13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet

13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet

Best Super Bright LED Flashlight Overall
#1
Anker LC90 LED Flashlight
  • Extremely bright CREE LED
  • Built tough
  • Variety of settings and zoomable feature
Best Compact Super Bright LED Flashlight Under $100
#2
Fenix PD35 2015 TAC Edition 1000 Lumen CREE XP-L LED Tactical Flashlight Bundle
  • High performance
  • Lightweight and pocket-size
  • Extremely durable
Brightest Flashlight Under $100
#3
Streamlight 88060
  • Durable, reliable, and long-lasting
  • Up to 2,200 lumens!
  • Sealed construction keeps it safe from water, dust, and dirt
Best Military-Grade Tactical Flashlight
#4
J5 Tactical V1-PRO 300 Lumen Ultra Bright Flashlight
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Super bright LED with focus and wide angle adjustability
  • Well made

After 110 hours of research evaluating 251 products, we picked Anker LC90 LED Flashlight as our top choice.

Looking For The Best Brightest & Most Powerful LED Tactical Flashlights? Have We Got Something For You!

Real men aren't afraid of the dark - at least that's what they say. But the real ticket to taking on the world's darkest corners, whether on a backwoods hiking trip or climbing under the house to wrench on the plumbing, is the right tool. You want the brightest flashlight available within your price point. You also want the best flashlight for the money, based on features and price.

The brightest flashlight can make working in the dark easier and less frustrating. It illuminates the world's dangers so you can face down your fears one confident step at a time. And the best flashlight can have tactical features or rechargeable features. We may not have practical Star Wars light sabers yet, but how about a light that can actually start a fire?  

Other torches are sturdy enough for self-defense and designed for just that purpose. A zombie trying to bite your face off? One of these bad-ass best tactical flashlights, specifically designed for personal protection, is just the thing for beating it over the head so you can scramble to safety...

But finding the right flashlight for you may seem a bit overwhelming. Lucky for you, we've shortlisted some unique and innovative flashlights - the best of the best flashlights to help you combat the darkness and put the odds of survival back in your favor. In order to determine which flashlights rose to the top, we logged nearly 36 hours testing products, reading reviews, and categorizing the flashlights based on possible uses. 

Whatever your reason for lighting up the shadows, here are some interesting flashlights worth checking out! From Maglite to the best LED flashlight, alongside UV and rechargeable flashlights, our best flashlight list has got something for everyone. So take a look!


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet
MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Perfect for an emergency
  • Self-generating flashlight with hand crank or solar power
  • Durable
Check on Amazon
Finware Mini LED Keychain Flashlight (5-pack)
  • Fantastic price for a pack of 5
  • Small and doesn’t overcrowd your keychain
  • Bright, narrow beam
Check on Amazon
Nebo Big Larry Magnum COB LED Flashlight
  • Magnetic worklight
  • Really bright and will light up a big work area
  • Well-made, durable tool
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 66121 Stylus Pro Pen Light with White LED and Holster
  • Bright little light
  • Portable
  • Long lasting batteries
Check on Amazon
BYB Super Bright 9 LED Mini Aluminum Flashlight with Lanyard (4-pack)
  • Super compact and portable
  • Great value
  • Very bright
Check on Amazon
ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight
  • The best low-budget flashlight on the market
  • A reliable, beautifully bright, and highly effective light
  • Great performance at a great price
Check on Amazon
ThruNite TN36
  • Powerful flashlight with a long battery life
  • Waterproof, impact-resistant, and incredibly well-built
  • Excellent light output and beam length
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS LED High Lumen Rechargeable Flashlight
  • High-quality build
  • Blindingly bright
  • Lifetime warranty
Check on Amazon
SureFire P3X Fury Tactical Single-Output LED Flashlight
  • Durable, compact, and comfortable to grip
  • Reliable design using top-grade materials
  • Lightweight with user-friendly operation
Check on Amazon
J5 Tactical V1-PRO 300 Lumen Ultra Bright Flashlight
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Super bright LED with focus and wide angle adjustability
  • Well made
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 88060
  • Durable, reliable, and long-lasting
  • Up to 2,200 lumens!
  • Sealed construction keeps it safe from water, dust, and dirt
Check on Amazon
Fenix PD35 2015 TAC Edition 1000 Lumen CREE XP-L LED Tactical Flashlight Bundle
  • High performance
  • Lightweight and pocket-size
  • Extremely durable
Check on Amazon
Anker LC90 LED Flashlight
  • Extremely bright CREE LED
  • Built tough
  • Variety of settings and zoomable feature
Check on Amazon
13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet

13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet

Read Video Infographic Tips

After 110 hours of research evaluating 251 products, we picked Anker LC90 LED Flashlight as our top choice.

Looking For The Best Brightest & Most Powerful LED Tactical Flashlights? Have We Got Something For You!

Real men aren't afraid of the dark - at least that's what they say. But the real ticket to taking on the world's darkest corners, whether on a backwoods hiking trip or climbing under the house to wrench on the plumbing, is the right tool. You want the brightest flashlight available within your price point. You also want the best flashlight for the money, based on features and price.

The brightest flashlight can make working in the dark easier and less frustrating. It illuminates the world's dangers so you can face down your fears one confident step at a time. And the best flashlight can have tactical features or rechargeable features. We may not have practical Star Wars light sabers yet, but how about a light that can actually start a fire?  

Other torches are sturdy enough for self-defense and designed for just that purpose. A zombie trying to bite your face off? One of these bad-ass best tactical flashlights, specifically designed for personal protection, is just the thing for beating it over the head so you can scramble to safety...

But finding the right flashlight for you may seem a bit overwhelming. Lucky for you, we've shortlisted some unique and innovative flashlights - the best of the best flashlights to help you combat the darkness and put the odds of survival back in your favor. In order to determine which flashlights rose to the top, we logged nearly 36 hours testing products, reading reviews, and categorizing the flashlights based on possible uses. 

Whatever your reason for lighting up the shadows, here are some interesting flashlights worth checking out! From Maglite to the best LED flashlight, alongside UV and rechargeable flashlights, our best flashlight list has got something for everyone. So take a look!


Editorial staff

Quick Look: 13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet
MECO Hand Cranking Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Perfect for an emergency
  • Self-generating flashlight with hand crank or solar power
  • Durable
Check on Amazon
Finware Mini LED Keychain Flashlight (5-pack)
  • Fantastic price for a pack of 5
  • Small and doesn’t overcrowd your keychain
  • Bright, narrow beam
Check on Amazon
Nebo Big Larry Magnum COB LED Flashlight
  • Magnetic worklight
  • Really bright and will light up a big work area
  • Well-made, durable tool
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 66121 Stylus Pro Pen Light with White LED and Holster
  • Bright little light
  • Portable
  • Long lasting batteries
Check on Amazon
BYB Super Bright 9 LED Mini Aluminum Flashlight with Lanyard (4-pack)
  • Super compact and portable
  • Great value
  • Very bright
Check on Amazon
ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight
  • The best low-budget flashlight on the market
  • A reliable, beautifully bright, and highly effective light
  • Great performance at a great price
Check on Amazon
ThruNite TN36
  • Powerful flashlight with a long battery life
  • Waterproof, impact-resistant, and incredibly well-built
  • Excellent light output and beam length
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS LED High Lumen Rechargeable Flashlight
  • High-quality build
  • Blindingly bright
  • Lifetime warranty
Check on Amazon
SureFire P3X Fury Tactical Single-Output LED Flashlight
  • Durable, compact, and comfortable to grip
  • Reliable design using top-grade materials
  • Lightweight with user-friendly operation
Check on Amazon
J5 Tactical V1-PRO 300 Lumen Ultra Bright Flashlight
  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Super bright LED with focus and wide angle adjustability
  • Well made
Check on Amazon
Streamlight 88060
  • Durable, reliable, and long-lasting
  • Up to 2,200 lumens!
  • Sealed construction keeps it safe from water, dust, and dirt
Check on Amazon
Fenix PD35 2015 TAC Edition 1000 Lumen CREE XP-L LED Tactical Flashlight Bundle
  • High performance
  • Lightweight and pocket-size
  • Extremely durable
Check on Amazon
Anker LC90 LED Flashlight
  • Extremely bright CREE LED
  • Built tough
  • Variety of settings and zoomable feature
Check on Amazon

Faveable Giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card


Amazon Gift Card

Giveaway: Anker LC90 LED Flashlight

Ranked #1 in 13 Best LED Flashlights on the Planet

Anker LC90 LED Flashlight

Anker LC90 LED Flashlight
Value: $26

Best LED Flashlight for Emergencies

75
Score 75
$10
2,006 Bought | Save: $20 (67% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Perfect for an emergency
  • Self-generating flashlight with hand crank or solar power
  • Durable

Never worry about non-working batteries, supports both hand-cranking or solar-powered, plus compact and easy to use.

  • Not as bright bright as other flashlights on our list
  • Not a regular use flashlight.

Details

Purpose: This is definitely the kind of flashlight you’d want around in case of emergency. So it would be perfect in your car’s glovebox, in your bedside nightstand, or hanging from your pant loop while hiking. The carabiner clip makes it easy to attach to your belt or backpack, so you'll always have it handy. Thanks to its dual charging options--cranking and solar power--you'll never run out of light.

Performance: This video is a good one to check out as is this one if you’re interested to see just how the solar power and hand crank functionality work. Both seem equally reliable. In terms of how long each lasts, reviewers say that six minutes' worth of cranking will give you an hour of light, while a minute of solar power will give you 15 minutes of light. The built-in rechargeable battery will story energy for a long time, and there's no need for external power sources.

Price: It may seem pricey at first glance, but think about what you get in exchange for it (i.e. peace of mind and emergency preparedness). Well worth the investment if you ask us!

Best Keychain Flashlight

75
Score 75
$10
1,186 Bought | Save: $10 (50% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Fantastic price for a pack of 5
  • Small and doesn’t overcrowd your keychain
  • Bright, narrow beam

You wouldn’t think much of a 5-pack of tiny keychain flashlights, right? Well, these are perhaps the best LED flashlights to carry with you wherever you go—and they’re bright too!

  • Locking mechanism that makes it easy to leave the light on without having to press the button the whole time.
  • Some people have accidentally left locking mechanism on and burnt out the flashlight quickly without knowing it.

Details

Purpose: While these can’t be used for any tactical or policing purposes, they’re perfect for when you need to guide your way down a path or to a keyhole. A lot of people who have bought these have also done so for the purpose of giving them as a gift. 

Performance: Customers can’t help but get excited over these flashlights. Some have used them to light up an entire room in the case of a blackout while others use this flashlight for creating a brightly lit pathway at night. The LED lights have a 100,000 hour lifespan, and you'll find the flashlights' housing is surprisingly resistant to damage, wear, dust, and water. They're small, light, and wonderfully handy to own.

Price: It can’t be beat! You get five miniature keychain lights at an amazing price, ensuring you've always got a way to light your path no matter where you are.

Brightest LED Flashlight for Hands-Free Use

78
Score 78
$19
1,990 Bought | Save: $7 (28% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Magnetic worklight
  • Really bright and will light up a big work area
  • Well-made, durable tool

For anyone who’s ever struggled while trying to get more light into their workspace (think of any time you’ve worked in the garage or basement), this is the LED flashlight for you. The magnetic bottom allows you to place it wherever you need it, and then focus on working with a hands-free beam of light.

  • Some customers have had problems with loose connections
  • Ocassional reports of light shutting off and on at random times but rare

Details

Purpose: While this can be used as a regular flashlight (especially if you want to use the emergency red “flare” setting on the road), this is really meant to be a worklight. The magnetic bottom turns this into a super handy, hands-free flashlight. The anodized aluminum body makes it super durable, and the recessed LED housing will protect the bulk from damage or impact. 

Performance: There are a variety of settings on this one, so play around with the different low and high beams to see which one works best for you. And don’t forget about the magnetic bottom, which keeps it stable and upright on metallic surfaces. The COB LED technology generates up to 400 lumens, with a secondary 160-lumen low light. It's an awesome work light, emergency light, or back-up camping light. 

Price: The price of this flashlight is standard for well-made, mid-grade LED flashlights.

Best LED Pen Light

82
Score 82

Why People Love it

  • Bright little light
  • Portable
  • Long lasting batteries

Although you might not think about a pen light outside of a medical setting, many people have found a good use for this—especially women who want something tiny to carry around in their purse. This is waterproof, super durable, and throws a consistent and strong beam.

  • Some people complain about how hard this is to switch on and off because of the heavy press button
  • On flip side, button is meant to prevent accidentally leaving it on and burning out the batteries

Details

Purpose: For anyone looking for a super handy flashlight with a good amount of light, this is a great pick. Streamlight, in general, provides some really high-quality tactical and safety flashlights, but this is the pick of the litter based on reviews. Doctors and EMTs will find it handy for use on the job, but anyone can use it thanks to its compact size. 

Performance: This is a tiny flashlight, but it packs a whole lot of light in it. It’s super durable too (made from similar aluminum alloy material Streamlight uses on all their flashlights), so you shouldn’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it. With two AAA batteries included, you get great runtime before needing to replace the batteries. There's even a lifetime warranty to ensure your pen flashlight is always in good condition and working well.

Price: It’s a little expensive for such a small flashlight, but you’re paying for the high-quality construction and dependability of one of the brightest pen flashlights on the market.

Best Mini LED Flashlight

84
Score 84

Why People Love it

  • Super compact and portable
  • Great value
  • Very bright

Inexpensive and bright LED flashlights can be hard to come by, but not in the case of this BYB four-pack. Customers who have purchased these absolutely love them for their portability and multi-purpose uses.

  • Some customers have received non-working flashlights.
  • But their customer service is fast, efficient, and promises a 90-day, money-back guarantee.

Details

Purpose: Since these flashlights are so small and powerful, you can really use them for anything: hiking, camping trips with the kids, fishing, late-night barbeques, walking the dog, etc. Their aluminum body can handle impact, water, dust, and damage like a boss, making them one of the most durable choices despite their small size.

Performance: Aside from the cons noted above, customers seem really pleased with the overall performance of these flashlights. The simple operation makes them easy to use, they don’t require uncommon or expensive batteries, and they provide a strong beam whenever you need it. They may be small, but their 9 built-in LED bulbs put out 30 lumens--more than enough for use at home, while camping, in cases of power outage, or emergencies.

With these four flashlights around your house, you'll never fumble in the darkness again! Thanks to the fact that they run on standard AAA batteries and have a 30-hour run time, you'll always have light.

Price: The base price is a total steal, and you'll find they're one of the best-valued flashlights on our list.

Best Flashlight Under $30

84
Score 84

Why People Love it

  • The best low-budget flashlight on the market
  • A reliable, beautifully bright, and highly effective light
  • Great performance at a great price

Solid battery life, 500-lumen output, reliable, compact, 118-yard beam, super easy to use, great value, lightweight, five settings, durable body, and water-resistant.

  • Not resistant to impact/being dropped.

Details

Purpose: This flashlight is the sort you carry around in a purse, backpack, or briefcase to have with you for any situations. It's small enough to fit in any bag and weighs just 1.7 ounces. There's even a clip so you can secure it to your belt. Thanks to its excellent battery life, good light output, and multiple settings, you'll always have reliable light at a moment's notice.

Performance: The flashlight has an output of 500 lumens and a beam distance of 118 meters, making it great for use at home and outdoors. It runs on AA batteries, so you can buy a couple of pairs of rechargeable batteries to use. You'll get 17 hours of run time on the highest setting and up to 100 hours on the low setting.

The flashlight's body is made with aircraft-grade aluminum, and it's fully resistant to water, dust, and dirt. Sadly, though a fall or drop won't damage the exterior, users have reported that the flashlight stops working reliably after a hard impact. However, it has a no-roll design and will stand up on its end, making it highly convenient to use anywhere. With two buttons for controls and five settings—including a low-light "Firefly" setting—you'll find it delivers amazing value in a small package.

Price: At $30, this is a flashlight that just can't be beat. It performs better than some of the higher-priced models on the market, yet has a very low price tag. If you're looking for value and don't mind its small size, this is the flashlight for you.

Brightest Flashlight Under $300

93
Score 93

Why People Love it

  • Powerful flashlight with a long battery life
  • Waterproof, impact-resistant, and incredibly well-built
  • Excellent light output and beam length

7300 lumen output, produces 200 lumens per watt, durable LED light bulb, 96.5% energy-efficient, protected from overheating, long battery lifespan, waterproof, impact-resistant, lightweight, comes with a holster and O-ring, six output modes to choose from, and includes a "memory" function and low voltage indicator.

  • Bulkier than your average flashlight
  • Beam is wide and unfocused.

Details

Purpose: This is definitely a flashlight intended for use in large enclosed spaces (like a warehouse). With up to 7300 lumens produced and a beam nearly 300 meters long, it makes sweeping large spaces easy. The flashlight is fully waterproof (up to 1.5 meters), impact resistant for up to 2 meters, and is built using aircraft-grade aluminum. Definitely one of the most durable flashlights on our list!

Performance: There's no denying that this is one of the brightest options around. The six flashlight modes give you a lot of light options, perfect for both conserving battery life and user-friendly operation. There's even a "memory mode" to remember your last setting for one-click use. Additionally, the low voltage indicator will let you know when the batteries need recharging.

However, be prepared for a bulky flashlight. It's roughly the same diameter as a soda can, so it takes a big hand to hold it comfortably. The beam is also very wide and unfocused, so it's not as bright as it could be given its 7300 lumens. Thankfully, the built-in Intelligent Temperature Control technology will stop it from overheating.

Price: This is definitely a high-priced flashlight, and one you may hesitate to buy unless you are patrolling wide-open spaces and need a flashlight that can produce A LOT of light.

Brightest Tactical Flashlight

88
Score 88
$146
9,377 Bought | Save: $128 (47% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • High-quality build
  • Blindingly bright
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Tactical Flashlights called this the Best Police Flashlight for Duty. If that’s not a testament to the dependability of this LED flashlight, we don’t know what is. It’s also made by Streamlight, so this flashlight’s high-quality construction shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone.

  • Some customers have had issues with the charger, but there’s a lifetime warranty on this so just be sure to keep your receipt.

Details

Purpose: You can use this for tactical purposes or you can use this for everyday use. It’s the perfect size to carry or tuck beneath your arm, so there’s really nothing to hold you back from using this. Thanks to its durable yet lightweight design, you'll have no trouble using it all day long. It's built to last and one of the most powerful flashlights on the market.

Performance: If you’re looking for a dependable, portable, rechargeable, and super bright LED flashlight, you’ve found it. It’s also easy to cycle through all its settings (unlike with some other flashlights), which makes this pretty user-friendly. The C4 LEDs get up to 50,000 hours of use before needing to be changed, and you'll find the battery life per charge is also surprisingly good: 90 minutes on the highest setting or 5 hours on the lowest setting, with a beam between 155 and 310 meters in length. Charge time is just 7.5 hours, and the three included batteries ensures you're always ready to go.

Price: That’s the one thing about this flashlight that might make you hesitate. Watch for discounts on Amazon, and it might become worth the investment.

Brightest Flashlight Under $200

92
Score 92

Why People Love it

  • Durable, compact, and comfortable to grip
  • Reliable design using top-grade materials
  • Lightweight with user-friendly operation

Drop-resistant LED bulb and glass, quick and easy to switch on, 1,000 lumen output, batteries included, long battery lifespan, designed to maximize light transmission, aerospace aluminum body, comfortable grip, water-resistant, and weatherproof.

  • Won't use regular rechargeable batteries; reliant on proprietary batteries.

Details

Purpose: This little flashlight is designed to be secured to a pistol or carried on a belt. It's just 10 inches long and weighs less than 10 ounces. With its knurled design, it's easy to grip even in wet and cold climates. The tailcap switch makes it easy to turn the light off and on, but prevents it from being activated while in storage or on your belt. It's a security guard or police officer's best friend!

Performance: The flashlight generates up to 1,000 lumens, and the Intellibeam Technology will adjust the light output according to your environment. The LED light bulb is virtually indestructible, as is the glass covering the bulb. The micro-textured reflector will enhance light output and produce a smooth, consistent beam.

The flashlight runs on SureFire's proprietary battery, and ONLY that battery. It's not compatible with standard rechargeable batteries. However, each battery has a 10-year shelf life.

Price: The high price tag is worth it for a compact, durable tactical flashlight to carry on your rounds. Security guards and law enforcement officers will find this a very handy addition to their utility belt.

Best Military-Grade Tactical Flashlight

91
Score 91
$11
11,643 Bought | Save: $19 (63% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Fits in the palm of your hand
  • Super bright LED with focus and wide angle adjustability
  • Well made

Whether you’re looking for a super bright flashlight that’s small and easy to carry or a military-grade tactical flashlight, this one will do the trick. It fits in the palm of your hand, comes with a pocket clip, and is one of the handiest tactical flashlights you'll find.

  • Some customers have had problems with the flashlight malfunctioning soon after purchase.
  • Be sure to check with the manufacturer for warranty information.

Details

Purpose: Infinite Power Solutions called the J5 one of the best military-grade TacLights of 2016. Beyond military, security, and police use, this flashlight works really well for just about anyone who needs an easy to carry flashlight with a strong beam. The heavy-duty design makes it resistant to damage, water, dust, and impact, and you'll find it's compact enough to carry on any trip. 

Performance: The best thing about this tactical flashlight is its portability. Typically, when you want a well-built flashlight with a variety of features (high, low, and strobes) as well as a strong light beam, you’re looking at some heft. Not so with this flashlight. It's lightweight and wonderfully compact, yet still has a beautifully powerful light--300 lumens, producing a beam up to 600-feet long. Expect a VERY long battery life and excellent durability with this bad boy.

Price: For a mid-range tactical flashlight, the price for this is spot-on. It's inexpensive, highly compact, and guaranteed to last you for years to come. 

Brightest Flashlight Under $100

95
Score 95

Why People Love it

  • Durable, reliable, and long-lasting
  • Up to 2,200 lumens!
  • Sealed construction keeps it safe from water, dust, and dirt

Extremely bright, LED light bulb, ambidextrous switch, compatible with most rechargeable batteries, 2.5 hours of run-time, waterproof and dustproof, durable machined aluminum case, and anodized black finish enhances grip.

  • Switch on upgraded model is difficult to press, and this flashlight is a bit unreliable.

Details

Purpose:  This compact flashlight is a security guard's best friend, but it can be a handy camping or hiking flashlight as well. Thanks to its machined aluminum case and sealed construction, it's fully resistant to water and dust damage. Plus, it can take quite the beating in your backpack or hiking equipment.

Performance: The flashlight is just over 8 ½ inches long, with a 1 ¼-inch barrel that's easy for anyone to grip. It runs on both CR123A batteries or 18650 Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, making it one of the more versatile flashlights on our list.

It produces up to 2,200 lumens and a 346-meter beam, and the LED light bulb delivers a long run-time: up to 1.75 hours on the highest setting and 40-43 hours on the lowest setting. Plus, the bulb has a 50,000-hour lifespan!

Price: This may be one of the pricier flashlights on our list, but it's absolutely worth it if you want something tactical. Few flashlights can beat this one in terms of brightness and reliability.

Best Compact Super Bright LED Flashlight Under $100

99
Score 99
$90
20,875 Bought  

Why People Love it

  • High performance
  • Lightweight and pocket-size
  • Extremely durable

The Fenix PD35 is a new-edition Cree LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours, and users rave about how bright this 1000-lumen flashlight is. It's beautifully compact, lightweight, and comfortable as well!

  • A few users reported the light getting very hot and malfunctioning, but most users have nothing but good things to say about this flashlight.

Details

Purpose: The Fenix PD35 is perfect for everyday use, but also strong enough to withstand the elements. Created using durable aircraft-grade aluminum with an anodized, anti-abrasive finish, this flashlight is tough and durable, with a Premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish. The anti-roll, anti-slip body design ensures that it will stay securely in place in your hand, on the table, or on your belt. The ultra-clear, anti-reflective glass is even toughened to ensure maximum durability.

Performance: The Fenix PD35 tactical light has a 1,000-lumen output. This gadget can use one 18650 rechargeable battery or two 3V CR123A batteries, giving you the flexibility to carry the cheaper battery if you'd like. The Fenix PD35 weighs about 85 grams without the battery so you can carry it with you anywhere. 

The flashlight is IPX-8 Waterproof, meaning it can be submerged in up to 6 1/2 feet of water for 30 minutes. No heavy rain is going to cause it problems! The low voltage indicator lets you know when it's time to be re-charged. The battery life is excellent--over an hour on the highest setting, and up to 140 hours on the "eco" setting. The intelligent memory circuit actually remembers what was the last setting every time you switch on the light.

Price: At just under $90, the Fenix PD35 comes at a very reasonable price, considering everything that's included in this bundle pack. The flashlight even comes with two EdisonBright CR123A lithium batteries. 

Best Super Bright LED Flashlight Overall

99
Score 99
$26
44,247 Bought | Save: $29 (53% OFF)

Why People Love it

  • Extremely bright CREE LED
  • Built tough
  • Variety of settings and zoomable feature

Looking for a rechargeable, waterproof, adjustable, solidly made, and a powerful flashlight? Check, check, check, check, and check!

  • The most common issue is with the LED shorting out. Anker offers an 18-month warranty and customers rave about their customer service, so be sure to take advantage if you experience any issues.

Details

Purpose: Because this super bright flashlight comes with five different settings (low, medium, high, strobe, and SOS) and has a zoomable feature that allows you to take the beam from wide to narrow, you can really use this for anything. Hunting. Nighttime dog walks. Camping. Emergencies. And more. With  its 900-lumen light, it's easy to see why this is the best flashlight. The shock-resistant design will guarantee durability, no matter what you use it for. 

Performance: Aside from the short-outs some people experienced, this flashlight is top of the line—and for a great price. You get 6 hours of run-time from this flashlight, with a 6-hour recharge time for the batteries. You'll love the ambidextrous placement of the on/off switch. The aluminum housing is super tough, and the sealed construction ensures that it's fully dust and water-resistant. 

Price: It's super bright, super tough, and super efficient! What more could you ask for? Oh yes, an amazingly affordable price tag!

The Best Flashlight in 2018

  • Anker LC90 LED Flashlight
  • Fenix PD35 TAC Edition Tactical Flashlight
  • J5 Tactical V1-Pro 300 Ultra Bright Flashlight
  • Streamlight Stinger DS LED Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Supernova Guardian Professional Tactical LED Flashlight
  • BYB Super Bright 9 Flashlight
  • PathBrite Headlamp Flashlight
  • Streamlight Stylus Pro Pen Light with LED
  • ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight
  • Nebo Big Larry Magnum LED Flashlight

Types of Flashlights

Go to any flashlight page on Amazon or eBay, and you'll find lots of different flashlight options. Here's what you need to know about each:

 

LED Flashlights – Most flashlights today are "LED Flashlights", meaning they use LED bulbs in place of the old incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are cheaper and more reliable!

Most LED flashlights use one of the following Cree LED bulbs:

  • XM-L (T6)/(U2), the bulb used in most LED flashlights, with a maximum output around 700 lumens
  • XR-E (R2), with around 300 lumen count
  • XP-E (R2), with around 300 lumen count, but larger than the XR-E
  • XP-G (R5) and XP-G2, which have a higher lumen count (500+) and better beam-throwing capabilities
  • XP-C (Q4), a low-power LED bulb that is cheap and prone to overheating (BAD!)
  • XM-L2 U2/U3, another common bulb with a light output upwards of 1000 lumens.
  • XP-L/HI, available since 2014, has a similar light output above 1000 lumens.

Tactical Flashlight – Tactical flashlights are devices that have been designed for military or police use. Some classic features of military and tactical flashlights include:

  • The ability to mount to a weapon
  • Higher lumen emissions
  • Compact size
  • Made with weapons-grade aluminum
  • Strike plate for use in hand-to-hand combat
  • Switch placement at the tip for quick turning on
  • Multiple light settings

"Tactical" and "Military" flashlights are usually the same, though some are designed with law enforcement and others with military use in mind.

Ultra-Bright Flashlight – Also known as a "portable sun", these flashlights offer extremely bright beams (upwards of 3,000 lumens, with some reaching as high as 8,500 lumens). These are usually used by security guards, law enforcement, and the military, but they are always not built with a "tactical" design (see features above).

Types of Flashlight Bulbs

LED – Light Emitting Diode (LED) flashlights have an LED bulb that generates a good amount of light without producing heat. LED bulbs have a VERY long lifespan (around 10,000 hours) and are highly durable, thanks to their lack of filament or glass. LED lights were once pricier, but now they're so common that they're usually the best-priced flashlights on the market.

Incandescent – These are the classic flashlights that have been around for decades. They use a glass and filament light bulb, so they're prone to breakage and have a shorter lifespan. The bulb generates heat as well as light, so energy is wasted—thus the bulb doesn't shine as bright. These are cheap and available EVERYWHERE.

Xenon, Krypton, and Halogen – These flashlights use filament bulbs filled with pressurized gases that help to extend the lifespan of the filament. The bulb burns brighter (by burning the gas) without generating more heat or wasting energy. They are the brightest flashlights on the market, but don't last as long as LED bulbs.

HID – High Intensity Discharge (HID) flashlights have a bulb that uses electricity passing through a ball of ionized gas. They're bulky, pricey, and not as common as other types, but VERY bright.

Shake – Shake flashlights, also known as Faraday flashlights, contain magnets that, when shaken, produce light via electromagnetism. A minute or two of shaking will produce an hour or two of light, but the light isn't very bright. They're used more for emergency flashlights than anything else.

Flashlight Terms You Need to Know

When it comes to buying the flashlight itself, it's always easy to consider the more common features: switch, light bulb, length, weight, etc. However, there are a few less common terms you need to know:

 

"Headlamp" – This is a flashlight designed to sit on your head, useful for cyclists, miners, or hikers. They can use LED, incandescent, or other light bulbs—all that matters is that they're strapped to headgear that allows you to use a flashlight hands-free.

"Penlight" – This flashlight is built into a pen, usually a small LED bulb incorporated into a metal housing. The light can be bright, but it's usually used in emergency situations as a back-up flashlight.

"Magnetic Selector" – Instead of clicking a button to turn the flashlight on/off or change settings, a magnetic ring selector allows you to turn a ring immediately to your desired flashlight setting (bright, dim, flashing, etc.). It's a pricey feature but very handy in a broad range of situations.

"CRI" – You'll often find flashlights with "high CRI" or "neutral CRI". CRI refers to the Color Rendering Index, or how closely the artificial light resembles sunlight. Neutral CRI flashlights tend to be more artificial, while high CRI flashlights emit light beams that look surprisingly natural.

"Portable Sun" – This is a fancy marketing term for VERY bright flashlights. A portable sun usually has upwards of 3,000 Lumens (see the definition of lumens below), and the light is designed to cover long distances (hundreds of yards/meters). These hyper-bright flashlights tend to be pricey and use a lot of battery power, but are excellent in case you need something very bright.

"USB Charging" – A flashlight that markets itself as "USB Charging" means that it can be plugged into a USB port (directly to the wall or your computer) to charge the battery. Most USB charged flashlights are on the smaller, weaker side, though there are some multi-functional, long-lasting LED flashlights that are designed to be charged via USB cable. It's a handy recharging feature perfect for security personnel or in urban settings.

"Strike Plate" – This is often something you'll see on flashlights that are marketed as personal safety devices. A strike plate is a reinforced section of the flashlight intended to be used to strike an assailant or attacker. It's a common feature on tactical flashlights, as the strike plate turns the flashlight into an extra "weapon".

"Adjustable Focus" – This is a feature that allows you to determine the intensity of the beam. A low-intensity beam is better for lighting up a larger area, while a high-intensity beam is ideal for outdoor use in low-visibility and foggy conditions. Flashlights with adjustable focus allow you to determine how focused or dispersed the beam of your light is.

"Output Modes" – Some flashlights are designed with one setting: On. This is called a "single output" flashlight. "Multi-Mode" flashlights come with multiple settings, including dim, medium, high, and strobe. Some flashlights are even customizable to allow you to adjust the settings as desired.

"Tailstanding" – This means that the flashlight's tail is designed to be flat so you can stand it on end. This is useful for campsites, tents, or even indoor use. A good flashlight will be tailstanding.

What is a Lumen?

When shopping for flashlights, you'll always read or hear about how it has "500 lumens" or "1,000 lumens".

The term "lumen" actually refers to a unit of light or brightness. In a pitch black room, there are 0 lumens of light. The more lumens there are, the brighter the flashlight.

In your typical LED flashlight, you'll find anywhere from 20 to 250 lumens.

Lower-end flashlights usually generate up to 80 lumens.

Mid-range flashlights are closer to 250.

High output LED flashlights will generate up to 500 lumens.

An ultra-high LED light will emit over 500 lumens.

(Remember the "portable sun" mentioned above? That bad boy can let off upwards of 3,000 lumens, making it a HYPER-bright flashlight!)

See the lumen chart below:

Source: CNET.com

What is a Candela?

Lumens aren't the only term used to describe flashlight beams. While lumens refers to the brightness, "candela" is the term used to refer to the intensity of the beam. The higher the candela (intensity), the stronger the beam.

Cheap, low-cost LED work lights usually have a beam below 2,000 candela. The beam isn't strong but it doesn't need to be because it's designed to illuminate a radius rather than generate a directed beam.

LED flashlights usually emit a beam anywhere between 2,000 and 25,000 candela. Higher candelas mean a more intense, brighter beam that can penetrate fog and gloom.

Tightly focused LED flashlights emit a beam upwards of 25,000 candela. The beams are much more focused, so they have more illuminating power specifically where the beam is pointed.

Understanding Power and Runtime

There are multiple power sources used for your flashlight:

AA/AAA Batteries – This is the classic power source for smaller flashlights, or for modern LED flashlights that don't require as much power to produce bright beams. These are cheap and easily available everywhere. You can find rechargeable batteries to help you cut back on waste.

• Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) bulbs last for around 1,000 recharge cycles.

• Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) bulbs last for more than 1,000 recharge cycles, and are more energy-dense than basic Nickel Cadmium batteries.

• Capacitor batteries last for upwards of 50,000 cycles, charge faster than regular batteries, are lightweight, but will discharge power more quickly than regular batteries.

• Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries will usually last for around 500 recharge cycles, and tend to lose power if unused. They're often used in high-tech flashlights, as they're common for portable electronic and laptop power sources.

C/D Batteries – These bad boys are the power source of choice for the larger incandescent flashlights used by security personnel, as they store more energy and add extra heft to a flashlight that doubles as a baton or weapon of self-defense. However, they're being phased out, as LED lights require less power but tend to generate more light.

Battery Packs – High-grade flashlights often come with proprietary rechargeable battery packs integrated into the design. Some flashlights can be used with both batteries and battery packs, while others are intended to be used ONLY with manufacturer-made packs.

123A Lithium Batteries – These batteries come with twice the voltage of regular alkaline batteries, but are half as large/heavy. They're much pricier, however, and thus are usually only incorporated into tactical flashlights.

How long should your flashlight last on each battery charge? The "runtime" of each flashlight will depend on both the flashlight and the power source:

Larger flashlights with larger batteries (C/D) tend to last for upwards of five hours.

Tactical and rechargeable flashlights use smaller batteries that hold a smaller charge, so their runtime is anywhere from 1-5 hours.

Small tactical flashlights that use capacitor batteries will have a much shorter runtime—anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the light output.

Of course, the amount of time the battery will charge depends on the type of battery used. Some will take just a few minutes, while others will need hours to recharge.

Capacitor batteries are designed to charge completely in around 90-120 seconds.

Fast-charge rechargeable batteries (usually NiMH or NiCd) will require 2 to 3 hours of charging time.

Lithium Ion batteries will usually take 3 to 5 hours to fully charge.

Standard rechargeable batteries (NiMH or NiCd) will take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to charge fully.

Factors to Consider When Flashlight Shopping

Here is a list of everything you need to think about when buying a flashlight:

Size – Tactical flashlights usually range between 4 and 5 inches long, mid-sized flashlights are anywhere between 6 and 10 inches long, and a full-sized light (for security) are longer than 10 inches.

Lens Material – Borofloat glass is a high temperature, durable glass that offers good transparency. Anti-reflective coated glass produces a very bright beam but is easily scratched. Plastic is the cheapest type of lens and is easily scratched or damaged. Anti-scratch coated polycarbonate is unbreakable and scratch-resistant without being too pricey.

Body Design – Cylindrical flashlights are traditional but are prone to rolling (on the ground), while anti-roll flashlights use a flat bezel surface, asymmetrical design, or anti-roll ring to stop the flashlight from rolling away. The switch may be set in the head (common with larger flashlights) or tail (common with tactical flashlights). They'll use either a button, a switch, or a magnetic ring to turn on.

Body Material -- Polymer is lightweight, durable, and cheap, and is usually used for basic flashlights. Type II Anodize is a thinner finish used on an aluminum body, but Type III Anodize is durable, scratch-resistant, but very pricey.

Heatsink – Heatsinks are usually incorporated into the body of an aluminum flashlight, while polymer flashlights tend to use aluminum LED housings for heatsinking (drawing the head away from the bulb to extend lifespan).

Warranty – A basic flashlight will usually come with a warranty that lasts from 1 to 5 years, but high-grade flashlights often have a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.

Water Resistance – IPX4 means water-resistant, and it can be used in most weather. This is the most common resistance rating. IPX7 means waterproof, so it can be submersed underwater (1 meter) for 30 minutes without permanent damage. IPX8 means submersible (to a specific depth, as determined by the manufacturer) for continuous use. Most IPX8 flashlights are intended for use by divers and underwater repair technicians.

Impact Resistance – The average flashlight will have a 1 or 2-meter impact resistance, though you can find some designed to handle upwards of 3 meters. The higher the impact resistance, the more durable the design.

Ergonomics – An ergonomic flashlight is comfortable to hold for hours. It's a mixture of lightweight, easy to grip, and comfortable for the wrists. Most flashlights are designed with some ergonomics in mind, but you can find a wide range of specially-built ergonomic lights.

Purpose – High-precision tactical and military lights are different from flashlights used for hunting, fishing, outdoor sports, camping, or hiking.

 

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A six-year marketing veteran and a writer since the womb, Suzanne Scacca now specializes in writing content for a variety of audiences. She has been published on Inc.com, Examiner, SEJ, Elegant Themes, and other marketing, tech, hospitality, and business blogs. When not writing about the latest news and trends, Suzanne can be found hanging out with her dog, eating way too much dessert, and watching horror movies.

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