Flashlights are an essential item to have, even just as an emergency tool. For some, flashlights are just useful and handy to have around, and for others, they are an essential part of jobs, work, and hobbies. Whichever category you fall into, it’s a good idea to opt for purchasing a flashlight that is very bright, very powerful, and will last you a very long time.
In order to help you choose the brightest, best quality flashlight, we’ve put together a guide on flashlights and also a list of some of our favorites. We hope it can be of good assistance to you!
The Brightest Flashlight in 2018 Reviews & Comparison Table
Product Lumens Our Rating Price 1300 4.7 /5 $ 1000 4.5 /5 $ 900 4.6 /5 $$ 800 4.6 /5 $ 140 4.6 /5 $ 300 4.5 /5 $ 250 4.4 /5 $
1. Outlite A100 Portable LED Tactical Flashlight
This product is a tactical, handheld flashlight and makes use of high-powered LED chips as an output, which produces a bright white light at a maximum output of 250 lumens. The beam of light that is produced can be zoomed in and out for optimum focus, with the widest having a range of about 30 feet.
The flashlight runs on either one lithium 3.7V 18650 battery or three AAA batteries, the former for which are included in the package with a capacity of 3600mAh.
There is no lifespan advertised for the included batteries, but you can expect them to last as long as their capacity suggests. A simple on/off button functions as a means of operating the light and changing between different brightness settings and modes. The flashlight is also water resistant, although it should not be placed directly in water.
- A strong construction of high quality 6061T aluminum alloy promises durability.
- The flashlight can securely stand up on a flat surface, so it can act as a candle in a pinch.
- Although the product is listed as having a 250 lumens output, it is significantly brighter than many similar flashlights at this rating.
- There are five brightness settings – high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS – all easily accessed via an on/off button, which are easy to operate. They are operated by half-pressing.
- The LED lamps that serve as a lamp base for this flashlight have a long lifespan of 100,000 hours or more, meaning that you will not have to change the cap for a very long time.
- The adjustable zoom allows for more versatile use as you can adjust the beam of light to suit your current needs.
- The product doesn’t burn through non-rechargeable batteries that quickly.
- A 30-day money back warranty comes with this flashlight, along with a lifetime breakage replacement policy. The company also encourages customers to contact them with any problems or issues regarding their product to discuss refunds or replacements.
- The product comes with a free mini LED flashlight keychain.
- It is heavy and large, which can be a bit of an issue depending on what you want to use the flashlight for.
- At the smallest zoom, you can see a square shaped beam in the center of the light, which may be odd and can interfere with a smooth light.
- The included batteries take 5 to 7 hours to charge, which can be a hassle for some.
- The lanyard that comes with the product may snap if not handled carefully.
3. Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight
This simple handheld flashlight is designed for household use, as well as being suitable for camping, climbing, fishing and hunting. It runs on three D-type batteries, with its output being through LED-type bulbs that have a brightness rating of 131 lumens. The batteries are rated to last as long as 72 hours.
This light is a basic white beam that is turned on via a simple push button on the side, with the beam in two different widths: a wide one in “flood” mode, and a tight, small one in “spot” mode. These two modes are accessed by rotating the head.
The light reaches far, and will allow you to read road signs from a great distance away. The product is also shock resistant and can take a significant amount of abuse without facing undue damage, and it is also water resistant at a rating of IPX-4.
You can choose to purchase the flashlight in 3-cell or 2-cell form, and depending on which you opt for, you can then pick between several colors, namely: black, gray, red, silver, blue, and camo. We are reviewing the 3-cell form!
- This flashlight is made from a high-strength anodized aluminum alloy, with high-quality O-rings guarding the openings in order to keep water out of the important battery holding area. This makes it resistant to corrosion and highly durable.
- In addition, the inside of the flashlight is manufactured with a diamond knurled design to make the beam brighter and more powerful.
- Its heavy build makes it a good product for self-defense as well.
- The company makes light that use Intelligent Energy Source Management, which allows for extended battery life by balancing a good brightness level with the power source’s capabilities.
- It is designed for both professional and consumer use, allowing you to bring it along on various jobs that would require the light.
- The MAGLITE company is a renowned one that has been around since 1979, making excellent American built flashlights, and this reputation may help you feel more confident when purchasing.
- The product comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Recent remodeling means that you may receive an older generation product instead of the latest one, depending on where you order it from.
- The older version of this light has a dark circle in the middle of its wide beam, so receiving an old model can be quite a problem for anyone expecting the current, updated, high-quality one.
- The flashlight is entirely smooth on the outside, which may cause a difficulty holding onto it in more intense situations, or can cause it to roll away and become lost if dropped on an incline.
- The flashlight is heavy, which may affect its usability and portability.
4. J5 Tactical V1-PRO 300 Lumen Ultra Bright Flashlight
This tactical, handheld flashlight runs on one single AA battery or a 14500 rechargeable. This product uses LEDs to produce a beam of white light that rates 300 lumens at max output and has a reach of up to 600 feet.
It is fitted with a zoom function that allows you to widen and focus the beam depending on your preferences and situation, and at its widest and brightest, can illuminate two football fields.
The product boasts that its single battery can last for over an hour of full brightness use, or several weeks of use with ordinary daily usage. The light switches on via a push button in the back and has three modes of brightness to choose from.
In addition, the flashlight is water resistant, although it shouldn’t be placed directly into water. The flashlight also comes in a number of colors. You can choose between black, blue aqua, desert camo, forest camo, and hunter orange.
- A tough, compact tactical design promises that this flashlight is durable and can withstand a tough outdoor expedition.
- It small, lightweight build makes it easy to bring around and simple to use.
- This flashlight is equipped with high, low, and strobe modes that allow you to use it in a variety of conditions.
- The zoom feature allows for more versatility.
- A clip is mounted into the back of the flashlight so that you can mount it to your clothes, a belt, your bag, or even a weapon if needed.
- This product was the official flashlight for Joe Gibbs Racing as well as the Number 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry driven by Carl Edwards.
- This flashlight has been tested by a rescue worker, who used it during an all-night search and rescue mission, and a serviceman who served in Afghanistan, both who gave it their approval.
- The J5 company promises that customers who encounter problems with their purchase can contact them to get it sorted out, and that they will ensure that all issues are taken care of.
- At a budget price, this flashlight offers a great amount of dependability and value for money.
- No batteries are included with the purchase of this flashlight.
- The flashlight is not as sharp when focused at its tightest or smallest point.
- The light from this flashlight occasionally kicks into a more yellowish tone, which may be off-putting to some.
- The body of the flashlight may become slippery when used in wet conditions.
- It can take a while to become accustomed to switching between the light modes and brightness levels.
- Quality control issues may result in the rare occurrence of you receiving a faulty or damaged product and being forced to go through the hassle of a refund or exchange.
5. OxyLED MD50 Super Bright LED Flashlight
This tactical handheld flashlight is a bestseller. Running on white Cree LEDs, this flashlight has a brightness rating of 500 lumens, although on maximum output, it can reach 700-800 lumens.
It runs on either one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery at 1800mAh capacity, or three AAA batteries. These last for several hours before the light begins to go dim, following which it will continue to work for a few more hours.
The product has three brightness levels and two alternate light options, all accessed by an on/off button or mode switch on the back.
A zoom function is also available, allowing the resulting beam of light to be adjusted. It is also water resistant up to the highest level, which is IPX-6, so it works flawlessly in heavy rain. But do keep in mind that it is not meant to be placed directly into water.
There are a number of options for the product, and you can choose to purchase the flashlight alone or with a battery and charger.
There are also the options of buying the long tube flashlight or a solar-powered and USB multi-functional flashlight. However, we aren’t reviewing either of the last two mentioned flashlights today.
- This product is built for durability. It is made of an aircraft grade aluminum alloy that has been premium type 3 hard-anodized.
- In addition, it receives an anti-abrasive coating and a toughened glass lens with anti-reflective coating. In short, it will be very difficult to damage this flashlight.
- The Cree LED lights have a lifespan of more than 50,000 hours, so you won’t need to replace them for a long time.
- The product has five light modes: three brightness levels, a strobe light, and an SOS function.
- All light beams are zoomable so that you can focus the resulting light depending on your situation and what you require at the time.
- The battery has built-in protection in order to ensure it does not become damaged by overcharge or discharge, and this also extends battery life.
- The product is of the perfect size for tactical use and is of a good, usable heft.
- The product comes with a thirty-day money back guarantee and a twelve-month replacement warranty.
- For a low price, this product is an excellent option that provides great value for money, and it is incredibly bright despite being at a budget price.
- The included battery may or may not last you for a long time, and you may have to switch it out for a brand new one in order to receive its maximum potential.
- At maximum range, although the light reaches very far and wide, the beam takes on a square shape.
- The free charger included takes a long time to fully charge a battery.
- There is no skid-proofing on the flashlight, so it may roll off of a slanted surface.
- The brightness control buttons do not remember the last mode or function you used, and it may be a hassle to cycle through all of them.
- The flashlight comes with a thin nylon lanyard which does not appear like the kind that would last long.
6. PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight Torch
This LED tactical, handheld flashlight that is rated at a brightness of 1000 lumens, with a maximum output of 1200 lumens on the brightest mode.
There are five of these modes that are all accessible through the on/off push button. It produces a straight, white light and runs on either one 3.7V 18650 rechargeable Lithium Ion battery with a capacity of 2200mAh, or three AAA batteries.
The beam of light produced by this flashlight is zoomable, so its reach and width are entirely adjustable to work as a spotlight or a floodlight.
Overall, the beam has a range of 200 to 500 feet. The flashlight is also water resistant and is designed to work well during tactical mission situations, outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, boating, and fishing, and also during emergencies or power outages.
It’s worth noting that this product comes as a kit and therefore includes several extra features. It includes a high quality battery with a battery sleeve, a battery charger, one AAA battery holder, a green case for the flashlight, and a user manual.
- An aluminum alloy body ensures durability, allowing it to be suitable for outdoor activities.
- The body of the flashlight is also anti-abrasive, shock proof, and skid proof, so you won’t have to worry about dropping it or it accidentally falling off of surfaces or inclines.
- This product is powered by a high-quality, pro series LED chip that has a life span of 100,000 hours. You won’t have to replace it for a significant amount of time.
- There are five light modes on this flashlight, namely full brightness, medium brightness, low brightness, strobe brightness, and an SOS function. These are accessed through half-press of the on/off button.
- A zoom function allows for versatility, and you can use the flashlight under a variety of different conditions at different focal ranges. It zooms at x1, x250, x500, x1000, and x2000 ranges.
- The full kit of this product comes with a good amount of add-ons that make the relatively inexpensive purchase have even more value for the price you pay.
- The product has a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee with a 30-days money back warranty.
- Similar products have emerged from a number of manufacturers, so you will have to be careful not to purchase an item from the wrong company.
- At certain ranges, the resulting beam from the light takes on a square shape, which can be distracting or annoying to some.
- The listed lumen ratings seem to be a bit deceiving, as although the light is bright, it doesn’t seem to reach the brightness it claims to be able to reach.
- The SOS and strobe light functions might be for emergencies, but they can’t be accessed quickly due to the multiple clicking required.
7. Streamlight 66118 Stylus Pro LED Pen Light
This stylus styled pen light from Streamlight is an excellent portable option for basic home, office, and emergency uses.
It has a straight beam of white C4 LED light that reaches 58m and shines at a brightness of 90 lumens and 860 candela. This product runs on two AAA-cell batteries, with these being able to last a total of 6.5 hours of continuous use.
The product is operated via a push button tail switch, and can be set to remain on or simply operate for a brief period of time before switching off. The product has a water resistance of IPX-4 and has been tested to be resistant to impact at 1m.
Although we are reviewing the black light with a white LED output, it’s worth noting that you can also purchase a red light with a white output, a camo light with a green output, and a blaze orange camo light with a green output at varying price points.
- Made from Type II MIL-SPEC abrasion and corrosion-resistant anodized aircraft aluminum, this flashlight is constructed to be essentially extremely durable.
- The lens on the flashlight is made of a scratch-resistant polycarbonate.
- O-ring seals lock out moisture and dirt from seeping into the product.
- The product has a lifetime of up to 30,000 hours, so you don’t need to worry about changing it quickly.
- Despite its relatively low lumens rating in comparison with the other entries, it still burns very brightly.
- A micro optical system allows for the flashlight to reach an optimized output and run time.
- The small flashlight is about the size of a marker, and it can fit in your pocket easily thanks to a pocket clip, so it sits just like a pen and stays in place. You can also opt to remove the pocket clip and carry it another way. This makes it easy to use and bring around.
- The product comes with two AAA alkaline batteries and a tear-resistant nylon holster.
- It has a limited lifetime warranty.
- The removable clip may become loose after some time.
- The on switch on this penlight can be slightly difficult to press, and may take a while to get used to as it may be stiff in the beginning of use.
- The light beam is not adjustable.
- Ultimately, this is a penlight, so although it is strong and durable, it is too small and thin to be suitable for tactical or outdoor activity-based use.
8. LE Adjustable Focus Mini LED Flashlight Torch
This simple handheld flashlight has a brightness rating of 140 lumens at max power. It is powered by three AAA batteries and is fitted with white LED lights that can reach up to 500 feet ahead.
A zoom control allows for the beam to be adjusted to a floodlight mode that has a reach of 3 feet wide and a spotlight mode that reaches about 4 inches wide.
The product has a waterproof design, but is not meant to be submerged directly in water. It is also quite scratch resistant and is meant to be shock-proof and vibration proof. As such, it is suitable for some heavy uses. The flashlight can be easily operated via a push button in the tail.
- The body of this flashlight is made with an advanced design – it is skid-proof, so it’s easy to hold and will not easily fall off of inclines, and its compact style makes it easy to bring around and use.
- Waterproofing, shock-proofing, and vibration proofing add to the durability of this item.
- The heavy duty aluminum housing is made to be scratch and fade resistant, maintaining a good appearance and a finish that is not easily tainted.
- The LED lights are meant to last for over 30,000 hours, promising that you will get the most out of your purchase before needing to make changes and replacements.
- The adjustable zoom focus from flood to spot to area allows you to use the flashlight in any situation and for a variety of illumination ranges. This is done by pulling the head of the flashlight.
- The product is meant to be 400% brighter than a small 9 LED flashlight.
- Batteries are included with the purchase.
- This product is the cheapest and most affordable flashlight in the market at this level of brightness.
- You cannot adjust the brightness on this flashlight, which reduces its versatility.
- Severe quality control issues in the past have reduced the credibility of the company and this product, as in past years, many customers received faulty products that ceased to work after a very short period of time – some within hours. Although this appears to have been fixed, any remaining quality control issues may cause you to receive a damaged product. These issues may include:
- The light dying altogether and refusing to turn on.
- The front lens falling out.
- The overheating of the batteries provided.
- The battery holder may fail.
- As the product is made in China, installing Western batteries may give you some difficulty.
The Complete Buyers Guide – What You Need To Know
How is “Bright” Measured?
It may not seem like it makes much sense, but brightness is actually something that can be easily measured via a number of units. The most common ways to measure brightness are by lumens, lux, candela, or simply by brightness or luminance. However, we’ll be focusing on lumens, the most common means of measuring flashlight brightness.
In mathematical terms, one lumen is a measure of luminous flux. It is equal to one candela (light intensity) multiplied by one steradian (1/12.566 of a sphere). In layman’s terms, lumens simply measure the total light emitted by a particular source.
You can imagine it as such: envision that you are standing within a cardboard box that measures 1m2. If you were holding a candle within the box, one lumen would be the amount of light that falls onto the box, so the more candles you hold, the higher the lumens.
Light output can range from a miniscule 9 lumens all the way up to a blazing 3500 lumens. For a reasonably priced flashlight with a good amount of power and brightness, you’ll be looking for flashlights with brightness ratings of anywhere from 100 to 1000 lumens depending on what you want to use it for. The important part is that the flashlights live up to these promises.
Manufacturers often list lumens based on the ratings of the bare emitters or light sources of the flashlights, meaning that the flashlight itself will have a lower lumens rating than that.
However, companies that measure lumens out the front (OTF) will be listing the lumens ratings based on what you get out of the front of the flashlight; there will be a statement saying if it is measured this way on the packaging.
Types of Flashlights
There are two ways to classify the kinds of flashlights that there are. One way is by the type of bulbs or light outputs that they use, and the other is by their uses and what they are built for. We’ll take a look at each of them, one by one.
Types of Flashlights by Bulbs
LED stands for light-emitting diodes, which are a form of semiconductor. These tend to have long lives due to the fact that they are not made of glass or filament, and also thanks to their lack of energy wastage. Most bright flashlights at a reasonable price make use of white LED lights.
These are the oldest and least expensive kind of flashlight in the book, as they’ve been around quite a while! They produce a lot of brightness but tend to waste energy due to heat production, resulting in batteries and bulbs that aren’t very durable.
Short for High Intensity Discharge bulbs, these function via an arranged ball of ionized gas that electric current then goes through. These tend to be heftier and more expensive, and as such, they aren’t as common – but they’re extremely bright and last long!
Pressurized Gas Bulbs
These bulbs may be filled with xenon, halogen, or krypton, as these gases can help to make the inner filaments have a longer lifespan. This, in turn, allows bulbs to burn brightly without wasting too much battery power. These tend to be some of the brightest bulbs, but they don’t last nearly as long as LEDs!
These work by shaking the magnets within them, providing you with several hours of LED light that isn’t very bright, but is always at the ready! However, be careful with these powerful magnet lights – they may damage credit cards, computers, or pacemakers.
Types of Flashlights by Build
Common Utility Flashlights
These are the most basic, staple flashlights you could possibly ask for, and they are often the most inexpensive. They typically make use of a single incandescent bulb and are made mostly from plastic. They also tend to run on D-cells. These flashlights usually have weaker beams and a low durability rate, and they often run out of battery very quickly.
Heavy Duty Flashlights or Industrial Flashlights
Made from a heavy plastic or plastic composite, these are slightly better than the common utility flashlight. They have more durability but may still break easily and do not have very bright beams, often maxing out at around 18 lumens. They usually use incandescent bulbs or pressurized gas bulbs and are powered by D-cells.
These are made for everyday use and tend to be made of a stronger plastic and nylon composite in order to withstand the occasional beating. They may make use of pressurized gas bulbs and often max out at around 30 lumens. Their battery life and light brightness are often around average, and they may have some form of water resistance.
These are the types of lights you want if you want brightness. These are designed for outdoor use and are made to withstand the elements, with high grade elements built in and strongly durable outer bodies. These lights are often used in military, police, or rescue situations, and as such, they make great options for powerful flashlights.
They may use pressurized gas bulbs, halogen bulbs, HID bulbs, or LED bulbs and can run on a wide variety of batteries. They’re meant to last long and be blindingly bright.
Main Factors To Look For In A Flashlight
This refers to how the light leaves a flashlight – is it a narrow beam, or a wide one, or perhaps somewhere in the middle? Some flashlights have an adjustable zoom function so that you can adjust the light patterns to suit your needs.
White LED lights have become the norm for bright flashlights, and many find them to be natural. However, some find these lights to be too harsh and prefer yellow lighting. This is a matter of personal preference, so choose what works best for you.
How bright is a flashlight? Mostly, this is measured by lumens (see number 4). Some flashlights also have adjustable brightness modes so that you can tailor how strong the beam of light is depending on your situation.
This rating of brightness will give you a better idea of how heavily the light will fall on the environment around it. You can scroll back up to read more about lumens!
How far does a beam of light reach? Some go for up to 500 feet ahead, with a width of even five feet. Some claim to cover football fields. A farther range is generally thought to be more desirable as it provides better visibility. Flashlights with a zoom function may be able to adjust some aspects of their beam range.
Different flashlights run on different batteries, and depending on what you prefer to use, it’s a good idea to know what type the flashlight you’re about to buy runs on. D-cells, AAs, AAAs, rechargeable 18650s, and Lithium-Ion batteries are all popular ones. Do some research about each one to find out more about them!
Once more: different flashlights run on different batteries, and each one has its own lifespan. It’s a good idea to note how long a flashlight can run on a particular battery before needing them replaced or charged.
If not referring to batteries, this often points to the bulbs used by the flashlight. You can scroll back up to read more about each type of bulb!
If you plan to use a flashlight outdoors, then it will be a good idea to pick up one that has some form of water resistance. Some flashlights are also shockproof or vibration proof in order to withstand very harsh conditions – and being dropped during them. Even if you plan to only use a flashlight indoors, some weather resistance could be a great help.
How does the flashlight turn on and off or switch between modes? Is that method somewhat flimsy? Once a switch breaks, the flashlight is usually lost – so make sure you buy one with a durable switch.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do flashlights work?
Essentially, a flashlight is powered by batteries that create an electrical current. This current runs through metal contact points, bringing itself to the flashlight’s bulbs. Within these bulbs, there is a thin wire that contains an element known as tungsten, and this element glows when electricity comes into contact with it.
What can a flashlight be used for?
At the most basic level, flashlights are a great portable source of light that you can bring along with you. They’re mainly used for safety purposes, for general house or work uses, or for outdoor activities. There’s rarely a limit for what you can use the light on your flashlight for!
How do you store a flashlight?
Flashlights should be easy to get to in the case of an emergency. They should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and preferably away from water.
Can flashlight bulbs be replaced?
The short answer is yes. Almost all flashlights will allow for this. However, LED flashlights don’t need to have their bulbs replaced as they’re not meant to burn out.
Should batteries be removed when a flashlight is not in use?
It’s much safer to keep the batteries inside the flashlight so that it’s ready to operate in an emergency. If you’re concerned about the batteries running out, that you can simply keep a pack of unused batteries in the same place that you store the flashlight.
Operation and Maintenance Tips
In order to prolong the life of your flashlight, it’s a good idea to know how to properly operate and perform maintenance on it. This is to ensure that you have a light that will last you as long as possible. Here are some tips.
- Replacing flashlight bulbs periodically is a fantastic way to extend the life of your flashlight, and this is even more important if your flashlight is vital for missions or tactical situations. Once again, though, LEDs do not need to be replaced!
- Even if you barely use your flashlight, check in on it every once in a while just to switch the power on and off again. Don’t forget to check the batteries and switch them out every so often to ensure that no leakage happens that damages the flashlight. If you use your flashlight very frequently, then make sure to change the batteries when you see the light beginning to grow dim. This will prolong the life of the bulbs in the flashlight.
- Make sure that the switch on your flashlight does not become blocked. If you notice that a switch stops receiving an instant response, it may be time to change the flashlight altogether – you don’t want it to stop working when you need it most!
- Dirt and grime are an enemy for many electrical products, and flashlights are the same. Make sure to keep your light clean, so wipe them regularly with rags or a cotton swab. During the cleaning process, you’ll also be able to check for cracks and breakages, so you kill two birds with one stone.
- Even if a flashlight claims to be waterproof, refrain from completely submerging or placing the flashlight inside water, instead keeping the water resistance to heavy rain and similar weather conditions.
Flashlights are an important object to have in every home, and they can be handy in a pinch and during emergencies. The brightest flashlight can be a real life-saver!
All these flashlights had fantastic brightness ratings and great features to offer, so take your pick, or look for one that better suits your needs.
We hope this guide has helped you out and that you will soon own a bright and powerful flashlight that will serve you for years to come!