A rechargeable flashlight can provide you with a powerful beam of light and the convenience of connecting to a charger when its battery is running low. However, Cliff Jacobson, an outdoor writer, consultant, and Distinguished Eagle Scout, recommends rethinking rechargeable models for prolonged outdoor use. Jacobson says they're fine "if you’re idea of 'outdoors' is a county park and your car is nearby to charge—or you have a little backup battery. In the 'real' wilderness, you want batteries."
With that in mind, we researched dozens of rechargeable flashlights, considering their brightness, ease of use, versatility, durability, and design. Our best overall pick is the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight, thanks to its quality brightness, range of lighting modes, and user-friendly design.
Here are the best rechargeable flashlights.
Best Overall: Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight
Five lighting modes
Lightweight and easy to grip
Doesn't include 5-volt charging adapter
No battery level indicator
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.
With its impressive battery life, useful range of light settings, user-friendly features, and durable construction, the Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC40 Flashlight is our top choice for most people. This model has High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS light modes and a memory mode, which allows the flashlight to turn on to its last-used brightness automatically. Our tester found this feature quite handy and appreciated how the compact and lightweight design paired with the anti-slip finish made the flashlight easy and comfortable to grip.
You use the light mode of your choice in various conditions since the strong aluminum case can hold its own against rough handling. Our tester dropped the flashlight on multiple surfaces, such as concrete flooring, and the flashlight came out unscathed. It's also water-resistant with an IP65 rating against dust and sprays of water, so you can use it in rainy weather. You can also count on it to hold up in colder temperatures as low as 14 degrees.
While you can charge this flashlight with the provided Micro USB cable or a 5-volt adapter, our tester was disappointed that the charging adapter doesn't come with the flashlight. Despite that minor inconvenience, the flashlight has longevity. It can run 20 hours when on medium mode and has an estimated LED lifespan of 50,000 hours.
Best Spotlight: Stanley FATMAX Rechargeable Lithium Ion LED Spotlight Flashlight
Collapsible stand for hands-free use
Easy grip and controls
Heavier compared to other models
Short run time on highest brightness
The Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS spotlight is worth a look if you want to light up a wider area than a flashlight but still want the convenience of a rechargeable battery. Its ultra-bright LED can put out up to 950 lumens on high and lasts up to seven hours on a single charge of the lithium-ion battery. The battery can also hold a charge for up to a year. Our tester appreciated the ergonomic handle that made it easy to hold and its durable build. However, she saw a much shorter run time of one hour when operating the flashlight on High mode.
The Stanley Fatmax comes with several convenient features to increase usability. Two noteworthy details include a heavy-duty case and bezel with a stand that pivots and collapses when necessary, making hands-free operation possible. You can even plug in electronics via an integrated USB port and charge them using the spotlight’s battery power. While this flashlight is heavier, weighing approximately 2 pounds, it has an overall user-friendly design. Its easy grip and simple-to-use trigger allow you to cycle between High and Low modes. You can also count on protection from a three-year warranty.
Best Compact: ThruNite T1 Flashlight
Great brightness for size
Long run time on low modes
Short run time on higher modes
No adjustable focus
The tiny ThruNite T1 Flashlight only measures 2.74 x 1.04 x 0.87 inches and weighs 1.6 ounces, yet it can deliver 1500 lumens of brightness on Turbo mode, which is its highest setting, and its throw can stretch up to 102 meters. It has a 1.5-meter impact resistance and an IPX8 rating, so it’s waterproof and will be okay even when submerged in up to 2 meters of water. It also comes with a clip and lanyard for easy toting.
This flashlight has four other modes besides its maximum Turbo setting: Infinity High (685 lumens), Infinity Low (15 lumens), Firefly (0.5 lumens), and Strobe (550 lumens). While the highest mode could be great for outdoor settings, the Firefly mode, the dimmest mode, is ideal for late-night reading. This model can operate for an impressive 12 days in the Firefly mode, but the battery life can be considerably lower on higher settings. On the plus side, it’s conveniently rechargeable via a USB cord and has a magnetic tail, so you can attach it to metal surfaces for hands-free lighting.
Best USB Rechargeable: ThruNite TC15 V3 Flashlight
Six light modes
Compact, strong frame
30-day run time on lowest mode
Only runs for a short time on max lumens
Requires USB-C charging ports
No backup battery option
The ThruNite TC15 V3 Flashlight comes with a quick-charging USB-C rechargeable battery and charging cord for convenient on-the-go charging in your car or with a portable USB-C charging station. It has an indicator light to let you know when the battery is full and offers a durable and comfortable build for easy carrying. It weighs only 2.6 pounds and comes with a knurling detail on the handle for a solid, slip-resistant grip (even with gloves) and a lanyard and clip. It can also withstand 1.5-meter drops and has an IPX8 waterproof rating for protection in up to 2 meters of water.
This flashlight packs powerful brightness into a straightforward design, relying on a single button for light control. It’s designed for seamless adjustments, allowing you to quickly access Turbo mode by double-clicking the button, and it can run for a whopping 30 days in Firefly mode. The TC15 V3 has a maximum brightness of 2403 lumens in Turbo mode and a minimum brightness of 1 lumen in Firefly mode. However, in Turbo mode, the flashlight can only run for a little over two minutes at 2403 lumens before dropping to 732 lumens for 106 minutes. The other four modes are High (1057 lumens), Medium (330 lumens), Low (34 lumens) and Strobe (1040 lumens).
Best Ultra-Bright: Streamlight ProTac HL-X 1000 Lumen LED Handheld Flashlight
Four light modes
Dustproof and waterproof
Light-mode switch can be finicky
No zoom features
Pricier than other models
If maximum brightness is your priority, the Streamlight 88065 Pro Tac HL-X 1000 is a great tactical flashlight pick offering an impressive 1000 lumens—enough for outdoor searches, security professionals, or any other task where you need as much light as possible. This high-end Streamlight features a momentary-on option as well as High, Medium, Low, and Strobe modes. The runtime is one and a half hours on high, three and a half hours on medium, and 23 hours on low, and the maximum beam distance is 330 meters. It also offers two power options with a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery or two alkaline CR123A batteries, so you can have reliable power no matter where you are.
In addition to ample brightness, the HL-X 1000 is also rugged, with an anodized aluminum case that is impact-resistant and waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. A pocket clip and a holster offer easy carrying, and at under 6 inches long and about 6 ounces, it’s still relatively compact. While the light mode switch might be fussy, this flashlight offers reliable brightness and durability with a 2-meter impact resistance and an IP68 rating, which means it's dustproof and waterproof, able to handle up to 2 meters of submersion in water. It’s also backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
Best Tactical: OLIGHT Warrior X Pro Superior Tactical Thrower
Great water and impact resistance
Low-battery life indicator
No zoom options
Shorter runtime on high mode
If you want a flashlight that's extra durable and built for rugged and rough handling and don't mind if it's a little heavier than other models, you may want to consider a tactical flashlight like the OLIGHT Warrior X Pro. This flashlight has a strong aluminum alloy body with a robust bezel and 5-meter impact resistance. It also has an IPX8 waterproof rating. However, the trade-off for the durable body is the heftier 8.43-ounce weight.
Durability aside, the flashlight also offers you a whopping 2100 lumens of brightness on High mode and a more-than-adequate 300 lumens of brightness on Low mode, and the beam can reach up to 1,640 feet. The battery can last up to eight hours on Low mode, while High mode runtime spans from a brief two minutes at maximum brightness to 23 minutes at 300 lumens. The Warrior X Pro vibrates at various intervals when the battery is low. The closer the bursts of vibration are, the lower the battery power left. When it's time to recharge, the magnetic USB charging cable offers fast performance—which the manufacturer claims is 100 percent faster charging than the Warrior X model.
Best Headlamp: PETZL Actik Core Headlamp
Two beam options
Red light mode
Not entirely waterproof
Long charge time
When it comes to outdoor activities like biking or hiking, or even indoor activities like scouring for something deep in your attic storage spaces, you may want a flashlight you can wear rather than hold. The Petzl Actik Core Headlamp features a reflective headband so others will be able to see you at night from all angles in the dark, 450 lumens of brightness, and a few light mode adjustments in a comfy and lightweight design. It’s also just as easy to use as it is to wear, relying on only one button to control the light.
This headlamp has a flood and mixed beam option, three levels of brightness in its white light mode, and a strobe feature in its red light mode. High mode offers a 450-lumen output, Medium mode offers a 110-lumen output, while Low mode offers a 6-lumen output. The red light is especially handy at night since it won’t overwhelm your vision or others’ vision in heavy darkness. The main downside of this headlamp is it’s not fully waterproof, only able to withstand splashes of water, and not full submersion. However, the lock feature prevents accidentally switching it on. It can also last up to 160 hours after a full 3-hour charge via the included Micro USB cable and is compatible with AAA batteries for backup power.
Best Features: NITECORE MT21C Flashlight
Eight different light settings
Compact and easy to maneuver
Turns on to the lowest brightness
No USB charging option
The Nitecore MT21C offers easy control in various situations, thanks to its many adjustable features and durability, including eight different light settings and the ability to withstand up to 1-meter drops and up to 2 meters of submersion in water. Its highest brightness setting is Turbo, with a 1000-lumen output and its lowest is Ultralow, with a 1-lumen output. In between, there are High (400 lumens), Mid (190 lumens), and Low (50 lumens) modes. Unfortunately, the flashlight automatically turns on to the lowest brightness level rather than the last used. There are also Strobe, SOS, and Beacon settings, which can be especially useful for anyone who enjoys outdoor adventures.
One of the main highlights of the MT21C flashlight is the magnetic tail that allows you to stick the flashlight to metal surfaces and have hands-free use of the light. The head is also adjustable by 90 degrees, so you don't have to worry about the light shooting straight down when it's mounted. This versatility means you can stick the flashlight in your front pocket or work belt and illuminate what's ahead of you without holding it. This flashlight also comes with handy accessories such as a holster, lanyard, and pocket clip, and compatibility with several rechargeable battery types, including the 18650 unit provided, which offers up to 700 hours of runtime.
Our top pick is the Anker Bolder LC40 Flashlight since it checks all the boxes with its straightforward design, powerful battery life, and impressive brightness. For a more compact option, we recommend the ThruNite T1 Flashlight, which combines a ton of brightness and a long low-mode run time into an easy-to-maneuver, lightweight package.
What to Look For in a Rechargeable Flashlight
Runtime and Charging
If you're investing in a rechargeable flashlight, understanding the runtime is essential. Key features to take a peek at are the battery life and power modes (Low, Full, High, Eco, etc.), You also want to get details about the battery and charging options, including additional battery packs and/or chargers that come with the flashlight. Some models come with dual USB charging and battery backup flexibility while others require a specific charging cord built for the device.
Durability and Weight
Look at the flashlight's materials. Some of the most durable products have a hardshell case, waterproof case, or a variation that includes a stand or USB port. Grippy materials and non-slip details can also be vital if you're on the move with your flashlight. If you plan to spend a lot of time camping or outdoors, the more durable the materials and the higher the Ingress Protection (IP) rating for dust and water protection, the better. The manufacturer may also supply specific details about drop and low-temperature resistance.
Although not always considered a key feature, a flashlight's weight can also make or break its convenience. If an item is too heavy or bulky for travel or if it's too small to be effective, you may be less inclined to use it.
Brightness and Beam Distance
The beam distance is how far the flashlight projects, typically measured in meters. Make sure these numbers, in connection with the lumens (brightness), make sense, especially if you plan to use your flashlight outdoors. "If you want to scare a bear or human, feral cat, whatever, you want a tight focused beam," says Jacobson. "For tent camping, you want a lot of light close to you. For that, a spread focus pattern is best." You may also want to consider the various lighting and beam options, such as strobe or special modes like red lights for use at night.
How long can a rechargeable flashlight hold a charge?
A variety of factors determine how long a rechargeable flashlight can hold a charge, so this spec will largely vary from model to model. Most flashlights offer different brightness modes, and running a flashlight at its maximum brightness will drain the battery faster than running it at its lowest brightness. Some flashlights can run up to 20 hours on medium mode, while others offer different run times for each setting. With age and use over time, it's likely that the battery retention won’t be the same as the first day you purchased it.
How does a rechargeable battery work in a flashlight?
You can plug in some rechargeable flashlights with a USB cord or power adapter just like a phone or other electronic device. Other options have an external battery pack that needs charging rather than the unit itself. In other cases, some models come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that you can charge directly in the flashlight or substitute for batteries to have power no matter where you are.
Are rechargeable flashlights better than regular flashlights?
With regular flashlights, you need to discard and replace their disposable batteries once they deplete. You’re likely to pay a heftier price up front when you opt for a rechargeable flashlight, but you won’t have to keep buying new batteries over time. Rechargeable batteries also produce less waste, making them a more eco-friendly option. The main downside of rechargeable models is that they won’t serve you well during a power outage if the battery is dead—since there will be no way to charge it. However, plenty of rechargeable flashlights can also rely on disposable batteries as a backup, so if you’re looking for a flashlight that works most of the time as a rechargeable model but is also emergency-ready, you may want to opt for a model with that flexibility.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sarah Toscano is a staff writer at The Spruce, specializing in smart home and home tech. She has been researching products as an e-commerce writer for over a year, with a focus on all things related to tech, gadgets, and entertainment. She read through various customer reviews and discussion forums, watched an array of video reviews, and analyzed each product's specs to help make the picks for this article. Cliff Jacobson, an outdoor writer, consultant, and Distinguished Eagle Scout. also provided insights on rechargeable flashlight considerations for outdoor use.