Though they may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of "necessities," flashlights are a definite must both in and out of the home. However, the range of flashlights available is staggering, and picking out the perfect one for your purposes can be a daunting task. That's why we've scoured the internet to find the best flashlights suitable for a variety of needs.
Our number one flashlight, the Lumen Pure Beam Focusing LED Flashlight, is perfect for home use and is versatile enough to provide sufficient lighting for other uses. However, our list runs the gamut from home use to outdoor activities to those who seek emergency preparedness in case your needs are focused on a particular usage for a flashlight.
Each of the flashlights we've selected for this list has its own strengths and uses. As you read, keep in mind why you need a flashlight. Whether you need one for around-the-house, emergencies, camping, or to keep in your car's glove compartment, there is something here to fulfill your needs!
|Batteries||1 AA, NiMH, or lithium ion|
|Water resistance||Not stated|
|Batteries||N/A, uses rechargeable base|
|Batteries||Lithium ion, rechargeable|
|Batteries||2 lithium ion, rechargeable power bank|
|Batteries||1 lithium ion, rechargeable|
|Batteries||Solar-powered or hand crank|
1 - 43528-72551
|Water resistance||Not stated|
|Batteries||1 lithium ion, solar-powered|
|Lumens||Up to 13000|
|Batteries||2 lithium ion, rechargeable|
|Water resistance||Waterproof up to 3 ft depth|
|Batteries||4 lithium ion, rechargeable|
|Batteries||2 lithium ion, rechargeable|
Olight Co. Ltd
Ninghai Yongheng Lighting Electrical Appliances co.,Ltd
Shenzhen Qianhai Wolande Technology Co.,Ltd
Lumen Pure Beam Focusing LED Flashlight
Olight S1R II
LED Camping Lantern
M2R Pro Warrior Tactical Flashlight
Lebote Multi-function Flashlight
Foxdott Rechargeable Headlamp
18W Waterproof Rechargeable Spotlight
Volador Underwater Flashlight
A Simple, Straightforward Flashlight for Everyday Use
This Night Light Doubles as an Emergency Flashlight
A Sturdy Flashlight You Can Fit on Your Keychain
An Electric Lantern Perfect for Camping and Emergencies
A Hi-Spec Tactical Flashlight That Won't Let You Down
No Batteries Required in This Emergency Flashlight
Best Solar-Powered Emergency Flashlight for Your Car
A Headlamp Ideal for Nighttime Jogging or Construction
Portable Spotlight for Boating, Hunting, or Long-Distance Illumination
Best Flashlight for Recreational Diving
|Lumens||190||60||600||500||1500||8||500||Up to 13000||1000||3100|
|Water resistance||IPX4||Not stated||IPX8||IPX4||IPX8||IPX6||Not stated||IPX4||Waterproof up to 3 ft depth||IPX8|
|Build||Aluminum||Plastic||Aluminum||ABS plastic||Aluminum||Plastic||Aluminum||Aluminum||ABS Plastic||Aluminum|
|Batteries||1 AA, NiMH, or lithium ion||N/A, uses rechargeable base||Lithium ion, rechargeable||2 lithium ion, rechargeable power bank||1 lithium ion, rechargeable||Solar-powered or hand crank||1 lithium ion, solar-powered||2 lithium ion, rechargeable||4 lithium ion, rechargeable||2 lithium ion, rechargeable|
When picking out a flashlight, there are three main categories you need to consider: brightness, structure, and power source.
A flashlight’s brightness is measured in “lumens.” You may have also heard some flashlights touting 1000 lumens or more – but unless there is a specific need for it less will be more than suitable for everyday use.
The minimum amount of lumens you’ll need to scrape by is 30, which is enough for very dark spaces or during a power outage. 100 is ideal for use within cities and suburbs to see some detail from a distance while still giving you a decent amount of battery life.
If you’re looking for a flashlight for walking home late at night, such as one that could be used for self-defensive purposes, you only need about 80 to 100 lumens to blind an attacker.
If you think you’ll need to see things from a considerable distance of 250 meters or more, then you’ll want to aim for around 200 lumens. This level is great if you plan to do some nighttime biking. You can go higher if you want to, but it's not necessary.
If your needs are a bit more specialized or you just prefer something super bright, you have plenty of options. Many flashlights nowadays can give you 1000 lumens or more for a very reasonable price and with varied functions.
Most of the time, you’ll want a flashlight that can be used for multiple purposes. This is where different brightness modes come in handy: a lower setting prioritizes battery life over brightness while a higher setting uses more of the battery to illuminate details and further distances.
When checking a flashlight’s modes, look to see if the actual lumens per mode are listed. This will be far more helpful than a generic "low," "medium," or "high," and will give you a concrete idea of what mode will be useful in a given situation.
When surrounded by pitch-black darkness far away from the cities and street lights, you only need 10 lumens for most camping or hiking activities as this prevents being blinded by the light. Having fewer lumens also gives you the benefit of a longer battery life, so you don’t have to worry about packing a slew of extra batteries into an already full backpack.
For camping, you’ll also usually want a more “spread-out” kind of illumination rather than a spotlight. To achieve this, look for lantern-style flashlights. Most come equipped with a handle and a solid, flat base. A handle is useful as you can hang it up high so that the light can reach as far as possible around the campsite.
What's great about lanterns is that quite a few nowadays can also serve as power banks. This means you can recharge your phone or another electronic device via USB cable, making it a great tool for both camping and emergencies.
When looking at a flashlight build you'll want to consider its shape and size, but you should also think about the casing material and how water-resistant it is.
The ideal shape and size of your flashlight depend on what you plan to use it for. For example, if you want a flashlight for your car, you’ll likely want something light and easy to grip with different functions attached.
However, if you mainly intend to use it for DIY projects and home repairs, you’ll probably want something with a flat, sturdy base so you can set it down while you work. You may even consider a hands-free headlamp. You’ll also want to make sure that the on-off switch isn’t located on the base.
Unconventional shapes are designed for specific purposes. As mentioned previously, a flashlight shaped like a lantern is ideal for camping, but it also comes in handy during a black-out to help illuminate a room.
Headlights and neck lights (shaped like headphones but tipped with lights instead of speakers) are made for when you need your hands free. These are ideal for nighttime cycling and doing work in the dark.
A handheld spotlight tends to be more heavy-duty and is best suited to hiking and searching in the dark. They’re generally a bit much for normal, everyday use, but are well-suited for emergencies and certain types of jobs where you need as bright a light as possible.
Although plastic is cheaper and lighter than aluminum, it breaks down easier over time. So if you want your flashlight to last, be sure to invest in one with an aluminum casing. There are also titanium flashlights that are touted as a “high-end” product, but these tend to be impractical due to their heaviness.
While most flashlights have at least a little bit of water resistance, you can’t be sure exactly how well it will withstand getting splashed, dunked, or rained on unless it has an IPX rating. But, not all IPX ratings are appropriate so be sure to choose the correct one.
An IPX4 rating means a flashlight is splash-resistant from all angles. Anything less than this indicates either no water resistance or only resistance from certain angles, which could mean that one unlucky splash could make your flashlight stop working.
If you live in an area that has a risk of flooding and want a flashlight for emergency purposes, you may want to consider an even higher rating, such as IPX7, which means that the flashlight will be okay even if completely submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of about a yard.
IPX8 is the highest rating and is designed for deep diving. So if you want to start scuba diving as a hobby so you can scour the ocean floor, you’ll want a flashlight with this rating.
Although disposable batteries are the most common source of power for flashlights, alternative sources have been growing more popular in recent years and are definitely worth considering.
Flashlights that have rechargeable lithium batteries (or “rechargeable flashlights” for short) are a great long-term investment, especially if your flashlight sees a lot of use. These types of flashlights can usually be recharged by plugging into a wall or laptop via a USB cord.
These may have a higher price tag than one that uses disposable batteries, but they're far cheaper in the long run. After all, a typical pair of AA disposable batteries last 24 hours at most on a low brightness setting. With regular use, the cost of purchasing new batteries for your flashlight will only get higher and higher.
It’s also important for many to consider the environmental impact of disposable batteries versus rechargeable ones. Batteries are full of toxic chemicals and hazardous materials which leak out when left sitting in a landfill.
Although newer batteries have less mercury content than they once did, it’s still not great for the environment to simply toss them in the trash. You still have to go through the trouble of recycling them once they’re used up.
Depending on where you live and the recycling services available, this can range from a minor inconvenience to a serious pain. A rechargeable battery means that you won’t have to go through the bother of recycling nearly as often as you would with disposable batteries.
Flashlights are invaluable in an emergency, such as black-outs and natural disasters. However, disposable batteries don't have a very long shelf life, so having an emergency flashlight that relies on them may not be the best solution.
Alkaline batteries have a tendency to leak toxic chemicals if left on a shelf too long. If you want to have a flashlight that uses disposable batteries for emergencies, you have to regularly use and restock your batteries so they won’t go bad before you need them. This can quickly turn into a significant cost down the road.
The best alternative is a flashlight that instead relies on a renewable source of energy, such as a hand crank or solar panel. Some flashlights are even equipped with both. If the charge from the solar panel runs out, you can still use the hand crank as a backup.
However, they do come with some drawbacks. Charging using a solar panel takes a long time. In some cases, up to 40 hours of daylight is needed. Unless it's sunny every day, all day, you may have to leave it charging on a windowsill or dashboard for a week or more.
Hand cranking for one minute gets you anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes of light, but it tends to be fairly dim. It's still useful in pitch-black darkness, but it may be impractical for general use.
Ultimately, the fact that you can have light without worrying about power outages or running out of batteries makes these styles of flashlights perfect for emergency preparedness. If being this is important to you, these flashlights are a must.
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