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Scared of the dark? You won't be if you get one of our favorite flashlights

You forget about flashlights until you desperately need one. Stay prepared for anything--including Halloween activities--with the best flashlights on the market. ZDNET also explains why lumens and power matter.

We often take flashlights for granted -- until we're stuck in a power outage or on a camping trip. If you're taking the kids trick-or-treating this year, a powerful flashlight can help ensure the whole family stays safe (and fearless). Skip the dim horror movie lighting, and invest in one of the best flashlights on the market. 

ZDNET's experts analyzed the flashlight market for top performers that combine power with durability. Make sure you're always prepared, whether you're finding your way around a dark basement, or telling spooky stories around a campfire.

Also: Enjoy sitting around bonfires this fall with our favorite camping chairs

When an old, flickering flashlight just won't do, these are the best high-tech flashlights to illuminate your path:

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Powerful beam
  • Extended runtime
  • 10-minute quick-charge
cons
  • Larger size
  • Brightest setting reduces battery life to 3 hours
More Details

Features:

  • Battery
  • Charging cable
  • Holster

The Fenix PD36R is our pick for the best flashlight due to its excellent performance and easy convenience. Its rugged design is made of anodized aluminum for extra durability, and it boasts a replaceable, rechargeable 5000mAh battery. Just a single charge offers more than 115 hours of use. Plus, a quick 10-minute charge via type-C USB cord can give you up to 5 hours of usage in a pinch. 

The LED lighting delivers up to 1600 lumens, which can illuminate your way for up to 309 yards -- more than enough range for everyday carry. It also includes a two-way body clip that you can attach to your bag, purse, backpack, or belt for easy access.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Sturdy, crushproof construction
  • Waterproof
  • USB-A port for charging other devices
cons
  • Slightly bulky
  • Average brightness
More Details

Features:

  • AC adapter 
  • DC adapter 
  • Li-Ion battery pack
  • 4 x AA batteries

The Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight makes a splash, offering 530 lumens of illumination for excellent performance. Made of aluminum and stainless steel, it is both drop-proof and crush-proof with a waterproof build. The flashlight offers a 35-hour runtime, thanks to a dual power system that can run on both a li-ion battery pack or four AA batteries. The battery pack even includes a USB port capable of charging your other devices, a convenient addition when you're away from home and need a quick charge. 

There are two light modes with a spot or wide-angle flood beam, either of which can be accessed with a simple rotation of the head. The Quick-Cycle power switch also offers a convenient way to choose between the three brightness modes of full, medium, and low, helping you conserve power when you don't need maxed out lighting.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Haptic low-battery reminder
  • Durable construction
cons
  • Exclusive battery and charger
  • Dual modes only
More Details

Features:

  • Warrior X Pro battery
  • MCC3 Magnetic Charging Cable
  • Stainless Steel Pocket Clip
  • Lanyard
  • Tactical Grip Ring 

With its blue rim and black aluminum body, the Olight Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Tactical Flashlight is an attractive device that doesn't sacrifice quality. It is the dressed-up version of Olight's Warrior X, adding enhanced performance with a faster battery. Plus, this model is IPX8-rated, surviving a three-meter drop test. 

LED lights are extremely powerful with 2100 lumens that can light up to 500 meters away with both high and low modes. The battery only allows for an eight-hour runtime, but it's rechargeable with the MCC3 fast-charging cable that enables continued use while charging. Plus, a one-year warranty is included with your purchase. 

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Low price tag
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Memory mode
cons
  • Limited output
  • No SOS feature
More Details

Features:

  • Pocket clip 
  • Lanyard 
  • Spare O-rings

The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 offers several unique bonus features. There are five modes in total: Firefly, low, medium, high, and strobe. This gives you far more options than the average flashlight, so you can get exactly the right kind of lighting for your adventure without wasting power. It has a maximum output of 500 lumens thanks to its CREE XP-L2 LEDs that illuminate up to 93 meters away. 

To ensure long-term use, this flashlight is impact-resistant for up to one meter and has a waterproof rating of IPX8 with a dust-proof design. Plus, the body is tough, made of aerospace-grade aluminum and a military-grade finish that can survive any obstacle you may encounter. Impressively, the model manages to offer all of these features using just two AA batteries.

Pros & Cons
pros
  • Affordable price tag
  • Great lumen count
  • Compact
cons
  • Shorter battery life
More Details

Features:

  • Holster
  • USB-C Charging Cable
  • Pocket clip 

With the ThruNite EDC Flashlight Archer Pro, you get a flashlight that is extremely powerful for its size, offering 1022 lumens capable of illuminating up to 134 meters ahead. When the 37-hour battery begins to run low, simply use USB-C charging port and included cable to top up the included cell quickly and easily.

As far as modes go, this model carries the same ones found on the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 with firefly, low, high, turbo, and strobe light settings. However, the Archer Pro includes an IPX-8 waterproof rating to work in even two meters of water.    

What is the best flashlight?

The best flashlight is the Fenix PD36R for its performance and durability. Although it's pricier than most, it holds an impressive charge and produces one of the highest light output levels on our list. Overall, it is a great everyday carry flashlight for your day-to-day needs.

Best flashlight

Price

Output (lumens)

Max Runtime 

Fenix PD36R Flashlight

$100.45

1600

115+ hours  

Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight

$66.99

530

35 hours

Olight Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Tactical Flashlight

$119.95

2100

8 hours

ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight

$29.99

500

12 days

ThruNite EDC Flashlight Archer Pro Flashlight

$33.99

1022

15 days

Which is the right flashlight for you?

To help determine which is the right flashlight for you, these are our expert tips to help. 

Choose this flashlight...

If you want...

Fenix PD36R Flashlight

An excellent all-purpose pick

Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight 

A durable pick for camping or boating

Olight Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Tactical Flashlight

A tactical flashlight with exceptional brightness

ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Flashlight

A value pick with reliability

ThruNite EDC Flashlight Archer Pro

A small, rechargeable option

How did we choose these flashlights?

There are several factors we considered when searching for the best flashlight:

  • Output: Light is measured in lumens, which indicates how powerful a flashlight is. The higher the lumens, the brighter your flashlight will be. 

  • Size: Size is a concern, as you want a flashlight that is easy and convenient to handle without too much weight.

  • Power: Most flashlights are battery-powered, but they can vary in whether they use disposable cells or rechargeable ones. The models on this list use everything from standard AA batteries to rechargeable, replaceable cells, to built-in, permanent ones.

  • Cost: The cost of flashlights can vary significantly. Be sure to compare options to find the best flashlight based on your needs and budget.

What is an EDC flashlight?

An EDC flashlight is an everyday carry flashlight that is durable and reliable enough to use on a daily basis while being compact enough to easily stow in a bag or even a pocket.

How much do the best flashlights cost?

The best flashlights vary in cost from $30 to about $120 each, depending on the model and features you choose, as well as the size and duration of their battery. 

Are there alternative flashlights worth considering?

While searching for the best flashlights, we found other options that may be worthy of your consideration. 

For other products worth checking out, review our lists for the best camping chairs, best extreme weather tech, and the best camping gear and tools!

Editorial standards

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