The Best Flashlights of 2024

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Video best edc flashlight 2024

If you want a powerful, versatile lighting solution, the best flashlights still offer advantages over headlamps in many scenarios.

Flashlights point wherever you want, not just where your head is pointing. Also, due to fewer weight constraints, they tend to have more powerful, longer-lasting batteries and incredible power for modest-sized devices.

And to be honest, I’m a flashlight buff. Yes, I also use headlamps a lot when I’m outdoors. But more often than not, I grab a small flashlight from my truck center console and, if I need two hands for a project, clasp it in my teeth. I just love having the ability to point it wherever I want without having to crane my neck in a specific direction.

So if you love torches, read on for what we’ve determined to be the best flashlights available today. Because GearJunkie focuses on the outdoors, I rated these based on weight, size, battery life, color rendering, and lighting versatility. You can learn a lot more about how I tested and chose these flashlights below, but right up top, I’d like to state that this guide focuses on truly excellent flashlights that can perform day in and day out — whether you use a light professionally or simply need one for camping or to store at home for a power outage.

This isn’t a list of “light cannons,” as you’ll rarely need one million candlepower model. But, I did include one monster in case super-powered lighting is your jam.

Be sure to read the buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions for helpful tips. Also, have a look at our comparison chart to help steer your decision-making.

Editor’s Note: For our September 6th, 2024 update, we tested the Coast G32 and added it to our lineup. This model is a good budget choice with the option to upgrade to a rechargeable battery.

The Best Flashlights of 2024

  • Best Overall Flashlight: FENIX PD36R PRO
  • Best Budget Flashlight: ThruNite Archer 2A V3 Cool White
  • Best Value Zooming Flashlight: Coast G32
  • Best EDC Flashlight: NITECORE EDC27
  • Most Versatile Flashlight: NITECORE P20iX 4000 Lumen USB-C Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
  • Best Flashlight With Long Range: Olight Warrior X Pro
  • Best Flashlight With Zooming Lens: LEDLENSER MT10 Flashlight
  • Best Flashlight for Mechanics: Blackfire Rechargeable Weatherproof Magnetic Flashlight With Lantern
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Flashlights Comparison Chart

Fenix PD36RCoast G32

Why You Should Trust Us

In short, our primary flashlight testers are not just super into the outdoors; they’re also flashlight nerds. We really love the technology that goes into flashlights and headlamps. As the author of this article, I personally spend hours every month testing the newest flashlights to see if they can outperform our favorites listed here.

For the record, it takes a long time and impressive performance for a flashlight to earn a spot in this article. I constantly test new flashlights and updates from our favorite brands and update this article many times each year to keep it up to date with the best flashlights available.

This article has evolved significantly since it was first published back in 2018. At that time, it explained in depth why I love flashlights, and how they are different in use from headlamps. I still love flashlights for their directionality and ease of use in many situations. However, our team has done much more testing since this guide’s inception — and has new recommendations based on those results.

So, how do I test flashlights? First, I use them in controlled environments, measuring both runtime and brightness compared to claimed numbers. I put them on a scale to check the weights. I submerse them in water and drop them onto concrete.

Flashlight weight testing the Trunite Archer on a scale
Weighing the Thurnite Archer budget flashlight (batteries included); (photo/Sean McCoy)

These flashlights also get significant field testing. Our team takes them on all kinds of adventures — hiking, mountaineering, backpacking, hunting, boating, and camping are all part of the mix. Most of our team’s tests occur in the mountains of Colorado and fields and forests of the Midwest.

I take all this information and experience and compile the best advice for you. Over the years I’ve tested about 50 flashlights specifically for this buyer’s guide, selected from hundreds pitched to me by brands and examined at events like SHOT Show and the Outdoor Retailer convention. My goal is to give you the same advice I give my best friends.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Flashlight

There are a few important specs to consider when choosing a flashlight: size and weight, max power output (usually noted in lumens), minimum power output, runtime (especially in lower modes), durability, and waterproofness.

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Before we get into some of those details, I’d like to share some details about how I chose flashlights to test for this article. And there have been a lot of them.

Several flashlights being tested
Just a few of the many flashlights we’ve tested over the last 10 years; (photo/Sean McCoy)

First, I look for flashlights that work well for both home and outdoor use. This means I look for higher output than flashlights intended primarily for indoor use. I also only include flashlights that can function after at least a 1m drop, are water-resistant, and have a max runtime of at least 8 hours — enough to get you through a summer night at a minimum.

Next comes the question of batteries. Because of the efficiency of modern flashlights, there are now just two real choices: flashlights that run on AA or AAA batteries, or rechargeable flashlights that run off one of many higher-end battery systems and are almost always included in the light. Gone are the days of giant D-cell flashlights. But there is still a significant argument between those who believe disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries are better. I will get into it more below, but our team likes rechargeable batteries more in most cases.

Lumens: Max Output

For most campers, anything over 1,000 lumens is overkill. You’ll often find yourself using much lower settings, especially around camp. However, those big numbers can be nice, especially if you need to see faraway objects.

Battery Life

Another important consideration is if the flashlight uses its own rechargeable battery or if it runs on disposable batteries. Most people will get more value out of a flashlight that offers long runtimes and is easy to recharge.

Battery Type

As noted above, our team prefers rechargeable batteries in most situations. Most rechargeable batteries, such as the 21700 rechargeable li-ion battery included in the Fenix PD36R PRO, offer superior performance to both disposable and rechargeable AA or AAA batteries. But more importantly, flashlights that include this type of high-end rechargeable battery do not have hidden costs. And those who will use a battery more than casually will find that the cost of batteries will very quickly add up to more than the cost of the flashlight.

See also  .257 Roberts for Elk Hunting? Best Ammo (Round, Load, Cartridge) for a Successful Elk Hunt Hunting Calibers 04 Apr, 2020 Posted By: Foundry Outdoors Is the .257 Roberts a viable caliber/load/round/cartridge for elk hunting? The accurate answer is “it depends”. However, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether the .257 Roberts is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk. As with anything, the devil is in the details. To answer the question completely, we would need to evaluate the downrange distance to the elk, the bullet type, the grain weight of the bullet, the physical condition of the firearm, the size of the elk in question, the shot placement, the local wind conditions, the expected accuracy of the shooter, the ethics of the ideal maximum number of shots – the list goes on. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]What we can do is provide a framework to understand what average conditions might look like, and whether those are reasonably viable for a shot from the average shooter to harvest a elk in the fewest number of shots possible, i.e., ethically. Let’s dive right in. In the question of “Is the .257 Roberts within the ideal range of suitable calibers for elk hunting?” our answer is: No, the .257 Roberts is UNDERKILL for elk hunting, under average conditions, from a mid-range distance, with a medium grain expanding bullet, and with correct shot placement.Let’s look at those assumptions a bit closer in the following table. Assumption Value Caliber .257 Roberts Animal Species Elk Muzzle Energy 2040 foot-pounds Animal Weight 720 lbs Shot Distance 200 yardsWhat is the average muzzle energy for a .257 Roberts? In this case, we have assumed the average muzzle energy for a .257 Roberts round is approximately 2040 foot-pounds. What is the average weight of an adult male elk? Here we have leaned conservative by taking the average weight of a male individual of the species, since females generally weigh less and require less stopping power. In this case, the average weight of an adult male elk is approximately 720 lbs. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]What is the distance this species is typically hunted from? Distance, of course, plays an important role in the viability of a given caliber in elk hunting. The kinetic energy of the projectile drops dramatically the further downrange it travels primarily due to energy lost in the form of heat generated by friction against the air itself. This phenonemon is known as drag or air resistance. Thus, a caliber that is effective from 50 yards may not have enough stopping power from 200 yards. With that said, we have assumed the average hunting distance for elk to be approximately 200 yards. What about the other assumptions? We have three other primary assumptions being made here. First, the average bullet weight is encapsulated in the average muzzle energy for the .257 Roberts. The second important assumption is ‘slightly-suboptimal’ to ‘optimal’ shot placement. That is to say, we assume the elk being harvested is shot directly or nearly directly in the vitals (heart and/or lungs). The third assumption is that a projectile with appropriate terminal ballistics is being used, which for hunting usually means an expanding bullet.Various calibersA common thread you may encounter in online forums is anecdote after anecdote of large animals being brought down by small caliber bullets, or small animals surviving large caliber bullets. Of course those stories exist, and they are not disputed here. A 22LR cartridge can fell a bull elephant under the right conditions, and a newborn squirrel can survive a 50 BMG round under other specific conditions. Again, the goal of this article is simply to address the question of whether .257 Roberts is within the ideal range of suitable calibers to harvest elk - and to this question, the response again is no, the .257 Roberts is UNDERKILL for elk hunting. [Click Here to Shop .257 Roberts Ammo]This article does not serve as the final say, but simply as a starting point for beginner hunters, as well as a venue for further discussion. Please feel free to agree, disagree, and share stories from your own experience in the comments section below. Disclaimer: the information above is purely for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as permission to use a particular caliber, a statement of the legality or safety of using certain calibers, or legal advice in any way. You must read and understand your own local laws before hunting elk to know whether your caliber of choice is a legal option.Foundry Outdoors is your trusted home for buying archery, camping, fishing, hunting, shooting sports, and outdoor gear online.We offer cheap ammo and bulk ammo deals on the most popular ammo calibers. We have a variety of deals on Rifle Ammo, Handgun Ammo, Shotgun Ammo & Rimfire Ammo, as well as ammo for target practice, plinking, hunting, or shooting competitions. Our website lists special deals on 9mm Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 45-70 Ammo, 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, 300 Blackout Ammo, 10mm Ammo, 5.56 Ammo, Underwood Ammo, Buffalo Bore Ammo and more special deals on bulk ammo.We offer a 100% Authenticity Guarantee on all products sold on our website. Please email us if you have questions about any of our product listings. Leave a commentComments have to be approved before showing up Your Name * Your Email * Your Comment * Post Comment

Next, rechargeable flashlights generally have a charging port or system built in. As you can see with our choices, our favorite flashlights today use USB-C charging. This is quickly becoming the industry standard as it is much faster than micro-USB charging. And unlike magnetic charging systems (or other proprietary chargers), you can easily find a USB-C cable anywhere and likely own several already.

One final note on AA and AAA batteries. Some folks argue that it is easier to replace batteries in the field than to charge them. Our testers have carried small battery chargers on many adventures, and they work great with flashlights for long trips. For trips over a week or two in length, though, disposable batteries still have an edge.

So keep battery and charging style in mind when you buy a flashlight. It will make a difference when you’re packing for a trip as to how many cables you’ll need to bring, or if you’ll need to buy batteries continually through the life of the product.

Coast Polysteel 600 flashlight next to a hard hat
GearJunkie tested the Coast Polysteel flashlights in the past, eventually breaking them with a shotgun blast; (photo/Coast)

However, it’s convenient to quickly change batteries and refresh your flashlight in the field. Both are valid options but consider how you’ll use the light (and if you mind constantly buying new batteries).

Quality and Output

Modern LED flashlights vary in the quality of their color rendering, meaning you can see color better with some higher-end lights. The best flashlights on the market should always give you a colorized, realistic view.

Better-quality lights also tend to have more efficient LEDs. Some even have “regulators” that electronically manage the power output, resulting in consistent lighting. To expand on that, first understand that most flashlights, even very good ones, lose a little output as they run and deplete the battery. Better flashlights use a regulator to manage this drop-off. Poor flashlights tend to lose power consistently over time, gradually becoming less and less useful as the battery slowly drains.

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