No matter who you are, having access to a high-quality flashlight is non-negotiable. You might think you don’t need one, but suddenly, you lose power. You’re alone in the dark. You don’t just need a flashlight, you need an ultra-bright, LED flashlight — one that’s reliable, no matter what.
Hunters, campers, survivalists, and practical shoppers agree: a top flashlight can give you peace of mind in the face of any number of unpredictable circumstances. But which one should you buy?
That’s where we come in. After painstakingly creating a list of flashlight reviews, we came up with the official 2019 guide: we’ll help you find the best flashlight for the money, as well as for your needs. Here are the 10 best LED flashlights of 2019, including the pros and cons of each, and why each product discussed is a good investment.
A Question to Ask Yourself Before You Buy
Before you start looking to buy an LED flashlight, there’s something you need to ask yourself. What are you going to use it for?
In terms of LED flashlights, the market is composed of four primary categories:
- Everyday Carry (EDC): These are flashlights for practical shoppers. Best for use around the house, in the car, or for emergencies in travel bags, EDC flashlights are reliable LED flashlights that won’t break the bank.
- Rechargeable: Now, rechargeable flashlights aren’t so much their own category as they are a feature of some top-selling products in other categories, but all the same, these more eco-friendly options are popular enough to deserve a separate mention.
- Tactical: True tactical flashlights are used in tandem with a firearm — the modern definition of a “tactical” flashlight is one that’s light and mobile, produces reliably bright light, and is reserved for the hardcore survivalists, hunters, and long-term camping trippers.
- Utility: Utility flashlights aren’t typically flashlights at all. This category is comprised mainly of hands-free illumination like headlamps, or more industrial tools like torches, which, while useful, aren’t a direct fit for the “flashlight” category.
A good flashlight is like a car — you wouldn’t be able to trust the cheapest model on the market, would you? While there are some quality budget flashlights out there (a few that we’ll mention here), if you want the best LED flashlight, you may find yourself making an investment. Here’s our list of the top 10, and why the investment you end making will be worth it.
1. Olight S1
The Olight S1 isn’t the brightest you’ll find, ranging from 80 lumens at its lowest setting and only 500 at its highest, but that’s more than enough for a flashlight as convenient as this one for everyday carry.
The S1 is small enough to fit in your pocket, purse, backpack or briefcase, making it perfect for a non-intrusive emergency backup. Have a change a tire at night or find your way around the house when the power’s out? The Olight S1 is compact and magnetic for hands-free convenience. And, for a high-quality flashlight, the S1 is relatively inexpensive, coming in at around $40.00 – $50.00 online.
To purchase the Olight S1, click here.
2. Maglite ML300L 6 Cell Flashlight
If there’s any brand name on the list that even the uninitiated will know, it’s almost certainly the Maglite brand. In 1979, Maglite became a true leader in the American flashlight manufacturing scene, quickly becoming the official flashlight supplier of police departments, first responders, and civilians in need of a solution that can withstand a lot of wear and tear without faltering.
If you’re looking for something light and versatile, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. Maglite flashlights are known for being heavy — heavy enough to double as blunt instruments, perfect for self-defense. With that in mind, the Maglite ML300L has excellent battery life (177 hours) when it’s eco-mode setting, and is a reliable choice for a range of purposes.
Buy the Maglite ML300L here.
3. Smith and Wesson Delta Force
From the company best known for making handguns, the Delta Force represents the most durable and best LED flashlights on the market. It’s not as small and versatile as most “tactical” flashlights, which you’d think a product made by a gunmaker would be, but that doesn’t stop this flashlight from being a hunter’s best friend.
It’s extremely durable and almost impossibly light, able to handle the elements and the rough environment of the forests. At the end of the day, the Smith and Wesson Delta Force still offer an above-average battery life and a potential 1100 lumens of output, more than enough to light up the woods whenever this type of light is needed.
Buy the Delta Force here.
4. Anker LC130
The Anker LC130 Flashlight is highly rated as one of the brightest flashlights on the market — 1300 lumens at it’s brightest setting, as well as one of the more reliable options. This model comes with rechargeable, Lithium-ion batteries, capable of producing 5 solid hours of intense, consistent light. A wider-than-average head allows the user to create a wide illumination area.
Like other rechargeable models, it’s not recommended for use in a situation that demands long-term light, but as one of the brightest on the market, the ability to run for 5 hours straight before needing to be recharged is certainly nothing to scoff at.
Check out the Anker LC130 here.
5. ThruNite MINI TN30 or TN36
ThruNite is known as a manufacturer of small flashlights that pack a punch, and these two models are no exception. The TN36, at its highest setting, is capable of producing a ridiculous 11,000 lumens of light, enough to light up even the deepest, darkest campsite.
It’s miniature (but still powerful) cousin, the MINI TN30, is only a little less bright, coming in at around 3660 lumens at maximum output. With these two leading the way, ThruNite flashlights have become the go-to for anyone serious about spending time in the deep woods, camping, hunting, or otherwise.
6. SureFire Titan Plus Ultra-Compact
There’s portable, and then there’s this. The SureFire Titan Plus Ultra-Compact LED flashlight is small enough to fit on a keychain, and while you’ll have to sacrifice some of the brightness (it maxes out at 300 lumens) you’ll never have to worry about being stuck without a flashlight in a pinch ever again.
Aside from being extremely convenient, the Titan Plus Ultra-Compact can be powered with a commonly available alkaline battery as well as a specialized rechargeable battery, giving you options to customize your use of the most seamlessly mobile flashlight on this list.
Buy the SureFire Titan Plus Ultra-Compact here.
7. Budget Pick: GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight
The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight isn’t the brightest on the market but at 1000 lumens of output, it’s far from the weakest either. The real value of this flashlight comes in its cost-effectiveness. Coming in at just over $20 for 2 of them(!) on Amazon, the GearLight LED offers multiple, energy-efficient light settings, and even a “zoom” function that allows the flashlight to illuminate at multiple different distances with a simple flick of a switch.
The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight isn’t the most reliable of its category, and if you’re looking for a flashlight that will come in clutch in potential life-or-death situations you might want to look elsewhere, but for everyday, portable use, you can’t find many (if any) better at anywhere close to as low a price point.
Buy the GearLight LED here.
8. Phixton Tactical Flashlight
The primary benefit of the Phixton tactical flashlight is its durability, especially when faced with the elements. With some LED flashlights, you’ll want to be careful to avoid contact with water, but not this one.
If you’re looking for a waterproof, rechargeable flashlight, the Phixton Tactical Flashlight is the best flashlight for the money. In addition, it’s such a small piece of equipment, this flashlight is capable of producing a surprising amount of light (1200 lumens) and comes with a convenient carrying case for both the flashlight and the rechargeable battery.
Purchase the Phixton Tactical Flashlight here.
9. SureFire P2X Fury Tactical LED Flashlight
Made of anodized aluminum, this flashlight manages to be both extremely durable and extremely light, which makes sense given what we know about the manufacturer. If Maglite has made its name as a primary distributor of the law enforcement community, SureFire is the equivalent for branches of the military, and there’s only one reason for this. High-quality construction and a light, versatile end product.
Get the SureFire P2X Fury Tactical LED flashlight here.
10. Coast Polysteel 600 Focusing LED Flashlight
If you’re looking for the best LED flashlight for use as an effective spotlight, you can’t do much better than the Coast Polysteel 600. Don’t be fooled by its middle of the road output of 710 lumens. Through its use of high-tech focusing technology, this tactical flashlight punches well above its weight class when it comes to illuminating objects over a medium-to-long distance.
Buy the Coast Polysteel 600 Focusing Flashlight here.
The Bottom Line
After reading all the flashlight reviews, what makes some better than others, and at the end of the day, which one is truly the best LED flashlight on the market?
It’s a trick question, and there’s no easy answer. After all, the different flashlights discussed here have different pros and cons and depending on what you need to use your LED flashlight for, any one of them could be the one that becomes your next go-to for bright, reliable light.