Get a Good Look With the Best Tactical Flashlights

The best tactical flashlight is the Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC

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Metallic black LED flashlight on a black background.

Eduard Skorov / Getty Images

Tactical flashlights are rugged, bright, and perfect for use in the great outdoors. When researching the top models available, we considered light quality, battery life, and durability. 

The Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC is our winner based on its sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum build, multiple operating modes, and impressive reach of up to 656 feet.

Here are the best tactical flashlights.

Our Top Picks
01
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Best Overall: Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight

4.7
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight, 1000 Lumen, Black
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

What do buyers say? 87% of 2,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

The Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC is robust yet compact, feature-packed, and easy to use, which is why it earns our best overall spot. This capable flashlight offers two operating options, six lighting modes, and an impressive reach of 656 feet.

This flashlight’s straightforward design makes it a user-friendly option. It measures 6 inches long and weighs a few ounces, but it can powerfully illuminate the dark despite its smaller and lighter footprint. Its highest mode, turbo, gives off a 1000-lumen bright light. Aside from turbo mode, there are five other lighting modes: high (500 lumens), mid (200 lumens), low (60 lumens), eco (8 lumens), and strobe (1000 lumens). You can also choose between a tactical or outdoor operating mode. Tactical mode lets you use the turbo, low, and strobe settings and switch between them using the tail switch, while outdoor mode lets you use all the settings and switch between them using the side switch. The outdoor mode also has a memory function that turns the flashlight on to your last-used setting.

You can use one rechargeable battery or two non-rechargeable 3V CR123A Lithium batteries to power this device, giving you power flexibility in different situations. Unfortunately, you have to provide CR123A batteries. Structure-wise, this flashlight has a strong aluminum body and an anodized anti-abrasive finish. It’s also waterproof, with an IPX-8 rating, meaning it can withstand submergence in up to 2 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Between its durable body and lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, you’ll be able to rely on this flashlight for a long time. 

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Best Budget Compact: J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight

4
J5 Tactical V1-Pro Flashlight

Amazon

Handy and compact, J5 has packed its compact tactical V1-Pro flashlight with several desirable features. The LED light is small but intense, reaching a whopping 600 feet from the bulb to fully illuminate your path. It has three different light settings, is water-resistant, and impact-resistant up to a 10-foot drop. At just under 4 inches long and an inch in diameter, the J5 is great to have on hand for emergencies. It fits easily into a pocket and won’t take up much space in the glove compartment. Reviewers, including search and rescue members, praise it for its durability and compactness.

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Best Ultra-Bright: Streamlight 88060 Pro Tac HL 4 Professional Tactical Flashlight

Streamlight 88060 Pro Tac HL 4 2,200 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight with High/Low/Strobe Dual Fuel use 4x CR123A or 2x 18650 Li-iON Batteries
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Whether you need the brightest possible light for outdoor activities or need assurance that you won’t be left in the dark during a power outage, the Streamlight 88060 Pro Tac HL 4 offers a dazzling maximum output of 2,200 lumens—that’s enough for activities like caving, nighttime searches, and rescue missions—and an extremely long beam distance of more than 1,100 feet. Like the Fenix FX-PD35TAC, it can run on either rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or disposable CR123A lithium batteries.

The Streamlight is on the bigger side at just under 9 inches long, and it weighs just over a pound—unsurprising, given its power. It’s waterproof up to a bit over 3 feet for 30 minutes and features a sure-grip rubber sleeve, an aircraft-grade, and an anti-roll aluminum anodized body. You’ll get high, medium, and low modes as well as strobe; runtime ranges from 90 minutes on high to 43 hours on low. A wrist lanyard and momentary-on are other features. Owners are thrilled with how much light this model puts out, with most saying it’s the brightest flashlight they’ve ever used. A few people caution that the extreme brightness means it washes out objects that are close by, though. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

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Best Water-Resistant: GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK]

GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK]

Courtesy of Amazon

Bright and powerful, GearLight has created a compact tactical flashlight that is not only water-resistant but nearly indestructible. It has been tested for rough handling, freezing, or getting lost in the road and run over a few times. You can even temporarily submerge it, and it will continue to function. The ultra-bright LED light can illuminate up to 1,000 feet of space in front of you with a wide-area beam for maximum visibility. And the flashlight is only 6 inches long, making it the perfect size to tuck in a glove compartment or camping pack.

The GearLight flashlight has five different lighting modes, including safety settings like strobe and SOS, plus it comes with its own holster for easy carrying. The wide-to-narrow beam is great for everything from walking the dog through the neighborhood to finding that fishing line in the wee hours of the morning. 

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Best Rechargeable: SUPERNOVA Guardian 1300XL Professional Series Ultra Bright Rechargeable Tactical LED Flashlight

Supernova Guardian 1300XL Tactical Flashlight - Rechargeable Professional Series Ultra Bright LED Flashlight with Remote Pressure Switch and BrightStart Technology
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

The Supernova Guardian 1300XL Tactical Flashlight is a bright, well-rounded model that includes two rechargeable batteries and a charger (often a separate purchase on other models). It also runs on three AAA alkaline batteries (included) if you’re in a pinch. As its name suggests, maximum brightness is 1300 lumens—enough for everything short of intense nighttime searches.

With the Supernova Guardian, you’ll get a removable belt clip, anti-slip handle, waterproof and shock-resistant aluminum casing, and five operating modes: full, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. It’s relatively compact at around 6 inches long and weighs only 5 ounces. Reviewers say the light is bright, well-made, and easy to use, though there are some scattered durability complaints. It’s backed by a five-year warranty. 

What to Look for When Buying Tactical Flashlights

Brightness and Beam Distance

Whereas a regular flashlight may have an output of 150 lumens that is bright enough to illuminate nearby items or areas, a tactical flashlight may have a lumens output of 300 to 3,000 lumens or more. This makes a tactical flashlight capable of acting as everything from a firestarter to an instrument capable of temporarily blinding an aggressor. And it means that a tactical flashlight has a powerful beam that can illuminate larger areas and greater distances than a regular flashlight, from 600 to as many as 2,000 feet depending on the make and model. 

Battery Life

The brighter your tactical flashlight is, the more battery power those lumens will require. Tactical flashlights may run using rechargeable or disposable batteries, and there are some USB-powered options. Pay attention to battery life specifications to ensure that your tactical flashlight is powered up and ready to go when you need it. Keep in mind that many tactical flashlights have different modes that will use more or less power, and their battery life will also obviously depend on how often you use the device.

Weight and Size

Tactical flashlights are generally engineered to be lighter weight than regular flashlights but vary in weight and size. Choose a tactical flashlight tailored to your needs. If you’re looking for a tactical flashlight to sit in your glove compartment in case of emergencies, you want it to be compact enough to fit but won’t notice the extra weight when you’re carrying your gear on your back on a camping trip. 

FAQ
  • How many lumens is a tactical flashlight?

    You can find tactical flashlights in a wide range of lumens, starting from around 300 and going up to 2,200 lumens, with some models reaching as high as 18,000 lumens. Keep in mind that tactical flashlights were designed for military and law enforcement operations. A tactical flashlight between 300 and 1,000 lumens will be largely sufficient for most civilians.

  • What's the brightest tactical flashlight?

    Tactical flashlight manufacturers like to stake claim to producing the brightest tactical flashlight on the market, with promotional videos showing tactical flashlights that are capable of setting fire to paper or cooking an egg with their powerful beam of light. Tactical flashlights start at about 300 lumens, with many options in the 1,000-4,000 range; some models run as high as 18,000 lumens. For context, your average compact flashlight is capable of illuminating close items, and the ground in front of you generally has an output of between 100-150 lumens.

  • Can a tactical flashlight start a fire?

    In some cases, yes. While regular flashlights don’t emit enough lumens to start a fire on their own, you can find tactical flashlights that are so powerful that they can make a piece of paper or timber burst into flames with their intense glare. Be cautious when using a tactical flashlight that may have more power than you need for most situations.