So you want to find out what the best EDC flashlight is in 2020? A flashlight is an essential piece of kit for your everyday carry collection. There are a lot of reasons an EDC enthusiast would require a light and we’ll cover them throughout this blog while helping you choose the perfect light for your requirements.
The EDC and survivalist community know the necessity of having a fully functional everyday carry loadout. They know how important a good quality flashlight is and will pay 4 – 5 times that of a normal flashlight.
There is a tonne of junk on the market so we have written an in-depth guide on buying an EDC Flashlight below. We have also chosen the best edc flashlights, the best pocket flashlights and the best flashlight for the money!
Remember, this will be the most used tool in your collection so buy carefully!
What makes an EDC light useful?
A tactical light can be used for many life saving situations. It could be your being chased by an attacker and need to disorientate him. There could be a power outage at work. You could be trapped in an elevator or need to fix the car in darkness.
Top 15 Best EDC Flashlights
We’ve created this list to help you filter through all of the different models available to buy online. This list starts with the best EDC flashlight but then proceeds to list other flashlights that can come in useful for specific situations. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Best EDC Flashlight for the Money
- Most durable EDC Flashlight
- Brightest EDC flashlight
- Longest Lasting EDC Flashlight
- Best 18650 EDC Flashlight
1. TC1200 Pro Tactical Flashlight
The TC1200 Pro Tactical Flashlight has made it to number one on the list because of its impressive power and durability while being an extremely affordable EDC flashlight too.
Now if you know me from my other blogs, you’ll know I love to shop around and test all kinds of lights/models.
This one caught my attention by the pretty bold marketing claims it makes.
While it’s marketed as being a tactical flashlight, it’s small enough to fit into your pocket so its a good contender for this list.
Let’s take a look at the impressive unique selling points of this lightweight edc flashlight.
1 Tac has claimed that this flashlight has survived a 111k drop from space and still functioned on landing.
I won’t lie, I called bullsh*t on this claim as soon as I read it. However, I have watched the video and they really did put the TC1200 through this extreme test.
They have also boiled and submerged the light in freezing cold temperatures.
So I went and read any reviews I could find online which led me to purchase the light myself and testing it!
It comes in a nice case that has a foam insert. Everythings very neatly placed inside.
This is 1200 lumen light and I can confirm it is bright. Now I’m not going to any crazy lengths to test this (i.e dropping it from outer space). But I can confirm the manufacturers have done a good job with the construction of the TC1200.
At this point I’m starting to really like the TC1200 Pro Tactical flashlight, it sits snugly in my pocket and produces a really strong beam.
There are 5 modes to choose from and it can be powered by 3 AAA batteries or 1 Li-ion rechargeable battery.
2. Fenix PD25
This super-compact light is the perfect fit for your everyday carry collection. I don’t have too many negatives with this light at all really. The pocket clip is nice and thick and will last you a while. The overall construction of the light is fairly solid, it’s pretty obvious the light is manufactured from a good brand.
In terms of brightness, there are four options for you to choose from. These are:
- Turbo: 400 Lumens (which gives you a battery life of 1 hr 10 min.)
- High: 150 Lumens (which gives you a battery life of 15 min.)
- Mid: 50 Lumens (which gives you a battery life of 9 hrs 5 min)
- Low: 5 Lumens (which gives you a battery life of 100 hrs)
Now the above specifications are with a CR123A but if you use a 16340 rechargeable battery you will get a longer battery life and higher power output.
This is a very bright light but these different settings allow us to tailor the light to our environment/need. It would be a bit mental to use the 400-lumen setting when trying to light up the front door so that unlocking it is easier.
You’ll be glad to know that the light is built-in a waterproof housing that is capable of keeping the light safe underwater to a maximum depth of 2 meters. Not much, but still decent. It’s also impact resistant to 1 meter.
This light is very similar to its big brother the TAC PD35 but smaller! It could fit in your pocket with ease. In fact, even when wearing slim clothing, this thing won’t bother you or even be noticeable when placed in your pocket.
It may seem a little bit on the expensive side but you’re getting what you pay for and that’s a great compact little light that has a lot of power and durability behind it.
There are no tactical mounts other than a small clip. So you cannot attach this to a rifle or a pistol. It is however a good little light to use when utilizing the Harries handgun shooting technique.
3. Olight S2
The Olight S2 is another well-designed premium light! Olight has worked up a bit of a reputation in the light industry for producing highly robust and perfectly crafted lights.
Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand this light is pretty small. Don’t let that fool you though as it still packs a tonne of power behind it.
The main push button allows you to switch between four modes. These are 950 lumens, 400 lumens, 80 lumens and 10 lumens. There is also a strobe effect and a 5 lumen option.
The machining is very clean and the anodizing is amazing. The tube styled light features a very crisp looking logo. The small square cut texturing on the body helps improve your grip significantly. The light is really small so you’ll need the help.
Let’s talk about the user interface now. The main push button allows you to cycle through the different modes in ascending order. It goes Low > Mid > High > turbo. As soon as you release the push button it will select that mode.
This light also features a tough and well-designed build with waterproof housing. It has an aluminum body with anti-scratch type-III hard anodizing.
The light uses a standard 18650 battery. You could also use 2 CR123 batteries.
There are hundreds of other high rated reviews on the Olight online. Use the link below to find out what customers are saying on Amazon.
4. E2D LED Defender Ultra
Let’s check out the Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra now. The SureFire Defender line has been around for more than a decade. Surefire have refined this model significantly throughout the years.
The E2D LED Defender Ultra is one of the most powerful lights on this list. At 8 inches long the Surefire E2D sits pretty snug in the palm of your hand. It is much bigger compared to the previous lights on this list.
After a few months of using this light, I found a LOT of things I liked and only a couple of things that I didn’t.
The lights housing is designed so that holding the body of the light is more comfortable.
Living up to its name, at the bottom of the light you’ll find a crenelated striking bezel which can come in handy if you ever need to strike someone or something with the light.
The textured grip sits really well in your hand and prevents slip.
Now let’s chat about output. So the lowest setting on the E2D Defender offers a muted 5 lumens worth of light. The next setting up however is 1,000 lumens and offers some serious power. Seriously this light cuts through the darkness with ease and will illuminate anything you point it towards.
This beam’s power is immense but I’m a big fan of the light distribution. You get a solid, clear and versatile beam from this light.
The issue is, this light is too bright to use indoors. The sheer power will overload a room for example and you’ll find yourself getting partially blinded by the light bouncing off of everything shiny and reflective. It’s too much power for anything close up.
This is where the 5 lumen low setting mode comes in handy. Here’s my issue though, 5 lumens just isn’t enough. It’s one extreme or the other with this light it seems.
5. EdisonBright Fenix PD25 550 Lumen CREE XP-L V5 LED
The EdisonBright Fenix PD25 flashlight offers just over half of the amount of lumens as the E2D LED Defender Ultra. This doesn’t make it any better or worse though. It could just be more suited towards your needs.
The biggest and best feature of this light is its lifespan. This model was built for longevity and will offer you up to 50,000 hours of lifespan. This is music to some preppers’ ears!
The tactical design comes with a rechargeable CR123A battery too. It has a cool feature that ensures the output of the device is regulated so that you’re getting a consistent brightness when its being used.
550 lumens is enough to illuminate fairly large spaces. I personally prefer something that can offer 800 lumens + but 550 lumens is sufficient.
The build quality is great too.
6. J5 Tactical V1-PRO
I quite like the J5 tactical light. It offers 300 lumens which are enough to light up two football fields.
It’s significantly less than my normal preference of 800 lumens + but that’s not to say the J5 tactical doesn’t have its place.
7. Slughaus Bull3t Micro Flashlight
The Bull3t Micro flashlight first appeared on Kickstarter back in 2015. The guys at Slughaus had an idea of producing a flashlight inside a 9mm shell.
No bigger than a typical house key, his compact micro flashlight looks awesome.
But all that was accomplished in the generation 1 model that came out in 2015. We’re on Generation 3 now, yep, they came back in 2019 with the idea for generation 3! They wanted to produce a tiny bullet shaped flashlight that could produce 100 lumens!
But they didn’t stop there. They wanted this flashlight to be Fireproof, Waterproof AND CARPROOF! Yes you could literally run this little flashlight over with a car and it would still function perfectly.
So I’m extremely happy with my decision to buy the Slughouse Bull3t and it proves there’s reason to shop around rather than buying the heavily marketed models from well known brands all the time.
8. Streamlight Microstream 66604
Streamlight is a well-known flashlight brand who have a reputation for producing high-quality flashlights. I’m personally a big fan as I’ve had many Streamlight flashlights and have only positive things to say really!
With this 66604 Flashlight I was expecting it to be more powerful than it was. It produces a 250-lumen beam that can reach a distance of 68m on the high setting. This setting has a runtime of 1.5 hours on this mode.
So if you’re needing something that isn’t really bright but small enough to fit in your purse, this is it.
There are two varieties with this model, you can either choose a AAA alkaline power or USB rechargeable variety.
The two direction pocket clip is very useful too. I have seen guys clip it onto the front of their cap. It’s a nice light at just under 4 inches in length.
9. Mecarmy Illuminex-3s Keychain
This tiny EDC flashlight has quite a stylish outer body. It’s very lightweight and is about 1.7 inches in length. Produced with copper or brass it has a feminane tone to it. It is waterproof with an IPX rating of 8 and it can produce between 8-130 lumens!
However the main unique selling point has to be the lights ability to be charged by USB. It is the smallest rechargeable flashlight on the market.
10. TEC Accessories Pixel Keychain
This Pixel Keychain is extremely small. It weighs a whopping 0.3 ounces with the battery included. It’s water-resistant and the square design helps prevent rolling which should help you drop it less. The construction of the body is good, they have used durable titanium.
How to Buy An EDC Flashlight
Lets take a look at some of the important features you have to consider when buying an EDC flashlight.
Is your EDC Flashlight Survival Ready?
Sure you can use these EDC flashlights for common activities that require some extra light to accomplish. I.e looking under the hood of your car in the darkness or trying to find something in the loft / basement. However, most people buy these flashlights so that if an emergency ever occurred they were fully equipped with the right tools to deal with it.
Proper lighting could be the difference between life or death. Seriously, imagine if there was a natural disaster or a major storm.
Survival EDC Flashlights often have different filters that can really help you deal with the environment or task you are faced with. For example, red filters will strengthen your visibility in the dark.
Blue filters will help you read maps much better during night time too.
Green filters are used by hunters when it’s dark because white light will spook game and green enhances your visibility because of the way the human eye perceives green light.
This story gave me goosebumps when reading it and I know it’s not exactly the same as an EDC flashlight but it just shows you what could happen and you never know what situation you will end up in.
During the aftermath of hurricane Katrina Industrial flashlights were used to illuminate a surgeon’s table so that he could deliver a baby by C-section. The mother could not be airlifted out because of high winds so the doctors and nurses of Keesler Airforce Base improvised.
To make matters worse the medical center’s basement flooded and the generators were dead. So the team used flashlights to ensure there was adequate lighting. Amazing!
I have read a number of stories over the years of hikers or from users in car accidents utilizing flashlights to minimize their exposure to danger.
How Many Lumens should my flashlight have?
Think of lumens as a way of knowing how bright a light is. Lumens = Light output. Basically it’s how bright your survival flashlight is. The more lumens flashlight has the stronger and brighter the beam will be.
How many lumens do I need? Well this is an important aspect to consider when choosing your flashlight. If your flashlight can produce enough light to light up the garden at night is it worth your money? No, absolutely not. You’re buying an EDC flashlight so that your fully prepared for any situation that your presented with, right?
That could mean dealing with power cuts or simply finding something in a dark basement / loft.
Ideally you’ll want a light that has multiple options. A low light output that maybe offers anything between 5 and 10 lumens. This is great for very simple every day tasks that require a little bit of light, i.e unlocking the front door or finding your keys that have fallen below your car seat at night.
Another setting that offers between 35 to 100 lumens would be ideal for lighting up your garden or a small outdoor setting.
100 lumens + lights are normally carried by the police, security guards and firemen.
However ideally you’re wanting a light that is capable of producing 800-1000+ lumens because if disaster ever strikes you’re never going to regret having a high quality source of light.
Some survival lights go up to a whopping 18000 lumens!
You do not want to be looking at any light that isn’t an LED! LED lights beat the old incandescent lights all day long in terms of efficiency and output.
EDC flashlights tend to use CR2, CR123A, Tripple A or AA batteries. Some of the smaller ones will use the kind of batteries that you’ll find in watches.
I personally like the standard AA-based flashlights because AA batteries have been around for years and it’s very easy to acquire them. They are also very reliable.
I do like the other CR123A or 18650 style batteries too but I will only use these in an emergency.
Size is very important! Generally, you will be looking for something small and compact as you’ll be lugging this around every day but how small is too small?
Are the keychain latched flashlights any good? Is a pen-shaped flashlight strong enough? Or am I looking for something that can fit in my pocket?
Honestly, you’ll be surprised to see the number of different shapes and sizes that are on the market. You’ll be even more surprised to see the little light that’s no bigger than a pen produce a light you would have thought only an industrial lamp was capable of producing.
When it comes to EDC survival flashlights you’ll be glad to know that they’re categorised into 4 different categories. These are:
- Micro – < 2 inches
- Mini – < 3 inches
- Small – < 4 inches
- Medium – 4 to 6 inches
This is a personal decision that you have to make but asd a general rule just remember that smaller = more portable but less illumination.
You need a flashlight that can be put through the wars. Your going to drop this light, there’s no doubt about it. It can’t be as fragile as an Iphone. So make sure the light you’re looking at has passed the ANSI FL1 standards.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association put together a Flashlight standards committee to help test and keep the industry in line. Before these standards were created there was no real way of comparing flashlights to one and another.
They created this committee with members from Surefire, Streamlight, Duracell, Princeton, Petzl and more.
Shock resistance is really important for any survival equipment really. Its going to take a beating.
Being outside a lot means you’ll experience a lot of weather conditions. Your flashlight has to be able to get wet and still function. For example if a storm comes you’ll be faced with heavy rain and moisture. If
Most lights come with a waterproof rating or at least a water-resistant rating. If you cannot find one then move on and look at another light!
I recommend anything with an IPX 8 or below.
Body Construction Material
Remember I said it was to be shock resistant? Well the construction of the body is extremely important. Your light has to be capable of sustaining a tonne of stress. So do not just rely on some rating, although thats a good indicator we highly recommend you take that information with a grain of salt.
You should consider the materials used to construct the body, is the lens scratch and shatterproof? Has the body been anodized?
Look for lights that have a type III anodized aluminium or similar material. Stainless steel or titanium are great too but will more than likely be more expensive.
So if you’re looking for a light that is small you’re going to be getting a light that is pretty lightweight too.
The weight of these lights aren’t noticeable. Still, keep your eyes pealed, carrying something around that weighs a tonne won’t be good!
We can’t have it all unfortunately but if you can find a light that has an adjustable beam you’ll be on to a winner! In survival situations you have to have the ability to be versatile. So changing from a narrow beam to a wide angled beam would be useful.
If you want all the bells and whistles you’re a true survivalist, lol! An EDC flashlight that can attach to a rail system would be useful. They should typically come with a key ring, pocket clip, lanyard loop or a carabiner clip. You don’t want to lose your light do you?
Will 1000 lumens blind you?
A flashlight with more than 100 lumens will certainly annoy an attacker. Have you ever looked into a light and then suddenly seen those little black dots in your eyes? Well it would give the same effect here. Anything under 800 lumens will not blind your attacker sufficiently. 1000 lumens would be enough to cause distress to somebody and temporarily blind them.
3 Reasons to Carry a EDC Flashlight Everyday
Allows you to identify threats
Attackers use the cover of darkness to their advantage. They are heavily put off by areas of bright light. They will instead weasel around in the darkness waiting for the optimum time to attack. A simple flash of your bright flashlight will cause them to scatter (the majority of the time). This can be enough to cause the situation to de-escalate and give you time to get to safety.
Threats do not have to be physical attackers, imagine you were in a car crash down a dark road and you need to illuminate the area or let’s say there’s an earthquake and you get trapped. It can be a useful tool to use if you need to signal for help.
Momentarily disorientate attackers
Let’s say someone is approaching you in an aggressive manner, you can shine the flashlight directly in his face. This will temporarily blind him if the light is strong enough. However it will disorientate him at the very least and give you time to run or buy you vital time.
Use it as a weapon
Some lights have a serrated or toothed bezel that makes it a really good striking / jabbing tool.
How to defend yourself with an EDC Flashlight
So like we previously mentioned, flashlights can be a really good weapon too. However there is a bit of skill that goes along with using a flashlight, its not as simple as just turning the thing on.
Let’s take an example, you are walking the dog and notice a shady character hanging around down the street behind you. It seems like he’s following you. There’s two options, turn back and go towards him or walk further into a low lit environment.
One option would be shining the full beam flashlight on the strange figure’s direction. You should then move as fast as you can another 20 feet. Every 20 foot you should turn and shine the flashlight at the strange figure. Be sure to mix up your positioning, so don’t move in a straight line. Your attacker will try and attack the initial source of light he saw and his eyes will struggle to adjust to the darkness when you’re moving. This should buy you vital time.