Best Flashlight

UPDATED October 2019

Find the best flashlight for your home and all your needs with our shopping guide that shows you what to look for and how much to spend.

BEST
FLASHLIGHT 2019

BOTTOM LINE

Suitable for use when camping or in your own home, this Outlite flashlight has a non-slip case that is water-resistant. You can use two different security modes in an emergency or three different light modes.

PROS

Designed for indoor and outdoor use, this portable LED flashlight has a rigid outer case that you can use to break through glass. That case is also water-resistant and has a textured grip that keeps the light from slipping out of your hands.

CONS

The biggest issue that many had with this flashlight is that it weighs more than they expected. A few customers also complained that it wasn’t as bright as they wanted.

BOTTOM LINE

The ML300LX is the ultimate flashlight for those who want to feel powerful because it just feels durable in your hands. It has multiple features that you can use that will determine how long the power lasts.

PROS

A handy electronic switch on this flashlight allows you to switch between all features and use the mode that works for you, including a full light mode and a strobe option. That light can last for more than 100 hours too.

CONS

Some users said that the flashlight stopped working after they dropped it on the ground. A handful of shoppers had problems using the focus feature on this model too.

BOTTOM LINE

Power and quality come together in this small flashlight that comes from Maglite. The aluminum body holds up to drops and falls, while the beam helps you see more than 100 meters away.

PROS

With this Maglite, you can see up to 140 meters in front of you. Though it has a smaller design and uses just two AA batteries, it features a concentrated beam that illuminates your path and the area around you.

CONS

This model features a power button that you must switch rather than a simple push button. Some reviewers felt that this smaller flashlight lacked the quality of larger Maglites.

BOTTOM LINE

Perfect for those times when you need to see into a tight space, this penlight is also great for use during an emergency or while at work. It looks just like a pen and slips into your pocket for fast and convenient storage.

PROS

As the best penlight on the market, this small flashlight uses rechargeable batteries that you can charge in three different ways. Its convenient design lets you press a single button to get the light that you need.

CONS

Some reviewers disliked the color of the beam, which has a slightly blue tint to it. We also found a few reviews from shoppers who had problems with the included charger and sent it back for repairs.

BOTTOM LINE

Capable of running up to seven hours on a lower setting, the Fatmax from Stanley is one of the best flashlights for those who work outside. It floats on the surface of any body of water and has a trigger lock for using it without keeping your hands on the case. 

PROS

The bright LED bulbs used in the Fatmax provide more than 2,000 lumens of light. Its lithium-ion battery can last for up to a full year in storage, and you get two charges for fast charging of the battery.

CONS

Though this model will float on water, any exposure to moisture can damage the batteries or other components. Some of the reviews we found came from shoppers who wished it lasted longer though.

Shopping Guide for the Best Flashlight

When the power goes out or a natural disaster strikes, you’ll want a flashlight by your side. The best flashlight for 2018 might be one that you can keep in your emergency kit or one that you can store in a kitchen drawer. You’ll find many different types out there that produce different amounts of light. Some of the best flashlight designs of 2018 will also act as a messenger system that sends out an SOS or another distress system when you’re lost in the woods. We know that finding a flashlight is difficult, which is why we created this handy guide for our readers.

Flashlights come in handy in any number of situations. You can use one when you need to get to your breaker or fuse box when the power goes out and to make sure that your whole family is safe during an emergency. Our list of the best flashlights for 2018 also includes products that you can use when camping or when walking around at work. Police officers and security guards are just some of the professionals who carry flashlights on their bodies. You can start at the top of this page and look over the chart we created of the top flashlights before reading more about these handy little products.

What Makes A Good LED Flashlight?

There’s more to choosing a quality LED flashlight than just looking for the one with the most lumens.

The best flashlight employ a well-designed optics system to create a specific type of beam.

Why Optics Matter

A LED can produce a lot of light, but an optics system is needed to convert it to a useful beam. 

How LED Flashlights Work

LED Chip
A semiconductor that converts electricity into light. The LED chip embedded in an epoxy shell emits light in all directions. 

LED Optics System
The optics system gathers and focuses the light into a useful beam.

Throw vs. Flood

Most flashlight optics are specifically designed to either THROW light over a long distance or FLOOD a small area with lots of light.

Throw

A flashlight’s ability to project light over a long distance.

Good for: Illuminating an area far ahead of you such as when employing a spot or search beam.

Flood

A flashlight’s ability to illuminate a wide area, usually at a close distance.

Good for: Walking in the dark or indoor use such as when the power is out.

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Selection Criteria

Shoppers may want a flashlight that they can keep stored in a convenient spot around their homes, while others want one that they can take on camping trips and other outdoor adventures. Before we ranked the best flashlights for 2018, we decided to look at the different types that you can now buy, including both spotlights and penlights. We checked Amazon to see which flashlights got its nod as Amazon Choice products and which models had the highest and best reviews from customers. As we know that not everyone uses Amazon, we also hit the web and looked at the products that experts recommended.

Our list of the best products includes different types of lights. You’ll find some that you can charge in your car when camping with friends and those that will keep a charge for months at a time. Some of the features that we looked at included the case and the weight. A good case will protect the bulbs and batteries from damage, while a lighter flashlight won’t interfere with your movements. When you use our list of the best products for 2018, you’ll find flashlights that you can use in an emergency and those you can take to work or on trips with you.

Selection Criteria

Why LED

  • Green: No mercury, energy saving, less heat, and long life. LED is the most environmentally friendly light source other than sunlight.
  • Efficient: Efficiency of up to 90% while traditional tube light and panel lights waste 98% of their energy producing heat and not light.
  • Economical: Energy cost of LED light sources is 10 times less than traditional light sources.

Why IE LED

  • Long Life: All IE LED are rated to have a life span of 50,000+ hours
  • Green: There are no hazardous substance used inside L2-LED and all products are RoHS compliant. Stringent new standards on reducing hazardous substance.
  • Durable: LE-LED has no filament or tube to break so it wont shatter when dropped.
  • Pure light: Say goodbye to annoying flickering lights. LE-LED lights provide pure, clear light that makes viewing for eyes much easier.
  • Guaranteed Quality: A 3-year full replacement warranty is offered to all LE-LED products. LED products are certified by UL, CE, RoHS, CQC safety standards.

If you need a flashlight that you can toss in your emergency kit and take when traveling or camping, Outlite has you covered. Though its portable LED flashlight is a little on the heavy side, you can easily store it in your suitcase or vehicle. This light has an autofocus feature that lets you twist the top of the case to adjust the beam down into a concentrated light source. This feature allows you to see up to 600 meters away. You can choose between five different modes too. Two of those modes act as security features, while the other three adjust the amount of light produced.

We think that shoppers will really love the case on this one, which is resistant to both water and drops. Whether you expose the flashlight to water or drop it, it won’t stop working. The case has a small fabric loop on one end that you can slip around your wrist for added security. You’ll also find a wavy ridge around the top of the light that helps you quickly break through auto or home glass. Weighing a little more than five pounds, this flashlight is quite portable and shouldn’t weigh you down.

Types of Flashlights

Our shopping guide for the best flashlights is a handy tool for those who need a new light. Before you look at that shopping guide to see what to look for in a new flashlight, you may want to take a look at the different types that are available. Each style is suitable for a different use. If you need to see the space behind your refrigerator or get a good look inside your walls, a penlight is a good choice because these lights are compact and easy to use. When camping outside with a large group, you might prefer a spotlight that you can use as a lantern. We’ll go over the top types of flashlights that you can use.

Spotlight

The next time that your pet escapes outside in the middle of the night, you should reach for a spotlight to more easily find your missing pet. Unlike most flashlights that produce a thin beam, these lights have a much larger beam that extends further into the distance. Stanley makes the best spotlight that we found, but you will find other options from different companies. A spotlight often has a handle that you hold in one hand, which keeps your other hand free to grab your pet. You can also use a spotlight on the ground to illuminate a large space when setting up a camping site or letting your kids play outside.

Penlight

Though we picked the Coast penlight as the best one around, other companies make similar flashlights. A penlight features batteries placed inside a long and thin case. Most have a clip for attaching the light to your pocket or belt. Those used by medical professionals typically have a disposable design. Once the batteries die, they simply throw away the light and use a new one. Coast and others make penlights that come with batteries you can charge to extend the life of the light. Penlights have a concentrated beam of light that allows you to see a few hundred meters in front of you.

Dive Flashlight

The most unique type of flashlight available today is one called a dive flashlight. While many of the models we looked at are water-resistant, a dive flashlight is the only one that is waterproof. Designed for scuba divers and those who spend a lot of time in the water, these lights are perfect for those who own their own boats too. Even if you drop the light in the water, the case will protect it from that moisture. Most use either plastic or aluminum in their cases. Some of these flashlights will also float on the surface of the water too.

Utility Flashlight 


If you ever used a flashlight before, the chances are good that you used a utility model. These are the most common type available in big box and home improvement stores. Most have a plastic case and a switch on the side made from the same material. You simply slide that switch to turn the light on and off. Utility flashlights are usually not very durable though and may only last for a year or less. Many do not produce the amount of light that you need while outside either. Those reasons are why we didn’t add any cheap utility flashlights to our list of the top products.

Pocket Flashlight

Have you ever found yourself sitting by the side of the road with an engine problem that you could fix yourself but without any light source? Though you can store a flashlight in your vehicle, you may find yourself with dead batteries inside or no way to charge the rechargeable batteries. We highly recommend pocket flashlights for those who spend a lot of time away from home. The batteries in these lights can last for months or even years. You can store one in your console or trunk and even keep one on your person. Some companies even make pocket flashlights that you can add to your key ring.

Industrial Flashlight

Shoppers looking for a flashlight that they can use in any type of situation often choose industrial flashlights. These heavy-duty lights are often larger and heavier than other models. You cannot carry one tucked in your pocket because of the weight. Some shoppers prefer these models because of the sheer amount of light produced. These flashlights can release so much light that you can see the entire area around you and 500 meters or more in front of you. These models come in different prices and designs too. You might want one that has a built-in SOS signal or strobe light for use during an emergency.

Lantern

If you ever used a flashlight before, the chances are good that you used a utility model. These are the most common type available in big box and home improvement stores. Most have a plastic case and a switch on the side made from the same material. You simply slide that switch to turn the light on and off. Utility flashlights are usually not very durable though and may only last for a year or less. Many do not produce the amount of light that you need while outside either. Those reasons are why we didn’t add any cheap utility flashlights to our list of the top products.

Tactical Flashlight

It wasn’t that long ago that buying a tactical flashlight would set you back $100 or more. Manufacturers today now offer these compact models at a much lower price. You can actually get a basic model for well under $20. Tactical flashlights are popular with those who work in security and law enforcement because they can use one as a self-defense tool and as a light. The brightest settings on that light are perfect for disabling an attacker and stopping that individual in his or her tracks. Most tactical flashlights are heavy enough that you can use one to stun that person too.

Headlamp

The main problem that some have with using a flashlight is that they need to keep their hands free to do other things. You may want to use both hands to change a fuse or adjust your breaker, but you may need your hands free to grab your pet or child too. Using a headlamp is a solid alternative to using a flashlight. Headlamps come with a band that has a small light on the front. This light usually sits front and center on that band. You’ll place the band on your head and adjust that band. When you turn the headlamp on, you’ll get the light that you need while keeping your hands completely free.

Emergency Flashlight

If you live in a region where power outages are common, you may want to invest in an emergency flashlight. Unlike traditional lights that rely on either rechargeable batteries or batteries that you can replace as needed, these models do not require any type of battery. Some have a solar design. You simply leave the light sitting outside and let the sun slowly charge it. Others have a hand crank that you will turn to power the internal battery. You’ll also find shake flashlights. These flashlights use the shaking motion that you do with your hands to bring the light to life.

Hunting Flashlight

Those who enjoy hunting will find two types of flashlights designed for them. The first of those is a hunting flashlight, which features a red bulb. When you turn one on, you can use that red beam to search for wild animals in your vicinity. These lights work well because most animals cannot see the color red. When you use a traditional flashlight, you risk scaring away your prey. You can also use a gun flashlight when hunting. Designed to fit onto the barrel of your weapon, these lights are usually water-resistant or waterproof and will clip onto your gun without damaging the stock.

Maglite

Though tactical flashlights are extremely popular with law enforcement, many of those men and women also rely on Maglite flashlights when in the field. Two of the models that made our list of the top flashlights for 2018 come from this manufacturer. Maglite has a great reputation because its flashlights are heavy-duty and will last for years. Most have a heavy handle that actually feels solid in your hand. You’ll find features such as strobe lights and emergency modes that you can use to signal for help and bright settings that stun a potential attacker. Law enforcement professionals prefer these models because they can use the flashlights as self-defense tools too.

Types of Flashlights

While you can use a flashlight in a number of different ways, the Fatmax from Stanley is definitely the best spotlight on the market. Designed for situations where an ordinary flashlight just won’t do, the Fatmax has a bright yellow case that allows others to see you and helps you find the light in an emergency. This case has a handle with a trigger design and rubber pieces that keep your hands from sliding off the light. You’ll also find that you can use this handle as a stand with the trigger lock to use the flashlight while keeping your hands free.

Stanley gives you both AC and DC charging options. You can use the DC adapter to charge the light inside your car, but you can use the AC adapter with any type of electrical outlet. This model comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that runs for up to seven hours. If you keep the light in storage, that battery will last for up to 12 months before it needs charging. That makes the Fatmax the best model for your emergency kit. At just a little over two pounds, this spotlight weighs less than its competitors and won’t cause hand fatigue.
Best Spotlight Stanley Fatmax Flashlight - WITH TEXT (1)

Bulb Types

In addition to looking at the different types of flashlights available, you may want to consider the bulbs that each one uses. Some bulbs are quite affordable and easy to replace. When yours dies, you generally just need to remove the plastic or glass lens from the top of the flashlight before unscrewing the old bulb and screwing a new one into place. Incandescent bulbs are among the most popular because these bulbs are so cheap, which keeps the price of the flashlight down. If you only ever used a light with an incandescent bulb before, it’s important that you look at all the types available.

Incandescent Bulb

As we stated before, incandescent bulbs are among the more popular options and the cheapest. Similar to the light bulbs that you used in your home’s lamps, these bulbs use real glass. They come in different sizes and wattage sizes to help you get the right size for your flashlight. You can often buy a package of new bulbs for much less than you paid for your light. The main problem with these bulbs is just how much heat they produce. You’ll find that heat actually emanates off the bulb, which can make your flashlight too hot to handle. This heat also reduces the lifespan of the bulb.

LED

The most popular option today is an LED bulb. These bulbs are strong and will last longer than any other type. Some users dislike just how bright the bulbs are though. If you want a flashlight that will help you get from your tent to the bathroom at a campground, you need an LED light. Those who just want a flashlight they can use around the house though may find that this light is just too bright. Standard LED bulbs come in a pure white color that actually looks slightly blue. You can also purchase new bulbs in different colors, including red and yellow.


HID

Those who want more light and have more money to spend may prefer a flashlight with an HID bulb. HID stands for high-intensity discharge and refers to bulbs that use both gas and electricity. The electricity produced when you turn on the flashlight causes a spark to move through an area of ionized gas. This creates a large amount of light that appears brighter than any other type of bulb can produce. We didn’t include HID bulb flashlights on our list because these lights are often really expensive. Many are cumbersome and hard to move and use too.


Other Bulb Types

Many shoppers think that flashlights just come with either an incandescent or LED bulb, but you have many different options, including halogen and xenon bulbs. Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs that have just a metal filament inside, these bulbs combine those filaments with pressurized gas. The gas extends the life of the filament, which in turn extends the life of the bulb. Many use either halogen or xenon, but some models also use krypton. Flashlights that use these bulbs are often brighter than those that use an LED bulb. The downside is that the bulbs can break easily. You may find that the bulb doesn’t last as long as an LED one does either.

Maglite has a reputation for making some of the best flashlights around. If you want one that you can use at home and at work, you’ll want the ML300LX. This is the same model that many law enforcement personnel carry and use on the job. Once you get your hands on the ML300LX, you’ll notice how solid it feels. You can use it to knock out a window or stop an assailant in seconds. This model has a case that uses both smooth spots and some texture to help the flashlight remain in your hands or slip out of your grip as needed.

Many shoppers like this model because the electronic switch helps them quickly move between modes. A strobe mode turns the light into a strobe light that notifies others when you need help, while an ECO mode helps you save its battery. There are also full power and low power modes. You’ll need D batteries to use the ML300LX, but those batteries can last for more than 170 hours on ECO mode. Suitable for use as a traditional or a tactical flashlight, the ML300LX also has a focus feature that lets you flood the path with light. It provides light up to 406 meters ahead of you too.
Best Maglite Flashlight Maglite ML300LX Flashlight - WITH TEXT

Signs That You Should Replace Your Flashlight

• Not enough light: A clear sign that you need a new flashlight is when your old one does not produce the light that you need. A good flashlight will produce enough lumens that you can see clearly without squinting.

• Broken pieces: You should also replace any flashlight that has one or more broken pieces. Something as basic as a crack on the top can allow water to penetrate into the flashlight.

• Sticky or dry handle: Another sign that indicates you need a new light is when the old model develops a sticky handle or has dry patches across the handle. This occurs when your batteries leak. The discharge can spread from inside the flashlight to the handle.

• Charging issues: If you buy a flashlight that comes with rechargeable batteries, you may experience some charging issues in the future. Those problems can include the batteries taking too long to charge or the batteries not charging at all. You may need to replace the charger or the entire flashlight.

• Flimsy feel: You should also replace any flashlight that feels flimsy in your hands. A heavy-duty flashlight will feel more solid when you carry it and won’t break when you drop it.

Signs That You Should Replace Your Flashlight (1)

Tips for Keeping a Flashlight in Your Bedroom

  • Keep at least one flashlight in a convenient location near your bed such as in your nightstand or directly underneath the bed. You want to choose a location that you can easily reach during an emergency.
  • Remove any obstacles that might get in your way when you need to find that flashlight. This can include books you read in the past and clothing that you stack on top of the light.
  • You can try storing the flashlight in a small case with a few extra sets of batteries or with a charger. This ensures that you can replace the batteries or charge the flashlight when you need it.

Our choice for the best small flashlight is the Mini PRO from Maglite. Though it looks just like the larger models available from the company, it’s small enough that you can carry the flashlight in your pocket. A mesh pouch comes included in the packaging for safe storing of the light. Even if you drop this light right on the floor or the ground though, you won’t worry about damaging it because this model has an aluminum case that is resistant to shocks. The Mini PRO also has a knurled surface that gives the case some texture to keep it from slipping out of your hand.

Maglite used seals on the Mini PRO that are water-resistant. Even if you use the flashlight while outside in the rain, those seals will keep moisture from getting inside the case. You’ll also like just how bright this flashlight is and how it illuminates up to 140 meters away from the head. To turn the light on and off, you just twist the switch on the case. The Mini PRO from Maglite has a lighter design that won’t weigh you down. It runs on just two AA batteries and will provide light for up to 150 minutes.
Best Budget Flashlight Maglite Mini PRO

What Type of Battery is Best?

Flashlights today come with three different types of batteries or power sources. The best type of battery/power source for you depends on where you live and how often you use the flashlight.

• Disposable batteries: The term disposable refers to products that only last for a short period of time and those that you can throw away later. Many of the cheaper flashlights that we looked at use either AAA or AA batteries. When you use a cheap type of battery, you may only get a few hours or less out of your flashlight, which is why we recommend spending more on your batteries. You’ll also find flashlights that use a smaller and more expensive type of disposable battery.

• Renewable: A good choice for those who live in a region with frequent power outages and those who do a lot of camping is a renewable power source flashlight. Both solar and shake flashlights are examples of this type. You can get the light that you need without using a charger or batteries.

• Rechargeable: Many shoppers prefer rechargeable flashlights because they can get more use out of those models. These lights feature internal batteries that you can charge in multiple ways. You typically get an AC adapter that you can use in a wall outlet, but you may get adapters for charging in your car.

What Type of Battery is Best

WARNING

Do not throw any battery away in your trashcan. Those batteries can leak a discharge or fluid that damages the environment. You should give those batteries to a recycling center instead.

Though many people prefer larger flashlights, a smaller model such as this rechargeable penlight from Coast has a number of great benefits. This penlight has the same design of a pen and comes with a clip on the top that lets you clip it onto your shirt pocket. You can also keep one in your glove box or in your bag. When you need to charge the batteries, you can do so without removing them from the flashlight. Coast allows you to recharge those batteries with an AC or DC adapter or with a USB charger. The flex charging system that Coast designed reduces the charging time of those batteries. You can use the included cap to charge the penlight too.

Not only is this penlight weather-resistant, but it’s also shock-resistant. You can safely use the light in the middle of a storm without worry about rain damaging the batteries. Even if you drop the penlight on a hard surface, it will still work. While this penlight is smaller than the other flashlights on our list, it has a concentrated beam that you can use for inspections. This beam lets you see a defined space up to 20 or 30 feet away from you.
Best Penlight Coast Rechargeable Penlight - WITH TEXT

What Flashlight Modes Should You Consider?

Older flashlights have just one setting, which produces a narrow or wide stream or light when you push the switch on the handle. Some cheaper models may have a switch that lets you select a different amount of light based on how far you move that switch down. Many of the top flashlights have multiple light settings and modes that you can use though.

• High: When you opt for a high beam or high light setting, you can use the flashlight to get a bright stream of light that is bright enough to illuminate some of the space around you as well as the area directly in front of you.

• Eco: Many shoppers like flashlights that have an eco mode because this lets them save on their battery life. An eco mode pulls less power from the battery but still helps you see.

• Strobe: If you find yourself lost, you can use the strobe mode on your flashlight to signal people searching for you. This mode creates a stable pulse that will last until the battery runs out.

• SOS: Another good mode that you can use during emergencies is an SOS mode. This creates the three short, three long and three short dashes in Morse code that can help searchers find your location.

• Other modes: You may want to look at flashlights that feature other modes too, including a low and medium mode. This allows you to adjust the amount of light produced for different situations.

Types of Switches

Once you look at all the best flashlights for 2018, you’ll notice that many feature a different type of switch. The switch is what you use to turn on the light. You may find that you prefer one type of switch over another.

• Click switch: A click switch is a power button that usually sits on the bottom of the flashlight. This lets you turn the light on with one press of the switch. You can access this switch with one finger too.

• Membrane switch: Similar to a click switch, a membrane switch consists of one button on the base of the flashlight that you can press with one finger. These switches have a membrane on top though that is rugged and waterproof.

• Slide switch: Cheap flashlights often feature a slide switch made from plastic that sits right on the top of the handle. You can slide the switch into one or more positions to either turn on the light or adjust the mode. This switch can allow water to penetrate the flashlight though.

• Bezel switch: Some of the more expensive flashlights now available use a bezel switch that requires you use two hands at the same time. You’ll need to apply some pressure to push the switch down before twisting or turning it.

Did you know?

Professional rescue teams typically use flashlights that produce a minimum of 1,000 lumens. That amount of light can illuminate a large wooded area.

Types of Switches

What to Look for in a Flashlight

Amount of Light Produced

The most important thing to consider as you shop for a flashlight is the amount of light that it produces. Most manufacturers use the term lumens when referring to light production. The manufacturer should give you a number and list that the flashlight performed at this level during routine testing. Most shoppers will find that the amount of light they need differs based on how they will use the flashlight. If you want a headlamp or lantern that you can use when walking at night, you only need 100 lumens or less. Flashlights that produce at least 2,000 lumens are great for getting your family out of the house during an emergency and for setting up camp on an outdoor trip.

Warranty

Shoppers often think that warranties only come with expensive products, but you’ll find warranties available on cheap flashlights in the $10 to $20 range. A basic warranty might last for as little as six months or a year, while other products come with lifetime warranties. You should keep in mind that lifetime refers to the expected life of the flashlight and not your own life. When a manufacturer says a flashlight comes with a lifetime warranty, it may only last for five years. The best warranties are those that will cover both manufacturer errors as drops and other user errors.

Visibility Distance

Whenever you need a flashlight that allows you to see clearly outside, you must look at the visibility distance listed in the product description. A good flashlight will let you see at least 100 feet in front of you. Most manufacturers use meters to describe this distance. It’s also important that you look at how the manufacturer measured that distance. Some will only tell you the distance when you use the flashlight at its highest setting. If you use an ECO mode or a mode designed to save on battery life, you usually cannot see as far out in front of you.

Reflectors and Deflectors

The number of reflectors and deflectors found on a flashlight can also help you determine how far the light will shine. Reflectors are small pieces of metal or glass located underneath the glass cover. You may find some located directly behind the bulb itself or around the edges of the bulb. As the light shines, the reflectors catch the light and reflect it further around you. This helps illuminate the space all around your body as well as the area in front of you. Deflectors work in the opposite way and help concentrate the light down into a beam that you can direct anywhere.

Runtime

When a power outage occurs, you have no way of knowing when the power will return. That is why it’s so important that you check the runtime of the flashlight you want to buy. A runtime will tell you how many hours of power you get from that flashlight before you need to replace or charge the batteries. If you purchase a flashlight that runs on standard batteries, the runtime can vary based on the quality of the batteries that you use. You want to make sure that the flashlight will provide you with light for at least one full hour.

Filters

Though we did not include any flashlights that use filters on our list of the best of the best, some shoppers will want at least one filter. A good example is a green filter, which essentially acts as night vision. The green color helps you see things moving in the darkness around you. You’ll also find red filters such as those that come with hunting and gun flashlights that will not spook the animals in your target. These accessories are available for both traditional flashlights and headlamps. You should read the product description carefully and check with the manufacturer to ensure that you understand how to change the filter.

Type of Beam

When it comes to flashlights, you can choose between three different types of beams.

• Fixed beam: A fixed beam, also called a flood beam, is one that never changes. These models do not have a reflector or a deflector on the front and will illuminate any space where you shine the light.

•Spot beam: Flashlights that feature a spot or focused beam concentrates down the beam into a narrower stream. This type of light is perfect for following a straight line or path.

•Adjustable beam: If you want a flashlight that you can use in any type of situation or terrain, an adjustable beam might be your best choice. These flashlights allow you to pick the beam type that you need.

Material

You may not think that the case on the flashlight is that important, but the material used in the design of that case will give you a good idea of how long the flashlight will last. Many cheaper and more affordable flashlights use a plastic case. While you can find some heavy-duty types of plastic, you generally want to skip these models. Plastic can crack and break when dropped. As the material heats and cools in different temperatures, it can also develop some large cracks. Cases made from aluminum and steel are much better. Steel weighs more than aluminum but will last longer.

Size

When you head off on a camping trip with some close friends and family, you might not mind carrying a lantern or a larger flashlight. If you want to do some work around your house or find the emergency kit you stored in your basement though, you need a smaller flashlight that you can carry in one hand. Pocket flashlights are great for use on the go because they usually measure around three-inches long or less. Tactical flashlights are longer and can measure as long as seven-inches. If you are in the market for a spotlight, you’ll want one that is at least seven inches long and around the same height.

Accessories

Like other types of electronics on the market, flashlights often come with some included accessories. If you need to patrol a building for work or find yourself often walking to your car alone at night, you might want one that comes with a lanyard. Made from a braided material such as nylon, the lanyard attaches to one end of the flashlight. You can then carry it around your neck. Other models come with a smaller loop that wraps around your wrist. You may want one that has a clip such as the one found on a penlight for attaching the flashlight to your pocket. Some of the more expensive flashlights also come with filters that you can add to the lens.

Ease of Use

The main thing to look for when choosing a flashlight is just how easily you can use it. If you have larger hands or fingers and have a hard time moving a sliding switch, you might choose one with a simple push button on the tail cap. Ease of use also refers to how well you can hold the flashlight in your hands and move while carrying it. You may want one that weighs just a few ounces and attaches to your key ring, or you might want a spotlight with a handle that doubles as a stand. As long as you pick one you can easily use, you’ll pick the right flashlight for you.

What to Look for in a Flashlight

When to Use a Headlamp

  • When fishing at night
  • Any time that you need to work under your car
  • To do plumbing and other home repairs
  • When running in the dark
    On camping trips

Tips for Using a Flashlight

• Check your batteries: Whether you buy a flashlight that comes with rechargeable batteries or one that needs standard batteries, you should always check to make sure that you have power before an emergency happens. You typically want to check the batteries at least once a month.

• Have extra batteries: When you buy a new package of batteries, you’ll see a best by date on the front. This tells you how long the batteries will last in storage. It’s important that you purchase extra sets and keep them in a convenient place around your home, preferably with your flashlights.

•Diversify your options: Though you might find one type of flashlight that you love and decide to keep multiples of that type around your home, it’s better to diversify your options. When you have a penlight in your bathroom, a spotlight in your garage and a tactical flashlight in your basement, you’ll always have the right amount of light for any job.

•Change the batteries: Don’t forget to change the batteries in the flashlights you keep on hand for emergency situations. The liquid discharge the batteries produce can cause some serious damage. You’ll want to replace those batteries at least once every four months.

•Store safely: The best place to store your flashlights is in an area that is both cool and dry. This ensures that the lights will work whenever you need some help.

Tips for Using a Flashlight - In kitchen and bathroom drawers - Inside a living room cabinet

Top Spots to Store Flashlights in Your Home

  • Inside cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen
  • In kitchen and bathroom drawers
  • Inside a living room cabinet
  • On or by your bedroom nightstand
Tips for Using a Flashlight - Inside cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen

Must Haves for Your Emergency Kit

• Food and water: You need at least enough food and water to get each member of your family through the first few days following the emergency. The best foods include canned goods with easy open tops and granola bars.

• Medication: Make sure that your kit includes the medications that your family takes. You may want to include a phone number for your doctor in case you need to get a prescription filled later.

• Light sources: A good emergency kit should include at least one light source for each person in your home. You may want to include a renewable flashlight and extra batteries for your other lights.

• Clothing: Many people forget to add extra clothing when packing an emergency kit. You never know when you might need dry clothing after a rain or when you might just want a change of underwear.

• Personal information: Your kit should also include personal information. You can write down the names and dates of birth for each family member with a description of what each person looks like or a recent photo.

Must Haves for Your Emergency Kit

What is the Average Cost of a Flashlight?

Many people buy flashlights from big box stores and buy whatever one is the cheapest. When you only spend $5 on a flashlight though, don’t be surprised if that light fails when you need it most. Cheaper models rely on AAA or AA batteries that can die quickly, even if you don’t use the flashlight. Those batteries can also wear down and leak fluids that cause the light to stop working. This does not mean that you should spend hundreds of dollars on a simple flashlight though. You can get a good model for around $50 or less.

The amount that you spend will really depend on the type that is best for your home or your needs. If you want a penlight that you can use daily, you can get one for around $30. Spotlights often cost around the same amount or a little more. One benefit to a spotlight is that it provides more illumination. We recommend tactical flashlights for those who want a light they can carry in their vehicles. You can get one of these models that will let you break window glass and see clearly for as little as $20. Most flashlights, including the ones on our list, retail for less than $100.

What is the Average Cost of a Flashlight (1)

Cost of Flashlight Bulbs

No matter what type of flashlight you buy, you may need to replace the bulb in the future. These lights use either an LED bulb or a traditional incandescent bulb. You can usually get a new package of bulbs for around $5 to $10. Most packages come with two or more bulbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Impact-resistant is a term that manufacturers use when describing flashlights that can take a pounding and keep going. Companies must drop those lights a specific number of times against a hard surface such as concrete before stating that it is impact-resistant. A high rating means that the flashlight will continue working after multiple drops.

A: When you purchase a flashlight, you can buy one that is either waterproof or water-resistant. Water-resistant means that you can use the flashlight around water sources without worrying about the moisture damaging the light. Waterproof flashlights can withstand submersion in any water, including puddles and rivers.

A: The word tint refers to the color of the light produced by a flashlight. Though you might think that all flashlights use a plain bulb that produces a bright white line, the color produced can range between models. LED bulbs generally produce a slightly blue light, while flashlights designed for hunters use a bright red color.

A: A small number of flashlights available today use a rotary ring that acts like a power switch. You can turn the ring in one direction or the other to turn the flashlight on and off. Some rotary rings have markings that show you which modes you can use and how far you should turn the ring to reach those modes. Those markings can wear off over time though.

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