip it to something, the torch head points up. The clip is quite strong, and also has the advantage of stopping the torch rolling on an uneven surface.

The torch can tail stand so is good for being used as a candle/lantern. There is no lanyard hole or attachment point anywhere.

Head and tail can be removed with o-rings installed. The power on/off switch is in the tail cap, and is a reverse clicky - this means that you press in then it clicks on when it comes out.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch Open.jpg


The beam has a nice flood. Standing approximately 1m from the wall, it has a clean diameter of approximately 1m that you can see below. The light as a focus zoom head, so you can focus the lens for distance, but I highly doubt the official specs of the 120m range (More on this below). When zoomed, and still standing at about 1m from the wall, the focus point comes down to around 20cm in diameter.

Aldi LED Trekking Torch Beam.jpg

Aldi Trekking Torch Zoom.jpg


The brightness compares well with my other AA torches that output between 100-130lm.

The beam modes are High -> Low -> Off. It will always start in High mode. The Low mode is a bit disappointing. It actually isn't 50% as specified. I reckon it is about 75-85%, if not higher, so there is probably a resistor at the switch instead of more intricate circuitry. This will have a bearing on the usage life in half mode. On a pair of new alkalines on high mode, it lasted around 2 hours until I noticed significant drop in output.

The Cree emitter does appear to be an XP-E, but I haven't unscrewed the head to have a look at the circuitry or the heat sink.

As mentioned above, I have doubts on the output range of 120m mentioned on the packaging. I haven't tested this out as yet, but I am dubious, as even better quality, higher output 2AA torches like the Fenix LD22 (215 lumens and 113 metre range) or the Fenix E25 (187 lumens 156 metre range) or the Nitecore Sens 2AA (170lumens 100metre range). These Fenix and Nitecore torches also have more modes, and higher waterproof ratings, but are around 3-4 times more expensive.

Note that this torch does not accept rechargeable 14500 lithium batteries, but will accept non-rechargeable 1.5V lithium batteries.

Overall, this is an ok torch, especially considering Aldi's 3 year warranty - so save your receipt! I would say it should be worth around the $10 mark when compared with other Chinese made Cree LEDs.
Still, it's better than the overpriced Maglite Mini or Ledlenser torches you can buy at hardware stores, but not as good as 2xAA offerings from Fenix, Nitecore, Xtar, Sunwayman, etc.

Great review! But why do you say it is better than Maglite or LED Lenser? I’ve had a LED Lenser las me 9 years and still going strong.
Anyway, it certainly looks like a decent budget torch.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 3:09 pm

One unfortunate thing about this torch is how the square LED source is projected, a square spot light. For those with OCD, it's a hassle whilst using it. Could it have done a spherical spot?
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 4:28 pm

BushcrafterAU wrote:Great review! But why do you say it is better than Maglite or LED Lenser? I’ve had a LED Lenser las me 9 years and still going strong.

When I posted that back in 2015, I really meant it mainly in terms of price - in the preceding sentence I mentioned I felt it should be worth around $10 when compared with torches directly from Chinese manufacturers.

I also had an AA Led Lenser from way back, but I think I paid close to $100, maybe 8 or 9 years ago? So mine was about 6x the Aldi torch price. I have a few other issues with Led Lenser torches (direct drive only, state they couldn't use NiMH, splashproof only etc, could not tail stand), but note that their warranty is also pretty good.

And I have also had various AA Maglites, from the older non-LED variety to trying out an LED drop-in module, to one of the newer LED types. But they were significantly more expensive than $15 - even the LED drop-in module to replace the non-LED variety was significantly more expensive than a new Aldi torch.

GPSGuided wrote:One unfortunate thing about this torch is how the square LED source is projected, a square spot light. For those with OCD, it's a hassle whilst using it. Could it have done a spherical spot?


That is interesting. So the 2018 model also changes the lens - both my 2015 and 2016 model show a nice circular when zoomed in (see my pic from 2015 above), rather than the shape of the LED emitter. Or it might be a more powerful LED emitter and they didn't adjust the lens distance from the emitter.
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 7:28 pm

keithy wrote:That is interesting. So the 2018 model also changes the lens - both my 2015 and 2016 model show a nice circular when zoomed in (see my pic from 2015 above), rather than the shape of the LED emitter. Or it might be a more powerful LED emitter and they didn't adjust the lens distance from the emitter.

Yes, when I max zoom, the square emitter shape is clearly visible, more obvious than the photo below which has rounded the corners. No problem when lens pulled back for maximum light spread.

Image
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby keithy » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 8:49 pm

GPSGuided wrote:Yes, when I max zoom, the square emitter shape is clearly visible, more obvious than the photo below which has rounded the corners. No problem when lens pulled back for maximum light spread.


Ah, I see. Well... scratch my comments from earlier. I went and grabbed the 2016 out of the car where it lives now, and had a looksee.

The 2016 5W model does indeed have a more squareish output at full zoom, compared with the nice circular output from the 2015 3W model. My memory was playing tricks on me.

I also thought you meant that you could see the emitter shape like in this pic comparing the full zoom with a cheap $5 Chinese zoom torch. That one is really annoying when zoomed at full.

IMG_20180627_203416_wm (Medium).jpg
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 27 Jun, 2018 10:07 pm

Well, maybe not that square as the one on the right but I felt it was square enough to irritate. Have never had such a spot pattern in the past. OCP at fault...
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Re: Aldi $14.99 2 x AA "LED Trekking Torch" Review

Postby BushcrafterAU » Fri 06 Jul, 2018 10:23 am

keithy wrote:
BushcrafterAU wrote:Great review! But why do you say it is better than Maglite or LED Lenser? I’ve had a LED Lenser las me 9 years and still going strong.

When I posted that back in 2015, I really meant it mainly in terms of price - in the preceding sentence I mentioned I felt it should be worth around $10 when compared with torches directly from Chinese manufacturers.

I also had an AA Led Lenser from way back, but I think I paid close to $100, maybe 8 or 9 years ago? So mine was about 6x the Aldi torch price. I have a few other issues with Led Lenser torches (direct drive only, state they couldn't use NiMH, splashproof only etc, could not tail stand), but note that their warranty is also pretty good.

And I have also had various AA Maglites, from the older non-LED variety to trying out an LED drop-in module, to one of the newer LED types. But they were significantly more expensive than $15 - even the LED drop-in module to replace the non-LED variety was significantly more expensive than a new Aldi torch.

GPSGuided wrote:One unfortunate thing about this torch is how the square LED source is projected, a square spot light. For those with OCD, it's a hassle whilst using it. Could it have done a spherical spot?


That is interesting. So the 2018 model also changes the lens - both my 2015 and 2016 model show a nice circular when zoomed in (see my pic from 2015 above), rather than the shape of the LED emitter. Or it might be a more powerful LED emitter and they didn't adjust the lens distance from the emitter.

Fair enough. I’ve run all my LED Lensers with NiMH and they have worked fine. In fact, Candle Power Forums recommends it as it fixes the direct drive issue.
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