After 110 hours of research evaluating 251 products, we picked Anker LC90 LED Flashlight as our top choice.
You want the brightest flashlight available within your price point. You also want the best flashlight based on the features you need for your particular situation.
For more rugged needs, we have also chosen the best tactical flashlight currently available.
We'll help you pick the best flashlight for your situation. For example, the best tactical flashlight has plenty of lumens, but it is not the brightest flashlight on our list.
Our Brightest Flashlight award was broken down into three categories: Brightest flashlight under $100, $200 and $300. So we have a pick for every budget.
Also, LED technology has come a long way. So the best flashlights and the best LED flashlight options are now one in the same. It's all about LED.
We researched, tested, and selected the best options for each category, including tactical features as well as rechargeable features. We may not have actual Star Wars lightsabers yet, but how about a light that can actually start a fire?
This Dorcy Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight is impact resistant, extremely long lasting, inexpensive, and durable. The flashlight comes with 3 AA batteries and a built-in clip to accompany you on your outdoor adventures.
This flashlight is not extremely bright and does not reach a very long distance.
This flashlight is perfect for water and outdoor adventures. It's not extremely bright but will provide enough light to keep you going during your nighttime camping trip or boating adventure. The flashlight is slip-free thanks to the shock absorbing rubber around the body and top of the flashlight.
The Dorcy 3AA 4 LED Incredible Floating Flashlight is waterproof and able to float! With its 55 lumens of light, beam distance of 31 meters, and battery life of over 8 hours, this flashlight is perfect for night strolls or water activities. The built-in clip makes using this flashlight on-the-go simple.
This is the cheapest flashlight on our list, and it's exceptionally durable and impact resistant. We think this flashlight comes at a great value.
Works via hand-cranking or solar power. Compact design fits easily in a purse, backpack, or back pocket.
Significantly more expensive than other hand-crank flashlights. Also, it takes a long time to charge via solar power if you live in an area that isn’t very sunny.
The Goal Zero Torch 250 works well in emergency situations where you can’t access an electrical outlet or a set of batteries. It’s nice to have this flashlight on hand if your car breaks down or your battery-powered lantern dies during a camping trip.
It’s also an ecofriendly option for people who prefer to utilize the earth’s natural energy sources when possible. You power this flashlight by cranking it with your hand or setting it in the sunlight.
Use this 250-lumen flashlight to illuminate your vehicle, living room, or garage for anywhere from 7 to 48 hours when fully charged. However, it’s worth noting that it takes a while to charge it completely if you live in a cloudy area or don’t have much strength in your hands.
We’ll break it down for you: One minute of vigorous hand cranking equals two minutes of light. If you connect it to a USB port or set it in the sun, expect to wait at least 7 hours before it’s ready for use. This can be frustrating if you need light right away.
Despite the drawbacks, this is the best solar-powered flashlight we've found, and it's also one of the most versatile flashlights on our list. In addition to functioning as a regular flashlight, it has an emergency setting where the light shines red instead of white. It also works as a temporary power supply for smartphones and tablets.
Your wallet will be around $80 lighter after you buy this multipurpose flashlight from Goal Zero. That’s higher than other hand-crank flashlights we’ve researched, but it also does more than they do.
Works up to 80 feet below water’s surface. Includes a wrist strap for hands-free access as you navigate your surroundings.
Some users aren’t a fan of the twist control; they’d prefer an on/off switch.
Designed for underwater photographers and divers, but can also be used during beach vacations, cave explorations, and fishing excursions. Basically anytime you need a water-resistant flashlight.
A lanyard and an adjustable wrist strap make hands-free use a cinch as you swim through murky areas. The flashlight’s fluorescent exterior glows in dark areas, making it difficult to lose it during deep-sea dives.
This 1100-lumen BlueFire underwater flashlight works surprisingly well when you consider its price. Choose from two brightness levels and a strobe light as you photograph vibrant fish, search for hidden treasure, or examine colorful coral.
Reviewers praise the durable exterior, which effectively withstands drops and bumps during underwater adventures. Three waterproof O-rings prevent water from damaging the batteries or inner workings of this resilient flashlight, which shine brightly for up to 50,000 hours.
For optimum performance, remember to replace or recharge the batteries every few hours, plus rinse the flashlight in clean water after each use.
Around $15, plus free shipping for Prime members. Numerous reviewers say this flashlight is worth the price; in fact, some even say it works better than expected for a $15 flashlight.
Lasts up to 80 hours without recharging or replacing the batteries. Weather-resistant, water-resistant, and shock-resistant design.
It feels like a heavy-duty flashlight. Some users complain it’s hard to hold for long periods.
Maglite flashlights are popular with military members, police officers, and emergency responders, but they’re also great for regular folks who need a reliable light source.
If you fall into the second category, keep this flashlight on hand for power outages, household tasks (like that leaky pipe you’ve been meaning to fix), and late-night poop pickup when the dogs go outside. You can also use it while fishing, camping, or hiking.
This is only a 168-lumen flashlight, yet multiple reviewers rave about its brightness. We love that the bright light shines up to 80 hours before it needs new batteries. That gives you plenty of time to stay safe during a power outage or find your way back to camp after a wrong turn in the woods.
This flashlight is built to survive frequent use and rough tasks, so if you’ve accidentally broken other flashlights, this is the right one for you. It’s water-resistant and shock-resistant, so it can effectively handle unexpected drops, bumps, or dunks.
You’ll shell out around $30 to $35 for this heavy-duty Maglite, which reportedly lasts longer than many pricier models.
This flashlight’s 920-lumen count rivals the output of higher-priced models. Hands-free use is an option, and you can charge the flashlight in your car if you can’t make it home right away.
Replacement bulbs aren’t available from Stanley, so you’ll likely have to replace the entire flashlight if burnout occurs.
Tackle indoor projects in a dimly lit room or outdoor projects after dark with this powerful flashlight. This Stanley spotlight includes a pivoting stand for hands-free use, so you can prop it under your vehicle or on a desk as you work. This is a good starter flashlight if you’re learning how to do home repairs or have a job that requires you to provide your own supplies for basic maintenance or repair-related tasks.
This durable flashlight is also great for camping trips, evening hikes, and fishing trips. With 920 lumens, it’s not surprising that some reviewers refer to the beam as blindingly bright. However, it’s not bright enough to fully illuminate a dark warehouse, but it is brighter than many of the other budget-friendly flashlights on our list.
Shine this spotlight-style flashlight on dark areas and let the 10-watt, 920-lumen beam instantly brighten your surroundings. Choose from a low setting, which lasts up to 7 hours without draining the battery, or a high setting, which lasts up to one hour.
You receive AC and DC charging adapters with this Stanley flashlight, so you can easily recharge it at home or in your vehicle. The battery holds a charge for up to 12 months when the flashlight isn’t in use.
This 920-lumen Stanley flashlight typically costs between $40 and $50, but you can get a similar model for less if brightness doesn’t matter. Models with 192 lumens and 520 lumens generally cost less than $30.
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.
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 the best flashlight to use as 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.
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.
The price of this flashlight is standard for well-made, mid-grade LED flashlights.
Excellent brightness, concentrated beam, long battery life, lightweight, easy to take hiking or traveling, water and dustproof, red LED to preserve night vision, dimmable beam, switch lock, battery indicator light, and great price tag.
Single-button controls tend to be a bit finicky.
This headlamp is the best flashlight for hikers or campers who want light without carrying a flashlight. While it’s not as bright as your average flashlight, it’s more than bright enough to see what you’re doing while setting up a tent, cooking a camp meal, or following a trail.
The fact that it’s integrated into a headband means it will sit comfortably on your forehead and give you light wherever you’re looking. The perfect solution for hands-free lighting!
The Quad Power LED and Double Power LED combine to emit 300 lumens of light, which is more than enough for the average camper.
The single-button controls can be a bit tricky to use, but once you get the hang of them, you’ll love all the settings options you can cycle through: full strength proximity and distance mode, dimming setting, strobe light, and red night vision mode.
There’s even a lock mode to ensure the headlamp stays on while you’re using it or off while you’re traveling with it packed.
The headlamp is IPX8-rated for waterproofing, so it’s more than capable of remaining functional in heavy rains. It’s also dustproof and resistant to damage, drops, and falls. It’s durable, highly versatile, and the best choice of headlamps for hikers.
At $29, this is one of the best-priced headlamp flashlights on the market. You’ll love its functionality and durability, as well as its multiple light settings.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the best flashlight for situations whereyou want something 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.
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.
The base price is a total steal, and you'll find they're one of the best-valued flashlights on our list.
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.
This is the best flashlight under $30. It 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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the best flashlight for tactical purposes, but is still great 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.
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.
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.
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.
The J2 is the best flashlight for military, security, and police use. But beyond that, 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.
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.
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.
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, and the beam is wide and unfocused.
This is definitely a flashlight intended for use in large enclosed spaces (like a warehouse). It is the brightest flashlight we found under $300. 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!
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.
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.
This Fenix Flashlight is incredibly bright and perfect for outdoor nighttime use. It is lightweight, easy to use, and extremely durable. This flashlight is of high-quality technology and very affordable.
This flashlight cannot stand on its own. In other words, the tail end is not flat and will not enable the flashlight to stand up right.
This flashlight is pocket-sized and primarily for outdoor use, security use, or law enforcement. It has two general modes - Outdoor Mode and Tactical Mode. The Outdoor Mode has six output modes meaning you'll never have an issue seeing in the dark again. It's 5.51 inches and runs on one 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries.
This flashlight is incredibly bright and can shine up to 656 feet or 200 meters. It provides robust and reliable lighting for a wide variety of situations. This flashlight comes with a low-voltage reminder so you'll never have to worry about your battery running out of power in a time of need. The Fenix has a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours and can reach up to 1000 Lumens.
The price of this flashlight cannot be beaten. It's under $70 and will last you up to 50,000 hours - plus it's one of the brightest flashlights on the market. If you need a flashlight for nighttime outdoor use, security, or law enforcement - this should be your go-to.
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.
Feature by feature, this is the best flashlight overall on our list. 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.
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.
It's super bright, super tough, and super efficient! What more could you ask for? Oh yes, an amazingly affordable price tag!
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 and how you find the best flashlight for your particular needs:
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:
Tactical Flashlight – Tactical flashlights are devices that have been designed for military or police use. Some classic features of military and tactical flashlights include:
"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).
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 provide an hour or two of light, but the light isn't very bright. They're used more for emergency flashlights than anything else.
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 typically 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 standard 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 tail standing.
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:
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.
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.
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) is 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). In contrast, 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. In contrast, 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 that it can be submerged 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 one or two-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 a 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.