A flashlight is a practical device that can help you in a lot of situations. It can be used in the event that the electricity goes out in your home or it can be used along the side of the road if your car breaks down. It is also a good tool to have with you when you go camping, fishing or hiking before dawn or after dusk to help you light the path that you are walking on so that you do not trip and fall.
There are a number of flashlights that you can purchase and not all of them offer the same experience, which is why we have created this guide to help you find the best flashlight for your needs. Before we start with the reviews, let’s take a look at some of the features and functionality that you may want your flashlight to have.
Best Tactical Flashlight
Tactical flashlights are devices that are used by the “average Joe”, but they are also used by the police, firemen, and people who have military careers. These flashlights can be used to help you see in the dark, find items, and they can even be used for self-defense. If you are looking for one of the best tactical flashlights on the market, then the Streamlight 88040 ProTac Tactical Flashlight a great option for you.
First, it is a lightweight device that actually weights less than half of a pound, so you will never be over-encumbered when you carry it. The flashlight is slightly over five inches in length, so you can easily carry it in your bag or even your pocket without noticing it. The flashlight is only about one and a half inches in diameter, so it is also very easy to grasp, even if you have short fingers.
The tube of the unit is crafted from durable aluminum that is designed to withstand the wear and tear of daily use. It is also coated with an anti-corrosion coating to help prevent the device from rusting in inclement weather. In addition, the flashlight is designed to be water resistant so that rain water does not splash into it.
The lens is crafted to be durable as well; in fact, it is designed to maintain clear illumination in all weather, including rain and fog. In addition, the flashlight is designed with anti-roll features, so when you sit it on the table art your campsite for the night, you can be sure that it will be there in the morning. This protective feature helps to ensure that the flashlight does not take unnecessary fall damage, though it can fall from a distance of one meter without being damaged.
The ProTac is a flashlight that is designed with LED technology. It offers some of the brightest light that you can find on the market when it is set to the brightest mode. The device is rated at 600 lumens, but at the brightest setting, it can reach up to 750. This flashlight has three different modes, which are low, medium, and high. There is also a strobe feature that you can utilize as well. To switch between them, all you need to do press the button on the tail of the unit.
At high, the flashlight shines about 270 meters into the distance, but it will only maintain the light intensity for about 1.25 hours. At the low setting, which is only 35 lumens, it will beam 60 meters into the distance for 18 hours straight.
- Changing modes on this device is quick and easy to do.
- The LED beam that this flashlight provides is a wide beam that is able to penetrate through the darkness with ease.
- The small design of this flashlight makes it very ergonomic to hold for long periods of time.
- The Flashlight only operates with lithium-ion batteries, which can be a bit pricey.
- You have to pass the strobe feature to get to low, which can be annoying for some.
- If the flashlight is left on high for extended periods of time, it starts to get a little warm to the touch.
Best LED Flashlight
As you most likely know, LED flashlights are becoming more popular. They offer a brighter beam and the bulbs tend to last a lot longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. If you still have an older flashlight, and you are looking to purchase a new LED model, then the Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight is a great option for you to invest in.
Let’s start out with the aesthetics of this flashlight. Typically, the design is not the most important thing to consider, but it’s something to consider with this flashlight, especially since you can choose from six stylish options. You can select from black, gray, silver, red, blue, and camo.
Now, let’s move on to the important features of the product. It has a durable build that is constructed with a high strength aluminum alloy that is virtually indestructible. It has been coated inside and out with a material that protects the device from water and fall damage. With all of this protection, the flashlight still manages to weight merely a pound, which makes it barely noticeable in your backpack. In addition, the flashlight is designed with a Diamond Knurl design that makes it easy to grip so that you do not accidentally drop it during your travels.
The LED beam that this flashlight provides is more than adequate for most indoor and outdoor needs. It offers a beam of 168 lumens at a distance of up to 412 meters, which shines brighter and longer than many of the flashlights on the market. This flashlight can provide a solid beam of light for a period of 80 hours without any issue. It is also designed to change from a spotlight to a floodlight with ease. If you need to switch the type of beam, then simply rotate the head of the device to adjust it to your needs.
- This flashlight gives you the option to focus the beam instead of only having the halo effect, which makes it a more versatile flashlight.
- It is a very durable design that will not break, even if the unit is mistreated.
- The flashlight is very bright; in fact, it is so bright that you will want to avoid shining it in someone’s face by mistake.
- The flashlight can easily roll off of a surface.
- The power switch is not quite as durable as the rest of the flashlight; in fact, during our tests, the switch became a bit harder to use after several uses.
Best Small Flashlight
Sometimes having a small flashlight is more convenient to keep in your car for emergencies or to simply have in your backpack for long hikes in the woods. If you are looking for a compact unit that is lightweight and easy to carry, then the UC30 Fenix Flashlight is perfect for you. It features a long narrow design that is less than six inches in length and merely one inch long. To top it off, the unit only weighs about 5.5 ounces, which means that it will not add much weight to your bag.
This flashlight is made from aircraft- grade aluminum that is designed to be durable and able to endure impact from the distance of one meter. The exterior is designed with an anti-roll design that makes sure that it does not roll unexpectedly. It also has a slip resistant design so that you do not easily lose your grip. It is also designed as a waterproof device that can be submerged in two meters of water.
The lens on this flashlight is protected with an anti-reflective coating so that the light can shine brightly through the glass, which is also designed to be ultra clear. The head of the flashlight also contains a USB charging system that is great for an on-the-go flashlight. All you need to charge the flashlight is a micro-USB cable that you can plug into, then simply press the button on the back end of the flashlight to activate the charger.
There is a switch on the side of the device that allows you to switch between modes. There are five different options that you can choose from when you use the flashlight. The lowest mode is called eco, and it puts out a semi-dim light that is only 14 lumens. At this setting, the flashlight will last for 150 hours of use. The next setting is low, which outputs 50 lumens for a period of 38 hours. Medium is slightly brighter at 180 lumens, and it can last for a little longer than nine hours of time.
The high setting ramps up the brightness to 480 lumens, but the run time also plummets to less than three hours of time. The brightest setting is turbo, which offers 960 lumens for about an hour and a half. All of the modes can illuminate up to a distance of 200 meters, there is also a strobe option that you can access by pressing the selector button and holding it down for a second.
- The flashlight comes with a wall and a car charger, so it is great as a travel flashlight.
- The mode select button is conveniently located on the side of the device for easy access.
- This flashlight offers a huge range of light options that makes it a versatile unit that is great for most situations.
- This flashlight tends to get very hot when the turbo mode is in use.
- The holster that comes with the flashlight is not as durable as it could be.
Brightest/Most Powerful Flashlight
If you are looking for a flashlight hat you can use in emergencies, then you want something that is bright. A powerful flashlight will be able to handle most of the lighting needs that you have, and the new Fenix TK35 Ultimate Edition is a flashlight that stands above the rest in this category. Because of the brightness that this device offers, it is great for casual walks in the woods, but it can also be a great tool for official emergency personnel to use as well.
We were surprised at the level of light output that this small, compact flashlight could put forth, but since you do not want blinding light all the time, there are several other modes that you can use. Eco mode is a low light option that only provides a 20 lumen light source. Low gives you 120 lumens, medium provides 380 lumens, and high is capable of 1,050 lumens.
If you are looking for the brightest light, check out the turbo setting because it provides almost double the amount of light that high provides. At 2,000 lumens, you will be able to see in the dark as though it were the day. There is also a strobe function and an SOS mode that you can make use of as well. Amazingly, the flashlight also can send the light a distance of 1,050 feet. The beam itself is a 75-degree wide angle beam, which means that it is great for covering your area and anything ahead of you, but it will not penetrate deep into the distance.
The aesthetic design of the unit is very pleasing to the eye. It is constructed from a very durable anodized aluminum that was coated with an anti-abrasive finish. The tail of the device has two switches that are used to turn the flashlight on and off easily with one hand. You can also switch between modes with ease using these switches. This flashlight comes with four rechargeable batteries that have been tested to be recharged over 1,000 times. This means that you can expect the flashlight to light your path for years to come.
- It features a compact design that is lightweight and easy to carry.
- It is designed as a waterproof device that is able to be submerged under two meters of water for a period of 30 minutes.
- The flashlight offers seven modes of brightness that make its performance one of the most powerful on the market.
- It can be difficult to remove the flashlight from the holster that comes in the packaging.
- The batteries can be a bit expensive, but they are rechargeable, so you will not need to purchase them often.
- The initial cost of the flashlight is a bit much, but it is a device that will last for a long time.
Best Rechargeable Flashlight
One of the aspects that make new flashlights more valuable than older variations is the fact that many of them are designed to use rechargeable batteries. If you are looking for a rechargeable flashlight, the Solaray Pro ZX-1 is a great option for you to consider. It is designed with a powerful strobe light that can help you in emergencies, and if you find yourself under attack, the unit is also designed with a striking bezel that you can use for self-defense.
The flashlight is crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum that is durable enough to last for years of use. In fact, it is also designed to be shock resistant as well as water resistant, so that you can be sure that your flashlight will be safe from mishap. It is also a very lightweight flashlight that is actually only about one-third of a pound.
This flashlight also offers a good bit of illumination. It comes with a total of five different modes that you can select from. There is a low, medium, and high mode that gives you a brightness of up to 1,200 lumens. The bulb is LED, so it will offer even more brightness than traditional incandescent flashlights. It also has a strobe option and an SOS mode that can send out emergency signals. In addition, this beam of light can be adjusted to your needs, so whether you need a wide beam or one that can reach into the distance, because of the zoom lens on this unit, both options are available.
One of the features that make this flashlight one of the best on the market is that it features a two battery system that allows you to choose which option you prefer. You can either select a lithium ion battery or AAA batteries. The lithium ion batteries fit directly into the device, while the AAA batteries are designed to fit inside of a battery pack so that they can easily be recharged at the same time. Two lithium batteries are included with the purchase of this flashlight. The batteries can be recharged up to 500 times, which means that you will be using this flashlight for a long time.
- It has a very durable construction that can take a fall from a meter or so without taking damage.
- This flashlight is capable of flooding the area with light or penetrating into the darkness with ease, which makes it a versatile option to have.
- Since this is a compact flashlight, it comes with a wrist strap that makes it more convenient to carry.
- The flashlight does not lose its brightness as the battery dies.
- The zoom lens does not lock in place, so you may find it switching modes when you simply bump the flashlight.
- There is no easy way to recharge the batteries without removing them.
Best Pocket Flashlight
As we discussed earlier in this guide, having a small flashlight can be advantageous. If you like a compact design, nothing is more suitable to carry with you wherever you go than a pocket flashlight. Many of the flashlights that we have reviewed are small in size, but the other best pocket-sized option is the OxyLED MD50 Flashlight. It is only slightly over five inches in length, 1.5 inches in diameter, and it weighs just over six ounces.
Let’s start with the power of the light itself. Since this is a smaller model, we are not looking for the brightest flashlight available, but it does offer quite a bit of illumination. In fact, when the device is used on high, it produces a 500-lumen beam. There is also a low and medium setting that you can use when you do not need such a bright light source. This flashlight also has a strobe feature as well as an SOS alert that you can make use of when needed.
The flashlight is also fitted with a zoom enabled head, which means that the beam can be switched from a wide area to a narrower beam of light when needed. This flashlight was also designed with longevity in mind, so the LED lights are able to stay lit for a period of 50,000 continuous hours.
Insofar as durability, the flashlight is made of high-quality aluminum; in fact, it is aircraft grade like many of the models on our list. The device is also coated with a hard anodized coating that adds an extra layer of protection to the flashlight. The lens is also coated with an anti-reflective coating. The flashlight is waterproof, which means that the interior parts will never corrode. The device can be in heavy rain but it should not be outright submerged in a pool of water for any length of time.
As with our last review, this model also has a dual battery option that makes it more versatile for travel. It can use a lithium-ion battery, which is included in the packaging when you purchase this flashlight, or if you prefer, three AAA batteries can be used instead. These batteries can all be recharged in the included charger, so you will not have to worry about purchasing new batteries for a while.
- This flashlight can take falls from a carrying height like a pro.
- The tail switch makes it easy to turn on the flashlight or change modes on the go.
- The dual battery option means that you will always have a backup without needing to recharge the batteries.
- The focus pattern on this flashlight is not round like most flashlights; in fact, it is square, which can be off-putting to some.
- There is nothing on the flashlight to keep it from rolling when it is placed on a table top.
- The recharge time seems a bit slow.
Best Cheap Flashlight
Not everyone wants to spend a ton of money on a new high-end flashlight, so there are cheaper options on the market. Cheap does not always mean low quality, so we have selected a more budget-friendly option that has a lot of the stats that you want in a flashlight. If you are on a budget, the Dorcy 41-2510 is a great option for you to consider.
This flashlight is designed with LED technology that makes the bulb inside the device brighter and longer living. The face is actually designed with four LED bulbs so that you get a wider beam of light. There is only one setting, so it is not as versatile as some of the options on our list, but it does provide a light beam of 55 lumens at a distance of over 30 meters. In addition, this flashlight is designed to be waterproof, which is similar to many of the flashlights on this list but this device is different because it is also capable of floating. This feature makes it a great option for fishing, hiking, and camping, especially since you are likely to be outdoors after dusk.
It is also designed with durability in mind; the flashlight is constructed with a thick rubber lining on the exterior of the bezel that makes it shockproof and protects it from falls. The rubber around the body of the flashlight also makes it easy to hold and less likely to roll off of a flat surface. In addition, there is also a built-in carabineer clip that makes it more convenient to carry the flashlight, which is convenient since this is not the smallest option on the list.
This Dorcy flashlight is 6.5 inches long and it has a 2.5-inch diameter. It also only weighs about 0.28 pounds, so it will not be noticed in your pack. Insofar as batteries, this unit runs on three AA batteries, which means that their longevity is shorter, at nearly nine hours, but they are easy to carry and cheap to replace.
One of the features that makes this flashlight stand out is the array of color options that you can purchase. The rubber comes in blue, pink, purple, neon green, and yellow so you can choose one that fits your style for your next camping trip.
- The AA batteries that are required are easy to come by and easy to change.
- This flashlight floats on water, which means that it should be harder for it to take on water.
- The durability of this flashlight is amazing; in our tests, it was even dropped onto concrete without being damaged.
- If you are using it as a spotlight in your car, be aware that it may flicker when you drive over a bump in the road.
- The bulkiness of the flashlight makes it a bit difficult to handle, especially if you have smaller hands.
Best Flashlight for the Money
Sometimes when you are purchasing something new, you simply want a good value. The more features that you can get for your money, the more ideal the product seems to you. If you are looking for the best flashlight for your money, then the J5 Tactical V1 Pro Flashlight is a great option for you to consider. It is a durable flashlight that is impact resistant and waterproof, which gives it a longer lifespan.
This is a palm-sized flashlight that is designed to be easy to carry; in fact, it can easily fit into your pocket. It operates at 600 lumens on high at a distance of 600 feet, which is quite impressive considering the size of this device. If that brightness is too much, then there is also a lower setting that you can utilize as well as a strobe mode. There is also an adjustable focus that allows you to change the intensity of the beam of light being displayed. You can choose a wider beam or one that reaches far into the distance.
The flashlight is designed to run on a single AA battery, which means that you can easily purchase more when needed. The battery will last for a few weeks when you use it on a daily basis. The unit also comes with a clip on the flashlight for your convenience. In addition, it is available in a number of creative colors such as black, hunter orange, blue aqua, desert camo, and forest camo.
- It is a great every day carry flashlight that is perfect for most situations.
- It is made from a durable aluminum material that will stand up to daily wear and tear.
- This flashlight is very comfortable in your grip, making it easy to use as well.
- The clip on the flashlight is small and difficult to use.
- The battery does not last that long, and it is not designed to be rechargeable.
What to Look for in a Flashlight
Amount of Light Output
One of the most important considerations for purchasing a flashlight is the light output that it provides. If you purchase a flashlight with low lumens, then the light it produces will be less intense, making it harder to see in the dark. Light output for a flashlight can range from 20 lumens to 3,500, so when you make a selection, make sure that it has the brightness that you require.
For camping, a flashlight should range from 35 to 60 lumens, but for other uses, you may need more or less output. If you are looking for a multi-purpose flashlight, then look for one with around 100 lumens.
Type of Bulb
Most of the flashlights on the market today use LED light bulb technology. They offer a more energy efficient way of producing light that is brighter and lasts longer. There are still incandescent bulb options available, but they are becoming the less popular option.
Distance of the Beam of Light
The distance that you can see into the darkness is important as well. A flashlight is not useful for hiking in the dark woods when you can only see a few feet in front of you. The beam distance refers to the number of meters from the flashlight to the point where the light is equivalent to that of a full moon. The distance will vary based on the specific flashlight and the brightness mode that you have selected.
Type of Beam
When you are looking for a flashlight, the type of beam that it offers is of great importance as well. The type of beam that you are looking for will vary based on the reason that you are purchasing the flashlight. You can get a fixed beam that features a single width. This type typically offers a wider beam that is bright closer to you, but the beam does not extend far into the distance.
You can also purchase a more focused beam that offers a narrower beam that illuminates far into the distance. Some flashlights offer both beam types, which is the best option for someone who is looking for a multi-purpose flashlight.
Type of Battery and Run Time
The type of battery that a flashlight requires is going to play a part in whether you purchase it or not. No one wants to have a flashlight that requires expensive batteries, so you need to choose an option that works for you. Disposable batteries are a good option if you have a flashlight that requires AAA or AA batteries, but anything other than that can be annoying to carry.
Rechargeable batteries are a great option for a flashlight that you use frequently. It may have a larger initial investment, but no replacement cost makes up for it. Lithium ion batteries are not typically recommended unless the manufacturer specifically states to use this type of battery.
No matter which type of battery that you settle on, make sure that it provides sufficient run time for the flashlight. You should shoot for something that will remain at full illumination for one to two hours.
Modes and Controls
Some flashlights only have one light setting, while others offer low, medium, and high to give you more control over the light that the flashlight puts out. Honestly, it will be rare that you will use the additional settings, but having them can be nice. Some units also have additional modes that make them even more versatile, like an SOS mode or a strobe setting. The brighter the mode that you select to use, the quicker the life of the battery will go, so choose your modes wisely.
Not all flashlights turn on the same way. Some have push buttons, some have sliders, and some have twisting bezels. If you are using the flashlight for typical household or camping uses, the controls will not matter that much, but if you need light in a hurry, something that is simple to turn on will be preferred.
Durability and Resistances
Flashlights can be made out of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel. Obviously, a metal option offers more durability, but if you are careful with a plastic design it will last just as long. Most of the flashlights that have stainless steel heads are impact resistant, so an accidental drop on the patio will not destroy the device. Some flashlights are also rated for water resistance so that when you are out in the wilderness, you can still use the flashlight in the rain. Check the IPX rating of the flashlight to see if it is just splash resistant or whether it can hold up to a few hours being submerged.
Size, Weight, and Shape
Flashlights come in different sizes and shapes, so make sure that you find a design that you can grip comfortably. There is not a specific design or size to aim for, you simply want to purchase something that is light enough for you to carry and easy to maneuver.
All of the flashlights in our review are top of the line options, but each one is designed for a different task. Why do you need your flashlight? Is it a backup for emergencies, a tactical accessory, or a tool that you keep in your camper? Hopefully one of the flashlights that we reviewed in this guide is the perfect fit for you, but if you are looking for something different, reconsider our pre-purchase considerations before making a purchase.