If you’ve ever bought or considered buying a tactical flashlight, it’s likely that you haven’t thought much about what kind of flashlight to buy. Considering that flashlights are a very common purchase for nearly every household, this kind of mindset is not surprising.
However, you should put plenty of thought into your decision to buy the best tactical flashlight for your needs. Flashlights are almost always bought for emergency or outdoor use, so finding the best tactical flashlight should be essential to ensure that you get a flashlight that is bright, durable and will last for years. There are numerous factors to consider when trying to find the best tactical flashlight for the money.
Best Tactical Flashlight Comparison Chart
Best Tactical Flashlight – Tactical Flashlight Reviews
A flashlight is every handyman’s best friend, so much so, that the market is filled with flashlights. I’m Jim and welcome to my Best Flashlight and Flashlight Reviews Blog! Why did I choose to blog about it?
I was finding few flashlights to suit my different needs and activities. Then I realized that I had a huge mountain of information on many flashlights. So, I compiled all my findings, experts’ recommendations, owners’ reviews and friends’ experiences together.
I just thought that it would save you a lot of time and hassle if you can find everything that you need to know about tactical flashlights right here!
Hope you enjoy exploring my world of flashlights!
How to Pick the Best Flashlight?
For starters, you’ve got to know what your expectations are for the flashlight that you want to pick. That should narrow your long shopping list. I’ve sorted the many things you need to look for in 14 points:
- Go for Reliable Name Brands
- Brighter Isn’t Always Better
- Do Not Compare Flashlight Brightness Just By Lumens
- Lighting Needs
- Consider the Cost of Batteries
- Consider the Availability of Batteries
- Best Reflectors
- Light Color
- Assembly of Flashlight
With these 14 facts, you should be able to pin point the exact use that you need in a flashlight. Then, your shopping load for the best flashlight for you will be so much easier. If you want more details or clarification on the each of the following points, click here.
One tactical flashlight which is perfect for one may not be the best for another. This may be due to the fact that they all have different specialties and capabilities which make them distinct and unique. As such, I’ve picked 5 different flashlights which I believe are best in their respective categories.
Below are my top picks:
- Best key-ring flashlight: Best for those who want an extremely tiny flashlight
- Best household LED flashlight: Best for its durability and all-roundedness
- Best travel flashlight: A perfect every day carry light and for those who can afford it
- Best budget utility flashlight: Best for those on a tight budget & who prefer not to hold the light
- Best solar flashlight: Suits the eco-friendly and welfare enthusiasts
The Top 6 Best Tactical Flashlights
As a key-ring flashlight, it is undoubtedly tiny but don’t be fooled by its looks for it’s a more serious tool than it appears at first sight.
Rated as the best key ring flashlight, it is two times brighter than any micro light, has extra functions, is easy to control, water-resistant, handy and practical, a wonderful gift and comes with a multi-purpose photon clip!
Without any downside, it is an ideal household LED flashlight. Great for a comfortable one handed operation, it would be a breeze for either you or your kids to use.
Knowing that a flashlight is essential for a house, this fits the bill by being durable, impact resistant, bright, handy, non-conductive, has a long battery life and uses old battery size C.
One special feature about this flashlight is that it charges most cell-phones! Not really good for rough terrains, it’s better as a supplementary flashlight.
Additionally, it doesn’t run on batteries so there is no need to worry about your battery falling flat so as the best emergency crank flashlight, Electrilite Crank Flashlight is small, doesn’t use batteries or conventional bulbs, has night acclimation, delivers super bright light and is quite affordable.
A high tech and rugged tool. It’s your best travel flashlight which can fit in just about anything.
You can bank on its solid reliability, digitally regulated brightness and its compact feature by being waterproof and shock-resistant, generates less heat, gives consistent and very bright light, has 6 different level of brightness, a lifetime warranty and is a safer alternative to a candle.
It’s great for the occasional handyman or for a fairly safe and smooth surface. As the best budget utility flashlight, Stanley MaxLife Tripod 369 Flashlight can’t guarantee you long-term durability.
Although it has many problems, if you can wait for them to be ironed out, it is unusually versatile, well-designed, lightweight, doesn’t need hands to operate it, has a long battery life and a unique swiveling head.
‘Buy one give one’. That’s their motto. If you’re an environmentalist and want to give light to those in need, this is your answer.
As a solar flashlight, a BoGo light has worldwide impact, a glow-in-the-dark strip, charges well, is exceptionally sturdy, useful, eco-friendly and an emergency saver.
Quick Guide to Flashlights
Did you know that the name “flashlight” has a slightly humorous history? In the early days of the dry cell, the power of a dry cell battery was very limited. To save it from discharging quickly, the flashlight was operated intermittently and just long enough to check out the environment; hence the name “flashlight”
Now, let us go back to the important information. There are about 4 basic types of flashlights: incandescent, fluorescent, LED and hybrid.
Incandescent Tactical Flashlights
- Most basic, old-fashioned flashlight.
- Comes in several different types, going from least to most bright:
- Price rises in sync with the brightness.
- Brighter bulbs do not absorb battery juice any faster than the dimmer bulbs, so it has been said that it’s more worthwhile to go for xenon at all times.
Fluorescent Tactical Flashlights
- Emergency go-to lights in the factories at work.
- The downside to it is that they’re usually:
LED Tactical Flashlights
- Latest ‘in’ products.
- The good:
- Battery life last many times longer
- Bulbs never burn/ need replacing
- It’s expensive, though, to get one that shines very bright.
Hybrid Tactical Flashlights
- Many headlamps and handheld flashlights are a combination of regular incandescent bulbs and LED lights.
- If you choose to get this type, use the incandescent bulb as little as possible, because it drains battery life 10 times faster than the LED mode.
- So, this might not be a great choice looking at it either way.
What is the Best Tactical Flashlight for you?
- If you need bright light but a short battery life, xenon is ideal.
- If you are all right with mediocre brightness but want a long lasting battery life, fluorescent might be a better bet.
- If you need light that last days without a battery change but do not mind a pretty weak light, try LED. This is better in situations such as emergency cases.
Best Tactical Flashlight List
- SunNight Solar BoGoLight SN-2 Flashlight – Best Solar Flashlight
- Fenix P2D-CE Flashlight – Best travel flashlight
- LRI Photon Micro-Light Freedom Flashlight – Best key-ring flashlight
- Stanley MaxLife Tripod 369 Flashlight – Best Budget Utility Flashlight
- Streamlight 33244 3C Propolymer Luxeon Flashlight – Best household LED flashlight
Before you buy an LED flashlight, it’s important to work out which one is right for you. Here’s a guide to make the decision easy.
What will you be using it for?
Think about the main thing that you will use the torch or flashlight for. This will help determine which features you’ll need, like:
The light output of flashlights is measured in “lumens”. It gives you a basic way to compare the brightness of one torch against another, but doesn’t necessarily give you the entire picture. The throw distance, intensity of the beam/lens focus (flood/wide, spot/focused or adjustable) and other factors can all affect how practical the light is for your situation.
Less than 20 lumens: Fairly weak, but good for close-up activities like reading at night.
20-150 lumens: Bright enough for around the house. Good to keep in the cupboard in case of a blackout.
150-400 lumens: Great range for general purpose use. Take it camping, keep it in the car, good for security use. This will work well outdoors at a medium distance.
400-1000 lumens: This is starting to get into the “serious” range. Great for tactical or hunting use, hiking, marine – really any outdoor use.
1000+ lumens: If you want something that will burn the retinas of even the Terminator, these are the torches for you. Anything over 1,000 lumens can be used in wide open areas, and will likely give you a range of over 1,000ft (300 metres)! Keep in mind that although it’s super bright, it will chew through the batteries a lot faster as well.
Running Time (Battery Life)
How long your battery will last for depends on the brightness of the LED(s) and the size of your best tactical flashlight (e.g. how many batteries it holds). If you only need something for occasional use like electricity blackouts or finding something in the trunk of your car then you probably don’t need a long running time, and can get away with a nice small torch. However, if you’re going to be exploring the deep, dark recesses of a cave then you probably want something that’s going to last a long time so you don’t get stuck in the dark, surrounded by bats.
Size & Weight
One of the benefits of LED technology is that it’s enabled manufacturers to build even smaller flashlights with better brightness. However, there may be times you want something with a bit of heft to it, like a Maglite.
One of the major benefits of LED flashlights over their incandescent predecessors is that they’re a lot more shock resistant. Many LED flashlights also offer sturdy aluminium or steel casings, and some are not only water resistant but can even be fully submerged underwater! If you want to guarantee that you’re getting a flashlight that will put up with the toughest abuse, make sure you get a good brand and look for one that’s been tested to ANSI FL1 standards for impact resistance and water resistance.
This will be shown in metres (or equivalent ft) and proves that in testing the flashlight still worked after being dropped six times from that height onto a hard surface.
Water resistance tests are done after the impact testing. A rating of IPX 4 means it’s splash resistant. IPX 7 means the flashlight can be submerged in shallow water for up to 30 minutes. IPX 8 means it can be submerged for up to 4 hours at the listed depth (e.g. 10 metres).
Maglite torch stats
The FL1 Standard information above shows that this particular flashlight has a luminous intensity of 33,028 candelas (not the same as, but roughly equivalent to candlepower) or 131 lumens, a beam throw distance of 364 metres, maximum running time of 79 hours, is weather resistant and impact resistant to a drop-height of 1 metre.
There are three basic types of beam – flood, spot and variable.
Also known as “fixed” beam. This spreads the light over a wide area and is good for general navigation at night or reading a map etc.
Also known as “focused” or “pencil” beam. This focuses the beam into a small area for the farthest throw and is handy for honing in on a target in the distance.
An adjustable beam gives you the best of both worlds, and is usually adjusted by twisting the end of the lens.
Modes & Controls
The name “flashlight” makes sense once you realise that some models come with various flashing or strobing options. These can be used for morse code, to signal an emergency or a hazard, and you can even get programmable flashlights like the HexBright FLEX. Some brands also feature different output modes (e.g. high, medium, low) which will vary the brightness, and therefore extend battery life.
The controls on the flashlight are something you probably haven’t given much thought to, but for some applications (like if you’re wearing gloves) it can be a real consideration. Controls may be buttons, sliders or simply twisting the end of the lens. Some may include a safety lock so that the torch can’t accidentally be turned on, thereby preventing unnecessary battery drain.
What’s your budget?
Once you’ve worked out the features you want in your ideal Tactical flashlight, it’s time to talk dollars (or pounds, or rubbles, or whatever…) to make sure you get the best tactical flashlight for the money.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. A well-known brand of flashlight might cost a bit more than a cheap Chinese knockoff, but it’s also likely to have much better build quality, will last longer, perform better (more efficient LEDs, brighter beam etc) and probably has a good manufacturer-backed warranty if you do run into any issues.