The 10 Best Flashlights

Updated November 15, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Flashlights
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Shed some light on any poorly illuminated situation with one of these compact and highly portable flashlights. With sizes ranging from pocket to pistol grip, and light outputs going up to an impressive 6,000 lumens, we've included models ideal for just about any purpose you can imagine. Stick one in your backpack or pocket when camping or hiking or in your vehicle's glove box. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best flashlight on Amazon.

10. EcoGear FX TK120X

The EcoGear FX TK120X features an emergency window-breaking head. Unfortunately, the build quality makes it seem like it might not last after one or two strikes. Its ultra bright setting has an impressive throw distance of nearly 1,000 feet and the light can be focused.
  • high light intensity
  • comes with a free mini flashlight
  • cannot be submerged
Brand EcoGear FX
Model TK120X
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. ThorFire S70

The ThorFire S70 is a smart choice for hiking and camping in the wilderness. It has a turbo mode that instantly produces 3,000 lumens for a short period of time, and high, medium, and low modes that produce 1,800, 320, and 65 lumens respectively.
  • suitable for search and rescue needs
  • 90 hour run time on low
  • feels unbalanced in the hand
Brand Thorfire
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. ThruNite TN4A

The ThruNite TN4A is a handy option to keep in the glove box or tool box. It is just a touch over four inches long, so it can be easily carried around in the pocket, is powered by standard AA batteries, and has a memory for your preferred go-to function.
  • produces a cool white light
  • includes a lanyard and spare o-ring
  • shortcut to firefly mode
Brand ThruNite
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Streamlight TLR-1

At just 4.2 ounces, the Streamlight TLR-1 still manages to put out an impressive 800 lumens with a 12,000 candela peak beam intensity. The housing is made from machined aircraft aluminum to withstand drops, bumps and dings without ever failing on you when you need it most.
  • double tap for direct strobe access
  • designed to be gun mounted
  • reliable in all weather conditions
Brand Streamlight
Model 69260
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. Olight S30R III

The Olight S30R III offers a light beam distance of nearly 1,000 feet. Its lens is made from tough, ultra-clear tempered glass with a dual-sided, anti-reflective coating, and its aluminum body withstands impacts from over 1.5 meters high.
  • multiple operating modes
  • magnetic end cap
  • allows for usb charging
Brand Olight
Weight 9 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. Nitecore Tiny Monster TM26

If you need the power of the Sun in a compact unit that easily fits in your pocket, look no further than the powerful Nitecore Tiny Monster TM26. It produces 4,000 lumens, features 8 easily switchable brightness levels/modes to choose from, and has a steel bezel ring.
  • built-in thermal protection circuit
  • has an anti-reflective coating
  • submersible up to 2 meters
Brand Nitecore
Model TM26
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Streamlight ProTAC HL

The Streamlight ProTAC HL is available in models ranging from 70 lumens to 1,100 lumens, so there is one for every need. It uses C4 LED technology for extreme brightness and is completely waterproof and shockproof for use in the most intense situations.
  • comes with a rechargeable battery
  • has a momentary-on function
  • tight pocket clip keeps it secure
Brand Streamlight
Model 88040
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. SureFire Defender Series

The SureFire Defender Series is available in a 300 or 500 watt model and features a strike bezel for breaking windows. It produces a tight beam with an extra long throw distance, yet still provides enough periphery light to keep you aware of your surroundings.
  • tactical tail-cap switch
  • removable belt clip
  • durable tempered glass lens
Brand SureFire Defender Serie
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Maglite RL1019

If you are on the fence about whether you need a club or a flashlight, then you probably want the hefty Maglite RL1019. At 12 inches long, it doubles as a tactical defense item, and it provides 643 lumens at full power, which makes it bright enough for any need.
  • adjustable beam width
  • eco-mode for extended run time
  • user-programmable function cycles
Brand Mag-Lite
Model RL1019
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. EdisonBright Fenix RC40

Using its Cree XM-L2 U2 LEDs, the EdisonBright Fenix RC40 generates an ultra-high output of up to 6,000 lumens, giving it the ability to be used as a portable searchlight. Its aerospace-grade aluminum construction also keeps it light and super easy to carry.
  • enhanced heat-dissipating fins
  • comes with a shoulder strap
  • dual neck switch for fast operation
Brand EdisonBright
Model RC40
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Where The Light Comes From

Flashlights, often called torches in other (backward?) parts of the world, are such simple devices that their genius can easily be overlooked.

All they really do is take a charge from a battery or set of batteries and convert it into light through a simple circuit and a little bulb of tungsten, halogen, or LED.

It's a head-slapping, "duh"-inducing setup, but the devices that existed before the flashlight came about were so much less efficient and so much more dangerous.

It would be one thing if all a flashlight did was to light up a little bulb and let it do its thing. What helps to both redirect and magnify the light from that bulb, however, is a concave reflector on the inside of the flashlight head.

Often, this reflective material works in concert with a kind of zoom lens you can manipulate to change the intensity of your light from that of a powerful spot to a more evenly distributed flood light.

That light is often measured in lumens (lm), thanks to a recent marketing strategy that's really caught on in the last decade or so.

It's a simple and popular way to understand how bright your flashlight can get, but it doesn't correlate directly to the distance the light can travel once you put a lens in front of it and a reflector behind it. Generally speaking, though, more lumens is a good thing.

Carry The Torch If You Can

There is no shortage of options when it comes to selecting a flashlight for your home, or work, or for recreation. I have my plethora of personal biases about what makes a good flashlight, and I certainly have my particular set of intended uses.

But I'm more concerned with what's going to be most useful to you than evangelizing for one style of torch. That said, I think a little perspective, some common sense about flashlights, if you will, would be of use.

There's a saying in the camera industry that the best camera is the one you've got on you. That idea is one of the primary drivers that continues to see high-tech camera developments in the world of cell phones.

The same is true of your flashlight, and if you're getting it to keep in your car for emergencies or to take camping with you, a light that's too big, or that has too short a battery life, is useless to you. Those giant, superpowered flashlights, for example, have no place in the woods or in your Winnebago.

Take a second to think about what you actually want to do with the thing. Are you a professional criminal looking for just the right light source when breaking and entering? You might want something with adjustments both for light zoom and intensity.

Perhaps you're more interested in blinding the guy who just broke into your house with his nice adjustable flashlight. You might want one of the more insanely powerful torches like the piece at number one, or maybe one that can easily be attached to a firearm.

Shine On, You Crazy Flashlight

What you're looking at here is one of, if not the, first flashlight ever invented. Before this little puppy came along, people lit the way with actual torches, candles, and lanterns running on oil.

You wouldn't think it by looking at it, but inventions like this one more or less torpedoed the whaling industry, the primary purpose of which (you have no idea how tempted I was to write 'porpoise' just now) was to provide oil as fuel for light.

You know what? Once you do get yourself a nice flashlight, make like a kid trying to stay up past his or her bedtime and huddle with it under the covers reading Moby Dick. You'll thank me later.

That flashlight there was invented in 1898 by the owner of the Eveready Battery Company, whose batteries took after the early dry designs that only came out a decade or so before. In fact, it was a pretty short span from the inventions of both the bulb and the battery to the invention of the flashlight.

It's original purpose? Lighting up flowers. That's right. These lights were designed, at least according to legend, to light up flowerpots containing prized flora during the midnight hours.

Other than their intended use, not a lot has changed about the designs through the last century. Sure, flashlights have gotten stronger and more efficient, but at its core it's still just batteries, bulb, lens, and switch.

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Last updated on November 15, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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