A flashlight is one of those things you may not need until you’re really in a pinch – and at that point, there’s nothing more frustrating than tracking down the flashlight only to realize that you’re out of batteries. That’s why a rechargeable flashlight can be so handy: As long as you remember to charge it after use, you’ll never be left in the dark when you need it. You also won’t have to spend a ton on disposable batteries (though many rechargeable flashlights also accept alkaline batteries... in case you don’t have access to power to charge them up.)
Here are six of our favorite rechargeable flashlights:
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Maglite is one of the most trusted names in flashlights, and reviewers say it continues to earn that label with the RL1019, powered by a rechargeable NiMH battery pack. Maximum beam distance is 407 meters and brightness is 643 lumens – plenty of distance and power for most applications. This anodized aluminum flashlight is also water- and drop-resistant, making it ideal for outdoor use.
This Maglite has three main modes: full power, low power (148 lumens), and eco (66 lumens). Runtime is four... hours on full, 17 hours on low, and a nice, long 37 hours on eco mode. Additional features include strobe, SOS, momentary-on, and a quick-focus beam that can go from spot to floodlight with a brief turn of the flashlight head. A wall and car charger are included. Owners rave about their Maglite’s durability, brightness and versatility. A few do say it’s a bit heavy at 1¾ pounds with the batteries in, however. It’s also a bit bigger than many flashlights at more than 12 inches long and 2 inches wide – in other words, this isn’t a model you can shove in your pocket. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
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A rechargeable flashlight for just $10? The Hausbell T6-C makes it possible. It will run on either three standard AAAs or a rechargeable 18650 lithium battery (though at this price, you’ll have to supply your own charger). Brightness is a respectable 300 lumens, and it’s water-resistant for outdoor use. It’s also far lighter than the Maglite at under a third of a pound.
There are five modes on the Hausbell: high, middle, low, strobe and SOS. Like the Maglite, the beam can be zoomed from wide to... narrow. It’s also very compact at under 4 inches long and just an inch wide, making it a great pick for stashing in glove compartments, small drawers, RVs, pockets, backpacks or anywhere else that space is a premium. The magnetic base can make it easier to find, too. Owners say the low price makes it easy to buy multiple flashlights and stash them wherever they may need one in a pinch. Some do have durability complaints, however, while others say quality control is lacking; there also doesn’t appear to be a warranty, common for very inexpensive flashlights.
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Looking for a small but high-quality rechargeable flashlight? The Coast HP3R Penlight should fit the bill. This flashlight weighs just a couple of ounces and is only .7 inches wide and under 6 inches long, and it comes with an attached clip that makes it easy to attach to a pocket or shirt neck to keep it handy. Maximum light output is 245 lumens, making it ideal for household use or close-up tasks. Runtime is up to 6 hours on low or 90 minutes on high.
This water-resistant Coast penlight has a... unique, easy-to-use “flex charge system” that means you don’t have to mess with any sort of charging docks. Instead, the batteries can stay in the flashlight while they charge via a USB cord that can be plugged into the wall directly. (Don’t have an outlet? You can also use standard alkaline batteries.) Another major feature is a twist focus system more commonly found on much larger flashlights – simply twist the flashlight head to adjust from a spotlight to a flood beam. Owners say this flashlight is particularly good for inspections because of its size and reliability, and they say the brightness is impressive for the size. Some report issues with the battery leaking or not holding a charge, though. It’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
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If maximum brightness is your priority, the Streamlight 88065 Pro Tac HL-X is a great pick with an impressive 1,000 lumens – enough for outdoor searches, security professionals, or any other task where you need as much light as possible. It also runs on either a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be charged directly in the flashlight or two alkaline CR123A batteries, so you can have reliable power no matter where you are.
This high-end Streamlight features a momentary-on option as well as... high, medium, low and strobe options. Runtime is 75 minutes on high, three hours on medium and 20 hours on low; maximum beam distance is 330 meters. It’s also rugged, with an anodized aluminum case that is impact-resistant and waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. There is a pocket clip and a holster for easy carrying, and at under 6 inches long and about 6 ounces, it’s still relatively compact. While a few reviewers say the light-mode switch is fussy, most say the brightness and reliability make up for any small deficiencies. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Another excellent model from Streamlight, the 88052 Pro Tac HL USB offers the convenience of charging via a USB cord connected directly to the flashlight itself. This one offers up to 850 lumens, and like the Pro Tac HL-X, it can also use CR123A batteries when there is no electricity for a recharge.
The 88052 is water-resistant (not waterproof like the HL-X, however) with a sliding sleeve that keeps the USB port from getting wet or dusty. The anodized aluminum case is impact-resistant. There are... high, medium, low and strobe modes; maximum runtime is 1.5 hours on high and 12 hours on low, while maximum beam distance is 200 meters. It’s 6.5 inches long and comes with a pocket clip and holster. Owners say the build quality is top-notch, though a few grouse that it’s a bit large and heavy (it weighs in at a bit over half a pound). It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
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If you need to light up a wider area than you can flood with a flashlight but still want the convenience of a rechargeable battery, the Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS spotlight is worth a look. Its ultra-bright LED can put out an impressive 920 lumens and up to seven hours of runtime on a single charge of the lithium-ion battery. The battery can also hold a charge for up to a year at a time.
Features on the Stanley Fatmax include a heavy-duty case and bezel with a stand that pivots and collapses when... necessary, making hands-free operation possible. Users can even plug in their own personal electronics via an integrated USB port and charge them using the spotlight’s battery power. A simple-to-use trigger allows users to cycle between high and low modes. Owners say this spotlight lets them see clearly for 100 yards or more, and they like the easy-to-grip handle. A few do say the light quit working after light use, however. It’s also on the heavier side at close to 2.5 pounds. It’s backed by a three-year warranty.
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