The Best Flashlights to Illuminate Your Path

The Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight is our top pick

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Best Flashlights to Buy

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

Whether you're experiencing a power outage, venturing out on a camping trip, or looking to fix a leaky pipe under your kitchen sink, a flashlight is an essential tool to have on hand. 

We researched dozens of flashlights, evaluating brightness, durability, battery life, and weight. Our best overall pick, the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight, has a long battery life, is lightweight yet durable, and has a water and dust-resistant design.

Here are the best flashlights.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight

5
Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Quality brightness

  • Five different lighting modes

  • Sturdy and lightweight design

  • Long-lasting rechargeable battery 

  • Can auto-turn on to last-used brightness

What We Don't Like
  • Required adapter not included

  • Not a ton of features

  • Non-replaceable battery

Who else recommends it? Popular Mechanics also picked the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight.


What do buyers say? 91% of 8,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

When it comes to portable power, Anker knows what it's doing. That's why the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight earns our top spot. It packs impressive battery life and 400-lumen lighting power into a compact, sturdy package. Our tester loved the flashlight's comfortable grip and memory mode that automatically turns it to its last-used lighting mode. 

The flashlight takes six hours to charge fully and lasts up to 20 hours on medium mode. Unfortunately, you'll have to provide your own 5-volt adapter required for charging. The rechargeable battery is also not replaceable, but it does have a 50,000-hour lifespan. Luckily, the battery isn't the only thing built to last. The aluminum case is strong enough to withstand drops, is water- and dust-resistant, and can tolerate cold temperatures as low as 14 degrees.  

The flashlight has a high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS light mode. A single button press is enough to turn the flashlight on and switch the modes, but you will need to hold the button down to turn it off. Beyond those five settings, the flashlight doesn't have many extra features, which is ideal if you're looking for a simple flashlight with straightforward and easy-to-use controls. 

Power Source: Rechargeable battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 400 lumens | Dimensions: 5.04 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches | Weight: 4.3 ounces

Anker Bolder LC40 Flashlight

The Spruce / Pam Wattenbarger

What Testers Say

"Recommended for indoor use, emergency use, camping, and hiking, this flashlight is durable and capable. I dropped it onto my concrete garage floor, on a gravel and dirt hiking path, and onto my kitchen floor (from heights over the recommended 1.5 meters), and it survived without a dent or ding. It even survived a few rounds of my cat batting it across the floor."—Pam Wattenbarger, Product Tester

Best Budget: Outlite S1000 Portable Handheld LED Flashlight

Outlite S1000 Portable Handheld LED Flashlight

Amazon

What We Like
  • Five light modes

  • Zooming light feature

  • Rugged, water-resistant design

  • Compact and easy to manage

What We Don't Like
  • Battery can drain quickly

  • Exact lumen output unspecified

The Outlite S1000 Portable Handheld LED Flashlight offers bright light and flexible control over its intensity and flow. It's compact, lightweight, but robust enough to handle the rugged outdoors, thanks to its aluminum alloy casing, water-resistant design, and ability to withstand 10-foot drops. Plus, you get all of this at a budget-friendly price.

The flashlight has five different light modes: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. The strobe mode will flash the light faster, while the SOS mode will flash at a slower pace. While the exact lumens aren't specified, you also can zoom in and focus your light, which will produce a narrow spotlight that can stretch out up to 656 feet (200 meters). You can also zoom out and widely spread your light over a greater surface area. 

The S1000 is your model if you're looking for a durable, budget-friendly, and feature-packed flashlight for your next outdoor adventure. However, it would be wise to keep a spare set of batteries for longer excursions since users note that the battery can deplete quickly.

Power Source: Three AAA batteries or one 18650 battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: Not Listed| Dimensions: ‎5.35 x 1.33 x 1.33 inches | Weight: 5.28 ounces

Best Tactical: Anker Bolder LC130 LED Flashlight

4
LC130 Flashlight

 Anker

What We Like
  • Impressive brightness

  • Durable and heavyweight for rugged tasks

  • Five different light modes

  • Up to a 1,200-foot range

  • Rechargeable

What We Don't Like
  • Charging port not easily accessible

  • Could be too heavy for everyday tasks

The Anker LC130 offers a powerful 1300 lumens for hunting or home security situations and high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS mode. I's 1,200-foot range is powerful enough to light up two football fields. Our tester appreciated the flashlight’s easy controls and setup, as well as its durable feel. The rugged, waterproof flashlight can withstand drops from at least one meter and will work even after submersion in water for 30 minutes.

When fully charged, it has a battery life of six hours. When it’s time to recharge, you will have to unscrew the tail cap to access the USB port. While this may seem like a hassle, it’s necessary to keep the flashlight water-resistant. Even with an aluminum body, it weighs in at over 1 pound. If you’re looking for a flashlight for leisurely night walks or retrieving something from basement storage, you may want to opt for something lighter. 

Power Source: Rechargeable battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 1300 lumens | Dimensions: 7.09 x 2.36 x 2.36 | Weight: 1.05 pounds

Anker LC130 Ultra Bright Tactical Flashlight

 The Spruce / Brie Dyas

What Testers Say

"[T]he LC130 is a very durable flashlight. It can be safely dropped from heights up to a meter. We dropped it from a much loftier height (a two-story staircase!), and the flashlight didn’t show any signs of damage."—Brie Dyas, Product Tester

Best Everyday Carry: Olight I3T EOS 180 Flashlight

Olight Lumens Dual-Output Slim EDC Flashlight for Camping and Hiking

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Great brightness on high mode

  • Slim and lightweight

  • Secure grip and pocket clip for easy carrying

  • Operates on only 1 AAA battery

What We Don't Like
  • Only two light modes

  • Short battery life when using the high mode

If you’re selecting an everyday carry flashlight, your top concerns are likely the size and ease of carrying—and the Olight 13T 180 scores high on both fronts. At 3.5 inches long and weighing in at 1.4 ounces, you’ll hardly notice that it’s there, so it’s helpful that this slender flashlight has a double helix body knurling so it won’t slip your grip, plus a rotating, dual-direction pocket clip. 

It’s effective and efficient, too. It requires only one AAA battery and has two different brightness modes, with the lowest brightness at 5 lumens and the highest brightness jumping up to an impressive 180 lumens. On high mode, the battery lasts only 21 minutes. However, the battery will last for 16 hours while operating on low mode. Fortunately, most find the low mode sufficient for all their needs. While other flashlights offer additional lighting modes and longer battery life, it’s hard to beat the portability of the Olight i3T. 

Power Source: One AAA battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 180 lumens | Dimensions: 3.5 x 0.59 x 0.59 inches | Weight: 1.4 ounces

Best Rechargeable: OLIGHT Seeker 3 Pro Bright Flashlight

OLIGHT Seeker 3 Bright Flashlight

Amazon

What We Like
  • Powerful brightness

  • Five different brightness levels

  • Easy knob controls

  • Brightness and battery life indicators

  • Sensor prevents overheating

What We Don't Like
  • Can be too bright for certain uses

The OLIGHT Seeker 3 Pro Flashlight packs powerful brightness into a durable, rechargeable design. This flashlight is drop- and waterproof and produces a light beam that extends up to 850 feet outward. The brightness is easily adjustable via the handy rotary knob, which allows you to switch between the five different brightness modes, with 5 lumens being the lowest brightness option and a whopping 4200 lumens being the highest. It also relies on sensors to automatically lower the light’s brightness if the lens becomes blocked or the flashlight begins to overheat.

Monitoring your flashlight is a breeze, thanks to the brightness level and battery life gauges. When it’s time for a recharge, use the included USB magnetic charging cable. You may find this flashlight’s brightness and additional functions to be more than you need. However, the Seeker 3 Pro is ideal if you want a user-friendly, rugged model with a lot of built-in features.

Power Source: Rechargeable battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 4200 lumens | Dimensions: ‎5.2 x 1.38 x 1.1 inches | Weight: ‎7.06 ounces

Best Waterproof: Fenix E12 V2.0 AA Flashlight

Fenix E12 V2.0 AA Flashlight

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy controls

  • Compact and easily portable

  • Three different brightness levels

  • Requires only one AA battery

What We Don't Like
  • Turns on to lowest brightness setting

Campers and fishers will appreciate that this E12 flashlight, like most of the selections from Fenix, is IP68 rated, which means it’s completely waterproof. It can withstand being submerged in water more than 1 meter deep for more than 30 minutes—and it’s dustproof, too. The ultra-light LED flashlight takes a single AA battery and produces 160 lumens on high, 30 lumens on medium, and 5 lumens on low. 

Other advantages are that the durable, aircraft-grade aluminum body has a knurled finish so it won’t slip from your grip, and it has built-in overheat protection so it won’t ever get hot to the touch. It’s compact size, lightweight design, and adjustable pocket clip make it easy to take with you anywhere. It’s a mini flashlight, however, so it’s not going to provide you with the same lighting power as a full-sized option. Also keep in mind that upon turning it on, the light defaults to the lowest brightness setting. 

Power Source: One AA battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 160 lumens | Dimensions: 3.06 x 0.75 x 0.69 inches | Weight: 1.8 ounces

Best LED: Husky 600 Lumen LED Virtually Unbreakable Aluminum Flashlight

Husky 600 Lumen LED Virtually Unbreakable Aluminum Flashlight

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Can withstand significant drops

  • Durable, water- and rust-resistant case

  • Long-range light beam

  • Three light modes

What We Don't Like
  • Can automatically dim mid-use

Are you looking for a heavy-duty LED flashlight? This 600-lumen flashlight with a max beam distance of 984 feet (300 meters) from Husky is the choice for you. It runs on four AAA batteries for three-and-a-half hours on full blast or eight hours on its low, 200 lumens setting. The 8.5 inch flashlight weighs 11.5 ounces and has three light modes to choose from: high, low, and strobe. It’s worth noting that some users report that the light automatically dims after being on for a bit, and consequently doesn’t provide the expected brightness around the clock.

However, this durable flashlight lives up to its “Virtually Unbreakable” name. It has been drop tested from 30 feet and is waterproof up to one meter. Though with an ergonomically designed aluminum body that’s coated in rubber, it's not likely that you'll ever drop it in the first place.

Power Source: Four AA batteries | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 600 lumens | Dimensions: 8.58 x 2.05 x 2.05 | Weight: 11.52 ounces

Best Compact: Thorfire Cap Hat Light

Thorfire Cap Hat Light 5-LED Rotatable Clip-on Hat Light

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Clip for hands-free usage

  • Rotatable light head

  • Versatility

What We Don't Like
  • Location of power button

  • May not be bright enough for certain tasks

At 1.13 ounces and 3.15 inches long, you’ll barely notice that you have this Thorfire flashlight clipped to your cap, jacket, or waistband. The five LED, 30-lumen lights brightly illuminates your immediate area, making it ideal for campers, fishers, or runners who want to light their path without disturbing their surroundings, and it won’t fully blind you should you look right at it. 

The uniform beam doesn’t flicker and won’t distort colors. You can rotate the head 90 degrees to be horizontal or vertical. The light runs on two CR2032 button batteries and gives up to 24 hours of working time. Unfortunately, the on/off button, located on the clip, can be difficult to find at first. It’s also very small, and it won’t produce the level of bright light you may desire for heavier-duty, rugged outdoor tasks.

Power Source: Battery | Light Type: LED | Brightness: 30 lumens | Dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 1.18 inches | Weight: 1.13 ounces

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Anker Bolder LC40 Flashlight, an affordable, bright, and easy-to-carry flashlight that has a rechargeable battery with an impressive lifespan. For an affordable flashlight to always keep handy, we recommend the Outlite S1000 Handheld Flashlight. It's compact, durable, and powerful for its size.

What to Look for in a Flashlight

Brightness

Flashlights use lumens to measure light output. The more lumens, the brighter the beam. How far that light reaches is referred to as “beam distance.” A compact flashlight with 100 lumens or less will get the job done for a flashlight to illuminate items nearby. But if you want a powerful flashlight to light up your path at night or illuminate a large area, look for 500 to 1000 lumens or more.

Battery Life

Note the battery life of any flashlight model you’re considering so that you don’t accidentally end up in the dark! Most flashlights run on battery power and need to have the batteries replaced or recharged at regular intervals. Some models have adjustable light settings and can use a lower brightness setting to stretch battery life further. It’s typical for most flashlights to last at least a few hours before needing a battery refresh.

Weight

Some flashlights are light as a feather and weigh just a few ounces, while heftier versions can withstand more wear and tear but may weigh over a pound. If you’re looking for a flashlight that you’ll frequently carry with you while backpacking, hiking, or camping, you may want to look for a powerful yet lightweight model. If you’re looking for the most durable and long-lasting flashlight, you might have to settle for a model with heavy-duty metal housing and a powerful battery that adds a little weight but pays off in longevity. 

FAQ
  • Why won't a flashlight turn on?

    Probably because your batteries have run out of juice. If replacing the batteries doesn’t solve the problem, it may be that the metal contact points on the on/off switch have become corroded, the inside of the flashlight is dusty or dirty, or the rubber O-rings inside are worn out. You can try cleaning the battery compartment and metal contact points with vinegar and adding silicone lubricant on the O-rings to see if that helps before replacing your existing flashlight.

  • When were flashlights invented?

    The invention of the flashlight followed on the heels of the invention of the dry cell battery and the incandescent lightbulb in the late 1800s. In 1899, a British inventor named David Misell took out a U.S. patent on the first flashlight. He sold it to Conrad Hubert of the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company, which later changed its name to the Eveready® brand we know today.

  • Can a flashlight start a fire?

    Most flashlights don’t emit enough lumens to start a fire on their own, although there are some turbo-charged firestarter torch lights on the market that exude up to 2300 lumens with halogen bulbs capable of starting fires that are obviously to be used with the utmost of caution. Camping aficionados, survivalists, and budding arsonists have concocted various methods of starting fires that involve using flashlights in tandem with matches, steel wool, mirrors, sunlight, and tinder such as cigarette butts, dead leaves, and grass.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This piece was written by Anne Fritz, who has been researching products for The Spruce for more than two years. Before writing this article, she gathered information from customer reviews, third-party articles, and brand websites' details. She’s a fan of the Thorfire Cap Hat Light, which is invaluable when walking her dogs in the dark.

Additional reporting was provided by Sarah Toscano, a commerce writer specializing in smart home and home tech content for The Spruce. She scoured scores of customer reviews and discussion forums, watched dozens of video demonstrations, and meticulously analyzed each product's specs to properly contribute to this article.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The 6 Best Flashlights for Everyday Use. Popular Mechanics. https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/g3035/best-flashlight/