Written by 10:54 pmFlashlights, Lighting

Best Led Flashlights | Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

LED flashlight shinning at night with a black background

Are you trying to find the best LED flashlight to add to your survival kit? A flashlight may not be a top priority for you, and why would it?

We have lights all around us – so why should you carry one around with you? The fact is, it only takes one power outage, overnight car issue, or finding yourself lost in the woods for you to be plunged into darkness, wishing you had a light source to hand.

A good quality LED flashlight can be useful in many everyday situations too. From early morning jogs and late-night woodland adventures, to searching through a dark basement, or going on camping trips.

But which one do you choose? With so many flashlights on the market these days, it can be hard to know which one is best. That’s where our useful buyer’s guide comes in to make your decision easier.

We’ve got 10 awesome LED flashlights for you to take a look at, as well as an FAQ section that will hopefully help you to make your final purchase.

Want to know more? Then keep on reading!

What makes an LED flashlight different?

LED flashlights are more reliable than other types for three reasons:

  1. Advanced LED technology makes these flashlights smaller, lighter, and more battery efficient than previous designs. They’re also more powerful, producing a longer beam distance.
  2. They use LED bulbs, which improves their battery life. Their compact size and powerful brightness also make them useful tools for when it’s dark or you’re going off-grid for a while.
  3. The longevity, brightness, and battery efficiency of an LED flashlight can’t be beaten by older flashlight bulbs.

It’s not surprising that LED flashlights are favored by survivalists these days – older bulbs don’t last as long due to their inferior sustainability. Not only are LED flashlights perfect for emergencies, but they’re also ideal for many everyday uses, including:

  • Repairing the car
  • Home DIY jobs
  • Camping and other outdoor pursuits
  • Sports such as running or cycling

Types of LED flashlights

Rechargeable flashlight

If you’re ready to ditch the disposable batteries, then a rechargeable LED flashlight is for you. Rechargeable flashlights have different batteries than other types.

The battery is already placed into the flashlight and is specially designed for it. In some flashlights the batteries are removable, others aren’t.

Once the battery comes to the end of its life, you’ll probably have to get a new one from the manufacturer.

Another thing to remember about rechargeable flashlights is that the battery life is limited. You can expect it to last around 12 months, or 400 charges, which isn’t bad for a humble flashlight. You’ll know when the battery starts to give up on life because it’ll struggle to charge up to a full 100%.

As for the size, rechargeable LED flashlights can range from handy keychain sizes to enormous industrial, search and rescue sizes.

Technology has made some pretty impressive advancements recently. This means manufacturers can add different features, usually exclusive to larger flashlights, into the most compact rechargeable LED flashlights.

EDC flashlight

If you’re wondering if flashlights so small they can sit in your pocket exist, you’re in luck. They do! EDC stands for everyday carry and if you don’t have one yet, you’re missing out!

They’re ideal for almost any activity or situation and are perfect for adding to your keychain. Once you have one you’ll wonder how you coped without it. Because of its versatility, it’s sure to become one of your most crucial everyday carry items.

Or, you may be thinking, why would anyone want to carry a mini flashlight around in their pocket? The reality is, a flashlight can be useful in pretty much every scenario and situation.

In life, unexpected things can happen to us and you never know when you’re going to find yourself in a dark, or poorly lit area, in need of light.

Tactical flashlight

What is a tactical flashlight? Simply put, it’s a flashlight that’s been designed to be used tactically, think police or military use!

They’re usually smaller and lighter than traditional flashlights as they’re designed to be mounted onto a weapon when shooting in the dark or in poor lighting. They’re also much more powerful than other types of flashlights and are manufactured from weapon standard aluminum for ultra durability.

You may think that there’s no point in buying a tactical flashlight if they’re designed for military use. But in fact, tactical flashlights can be incredibly handy for average non-police or military personnel.

Even if you don’t plan on using your tactical flashlight to take down potential attackers, a small, pocket-size flashlight is an incredibly versatile and functional tool to have in your kit.

Utility flashlight

If you’re heading out into a rough and tough environment, you may want to consider choosing a utility flashlight. However, these flashlights can come in handy in everyday situations as well. You don’t have to be a survivalist to own a utility flashlight!

If you’re outdoors a lot or you work in security, a water-resistant utility flashlight is essential. These flashlights have different lumen and brightness levels depending on which one you buy.

When you’re looking at buying a utility flashlight, the most important thing to look for is the safety rating. This rating is determined by which hazardous materials might be around during use. If you choose the wrong one, it could cause a serious explosion.

The safety standards of these flashlights come in four categories: class, division, group, and temperature code. If you work in a warehouse or factory environment it’s super important to choose the correct safety standard, you don’t want to be in the middle of a chemical explosion!

Best LED flashlights in 2021

1. Fenix PD35 TAC

This is an image of a black Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen LED Tactical Flashlight with Two Lithium Batteries and a belt caarier case

Pros:

  • Non-abrasive finish
  • Tactical and outdoor operating modes
  • Incredible brightness
  • Premium, weapon standard aluminum body

Cons:

  • On the expensive side

Final thoughts:

No frills, reliable, and super bright, the Fenix PD35 is a tactical flashlight through and through. Measuring 6 inches in length and weighing just a few ounces, this a small and ultra-lightweight flashlight.

Don’t underestimate the Fenix PD35 though, with a maximum output of 1,000 lumens and a beam distance of 656 feet, it’s powerful and suitable for any task. It can also take both rechargeable batteries and non-rechargeable lithium batteries.

Fenix is a high-end brand, famous for its superior quality products. Built with longevity in mind, the Fenix PD35 is waterproof for 30 minutes up to a depth of 6.5 feet. The t wo operating modes and various settings make it versatile, and the user-friendly switches make this flashlight a breeze to handle.

2. ThruNite TN36 Limited Version

This is an image of a black ThruNite TN36 11000 Lumen CREE XHP 70B LED Powerful Floody Flashlight

Pros:

  • Memory function remembers the last mode used
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Incredible brightness level
  • Accessories included

Cons:

  • Might be too bright for indoor or urban use

Final thoughts:

The advanced technology makes this flashlight an essential piece of equipment in your survival kit. The intelligent temperature control stops it from overheating, and the low voltage indication tells you when the battery is running low by glowing red.

The strobe mode is also an effective self-defense feature, as it disorients the attacker, allowing you time to get away.

You also get some handy accessories with your purchase! The holster allows you to store your flashlight safely, and the lanyard prevents you from losing it.

3. Olight S1

This is an image of a black Olight S1 MINI 600 Lumens Ultra Compact LED Flashlight with Rechargeable Battery and USB BATTERY CHARGING

Pros:

  • Micro-USB charging port
  • Perfect for when you’re on the go
  • Low battery detection function
  • Magnetic tail cap for hands-free use

Cons:

  • Not the most powerful model

Final thoughts:

This S1 model from Olight is a revolutionary new everyday carry LED flashlight. Made from aluminum alloy with a textured surface for superior grip. The magnetic tail cap also means you can use it hands-free.

Comes complete with handy features such as a pocket clip and a lanyard hole to stop you from losing it. Ultra-compact, this is one of the shortest flashlights on the market, perfect if you’re on the move a lot and storage space is minimal.

With a maximum output of 600 lumens, this little flashlight offers good brightness levels and it’s constructed from sturdy, good quality materials, small but mighty!

4. LE Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern

This is an image of a yellow LE Rechargeable LED lantern Tactical Flashlight with USB Cable and shoulder strap

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • Great price
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for camping and other outdoor pursuits

Cons:

  • Might be too cumbersome for everyday jobs

Final thoughts:

If you’re looking for an affordable and easy to use LED lantern, this one is ideal. This camping lantern is fully portable and features two hooks so you can hang it to light up a large area effortlessly.

Its IPX4 waterproof rating makes it the perfect LED lantern for all outdoor pursuits. Camping, hiking, hunting, you name it, this little lantern is up for the job! With an impressive brightness level of 1000 lumens, it’ll provide you with plenty of light when you’re walking in the dark as well.

It also boasts five different lighting modes and the front spotlight and side light makes it super versatile. A large handle makes it comfortable to hold for long periods, ideal if you take a wrong turn somewhere! The adjustable shoulder strap also makes it easy to carry around when you’re not using it.

5. BINWO LED Tactical Flashlight

This is an image of a pack of 2 black BINWO LED Tactical Flashlight

Pros:

  • Bright and long-lasting battery life
  • Zoomable and adjustable focus
  • Five light modes
  • Tough and durable
  • Portable and convenient size

Cons:

  • There are more high-end models available on the market

Final thoughts:

With its zoomable focus and various lighting modes, this little LED flashlight is versatile and practical. The lumen LED provides a large floodlight or a more precise spotlight with a beam distance of 656 feet!

It boasts a working life of 50,000 hours and the powerful spotlight is ideal for long-distance observation. Choose between five lighting modes, high, medium, low, strobe, or SOS. Easy to use, simply press the button halfway to choose your required mode, and press it fully to switch the flashlight off.

Made from high-quality aluminum alloy, this flashlight is tough enough for daily use. Because of its abrasion-resistance and waterproof IPX-5 rating, it’s perfect for outdoor or indoor use.

Its mini size makes it the ideal everyday carry flashlight. Fits comfortably in your hand or pocket, the push-button tail switch makes it easy to use with one hand.

6. NiteCore EA81

This is an image of a black Nitecore EA81 Searchlight Flashlight with 8 Premium Eco-Sensa AA batteries

Pros:

  • Most powerful handheld searchlight ever
  • Five brightness levels.
  • Side switches for effortless use
  • Advanced Temperature Regulation

Cons:

  • Does need eight AA batteries

Final thoughts:

It’s safe to say you won’t find a brighter flashlight than this one! With a maximum output of 2150 lumens, this is an impressive piece of equipment! Not only that, but the IPX-8 rating makes it waterproof up to 2m, and it meets impact resistant standards too!

The highly efficient circuit board means it has a runtime of 810 hours, with a throw distance of 462 meters. The integrated micro-textured reflector also provides wide angle lighting.

The blue indicator tells you when the battery life is low, so you don’t suddenly find yourself without a light source. Don’t worry if you insert the batteries incorrectly either, the reverse polarity protection function prevents any damage caused by this mistake.

It’s also constructed from aerospace standard aluminum alloy, so you can be sure you’re getting a tough, functional, and superior-quality flashlight.

7. Manker E12

This is an image of a black MANKER E12 LED Tactical Flashlight with shoulder strap

Pros:

  • Super bright 650-lumen output
  • Only requires two AA batteries
  • Waterproof IPX-8 rating
  • Affordably priced

Cons:

  • It doesn’t stand on its tail

Final thoughts:

The best flashlights are versatile, easy to use, and fully portable. This tactical flashlight ticks all those boxes, making it the perfect EDC addition to your kit. It’s also impact resistant and waterproof up to 2 meters!

The user interface is simple and the on/off switch is electronic, meaning you can leave the batteries in and the flashlight won’t slowly drain them.

The rear tail lockout means you can turn the tail cap to prevent you from accidentally flipping the power switch. The memory function remembers the last brightness level you used, and the slim design is convenient and functional.

It also only needs two AA batteries and the stainless steel pocket clip, generous lanyard hole, and quality materials all come together to make an incredibly useful flashlight.

8. Rayovac LED Flashlight

This is an image of a black Rayovac 300 Lumen Waterproof Indestructible LED Tactical Flashlight

Pros:

  • Super bright
  • Shatterproof up to 30 feet
  • IP67 waterproof rating
  • Great price

Cons:

  • It tends to sell out quickly

Final thoughts:

The best flashlights are tools that can stand up to rough, rugged areas and environments. This flashlight can definitely do that!

The aluminum body can withstand drops of up to 30 feet, perfect for extreme hiking adventures! The output of 300 lumens and a beam distance of 551 feet provides an excellent amount of brightness.

The tough construction means it’s waterproof in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Virtually indestructible, this tactical flashlight gives perfect and consistent brightness.

Hiking in a poorly lit area? Simply attach this LED flashlight to your backpack for an instant source of light. If you need to pack light this tool will be your go-to because of its compact size. This is a great tactical flashlight, perfect for survival and emergency use!

9. J5 Tactical V1-PRO

This is an image of a black J5 300 Lumen LED Tactical Flashlight

Pros:

  • Water-resistant
  • Tough and durable
  • Great value for money
  • 12-month manufacturers warranty

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have the most powerful output

Final thoughts:

One of the most affordable flashlights on our list, this tool is capable of lighting up a large space or focus on a precise area up to 600 feet away. It also takes just one AA battery or a 14500 rechargeable battery for ultimate convenience.

Its compact size and adjustable focus make it extremely versatile. High, low, and strobe settings allow you to tailor it to whichever activity you’re doing. The wide and narrow beams make it perfect for a range of uses, indoors and outdoors.

Compact and super tough, this flashlight can survive being dropped up to 9 feet or being immersed in water for short periods of time. It’s able to withstand many weather conditions, including rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

You could even keep one in your car, one in your toolkit, and one in your house so you’re never without it. It would also make a great gift for any survival enthusiast.

10. Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90

This is an image of a black Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED with wrist strap

Pros:

  • Built for longevity
  • 18-month warranty
  • Smartly designed
  • Powerful brightness level
  • Turbo mode

Cons:

  • Stock levels are limited

Final thoughts:

If you’re heading out on a camping trip or overnight hiking expedition, this tactical flashlight is essential! Although the light on your phone will suffice for walks through the town, when you’re facing the elements of the outdoors, it won’t cut it.

That’s where this flashlight steps in. It has all of the functions and features you’ll need as an outdoor enthusiast. With an impressive 900 lumen power, IPX5 waterproof rating, and a rechargeable battery, this is a great outdoor pursuit flashlight.

The tough aluminum construction can also stand up to sub-zero temperatures and it’s resistant to things such as shattered glass. The mini-sized chassis fits comfortably into your hand with perfect grip thanks to its anti-slip design. It can also stand on its tail to provide overhead lighting.

Best Led flashlight Buyer’s Guide

Brightness

The best LED flashlight should provide excellent brightness levels. This is how bright a flashlight is to the human eye. Sometimes, you may see LED flashlights measured in millicandelas. A candela is a measurement of the light created and pointed in one direction.

This is why you may see flashlights measured in candelas instead of lumens; how much light is focused from the flashlight in one direction is more useful to know than the total amount of light, including some that’s dispersed in other directions.

Beam distance

This is typically measured in meters. The beam distance is how far the flashlight shines before the brightness level reduces to the same level of the light given off by a full moon.

The illumination that’s equivalent to a full moon is usually enough for a safe outdoor trip. The beam distance will also vary depending on which brightness setting you use.

It’s also important to consider the lens reflector as well. This will determine how the beam is dispersed. Usually, you have three options:

  • Flood – This is a single beam width. It’s ideal for general camp jobs or when you’re out for a walk.
  • Focused – This is a single beam reduced to a spotlight. Ideal for looking at objects from a long-distance away.
  • Adjustable – You can adjust the beam width from wide to a more focused spotlight, or even in between. Ideal if you’re out on a long hike and you need to use your flashlight for different purposes.

Maximum output

Many people confuse output with brightness levels, sometimes using them interchangeably. The maximum light output is measured in lumens. This is a measurement of how intense the light that comes out of the flashlight is.

If you only want to use your flashlight for reading, 20-30 lumens is enough. However, if you want to light up your path as you walk in the dark, you’ll need to look for a flashlight with at least 500 lumens, ideally 1000.

Keep in mind, many users find more than 1000 lumens too much, and you’ll probably only need to use the lower setting, especially around your campsite. These high lumen levels can come in useful though, particularly if you want to see further into the distance.

Battery

Before you decide on a flashlight, make note of how long the battery lasts. You don’t want to find yourself in the dark with a dead battery! Thankfully, most manufacturers state these kinds of specifications so you’ll know exactly what you’re buying.

The majority of flashlights use battery power and will need their batteries changed or recharged regularly. If you want to reduce your battery usage, look for one that has adjustable light settings, as a lower brightness level will prolong the battery’s life.

Most flashlights will typically last for a few hours before they need recharging. As long as you choose an LED flashlight, you know you’ll be getting a longer-lasting battery than a standard one.

Durability

If you’re only going to be using your flashlight for odd jobs around the house or for proving to the children that there aren’t any monsters under their bed, durability may not be that important to you. But if you’ll be using it in rugged, rough environments or for work purposes, durability is essential.

These days, new flashlights are really put through their paces when they’re tested. Some are waterproof, impact-resistant, and even able to survive being dropped from great heights.

If you’re a police or military personnel or a warehouse or factory operative, you’ll need a flashlight that can keep up with you and withstand harsh treatment. Look for one that’s abrasion-resistant and waterproof.

Ultimately, it depends on what you’ll be using it for. Less strenuous environments and activities don’t require a tough utility flashlight with as much durability. On the flip side, if you’re an adrenaline junkie on your next white knuckle adventure, you’ll need more than just a pocket-sized everyday carry flashlight!

Price

You may think you’ll have to pay a small fortune for a good flashlight, but there are plenty of good-quality budget options available. With its virtually indestructible chassis, 300-lumen output, and different settings, the Rayovak LED flashlight is a fantastic budget-friendly model.

However, if you’re looking to spend a bit more, or you need a super tough model to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, the Fenix PD35 is a good choice. Incredibly powerful, long-lasting, and a tough, abrasion-resistant chassis make it perfect for demanding jobs and environments.

If you’re looking to really splash the cash on a high-end model, the Nitecore EA81 is the perfect option. Ultra-powerful and bright, this is a real flashlight powerhouse. Incredibly efficient and long-lasting, it’s ideal for a range of outdoor pursuits.

Weight and size

Those who carry flashlights at work or out on tough hikes will know that a lightweight design makes life a lot easier. You may think that the more powerful a flashlight is the heavier it becomes.

While this is true to an extent, these days flashlights are made with tough but lightweight materials. However, keep in mind that high-end, utility flashlights will be heavier than your average EDC design.

A bigger, heavier flashlight is also not necessarily brighter either. It is, however, likely to have a longer running time due to the larger battery capacity.

FAQs

What is the best LED flashlight on the market?

The best LED flashlight completely depends on what you’ll be using it for. For general use and chores around the house, an EDC flashlight is perfect. This type is ideal for keeping in your toolkit or on your key chain, so you always have it at the ready.

On the other hand, if you need a real workhorse flashlight, look for a utility one that’s been drop tested to within an inch of its life. This will ensure it can cope with brutal treatment during use.

What is the brightest LED flashlight you can buy?

With a whopping 100,000 lumens, the Imalent MS18 is the brightest LED flashlight in the world! With a beam distance of 4429 feet, this is a tool for serious flashlight enthusiasts!

The super-wide beam effortlessly lights up an entire backyard. It’s ideal for backcountry adventures and power outages. As you’ve probably guessed, this kind of power comes with an equally as hefty price tag!

If you’d rather not have to sell a kidney to be able to afford a flashlight, the ThruNite TN36 is a good option if you need power at a more affordable price.

How many lumens should a good flashlight have?

Lumen is the measurement of the LED light output. The amount of lumens a flashlight should have completely depends on what you’ll be doing.

If you’re just going to be doing odd chores around the house, up to 120 lumens will get the job done. However, if you’re going on a search and rescue mission or you’re out hunting, you’ll need to look for at least 1000 lumens!

If you’re not going on extreme missions, but you’ll be doing a little more than odd jobs around the house, you need a lumen level in between the two. For activities such as camping, hiking, climbing, etc, 500-600 lumens will be sufficient.

What flashlights do most police use?

Tactical flashlights are favored by police because of their ability to be mounted on top of a weapon. They’re smaller and more portable than a utility flashlight which is much bulkier, not ideal for taking down assailants with!

They’re also much brighter than general EDC flashlights and their chassis is usually made from superior-quality aluminum for ultra durability.

It’s because of this brightness that the police favor them so much. It allows them to disorient attackers and criminals enough for them to make their arrest. They’re also great for lighting the way when officers are investigating dark or low-lit areas.

However, you don’t have to be a police officer to use a tactical flashlight. They can be used in any situation, from defending yourself against attackers, to DIY jobs around the house.

If you want to buy a tactical flashlight for self-defense purposes, look for one that has at least 120 lumens. Unfortunately, anything less just won’t be bright enough.

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