Best Flashlights; Tactical & LED items reviewed by Everyday Carry

Best Flashlights for Everyday Carry

Carrying a LED flashlight as part of your everyday carry is a bright idea—and we don't mean the one on the back of your smartphone.  While the LED on your phone can work in a pinch, a dedicated EDC flashlight is a more reliable option. Even if you think you might not use one, the reality is that it gets dark every night. So to be prepared, whether it's in a blackout, scanning the floor for something you dropped, or taking a walk at night, you should invest in a small flashlight.

If you've never carried a flashlight before, we recommend starting small. Small flashlights are easier to carry in your pocket or even on your keychain without getting in the way. The top flashlights can still get impressively bright thanks to how advanced LEDs and batteries have become.

For emergencies or really hard use, you might want to look at tactical flashlights. They're built to perform in demanding military and law enforcement applications, so they'll be powerful and durable enough for your everyday uses.

Different Types of Flashlights for Everyday Carry

To While we mentioned small keychain flashlights and tactical flashlights, you'll notice there are plenty of ways flashlights can differ. Not all lights are long, bulky cylinders. The easiest way to narrow down a flashlight is by what battery it uses: think AAA, AA, or CR123 to start. Smaller batteries generally mean smaller and more compact flashlights with less runtime and brightness. Bigger, more powerful flashlights require more batteries, and mean a bulkier light overall. To learn more about which type of flashlight is right for you, check out this brief explainer on batteries. Then, check out our buying guides for the best cheap flashlights, and scroll down for even more options.


Olight H1R Nova

When you think of a headlamp, you probably picture something pretty cut and dry—a lamp you wear on your head. But with a sophisticated enough design, it can be much more than that. Olight's new H1R Nova is a solid example of this. It takes a proven design and puts a new angle on it, offering more versatility as a powerful task light with plenty of carry options for up-close, hands-free work.

Two distinct features set the H1R apart from traditional lights. Up front is its angled head, packing a Cree XM-L2 emitter that can push out up to 600 lumens. Paired with a TIR bead lens, it gives off a floody beam useful for area illumination. With the included clip and magnetic tail, the H1R also won't get stuck with permanent forehead duty—now you have options for clipping it onto a pocket or bag, or mounting it onto surfaces for better lighting angles.

And then there's the H1R's charging cable. With the same width as the light itself, it's a compact way to keep its RCR123A battery charged, so you don't have to lug a bulky charger around everywhere to top up. A magnetic connection also keeps the light and cable safe from accidental tugs or yanks that could damage either.

Olight's H1R Nova gives you an everyday light that's more than a hunk of metal sticking out from your forehead. Pick one up in the tint of your choice from the Amazon link below.

Buy on Amazon

Refyne P1 Modular Pen and Flashlight

You might think you don't need a pen or a flashlight in your EDC as much as you do your phone or wallet. But in those crucial times you do, they're absolutely essential. Finding a way to carry both a pen and a light that's actually convenient goes a long way to make sure you get the most use out of them. And that's exactly what Refyne set out to do with the P1 modular pen. It puts a pen and flashlight together in one tough, titanium package so you don't have to worry about making room for two separate tools.

The P1's true advantage is that it's actually two tools that seamlessly fit together. Thanks to a magnetic twist lock, the flashlight module latches onto the pen, combining into a compact length of 4.65”. You can use the pen module's bolt action to engage its Lamy M22 rollerball refill, while twisting the flashlight's head lets you access its two modes for up to 130 lumens of output thanks to a Cree XP-G2 emitter.

The flashlight module is also quite the capable tool on its own. You can charge its 10180 battery directly through a micro USB port built right into the module's threads, with an LED letting you know when it's full. A magnetic tail lets you attach it to surfaces for hands-free operation, and an optional quick-release tailcap makes the module keychain-ready, comfortably sitting in your pocket at 1.95”.

Whether separately or as one, the Refyne P1 adds up to a tool that rounds out your EDC in style. There's plenty of time to pledge for a P1 in your choice of finish and add-ons at the Kickstarter link below.

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Fenix FD30 Adjustable Focus Flashlight

You would usually have two types of flashlights to get the job done. A floodlight with a wide, even beam for up close work, and a spotlight to light things up at a distance. While both are useful, that may be one light too many to cram into your pockets. That's where a focusing flashlight like Fenix's FD30 comes in. It combines both types into a single flashlight, giving you the right beam for the task with just a twist.

Powered by either a single 18650 battery or 2 CR123As, the FD30 outputs up to 900 lumens for 2 hours thanks to its Cree XP-L HI LED. You have 5 brightness levels at your disposal using a combination of its tactical tail switch and side mode selector. When switching between its floodlight and spotlight functions, that's  a total of 10 functional modes. By twisting the FD30's focusing ring, its head and reflector move forward and back, giving you between 7 and 76 variable degrees to best fit your activity.

And we're talking any activity, too: the FD30 comes in aircraft-grade aluminum protected with a type III, hard-anodized, anti-abrasive finish. Pair that with an IP68 water-and dust-proof rating and you've got yourself an EDC light ready to take on any task both indoors and outdoors. Carrying it as your main light  is no problem, either, thanks to an included clip, lanyard, and holster.

Always have the right light for the job with the Fenix FD30. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

Buy on Amazon

Nitecore R40 Inductive Charging Searchlight

These days, almost every EDC flashlight can pack a huge punch in a small package. But here's the thing—they tend to run out of juice in a hurry. Even though most use rechargeable batteries, dealing with chargers and cables can get messy. Thankfully, recharging the Nitecore R40 is as simple as it gets thanks to its wireless charging dock. And that's if you need a charge in the first place, as this 1000-lumen searchlight's got a proprietary, high-capacity battery powering it.

Nitecore calls the R40 a searchlight, and at 1000 lumens of power and 520 meters of throw, it performs at the level of larger lights despite its sub-6" size. Even with all that power, the R40's rated to last up to 1000 hours of use at its lowest brightness setting.

After all that runtime, you've got plenty of options to recharge the R40. At home base, you can use the R40's unique wireless induction system that works with a stand that you can place on a table or mount on a wall. When you're on the go, you can plug the flashlight into any USB power source to charge it as well. And you won't have to worry about leaving it on the charger too long thanks to its built-in overcharge protection circuitry.

With all these features, you'll want to take the R40 with you everywhere. Thanks to its IPX-8 weather-sealing, you can pretty much do just that. The Nitecore R40 searchlight is a handheld powerhouse that's as versatile to charge as it is to use every day. Grab the full kit at the link below.

Buy on Amazon

Fenix UC02SS Rechargeable Mini Keychain Light

The best light is the one you have with you. Size, convenience, and handy features sometimes beat even the best flashlight specs on paper. Fenix's new UC02SS not only fits the bill as a handy pocket flashlight, but one with features in its tiny frame that make it a surprisingly capable EDC light.

The UC02SS can produce up to 130 lumens of light with a simple twist of its head. Considering its 1.7” size, it puts a lot of its bigger brothers to shame. And just because it's small doesn't mean the light isn't tough enough for everyday use: stainless steel construction gives it a hardy shell, and IP68-rated water- and dustproofing means it's ready for every activity both indoors and out.

The UC02SS can ride neatly on your keychain, but it also comes with a lanyard should you want additional options for carry—and why not, since it's got the look for a sleek pendant. While it does use an uncommon 10180 Li-ion cell, the fact that it's shorter than even a AAA battery plays a big role in achieving such a compact form factor. The best part: you can easily recharge the 10180 battery it comes with thanks to its micro USB charging port, powering it up with an external battery pack or laptop so it's always ready to go.

Add some power to your pocket and never get caught in the dark—you can pick up the Fenix UC02SS in blue or yellow from the Amazon link below. For more color options in a lighter weight aluminum finish and a lower price, check out the standard Fenix UC02 model too.

Buy on Amazon

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern

"It’s tiny but it’s also very, very bright. The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern is a smaller but still full-featured lantern features four internal LEDs that output up to a combined 150 lumens, running four 7 hours on its highest setting and up to 170 hours on the lowest. Top up its rechargeable battery thanks to a pop-out USB plug — no cables necessary. It’s also got a four-step battery indicator, a flashlight mode that still puts out a respectable 120 lumens, and..." (via GearHungry)

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Nitecore P05 Flashlight

You'd think a single button would be the easiest way to turn on a flashlight. But the thing is, if you need a specific brightness, tapping through different modes can leave you in the dark longer than needed. This is where the pair of instant access switches on Nitecore's new P05 flashlight come in. You have all its power at your disposal with a single touch or click, giving you the light that you need the second you need it.

The P05 is operated completely with the two mode switches on its tail. Individually, the switches give momentary access to both your selected level (of up to 460 lumens) and strobe. When turned on, you can use the dedicated strobe switch to cycle through the P05's three levels. The power switch itself even doubles as a battery level indicator, blinking to notify you of the remaining battery level.

Speaking of batteries, the P05 uses a single CR123A or RCR123A battery, keeping the light compact. And at under 4” and weighing only 2.13 ounces, it's small enough to be easily kept in a pocket for everyday carry. Clipping it on the outside of your gear is a good option too, thanks to the P05's IPX8-rated waterproofing and HAIII hard-anodized aluminum body.

Sometimes, two heads—or switches, in this case—are better than one. Pick up the Nitecore P05 from Amazon at the link below.

Buy on Amazon

Giveaway: SureFire P2X Fury Intellibeam

Update: Congrats to Dane G, winner of this week's giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for more giveaways here on EverydayCarry.com.

A flashlight is one of the best things you can add to your everyday carry, and we've got just the thing to add some power to your pocket. The best part? We're giving it away for free! This week, we're giving one lucky reader an intelligent tactical flashlight, brought to you by our sponsor, SureFire. You know the name. They've been making some of the hardest-use flashlights and tactical equipment for nearly 40 years, gear designed for the harshest conditions and professions.

Prometheus Beta-QR Flashlight

When deciding on a new EDC light, it's important to think about how it'll fit your everyday carry. You might find an amazingly powerful, multi-battery flashlight and think, “Wait… How am I supposed to carry something like that?” All that power might be overkill for your needs anyway, and it comes at the cost of bulk and weight. That’s not the case with the Prometheus Beta-QR. It hits the sweet spot for keychain lights, with just the right mix of size, accessibility, and ease of use.

Despite it being small enough to keep on your keychain, the Beta-QR packs in an impressive amount of features, including in its physical construction. It comes equipped with a patent-pending quick release mechanism that's strong enough to keep the light attached to your keychain, but easy enough to release for quick access. You can swap out the quick release hardware for an optional titanium pocket clip too, should you want to keep your key setup minimal.

The light's precision-machined body features a unique ribbed pattern for improved grip. Inside the head, there’s a color-accurate Nichia 219 LED that has three brightness modes: a 1 lumen firefly mode, a 15 lumen low mode, and an 85 lumen high mode. Operating the light is super simple: it takes a single AAA battery and turns on and off by twisting the head.

Upgrade your keychain light with one of the best all-around EDC lights out there. Check it out at the link below.

Buy on Amazon

Gifts For Men - Your Buying Guide to Everyday Carry

If you’re like us, finding the right gear to EDC for ourselves is hard enough. Trying to find a gift for another like-minded EDCer can be daunting, if not utterly exhausting. How do you pick something they’ll appreciate, actually use, and be proud to carry? Our Everyday Carry gift guide should help.


Timeless Gifts That Are Always In Style

Not every EDC setup has to scream “tactical" to be effective. This two-part Carry Smarter guide focuses on two interpretations of the other end of the EDC spectrum — the “classy” carry. In this half, we’ll cover timeless, everyday gear made from classic materials like leather and brass that will patina and age as you carry them




Dapper Gear For the Gents and Professionals In Your Life

We’ve touched on why you may want to go the less-tactical route when assembling your EDC in part one of our Carry Smarter guide to classier ways to carry. Here, we'll focus on a more traditional “gentleman’s carry” – a sophisticated set of essentials you’d find on the likes of James Bond or Selina Kyle at an upscale restaurant, on a night out on the town, or at an important business meeting.




8 Gadgets for Star Wars Fans

Whether you want to rep the Light Side with some all-white gear, or your allegiance lies with the Dark Side in an all-black everything setup, you’ll find capable gear to do it in a more subtle way in this guide. Which side will you choose?




The Best Battery Packs for the Techies

We’ve all been there. Trying to get as much use out of your phone only for it to inevitably die leaves you feeling as powerless as your battery. Although the technology in our gadgets is continuously improving, the batteries in them aren’t.




6 Tough Military Watches Under $100

These watches have rich historical appeal as they were made for and worn in the field by infantry, Special Forces, and WWII pilots. Nowadays, military style watches are popular amongst the EDC community for their features, legibility, durability, and aesthetic. In this guide, we’ll show you our recommendations for good looking, rugged watches that won’t break the bank.




10 Classically Cool Copper Watches

Like a good pair of leather boots, copper only gets better with time and use, developing a personalized patina that tells the story of your experiences. As one of the denser tool materials, it adds a nice heft to your gear, giving a solid feel when used. Copper's material properties allow better heat dissipation for tools like flashlights or electronics, keeping them cool and safe from damage while running. Needless to say, it's also one of the most beautiful and unique metals you can find on everyday items.

SureFire P2X Fury Intellibeam

When darkness falls, you'll want a light that's easy to use in any situation. And while modern flashlights give you a ton of options for controlling brightness, the last thing you want is to blind yourself from accidentally activating it on its max setting. SureFire's new P2X Fury automatically adjusts its brightness to your needs the moment you turn it on thanks to its unique Intellibeam technology, making it an excellent everyday light to have handy at a moment's notice.

The Intellibeam system takes the P2X's 15 to 600-lumen range and adjusts its output to match your environment. An intelligent sensor and microprocessor in the light continuously scopes out your surroundings, and with a single click of its tail switch delivers just the brightness you need. Thanks to this system, the P2X will never activate on full power when you're in close quarters, and even saves you time fiddling with the light's interface to get to a suitable brightness when in use.

Sometimes, however, you still need those 600 lumens at your immediate disposal. The P2X grants you quick access to full brightness with a quick double-click of its switch. Paired with its smooth reflector, you get a powerful beam with a bright hotspot and plenty of throw to light up your area. The light is also plenty rugged for all situations thanks to a high-strength aerospace aluminum body with mil-spec hard anodization and a weatherproofed interior sealed with O-rings and gaskets.

Time to get smart with your EDC light. Pick up the P2X Fury with Intellibeam tech direct from SureFire at the link below.

Buy

This is a sponsored post presented by SureFire.

Giveaway: SureFire EB1 Backup

Update: Congrats to Denise H, winner of this giveaway! Thanks to everyone who participated. This contest is now over.

A flashlight is one of the best things you can add to your everyday carry, and we've got just the thing to add some power to your pocket. The best part? We're giving it away for free! This week, we're giving one lucky reader a tactical EDC flashlight that could be just the backup you need when you get caught in the dark, brought to you by our sponsor SureFire. You know the name. They've been making some of the hardest-use flashlights and tactical equipment for nearly 40 years, gear designed for the harshest conditions and professions.

Sparkr & Sparkr mini

“Got a light?” It's one of those questions that as EDCers we might answer a little differently when asked. Whether it's a lighter or an actual flashlight you need, Power Practical's got your bases covered with their latest Kickstarter: the Sparkr and Sparkr mini. These useful tools combine an EDC flashlight with a windproof plasma lighter, making the usual firestarters, stormproof matches, and butane lighters look like a thing of the past.

On one end of the Sparkr is a 150-lumen flashlight with three brightness levels and a wide angle beam useful for illuminating your immediate surroundings. On the other end a plasma lighter creates an arc of electricity (like a car's spark plug) that makes it easy to ignite kindling or lighting up lamps without worrying about running out of butane or exerting yourself on creating sparks. This spark, powered by a USB-rechargeable li-ion battery, works in the wind and the wet, making the Sparkr ideal for your camping or hiking EDC. There's even a handy use for the plasma lighter's safety cap: simply fit it over the flashlight end and now you have a lantern thanks to the diffused beam.

The Sparkr mini takes the Sparkr's main functions and packs it into a case that fits right in your pocket. For light, it uses a 15-lumen beam, and its plasma lighter features a double beam for more power without taking up too much space. It's about the size as a standard Zippo, so it's a perfect replacement for two key items in your everyday carry.

Ready to light up? There's plenty of time to back both the Sparkr and Sparkr mini through the Kickstarter link below.

Check It Out

Kootek K1 Survival Flashlight

"Most flashlights have long tubes filled with batteries. You might expect the water resistant Kootek K1 Survival Flashlight, measuring at just a touch over 12-inches, to have batteries for days, but it’s instead hiding a 3.5-inch serrated survival knife on the back that you can bust out in an emergency or for self defense. It’s also got a window breaker and of course a flashlight, the latter based on a Cree T6 LED that outputs a blinding 800 lumens and..." (via GearHungry)

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10 Orange Everyday Carry Essentials for High Visibility

It's Halloween season again, and oddly enough, it's an appropriate time to rethink your EDC. You've got your knives and lighters for making jack-o-lanterns and flashlights to keep little ones safe on their neighborhood routes. Maybe you won't go so far as repurposing your go-bag into trick-or-treating candy storage (though I can't blame you: candy just tastes better when it's free), but there's good reason to get your EDC in the Halloween spirit with some new orange gear.

Now, you don’t have to use Halloween as an excuse to pocket orange gear. Adding that color to your carry has year-round benefits as well. Orange is typically used in the outdoors and zombie apocalypse survival situations for its strikingly high visibility. Compared to the usual black finishes, orange makes your gear easier to find whether you've dropped it in the woods or it's sitting at the darkest bottom corner of a loaded bag. We featured 13 other hi-vis tools last year, but we've updated the guide this time around with newer gear with the latest features.

Here are our picks for hi-vis orange gear to carry this year.

The Best Knife, Light, and Watch Carry for Every Situation

A knife, a light, and a watch. They're a means to cut things, to brighten up an area, and to tell the time. Sure, you could probably use your teeth, wait until daylight, and use the position of the sun to figure out what time it is, but having these dedicated tools make those tasks so much easier to perform.

They're the building blocks of an EDC, the first steps on the road to preparing yourself for everyday obstacles. They're also three of the biggest markets in everyday carry, with hundreds of knives, lights, and watches available for every price point and purpose.

So today we've put together some of our favorite knife/light/watch combinations to suit a variety of situations. We're hoping our picks can give you ideas on how to choose each so you can build a carry that works best for you.