Easily one of the most versatile and highly reliable gadgets any outdoorsman or regular camper will need is the trusty old flashlight. With its ability to provide light in night-time situations as well as it’s to communicate using Morse with search and rescue teams – few tools offer as much versatility. But what are the best flashlights currently on the market and how can you tell whether a flashlight is right for you?
We’ve covered everything you need to know about the world of flashlights – from how to spot the ideal one for you, to a guide to the different types available on the market. So whether you are a seasoned camper who knows a lot about flashlights, or you are just looking to pick one up in case of a power cut, this is the guide for you!
Types of flashlights
Most gadgets have a wide range of different types that you can purchase, and flashlights are no different. From rechargeable batteries to smaller tactical flashlights, there are a lot of choices out there for the budding survivalist.
Read on to see a breakdown of some of the most common types of flashlights currently available on the market. Each one specializes in a certain task, so try to find the one that covers your needs the best!
One of the most common and perhaps the most familiar type of flashlight is an LED flashlight. Due to its use of LED bulbs, an LED flashlight tends to last a lot longer than most other types and has an incredibly powerful maximum output. They may not be the strongest in terms of brightness levels, but they are without a doubt the most reliable.
The only true downside to LED flashlights is that they lack the strength of some more premium options. However, they make up for this in reliability and the fact that they are easily programmed to feature a variety of lighting modes such as color rendering and a strobe mode.
Those of you seeking a reliable tried and tested flashlight should check out the many amazing LED flashlights available.
A great choice for people who don’t want to constantly purchase AA batteries and who are looking for a greener way to use a flashlight. Flashlights that use a rechargeable battery will save you a lot of money in the long run since they negate the need for AA batteries.
The one downside to this however is that if you are planning on using your flashlight outdoors, you will need to charge it up fully beforehand. Typically, you can just bring spare batteries in case your flashlights run out, but with a rechargeable battery, this isn’t the case. Many flashlights will feature a rechargeable battery mode.
If you don’t mind the need to charge your flashlight regularly and you are only planning on using it on short expeditions, then a rechargeable flashlight is a great money-saving choice.
Most commonly used by police officers and other law enforcement or military agents, a tactical flashlight is usually a small but powerful tool. Commonly, you will find that tactical options are the brightest flashlights available for purchase as they are designed for extreme scenarios. They are also surprisingly small for such powerful output, which is a great bonus for those of you seeking portability.
Due to their high-quality design, however, they also tend to be the most expensive option on the market. This means those of you on a tight budget might be better grabbing an EDC or common LED flashlights to save yourself some money.
EDC flashlights, or everyday carry lights, are designed around portability and ease of use. They are usually slightly less weight than their mainstream counterparts as they rarely feature an aluminum body. Typically, they make up for this lack of strength by featuring a lower price range than other flashlight models.
As most EDC options are crafted using plastics and rubber to provide a portable design, they lack some durability that other options feature. This may put some people off if they are after a high-end durable model. However, we would recommend giving an EDC flashlight a go as they can make camping trips and long expeditions a breeze.
Due to their mixture of portability and accessibility, EDC flashlights are an ideal choice if you are searching for a cheap everyday flashlight.
What are the benefits of carrying a flashlight?
The main benefit of a flashlight is that it can be used to help you find your way in the darkness. Whether that’s due to a power outage our outdoor camping treks during the night, a flashlight is the best portable method of lighting up an area.
You can also use your flashlight in emergencies where you may need to contact a search and rescue team using Morse code. Some flashlights have even been designed to break glass, in case you need to escape a crashed vehicle.
Flashlights are without a doubt one of the most versatile gadgets you can take with you on your camping journey. So whether you plan on staying out during the night or you just want to be prepared for any situation, consider purchasing a flashlight.
Best flashlights in 2021
1. Fenix PD35
The Fenix PD35 is a small but powerful LED flashlight that features a dual-battery design perfect for those of you who can’t decide between the two. With a maximum brightness of 1000 lumens, you may struggle to find a portable LED flashlight as powerful as this.
To round out the entire package, the Fenix PD35 comes supplied with its own battery carry case, helping you prevent losing your batteries on extended trips. If you don’t mind paying slightly more than average for an exceptional flashlight, this could be the one for you.
- Choice of rechargeable battery use or two 3V/CR123A batteries
- 1000 Lumens brightness level and long-range beam distance
- Extremely sturdy anodized aluminum body
- Slightly pricier than some other flashlights on the market
- Customer service can be lacking
The Fenix PD35 is an excellent rechargeable flashlight, with a whopping 1000 lumens maximum output. If you are after a solid gadget that will cover all your flashlight needs, you would be hard-pressed to find one quite like the Fenix PD35.
Those of you seeking a handheld but powerful offering will instantly fall in love with the ThruNite Archer 2A V3. Designed with portability in mind, the compact and lightweight model is a breeze to use and will fit inside your pocket for quick accessibility.
In terms of durability, the ThruNite Archer 2A is no slouch, with an aerospace-grade aluminum body not even the biggest of bumps will damage this gadget.
- The small handheld design doesn’t sacrifice light output power
- 5 separate light output modes such as strobe and firefly mode
- High-quality aerospace-grade aluminum body
- Sells out fast due to low price
- The smaller design means it may get lost when packing for your trip
Small doesn’t necessarily mean weak, and the Thrunite Archer 2A 3Vshows you just why. With an average output of 500 Lumens and a variety of light output settings to choose from, this is the perfect handheld light-emitting device.
If power is what you are after, then the NITECORE i4000R should be right up your street. The most powerful flashlight featured today in terms of light output and beam distance, the i4000R is bright enough for any occasion.
A choice of four brightness settings and a strobe light mode, add a layer of versatility to an already fantastic gadget. The built-in battery itself is also impressive rounding out this fantastic survival package.
- The incredible maximum light output of 4,400 lumens thanks to turbo mode
- A choice of 5 different brightness levels
- Features a USB charging method
- Slightly more expensive than some other options
- No alternative output light color settings
Although it is slightly more expensive than some other options, this tactical flashlight is ideal for any lighting level. If you are after an extremely powerful option that is still affordable, then the NITECORE i4000R should be on your wish list.
Designed with survivalist scenarios in mind, the OLIGHT M2R Pro Warrior is the tool you will want at your side. The strike bezel head has been finely crafted to offer you a self-defense mode that can break glass with ease, potentially saving your life.
In terms of light output, this bright flashlight provides incredible beam length thanks to its powerful internal bulb. Checking on the current battery output is also easy, as you will find a visual indicator on the side of this flashlight.
- Innovative battery level display on the side of the flashlight
- Two-button interface for ease of use
- Strike bezel designed for self-defense and survival situations
- First change can take a lot longer than other flashlights
- Head can get hot when on maximum output mode for long periods
Survivalists and outdoor trekkers alike will find everything they could ever need provided by the OLIGHT M2R Pro Warrior flashlight. With a host of accessibility and added survival functionality, few flashlights are as well rounded as this exceptional gadget.
The Streamlight 75434 Stinger is a contender for the most durable offering on this list thanks to an anodized body. With a battery length of up to 5 hours and a decent 800 lumens beam output, this pocket-sized torch has got you covered.
The snap-in charger can be mounted in a variety of different positions, removing that common issue with your charger cable breaking. This impressive lightweight flashlight is surprisingly durable in a multitude of ways.
- The non-slip rubber grip is perfect for the outdoors
- 5 hours run time at full battery charge on the low light setting
- Lightweight design for added portability
- Doesn’t feature a dual-switch design
- Limited availability on online retailers
An IPX4 water resistance rating alongside an anodized aluminum construction ensures that this light can withstand more than a couple of bashes. This is reinforced by a polycarbonate lens that is scratch and crack resistant, ensuring this flashlight will last you for years to come.
If you are looking for innovation, then this is the LED flashlight for you. It features a unique twist focusing lens, offering you a choice of 2 different types of beam suitable for a wide range of scenarios. The USB rechargeable battery gives you the means to charge your flashlight on the go using a power bank or from the comfort of your own home.
Users will be happy to know that this torch features a choice of battery type. You can either use the built-in rechargeable battery, that offers a stellar 4.5 hours of life, or you can switch out to using 4 AA batteries. However you choose to use this nifty gadget, you will be more than pleased with your purchase.
- A variety of different aesthetic options to choose from
- A dual power system means the battery will last longer
- 35-hour max battery life is incredible
- Bulky design means it’s not as portable as some others
- Doesn’t come with its own holster or pocket clip
Innovation and versatile usability are the aims of the game when it comes to the Coast PolySteel 600R, and it offers this in spades. If none of the other flashlight featured so far has caught your eye, then consider checking this fantastic light out!
Aiming to be the strongest flashlight out there in terms of durability, the J5 Tactical V1-PRO might have achieved that. With a fantastic IPX4 water resistance rating and superbly durable design, this sturdy light will withstand anything you throw at it.
Unlike some of the other flashlights featured today, this one features an accessible adjustable focus range. This essentially gives you the option to select a wider less focused beam or a smaller but highly focused light beam. Few tools can compete with this.
- Compact design allows for easy storage
- 100% Satisfaction guarantee
- A high waterproof rating for impressive durability
- Limited aesthetic options for people who like a choice
- The battery does not last as long as some other LED flashlights
Thanks to the extreme durability and some innovative additions not commonly found in flashlights at this price, this is a stunning offer. If you are after a flashlight that will both impress your campmates and offer you a long term durable light, then consider the J5 Tactical V1-PRO.
So far on this list, we have stuck to traditional hand lights, but what if you are after something a little different? If so, then check out this fantastic LE LED Camping Lantern, a hands-free flashlight that can closer resembles a lantern than a torch.
Extremely easy to use, this LED lantern can be hooked onto the top of your tent or left outside the door, offering you longer-term brightness throughout the night. Thanks to its use of 3D batteries, you can expect it to last anywhere between 12 and 25 hours depending on your chosen settings. Those of you who enjoy variety will be pleased to hear this provides a choice of four brightness settings.
- LED lantern design is perfect for the campsite
- The anti-slip design adds to its water resistance
- Hook design allows for a variety of hands-free use methods
- Those looking for a typical flashlight design won’t find it here
- Modular design means some parts may get lost
Thanks to its unique design and multi-faceted usability this lantern is one of the best you will find. No matter whether your plan on bringing it to the campsite or using it in the house if there is a power cut, this brilliant tool won’t let you down.
Budget flashlights usually lack the power of high-end models, not the Dorcy Floating Flashlight, however. Easily the cheapest option on this list, this powerful torch is both incredibly resistant and extremely bright.
Shock-absorbing rubber adorns the exterior preventing any mishaps from permanently damaging the torch itself. Alongside this flashlight, you will be provided with 3 AA batteries that can provide up to 17 hours of light. These batteries can be replaced easily if needed.
- The low price point is perfect for those looking for a budget option
- Waterproof design can float in water
- Shock-absorbing rubber model prevents accidental damage
- Not as bright as some other LED flashlights
- Extraordinarily low price means it sells out frequently
Budget shoppers have finally been considered as this flashlight can contend with the best at a fraction of the cost. Although it might not be as bright or as innovative as some others, it’s price to power ratio is astounding. If you are after a cheap option you can rely on, this light was designed for you.
10. Mini MagLite Pro
MagLite is one of the biggest names in the flashlight industry, and it’s clear to see why. Used by law enforcement and even the military all around the globe, finding a torch as small but as powerful as this is extremely tricky.
The pocket-sized tool will surprise you with it’s incredible LED brightness level and beam distance. It has been universally designed to work alongside any shoulder strap or belt harness, giving you easy storage and access method.
- Mini pocket design perfect for storage
- Sturdy Maglite design is used by law enforcement
- Far beam distance for such a small model
- A smaller design means it is slightly easier to lose
- Only one color option
This flashlight may look small, but don’t let its size fool you. A contender for one of the finest options featured today in both beam range and LED brightness. Those of you who can appreciate a sleek lightweight design should pick this torch up while you can!
Best flashlights Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to purchasing your new gadget, you want to ensure that it has everything you are looking for. Whether that’s extended battery life or its resistance to water damage, the more additions you find on your flashlight, the more complete package it will provide. But what should you be on the lookout for and how will a certain feature impact its price?
Below you will find a guide to some of the diverse and sought after features in flashlights today. So whether you are after a high-tech fully functional device or just a traditional tool to light your path, you will find everything you need to know below.
One of the largest aspects of a flashlight if you plan on taking it with you on camping trips is how long it’s battery lifespan is. You don’t want a flashlight that will only last 2 hours on a full charge as you may need it for far longer. This makes a longer battery life a much sought after feature.
Your typical high-end flashlight will be designed with a longer-lasting battery, however, this extended battery life will come with a higher cost. Weighing up whether or not you will be taking your flashlight with you on the go and whether you will have spare batteries at hand.
You should also consider whether or not your flashlight contains a rechargeable battery. This can be a worthy addition as you will save money on purchasing new batteries to power your flashlight. Finding the right battery type for you can save you a fair amount of money in the future.
The main purpose of a flashlight, and one that is surprisingly easy to measure, the brightness of a flashlight can be a determining factor in your purchase. Determining the brightness of a flashlight you cannot test can be achieved by using a lumens measurement. Simply put, Lumens is a measurement of the maximum brightness your flashlight can emit when using new batteries.
Averagely, your typical flashlight will measure in at around 75-100 lumens and this should be enough for almost any flashlight task. If you are just wanting a mini one to read your book in your tent at night, something around the 10-25 lumens mark will be perfect. Whereas, if you are after one to light a large area up you should be looking into flashlights with 500 lumens – 1000+ lumens.
As you might expect, the brighter your flashlight shines, then typically the more expensive it is. This is simply because it will require more power to emit a brighter light and thus will be pricier to manufacture. Almost all flashlights on the market will have an alternative brightness setting, so do consider this when finding the right one for you.
Weight and size
A majority of the flashlights we feature today are designed for outdoor use, which means their size and weight will be designed with this in mind. A large flashlight that is fairly heavy won’t be suited to constant outside use. But on the same hand, a smaller dainty flashlight won’t have the bulk needed to sustain bumps and bashes.
You will tend to find that a heavier and larger flashlight will be slightly more durable than a smaller option, but you will be sacrificing portability for this. Almost all flashlights on the market will try to balance the weight and portability to ensure you get a decent all-around output.
In terms of cost, the price tends to increase as the weight and size of your flashlight increases. This is simply because a heavier and larger flashlight will consist of more materials and will therefore be more expensive to manufacture. We would recommend finding a medium-sized flashlight with decent durability to get the best flashlight for the price.
Due to constant outdoor use, you will want your flashlight to be able to withstand both storms and accidentally dropping it into rivers and lakes. This means you will want a flashlight that features a decent level of waterproof resistance. Using the IPX system, measuring a flashlight’s water resistance is fairly straightforward.
There are two main ratings you want to look out for, these are IPX4 and IPX7. IPX4 is useful if you don’t plan on visiting areas surrounding lakes with your flashlight and you only want it to withstand rainstorms. If you are a vigilant user, an IPX4 rating will be completely fine.
If you are willing to pay slightly more for better security, however, you will want your flashlight to feature a water-resistant rating of 1PX7. An IPX7 or higher water-resistant rating essentially means your flashlight will be able to cope with being dropped in a body of water for a short period This will cost more than other ratings, but it is more than worth it if you know you are the sort of person to drop things.
Ease of use
If you are in a survival situation, or you just need to light up your flashlight quickly you will want it to feature decent accessibility. Complicated designs simply aren’t worth the effort in an outdoor environment. So as tempting as it may be to find a flashlight with a range of additional features such as a user interface or strobe mode, it might not be needed.
When browsing through the many flashlights available try to determine where your light will provide the lion’s share of use and what you will need it for. An easy to use flashlight can potentially be life-saving in a dark self-defense scenario. Another bonus to this is a flashlight with fewer features will also tend to cost less.
Perhaps the biggest consideration, and usually the deciding factor on which flashlight you finally end up purchasing. The more expensive a flashlight is, the more features it will tend to have such as an excellent water-resistant design and a higher maximum output. At the end of the day, only you can decide how much money you want to spend on a flashlight. There are some excellent budget options out there that will more than cover your needs, so do keep your eyes peeled for those.
What is the best flashlight on the market?
Unlike some other products available, it is hard to pick the best flashlight – they all offer their own unique advantages. In terms of brightness, both the Imalent MS18 and the Mateminco MT90P are contenders.
To find the best light for you, try to weigh up both the pros and cons of a particular model and figure out what you will need it for. Some are designed with survival situations in mind, others are designed for campsite comfort. The best option will be the light that covers all of your needs and is available at an affordable price!
What is the brightest flashlight?
The brightest flashlight you will find featured here today is the NITECORE i4000R due to its incredible turbo mode offering up to 4,400 lumens. However, in terms of the brightest universal flashlight, if the price isn’t a factor to consider, it would be the Imalent MS18. A high end, incredibly bright flashlight that can output a beam at 100,000 lumens. This is more than you will need in almost all situations, but if you are after the brightest then the Imalent MS18 is what you are after.
Are 1000 lumens good for a flashlight?
This depends entirely on what you are planning on using your flashlight for and how much light you want it to emit. If you are just purchasing a flashlight as a backup option in case your power is cut, then 1000 lumens may be too much. If, however, you are after a monster powered light that can light up a massive area, 1000 lumens is just what you are looking for.
What brand of flashlights does the police use?
As you might expect, a majority of police officers will use a tactical flashlight in their day-to-day job. This is due to how small they are and thus they don’t impede on a police officer’s movement. In terms of the brand, however, there is a variety that you will commonly find amongst law enforcement officers. Two common and popular brands you will find users by the police are Maglite and Surefire. Due to their incredible light output, long-range beam distance, and small size they are ideal high-end flashlights for police units.