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.


NEBO Rebel Task Light

"This compact, rechargeable LED light can be operated handheld, as a headlamp, or attached to a metallic surface thanks to its magnetic base. It cranks out up to 600 lumens of brightness, and..." (via TheAwesomer)

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Reylight Lan v2 Titanium High CRI AA Flashlight

If you asked a flashlight enthusiast ten years ago what EDC lights would look like in 2018, chances are they couldn't have predicted the tiny pocket rockets pushing hundreds of lumens we have on our keychains today. Instead, high-end light designs took a more retro-futuristic approach, looking more like a bona fide lightsaber than a thumb drive. The ReyLight Lan Titanium flashlight is an excellent present-day example of the high design and features that old school “flashaholics” dreamed of, with a price point and availability that's much more accessible to the rest of the EDC crowd. It's based on the familiar and convenient AA form factor, taken to the next level with premium materials and components.

The ReyLight Lan doesn't aim to impress with its total lumen output alone. While it still hits a maximum 390 lumens with a 14500 battery, it has much more to offer to the discerning EDCer. For starters, it uses a 4000K Nichia 219C high CRI LED, which does a much better job at making the colors of your surroundings vivid and lifelike as if they were in sunlight as opposed to the harsh, cold, blue light that most LEDs put out. It also offers a super useful Moonlight mode at 0.2 lumens for preserving night vision and keeping discreet so you don't disturb others when you need a little extra light. Because the Lan can take both a standard AA battery and a lithium rechargeable 14500, its output and runtimes can vary. For more power, use a 14500 to get 390 lumens for 40 minutes on High with 20 days on Moonlight mode. An AA lasts a bit longer at the expense of total output, hitting a max of 110 lumens for 50 minutes and lasting 30 days on Moonlight.

You can find more enthusiast features in the body of the light itself. It's Ti-6Al-4V titanium through and through, down to the tritium-compatible, tailstanding rear click switch. You can also insert tritium vials around the bezel, giving you plenty of ways to customize the light and improve its visibility in a dark pocket or bag. Last but not least, a pocket clip makes it easy to carry and access for EDC. The Lan v2 is available now on Amazon at the link below. If you'd rather wait for mode memory and a bit higher output, check out the updated Lan v3 currently in the works as a fully funded Kickstarter project.

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Olight M2T Warrior Tactical Flashlight

When the Olight M2R Warrior last year, it ticked all the boxes as one of the most robust 18650 flashlights you can EDC. As good as it was, all its bells and whistles weren't for everyone. If you already had a tidy pile of batteries and chargers, or preferred a light with a proud tailswitch for use with gloves, then the M2R wasn't the light for you. So Olight went back to the drawing board and came back with the M2T, offering a different set of features from the flagship M2R. It's got plenty of what made the original great, with smart compromises to address the needs of more discerning EDCers at a lower cost.

The M2T comes in the same 5.12”-long, anodized aluminum form factor as the M2R, with a key change in its tailcap. Instead of the recessed electronic button that allowed magnetic charging on the M2R, the M2T comes with a 3-stage rubber tailswitch, giving access to momentary and full activation of its 1200-lumen Turbo, as well as strobe when depressed and held. The switch makes it easier to activate the light in an underhand grip and while gloved, while maintaining a compact length that makes it one of the shortest tailswitch lights on the market using 18650 batteries.

Olight retains many features on the M2T from its flagship big brother. Use of the high-powered Cree XHP35 HD LED, the familiar side switch interface that controls its 7 modes, even the great two-way clip makes an appearance on the light. While it doesn't come with an 18650 battery (one of the ways it lowers its asking price), it includes a battery magazine that lets you use 2 x CR123A batteries as a power source. You also get a custom holster and lanyard as carry options, with an IPX8 rating that keeps the light tough regardless of how it's carried.

While at first glance the M2T seems like a light full of compromises, make no mistake: it takes its Warrior badge seriously and remains one heck of a light. It's an affordable option with thoughtful features to fit your EDC perfectly. Pick up the M2T from Amazon at the link below.

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Streamlight Stylus Pro COB

Streamlight have been a long-time EDC favorite with a solid stable of affordable, hardworking flashlights. But that doesn't mean they're not able to move with the times. Based on the popular Streamlight Stylus Pro, the new Stylus Pro COB is designed for real work with features to help light the way while you're getting your hands dirty. It's a light that keeps up with the needs and wants of the modern flashlight enthusiast, but stays true to the company's core of great flashlights that everyone can get their hands on.

While designed to look and carry like a penlight, the Stylus Pro COB takes on a different design with the COB (chips on board) array its name designates. This design lines up multiple LEDs to act as floody area illumination instead of the usual single emitter that outputs a single beam. When combined with the Stylus Pro COB's gasket-sealed polycarbonate lens window, the light outputs a diffused, floody beam to the tune of 160 lumens for up to 3 hours, ideal for lighting up a workspace for extended projects or tasks. You also get a 40-lumen mode good for 8.5 hours, as well as an emergency flash mode that runs for 7.

While most of Streamlight's lights have simple features to remain efficient, the Stylus Pro COB packs a few modern conveniences up its narrow sleeves. This includes a USB-rechargeable li-ion battery, tail switch with built-in battery indicator, and an integrated tail magnet so you can position the light as needed. With its slim frame, that means the light can find its way into and illuminate tight spaces while still maintaining a pocketable profile. And thanks to its removable pocket clip, EDCing the Stylus Pro COB is as simple and efficient as its performance. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

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Klarus Mini One Ti

When deep diving into the world of flashlights, it's easy to get blinded by the power of pocket rockets. But being EDCers, it also pays to have a compact light you can rely on that's always within reach. That said, thanks to modern tech, a small light doesn't have to translate into a poor performer. It's certainly the case with Klarus's Mini One Ti. At barely the size of a finger it seems too small to be useful as an everyday light, but its disappear-in-your-pocket dimensions is where it's just getting started.

The Mini One Ti comes with a 10180 battery, an onboard-rechargeable lithium-ion cell that, while uncommon, brings great capacity and voltage to power a light even this small. When paired with its XP-G3 LED and TIR optics it's able to output a floody, useful 130 lumens on High for 24 minutes or 8 lumens on Low for over 5 hours—not the output you would expect from a light smaller than its AAA peers of yesteryear. Output levels are controlled via a 3-stage twisty interface, opening on Low then ending on High. It's simple and effective, and one you can navigate one-handed while the Mini One is hanging off a keychain or belt loop.

And easily hanging off your clothing or pack is something the Mini One does best. At only 1.73” long and weighing a scant 0.56oz thanks to its lightweight titanium construction, it's a great choice as a main or secondary backup light. It takes up next to no space so it won't get in your way, and still has enough juice for when you need a light the most. Add one to your EDC by heading over to Amazon at the link below.

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Manker Timeback II Flashlight

If you're looking for a compact pocketable EDC flashlight that stands out from the rest, the Manker Timeback II is for you. The premium materials used in its design give the Timeback II a distinctive and stunning appearance. And while it does come with a bit of frivolity, the Timeback II is a powerful working light that can stand up to any challenge you face with it in hand.

The Manker Timeback II is fashioned out of precision CNC-machined TC4 titanium and copper. That mix of materials gives it a unique dual-tone look, and you can pick between the different polishes and stonewash finishes to suit your style. The design is also rugged, letting you carry it in confidence even in the worst conditions. The light is rated to survive a hard one-meter drop and it also sports IPX8 water resistance.

With its array of four Cree XPG3 LEDs, the Timeback II is a powerful light. It can put out a maximum 2200 lumens out the front and throw an even, 6500K daylight-balanced light out to 508 feet. Its rear tailswitch lets you change between 8 output modes to fit your situation as well. Its single 18350/16340 battery lasts for around 8-30 minutes on the more powerful tactical output settings, but it'll last you up to 300 hours when brought all the way down to its 'moonlight' one-lumen economy mode.

At just 3.7" long, the Timeback II fits perfectly in hand. The integrated spinner set into the body gives it extra texture to help with grip, as well as give your fingers something to do while idle. Its a fun feature that gives gives this special EDC flashlight a unique character. Give it a try and make it a part of your own everyday carry at the link below.

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MecArmy X7S Flashlighter

If someone ever asks you if you've got a light, as an EDCer your first reaction might be to reach for your flashlight. But a proper lighter as a source of fire is also a useful tool for everyday carry, even if you don't smoke. Whether you carry one for your daily habits or emergency situations, a dedicated lighter can still take up precious pocket space. That's why the MecArmy X7S is a bright idea: it's a modular pocket tool that combines a lighter, a flashlight, and a storage capsule that stays compact and consolidated.

The MecArmy X7S is a combination LED flashlight, lighter, and dry storage container. The light itself features a 130 lumen CREE XP-G2 LED that can throw light out to around 193 feet. Easy one-handed twist activation turns the light on and controls its output from an 8-lumen Low mode to its highest setting. The integrated 10180 li-ion battery lasts six hours on the Low setting and conveniently recharges via micro-USB.

The X7S lighter resembles a trusty peanut lighter, designed for use with liquid fuel and measures in at a mere 2” long with the cap attached. The storage area is just big enough for pills or a spare battery. And because the body is made out of precision CNCed 304 stainless steel featuring IPX8 water resistance, you can feel confident that it can withstand the elements.

The best part about the X7S is that it features a modular design that lets you assemble it into the configuration that best suits your needs. You can screw together all of the components to create a tool that can fit in the palm of your hand. Or, you can even keep everything separate and carry each module independently. Pick one up at the link below.

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Deal Alert: 2x Anker LC40 Flashlights for $16

If you're looking to add an EDC flashlight to your daily ensemble or if you're looking for a couple of spares to have handy, we've got a deal for you. For a limited time you can save 30% on a pair of Anker LC40 flashlights from Amazon, bringing the price down to just $16 total. That's less than 10 bucks each for a 400-lumen CREE LED in a full-sized, 18650 compatible aluminum body.

The LC40 sports a CREE LED module that can put out 400 lumens when powered by an 18650 battery. On its Max setting it can push that light out to 600 feet and yet it's small enough to fit comfortably in your hand and in your pockets at just 5.2” long. Along with a high-output mode, the light features low and strobe modes that you can select via the rear tailswitch.

It's designed for use with a single 18650 battery for higher brightness and runtime, but it also comes with an adapter cradle to take 3 AAA batteries. That's especially useful in an emergency flashlight role where AAA batteries are easy to come across. Not to mention the LC40 sports a flat tailcap so you can stand it up for hands-free light. And because it's rated IP65 weather-resistant, the LC40 can hold up to the elements.

At a 16 dollar price point, the Anker LC40 represents a solid everyday carry value — and getting a second light only sweetens the deal. This deal won't last, so go ahead and grab a pair of these lights for yourself at the link below.

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Prices and availability shown reflect deal pricing accurate at the time of publishing and may have changed since.

EagTac DX3B Mini

As the saying goes, “It's better to have and not need than to need and not have.” In the case of your flashlight, that usually applies to an absurdly bright Turbo mode that you might not use too often. And while a light as compact and as EDC-friendly as the new EagTac DX3B Mini might impress you with its 2480 lumen output alone, it's got plenty more practical features to make it a worthwhile addition to your kit.

Despite its compact size at just 3.2 inches long, the DX3B Mini reaches an impressive max output of 2480 LED lumens. That's partially due to how the relatively large size of its CREE XHP50.2 LED helps put out an immense amount of light, resulting in a wider hotspot with plenty of spill and a throw distance of about 165 yards. It's powered by an included rechargeable IMR18350 Li-ion battery. Topping it off is simple thanks to its 1A fast-charging micro-USB port built into the body of the flashlight itself, which is protected by a waterproof cover when not in use.

A handy, recessed side switch cycles between 5 brightness levels, ranging from its 2480 lumen max for 9 minutes of runtime down to a general purpose low mode of about 25 lumens for 20 hours. You can even program the side switch for instant-on to your preferred brightness setting.

As part of EagTac's EDC-focused D series, the DX3B Mini is built with all of the features you'd look for in a daily light in a durable, compact, design. Up front, its deep, stainless steel bezel protects the LED from drops and impact. HAIII anodized aluminum makes up the body, offering lighter weight and smoother threads. The DX3BM offers two useful carry options as well: a removable deep carry pocket clip and a paracord lanyard with quick-detaching hardware. Last but not least, its flat tailcap lets the light stand upright like a candle when you need hands-free light or in an emergency situation.

EagTac also offers the DX3BM in various LED types with options for cool white or neutral white beams. You can grab the brightest configuration for your EDC at the link below.

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Armytek Prime C1 Magnet USB

Any talk about rugged flashlights—truly rugged, field-ready lights—is bound to have Armytek as part of the discussion. This Canadian manufacturer has consistently put out EDC-worthy flashlights, from compact pocket rockets to rugged tactical searchlights. Their new Prime C1 takes their flagship 18350 light to the next level, amping up its power while adding the convenience of magnetic USB charging.

The Prime C1 USB now comes with 980 lumens of output on Turbo (there's also a cool white version that puts out 1050 lumens), with five additional modes for any lighting task. This includes a 0.4 Firefly mode for up to 60 days(!) of continuous runtime. This is due in part to its 18350 battery, which carries 900 mAh of capacity in its compact, 35mm size (it's a shorter 18650, hence the “35” designation). Pair this with the C1's TIR optics and you get a useful, floody beam useful for evenly lighting up an immediate area. It can even do some decent throwing with a range of up to 165 meters. Its side switch should be a familiar interface, and its tail houses its magnetic charging compatible with tech you may already have in your EDC, like a power bank or wall plug.

And of course, investing in an Armytek light means investing in their signature fit and finish. The C1 comes built with the water (up to 10 meters of submersion), dirt, and dust protection standard as with the rest of the Armytek lineup. You also get plenty of options for carrying and using the C1, thanks to its ability to tailstand and included holster and removable clip.

If you've been looking for an excuse to buy into an ultra-rugged and/or rechargeable flashlight, now's your chance to do both. You can pick up the C1 USB from Amazon at the link below.

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Olight ION

Keychain flashlights are one of the best ways to EDC a light, but their size often limits what they can do. It's hard to fit the features and ease of use you get from a traditional light when it has to fit on your keys. The Olight ION is different, packing twin LED power, unique and easy to use controls, and premium materials in a slim and compact body.

The ION is a compact LED flashlight that has an attractive titanium alloy frame. And at around 2.25 inches long and weighing only 1.13 ounces, it won't add unnecessary bulk to your carry. Unlike other lights, theres no complicated twist activation or button presses to turn on the ION. A simple on-off switch on the side controls the dual CREE XP-G3 emitters at the front. Those two LEDs work with the TIR reflectors to give you a large hotspot that’s especially useful for illuminating wide areas.

The best part about this light is how easy it is to control output. There's a touch-sensitive panel at the top that lets you set the light to your desired brightness. There are four stepped levels to choose from, ranging from an economic one lumen to a max of 320 lumens out the front. The controls are also covered in Corning Gorilla Glass for protection against the daily bumps and scrapes they'll encounter while attached to your keys.

At its max 320 lumen setting, the internal Li-Po battery will last you 27 minutes of run time. Dial that all the way down to the one-lumen setting and runtime increases to a full 90 hours of use. But wherever you are on that range, you can easily recharge the ION because it is micro-USB compatible.

With the Olight ION, you get a special light for your EDC that's a step above. Elevate your keychain light carry and pick one up for yourself at the link below.

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MecArmy FL10 Carabiner Flashlight

If you've ever tried to put together your own EDC, you'll know how easy it is for all that gear to add up quickly. Covering your bases without having a ton of tools weighing you down is a tricky balancing act, and the key is to consolidate where you can. One way to offload your gear is with multi-purpose tools, like the MecArmy FL10. It's one of the few ways to carry your keys, a few tools, and a flashlight all in one thanks to its unique titanium carabiner design.

Its TC4 titanium build gives the FL10 ideal properties for an EDC carabiner as it's light, strong, corrosion-resistant, and springy. It has a large jaw and a wire swing gate that can accommodate your keychain and attach to your belt loop or bag. A cut-out in the body lets you carry it on a lanyard if you prefer. And the frame itself acts as a multi-tool that includes a pry bar, box opener, and a bottle opener. It's also beefy enough to have enough heft for use as a self-defense tool if it comes down to it. It's built tough, but keep in mind you shouldn't use it for actual climbing because it's not rated to do that.

Out of all the its features, the centerpiece of the FL10 is the 360 lumen CREE XP-G2 LED flashlight built into the frame. Despite its size it can throw that light out to a distance of about 209 feet. A button on the side of the frame controls modes and outputs. It has low, medium, and high, as well as a turbo and strobe mode. For added convenience, the light is micro-USB rechargeable.

With the MecArmy FL10 carabiner flashlight, you can free up space in your pockets. It helps you organize your everyday carry while letting you keep the essentials at hand. Pick one of your yourself and make it a part of your EDC at the link below.

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Olight S1 Mini Baton Rechargeable

Since the Olight S1 Baton's release in the past year, few lights have epitomized the size and features of an ideal EDC light. It had a great size and useful features, and has been a mainstay carry ever since. And while the S1's been joined by siblings such as the S Mini and S1R, there's been little reason to upgrade the S1 itself—until now. Olight recently launched the S1 Mini Baton, consolidating the Baton family features into one light while giving the it upgrades in all the right places. Packing convenience and and functionality, the S1 Mini Baton cements its place in EDCers pockets.

The best thing about the new S1 is it didn't try to change anything that wasn't broken. It's taken the S Mini's shorter and lighter form factor of 2.13” and 1.52 ounces, while improving on its power and features. Specifically, the new S1 comes with up to 600 lumens (50 more from the S Mini) and up to 15 days of runtime off its XM-L2 LED emitter, with a high CRI option to boot for fans of a more eye-pleasing tint. The magnetic tail that was missing from the S Mini is back as well, giving the S1 Baton more versatility, in addition to a new two-way clip and a braided knurling pattern that makes it easier than ever to carry and use.

On top of it all, the S1 Mini comes with a new 650mAh battery with a built-in micro USB charging port, making the light even more convenient and useful and playing well with the rest of your tech. IPX8-rated ruggedness rounds out the light's features, along with an included lanyard for more options for convenient carry.

The S1 Mini Baton takes a great light and makes it even better, improving on its features and not fixing what isn't broken. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

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Nitecore TINI

The great thing about flashlights is that you can get some serious performance without the bulk. Nitecore know this well, with their increasingly powerful keychain lights like the TUBE and the TIP. The new Nitecore TINI keychain light may be tiny, but its output and feature set couldn't be further from its name.

Remember when the TUBE could get the job done with 45 lumens yet still disappear on a keychain? The TINI outdoes its predecessor on all fronts, with 380 lumens at its disposal and weighing under half an ounce with its actually tiny metallic shell. Its Cree XP-G2 S3 LED puts out 4 modes controlled by 2 side switches on the body of the light. When paired with its beaded reflector, you get soft, uniform light suitable for illuminating a workspace or immediate area. For added convenience it's powered by a built-in, micro-USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery that reaches up to 60 hours of runtime.

While the TINI does sacrifice a bit of water resistance to integrate a built-in micro USB charger (meaning it can take some water splashes but don't go swimming with it), the light still comes with a respectable IP54 protection rating, meaning it won't have problems handling daily tasks. And with an included split ring slot and availability in 7 colors, it can be right at home in any EDC configuration and aesthetic.

Tiny in size, but not in performance—the TINI is here to play. Pick one up in your choice of color from the Amazon link below.

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Kel-Tec CL-42 and CL-43 Tactical Flashlights

When it comes to making tactical gear, Kel-Tec has decades of experience. Their innovative firearms designs have seen great success in the military, law enforcement, and civilian markets. But their recent efforts aren't only focused on delivering weapons platforms. With the CL-42 and CL-43, Kel-Tec has brought their design expertise to the EDC flashlight arena. Both of these tactical flashlights are compact and suitable for everyday carry, especially if you carry a firearm. But even if you don't, they're  rugged enough to stand up to the rough use in the field.

The Kel-Tec CL-42 is a low-profile tactical LED flashlight that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. At only 4.5” long it's big enough to give you a proper grip, but not so big that it becomes bulky in your pockets. It has a textured aluminum case that helps provide you that grip even in inclement conditions.

The light is simple to use: a full press turns the light on and off while a half press enables its momentary-on feature. Because of its heritage as a tactical light for use with a firearm, there isn't a confusing plethora of modes to shuffle through. It has a single 420 lumen output, and it throws its beam of light out 525 feet.

It takes two 123A batteries, and with them it is rated to put out its maximum output for an hour and 15 minutes. But unlike other LED flashlights, the CL-42 is designed to deal with prolonged power consumption gracefully. Instead of shutting off when it doesn't have enough power to run on max, it reduces its output gradually until there's nothing left to give. So after two hours and 20 minutes of use, the light is rated to put out 40 lumens. And because it's a weapon light, it's ready for hard use. The CL-42 is impact resistant up to one meter, and it's also water resistant to a depth of one meter.

The Kel-Tec CL-43 is another compact tactical EDC flashlight, but with a twist. It has an innovative design that lets you cradle it in your offhand while letting you maintain a firm grip a handgun in your primary hand. But even if you don't intend to use it that way, the unique shape lets you point at what you want to illuminate easily. You can easily hold it in one hand and click on the activation switch like a trigger to turn it on and off.

Like the CL-42, the CL-43 also has a momentary-on function. But unlike the CL-42, the CL-43 is able to hold one more 123A battery while being noticeably shorter than its cousin at only 3.75” long. The extra battery capacity allows it to run its 420 lumen single output far longer than the CL-42 at 3 hours and 35 minutes. Like with the other Kel-Tec light, the CL-43 slowly lowers its output once your exceed that max rating until all of the power stored is finally used up.

The low-profile and efficient design of these Kel-Tec lights make them a solid option to introduce to your own everyday carry, whether it's for daily use or emergency situations. Check them out in more detail at the link below.

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This is a sponsored post presented by Kel-Tec.

Reader's Choice: 5 Lights EDCers Want

Last week our team put together a list of flashlights that came out this past year that we'd love to get our hands on. After sharing our picks, we took to the comments and social media to see what you, the readers, were excited about too. In this guide we've listed the lights you've chosen, and we hope it gives you even more great flashlights to pick from as the year comes to a close.