The Best LED Flashlights

In A Nutshell

Update: We have more newer article over here — The Best LED Flashlights Of 2015

Here are the best LED flashlights of 2014:

  • The brightest keyring-size LED flashlight: Fenix LD01 — 80 lumens — costs around $40
  • The best standard-size LED flashlight: Fenix TK11 R5 — 225 lumens – costs around $75
  • The brightest LED flashlight that runs on AA batteries: Fenix TK-41 U2  860 lumens – costs around $110
  • The brightest LED flashlight: Nitecore TM15 Tiny Monster — 4000 lumens — costs about $290

A few notable brands of flashlight are still made in the U.S. — Streamlight (made in Eagleville, Pennsylvania) and Surefire (made in Fountain Valley, California), and Pelican (made in Torrance, California).

See also my guide to the best rechargeable batteries.

Brightest LED Flashlight Running On AA Batteries


The Fenix TK-41 U2, which shines at 860 lumens, is the brightest LED flashlight that runs on AA batteries. It uses eight AA batteries, and these can be rechargeable NiMH or alkaline AAs. The TK41 produces four brightness levels, the lowest (10 lumens) allows the flashlight to run for up to 240 hours.

The Fenix TK-41 U2, is available from Amazon for about $111.

Best Overall Flashlight – Fenix TK11 R5 LED Flashlight

Fenix TK11 LED Flashlight

Pros: Very bright, durable, quality components, waterproof, inexpensive.

The Fenix TK11 R5 impressed reviewers with its build quality and light quality. The TK11 R5 uses of two Cree 7090 XR-E Premium Q5 LEDs (PDF), producing very bright beam of light (285 lumens in turbo mode). Most reviewers say that Fenix now rivals Surefire in terms of build quality, but because Fenix lights use Cree LEDs, their flashlights are brighter and more affordable than Surefire lights.

The Fenix Tk11 is part of the Tactical range of flashlights from Fenix Light. The Fenix TK11 is actually an enhanced version of Fenix T1 Tactical. The TK11 uses two CR123 or 18650 batteries. A 18650 is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a 3.7V working voltage. You can find rechargeable 18650 batteries and the chargers at Amazon. You can use rechargeable CR123A batteries in this flashlight. You switch between light levels by turning the flashlight’s head: turbo mode is 225 lumens, and general mode is 60 lumens.

The body of the TK11 is built of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, and it has a very solid construction. The flashlight is coated inside out with olive color type III hard coat anodizing that not only provides excellent surface look and feel finish but also protects body against bruises scratches.

25 Amazon reviewers gave the Fenix Tk11 an average of 4.9 stars (out of 5 stars).

It’s available from Amazon for $73.

Best Keychain-sized Flashlight – Fenix LD01 LED Flashlight

Fenix LD01 LED Flashlight

Pros: Very bright, uses single AAA battery, rugged, waterproof, affordable.

Reviewers are virtually unanimous in recommending the Fenix LD01 as the best keychain-sized flashlight. The Fenix LD01 flashlight runs on a single AAA-sized battery, yet it can produce 80 lumens of light on its highest setting. It uses a Cree Q5 LED as its light source, and the lens is made of toughened, anti-reflective glass (as with all Fenix lights). It has three output modes: 10 lumens, 27 lumens, and 80 lumens.

The Fenix LD01 is also “IPX-8 water proof” which means it is suitable for continuous submersion.

Fenix LD01 Flashlight

The  Fenix LD01 is available from Amazon for $41.

Best for General Household Use – Streamlight 4AA LED Flashlight

Streamlight Propolymer 4AA LED Flashlight

Pros: Inexpensive, extremely rugged, good beam shape.

Reviews say the Streamlight ProPolymer 4AA Flashlight is the best flashlight for general household use. There are lighter and brighter flashlights out there, they can’t beat the Streamlight’s price at $28. The flashlight uses 7 LEDs that produce a flood beam with a hotspot in the middle. Reviewers at Amazon give this flashlight 4 or 5 stars, and rave about its ability to fill a room with light.

Home Page: Streamlight 4AA Product Page

Comments 143

  1. You can get decent flashlights for 10-20 bucks, I’ve bought at least a dozen of them past few years.
    But after I put in a few bucks more for a Fenix TK22 I really understood the difference between low and high quality lights.
    I won’t use any other now unless in emergency or at gunpoint.

    “You get what you pay for” are even more true regarding batteries! I was initially only looking for the highest mAh for the buck. Well, I was happy with them too, until I got some from Panasonic.
    Now I have a charger that can measures the actual mAh, I see that none of the cheap 3-4200 mAh batteries have reached over 1000, in addition to extreme unreliability.
    The 4 x Panasonic 3200 mAh’s are all stable at 3100-3150 each time…

    Conclusion: – Buy high quality to start with and you get years of trouble free equipment. With “cheap” low quality you always need a backup, and you’ll never get the same level of satisfaction, or performance!

  2. I have purchase eight flashlights in the lst seven weeks and none of them work, the plastic is so poor I cannot even screw the top on correctly.

    I need one that is made out of metal, I feel the whole industry is nothing but a rip off after spending $260.00

  3. Let there be light. LCD illumination is cheaper, brighter and lasts over ten times longer than the yellow bulb predecessor. As far as how much to spend on a light, there are definitely different lights for different trip and applications. I have several different ans use them all.

  4. Mag lights are garbage and pelicans aren’t far behind. For the money the Nitecore ea 8 with 900 lumens is hard to beat. The Eagletac GX25C3, is small and it takes 3 AA batteries. It is very bright, I think something like 915 or 925 lumens. If your looking for more light try the Nitecore tiny monster T11. Also one might argue that lithium batteries with their long self life are a better choice than alkaline, but you can buy alkaline anywhere.

  5. You want a great flashlight, MADE IN AMERICA, that’s rugged, compact and bright. Check out Monster Flashlight’s C-5 Tactical. $26.99, 4″ long and 350 lumens. You want brighter? They also have a light that is 3300 lumens, for under $200. Great products, no complaints. And no, I don’t work for them, I’m just a satisfied customer.

    1. The Monsterflashlight.com web site is made by “flashlight freaks” that design and build their led lights in the USA. I have 3 of them and I am giving them as Christmas gifts this year. Well built, very bright and reasonably priced next to overpriced companies like Surefire.

    2. I bought a MF Tactical (Monsterflashlight.com) Pro Tango T6 for use on the job as a police officer. This thing is built like a tank, has every feature I could want or need, and it is brighter than any Surefire around for twice the price. I called the company’s 800 number with questions, and some very knowledgeable guy walked me through my options and answered all my questions. To me Monsterflashlight.com is the jewel in the rough of the flashlight world. I plan to get the 3300 lm Powerstar next, and thats going to be my every day carry light soon.

  6. This blog is about efficient living, and I’m wondering if there is any review of self-powered flashlights? LEDs have come a long way in the past few years, and battery-driven flashlights offer phenomenal performance these days, but what about flashlights that don’t use batteries?
    For example, AIT just released its latest edition of the Nightstar shake flashlight (the Nightstar jP).
    200ft waterproof, no battery of any kind, chemical resistance, shake to charge, etc.
    I would LOVE hearing what people have to say about this and related dynamo crank LED flashlights.

    1. That’s one of my EDC ltghis (I carry 2 ltghis every day), and I wholeheartedly agree. Great light. Get one.My second one is the 1AA version of the same. Smaller, still pretty powerful, and very handy

  7. Type in: Solair Technologies to see the light. Is 40 bucks and postage, $6.81. You have to see this. Stands up, magnet is strong, will stand straight out without falling.

  8. I have about 38 flashlights around the house. One for every day of the week.A great one that I just got is a triple-decker,3 hooked together, and all can be pulled apart. The 3 lights together will bring down a plane, they are all magnetized, and the heads are adjustable. Made by Solair Technologies, saw on TV, cost about $40, if I recall, maybe less.

  9. Just stumbled on this site while looking for flashlight battery reviews. Of all the comments posted, only two mention Maglite, and not in a favorable light (no pun intended). I haven’t personally used any of the lights reviewed here, but my gut tells me that they are all flavor of the day products that won’t be around a few years down the road, and most people have never heard of (including myself). All I can say is that after working in the ship repair industry for almost twenty years, my Maglite has never failed me. It has survived more falls from pretty good heights, bouncing off steel and machinery along the way, and it has been submerged in oily bilge water more times than I can remember. It’s so scratched up that it’s barely recognizable, but it still works. That’s how I would evaluate a flashlight. Forgot to mention, regardless of what it’s rated for in lumens, it does a good job of producing the light I need. On a side note, I bought a Pelican light a few years back to keep on my boat. It failed after a few months, and right when I needed it. All the vendor was able to do was exchange it for another one. Yes, that one failed as well. My son is required to have a Pelican at the maritime college he attends. He said the only thing a Pelican light is good for is a paper weight. They just don’t hold up. The are a very inferior product. With all due respect, you can have the fancy, latest greatest flashlights out there, and I’ll keep my Maglite, Thank you very much.

  10. In addition to my Science Experiment for class: ‘which battery lasts the longest?’ whilst testing them with two radios of different voltages, wattages and sizes. If the end results are to close nd not exact, be testing them on a torch. Three brands of batteries for one-torch and for how will it powerr-it for with intervals of off-periods.

    Can you give me any advice and does the brand of the battery or the product reflect in its performance output?

  11. Boy. Talk about a bunch of middling flashlights. The reviews must have been parsed from ebay where most people haven’t a clue about high performance lights. The best LED in any of these lights is an XP-E Q5 from 2008 for crying out loud! I like Fenix lights, but to use two Q5’s for 285 lumens is well behind the times. Today an XP-G R5 will make the Q5 look like it has a flat battery. And no mention of an XM-L light? Take that Streamlight with 7 leds and replace them with a single XM-L and you’ll see the true meaning of a flood light.

  12. My experience with flashlights; 7 yrs Military, starting in 02(4, 1/2 Infantry with 4 combat tours in Afgh/Iraq) throughout I used a Surefire G2, a Pelican and some 350$ surefire combat model, all military issued. I’ve been NYPD over 4 1/2 yrs now and I’ved used a Fenix PD30 since the start, I have NEVER had any issues with it, performs like the day I got it with regular use, more than bright enough for the job. I don’t own any other flashlights now, save for a big old mag, and I find myself bringing my PD30 home frequently so I just ordered a PD32 after reading much reviews, bit stronger. The build quality of Fenix is EXCELLENT, SUREFIRE IS NO BETTER by my experience.
    YES of course I would MUCH rather buy American made, I drive a Corvette and a Dakota 4×4, I try to buy IRWIN and other made in USA tools when I can(the quality is hands down superior)

    Unfortunately when it comes to this subject, there’s not many choices, mags and pelicans can’t compete and surefire is just flat-out OUTRAGEOUSLY overpriced and you can get par quality from Fenix so my hand is forced.

  13. Lithium ion batteries vs alkalines. Having a flashlight that excepts aa or AAA is great… but not the best in the long run. The ACTUAL shelf life (not in use at all) for alkaline batteries (aa, AAA, d, c cells) is only TWO YEARS. Lithium ion batteries (CR123, RCR123 or simply 3 volt) have an ACTUAL SHELF LIFE OF *10 YEARS*. This right here folks is the primary reason why military and law enforcement use this battery source because it is one of survivability and tactical performance. Another reason why lithium ion batteries work astoundedly better is that the longevity and brightness of a light does not drop off or fade as does prolonged use and drainage on alkaline batteries. And one for the record… those of you who are LEOs ie tac drivers.. I got my buddy IN THE DEA switched over from using surefire tac lights to olights. If any of you are looking for the end all flashlight of all uses and needs… check out light and their products they sell. Fyi theyre reputible in the military and on the civilian side as well. My favorite is the OLight M20X. Runs about $90 but its worth every penny you paid for it.

  14. Olight M20 is a great light, the new ones run almost 500 lumens, only downside is the tail switch is not recessed, only an issue if you carry in a pocket, it may turn itself on. Great battery life and super bright.

  15. I’ve gotta agree with the LED Lenser by Coast (any model), I’ve owned one for almost three years now. Picked it up at Home Depot for about $30, runs off 3 AAA’s. it’s extremely bright for a while, i don’t have any measurements, but it stays pretty damn bright seeing regular use (probably 3-4hrs) every night over the course of a month and sufficiently bright for at least 6 months (i swap batteries when I can’t remember the last time I did it, never ran the light dead). It’s a pretty robust light. I’m in the military and it’s seen jp-8, hydraulic fluid, sandstorms, -20F, 140F, falling from 20ft or so onto concrete, use as an improvised hammer, etc. I wouldn’t say it’s waterproof, but it’s very water resistant. I’ve been in some downpours and around alot of saltwater, never had any issues with it, but I’m not 100% confident that the inside was bone dry. For the record, it doesn’t float. It does get a little warm on a fresh set of batteries. The beam scatter isn’t very good at all. The lense is like a projector lense on a car, it’s very focused and thats ideal for me.

    I’ve had four SureFires, different models, I don’t see the hype. They’re fairly sturdy. The waterproof buttons rip pretty easy, they’re WAY overpriced, the batteries are sometimes hard to get (even in the military), and you have to replace the batteries every couple hours in the middle of whatever you’re doing.

    The Pelican 7060’s are nice. We’ve got some at our unit, the rechargable ones. The chargers kinda suck, but the lights are pretty sturdy, they take beatings that used to very literally DESTROY Maglights and seem to keep on functioning pretty well. Gas, oil, hot, cold, dirt, water (10ft and stayed lit so it was easy to find), whatever is in howitzer bore cleaner, high drops, use as a hammer or baton, they stand up to everything. They’ve got a good amount of light and they last through at least 10hrs on duty, the majority of which they’re on. Can’t say if they will work for long after or not cuz they get thrown back on their chargers.

    Sorry for running on, but hope it helped.somebody

  16. hello guys,
    i bought fenix tk 35 and it’s sure is the best led flashlight. it has 820lumens output great for hiking, caving and search and rescue. try this one… tnx..

  17. Why is it the Olight m20s series is not reviewed as one of the best? I have been Doing some research and they seem to be as good if not better then some of these lights, with 340 lumens on high/strobe and an easy access side switch to cycle through modes. These are running about $75 any ideas or information about Olight m20s XP-G S2???

  18. what about this flashlight, I just google it. Smallest flashlight with single battery

    XTAR WK20 Cree XP-G R4

    Power by 1 x 3.0V CR123A battery
    High 265 lumens
    Low 75 lumens

  19. LLOYD,

    You can get a Fenix LD20 if you lost your L2D. It takes 2 AA batteries and is as good as yours.


  20. Hello Hello,
    I have a killer L.E.D flash light that is as good as the day I got it. It may not be available today but I did a hell of alot of looking before I bought it. The brand is by Fenix and is called L2D (Premium Q5 lense).
    It takes AA battery, has two light settings, strobe, and S.O.S.
    I have dropped it onto just about anything that would take out most flashlights. I carry it every where I go along with my Buck knife.
    I feel lost with out them. (sort of like a security blanket)
    I use it every day to find things in not so well lighted areas and every night on my walks. I like to use the low setting for normal use but turn it to high to blind anybody or anything that is coming at me at night. (dogs,cars,etc.)
    Also the battery last and last and last because of only one L.E.D.
    Like I said at the time I bought it years ago (it was the brightest one of its size). It turns on and off with one hand (a pushbutton on the end)
    I am 63 years old and have collected many flashlights. Some that was in the above article. But you are not going to take my Fenix L2D away from me and that you can take it to the bank.
    I do understand that today it might not be the brightest but for the size that I wanted and what I got is hand to beat. I am open for any brand that is the same size and use the same AA battery. (only besause if I lose it or it gets dropped into the something like a lake or sewer).
    SEE YA

  21. RAYOVAC Sportsman Xtreme™ 4W LED 3C Flashlight (Model SE4W3C) for $25 is the absolute best bang for the buck. Brighter than my 5D cell maglite with the upgraded luxeon buld modification. Sure you can spend over $100 and get better but come on now, were talking about a flashlight. Don’t waste your time looking any further, trust me get yourself the Sportsman Xtreme™ 4W LED 3C Flashlight made by RAYOVAC.

  22. I haven’t heard anyone mentioning 4Sevens or Eagle Tac. I have read alot of goods things about these two companies. I’m looking for a AA2 light that is very bright. The reasom I want AA batteries is price and you can buy them just about anywhere. Any suggestions?

  23. im a biologist,and i really nedd a powerful flashlight with long-range light,yellow light,rechargable batteries and low cost,please help me,I will appreciate thanks guys!!

    1. katherine,
      did you get a response to you flashlight question? if so please forward to me as I would be interested in a “same” type light.

  24. I guess y’all haven’t heard of Peak Beam? Hand-held Searchlight, 12,000,000 candlepower, ~$5,000.00. You can hold it in your hand, so it’s a flashlight also. Made in Wharton, Pa

  25. Like Stuart, bought Led Lenser M7 and this outshines all my Maglites and cheapies. Extremely satisfied. Where has the M7 been my past 55 years? For the first time I have a torch that works as a torch.

  26. Have any of you tried the Led Lenser torches? How about the M7? These are good enough to light up matters here in darkest Afica (pun intended).

    1. I’ve just bought an M7 as well. haven’t put it to rough use yet but it’s probably the best torch in it’s price range.

  27. Coast LED Lenser Flashlights. I have one, they are very good. i can’t say I’ve compared to these other “High quality” LED lights but mine beat the snot out of every light under $30 but it has been durable. dropped many times on concrete over 5 years and still works. It has lasted a very long time on decent to better batteries. the light produces is extremely smooth, bright, and long reaching. Not too expensive either.

    Link: Coast LED Flashlight

  28. I purchased a Nebo 5557 led flashlight 220 lumens, 3 brightness settings, strobe and SOS mode, alum housing and it’s waterproof. Nice led Light
    $24.47 on Amazon.com includes free shipping. Nice looking light.

    1. The Nebo has POOR quality and is a waste of time and money. Only a short sighted foolish person would purchase a Nebo. It is a problem looking for a place to happen.

  29. i gotta say ive got the fenix tk21 and i use it as my everyday toolbox light coz i dont care if i lose it, simply because the switch is very unreliable sometimes taking 4-5 clicks to get it stay on, gladius night ops is good but not that bright anymore, but i now only use my olight infinitum i25 as backup(dimmable and uses 2xaa batts charged off a solar panel using usb aa cells) and my best one now is my cheap little led lenser t7, cheap common aaa batteries (also charged off solar panel roll ) excellent output and throw, flood to spot focussing and massive run time, i keep one in my backpack and one on me at all times, best ive had so far

  30. I use the Pelican 7060 for my main departmental issued flashlight..I like it compared to the streamlights we have in our patrol car, but my secondary light is the condor c11..160 lumens, which imo..enough light, and it won’t drain the batteries. Not to mention it came with the end cap for my rifle..and it mounts perfectly, and for the 70.00 its not bad. I’ve had multiple surefire lights,stream lights, and pelicans, working in rough conditions in the military and night shift police work…all I’m saying is that any of those do the job.. but they won’t save your life if you don’t have them either charged..or a good back up. Do your own research..and have a back up..the last thing you want is to enter a room and say “Sh~@ my light died”.

  31. I have to disagree. Fenix does make quality lights, but there are far superior lights–larger and smaller–available. Extreme Beam tactical flashlights (and several other brands) crush any and every light made by Fenix.

    1. Buddy, a sucker is born everyday. Extreme Beam use the very same LED’s as fenix. And you’ll pay more than twice the price for the Extreme. Notice how Extreme doesn’t tell you what bulb ther using , you wanna know ?? Because they don’t want to alert suckers to ther over priced flashlight that is no different than a Fenix LOL. Open yours up and look to see the truth then sit back and think i could have had 4 Fenix for the price of this one light. But But its got such a cool name and they have them mounted on cool rifles, sucker

  32. You can’t beat an XRE with a smooth reflector for throw and you might want to snatch one up before they’re all gone; yet the XPG has taken its place in most flashlights by the end of 2010.

  33. I just bought a Led Lenser MT7…have not used it at work yet. I do Pest control for a living, so a flashlight is my right arm! ANy comments on this light would be helpful

  34. im planning to get myself a fenix tk 11 r5….
    ive never owned a flashlight before….
    i want a flashlight which has a good throw and its brightness level is very efficient…
    can anyone guide me if im going in for the right one…..

  35. Ok so I know you all love your lights, but you have to check out 511 tactical, thay have a flashlite that peaks at 270 lumens 90 reg and strobe, 90 lumens last for over 2hrs,and the kicker is they charge in 90 seconds….no bull.

  36. I like the Inova X1MT-WB , I use it every night to go to and from my truck it’s my keychain light, super bright nice focused beam and under 20 dollars , also I have the X- 5 and a two T-3s . The x5 is in my truck box with 5 led’s it has a soft flood beam still good up to 50 feet , and the t3 one on the shot gun and one on my belt with a 3hr. run time and 200 ft. clear site at 300 ft. you see’um , just a nice small powerful light.about 60 dollars for the t3 and 30 for the x5 .

  37. The lights are now produced by safe-light. Check out http://cli.gs/yhbQUJ or http://www.safe-light.com
    They used to be called nite palm but they seem to be the same light. Will remain on for 1 year on low light or if necessary can be seen up to 2 miles away. All for the miserly sum of £12 .74 which includes FREE postage and Packaging from the States. I have one that’s been to Iraq 3 times and Kosovo and just keeps going. Check out the website.

  38. We’re in the rubber industry and we try all kinds of flashlites…. somebody is always bragging …. but we found a lite at Advance Auto Parts that was the sure winner…. brite LED with all the best features…. 2 C cell and more…. not the absolute brightest… but the beam blushed just a tad so it had good coverage when looking in electrical panels. The mechanics loved them and the beam was narrow enough that pipefitters could use them to trace pipes up 3 stories in the air.

    Now Advanced Auto has gotten rid of them… saying they went out of business…. they may have cause the machining on the lights for $23 was fantastic…. ANYBODY KNOW ANYTHING ON HOW TO GET MORE OF THESE? MUCH APPRECIATED …….. Ron

  39. Fenix lights do not last and some do not work properly. Buy American made! There are better LED flashlights made by American companies.


    1. Mr. Anderson,.. is GREAT that SOMEBODY mention “AMERICAN-MADE” or made by American Companies!!!.. but you stop short, by NOT mentioning some American Company’s names,.. ( You said)-There are better LED flashlights made by American companies… and I hapen to AGREE with You Sr.
      GOOD Day.


  40. I own the fenix tk 11 and it is handy, but I like my Pelican 7060 LED more, its sturdy and has an incredible throw. It’ll light up the far wall of a warehouse (300 feet). The Streamlight Supertack has a tight beam too, 135 lumens but keeeps the beam together a little better than the pelican.


  41. Hello My name is Mr Mike and will like to know if you have pressure cooker and also with Aluminum body with Weight valve..And will like to know the total price for 50pcs and what form of payment do you accept..Hope to hear from you soon..

  42. The BEST flashlight has not even been mentioned. How about a hand torch bright enough to be seen 2 miles away, read a book by, carry in your pocket-no worries AND on low power the battery will last ONE YEAR, yes I said ONE YEAR. They used to be called Nite Palm but now they are Safe Light made in the US and at £11.99 P+P Free you are on to a winner. We use ours as a nite light in the loo as it is windowless and when we go away I always throw it in the bag. My torch has also seen combat in Iraq and is still going strong. Go on-Beat that.

    1. Does not ship to Singapore for security and anti-fraud purposes. And does not even ship to US if your credit card (billing) is from Singapore. Don’t waste your time ordering, if your card is non-SG they will not deliver even if shipping is to US.

  43. Great all round, INEXPENSIVE:
    Microstream By Streamlight. 1 AAA battery, led, pocket portable, waterproof. Use lithium AAA for long term storage (8-10 years shelf).
    Did I mention bright?

    Link: http://cli.gs/5mZtZh

  44. We were back in the woods, and my girlfriend lit up her led headlamp that had one of Newton’s telescopic focus lenses on it. The focused light went way off into the woods. She was proud of the throw on her new toy.

    I loaded up a Nitecore Ez AA R2, with an Aw 14500 cell for additional power. This is the R2 version with a bright output of 145 lumens. The spotlight projects a narrow, intense beam of light directly onto a small area. The next time we were in a clearing in the deep woods, new moon, dark of night, about 50 yards to the surrounding trees. This was an ideal place to show its stuff. Her batteries must have been worn, but as soon as the keychain light went on high, she remarked that it was bright. She knows lights. She asked where I got it; I said it was just an old key chain light. Which was true, I did not say how old. She took a very close look. The Nitecore maintains a constant light stream. That is it does not go dim or change color as the power runs down. It stays bright and clear until the end.

    Her headlights seemed so weak on the old Toyota. With the Nitecore’s lighting up the clearing, and reflecting off of the trees, she admitted that they overpowered her headlights. The trees were lit so much by the higher aimed keychain spotlight, that the car was plunged into relative darkness when she drove around the curve out of the clearing.

  45. My personal carry flashlight is a Cree TrustFire TR-803.

    I got one on DealExtreme.com (shipping from Hong Kong, I believe) for $14 including shipping to U.S. or U.K. Four batteries and a charger were another $14. Worth it, since I use it a few times every day.

    It’s small enough to fit easily in a pocket (3-1/8″ x 7/8″), uses a single 123 battery, is rated to use the high-output 3.6V rechargeables, and puts out over 100 lumens of nice white light. The body seems to be a nicely machined hunk of aluminum.

    With a 1,000 mAh rechargeable, it runs about a half-hour. With a lithium, it would run about an hour. It’s bright enough that the beam is clearly visible 200′ away in the treetops, it can illuminate a street sign at 300′, and when I walk the dog with it, cars sometimes flash their brights at me!

    It has a pebbled reflector for a small and ridiculously bright center spot, and a wide and bright well-defined spill.

    It has gaskets, but I don’t think it’s really waterproof.

    Negatives: not adjustable at all. But I rarely wish it were. Plastic lens, I think. Runtime could be longer, but it’s easy to carry an extra battery. And rechargeables from DealExtreme are similar in price to lithiums at Target.

    If you want a light almost as nice as the $70 ones for 20% the cost, check it out!

  46. I have a LED focused 210 lument max keychain flashlight that can use 1 AA battery or convert to 1 CR123a litium . It also has strobe and SOS. The brightness control feature is digital and goes from 9 lumens to 210 lumens. I paid $55.00 for it at the Orange County gun show. Its made by Olight and the model is I10 Infinitm. It rivals the bigger Fennix lights.

  47. These flashlights look great. The first one looks very durable. Something that I am looking for. I am comparison shopping for a really GOOD flashlight. I do like the items on this website, too.

    Thank you so much for all of your research. You will be helping me to make my decision!

  48. Thanks Guys.. advice on flashlights invaluable… i note all the comments below.. if you want a $10 flashlight you get what you pay for.. I have had plenty of that kind of experience … now enough.. I want real flashlights that I can absolutley trust… and i went straight out an d bought them after reading this site and now i have peace of mind… no more… damn .. where’s a torch that works .. somebody find one urgently!! Seems to me the Nerd comments apply to the writers no the people putting info on this site Thanks Guys

  49. Great review. I have a light to add to the suggestions: the streamlight ploytac LED. Fifty dollars, 120 lumens, super durable. I am thrilled with mine.

  50. It’s sad that so many of the comments here are so critical of people that really can’t afford a 73 to 150 t0 500 dollar flashlight and it is because of their laziness, or so alluded to, that they can’t afford an expensive one that does everything but walk the dog for you.
    There are limits to what many people can afford. To me a flashlight is not an extremely critical thing to have but I would expect that a flashlight for less than 73 dollars and cast light reasonably well is not unreasonable to expect. My two cents worth, and I always wantchange back, is I bought the flashlight packet of 3 from Costco. It had two small ones in it that uses 4 Double A batteries, and a large one that uses 3 C-cell. They were quite good. The small ones put out a lot of light and the big one was great. I don’t think I could find a baby squirrel in a tall oak tree but it was quite adequate. The bulbs burnt out and I have to get new ones but that is all that happened. They didn’t go on and off like a really cheapo Wal-mart or other idiotic flashlight when you bumped it or moved it. Of all the posts here I agree with Anonymous, Steve, Cheryl, Jason, GN, and a few others. Things don’t always have to be all or nothing!!

  51. A lot of comments about what “inexpensive” means, but what about the meaning of “BEST flashlights for 2009”?? What is “best” for my taste and needs is not the best for everyone. If you want a flashlight for your nightstand, the cheapest work but not for a week of camping or night serious work. I have used Maglites for many years, all sizes, both kripton and led, but they are not high tech nor built for extreme situations. Again, “best” is relative.

  52. I have three:
    the maglight (pick your favorite size) is great all around: bright enough for all house chores, durable, and great on battery life.

    The Inovo X5 is my personal carry ( on me all the time), and is there when I need light. It’s tough, bright, water proof, lithium powered, and small.

    The surefire m6 is for home defense (and Every “GN” scenario I think dream up).

  53. Here is a super-bright flashlight, but not in the normal light wavelength. I have used this new UV flashlight for leak detection for a few days now and it is by far the most powerful LED ultraviolet penlight that I have ever seen – it outperforms a $120 UV light I bought a few years ago, and is about one-tenth the size. Cool purple annodized aluminum body.

  54. The Fenix LD01 does not impress me. The Gerber Infinity Ultra (formerly know as the Arc) runs on ONE AA and can easily last 80 hours! Try THAT with a fenix! Sure, the Gerber is less powerful (but still bright), bet seriously…who is looking for “throw” with a miniture light?? With micro lights for working, durability and run time are king (of which the Gerber/Arc AA SPANK the Fenix LD01). Oh…and the Gerber IU is $15. The Gerber/Arc is the CLEAR winner of the micro lights.

  55. Hi everyone! I have spent many hours on the web trying to find our which led flashlight really does the job. Sadly I have invested several hundred dollars finding out which ones now stay in a box. I suppose I want what everyone else does, that being the brightest,clearest light, and the longest run time from common easy to find batteries, and also packable (somewhat small) with a variable use. So here is the fruits of my finds for those of you who care:

    My best overall pick is one I found from a place called superbrightleds.com. It puts out a very clear center circle with a very nice bright halo, and is soft, clear, balanced, a perfect size, really lights things up, and projects out several hundred feet, and this is all from one AA battery. This company sells lots of leds for auto and home use, and only couple of flashlights, but the stats on this one are fantastic. It will also take a 3.7 volt rechargeable lith. ion battery and will put out 205 lumens with the 3.7 volt battery, or it will us a standard AA alkaline and put out 130 absolutely perfect lumens. It will also let you cut back the lumens by a variable means down to a still very bright low level that is quite good, and is suppose to last 50 – 80 hours from one battery from this setting. It is model number ITL-15 and cost $39.00 plus $5.00 shipping. After I ordered one and proved that it was really that good with a tempered glass lens, alum. reflector rough on the bottom third and smooth on the last 2/3 to give both a clear even light, and also a very long projection. It has a very nice cree led. I ordered two more and found that the same $5.00 shipping got me two lights on the second order.

    The second best if you want a spotlight that goes out the furthest is a Dorcy rechargeable 220 lumen with a cree. For packable a Coast LED Lenser tt7438 with an adjustable prism shoots a beam out there, and also softens up for up close. It is suppose to put out 105 lumens, and it is promised that you will still be getting light at 120 hours. I do know that it is in the pack of bright perhaps only a little less than the best, but so much more versitile, and long run time, and comes with a nice carry case at $45.00 from Lowe’s. It uses 3 AAA’s. I also have a couple of other LED Lensers that are very good, and the latest minimag light, and a River Rock with a Cree led that uses 2 “c” cells and claims 60 hours of light with 21 being at the rated 130 lumens. It comes from Target, but has the soft reflector, and is nice but does not shoot a clear beam out there. The Rayovac 3 “c” cell sportsman is a very nice torch, but big and heavy, but comes with a Cree LED, and claims 100 hours run time, but I doubt it. Still it is a very nice light at between the $25.00 I paid, and the $35.00 some are asking. Dorcy makes a few others that are ok for a cheap price, but they all have plastic lenses, and the batteries go from 2 -12 hours or so. I told you about the best one first, and the next few are very good. I hope this helps someone out. I think the first one I was sharing is a rare find, and you should go to the web site and check it out. I have purchased three now, and they are all consistant, and do exactly as advertised.

    1. Can the ITL-15 stand on its tailend, to be used as a “candle” or does the clicky stick out past the body preventing it from standing up as it looks on the SBL site?

  56. One AA battery. Put this Fenix to the test and see if a surefire (single cell cr123) or what ever that $129.99 overpriced surefire LED light is.. I forgot to look at the price but I believe they are half the cost (the Fenix) than that little surefire toy. I believe it will stand up to and then some against the surefire. With the tailcap switch being shrowded by the lanyard loops on each side. The lanyard loops also allows you to stand it up which a surefire cannot. A great light you can see here http://www.fenixlight.com/viewproduct.asp?id=104

  57. I think it’s difficult to rate LED flashlights, because they have such different purposes. One needs to think about his requirements, and then find a suitable product, or best compromise. In other words, “best” for your purposes might not be “best” for my purposes. I would not have rated this websites’ flashlight choices above a B rating because of their limited utility and technology. The mechanical aspects of these lights is an A rating, but the optics, efficiency, usefulness leave a lot to be desired. Some manufacturers are not well represented here.

    Coast makes some very affordable flashlights, with “good” focusing optics. The power regulation in Coast high performance flashlights needs significant improvement, perhaps using a modern boost-buck switching power supply like Linear Technology’s LTC3780 current regulator for LED’s. Most flashlight manufacturers need to employ more modern electronic technology in their flashlights. While Coast does use microprocessors in some of their high end flashlights, like the P14, there seems to be some room for improvement. For instance, externally rechargeable batteries are not always guaranteed to deliver the same performance as the rechargeables in the manufacturer’s OEM flashlights. Good electronic LED drivers will overcome that limitation.

    Optics seem to be another area where much improvement is needed. Focusing optics allow the user to deliver just the right amount of light for the task at hand. I don’t see any manufacturer anywhere using multicoated optics for improved light transmission, even though $25 binoculars at Wal-Mart come with that feature. Every non-coated lens surface wastes 10% of the light output. That’s 20% wasted light due to reflection with the flat lenses so widely employed in flashlights – even $300 ones. LED reflectors are more inefficient than TIR lenses. No TIR lens is multicoated (e.g., L2, POL, Fraen, Carclo, Ledil, etc.). Focusing optics combined with a good LED brightness regulator will provide a wider usage range. The best LED flashlights seem to be lagging significantly behind LED bicycle light technology, so manufacturers in certain business sectors are taking advantage of available technology.

  58. To those complaining about the price, the article probably should have specified that this is a professional quality light. Flashlights have too many categories to say that this one is the “best”. Anyway, you get this light sometimes at a site called Flashlights4all.com for a slight discount. Normally it tough to find these things on sale.

    1. I should mention that the cool penlight
      I have is referred to as a “work light” by the factory
      since it has a wide-angle beam instead of the normal narrow angle beam of a regular flashlight.

      BTW I also have this cool black light flashlight
      that illuminates a lot of things that you don’t normally see (and you may NOT want to see some things such as pet urine stains or blood that this light reveals!) I bought it originally to validate currenct and it does a good job since it easliy shows up the UV tags that are on most bills.

  59. as for quality and price, remember………you may not always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get.

  60. You don’t need to wait for ultrabright led flashlights to reach $10. There’s already one on the market. Google “People’s Cree” 150 lumens, 3AAA batteries, 8 hours. I bought mine from dealextreme.com It’s an amazing flashlight & didn’t empty my wallet. If it came with a bike clamp, I’d toss out my cateye bike light (wish is also incredibly bright, but doesn’t come close to my people’s cree).

  61. Streamlight Microstream: $11, one AAA battery, metal, waterproof

    Eagletac P100 A2: $42, two AA batteries, metal, waterproof,

    EagleTac P100A2 (Turbo Mode) – 5150 lux @ 1 meter
    EagleTac P100A2 (General Mode) – 1730 lux @ 1 meter
    Fenix E20 – 2530 lux @ 1 meter

  62. Spending $79 on a light is not much if your life depends on it. These are tactical lights made for law enforcement and military.

    1. +1 on the LD20.

      Pair that with Eneloop rechargeable batteries (and a solar charger if you wanna’ go nuts) and that’s one fine, efficient system.

  63. Hi. Maybe you can compare these flashlights too:
    Neofab Legion II; Jetbeam M1X; Fenix TK40. They might be the best flashlights in 2009.

    Legion II has the best real torch lumens output, and TK40 can be driven with AA cells.

  64. It’s true…it’s all realative, but I think there’s a little gray area between the two examples cited. I worked for 20 years at a job where I carried a flashlight constantly. I didn’t use it every day, but when I needed, I needed it to work! I carried a rechargable, $120 Streamlight for 2 years, until the switch broke. Then I went back to my 4-cell, $20 Maglite, which was already 30 years old at the time. It’s true price is relative. What I’ve been saying is that price does not always equal quality.

    1. Kind of hard to fit a four D cell light in your pocket. Not to light for backpacking. Besides I own a two C cell Maglight that I much prefer over their D cell ones. You can wrap your hand around it and you can actually stick it in your back pocket handle down. But for every day carry I own a Gerber/Infinity single cell AAA with twist cap switch. It has served me for years. I am a electrical contractor and you can put it in your mouth and hardly know it is there, Besides who needs to put a flashlight underwater forever like the claim of the Fenix one. Nice light. Two options general one and premium one. Both expensive like thirty and fifty range. They are great lights and I plan on owning one some day. And I am with the person that said Nothing for Surefire or nothing. Over rated, over priced. The Fenix version of the small surefire has tabs on each side of the tailcap switch. Less likely to turn it on and less likely to abrade it over the years. Better light for less than half the price of the overrated surfire ones.


    2. Kind of hard to fit a four D cell light in your pocket. Not to light for backpacking. Besides I own a two C cell Maglight that I much prefer over their D cell ones. You can wrap your hand around it and you can actually stick it in your back pocket handle down. But for every day carry I own a Gerber/Infinity single cell AAA with twist cap switch. It has served me for years. I am a electrical contractor and you can put it in your mouth and hardly know it is there, Besides who needs to put a flashlight underwater forever like the claim of the Fenix one. Nice light. Two options general one and premium one. Both expensive like thirty and fifty range. They are great lights and I plan on owning one some day. And I am with the person that said Nothing for Surefire or nothing. Over rated, over priced. The Fenix version of the small surefire has tabs on each side of the tailcap switch. Less likely to turn it on and less likely to abrade it over the years. Better light for less than half the price of the overrated surfire ones.


  65. If you use a flashlight everyday and are aware of what you need it to do (and why the $10 flashlight will never do it) then $70 is inexpensive – if you use a flashlight to convince the kids that there are no monsters in the closet then its not. As already mentioned, it is all relative.

  66. Jason, I did some quick research after getting my Maglite repaired. According to two tests, the RayOVac alkaline batteries out-lasted the Duracell. Shock to ME. They got 22 hours out of the RayOVac and 15 out of the Duracell. Most others were under 11 hours. Hang onto that Maglite! (See my post earlier about the company)

    James, until I came across the solar hybrid, I was ready for the “shake” light. Everyone should take care they aren’t getting a “toy”, as you pointed out. A friend of mine got one, and the fist person he showed it to shook it like a can of Cool Whip, and broke it!

  67. IMO, these Chinese flashlights are so expensive! Even more expensive then the world’s leading brand, Surefire
    Anyway, I’ll stick to my Maglite D (under $20) from Wal-mart., it’s USA owned.

    1. Maglite insists on continuing to manufacture in the USofA as well, preferring a reduced margin to firing an excellent staff. See the post below expressing how steadfastly Maglite stands behind their product. Mine Maglite torches are decades old and equipped with LED replacements.

      1. I have to disagree on Maglite. I have a few, and my larger three cell had the batteries leak/corroding. My bad for not checking and replacing earlier, but the issue is that the batteries can now not be removed. It is being sent back to Maglite, hopefully under warranty if the batteries turn out to be Energizer, Duracell or Rayovac. However, as a mechanical engineer, I would have to say that designing the barrel of the light to barely fit the batteries is a flaw. The swelling of old batteries being the biggest issue in their FAQ’s would attest to this.

  68. A possible solution to that “$10 flashlight”.
    A solar powered flashlight (actually any light source) that will stay chaged for 3 years in your dresser drawer, and is waterproof to 80 feet.
    Check out the hype at http://www.hybridlight.com

  69. Cost is relative. I’m disappointed none of the Maglites made it into your list.
    I have a Maglite, 4 cell (D cells) flashlight purchased in 1969 for $12. The current price is +/- $30. I recently had some cheap batteries leak in it. I contacted the company via their website and asked about replacement parts. They are sending me the necessary components, AND the tools to install them — free of charge!
    If you can afford a $30 flashlight that’s going to last 40 years, and a company to stand behind it, I have to recommend Maglite.

    1. Problem with the Maglites is the weight and size. The ones that put out good light are huge and heavy.

    2. Exactly, I have several mag lights and I love them all but we are reviewing here lights just as bright as your 4 cell mag light that will fit in your pocket. I would bet that 999 times of 1000, you are not carrying your 4 cell mag light on your person as you go about your daily business. A light just as bright, not much bigger than a role of lifesavers and its always with you, is worth the money.

  70. Good reviews. Thanks. Inexpensive is such a relative term. You can’t please everyone I guess. Have you ever noticed how mad people get when you say something they can’t afford is inexpensive? There are flashlight collectors on the candlepower forums that pay over 500 dollars per flashlight. So to them I guess $73 dollars would be inexpensive. My good friend and next door neighbor who is a policeman just bought the Fenix TK10. When your life may depend on it, you don’t want a $10 flashlight! If you just want to walk your dog then go ahead and buy one. Instead of complaining here about what you can’t afford, why not go through all of the hard work of making your own website and review all flashlights that cost less then ten dollars. Then someone who can’t afford a ten dollar flashlight will come and say that to them a one dollar flashlight is inexpensive and complain about your choice of words.

  71. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR…..this has always and will continue to be a fact. If you pay 10.00 for a flashlight, you will receive 10.00 worth of quality. It’s like buying a hyundai and thinking it will handle like a BMW = no dice. The Nitecore D10 for 60.00 is the best for the dollar value….the best part? it’s a single “AA” battery light that is a momentary and clicky….it’s the best light I’ve seen on the flashlight market for years. Look at uniquetitanium’s site…

    1. You are 100% correct. If you don’t want a super high quality $100 flashlight- don’t buy one. Go spend your money on the junk $10 one.
      Its called “choice”. I work hard and make enough money that $100 for a light os nothing to me. Sorry if you haven’t figured out how to do the same. In 99% of all cases you definitely do get what you pay for. I am tired of reaching for that $10 flashlight and it not working when I need it.

      1. Is this ever true!

        I have been buying how many flashlight in the past, hummm…
        and still stuck to use a lighter to go through and see where i’m going because the flashlight didn’t work at the time I needed to! Until the big day, I started buying GOOD flaslights… My first good one was a Streamlight, stinger, now just bought not to long ago a Streamlight, scorpion which outputs 120 Lumens which is very good for everyday flashlight! and there I just bought the Fenix TK40!!! and can’t wait to get this bad boy through the mail!

        in 10 years from now I will have bought maybe..3-5 good flashlights at 50-100$ each you might be on your 40th … store weekly specials! Wake up!!!

        stop buying china crap, start buying our good shit!!!

    2. OK,
      Take a breath.
      It’s a flashlight.
      You can get 6 decent flashlights for normal everyday use for the same cost. Stop trying to make this a status symbol.
      6 flashlights offer a BUNCH/LOAD of backup options for the same cost.
      Exactly why do you need such a high end light? Just because? Search and Rescue? Lot’s of power outages?
      Having one in good working order is more important than cost. Seriously, do a reality check.

  72. What about these solar flashlights from SunNight Solar. They are 39$ and that sends one light to a developing country. I bought one two years ago and it works great for dog walks. Stays charged pretty well sitting near a window with mostly indirect sunlight.


  73. These ledtorches are expensive and give only a decent amount of lumen.

    What happen to the SSC P7 that give about 900 lumen of light?
    (at half the price)

      1. I am with Frank totally. Surefire equals twice the price with only mediocore bit of higher quality with less than half the burn time compared to the quality and burn time of high end overseas brands for less, in most cases, half the cost or thereabouts.

  74. Dear Cheryl,
    Thanks for taking a stand against Global Nerdism.
    Global Nerds believe a $73 flashlight is “inexpensive.”
    After all, when GNs need a light that can (fill in exceptional Global Nerd Situation 1.0 here) $73 is “inexpensive.”

    The rest of us believe as you do – less than $10 for a flashlight can be termed “inexpensive.”

    Fear not Cheryl. In a blindingly short time, $73 Flashlight model 1 will be selling for $9.99, having been obsoleted by $73 Flashlight model 2 which can (fill in exceptional Global Nerd Situation revision 2.0 here.)

    Global Nerds: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
    Jeff: It’s not it’s.
    The Rest Of Us: Stand firm for T.R.O.U !

    1. Post

      Where is this fabled $10 flashlight? I’ve bought some cheap flashlights in the past. They all eventually broke due to shoddy components. One $20 light by Princeton Tec did last, but the flashlights listed here are much brighter and longer lasting. It comes down to quality.

      1. I own a fenix pd-30 that I paid about $70 for. It is cpu controlled, can be submerged in water up to 20 feet for about 3 hours. while running I might add, and can light a street up for about a half mile. I think some people just don’t know what a light can do.

  75. Cheryl…perhaps a $10 light is inexpensive to you, but mind the fact that a $10 light won’t shoot a beam worth it’s cost. I mean, you can use it to read a label on a fuse box just fine, but if you were searching for something in the woods, or rummaging through your shed at night to find something, that light won’t help at all. $73 isn’t cheap, but in the line of lights that put out 225 lumens, it’s a very reasonable price. Look at bicycle specific lights and then you will notice a ridiculous price jump.

  76. Love your site, but you seem to aim your reviews at the very wealthy. $73 for a flashlight is not “inexpensive”. That would be ~$10. Unfortunately, green tech remains beyond the budgets of most of us. It would be nice if your reviews reflected that.

    1. target has one for 13 dollars named the river rock. i coudn’t find it online, but i’ve seen it in most of their stores, in fact i just went yesterday and saw it, and it’s an awesome flashlight. it uses one AA and has a beautiful focused beam of led light.

    2. For about $10 you can get a MiniMag (An excellent light for most people!) that will give a brightness of 6-8 for about half an hour. In a professional flashlight you’re going to pay $50-$300 and get ten times the light for ten times the time.

      Flashlight Price Light Duration
      Minimag $10 7.5 41 minutes
      Fenix tk11 $73 60.0 10 hours

      You can also pay $150 for the performance of a tk11, and that’s what is meant by “Low price”.

    3. Dear Cheryl,

      Look at the fenix eo1 15 dollars free shipping. One setting at about ten lumens ( I think.) One AAA batery. Use Lithium. Great rugged light nice output good enough for searching that shed or camping use. The run time will not equal those more expensive lights but the coste is “cheap”

      Second at the Battery Junction I bought a EZ 123 single cell light. You simply twist the head till it comes on to 20 lumens then continue twisting and it goes to its highest setting of 180 lumens. 35 dollars but you have to pay shipping and the cheapest is about six dollars and change. But this is a 52 dollar flashlight any where else. They are on sale now.

      And to the one who is puffed up with american pride and said it is a Chinese light well guess what. Some of the best made lights come from the Orient countries as well as some of the best steel and knives. So get over yourself and your pride and be honest to your self and compare apples to apples. I will take a fenix over a surefire anyday. None of the surefires can compare to the burn time of a fenix. And at twice the cost you can keep your sure fire and its overpriced junk. When they can compete in the real market and not just cause it has USA stamped on it I may take a look. For now they have not one light that can compete with the quality overseas brands.

    4. Check where the Sure fire G2 light is made. It is not 65 on amazon it is 39. For that price guess where they probably have it made at. Just a hunch but I bet you will not find USA stamped on it. Again the best lights may be made in the USA or not. But same quality for half the price for a Japan made light or China or Tiawan I will take any day. And also for twice the burn time of any surefire. Again over all best quality for price paid buy over seas but if you want to buy a USA light just because it has USA stamped on it then be my guest if you want half the quality for twice the price.

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