When it comes to the dark, it’s one of those common fears among many. Many people just can’t stand the sight of a dimly lit hallway or a passage that isn’t well lit. Are these people completely unjustified? Absolutely not. A lot of people believe real men aren’t scared of the dark.
Well, It’s not unreasonable to be weary of the dark – in fact, its probably an evolved characteristic many of us possess. When you’re out hiking or you’re home alone, you could have anxiety and you have no idea what’s in front of you. It’s perfectly normal and millions of Americans share your exact same concern. However, all of these fears can be countered if you have the right tool at your fingertips. So what we’ve done in this article, is we’ve gone over all of the features you should consider when shopping for the best flashlights.
We only cover some of the most unique and the most innovative flash lights on the market today. We don’t cover those standard and typical flash lights that anyone can buy from their local dollar general store, we want to provide you with a light that really shines and lasts. We want to make sure you have the tools you need to combat the darkness and overcome your fears of the overwhelming dark. Maybe you’re not actually scared of the dark, and you just need something to brighten up your life – a flashlight is just that. Do you love to travel? Do you find yourself in uncharted territories with no signs of civilization? Whether you find yourself repelling down the Vrtoglavica Cave in Slovenia, exploring a forest under moonlight, or are struggling to find your way around the house when the power goes out, a decent flashlight can make all the difference.
We didn’t just second guess either, we made sure that we tested every single flashlight reviewed in a variety of situation and in various lighting conditions. We also read a lot of reviews on each individual product and we separated them based on their individual use. Some flashlights are better than others. If you’re someone who mines for a living or find yourself cave dwelling, you’re going to need something different than someone who just wants a flashlight to use if the power goes out. It’s all subjective and they all have different intended uses.
Best Flashlight Complete Guide
Fenix TK16 1000 Lumens Cree LED tactical Flashlight package with genuine Fenix ARB-L2M 18650 Li-ion rechargeable battery and 2X EdisonBright CR123A Lithium batteries
Maglite ML300LX LED 3-Cell D Flashlight
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight, 1000 Lumen
Black Diamond ReVolt Headlamp
Vizeri Cree XML T6 LED Tactical Flashlight with Focusing Lens
How are flashlights even categorized? You can do this in a simple chart by comparing their general purpose or use, their performance, their battery lifetime and their pricing structure. Some flashlights are a lot more expensive than others and you may not need that particular flashlight depending on the use you plan on using it for. Regardless, if you have a really bright flashlight, it can make those hallways or ever-expansive caves look far less intimidating and can help you conquer your fears. It’s far less frustrating to get somewhere where you were once previously unable to go because of the dark when you have a high quality and bright flashlight.
Today though, you’d really be genuinely surprised when it comes to what flashlights can do and what they’re capable of. We may not have the technology capable of creating Star Wars light sabers yet and honestly, thank god we don’t but what if I told you that we actually had technology capable of creating a flashlight that could actually start a fire? Sounds like great news for the pyromaniacs, doesn’t it?
If there’s ever any kind of zombie apocalypse, well, you’d probably be bored out of your mind because what the movies and TV shows don’t show you is that the people surviving are sitting around for 12 hours a day doing nothing. However, armed with the right flash light, you’d be able to survive quite a long time without ammunition or a surplus of weapons. It’s a very nice tactical weapon along with being a great source of lighting. Hell, you can even use most lights out there to beat a zombie over the head and kill it. Assuming that if this were to ever happen that the stereotypical smash the zombie over the head technique even works.
Now, if you’ve decided that you’re going to be someone who carries around a flashlight with you for whatever reason, you need to make sure that you pick a model and a light that works at all times. You don’t want something that only works half of the time or something that works rarely. You want something that’s reliable all of the time. When you pick a reliable flashlight, you will never ever have to face any kind of electrical issues of that sort. You’ll also never have any kind of outages due to electrical reasons as well.
The flashlight you choose should come on exactly when you want it to (usually that’s by pressing a button near the top of the flashlight). Durability is one of those things you need to consider as well. Not every flashlight is built equally and you need to make sure you buy something that’s very durable and doesn’t have any kind of issues with batteries not lasting that long.
So what makes a durable flashlight? What can ensure that you buy something that lasts for a long time? Well, first, you need to make sure that you buy something that’s made out of the right materials. The right materials will include what’s known as an aluminum or titanium framing. These air craft grade flashlights are known to last and can be dropped over and over again without any kind of noticeable effects on the durability or performance of the flashlight?
There are some flashlights out there made of plastic but they’re prone to cracking if they’re dropped and they’re known not to last nearly as long as other flashlights made out of metallic materials so it’s highly advised that you go for metallic materials. One thing you also need to look for is the seal on the actual light lens itself. In a good flashlight, you’re going to notice that the seal has what looks like a highly protective cover on the inside. These seals will not only protect flashlights from drops but they’ll also protect them from dirt, water, dust and other kind of harmful chemicals that could ruin the bulb of your flashlight.
If a flashlight is claiming to be shock proof, then you can rest assured that they have LED bulbs in them. LED bulbs last longer than traditional CFL bulbs and offer far higher quality as well. They’re used in a lot of home renovation projects as it saves some people hundreds of dollars a month on their electricity bill, so we highly recommend scouting out some flashlights that are fit for LED bulbs.
Really, picking a flashlight comes down to the specific need that you need it for. It’s not going to be perfect regardless of the model or your specific need but you can greatly reduce your frustration by labeling down your options and picking something that best suites what you need a flashlight for. For example, maybe you’re looking for a flashlight that offers more than one brightness level for multiple purposes or maybe you’re just looking for something that offers a battery pack that expands past the normal battery size for most flashlights. For those people who are going on long hiking or camping tricks, an extra battery life is ideal.
Everyday Carry Flashlights
First, we have what’s known as the everyday carry flashlights. While a lot of people like to mess around with flashlights, including kids who will make things such as puppets on the ceiling in the form of shadows, there’s far more uses for the traditional everyday carry flashlights. Flashlights have a lot of different uses.
First, you can light a path when it’s dark out, such as if you’re out walking and you stumble into a situation where the path to walk on is no longer clear. It’ll also help you see things in tight spaces where other lighting is not available and you need to get a particular object out of a tight space. How many people here have dropped something behind the couch or behind a desk and needed to get it out but natural or room lighting just wasn’t doing the trick? This is where traditional everyday carry flashlights come in.
For the most extreme situations, if you ever come across an attacker at night and need some kind of distraction or a way to get away from them, you can even use a flashlight to blind them or distract them long enough to run away. Depending on the velocity and quality of the flashlight, some lights can instantly blind someone for quite some time and allow you a quick escape while the attacker is left there wondering what’s going on.
So what makes a great everyday carry flashlight? There’s quite a few qualities that make one great but we’ll go over the basic qualities to look for. First, you need to make sure that it has a manageable size and that it’s not too big. Unless you plan on carrying this monstrous flash light around in your pocket, you need to make sure that the everyday carry flashlight you have on you is small enough to fit into a pocket or where ever you choose to hold it.
Something you should also look for is water and shock resistance because accidents do happen. What if it’s raining outside or you accidentally drop your flashlight into a puddle? You would be completely screwed at that point and you wouldn’t have anything to light your way for you. Walking home in the dark or wandering around in the dark isn’t a very fun adventure. Something else to look for is how well it recharges. Most flashlights are battery powered and require constant swapping of batteries but some flashlights actually allow you to recharge them provided that the batteries can be recharged.
Now, while this isn’t a particularly common feature on most flashlights, having some kind of beam adjustment or beam preference is also favorable. This is great for people that are out and about and want to make it really bright or just slightly bright. Momentary beams are great as well for preserving battery life and not shining your light too much where it’s not needed. It’s not a common feature but it’s definitely something to look for.
So, how expensive are everyday carry flashlights? The good news is, they’re relatively cheap, ranging from anywhere from $20 to over $200. You have to know what kind of features and functionality you’re looking for. Define what kind of purpose you expect this flashlight to serve and that will ultimately determine what kind of flashlight you get. For example, if you’re someone who’s paranoid about self-defense or you’re just slightly concerned about needing something for self-defense, then you’re going to want to go with something that’s a bit larger than other flashlights. Wielding a larger flashlight is intimidating to would be criminals as well.
ANSI FL1 standards were introduced in 2009 to help consumers choose the best flashlights. What they did was ensure that not only are all flashlights tested but they wanted to ensure that all of the models released to consumers are rated in the exact same way. However, this isn’t a perfect system because all of these standards are set and tested by manufacturers. As we know, manufacturers have a tendency to lie about their products when they’re trying to sell something. So what kind of data is included in the testing, when it’s done correctly and truthfully?
One thing that’s tested is the output capacity of the lighting and this is measured in lumens. The intensity of the flashlight and the beam coming out of it is measured and this is done by testing the highest brightness setting of the flashlight. Also, this test is done when new batteries are applied so that old batteries aren’t used. For flashlights with multiple light settings, this is a great test but however, it doesn’t exactly show the entire story when it comes to the brightness. It’s been revealed that lights can go from anywhere from 20 lumens to an astounding and blinding 3500 lumens.
How far the light travels in meters is another factor that’s measured. Now, a lot of flashlights have different selector settings and these ultimately will determine how far the light travels but essentially, there’s usually only two or three different settings. These tests are usually preferably done with a full moon to ensure that capacity of the light is shown and the full distance is measured. Beam distance is an important spec to consider.
This is one of the more interesting tests and is great for people who are looking to go hiking or camping with a flashlight. These tests are done in hourly measurements and what they do is, they measure just how long it takes for the light to drop just a mere 10% of its potential output. When this happens, it means the light is staring to lose battery juice and it’s going to be dying out slowly over the next few hours. A light’s output gradually decreases over time depending on the quality of the bulb and how much juice the batteries have left in them.
When measuring the run time of a flashlight, every single settings needs to be considered. Not just one setting or the highest setting, but every single setting is tested and ensured for maximum quality.
This measurement is done in meters but what exactly is the impact resistance of a flashlight? It’s exactly how it sounds as every flashlight is taken and then dropped onto hard concrete six different times at their own perspective rated distance. The entire purpose of this test is to ensure that if you accidentally drop your light, you aren’t going to lose your light or it will stop working. Accidental drops do happen and that’s exactly why this test exists. It’s also great for indicating how long it would keep working after it has struck other objects.
When testing the resistance of water, flashlights are rated using an IPX system. This is great for people who plan on going hiking or being outside for an extended period of time because if it starts raining or you drop your flashlight into a puddle, is it guaranteed to keep working? First, you have what’s known as IPX7 which means that you can keep your flashlight submerged up to 30 minutes in a depth of 1 meter of water. Then, you have the IPX8 rating which means you can actually have a flashlight submerged for 4 hours or more at a specific depth.
There’s not just some ANSI related attributes that should affect your decision to purchase a flashlight, there’s quite a few non-ANSI related quality attributes that you should look after as well, depending on what you’re looking for. Some of them range from minimal features to significant features depending on the entire purpose the flashlight.
The Bulb Type
First, we have the bulb type. LED bulbs in almost everything have become one of the most amazing technologies to exist today. LED bulbs have rendered almost every other kind of bulb useless. While you do have some flashlights out there that use the krypton bulbs, there’s not very many and they’re not nearly as effective as the LED bulbs out today. They just don’t offer some of the technology, the brightness or the resistance that the LED bulbs flashlights offer today.
The Beam Type
When it comes to the particular type of beam, there’s actually three different types of beams out there. These method or type will display how the light is displayed and dispersed. Commonly, there’s only three different options.
Option 1: Flood – This is what’s known as a fixed beam. This type of beam has a single beam width and is one of the most common types of flashlights. Its most commonly used when people are out camping or when people are going out on a walk during a particularly dark time of night where there’s not a lot of lighting available.
Option 2: Spot – This is what’s known as the focused beam. This isn’t as widespread as the flood beam but flood beams are great for short distances. However, the spot beam is great for long distances but doesn’t cover as large of an area in terms of width. It’s great for long distance if you want to see something far away. If you need help finding your route or you want to look at some scenery outdoors that’s far away, this is the best type of flashlight for you.
Option 3: Adjustable – Finally, we have what’s known as the adjustable beam. This is the best kind of versatile flashlight but also goes up in prince when you get them. These kinds of beams are adjustable between the condensed spotlight and the wide beams for almost any particular use. They’re also known to take up a bit more battery power as well. The adjustability of beam ranges on a flashlight is relatively straight forward and to the point. You don’t have a lot of different options when it comes to the adjustment of the beam. First, you have your wide beams for close ranges and then you have your focused beams for long ranges. It’s not something that’s a deal breaker but adjustable flashlights don’t have a wide array of settings. This can be used in a multiple number of scenarios, such as a climber trying to find his next spot to step on. In this particular scenario, he’d want a spot beam to see more clearly and if a traveler is looking at a map, they’d want the flood or wide beam.
Regulated Power Supply
The output of the beam relatively depends on how strong the battery is, how much juice it has in it and how good the battery is overall. When a battery is fresh, you’ll notice that the flashlight’s beam is relatively strong and maintains a strong output for all of the duration. However, when we start to reach the peak or the end of the battery’s life cycle, we’ll notice a significant drop off. The flashlight will start glowing dimmer and dimmer until it eventually shuts down altogether and requires new batteries.
This isn’t something that people commonly consider to be a factor when making a purchase, but it’s one of those things that should be a factor because not all batteries are created equal. Yes, even the types of batteries can play a determining role in your battery’s life span. Do you have easy access to the batteries required to replace the dying batteries in the flashlight? Consider the availability of the batteries required, the type of them and the price as well.
When you look at the most common type of batteries used in flashlights, it’s most commonly the double AA or the triple AAA batteries. These batteries are easily available in almost any convenience store and even some gas stations if you look hard enough. However, there’s also another common choice but not as commonly used known as the CR123A. These are a bit more difficult to find and they’re a bit more expensive as well, so they’re not the most popular choice out there on the market today. However, if you do manage to find them, they do have their advantages. First of all, they’re a bit smaller so they’re easier to fit into a flashlight casing and their weight is smaller as well, reducing the overall weight of the flashlight. Some people also swear up and down that their flashlight is a bit brighter when using those particular batteries as well. There are some flashlights that still utilize the D sized cell batteries if you’re looking for a larger flashlight that won’t get lost or even fit into your pocket.
One of the great things about technology today is the wonders of USB and the amazing capacity of how we can recharge almost anything through a computer. That’s right, even batteries today can be recharged through a computer with a USB connection. You also can have what’s known as a AC/DC outlet or even a solar panel if you have those options available for you. Sure, there’s a nice upfront cost that’s a bit higher than most other flashlights, however, you’ll save a lot more money in the long run by recharging the same batteries over having to buy more batteries every single time the ones you currently have run out of power. Also, they’re healthy for the environment and reduce waste as well. The only power you’ll be paying for is to keep your computer running while they recharge the batteries.
In some emergency kits, you have these renewable flashlights that do have batteries but also combined with them are these hand cranked devices that allow you to give them power. Some of them don’t have batteries and require you to keep cranking to keep the beam going. There’s also some built in solar panel flashlights as well and these are best for dooms day or emergency kit flashlights. Just a word of caution when it comes to batteries; do not under any circumstances use any kind of lithium or lithium-ion batteries with any kind of flashlight. However, if the manufacturer recommends them and has the product built for them, it’s completely fine. Some people place lithium batteries in flashlights and mixing them with other batteries not knowing that they’re damaging either the flashlight or the batteries already inside.
When it comes to the different modes of a flashlight, there’s generally only one acceptable mode because people buy different types of flashlights for different things. Most flashlights come with only one type of general use and only one preferred use from the manufacturer. Then, there are some models out there on the market today that offer options such as low lighting, medium lighting and high beam lighting. Some flashlights offer a very bright boosted option that can blind people if you’re not careful. Ideally though, you only want one mode because you will more than likely never use more than one of those modes. However, it’s really nice to have an extra strong beam whenever you need it if you do for whatever reason need to access it. Just remember, that the brighter the beam is, the shorter the runtime will be and that’s where the battery life comes into play as well. Some flashlights that cost more even have chips or USB slots that allow people to program their own sequences into them. However, this is a bit unnecessary for the general or casual user who just wants a flashlight for their home or a camping trip.
There’s different controls on a lot of flashlights but the main controls you need to know about are the on and the off button. These are more than not thumb operated and the main features of a flashlight because a flashlight serves one general purpose; to give an area you can’t see light. Some flashlights have been known to include a little rotating piece or bezel that can serve as their switch and these requires both hands to operate. Some lights have a battery saving feature known as the safety lock. What this does is prevents the light from being turned on without your knowing and letting the battery drain. What’s more interesting is the temporary click feature featured in a lot of common flashlights today and have been for decades. There’s a switch that will temporarily flash the highest beam possible if you slightly press on the switch and it will do this until you either let go of the button or you fully click down on the button and turning it on permanently until it’s turned off.
There’s ideally only two types of flashlight materials that are commonly used in the markets today. First, you have your plastic flashlights which are lighter but not as durable and then you have your aluminum alloy flashlights. Good flashlights will include some kind of impact resistance near the head known as impact resistant steel. To give you a good idea of which ones can be dropped safely (even though you shouldn’t drop any of them at all), the lighter or thinner ones are a bit lighter and the thicker ones can more than likely withstand a fall. The cylindrical bodies are one of the most common shapes of flashlights. However, when they’re laid down on a surface, they’ll roll around because they’re not the steadiest flashlights. However, some manufacturers have started including heads that are resistant to rolling.
Weight & Size
This is where the personal preference chart comes in. If you have a larger flashlight, you’re going to be feeling a strain on your arms quicker than over carrying a smaller flashlight. Consider where you’re going to be carrying the flashlight around, how much distance you have to travel and so forth.
Now, while accessories aren’t really common for the average common household flashlight, some people do like to include accessories on their flashlights. These are always almost sold separately because manufacturers rarely ever include any kind of extras with flashlights. First, you have some lanyards for your smaller flashlights, you have some belt clips and holsters for your larger flash lights or for people who want to enhance the lighting or change the color, there’s even lens filters for flashlights.
Best Flashlights Reviews
1. Fenix TK16 Review
Now, we realize that the strobe effect isn’t exactly one of the most commonly requested features but for some reason, some people do request it. If you look at the dual tail switch, you have access to the strobe feature. What this strobe feature is mainly for is self-defense and isn’t very useful for lighting up a hallway or trying to find something. It will probably make you dizzy.
There’s an instant access switch to strobe when the light is off which is great for self-defense purposes but the main appeal of the light is the main circular tail switch. There’s the momentary clicked on and off standard buttons that can be accessed with the standard oval button and then there’s some controls off to the side of the flashlight.
When the flashlight is on, you have the options to change the modes between low, medium, high, turbo and repeat which is also known for strobe mode. However, this particular flashlight does not have any kind of memory included to remember the last particular setting used.
2. Maglite ML300LX Review
This is one of Maglite’s newer inventions that brings a lot of performance changes and innovation to the family. There’s also some nice performance and usability improvements as well. They operate with some D cell light batteries and they have a far higher output capacity compared to their previous models. Also, there’s the electronic multi-mode and the ability for users to set their own programmed functions.
Maglite flashlights have a very unique finish and texture to them as well. Like most Maglite flashlights, this comes with a diamond knurling type 2 anodize. It’s a highly durable and high performance flashlight that we recommend everyone try if you’re prone to accidents or dropping your flashlight.
3. Fenix PD35 Review
Fenix isn’t a company that’s new to the flashlight production business. They’re one of the more known companies out there and they’re definitely not new to the production of high quality products. They’re known for producing high quality products at a price that almost everyone can afford as well. They used to be a company that valued their brand name on products but instead went with a premium brand direction for the company.
This is a fully featured flashlight and the PD35 is one of the best in its class. This is more of a medium EDC flashlight and it’s the best slim head 18650 flashlight as well. It’s probably made its way to a lot of Christmas lists and Father’s Day recommendations at this point. While it has a really small size, the light is incredibly bright and can appear blinding to some. Be careful though, this light can burn at almost 1,000 lumens.
4. Black Diamond ReVolt Review
This is one of the best headlamps by far and receives a lot of praise as one of the best rechargeable flashlights out there. It’s a very high quality product and it excels in a lot of different areas such as battery life. It offers very high performance and doesn’t necessarily stand out for just one single attribute. Whether you’re a professional miner or just need a decent headlamp flashlight to see your food on the grill in the backyard, the ReVolt is an excellent choice. There’s different colors available for everyone such as vibrant orange, ultra-white, titanium and spectrum blue for those that care about the color schemes.
When we compare this model to the Tikka RXP, the Revolt seems to outshine it in any way possible. The Revolt is in a league of its own in that regards. What we have found is that while the RXP does shine a bit brighter, the problem with this is, that it burns through the batteries far quicker than it should.
5. Vizeri LED Tactical Flashlight Review
This flashlight if you look at the model will strike some similarities to the TK737. Really though, it’s actually just a replicate model of the TK737. If you look down into the tube, you can even find the writing, “Tank007” around the bezel spring, so this thing was clearly just copied right? Not exactly. You’ll also find this exact writing in the tail cap as well so while some people have their concerns, it’s a really great product.
The Vizeri is launched with a wide variety of battery options and you won’t find trouble finding commonly found batteries that work with the Vizeri. You have the rear switch control that will operate all of the VZ230 operations. All you need to do is give it one firm and full press, then you have a full illuminate light. This flashlight even has a memory system for the most recently used setting as well. All you have to do is turn the ring on the product and then the head will even extend a quarter of an inch for more beam coverage.