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The Best LED Flashlight: Top 8 Torches to Shine Your Way

LED flashlights review
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

There are many reasons why you’d consider acquiring the best LED flashlight on the market: survival, search and rescue, emergency, or handiwork. Either way, it’s good to know that there are a lot of picks on the market, and the most important thing is to make an informed choice, based on technical factors, as well as your preferences and needs.

That’s why we’ve made a list of our top 8 choices, preceded by a short how-to guide, which outlines the main factors that influence the purchase of a good item.

How to Get Your Money’s Worth

Choosing is never easy, but it becomes more so if you’re well informed and take into account factors like:

Intensity

The measure of intensity is the lumen and that tells you how bright your flashlight will be. To get a clearer picture, the most powerful flashlight that can shed a light at hundreds of feet away go beyond 1000 lumens.

LED flashlight intensity

However, keep in mind that intensity and battery life are inversely proportional, meaning that more lumens make your battery wear out faster.

Versatility

The best torches provide many types of modes, with different intensities to focus at various distances, and for a plethora of purposes. As such, you’ll get low, medium and high intensities, but some items also offer an eco-friendly option that has a very low level but is very appropriate for eye comfort.

LED flashlight versatility

Good tactical flashlights also have options for emergency use, like an SOS light or a strobe function to act as distress beacons.

Materials

Always check the quality of the materials, but mainly the optimal ones for a fair price-quality proportion are:

  • Aluminum for the body: sturdy and lightweight.
  • Type III hard-anodized coating: resistant to abrasions.
  • Anti-reflective glass for the lens.
  • Copper circuitry that accounts for optimal heat dissipation and energy.

The best materials account for the flashlight being waterproof, shockproof and resistant.

Extras

The extras you’re getting are a sign that your product is user-friendly and that the brand considers your needs as top priority. For instance, if your flashlight uses rechargeable batteries, getting a charger for the price is a nice addition.

Even the batteries themselves are nice to be included in the package, as well as a hanging system that allows you to attach the flashlight to the roof of your tent, belt or backpack.

Batteries

The main types of batteries generally used are AAA and 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion.

Unboxing LED flashlight

These are easy to find mostly, but make sure you can actually get hold of the specific batteries needed before purchasing the torch.

Ease of use

If the flashlight can be easily switched on and off, as well as between modes, you have yourself a winner. Ensure it has a firm grip, and it’s not too bulky or too heavy so you can easily carry it in your backpack, hand or pocket – depending on your purpose.

The Top Flashlights We Know Of

After taking a look at the main characteristics a good flashlight should have, we’re ready to give you our selection of products.

Vizeri LED Tactical Flashlight

Vizeri LED Tactical Flashlight

Weight: 3.75 ounces

Dimensions: 4.25 x 1.64 inches

Specifications: CREE T6 XML LED; 5 modes; gold plated springs; waterproof; aluminium-made; works with AAA batteries

Best Use: tactical flashlight

Description: Vizeri LED Tactical Flashlight 4.5 stars is a great flashlight that produces a very intense beam of light. That’s mainly due to the type of LED it uses, the CREE T6 XML, which has a focusing feature that shines an even brighter light than other torches with high lumens.

Speaking of which, for a moderate difference in price, you can select between two versions of the Vizeri Flashlight: the 230 lumens one and the 460 lumens. So if you’re interested in a brighter beam or a precise emergency light, the VZ460 may be a better choice.

Either way, you’ll be able to switch between modes freely, and besides the usual low, medium and high intensities, this flashlight gives you two additional options: strobe and SOS. A blinking light like the one offered by the strobe function, and a bright emergency SOS light act like beacons, and you’ll be found immediately if you get lost. Plus, they work during the day too.

The materials used render a very serious, durable and sturdy flashlight, that’s almost impervious to damage. For instance, its springs are gold-plated, which makes their connections less likely to be affected by corrosion.

The military type aluminum used and the hardened anodized finish makes it resistant to shocks, but also pretty lightweight. And overall, these materials are a good explanation as to why the Vizeri flashlight are submergeable to up to 3 feet.

Furthermore, you can use this flashlight in many different ways, even as a tent lamp, because it comes with accessories like a holster, D-ring, and carabineer that make it easy to hand inside. And the lamp diffuser accounts for a more pleasant light for your eyes.

Not to mention that it can be used with different types of alkaline batteries, like AAA or CR123. It works with 18650 lithium-ion batteries too, which are very cheap and rechargeable, in case you’re planning to use it mostly in high mode.

Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen CREE XP-L LED

Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen CREE XP-L LED

Weight: 4 ounces

Dimensions: 8.4 x 3.7 x 1.5 inches

Specifications: 1000 Lumen; Cree XP-L (V5) LED; 50,000 hours lifespan; tactical tail switch; CR123A lithium batteries included

Best Use: tactical use

Description: This 4.6 stars and $72.95 flashlight from EdisonBright is as bright as they come, with the possibility of reaching a maximum intensity of 1000 lumens.

That’s done with the help of a very powerful LED, the Cree XP-L (V5), which furthermore lengthens the lifespan of this flashlight to 50,000 hours of continuous use. In fact, this type of LED increases the overall performance with an additional 151% from the ordinary XP-G2 LED, accounting for a very powerful, luminous torch.

When it comes to the batteries used, the Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen comes with two included CR123 lithium batteries from the same company, that are 3V. If you’re looking to use the high mode more often, you can likewise make this torch function with just one 18650 lithium-ion battery that can be recharged.

Speaking of modes, it has an easy and quick way to switch between them with the help of the included tactical tail switch, that also has a momentary-on function. The two main modes are outdoor and tactical, and you can change between them by pressing and holding the button for 3 seconds.

Each mode provides different intensities and options, you can use for various periods of time. The outdoor option gives you three modes, ranging from Eco which provides 8 lumens for 140 hours to Turbo and Strobe that reach 1000 lumens for 70 minutes. The tactical mode also has the last two options but adds another one: the Low mode that works for 29 hours at a light intensity of 60 lumens.

The switches you can use to change between the main options of these modes are located on its two sides, and they’re made from stainless steel, which is a very good material. In fact, the whole product is designed from grade A materials, like aircraft aluminum that gives it strength and lightweight, as well as the premium type 3 finish, that’s hard-anodized and doesn’t allow abrasions. The glass lens is toughened and very clear, plus its coating doesn’t permit reflection.

The end result is a very sturdy product, that’s anti-roll and damage-resistant, not to mention waterproof at a depth of up to 6.5 feet for half an hour.

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools LED Flashlight

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools LED Flashlight

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 1 inches

Specifications: full on-off switch; 727 lumens at 100%; various modes; maximum lifespan of 32 hours; one battery included; limited lifetime warranty

Best Use: outdoor

Description: Another very well regarded item, this 4.5 stars and $100 worth flashlight from Specialty Knives is definitely one to consider taking in your backpack to light your way out of trouble.

That’s because SOG Specialty Knives & Tools DE-06 Dark Energy Aluminum LED Flashlight is very bright and can reach a maximum of 722 lumens at the higher intensity of 100%. And you can use this mode continuously for 75 minutes, which is a pretty decent time.

There are also three other modes you can switch between the 40%, the reading level, and tactical strobe. The 40% option is generally the one used for most activities, but if you’re interested in having a pleasant, eye-friendly light for using inside your tent, the reading level is the most appropriate. The intensity is less bright, and the torch has a lifespan of 32 hours at this level.

Besides, if you get lost or are otherwise distressed even in an urban environment, you can confidingly use the strobe option which acts like a beacon and lets others know you need rescuing. The momentary one settings and the full-on, full-off switch are easy to operate and user-friendly.

The DarkEnergy flashlight works very well with just one rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery, that’s also included in the package you’ll receive. This is a very good sort of battery because it can be recharged, and the good news is that you’ll get an included charger too.

The materials used are top-notch, like 6061 T6 aluminum for the housings and a class III anodized coating, that make for a durable and resistant item. The torch is also lightweight thanks to these materials, which prevent it from slipping from your hands and making it very well balanced.

SureFire P2X Fury Dual Output LED Light

SureFire P2X Fury Dual Output LED Light

Weight: 7 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 1 inches

Specifications: 2 CR123A batteries included; LED emitter; 2 modes; dual output tail cap click switch; precision micro-textured reflector; aluminum body; Mil-Spec hard-anodized

Best Use: emergency use

Description: SureFire P2X Fury Dual Output LED Light 4.7 stars flashlight really confirms the quality of manufacturing this brand has accustomed its customers with. Even though it doesn’t have many different modes, the high mode works perfect and it’s exactly what you may need in case of an emergency.

For a difference in price, you can opt for two Fury torches: one that’s 1000 lumens, and the other that provides 600 lumens worth of maximum light.

The last option is quite strong to light your way clearly and let you spot even the most un-spottable details with great precision, while the 1000 lumens option is absolutely insane – as some reviewers put it.

Of course, these maximum intensities can’t be used for more than an hour or so, but chances are you won’t need any longer. The 15 lumens option has an increased runtime, and it’s probably the one you’re mostly going to use.

The LED emitter is great, even indestructible, and it’s the one used to get you the best mix between intensity and battery lifespan. You can easily change between the two main modes with a click of a switch. The dual output tail cap click switch should be pressed once for the maximum level of intensity, and then clicked again immediately for the lower level luminosity. Not to mention that the tail cap switch is very solid and functions well.

Whichever option you may choose, the beam is very smooth, well focused and spread courtesy of a precision micro-textured reflector. But the whole torch is pretty rugged, thanks to its exquisite craftsmanship and top-shelf materials used, like strong aerospace aluminum for the body and Mil-Spec hard-anodized for the coating, resulting in a durable, yet light flashlight of only a few ounces.

Related: SureFire P2X Fury Tactical Single-Output; SureFire P2X Fury with IntelliBeam

iGB 18650 Flashlights Acebeam X60M

iGB 18650 Flashlights Acebeam X60M

Weight: 30 ounces

Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 5 inches

Specifications: 3 x CREE MT-G2 Q0 LED; 10000 lumens; 1722 feet maximum beam distance; waterproof; aluminum alloy 6063; premium type III hard anodized finish; 6 18650 batteries

Best Use: building a lighthouse

Description: We’re not joking with the “best use” part because this 4 stars and $690 flashlight is surely intended to work as a lighthouse for far-away ships. Or iGB 18650 Flashlights Acebeam X60M 3 x CREE MT-G2 Q0 10000LM 5000K LED Flashlight can light your way in the wilderness for hundreds of feet.

That’s because it can shine a maximum 10,000 lumens, which is ten times higher than the “absolutely insane” function of 1000 lumens the SureFire Fury has. So it’s 10 times absolutely insane, thanks to a very powerful LED: the Acebeam X60M 3 x CREE MT-G2 Q0. This explains why the torch needs six IMR18650 batteries to work, which are also very expensive.

That leads us to two conclusions: why the iGB flashlight costs so much, as well as why it only has 4 stars: some reviewers don’t like the fact that it needs six batteries, which are furthermore pretty expensive and not included in the package. But if you’re willing to invest a few hundreds of dollars in a torch like this, the batteries shouldn’t be an issue.

At a working voltage between 18 to 26 volts, you can change between three output modes using the magnetic ring. Level 1 provides 10 lumens worth of light for 150 hours, the infinite brightness mode varies between 200 to 10,000 lumens, and the strobe shines 10,000 lumens for 90 minutes.

It’s the type of torch that will surely allow you to be found without much problem. Besides, the beam is very sharp and well-focused, and you can employ this flashlight in a variety of circumstances.

And for a very long time, because the materials used really take the cake: aluminum alloy 6063 for the body, premium type III hard anodized for the finish, and a very clear glass lens that’s also anti-reflective. This explains the overall durability, why it’s resistant to impacts up to 4 feet, and waterproof for extreme rain conditions, meeting the IPX6 standard.

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL High Lumen

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL High Lumen

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 1.4 inches

Specifications: C4 LED; LED Solid State Power Regulation; waterproof; 3 modes; anti-roll face cap

Best Use: hiking trips

Description: This 4.6 stars and $67.93 costs a bit (!) less than the previous item and it’s definitely not that bright, but it does a good job for various hiking trips and regular emergency uses. It works with a very powerful LED bulb, the C4 LED, that employs a state of the art technology to provide extreme brightness in the highest 750 lumens mode.

You can operate it with 2 CR123A batteries, that are included in the package, and the total voltage is 6V. That averages its battery life to about 90 minutes, which is pretty decent.

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light with white LED used is very efficient and reliable, but you’ll just have to be careful about choosing the right light for your application, depending on the distance you want to look at. So choose between the low 35 lumens option to the high 600 lumens one. The 750 lumens is the third option, and it’s an emergency mode.

The beam spread is pretty wide, which is better for working at a closer range, but not so good if you’re planning to look a few hundred feet away.

When it comes to its construction, the PT HL is IPX7 waterproof, which means it can withstand being in water up to 3.2 feet deep. The materials used are great: machined aluminum in black, blue or pink, which is sturdy and resistant to shocks if you drop it. But you get a nylon holster and a lanyard attachment, with a pocket clip so you can carry it safely.

Related: ProTac 1AAA; ProTac 1AA EMS, 50 Lumens; Pro Tac 1 AA, 70 Lumens; ProTac 1L, 180 Lumens; ProTac 2AAA, 80 Lumens; ProTac 2AA, 155 Lumens; ProTac 2L, 260 Lumens; ProTac HL3, 1100 Lumens; ProTac HL, USB 120V AC/ 12V DC; ProTac HL Headlamp, 540 Lumens; ProTac HL, USB

SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 Professional Series Flashlight Kit

SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 Professional Series Flashlight Kit

Weight: 5 ounces

Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 1.5 inches

Specifications: XM-L T6 Cree Super-Silicon Carbide Single Die LED Chip; 1200 Lumens; 3.7 voltage; 2 lithium-ion batteries included; aluminum made; hardened-anodized finish

Best Use: security use

Description: This 4.4 stars and $59.95 item is another flashlight that shines a powerful 1200 lumens beam of light, which is higher than most torches. This is why SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 Professional Series Flashlight Kit is one f the flashlights used by various law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard.

For this purpose, it uses a very powerful LED bulb, the XM-L T6 Cree LED. This is manufactured from super-silicon carbide in a single die, making it resistant apart from powerful.

In fact, all the materials used are amazing: aluminum for the body, hardened-anodized finish for the coating, and acrylic for the handle material. That makes the Solaray Pro ZX-1 a sturdy flashlight, which you can take with you in extreme conditions without fear of it getting damaged in any way.

It uses two 18650 lithium-ion batteries, which come included. These have a total voltage of 3.7 volts and work at 3000 amps, making them very efficient energy-wise. They also account for a very high and bright output, which has a long lifespan.

Or, you can use 3 AAA batteries if you have them around, but they’re not included in the package you’ll get. For the lithium-ion batteries that come with the torch, you’ll find a battery charger added in the price.

Other nice feats come in the form of a memory mode circuitry and an adjustable focus and zoom, which allow you to change between intensities, as well as how far or close you want to see/ work at.

ThruNite® TN32 UT Thrower LED Flashlight

ThruNite® TN32 UT Thrower LED Flashlight

Weight: 23 ounces

Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 4.6 inches

Specifications: 1150 lumens maximum; copper circuit warehouse; 1043 meters maximum distance; 3×18650 batteries; premium Type Ⅲ hard anodized anti-abrasive finish

Best Use: search and rescue

Description: This 4.6 stars and $129.95 ThruNite TN32 UT CW flashlight is designed for search and rescue purposes, as it’s outlined even in the official product description, or for “flashaholics”.

People who really enjoy having a powerful flashlight in their gear can rest assured they’ll get a strong beam of light, that reaches a maximum intensity of 1150 lumen, that can cast a light over a distance of 3422 feet. So you’ll definitely be able to see and be seen from very far with this torch.

The materials used are top-notch, like all the products we’ve talked about so far. The body has a streamlined design, the coating is hard-anodized and anti-abrasive, the glass lens is ultra-clear, anti-reflective, and the circuit warehouse is made from copper, that is better when it comes to heat dissipation and therefore total energy used.

The circuitry is the reason why the three 18650 lithium-ion batteries that power this flashlight can give their best performance, you getting extra lumens of brightness for more time. Plus you get a strobe mode for tactical purposes or emergency use.

You can easily change between the primary modes of action with the click of a tactical switch, focusing your beam at whichever intensity and distance you prefer. Its user-friendly characteristics consist of an intelligent light that’s controlled by temperature, and a tactical knurling that allows a firm grip. Plus the tactical switch is easy to employ.

Related: TN32 Neutral White

The Flashlight of Your Dreams

… is maybe very bright, even 10,000 lumens bright, or maybe has an eco-friendly option which you’re mostly planning to use.

Fenix tk16 LED flashlight

You might be over-the-moon with the strobe function, or you might consider it a waste of time and money. Either way, let us know which option works for you and why in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

  • Ben Walker

    I’ve had a number of flashlights over the years from heavy duty Maglites to little pocket ones, personally, however, I believe the Solaray surpasses them all. Its aluminium construction is incredibly tough and durable and can withstand even the most rugged of environments, what’s more, it’s not overly large, which means it can easily be stored in the pocket or backpack. It’s easy to adjust the beam to your desired level, from a small concentrated beam to a wide angle and any level in between, rather than just a handful of predefined settings. Overall, the Solaray is an incredibly powerful light packed into a small container and one I’d certainly recommend.

    • Dennis Owens

      It also boils down to personal preference, Ben. Although considering how diverse your previous brands have been, it is great to know that you did not settle for second best and found the most compatible flashlight to fit your needs.

  • Lewis Teasdale

    The Streamlight 88040 ProTac is a phenomenal flashlight and a must have for anyone who works in law enforcement or security.

    I work part-time as a security guard in a rather unpleasant part of the city and I needed a flashlight that worked consistently every time.

    Part of my job involves greeting vehicles at a gate, after crossing what is an almost pitch black yard. This flashlight not only allows me to illuminate my path to comfortable levels but also allows me to see inside the vehicle, offering extra reassurance, that it is indeed safe to approach.

    • Dennis Owens

      What I’ve been telling to my friends and other individuals who are considering LED flashlights. Reliability and durability are two things that should be determined in any model. The Streamlight 88040 ProTac ticks both requirements for me and it can really illuminate very dark places clearly and is compatible for long-term use.

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