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The 5 best flashlights: Light the way

What is the best flashlight? The best flashlight is the Fenix PD36R, combining affordability with strong performance and excellent battery life.
lena-borrelli-author.jpg
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on

Flashlights are a tool that we take for granted -- until we're stuck in a power outage or on a camping trip with one that barely illuminates the path ahead. Instead, skip the dim horror movie lighting and choose a reliable model of the best flashlight. A flashlight should combine power with performance, so you can ensure you're always prepared.

When any old flashlight just won't do, these are the best flashlights to light the way:

Fenix PD36R
Amazon

In the box

  • Battery
  • Charging cable
  • Holster

At a glance 

The Fenix PD36R is our pick for the best flashlight thanks to its strong performance, durability, and convenience. It has a rugged design made of anodized aluminum for extra durability, and it boasts a 5000mAh battery that is rechargeable. Just a single charge gives more than 115 hours of use. When it comes time to charge, a type-C USB charger is included that charges the flashlight at double the speed of a normal charger. 

This flashlight incorporates LED lighting that delivers up to 1600 lumens, illuminating the way up to 309 yards away. It is a good amount, making it a proper everyday carry (EDC) flashlight. Enjoy two premium modes: turbo mode and a strobe function with intelligent mode memory. It even includes a two-way body clip that you can attach to your bag, purse, backpack, or belt for easy access.

Pros

Cons

  • Powerful beam

  • Extended runtime

  • Memory function

  • Larger size

  • No battery progress bar

Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight
Amazon

In the box

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

At a glance

The Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight makes a splash, offering 530 lumens of pure beam-focusing optic for excellent performance. Made of aluminum and stainless steel, it is both drop-proof and crush-proof with a waterproof build. There is 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 includes a USB port for your other devices, a convenient addition when you are away from home and need a quick charge. 

There are two modes with spot and wide-angle flood beams and are adjustable with a simple rotation of the head. The Bulls-Eye Spot Beam uses a hot spot feature that focuses the beam on a particular object so you can see better.  With a Quick-Cycle Switch, it is a simple matter to choose between the three light modes of full, medium, and low. It gives you just another option with this multi-faceted model.

Pros

Cons

  • Sturdy, crushproof construction

  • Waterproof

  • Ergonomic fit

  • Slightly bulky

  • Average brightness

OLIGHT Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Tactical Flashlight
Longhorn Tactical

In the box

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

At a glance

With its blue rim and black aluminum body, the OLIGHT Warrior X Pro 2100 Lumens Tactical Flashlight is an attractive device that does not sacrifice quality. It is the dressed-up version of Olight's Warrior X, adding enhanced performance with a faster battery. This is a model that 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 is rechargeable with the MCC3 fast-charging cable that enables continued use. A one-year warranty is included with your purchase. 

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent performance

  • Includes tons of accessories

  • Durable construction

  • Exclusive battery and charger

  • Dual modes only

ThruNite Archer Flashlight
Amazon

In the box

  • Pocket clip 
  • Lanyard 
  • Spare O-rings

At a glance

The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 offers several bonus features not commonly seen in flashlights. There are five modes in total: Firefly, Low, Medium, High, and Strobe. It gives you far more options than the average flashlight, so you can get exactly the right kind of lighting for your adventure. It has an output of 500 lumens with CREE XP-L2 LED lighting that illuminates up to 93 meters away. 

To further help, this flashlight is impact-resistant for up to one meter, plus it has a waterproof rating of IPX8 with a dust-proof design. The body is tough, made of aerospace-grade aluminum and a military-grade finish to survive obstacles you may encounter. For charge, you will need to provide two AA batteries.

Pros

Cons

  • Low price tag

  • Long-lasting battery

  • Memory mode

  • Limited output

  • No SOS feature

ThruNite Flashlight brightest
Amazon

In the box

  • Holster
  • USB-C Charging Cable
  • Pocket clip
  • Batteries 
  • Lanyard

At a glance

With the ThruNite TC15 V3, you get a flashlight that is extremely powerful with 731 feet covered with light. With CREE XHP 35.2 LED technology, it gives phenomenal exposure through 2403 lumens. When the battery indicator reveals that your battery is running low, simply use the rechargeable IMR battery cell for a boost. There is a USB type C charging port with an included cable for simple use. 

As far as performance, this model carries the same modes as the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 with firefly, low, medium, high, turbo, and strobe light settings. However, the TC15 V3 is far more powerful and includes an IPX-8 waterproof rating to work in even two meters of water.    

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable price tag

  • Highest output on our list

  • Long-running battery

  • May be too bright for some users

What is the best flashlight?

The best flashlight is the Fenix PD36R for its performance and durability. It is a bit pricier than most but it holds an impressive charge and produces decent output. Overall, it is a great EDC flashlight for your day-to-day needs.

Product

Cost

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 TC15 V3 Flashlight

$59.99

2403

30 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 product...

If you want...

Fenix PD36R Flashlight

An excellent EDC pick

Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight 

A durable pick

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 TC15 V3 Flashlight

A pick with longevity

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 tells 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 heft.

  • Power: Most flashlights are battery-powered, but they can differ in how they charge. While some utilize your everyday AA batteries, others may include a rechargeable battery pack.

  • Cost: The cost of flashlights can vary significantly, as seen above. Be sure to compare options to find the best flashlight within your 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.

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. 

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!

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