Best LED Flashlights
When the power goes out, or you are camping and need to see during the night, a great LED flashlight comes in handy. These little tools are one of the most important pieces of your gear as when the sun goes down, and you are in complete darkness the first thing you look to grab is the trusty flashlight. LED flashlights provide you with brighter lights and use less power, which means these flashlights are your go to in a dark situation. They offer superior battery life and a long-lasting nature while consuming less power overall.
Now when looking for a LED flashlight there are many variations and many have different features, so it sometimes is difficult to find which LED flashlight would best fit your needs. Luckily for you, we have done the research and listed the top ten LED flashlights of 2018, and why they made our list. We also have listed some criteria to explain what to look for in a LED flashlight and some things to think about which may make it easier for you to find your perfect flashlight.
- Anker Tactical
- Wrist strap
- Long-lasting life
- Streamlight Stinger
- IPX-8 standards
- Maglite 3-D Cell
- Zoom feature
- Focus feature
10 Best LED Flashlights
In conjunction with the aluminum body is an overall design that is resistant to shocks, making it ideal for rough handling. In addition, it is water-resistant to IP65 standards making it suitable for use in heavy downpours.
With programmable options for high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS, there are several light settings that will adapt to every scenario you have. When need be, the maximum output is 900 lumens.
If you were to utilize this flashlight on its highest power setting without stopping, it would last up to six hours. Clearly, this will increase when you use lower output settings. Then, in around six hours, it will be full recharged.
Sometimes, you need to be able to use your hands in conjunction with needing light. As such, this is designed to stand up as an emergency lamp to adapt to this situation.
Once again, there are no further seller options for you to choose from but, the lone model will suffice for everyone.
Even though this did not land at the top of the heap, you can make the argument that it is better than any other LED flashlight on the face of the earth. Perhaps if the beam of the light would have been narrower, it could have.
- A wrist strap, USB cable, guide and 18-month warranty come included
- It can spot objects up to 1000 meters away
- Has a long-lasting life of 50,000 hours
- Many users have complained that the width of the beam is too noticeable and that it should have focused more on distance
Not only is the lens crafted from an unbreakable polycarbonate lens, with a scratch-resistant coating, but the overall body is made up of a 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum.
You can independently switch between three different lighting modes and when you need it, the max setting will provide you with 640 lumens of light that can access around 300 meters.
Admittedly, the battery life is not the greatest and somewhat disappointing. The best you will get is up to six hours on a single charge, even at the lowest setting. Recharging it, also, can take a bit longer depending on what you charge it with.
Besides the main switch for the lighting settings, there is an additional multi-function tail cap switch that has been tested vigorously.
The model you choose is not optional but you can select from different chargers. You can either choose a 120-volt AC charger, a 12-volt DC charger or simply opt against buying one altogether.
An improved battery life would have sprung this flashlight even higher but as it stands, it is still an excellent choice. Its high-quality construction, excellent power and multiple lighting settings prove this.
- Optimized technology regulates the intensity during every charge
- Is water-resistant to IPX4 standards
- The NiMH battery can be recharged up to 1000 times
- Does not feature the best battery life
Maglite 3-D Cell
Thanks in large part to the aggressive knurled design, matte finish, weather-resistant seals, and anodized aluminum body, you are delivered a flashlight that will hold up to rough handling.
Compared to others, the lighting options are a little limited. You can select either full power, low power or an eco-mode. For lumens, this goes from 625 to 143 to 58, respectively.
While the lighting options may be limited, the battery life certainly is not. In eco mode, you could realistically get up to 117 hours of battery life. But, even at the highest setting, you could get up to 16 hours.
Both the Quick Clik push button and Quick Focus system are as convenient as it gets. The former is used as an electronic switch for choosing a functional mode and the latter, allows you to adjust from spot to flood.
There are different color options that you can select from (black, green, tan and gray) and also from either a 2-D Cell or 3-D Cell version. The version documented here is the 3-D Cell version and the 2-D cell version is sort of a watered-down version of the same model.
While this is limited in certain areas and not the most powerful flashlight out there, from an overall lens, it is superb and well worth an investment.
- Features an overall fantastic battery life
- The design of the handle is ideal when needing a little extra grip
- Easily adjustable focus and zoom system
- Due to the button design, you could easily change modes without noticing
- Includes a cheap lens that is entirely too easy to scratch
Overall, as this is a tactical flashlight, it is heavy-duty and rugged enough to handle most accidental occurrences.
While the max output is only 300 lumens, you can select from either a high, low, or strobe setting for light output. Plus, the light can reach up to 600 feet.
The V1-Pro Flashlight will either run off of an AA battery or a rechargeable battery. If you were to use this normally, the battery would probably last for a couple of weeks.
If you need to, you can zoom out for a wider illumination. Of course, you can also zoom in when you need an intense beam of light.
Past the standard black design, there are some other visually appealing color designs including blue aqua, desert camo, hunter orange, and forest camo.
If you are looking for the brightest flashlight in the world, stay away from this one. With only a max output of 300 lumens, you will be disappointed if this is what you are after. But, for what it is, the V1-Pro is designed admirably.
- Includes a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee from J5 Tactical
- Has the capability of scanning over the length of over 200 yards
- Will hold up admirably to light rain
- When you place it in a concealed place, the focus can be accidentally adjusted too easily
- Does not produce the highest of light outputs
Fenix PD35 Tactical
Being a tactical flashlight, you can bet this is built with military standards in mind. Indeed, with its durable aircraft-grade aluminum, hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish, and slip-resistant design it is as rugged as it gets.
There are five different lighting options that you can select from, with the Turbo setting producing the max output of 1000 lumens. Past this, there is also a strobe setting if you are looking for regular flashes of light.
Depending on the light setting that you choose, you can either extend or decrease the battery life. If you ran this on the lowest setting, which outputs eight lumens of light, it could realistically last up to 140 hours.
When your battery needs replaced, an indicator light will come on informing you that it is time. Also, the integrated software memorizes your last output mode so when you turn it on again, it automatically sets it to it.
There are no further seller options available; just the lone PD35 Flashlight.
If you are looking for a highly advanced and superbly constructed flashlight, it simply does not get better than this. Simply put, even if you are not going to use it for tactical reasons, this is the flashlight to own.
- Features a max capacity of 1000 lumens
- It is waterproof to IPX-8 standards and can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes
- Compared to previous versions, features improved white color balance
- Does not perform very well in the fog
- Some may not appeal to the vast majority of buttons
Goal Zero Torch 250
With a built-in solar panel and hand-crank, this is more than a traditional flashlight as there are other means of charging and power.
You can choose between a bright mode and half-bright mode, and also between a floodlight, flashlight, or red emergency light. All in all, in total, you are delivered 250 lumens of light.
The 4400mAh lithium-ion battery will last up to 48 hours, but it will vary based on the light output.
Because there is a USB port on the side of this flashlight, you can charge your smartphone or other devices when it has power.
While there is only one seller option, you can choose a two-year or four-year protection plan in case of accidental damage or breaking.
The plethora of charging options is a nice touch, but the solar panel and hand-crank are not foolproof. But, they still give you a convenient means to charge when you do not have access otherwise.
- You can select between full and half brightness modes
- Integrates both a solar-panel and hand-crank for additional means of power
- Is an overall rugged and durable construction
- The hand-crank is crafted from plastic
- Unless you live in areas with plenty of exposure to sunlight, the solar panel is not very effective
STCT Street Cap Headlamp
As this straps over your head, it is incredibly useful for hands-free tasks. Also, you can stretch out the light for spotlighting, draw it back for flood lighting, and even adjust it for long illuminating distance.
There are three modes available, high beam, low beam, and strobe, that will adapt for different scenarios. When you use the high beam setting, you could see up to 656 feet in front of you.
Included in the flashlight is a 200mAH polymer battery and it can be recharged with the included charging cable. For additional convenience, there is not a battery pack and wires to get in the way.
When you are working or walking, you can adjust the headlamp in terms of degrees. It can easily be rotated from zero to 90 degrees.
For pure style and appeal, you can select from either a black, orange, blue, or red-versioned headlamp flashlight.
It is easy to understate just how convenient a headlamp LED flashlight is, especially this version. Because it is waterproof, designed with an elastic band, and easily rotatable, it simply is hard to beat.
- It is both easy to install and transport
- Features elastic to make it easier to strap on and off
- Has a waterproof construction, making it ideal for rainy days
- Does not feature peripheral lighting
- The charging cable is not a standard USB cable and may not be compatible with your additional devices
Thanks to the convenient design of the light itself, it evenly disperses the light to make your work easier. But, while it is labeled as being a lightweight strap that fits over your head, several users have claimed otherwise stating it is both heavy and bulky.
With the use of only one hand, you can switch between the three different lighting modes that are present. When maxed, it will output 600 lumens.
On a single charge, while it does vary depending on the light output you are using, this battery can last up to 120 hours. In addition, when it needs to be revamped, it can charge to 80 percent in four quick hours.
No matter the frequency in which you use the light, the innovative design manages to control the temperature and prevent it from heating up. Thus, the lamp will stay cool no matter how long it is powered.
There are three different versions of this headlamp that are sold. This version is the MH10 but there is also the MH2 and MH6. Overall, the other two are cheaper but the MH10 is more powerful.
This headlamp LED flashlight can be perfect for car mechanics who spend countless time under the hood or even those who are walking on a trail in the pitch darkness. Plus, thanks to the five-year warranty, you are covered for a while.
- Backed by the manufacturer’s five-year warranty
- When maxed, it can output 600 lumens of light
- On a single charge, it can last up to 120 hours
- Many users have claimed that this headlamp is both bulky and heavy to wear
Lighting Ever Tactical
Not only is it fully waterproof, making it suitable for use in raging downpours, it is also skid-proof. What this means is that you are delivered with an uncompromisable grip and feel.
Lighting Ever claims that the max output is 1000 lumens. However, this may be a bit inflated as reviewers have stated it is nowhere near this total. Still, it provides an optimal amount of light with five different output settings.
Both a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a 4.2V charger are included with this flashlight. For a single charge, you could get up to 12 hours of battery life (on the lowest setting).
When the time persists, you are given the ability to adjust the beam focus, choosing from a wide or wider flood adjustment.
If you do not feel the need to have five separate output settings, there is an additional design option for simply a three-mode flashlight (if you desire).
When you see a manufacturer blatantly exaggerate a design feature of their product, it can begin to develop doubts in your mind. But, everything else that is stated is as true and good as it gets.
- As this is a LED light, it has a long-lasting shelf life
- Provides you with the option for either a three or five-mode flashlight
- Constructed from heavy-duty aluminum and is textured for an anti-slip handle
- Users have claimed it is not as bright as advertised
- The spot beam, or lack thereof, is flawed
Unlike cheaper flashlights, each component of this flashlight thread into the tube. In addition to this, the springs are gold plated to hold up better to corrosion. Finally, it is constructed from military-grade aluminum and a hardened anodized finish.
Overall, Vizeri claims that their light has an intense beam that far surpasses the competition. While it is highly competent, reviews have noted that it may not be as great as advertised. Still, there are five different lighting settings to select from for different needs.
No doubt, the battery design allows for a strong amount of flexibility. Because it is designed with both AAA batteries and Lithium-ion batteries, you can use specific batteries based on your needs.
Included with the flashlight is a lamp diffuser and holster with a D-ring. What this allows is for the light to be used as a hanging lamp in scenarios where you need a beam of light and both of your hands.
Most tactical flashlights are sold with one model and this is no exception. Again, however, this is not an issue as the lone model is nearly perfect.
Every design aspect of this flashlight is truly sensational. But, it is worth noting that for those looking for intense and super-bright light outputs, other options are superior.
- The included programming mode is very convenient
- Includes a zoom and focus feature
- It runs off both AAA batteries and Lithium-ion batteries
- The light distance is not the best as you will not be able to spot objects too far away
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
The Overall Construction of the Flashlight
There is a high chance that you could overlook this design element in your search for an elite LED flashlight. After all, in terms of design, you would think the only real aspects that would matter would be the design of the LED light, the power it provides, and its battery life. However, do not overlook the construction of the flashlight as a whole. In specific, this is where tactical models are nice as they are designed with military personnel in mind. As such, you will see excellent design elements such as a construction of durable aircraft-grade aluminum, gold-plated springs, a hard-anodized abrasive finish, and even having each component thread into the tube.
All these design features make up a flashlight that will hold up admirably to rough handling, drops, and overall accidents. But, even if it is not a tactical flashlight, you can also look for either water-resistance or waterproofness. In times where you need to utilize your flashlight in the downpouring rain, possessing this design feature will allow you to do so (depending on the standards of the water-resistance).
The Light Output and Settings Included
For many, this is where the bacon lies in flashlights. No doubt, the primary function of a flashlight of any kind is to provide you with a beam of light when you can’t see otherwise. As such, it makes sense for this design feature to be so prominent. Firstly, what you need to ask yourself, is how powerful do you want the flashlight to be? Flashlights are measured in lumens, which is the SI derived unit of luminous flux. Basically, this is a measure of the total amount of visible light that is emitted by a specific source. So, the higher the lumens the brighter and more powerful the light is.
But, clearly, you do not want a flashlight that only has one output setting because there will be scenarios in which you do not need an excessively bright light (which can also affect the battery life). Thus, it is important to take note of the various lighting options that are provided. Some will have five, while others simply three. Extra options, such as a strobe light, may prove mute to you as you may never end up using it. But, you may want an option for a high output, medium output, and low output.
The Design of the Battery and Its Life on One Charge
This can be a real deal breaker for buyers and rightfully so. There are two huge factors that come into play when analyzing the battery of an LED flashlight. Firstly, is the design of the battery itself. Is the flashlight run off of lithium-ion batteries, traditional AA or AAA batteries, or a combination of both? The reason why this is important is that if it utilizes lithium-ion batteries, it can be recharged straight from flashlight itself. But, traditional AA or AAA batteries need to be replaced but the upside is you can tag along as many batteries as you wish.
Then, the battery life on one charge is also important. Clearly, this is going to vary based on the light output that is emitted. If you ran the flashlight on its highest possible setting, it will die quicker than if you only used the max output when you needed it. Still, some battery lives can fluctuate by an insane amount and, depending on how frequently you intend to use the flashlight, you may not be interested in one with a lower amount.
Additional Convenient Features
Flashlights are not designed as a party favor, they are not designed to be used for entertainment. Instead, they are meant to provide you with the convenience of intense light at your fingertips. But, they offer way more convenience after you scratch the surface. In short, here are some of the design features that you can look out for.
Sometimes, you need to have the power of light while also possessing both of your hands. Thus, an integrated way of hanging the flashlight as a lamp or standing it up on its own will come in handy. Also, the ability to switch from a spotlight to a floodlight can pay dividends to you. At times, you will require an intense beam of light and other times you will see the need for a wider range of illumination. But, this could also be as simple as an implemented design feature such as an indicator light when your battery needs to be replaced.
Other Seller Options Provided
In terms of seller options for flashlights, it can actually vary quite a bit but it still is important. For example, you may see differing options for the color design, power outputs, and lighting options, or even charging options. In general, outside of maybe the color choices, these options will affect the performance and design of the flashlight. For instance, a different charger could charge the flashlight quicker, a different model can offer a higher max output of lumens, and more lighting options can allow you to adapt to more scenarios.
Q: What Do You Do If Your Batteries Leak and Damage the Flashlight?
When a battery is left installed on a device for an extended period of time, they will begin to self-discharge and in more serious situations, leak. If this happens to you and the battery leakage affects the flashlight in any way, you may be out of lock from the manufacturer who is selling the flashlight. For example, Led Lenser, a manufacturer who made an appearance on this list, states on their FAQ page that their warranty does not cover damages from battery leakage.
So, you may be out of luck with the flashlight designer. However, as Led Lenser also states, many times the brand name of the battery will warrant their batteries and the devices that are being powered by them. In this case, they may reimburse you for both.
Q: Why Choose LED Flashlights in the First Place?
Throughout this entire guide, you may have been wondering why LED flashlights are worth it in the first place. While it was addressed briefly in the introduction, it is worth a deeper look. There are several reasons to opt for an LED light, as opposed to an incandescent. For starters, they tend to have a longer battery life and bulb life. As LED lights use battery power more efficiently than incandescent lights, they are able to maintain this power for a longer period of time without needing a charge.
But, this efficiency also lends itself to the shelf life of LED lights. The difference is astronomical as compared to incandescent lights and LED’s can last at utmost up to 50,000 hours of use. Lastly, they tend to be more durable and not as delicate as an incandescent bulb is made of glass and an LED light with a plastic housing.
Q: How Should You Store Your LED Flashlight?
You may not pay any mind to it, but you should be storing your LED flashlight, or any flashlight for that matter, in a specific location. As many manufacturers, including Energizer, have pointed out what you need to do is to store the flashlight in a dry and cool location; one in which is in a convenient and easy-to-reach location. The reason for this is one, so you can easily access it in an emergency situation and two, storing it in a hot and wet location can accelerate the defects in a flashlight. This could include battery leakage.
As such, avoid at all costs, storing the flashlight in direct access to the sun or underneath the car seat in your vehicle. It is not very difficult to do so; so, do not get lazy and find a go-to location that you can store your flashlight.
Q: Can You Use an LED Flashlight on a Bicycle?
This is a fascinating question and one that could be of use to you. Even though you probably should install a headlight on your bicycle if you plan on riding in the darkness, a flashlight is not a bad alternative. What you could seemingly do with an LED flashlight is to secure it to the front of your bicycle, possibly with a zip tie, and utilize it as a headlight. However, if you do think that this is a good idea, you must understand that some of these flashlights can output extremely intense beams of light.
Clearly, you would not want to ride with 1000 lumens of light flashing ahead of you. No doubt, you will blind someone and compromise people’s health. But, if you switched to the flood mode and the lowest possible lighting setting, you could really get away with this. Not only would you have enough light to see but you would not affect anyone else’s vision.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Flashlight and a Lantern?
Perhaps some may feel this is a question that is fairly obvious to differentiate. But, still, several people seem to ask this question so that makes it worth addressing. First off, no, lanterns and flashlights are not the same things and if you ever have any issues differentiating between the two of them, this is when you know it is a lantern.
Instead of being tube-shaped, a lantern has a handle and is primarily designed to stand up on its own. Also, it has a much larger head and reflector than any flashlight on the market has. Lastly, a lantern is typically powered by four D cell batteries and a flashlight should require nowhere near that amount or size of the battery. At the end of the day, they are not too hard to distinguish so do not worry too much about this.
Q: How Often Do You Need to Replace the Batteries?
Unless the LED flashlight you invest in is run off of lithium-ion batteries and nothing else, you will need to replace your batteries when they run out of power. But, is this the only time you should change them? Here is the reality of the situation, as was stated earlier, batteries that are installed in devices for too long will begin to discharge. Alkaline batteries, in specific, tend to have a leaking issue and if you use them, you need to be aware of it.
Clearly, if you use your flashlight with any regulatory, you should replace your batteries when the light is dim and not as bright as it should be. But, if you simply use it once or twice a year, you should probably change them regardless of their charge as, again, aging batteries can lead to leaking batteries.
It may seem silly and rather unnecessary to spend so much time on research and analyzation for a product that you may only use a few times a year. However, flashlights can come in handy in situations where you least expect it and LED models, in particular, offer key advantages over incandescent bulbs. Now that you have enough information to wrap your head around LED flashlights, the ball is in your court to find the best one to fit your needs.