One of the most essential items in the world is a flashlight. You can pretty much guarantee that at some point in your life, you’re going to need one, whether that’s because the power in your house has gone out, your car is broken down on the side of the road at night or you’ve dropped your keys in the dark.
Granted, most people have a light on their phones these days, but nothing replaces a flashlight in terms of emergency power. The smartest people keep one on every level of their home, in their garage and in their car. That way, they’re never in a situation where they need a light, and their phone battery has died.
As someone who is always prepared for an emergency, you likely want to buy the best flashlights to keep around you at all times. When shopping for a flashlight, there are a few important things to consider, including:
- Lumens: This is a measurement of how much light a bulb can produce. The higher the number of lumens a flashlight can create, the brighter the light will be.
- Battery Type: Some flashlights use normal batteries, others have rechargeable batteries and others still can be powered by crank. For a true emergency, the latter are the most useful, but they do require manual labor. On the other hand, rechargeable batteries are better for the environment.
- Water Resistance: Depending on the situation you want to use your flashlight in, you may want to buy one that is water-resistant. This is most important for flashlights you intend to keep in your car or use while camping.
- Shock Resistance: For outdoor adventures, having a flashlight that is resistant to shocks and drops may be necessary.
- Weight: Some flashlights, particularly those with metal exteriors, can be very heavy. Others are made from plastic and quite light. Choosing the right one for you depends on where you’ll keep the flashlight and how you intend to use it.
Read on to learn more about the best flashlights you can buy to light up the dark in 2021.
1. GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000
With over 5,000 five-star reviews, it’s hard to argue against the GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 being the best of the best. Each of the two flashlights included in the pack is ideal for all occasions, whether that’s camping, emergency situations or general everyday use. The flashlights offer five different lighting modes, including a zoomable head, and boast an aluminum construction that is virtually indestructible. They’re also both water and shock-resistant. To cap it off, you’ll also find these flashlights come with wrist lanyards and belt holsters for a range of handy carrying options.
2. Streamlight Nano Keychain Flashlight
While the Streamlight Nano Keychain Flashlight may be small enough to fit on your keychain, it is still capable of packing an impressive punch when it comes to lighting things up. This compact, 10-lumen flashlight is crafted from machined aircraft aluminum with an attractive anodized finish. It’s waterproof, and it also features a shaped LED which maximizes the output for greater beam coverage. Additionally, the five-millimeter LED in this 1.47-inch flashlight has a 100,000-hour lifetime and runs up to eight hours.
3. Maglite LED Flashlight
The Maglite LED Flashlight is the kind of flashlight that feels solid in your hand. The tough and rugged design is made to withstand the rigors of daily life. It includes an anodized interior and exterior for improved corrosion resistance, weather-resistant seals which give the flashlight an IPX4 water resistance rating and a construction that can withstand drops from up to one meter in height. Light-wise, you’ll enjoy 168 lumens of brightness which can produce a 412-meter beam of light. Furthermore, the flashlight can run for up to 80 hours from a new set of D-type batteries, and it comes in a choice of different colors, including red, blue and classic black.
4. LE Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern
The LE Rechargeable LED Camping Lantern is a great option for anyone looking for a flashlight with a range of uses. Whether that’s providing a beam during your nightly dog walks, delivering light during a power outage or offering lantern-like light when you’re camping, this versatile device can do the job. At its highest setting, the 1000-lumen flashlight creates a beam with an irradiation distance of 500 meters. The advanced design includes a secondary light panel on the side as an alternate source of light. Additionally, when needed, the lantern can act as a power bank for charging your devices and includes an over-the-shoulder strap for easy portability.
5. AlpsWolf Rechargeable LED Flashlight
Sporting a unique design, unlike anything else on our list, the AlpsWolf Rechargeable LED Flashlight is crammed full of handy features. Not only does the cuboid shape make setting your flashlight down an easier task, but it also makes storing it more simple, too. The flashlight boasts a double-ended design that lets you pick between a floodable and a long-range beam option. You’ll also find double switches for easy control as well as a USB port that lets you plug into the power bank inside for on-the-go charging. Furthermore, this 4,000-lumen flashlight includes a rechargeable battery.
6. Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
Described by one Amazon user as “obnoxiously bright,” the Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight never leaves users wanting. With 1,300 lumens of brightness and an IPX7 rating, you’ll be able to see even in the most extreme weather conditions. There are five different lighting modes to choose from, and the powerful 26650 battery supplied with the light can provide up to six hours of light depending on your mode choice. Furthermore, it’s rechargeable which means there’s no need to replace it when your power runs low, simply plug it in using the micro-USB charging cable.
7. DanForce G1 Rechargeable LED Flashlight
The DanForce G1 Rechargeable LED Flashlight understands that sometimes one size doesn’t fit all. By sporting a modular design, this smart flashlight lets you customize the body to suit your flashlight needs at the time. If you want a shorter light? Unscrew and remove the middle body segment. Want a heavier and longer light? Fit it back in. It’s that simple. This high-quality light is also supplied in a stylish, protective case that holds the range of additional customizable pieces. These pieces include red and green lenses, a bike mount and a lantern attachment.
8. Streamlight 44910 Waypoint Spotlight
When it comes to producing a directed beam from a comfortable pistol-style flashlight, it’s hard to beat the Streamlight 44910 Waypoint Spotlight. On the highest setting, you’ll enjoy 1,000-lumen light for up to three hours at a time. It’s also possible to enjoy up to 60 hours of runtime when the light mode is set to the low, 35-lumen beam. This rechargeable device is made from an unbreakable polycarbonate for a rugged feel while the wrist strap and built-in stand offer a range of mounting and carrying options for a handy level of convenience.
9. Streamlight Strion Professional Flashlight
The Streamlight Strion Professional Flashlight has a lot going for it. Offering a maximum 615 Lumens and sporting a body that is built to last, this flashlight is more than suitable for professionals looking for a high-quality lighting option, including law enforcement workers. The shell is made from a durable aircraft aluminum construction and includes a roll-preventing head, so when you put your light down it stays put. The multi-function, push-button tail switch lets you choose between the multiple lighting modes. At its highest, the beam reaches an impressive 219 meters and lasts for up to 1.25 hours from a full charge. Alternatively, you can put the light on the lower setting and enjoy up to four hours of light.
10. DEWALT 20V MAX LED Work Flashlight
From DIY projects at home to professional construction sites, having a reliable light source is imperative to getting a job done right and safely. For times when you need a durable flashlight that will provide ample lighting, there’s the DEWALT 20V MAX LED Work Flashlight. The LED light has 110 lumens and an impressive 11 – 25 hour runtime depending on the amp. The head of the flashlight rotates 120 degrees for added convenience and can be made vertical to create a lantern effect. The heavy-duty DeWalt includes a built-in hook to make the flashlight hands-free.
11. NEBO Big Larry 2
INCLUDES A MAGNETIC BASE
For a flashlight that is versatile and powerful, we like the Nebo Big Larry 2. Made from anodized aircraft-grade aluminum for a durable finish, the Nebo can be used as a traditional top positioned flashlight (200 lumens) or can be lit up on the side in the ‘cob’ mode (500 lumens) for an even larger beam of light. The Nebo has a red light that can be used in flashing mode for emergencies. We also like that the magnetic base makes it convenient to attach the flashlight to the hood of a car when performing maintenance or to the side of a vehicle when the driver requires assistance. The pocket clip on the side of the Nebo provides another way the flashlight can be used hands-free.
12. Energizer Compact Rechargeable Emergency LED Flashlight
BEST FOR POWER OUTAGES
When the power goes out, the first thing most people do is look for a flashlight. The second thing they do is wish they remembered where they put their flashlight. The Energizer Compact Rechargeable Emergency LED Flashlight plugs into a wall outlet and will automatically illuminate in the case of a power outage, making it easy to find in the dark. Storing in a wall outlet also gives users confidence that it will be fully charged and ready to light up their home when necessary. The Energizer has a run time of 3.5 hours and can be left in the wall outlet to act as a lantern or removed and used as a traditional flashlight with a 30-meter beam distance.
13. NICRON N7 600 Lumens Tactical Flashlight
LONG RANGE BEAM
When you need a flashlight that can cast a long beam, there’s the Nicron N7 600 Lumens Tactical Flashlight. The Nicron has 600 lumens and can illuminate objects that are up to 413 feet in the distance. It also has an impressive 206-foot range. The tactical flashlight has an IP65-rated water-resistant rating and can survive temporary submersion as well as drops up to four feet. The magnetic tail-cap design makes it easy to attach the flashlight to metal objects and it has a 90-degree swivel that makes it possible to set the flashlight peaking out of a pocket for hands-free use. The Nicron has four lighting modes including strobe and SOS, making it a great option for use in emergency situations.
14. BioLite HeadLamp 200
BEST HANDS-FREE OPTION
Okay, so technically speaking the BioLite HeadLamp 200 Lumen No-Bounce Rechargeable Head Light is not a flashlight, but it is a powerful light that is an excellent option for times when you need a personal light source that is hands-free. The powerful 200 lumens headlamp sits flat on the moisture-wicking adjustable strap. The rechargeable battery has an impressive 40 hours of battery life on low and can quickly be charged using its micro USB port. SPY received a sample of the BioLite and we were impressed by the power of the tiltable light beam and the headlamp’s lightweight finish, which barely tips the scales at 50 grams.
MORE: The Best Headlamps
15. Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern + Flashlight
For a light that can illuminate a tent at night and instantly turn into a flashlight when it’s time to find the bathroom, there’s the versatile Nite Ize Radiant 200 Collapsible Lantern + Flashlight. The smart two-in-one light source goes from a lantern to a flashlight with a simple sliding motion. Boasting 200 lumens, the battery-powered Nite Ize is water and impact-resistant, making it a great option for taking on the trail or keep at home for blackouts. We also like that the Nite Ize is designed with a carabiner handle that makes it easy to hang when in lantern mode or attach to a pack.
16. Ledlenser K4R Keychain Flashlight
BEST RECHARGEABLE KEYCHAIN
Keychain flashlights tend to be focused more on keeping their size and shape lightweight and compact as opposed to producing a large and powerful light. The Ledlenser K4R Keychain Flashlight does both. The lightweight flashlight boasts an impressive 60 lumens of power and can illuminate an area up to 33 feet away. Great for late-night dog walks or lighting your path when walking through a dark parking lot, the rechargeable flashlight comes with a USB cable to help keep the Ledlenser powered up at all times. We also like that the flashlight comes with a blinking SOS feature that makes it an excellent personal safety device.
17. Nite Ize BugLit LED Micro Flashlight
For a hands-free flashlight that can attach to just about anything, we like the Nite Ize BugLit LED Micro Flashlight. The small but mighty flashlight has two flexible gear tent legs that can be bent, wrapped and twisted, making it easy to attach the flashlight to bags, branches, pipes and other thin items. The bright LED light has a 50-foot range and can be put in high power, low power, strobe and signal mode, which can be seen up to one mile away. We also like that it comes with an attached carabiner for easy carrying.
18. UCO Leschi Lantern
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT OPTION
For a flashlight and lantern combo that won’t weigh down your pack, we like the UCO Leschi Lantern. The compact USO weighs only 2.5 ounces when it has one AAA battery inserted (sold separately) and boasts a powerful 110 lumens that can be set to high, low and strobe with an impressive 3+ hour run time. The aluminum body is ideal for use outdoors and is water-resistant, helping to protect against rain and snow. A shock cord mounting system can be used as a handgrip or to attach the flashlight and lantern combo to trees, bars and packs. We also like that its fun design makes it appealing to kids and helps make them visible in dark lighting.
19. First Aid Waterproof Flashlight by VSSL
BEST FLASHLIGHT COMBO PACK
When you’re short on space and need safety items that can pull double duty, there’s the First Aid Waterproof Flashlight by VSSL. Measuring only 2 by 9 3/8 inches, the aluminum, 200-lumen flashlight has a four-mode LED light source and is waterproof. The inside of the flashlight is packed with a robust first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic towelettes, burn cream, tweezers, gauze, medical gloves and other must-haves for when disaster strikes.