Best Flashlights at Any Price: 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide

The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020

Lost in the dark when it comes to flashlight shopping? This guide is here to light the way. With a complete buyer’s guide that illuminates the benefits and drawbacks of various flashlight features and types, and detailed reviews of the best flashlights you can buy online right now, your choice will become as clear as day.

PRODUCT FEATURES
J5 Tactical V1-PRO Mini Ultra Bright Flashlight - The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020J5 Tactical V1-PRO Mini Ultra Bright Flashlight
  • 3.2 ounces
  • 300 Lumens LED
  • Aircraft Aluminum
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ThruNite Archer 2A V3 500 Lumens LED Flashlight - The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020ThruNite Archer 2A V3 500 Lumens LED Flashlight
  • 2.12 ounces
  • 500 Lumens LED
  • Aerospace-Grade Aluminum
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Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight - The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight
  • 4.2 ounces
  • 272 Lumens LED
  • Aluminum Alloy
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Fenix FX-PD35TAC 1000 Lumens Flashlight - The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020Fenix FX-PD35TAC 1000 Lumens Flashlight
  • 3.13 ounces
  • 1000 Lumens LED
  • Aircraft-Grade Aluminum
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SAMLITE Rechargeable LED 4-in-1 Lantern Flashlight - The Best Flashlight for Any Budget: Buying Guide for 2020SAMLITE Rechargeable LED 4-in-1 Lantern Flashlight
  • 1.1 Pound
  • 530 Lumens LED
  • ABS and Rubber
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What Makes a Good Flashlight?

The difference between a “good flashlight” and a “bad flashlight” really depends on your preferences and what you intend to use it for. Listed below are different flashlight features to consider so you can determine what you are looking for in your flashlight.

Brightness

Flashlights can range from having lighting capabilities as low as 25 lumens to as high as 100,000 lumens. Lumens are the measurement of light output, so the more lumens your flashlight has, the farther its beam will go and the stronger its light will be. More lumens typically means a better flashlight, however, it also means a more expensive flashlight that requires a stronger power source. What brightness you should strive for really depends on what you are using the flashlight for.

emergency preparedness kit with flashlight phone medicine food medicine candles

Under 100 Lumens

Flashlights that are under 100 lumens are typically small and inexpensive. They can be used for tasks indoors, like walking around the house, or for outdoor tasks that are simple and close range. They are useful but not that reliable, producing a duller, dimmer beam of light.

100-1,000 Lumens

Most flashlights you can buy online have lumens resting in the 100-1,000 zone. They can easily be used for outdoor tasks, camping, security, and emergency services. Flashlights in this range are affordable but effective, with strong light beams and battery power.

Over 1,000 Lumens

Flashlights that are over 1,000 lumens are typically used for search and rescue missions, activities like caving, or tactically to fully blind attackers. Keep this last use in mind because these flashlights, when used the wrong way, can hurt people so unless you have an actual use in mind for one, don’t get one.

What is the Best and Brightest Flashlight?

If you are the type of person who read that last sentence of warning and thought, “Don’t tell me what to do, I want the best and brightest because I have hundreds of dollars I have nothing to do with and really want to see things in the dark,” then consider buying the brightest flashlights in the world, the IMALENT MS18 100,000 Lumens Flashlight.

This flashlight is not 1,000 lumens, it’s not even 2,000 lumens, it’s a staggering 100,000 lumens and can light up to 1350m away, with 50,000 hours of battery power.

It should be used very carefully because it can actually cause things to smoke when fired from a short distance at them, but don’t worry, it has a heat pipe cooling system to keep things safe for the person firing the beam.

You will have to cough up quite a chunk of change to own this bad boy, but keep in mind that you get to tell people that you quite literally own the brightest flashlight on the planet.

To see this incredible flashlight in action, check out the video below where it is pitted against the blackest material on the planet!

LED Light

The most common type of light bulb for flashlights is LED, or light-emitting diode, light bulbs. These light bulbs are preferable to normal incandescent light bulbs because they use way less power so they tend to last much longer.

What is the Best LED Flashlight?

The YiFeng XML T6 Tactical Flashlight is one of the best LED flashlights you can buy online right now. It’s inexpensive but powerful, with a brightness of 1,000 lumens. It has a strobe light function, making it an excellent addition to any emergency kit, and is water-resistant, so you can take it on the go with you, camping or hiking, without worrying about getting it wet.

Size/Weight

Your flashlight shouldn’t weigh too much. Why?

Because it’s lightweight.

Terrible jokes aside, it’s a good idea to not get a flashlight that is too heavy. There is a delicate balance to strike, though, since the larger the flashlight the more power it may have, but the less portable it may be.

Price

The price of flashlights widely ranges from a little as $5 to as much as $2,000. The price tends to correspond with the quality of the flashlight and how much power it has. However, no need to freak out about the possibility of dropping hundreds on a flashlight. There are high-quality high-power flashlights that are under $30 and will serve the needs of the vast majority of people.

Battery

Flashlights come with either rechargeable or disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries have the benefits of not requiring you to buy new batteries, being a better lighting alternative for the environment, and often having more power potential than disposable batteries. Flashlights that come with disposable batteries tend to be cheaper than rechargeable options.

What is the Best Rechargeable Flashlight?

The Klarus XT11GT 2000 Lumens Rechargeable Flashlight is a powerful, quality flashlight option, with a 2,000 lumens beam that can easily suit whatever your flashlight need may be. That power does come at a cost, this is an expensive flashlight option, but with a beam that can illuminate up to 316 meters away, boy is it worth it. It has a triple independent switch design for 3 different lighting modes, including tactical mode and advanced tactical mode. It’s 3100 mAh 18650 battery can be charged with the included USB cord, and, depending on the setting you use, can last from 36-170 hours with continual use.

Types of Flashlights

lantern light flashlight in tent with small child using tablet

Tubular Flashlights

Tubular flashlights are the most recognizable type of flashlight. They are a handheld, cylindrical device that shoots light beams out of one side. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from compact models to larger models, and having LED, HID, xenon, halogen, or krypton bulbs. They may be powered by rechargeable batteries, disposable batteries, or even be a shaker flashlight, which is powered by magnets and a shaking motion you supply.

Lanterns

The lanterns you can buy today are nothing like the fuel and kerosene ones our ancestors used, instead, they are nice, tidy LED lanterns that have no risk of inadvertently burning anything down. LED lanterns provide light from an electrical bulb, and unlike flashlights, which shine a light on one specific area, they illuminate the entirety of the area that surrounds them. They are often used in camping to light up the area in and around tents, or while hiking or walking somewhere. They can also be great for power outages, illuminating entire rooms.

Headlights

It’s a total headache having to simultaneously hold a flashlight and camp, hike, or cycle. To make it easier, some lazy genius came up with the concept of headlights. They are quite literally lights that you strap to your head so you can have your hands free. The benefit of wearing a headlight, other than looking awesome, is that no matter where you look, that spot will automatically be illuminated.

Tactical Flashlights

Tactical flashlights are used to stun attackers with an incredibly bright, searing beam. Think about the pain you feel when someone opens your window shades to awaken you from a deep sleep, except on steroids. These flashlights tend to be durable, compact, and military-grade. To be effective in disorienting individuals, a tactical flashlight should be upwards of 500 lumens.

Top 5 Flashlight Reviews

Best Durable Inexpensive Flashlight

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Mini Ultra Bright Flashlight
    This high-quality low-cost compact flashlight is an awesome portable option to take on-the-go.

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This little flashlight is inexpensive but powerful with a beam of 300 lumens that can reach as far as 600 feet. This show of power is even more incredible when you consider that it’s powered by only one AA battery.

That’s right, ONE AA battery. The J5 Tactical does not mess around.

If you don’t want to use disposables, no worries, it also takes a 14500 rechargeable battery. This flashlight tends to last at least a few weeks on each battery or charge, however, as it gets older it tends to run out of power more quickly.

Its compact size makes it perfect for taking on the go in a bag or large pocket, although it is on the heavier side for compact flashlight models.

Pairing its portable size with its two lighting modes and strobe function, this flashlight is an extremely versatile device. It even has an adjustable focus which allows you to widen or zoom the light beam it emits.

Hoping to take this flashlight camping with you? No need to worry about dropping it, it’s virtually indestructible, or about getting it wet, it’s water-resistant. It can stay fully submerged in water for at least a few seconds but keep in mind that water-resistant does not mean waterproof.

If you do run into any issues with your flashlight, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee to refund or replace your purchase.

This flashlight is perfect for someone looking for a durable, inexpensive option to use around the house or in casual camping situations.

Best All-Weather Outdoor Flashlight

ThruNite Archer 2A V3 500 Lumens LED Flashlight
    This dependable, durable flashlight has an impressive light output of 500 lumens.

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The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 is a dependable, durable flashlight that is perfect for outdoor use. Not only does it have an impressive light output of 500 lumens with a beam distances of 118 yards, but it’s also extremely light, weighing only 1.7 ounces, making it an excellent choice for an everyday flashlight you keep in your bag or car.

It’s easy to use with two-button controls and 4 brightness settings and a strobe function. It also has a momentary-on setting for when you need a quick burst of light and brightness memory.

Not only is it easy to use, it’s also easy to keep, with an aircraft-grade aluminum body that is built to last. It’s water-resistant with the capability to be submerged up to 1.5 meters in water without breaking.

If it did break for some unknown reason ThruNite has a 30-day free replacement guarantee and a lifetime limited warranty.

It requires 2 AA batteries to run. The runtime is 1.5 hours on high and 17 hours on low. Because of this, don’t run your flashlight on high for too long or it will quickly burn out leaving you in the dark.

This flashlight is best for outdoor activities at night that don’t require more than a few hours of battery.

Best No-Frills Flashlight

Maglite Mini PRO LED 2-Cell AA Flashlight
    This simple flashlight is a great compact option for purses, junk drawers, and glove compartments.

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Because of its compact size and simple design, the Maglite Mini PRO looks like the kind of flashlight you would throw in your junk drawer and forget about, however, trust me, this is a flashlight you are going to want to remember.

Its maximum light output is 272 lumens, which is nothing to sneeze at, and its beam can reach 163 meters away. These capabilities are made more impressive when you consider its compact size, and that it runs on only 2 AA batteries. You will love this flashlight so much you will never want to do without it—and you won’t have to, because it is extremely durable, water-resistant, and drop-resistant.

It doesn’t have many fancy functions, with only one single brightness setting. To turn it on you simply twist the head one way, and twist it the other to turn it off. Although it is compact, being less than 6 inches long, it does weigh quite a bit more than the other compact options at this list, being 4.15 ounces. However, it’s runtime is impressively long for its power output, lasting 2.5 hours. It’s fairly inexpensive, but with consistent use, can run into some flickering problems.

This flashlight is best for someone looking for a simple, compact, inexpensive flashlight options with absolutely no frills.

Best Buy-It-For-Life Flashlight

Fenix FX-PD35TAC 1000 Lumens Flashlight
    This compact flashlight is extremely powerful, versatile, and durable, making it perfect for emergency services personnel.

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The Fenix FX-PD35TAC is the most powerful flashlight on this list with a penetrating beam of 1000 lumens and a beam distance of 656 feet. Because of its powerful beam, this is definitely a flashlight you should only be using outside the house.

It is extremely versatile with 6 light settings, 3 levels of light strobe, SOS mode, and adjustable focus. This is a military-grade flashlight so you know that it is built to last with a durable design that is not only water-resistant but water-proof. Did I mention that not only is this flashlight extremely durable, powerful, and versatile, it’s also compact, only weighing 3.13 ounces, and being 5.51 inches long.

It quite literally has everything you could need from a flashlight in a very small package. Naturally, because this is the most powerful flashlight on this list it’s also the most expensive one. Power does come at a cost.

This flashlight is perfect for security, law enforcement, and other emergency service personnel, or people who often find themselves in need of a truly heavy-duty flashlight.

Best Flashlight for Camping and Extended Use

SAMLITE Rechargeable LED 4-in-1 Lantern Flashlight
    This 4-in-1 lantern flashlight is an incredible addition to any camping trip, with lantern, flashlight, and charging capabilities.

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This 4-in-1 lantern flashlight does it all, and by “it” I mean things that you would never even expect a flashlight to be able to do. You can use this as a powerful flashlight, with an impressive maximum brightness of 530 lumens and a beam distance of 530 meters. It runs on two powerful lithium-ion batteries and has numerous light settings, including high, low, and strobe.

You can use it as a lantern, enjoying its hands-free capabilities to light up your tent or campsite. It even has a shoulder strap and a hanging loop for taking your lantern on the go and includes the choice between providing 180 or 360 degrees of light. You can use it to charge a range of USB-compatible electronic devices. The charging cord even conveniently stores in the flashlight handles.

This lantern flashlight can run for three hours on its highest flashlight setting and 30 hours on its lowest lantern setting. It’s the bulkiest flashlight on this list, weighing 1.1 pounds, but for all it does that’s relatively compact. Otherwise, it features a 30-day money-back guarantee if you have any complaints about it.

This flashlight is best for people who love to camp. With its flashlight, lantern, and charging capabilities this is a camping must-have.

What is the Best Flashlight on the Market?

The clear winner of the round-up is the ThruNite Archer 2A V3. It’s a versatile, inexpensive, compact flashlight that beats out the competition because it truly has everything that you could want in a flashlight, but doesn’t go overboard with its functions or lumens.

All of these flashlights are incredible products though, which is best for you depends on your needs. Let me know in the comments which flashlight you decide on. If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it!

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