CAMPING & HIKING

The Best LED Flashlight: How to Light Up Your Night

LED flashlight review
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

We all need a flashlight. If the power goes out, or you’re going camping, you’ll need one to help you get from point A to point B safely. However, you want to purchase a flashlight that’s trustworthy and won’t fail you. That means you’ll need to know which flashlights stand up to their name.

Nevertheless, we did the research for you so that you don’t have to. We’ll discuss all you need to know about the best flashlights on the market.

Types of Flashlights

Handheld

This is typically the most common flashlight that people use in homes, offices and job sites. Many come with adjustable beam strength and use normal AA or AAA batteries.

Headlamp

Headlamps are normally used as a hands-free option, typically for outdoor and work-related activities.

LED Headlamp

You can connect the flashlight to a hard hat or simply attach it directly to your head with an elastic band.

Survival

Survival flashlights are usually kept as emergency tools in homes, cars, and recreational vehicles. What makes them a survival tool is that these flashlights are powered via wind-up or shaking, so you don’t need a battery to operate them.

What You Need to Look for in A Flashlight

Before running out to the store and picking up any old flashlight, there are some basic features that you need to look at which indicate the level of performance of your flashlight.

Light output

Light is measured in lumens. What’s being measured is the intensity of the light that’s coming out of the flashlight. Now, some flashlights may come with multiple light settings which will give you a low, medium and high light output.

Best led flashlight

In flashlights, light output can range from 20 lumens, which is compared to reading light, all the way to 1800 lumens which are comparable to 100-watt lightbulb.

Battery Type

Depending on what you’re going to be using your flashlight for, there are a variety of different batteries that are available.

  • Rechargeable.Rechargeable flashlights are built with lithium-ion batteries that are charged using a USB connection to an AC, DC outlet, solar panel or computer. These flashlights are usually slightly pricier than the average flashlight, but they pay off due to their lack of maintenance since you don’t need to purchase batteries for it.
  • Renewable. These are typical for survival flashlights, where the built-in battery is charged by winding or cranking it up. These usually don’t last long, however, but they are very helpful in emergency situations as they run independently.
  • Disposable. Disposable batteries means that you’ll need to use AA or AAA to run the flashlight. These are the most common type of battery for flashlights. However, they have a higher running cost.

Battery Time

You should pay attention to how long your battery will last you. Run time is measured in hours and illustrates the performance of your flashlight’s light over time. Some batteries will produce strong light and suddenly cut out, whereas other flashlights will decrease over time.

Flashlight size and weight

Are you using this as an emergency flashlight or will be using this flashlight to go camping? You’ll want to keep the weight and size in mind when choosing a flashlight.

LED flashlight battery pack

Larger lights may not produce more light, however, they may be able to last longer compared to smaller flashlights due to their battery size.

 

Why You Should Consider A LED Flashlight

LED light bulbs are fairly new on the market. However, they’ve changed the industry in gaining more popularity compared to the traditional incandescent bulb. So though you’ve probably heard of LEDs, you may not know why they’re superior to incandescent bulbs. Here are some reasons why you should consider changing to LED lights.

  • Longer Battery Life: LED flashlights use the battery power more efficiently than incandescent light bulbs. Typically, incandescent flashlights can last up to two hours, halogen bulbs exceed that to nine hours, however, LED flashlights can last for 90 hours with continuous use. That’s 90 hours without having to charge or replace the battery.
  • Longer Bulb Life: Incandescent light bulbs usually last up to six hours with continual use, which is fine, however, you want a flashlight with more longevity. LED flashlight bulbs can last 50,0000 hours of continual use. This is great if you’re going camping or for any outdoor activities.
  • Variety of flashlights: LED is not only offered as your basic flashlight. In fact, LED lights are able to be in a variety of flashlights that serve various purposes. LED lights can be used in handheld, headlamps, emergency, tactical and regulated LED flashlights. You can also find them in smaller lights such as diving lights and keychain lights.
  • Durability: LED flashlights are typically more durable than incandescent flashlights.The light is built within a plastic holding which withstands drops and vibrations. In comparison, the incandescent bulbs are glass and cannot withstand being dropped. If you’re planning on using your flashlight for outdoor activities, camping, or for emergencies, you’re better off with a flashlight that can handle being thrown around.
  • Variety Lumen Levels: Many LED flashlights will offer you a low, medium and high lumen light output. This means you’ll have the power to decide the brightness of light you need. You can also purchase LED flashlights which only have one light output – they’re usually more specified in their purpose.
  • Better Investment: You may think that LED lights are an expensive purchase, and there’s no argument in that, they are expensive in comparison to your incandescent flashlight. However, the running cost of a LED light is low because they don’t need disposable batteries. If you’re not using your flashlight regularly, a LED flashlight can last decades before it needs to be replaced. So, though the LED bulb itself cannot be replaced, the odds are that you’ll be having that flashlight in your home for years and years.

Now that you have some information on the functions and types of flashlights, we’re going to review some of the best LED flashlights on the market.

LED flashlight

Regardless of why you need a flashlight, these LED flashlights will be able to support you. Here are the best LED flashlights on the market today.

The Best LED Flashlights

We did the research for you and found the 7 best LED flashlights on the market.

SureFire P2X Fury LED

SureFire P2X Fury LED

Weight: 7 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 1 inches

Designs Features: LED light emitter, two output levels: 15 lumens and 600 lumens, micro-textured reflector, aluminum body, dual-output click switch.

Best Use: outdoor activities, casual use

Description: The P2X Fury is highly efficient and indestructible with its aerospace aluminum build. What’s great about this flashlight is that it’s pocket-sized, so you’ll be able to take this flashlight along with you anywhere.

It also comes with two different light outputs, 15 lumens and 600 lumens which allow you to be able to use it for close to medium distances. When you want to switch from a low-light to a high-light, you simply click the switch and can change the light within seconds.

The design of the flashlight also gives it an outdoor, military feel which prevents it from getting any scratches or dents. This flashlight is extremely resistant which is what makes it a great multi-purpose LED flashlight.

Related: The P2X has the option of coming with Surefire lithium batteries which are high performance batteries.

Supernova Guardian Tactical LED

Supernova Guardian Tactical LED

Weight: 1 ounce

Dimensions: 2 x 1.8 x 1.8 inches

Design Features: CREE XM-L U2 LED bulb, large focus area, 5 operating modes, BrightStart Memory Technology, Self Defense features, remote pressure switch, 2 rechargeable lithium batteries, 3 AAA alkaline batteries, battery charger, waterproof finish.

Best Use: night and tactical use

Description: If you’re needing a bright light, well, then this is the best LED flashlight for you. There are many features on this flashlight which are intelligently designed. Firstly, the aluminum coating prevents any scratches or dents on the flashlight itself, making it highly durable and resistant to shock.

The Supernova Guardian comes with self-defense features that include strobe mode which assists in disorienting attackers as well as a stainless steel ridged strike bezel which can really do some damage. It also comes with 5 operating modes: high, medium, low, strobe and SOS.

These options make it a great flashlight if you’re out in the wild or using it at night.

The battery is a rechargeable lithium battery which provides the flashlight with full power. In addition, it also comes with 3 AAA alkaline batteries just in case you forget to charge your batteries. What even makes it better is that the Supernova Guardian comes with 5-year manufacturer warranty.

Related: The Supernova Guardian can also come with a carrying case.

Streamlight ProTac HL LED

Streamlight ProTac HL LED

Weight: 5.6 ounces

Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 1.4 inches

Design Features: 3 operating modes, waterproof body, C4 LED technology, LED solid state power regulation, anti-roll face cap, aircraft aluminum design.

Best Use: tactical use

Description: The Streamlight tactical LED flashlight uses 750 lumens of bright light to help guide your way. It’s currently one of the brightest flashlights in the ProTac series. The ProTAC HL offers the latest in LED technology as well as 3 different operating modes. You’ll have the option of choosing low, medium and high lumens.

What users enjoy from the ProTAC HL is that it’s small enough to be pocket-sized, however, it bright enough to use for tactical purposes. It also comes with a removable pocket clip and a holster for easy carrying. Batteries are required for this flashlight and have an average battery life of 1.5 hours of continual use.

Nitecore MH25 CREE XM-L U2 LED

nitecore-mh25-cree-xm-l-u2-led

Weight: 9.6 ounces

Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches

Design Features: 960 lumens, runtime of up to 28 hours, rechargeable battery,

Best Use: multi-purpose

Description: The Nitecore MH25 CREE LED flashlight is a great multipurpose tool. With 960 lumens, it gives off a powerful light, which is great if you’ll be using it at night. The best part of the Nitecore is the long-lasting rechargeable battery.

Not only can you recharge it, but it also has a runtime of up to 28 hours.It fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and it’s rugged design prevents any external and internal damage. If you’re looking for a solid flashlight that can be used in any environment then this is a secured buy.

Related: Nitecore MH25 CREE can be purchased with a universal battery charger compatible with IMR/Li-ion.

Sunwayman CREE XM-L U2 LED

Sunwayman C10R Cree XM-L U2 LED Flashlight

Weight: 1.8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.3 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches

Design Features: lumen output: 1-90; turbo 500, runtime: 1.5-35hrs, beam distance: 130m, tactical forward switch, waterproof body, digital sensor magnetic control system, lifetime of up to 50,000 hours, infinite variable output switch, lithium battery, clear tempered glass lens, holster.

Best Use: tactical

Description: Sunwayman CREE XM-L U2 LED is one of the best LED flashlights on the market. If you’re looking for longevity, then here you go. It has a lifetime of up to 50,000 hours, with a runtime of up to 35 hours. This flashlight will also cover great distances with able to light 130m ahead of you. The body itself is highly durable and made with aerospace-grade aluminum which prevents any dents or scratches from occurring. The lens is made from clear tempered glass which is also scratch-proof. If you’re planning on being around water, this flashlight is also waterproof. It’s extremely lightweight, weighing only 1.8 ounces and can fit into any pocket. Sunwayman is a highly reputable company which produces high-quality flashlights, and this is one is a perfect example of their craftsmanship.

Related: With this flashlight you can also purchase separately these accessories: Sunwayman extender, and streamlight CR123A lithium batteries.

Sunwayman EagleTac

EagleTac G25C2 MK II XM-L2 LED 1180 Lumen Tactical Flashlight

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 1.55 inches

Design Features: Lumen 1180, maximum runtime: 90 hours, 1 output mode, maximum throw: 284 meters, waterproof, battery not included

Best Use: Tactical

Description: The EagleTac made by Sunwayman is one of the best flashlights if you’re looking for with a tactical design. The light is very bright as it has 1180 lumens. Meaning, you’ll be able to see anything in front of you up to 284 meters – not bad, right? It’s highly durable as well as waterproof, so you’ll be able to throw it around without having to worry about damaging it.

However, there is a downside to the EagleTac. It doesn’t come with batteries nor a battery charger, so you’ll have to purchase those separately.

That’s really the only con to purchasing this flashlight. However, if you’re needing a flashlight that’s high quality and one you’ll use, then it’s worth the investment. It comes with a tail cap switch to turn it on and off, and only one operating mode.This flashlight only takes 2 lithium batteries, however, once you get the battery charger, your running costs are low.

Related: With the EagleTac the EagleTac rechargeable battery and the NiteCore universal charger are usually purchased together.

ThruNite TN32 CW

ThruNite TN32 CW

Weight: 48 ounces

Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 4.6 inches

Design Features: lumen of 1150, beam distance: 1043 meters, streamline body design, anti-abrasive finish, aircraft grade aluminum and copper circuit, lithium battery powered.

Best Use: Tactical, enforcement

Description: If you’re really looking for a heavy-duty flashlight, then this is the one. This really is a flashlight designed for those who are flashaholics. The ThruNite TN32 is no joke. It has 1150 lumens which is enough beam distance to reach 1043 meters.

The copper circuit warehouse prevents overheating and the aircraft-grade aluminum creates a durable body which won’t be vulnerable to dents and scratches.

The lens is made from ultra-clear tempered glass which is covered in an anti-reflective coating. In terms of body, the streamline design is easy to handle and also has tactical knurling for a sturdy grip. There is also strobe mode which can be used in both emergency and tactical uses.

This flashlight was specifically designed for police enforcement, hunting, self-defense and Search & Rescue, so if you’re looking for something that will last, this is it.

Related: NiteCore battery charger and ThruNite battery cells are usually purchased along with the ThruNite TN32 CW flashlight.

Acebeam X60M

Acebeam X60M

Weight:  105 ounces

Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 5 inches

Design Features: 18650 lithium battery, impact resistant up to 1.2 meters, waterproof, carrying case.

Best Use: multi-purpose

Description: This is one of the fancier LED flashlights on the market. We wouldn’t recommend this for tactical or enforcement purposes – you’d want something smaller in size. However, this is a great LED flashlight to use for general use.

It comes it a handy carrying case so you can keep it dust free and safe. Like some of the more expensive LED flashlights, it also doesn’t come with batteries or charger, so you’ll have to purchase them separately.

However, this can shine some light. Actually, it’s maximum brightness is 10,000 lumens which can reach a distance of 525 meters. It’s highly durable and made with aluminum alloy and finished in an anti-abrasive coating.

The lens is made from ultra-clear tempered glass with an anti-reflective coating which can achieve up to 98% light transmittance. This flashlight is no joke, it’s the Bentley’s of flashlights. Its streamline body is designed to allow the flashlight to run at its maximum potential, which is exactly what the Acebeam X60M does.

Related: Rechargeable flat top batteries and NiteCore universal charge are usually purchases with the Acebeam X60M flashlight.

SOG Dark Energy

SOG Dark Energy

Weight: 4.8 ounces

Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 1 inches

Design Features: on and off switch, 722 lumens, multi-operating modes: tactical strobe, momentary, reading, 40-percent and 100-percent, includes rechargeable battery, limited lifetime warranty.

Best Use: tactical

Description: This pocket-sized LED flashlight is a great tool designed by SOG specialty knives. Each product of SOG is designed with the assistance of the founder and chief engineer Spencer Frazer.

This brand is used highly among law enforcement and military. But, it’s time to look at the nice itself. It has an on and off switch, bright with light having 722 lumens. Its design is sleek and is made with the slip-free material. It includes a rechargeable battery, which as you’ve seen with other flashlights is not usually included.

In addition, SOG Dark Energy also comes with a battery charger so you won’t have to go and purchase them separately.  It comes with 5 operating modes: 100-percent, 40-percent, reading level, tactical strobe, and momentary one.

The beams on the SOG Dark Energy is clean with no dark spots and has an optical grade polycarbonate lens. Its runtime has a maximum of 32 hours which is great for a LED flashlight.

Related: ASP Key Defender OC Pepper Spray

Conclusion

These are the 7 best LED flashlights on the market. Now that you know what flashlights are worth investing in, you simply need to decide what you’re going to be using it for.

Pelican outdoor rugged led flashlight

If you choose one of the flashlights reviewed above, you will not be disappointed in your decision. Are there any that we left out? Consider sharing your experiences with your own LED flashlight in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Mike Walker

    The NiteCore MH25 CREE XM-L U2 LED flash light is stronger than the 1300 lumen I purchased last year and is half the size. This unit is outstanding. No other way to put it. It’s solid, dependable (so far), rechargeable, and bright as the sun. This flashlight does come with a rechargeable battery. Overall, I love this light, and recommend it to EVERYone who has a need for a light of this output.

  • Jerry Mueller

    That’s a good choice! The NiteCore MH25 is built for toughness and it won’t let you down. I remember one particular time when a person from our camping group had a different brand of flashlight. He was just a newbie then and didn’t get a reliable one. Sure enough, his substandard light source decided to die on him on one particular dark night. Well, it was a hard lesson to learn, but good thing he finally listened to me and he purchased a durable LED flashlight. His choice was the ThruNite TN32 CW, a really heavy-duty illuminator.

  • Jim Clark

    I have to agree with Jerry. The Nitecore MH25 is a good choice, but the Thrunite TN32 CW is just unreal. Beam output and profle is VERY nice. The hotspot is extremely defined with a very tight and even corona. The spill is a pretty consistent and even from the corona all the way to the defined outer spill edge. Many lights have several defined levels in their spill. The TN32 has just one smooth and artifact free spill. The magnetic control ring operates very smoothly with just the right amount of resistance that you won’t accidentally rotate the ring and change modes. Each mode snicks nicely into place with a soft, precise click. Impressive range, just enough flood, great product.

  • Mark Foster

    HI Jim! The Nitecor MH25 is fast becoming everyone’s favorite and I can’t blame them! It’s multipurpose so you can use it in a number of ways. Have you tried other products so that we can compare with these with the Nitecore?

  • Jerry Mueller

    HI Jim! The Nitecor MH25 is fast becoming everyone’s favorite and I can’t blame them! It’s multipurpose so you can use it in a number of ways. Have you tried other products so that we can compare with these with the Nitecore?

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