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Best Flashlight of 2020 (Review and Buying Guide)

Best Overall Choice
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight

Fenix FX PD35 TAC PD35

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Best Budget Choice
Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight, Orange

Coast Polysteel 600R

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Best Premium Choice
OLIGHT Warrior X Pro 2250 Lumens Neutral White USB Magnetic Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

Olight Warrior X Pro

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Joe Appleton by Joe Appleton Updated on October 15, 2020. In Reviews

There are plenty of good reasons for wanting the best flashlight that you can buy. Light is an essential tool for most tasks, and being able to quickly and efficiently illuminate a room or a space is invaluable. If there’s a power outage, you grab your flashlight. If you’re looking for something in a poorly lit area, you grab your flashlight. And if you’re out walking the dog at night, you’ll grab your flashlight.

A flashlight is a common tool, so it’s no wonder that the military, police, and other services equip their staff with them as standard.

Even if you’re not a first responder, having a quality flashlight will make your life much easier. By spending a few dollars more than you usually would, you can get a flashlight with a powerful beam distance, long-lasting battery life, and dazzling brightness. These days, the best flashlights use small batteries and LED technology, which makes them incredibly portable.

So, if you want to add a flashlight to your every day carry, or want something more capable when you’re out on your next adventure, make sure it’s one of these! These are the best flashlight products on the market!

Best Overall Choice

1. Fenix FX PD35 TAC PD35

Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight

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The Fenix PD35 is a very impressive flashlight. It’s small, compact, and lightweight. Despite the small size, this light is very capable.

It’s tough and strong, made from aircraft-spec aluminum, with a hard-anodized, anti-abrasive, finish. Ultra-clear glass and anti-reflective coatings are also used in the construction. The casing is made to IPX-8 standard, which means that it’s very waterproof, to a depth of 6.5 feet for up to 30 minutes.

The Fenix PD35 is bright thanks to the use of Cree LEDs. It has 6 output modes and using this flashlights brightest setting, it has a maximum output of 1000 lumens, and a maximum range of 656 feet. The different modes (5 levels of brightness and a strobe mode) have different power consumption levels.

Like most modern flashlights, the Fenix PD35 uses a rechargeable battery that charges via USB, with a runtime of up to 430 hours in Eco mode.

Overall, this lightweight flashlight offers excellent illumination in a pocket-sized package. Don’t be put off by the price tag. Though you can buy cheaper lights, this one is well worth the extra expense.

Pros

Max lumens: 1000 lumens
Max distance: 656 feet
Battery type: CR123A battery
Weight: 3.1 oz (not including battery)

Best Budget Choice

2. Coast Polysteel 600R

Coast Polysteel 600R 530 Lumen Rechargeable LED Flashlight, Orange

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The Polysteel 600R by Coast is the perfect flashlight for users who need a rugged and durable tool. It’s virtually indestructible and can take a lot of abuse, and it’s a very capable torch too.

Let’s start with the casing. It’s made from a stainless steel core that Coast claims is virtually unbreakable. The core is wrapped in a poly-nylon material with a grip texture. The result is a shockproof and drop-proof flashlight that can withstand serious impact.

The actual torch has three light modes that can be focused through a twistable lens. The lens can produce wide-angle illumination or pinpoint precision with a bullseye spot. At full power, the Polysteel 600R can produce 530 lumens and illuminate to an impressive 685 feet.

At full power, the battery life depletes in about 2.5 hours, but in low-power mode, it’s good for about 35 hours. It has two battery options: 4 disposable AA battery cells, or a rechargeable USB battery pack. Interestingly, it has a charging port built-in, so you can charge your other devices from it when you’re on the go. And that’s a pretty neat touch.

Pros

Max lumens: 585 lumens
Max distance: 685 feet
Battery type: Li-Ion or AA batteries
Weight: 12 oz

Best Premium Choice

3. Olight Warrior X Pro

OLIGHT Warrior X Pro 2250 Lumens Neutral White USB Magnetic Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

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The Olight Warrior X Pro is not a cheap flashlight by any stretch of the imagination, but if you want a torch with the kind of performance that rivals military or police-grade equipment, then this is worth considering.

This is a high-power flashlight. Using the device’s highest setting, the Warrior X Pro produces an incredible 2250 lumens to a distance of around 1968 feet. That’s some serious illumination, making this one of the brightest flashlight models on the list. However, if you’re in the business of search and rescue, or need powerful illumination at sea or in remote areas, this is exactly what you need.

It’s a sturdy torch that has a tough and tactical appearance. It’s made from an IPX-8 rated aluminum alloy, with silicone protection rings, a knurled grip, and more. It’s shockproof and almost indestructible! And that’s not all.

It features a cool magnetic raised tail switch that also accommodates a charger. The fast-charger links to a 5000mAh 21700 lithium battery that gives the Olight Warrior X Pro a running time of 8 hours.

This is a heavy-duty flashlight, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it has a heavy-duty price tag. Still, it’s worth the expense.

Pros

Max lumens: 2250 lumens
Max distance: 1968 feet
Battery type: 5000mAh 21700 lithium battery
Weight: 8.43 oz

4. Maglite Mini AA Pro

Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight

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You can’t do a list about flashlights without including a Maglite. Maglite has been the go-to brand in the flashlight industry for years. These days, Maglite is up against tough competition since there are so many more reputable and capable products on the market, but it’s still a top brand. The best example of Maglite’s continued quality is the Maglite Mini.

This little torch isn’t like the usual tactical flashlight models you’d get from Maglite. This one is small, compact, ideally suited for every day carry, and it can fit in your car’s glove compartment.

Compared with others on this list, the Maglite has less-impressive specs. However, it is very affordable, and Maglites just go on forever, so it’s a very good investment.

The brightness caps at 272 lumens, but it covers a fair distance at 434 feet. There are no fancy settings: just on and off. And the battery situation isn’t particularly advanced, with the Maglite Mini running on two AA batteries.

It’s a simple, affordable, but long-lasting lighting solution. Every home should have one. Or two!

Pros

Max lumens: 272 lumens
Max distance: 534 feet
Battery type: 2x AA battery
Weight: 4.2 oz

5. NiteCore i4000R

NITECORE i4000R 4400 Lumen USB-C Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

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Many reviewers will agree that the NiteCore i4000R could well be the best flashlight you can buy. It always ranks highly on lists like this, and there’s no shortage of positive reviews. And in truth, it does live up to the hype. If you’re looking for something with a powerful beam and long-lasting battery life, this could be your ideal weapon of choice.

This handy flashlight has five selectable modes, ranging from a turbo mode that shines out 4400 lumens, right down to an ultra-low eco mode that produces 2 lumens for up to 380 hours! Plus, it has a strobe mode too. The i4000R uses CREE XP-L2 LEDs to produce this powerful light, which can illuminate objects from as far as 350 yards.

There is a downside, though it’s a very small one. It’s a little larger than some of the others on this list. The size difference is hardly worth mentioning though. However, if you really need something small, perhaps if you’re a night angler on a boat with limited space, or a hunter traveling light, this could be a negative point. For most people, it won’t be a problem.

Pros

Max lumens: 4400 lumens
Max distance: 656 feet
Battery type: 5000mAh rechargeable battery
Weight: 4.76 oz

6. Anker LC130

Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight

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This compact tactical flashlight from Anker is super bright, tough, and robust. It packs a serious punch for such a compact torch, and while the brightness is its main selling point, it also has some very practical features.

Constructed from aluminum, this flashlight is IPX-7 water-resistant. This means that it will stay waterproof if submerged to depths of up to one meter for under 30 minutes. The aluminum body is wrapped in an anti-slip coating that helps boost shock resistance and provide a confident grip even in tough conditions.

The light function has five different settings that control the LED’s brightness. The beam can also be adjusted from wide to narrow, giving you full control of the illumination. On the highest setting, this torch will produce 1300 lumens!

This flashlight has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides up to 6 hours of non-stop lighting. It’s charged via a USB cable, and can also be charged with a 1A adapter.

Anker’s LC130 is a great little flashlight.

Pros

Max lumens: 1300 lumens
Max distance: 820 feet
Battery type: 26650 rechargeable battery
Weight: 24 oz

7. ThruNite TN36

ThruNite TN36 Limited Version 11000 Lumen CREE XHP 70B LED Powerful Floody Flashlight

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This one is a bit of a curveball. Unlike the other lights on this list, the ThruNite TN36 is quite a handful. It’s not a sleek and compact little light. Instead, it’s a thick device built for producing serious illumination. If you don’t believe us, look at the maximum output of this beast: 11,000 lumens!

The secret to the ThruNite’s intense beam is the use of CREE XHP 70B LEDs and I MR 18650 batteries. Together, they can produce that serious light, but only in the light’s turbo mode. It has five other modes with differing intensity, and a strobe mode too.

It has a strong beam, but it also has a strong body too. The case is made from aluminum, and it’s actually IPX-8 water-resistant, and shockproof as well. It’s an unconventional shape, roughly the size of a standard soda can, but it needs the extra space to house those heavy-duty batteries.

If you need all the light, then this is the flashlight for you. Plus, it comes with a holster and a lanyard!

Pros

Max lumens: 11000 lumens
Max distance: 1158 feet
Battery type: 4 x ThruNite 18650 3100mAh IMR batteries
Weight: 15 oz (without battery)

Buying The Best Flashlight: What You Need To Know

Buying a flashlight isn’t a complicated process. However, there are a few things worth keeping in mind before you buy one. For example, it’s worth noting what the average power output looks like, or what kind of battery life you can expect from a modern flashlight. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what things you should look out for.

Purpose

First things first, ask yourself what you need the flashlight for. If you’re looking for something you can keep in your utility closet for the occasional power outage, you might want something a little less outdoor-ready than a rock climber or hunter might want. Generally, tactical flashlights offer the best combination of practicality, durability, and performance, but they’re often more expensive.

Think about what you’re going to be doing with your flashlight, and search for items that will make that purpose easier.

Lumens

A flashlight’s light output is measured in lumens. The more lumens that a bulb has, the brighter it is. For most everyday purposes, an output of 500 lumens is more than bright enough. If you want the brightest available, some high end LED flashlights have lumen ratings over 10,000! Big figures like that might seem like overkill, but if you’re outdoors at night and need to illuminate a wide area, having the brightest flashlight you can get makes a huge difference.

Higher lumens doesn’t always mean a greater beam distance, but the two often go together. Very bright lights can quickly deplete your battery life though, so keep that in mind.

Technology

Almost all modern flashlights are powered by LED technology rather than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. However, there are differences between LED quality. We recommend looking for a more efficient LED. These are often made by known brands, such as Cree. Efficient LEDs usually offer superior light quality.

Other technological features to look out for include switchable output modes, practical switches (such as a tail switch or twist switch), and electronically managed power outputs. Electronic output management helps your flashlight deliver consistent lighting without draining your battery too quickly.

Battery Life

Powerful torches can drain batteries quickly. Flashlights with long battery lives often have weaker beams. Luckily, most modern flashlights have managed to solve this problem by installing selectable output modes. Even so, it’s worth looking at a torch’s claimed battery life anyway. If it can maintain a high output for an acceptable length of time, you know you’re onto a winner.

It’s not as simple as that though. You should also look at what kind of battery it takes, how long it takes to charge, and how easy it is to charge. While modern lithium-ion batteries are great, old-school AA or AAA batteries are still useful: they can be bought anywhere. An odd-sized lithium unit can’t be bought in a hurry or quickly swapped out. If you decide on rechargeable batteries, make sure you can charge them easily, and don’t have to worry about using an odd-sized cable or adapter.

Durability

If you’re looking for a standard flashlight for regular household use, the overall durability of a torch probably isn’t a big priority. However, if you plan to use your flashlight out in the wilderness, on a worksite, or for survival purposes, having something solid and durable is essential.

Always read how tough a flashlight is. Luckily, most manufacturers are only too happy to advertise just how strong their product is. Do check in the reviews to see just how accurate their claims are though! The best flashlights are shockproof, impact-resistant, and waterproof.

Waterproofing is important, especially for those using their flashlight in a marine environment. Since this is BoatSafe, we’re always looking for the best gear for use on the water. We recommend looking for tools with an IPX rating of 7 or above.

Price

Arguably, the most important factor that you need to take into consideration is the price. There are some reviewers out there who believe that any flashlight cheaper than $50 is going to be complete junk. And that’s not always true. It really does depend on what your needs are.

If you want a light with incredible beam distance, a high output, a battery life that lasts forever, that you can drop in water, drop off a cliff, and still expect it to work, then you’ll want to spend over $100. Now, if you want something capable that can light dark places and help you out in a real emergency, then expect to pay over $50. But if you need a bit of light to help you find the trip switch, or find some loose change under your car seats, you can spend as little as you like.

Always look at the price and see if it matches up with your expectations. If the price looks right for the task you intend, then you can buy that flashlight without worrying.

Other Things To Consider

Of course, always take a look at what’s included in the price. Many of the products on this list include a handy holster or lanyard, a charging cable, and a protective casing. But be warned! Some do not ship with batteries, and you may have to buy them separately. Before you hit the “buy” button, make sure you know exactly what you’re buying…and what’s not included.

Now you know what to look out for, you can guarantee that you’re going to get the best flashlight for your needs.

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