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.


Nitecore MH12GT Rechargeable Flashlight

It's not every day you need to light up the length of 3 football fields, but wouldn't it be handy if you had that kind of throwing power in your pocket? With 1000 lumens throwing further than 1000 feet, Nitecore's latest rechargeable light makes short work of any task that demands serious coverage. And with its useful modes, high-capacity battery, and built-in charging, it's also quite the versatile light to add to your EDC.

The MH12GT achieves its impressive throw through a pairing of a Cree XP-L HI V3 LED with a specialized smooth reflector, giving the light its ~1050 feet (320 meters) of reach. Output levels are controlled via a dual-switch system, with its tail switch controlling constant and momentary activation and side switch navigating the light's 4 brightness and 3 special modes. From its 1-lumen Ultralow mode that lasts up to 520(!) hours all the way to its High of 1000 lumens and tactical strobe/SOS/beacon, the MH12GT gets the job done no matter the task. And with its slew of accessories including a high-capacity 18650 battery, included micro USB charging cable, holster, clip, and lanyard, carrying options are as versatile as the light itself.

Need a relatively compact light for giant lighting needs? Pick up the MH12GT from the Amazon link below.

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Manker E02 AAA Tasklight

At the end of the day, a flashlight is as simple as a battery, a metal tube, and a beam of light. But the devil's in the details, especially in a light you rely on for getting work done every day. With the E02, Manker has managed to distill some of the most useful features into a flashlight barely bigger than the AAA battery that powers it. It's an incredibly versatile light, in a size just right for EDC.

If you've never used headlamp flashlights before, then you may be unfamiliar with the L-shaped design. The shape ensures light is always facing forward whether attached to headgear or held in your hand. When put together with a reversible clip and magnetic tail, the E02 lends itself to wide range of carry and use options. Attached to your pack, hands-free under a desk, clipped to a hat—the possibilities are endless.

And those options come in handy considering the E02's outputs. Its cool white version using a Cree XP-G3 LED gives up to 220 lumens on a single AAA, while its Nichia 219C version—a rarity for AAA flashlights, especially at this price!—can do 180 lumens on Turbo. Both versions can also do 0.6 lumens for up to 84 hours besides its other modes. Being a compact flashlight thanks to its battery, you won't have problems carrying it everywhere. IPX8-rated toughness paired with its type-III anodized aluminum body lets the E02 light the way in even the harshest conditions.

There's plenty of bang for your buck with the E02, boasting full-sized flashlight features and usability at a fraction of the size and cost. Pick one up in the color and emitter of your choice from Amazon at the link below.

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Thyrm CellVault and SwitchBack Tactical Flashlight Accessories

In an emergency situation, few things are as essential as a flashlight. But to truly be prepared for the situation at hand, you'll need quick access to illumination, a solid grip on your light, and plenty of extra batteries nearby. In the dark, the last thing you'll want is to drop your light or have to rummage through your pack for fresh batteries. That's why Thyrm designed their products to give your flashlight setup that extra edge when it matters most. Their CellVault battery cases make it much easier to carry spare batteries and their SwitchBack flashlight rings grant fast, secure access to your EDC light. All of their products are made in the USA from premium high-impact plastics with some thoughtful design that will easily integrate into your EDC setup.

Thyrm’s CellVault and CellVault XL are cases specifically designed to carry a range of the most common battery types found in EDC lights. The standard version fits either four AAAs, two AAs, or three CR123s. The XL version can pack in 2 18650s, up to six CR123s, 8 AAAs, or 4 AAs. You can mix and match the battery types to accommodate different lights and gear you’re carrying. Inside the XL you’ll find a divider that keeps your batteries from knocking into each other. Both cases can attach to MOLLE straps on the outside of a bag for quicker access.

Despite the name, the CellVault is great for carrying small EDC items other than batteries. Since they’re waterproof, they make an ideal home for a small survival kit, lighter, matches, and anything else that you want to keep both dry and quick to grab. They’re available in a variety of colors commonly used on tactical bags and gear, so they’re sure to coordinate with the rest of your setup.

Thyrm's SwitchBack rings add a level of security to your flashlight grip. While they’re designed to improve your grip on a tactical flashlight while shooting, they have some everyday applications as well. You can attach the SwitchBack onto your flashlight (make sure to check the compatibility chart!) so it’s easier to hold onto. The high-impact plastic ring allows you to retrieve your light from a pocket or bag and activate it with with one hand. Since your finger goes through a ring, you can still hold the flashlight while using both hands.

All of Thyrm’s products are made in the USA from high quality materials that are designed to withstand military, law enforcement, and survival use. Pick up a CellVault or SwitchBack from Thyrm’s Amazon store via the link below.

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This is a sponsored post presented by Thyrm.

FourSevens Mini Turbo Mk II Combo

"Not much bigger than the CR123-sized RCR123A high discharge rate battery that comes with it, the everyday carry-suitable FourSevens Mini Turbo Mk II packs way more punch than many far larger flashlights. The integrated Cree XM-L2 emitter and included battery allow the flashlight to achieve an output of a staggering 1,020 lumens on its highest setting, and switches through high, medium, low, and..." (via GearHungry)

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The Best CR123A Flashlights of 2017

When you take a look at some of the most popular lights in the EDC scene, you'll notice one thing in common: the battery. With its smaller (though stouter) profile, the CR123A battery allows the lights it fuels to be compact enough for a comfortable pocket carry. But in spite of its proportions, this battery comes with a fair amount of power—enough voltage for outputs to measure in hundreds of lumens and enough capacity for flashlight modes to last days and even weeks. Simply put, it's a great middle ground of size and performance. In this guide, we've put together 10 of the best single CR123A battery LED flashlights for your EDC below.

Nitecore Concept 1

There's a reason some of the best flashlights you can EDC use an 18650 battery. Simply put, it pushes the limits of sheer power and runtime for its size. But even with such high performance, few lights that use one truly stand out—until now. Nitecore's latest and greatest 18650 flashlight, the Concept 1, is here to shake things up. It combines cutting edge flashlight tech with a sleek “gent's carry” design to bring you one of the most compact and powerful lights for EDC.

Modern LEDs have a knack for exponentially pushing the envelope, and the Concept 1's isn't any different. It uses one of the latest emitters from Cree—the XHP35 HD E2—which when combined with either an 18650 or 2 x CR123A batteries, can output an insane 1800 lumens up to 220 meters. Pretty good for an 18650 light measuring only 4.39” and weighing only 2.18 ounces, one of the smallest lights of its type. It saves space by moving its switch to its side, letting you control its 5 brightness levels and 3 special modes with a few simple taps.

The Concept 1 comes in a dual-textured design that's sleek as it slips and clips into your pocket but knurled on the tail for a better grip while in use. This minimalist look belies a tough construction that can resist impacts up to 1.5 meters and water submersion up to 2 meters thanks to its IPX8 rating. The Concept 1 also takes advantage of its size for excellent everyday use, thanks to its stainless steel clip and magnetic tailcap, giving you illumination as needed whether in your hands or lighting the way hands-free.

Nitecore continues to blaze trails with interesting and powerful lights, marrying tech and carry-friendly features in the Concept 1. Pick up this 18650 powerhouse from the Amazon link below.

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Shinola + Surefire Flashlight

"An EDC torch that’ll likely last as long as you do, the Shinola + Surefire Flashlight is a collaboration between two American brands both renowned for quality. Shinola’s contribution includes the overall branding, with their logo and thunderbolt on either side and a distinctive orange high-polish bezel in Shinola’s signature orange. Surefire’s P2X Fury beneath this new hard anodized shell takes care of the rest, outputting a peak of..." (via GearHungry)

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The Best AAA Flashlights of 2017

If the one thing stopping you from carrying a flashlight every day is the idea that they're just too bulky, think again. You've got keychain flashlights as handy backups and AA lights as powerful primary options, but even those have their drawbacks.

Then there's the AAA flashlight somewhere in between at the sweetspot of size and convenience. It's one of the most compact styles of flashlight to carry, so it'll fit right into your lightweight or minimalist EDC. And best of all, modern AAA lights are plenty powerful for their size, with some pushing past 100 lumens.

Whether you value barely-there portability or no-fuss simplicity in your light, an AAA flashlight is for you. In this guide, we've put together 10 of the best single AAA battery LED flashlights for your EDC below.

ThruNite Neutron 2C 2017

Versatility is key when it comes to an everyday light. A light able to adapt to your daily needs is worth carrying all the time. And it's with versatility in mind that ThruNite updates the Neutron 2C to an EDC-worthy light in 2017. With its power, variable brightness, and battery and charging options, the 2C has all the tools to get any lighting job done.

The first of the 2C's updates is its emitter. An XP-L V6 LED gives you up to 1100 lumens on its Turbo setting for up to 2.2 hours, or up to 49 days on its 0.5-lumen Firefly setting. But the 2C's secret weapon is in its two “Infinity” modes. While the light is on, long-pressing its side switch cycles through infinitely variable brightness levels between 650 and 12 lumens, giving you exactly the light you need for your tasks. Pair this with easy access to its Firefly, Turbo, and Strobe modes and you've got quite the capable light.

You have plenty of options to carry the 2C with its included deep-carry pocket clip, holster, and lanyard, and a smaller footprint compared to its previous versions makes it even easier to EDC. A built-in micro USB charging port also lets you easily top up the 18650 3400mAh battery the package comes with. No outlet nearby? Don't fret—the 2C is also compatible with 2 x CR123A or up to  2 x 16340 batteries so you have plenty of options if you're stocked up on those instead.

ThruNite's Neutron 2C is no one-trick pony. Add one to your EDC by clicking on the Amazon link below.

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Olight S10R Baton III

You know a manufacturer's onto something when they're three generations into a product, making nothing but improvements every time. The S10R is Olight's flagship rechargable flashlight, and its third iteration gives you more power, more features, and faster charging in a smaller footprint. It cements the S10R as one of the best flashlights for everyday carry, giving you a great balance of power and size.

Like its predecessors, the S10R Baton III is powered by a custom rechargeable 650mAh RCR123A battery. This is paired with a new Luminus SST-40 LED that can output up to 600 lumens, a 100-lumen improvement from the S10R Baton II. This capacity also lets the S10R run for up to 15 days on its 0.5-lumen mode. You can change modes with Olight's signature low-profile side switch, a perfect match with its 2.7” length, 6% shorter from the previous Baton. Also new is a timer function that lets you adjust the S10R's output for 3- or 9-minute bursts.

A new USB desktop charger comes with the Baton III, the fastest charging dock for Olight's S series. The light is also compatible with previous portable magnetic charging cables (MCC), handy if you have one from older models. Finally, the Baton III comes with an improved lanyard with perforating tool to pair with its clip and magnetic tail, giving you tons of options for both use and carry.

Compact, rechargeable flashlights don't get any better than this. Pick up Olight's latest and greatest Baton from Amazon at the link below.

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Nitecore TIP 2017

In the beginning, there was the Nitecore Tube, and keychain flashlight fans rejoiced, for it was robust, powerful, and convenient. And then there was the TIP, which brought with it even more power and metallic construction. But this year, Nitecore took the TIP to even greater heights. With a new multifunction clip and an eye-pleasing emitter, the TIP 2017 CRI is more useful than ever, carries even easier, and continues to be a flashlight perfect for everyday carry.

The TIP 2017's pocket clip is its most notable and welcome improvement. It's designed to latch on to the TIP not only to give you carry options (like clipping the tip onto a hat for hands-free use), but to also protect its micro USB charging port and buttons to prevent accidental activation. The 2017 model still offers a Nichia 219B for its LED, an eye-pleasing emitter that approximates natural sunlight for more accurate color.

Two new intelligent modes make the TIP even more tailored to your needs. A Daily mode automatically turns off the light after 30 seconds without operation, and a Constant-on mode provides continuous illumination for longer tasks. These modes complement the TIP's four normal brightness levels of up to 240 lumens on Turbo and 46 hours of runtime on 1-lumen Low. And as with its previous models, IP54-rated metallic construction and USB charging round out it's set of features.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but Nitecore managed to add some excellent new features to an already-impressive keychain light. Pick one up in your choice of color from Amazon at the link below.

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Nitecore SRT7GT

If you've never heard of a magnetic ring interface on a flashlight before, we don't blame you. Despite its efficiency and ease of use, few lights have ever used it. So it's a good thing Nitecore—one of the few manufacturers of magnetic ring interfaces—have decided to refresh their SmartRing Tactical line, starting with the new SRT7GT. It puts together the best features of its predecessors, making its magnetic ring interface the cherry on top of a very capable flashlight.

Its specs are what you would expect from a modern 18650 flashlight. It pushes out 1000 lumens from its XM-L2 LED on Turbo, has a rugged, IPX8-rated, anodized aluminum body, and comes with a two-way clip and lanyard hole for ease of everyday carry. But its real power lies in the interface. Instead of having to click your way to get to the exact mode or brightness you need, you can pre-select the SRT7GT's output before turning the light on with its tail switch. Which is convenient, given that it comes with 10 modes from variable brightness to colored LEDs for every tactical or outdoor purpose.

Need to preserve your night vision? A red LED has you covered. Doing some CSI work? The SRT7GT comes with a UV light mode. Need some self-defense modes like a police beacon (flashing red/blue LEDs) or tactical strobe? Yep, those are available, too. Whether you need an EDC flashlight that can do it all or on duty with specific needs, the SRT7GT has a mode for you, ready to go with a twist of its ring

If you've never tried a magnetic ring interface before, be careful—after using the Nitecore SRT7GT, you may not want to use anything else. Pick one up at the Amazon link below.

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The 12 Best USB Rechargeable Flashlights

Nothing beats the convenience and ease of use you get from a USB rechargeable flashlight. Gone are the cumbersome and bulky specialty chargers and battery cradles. Instead, these flashlights get their juice from a USB power port and cable. This lets you keep your flashlight charged even when you're on the go. No outlet? No problem — charge your light off your laptop or an external battery pack.

The best part is that these lights don't skimp on  performance. They come in all the familiar shapes, sizes, and power outputs that you'd expect from a proper EDC light. There's a lot of them out there though, and finding the perfect one for your everyday carry can be daunting. We've put together this list of our favorites to make the choice easier for you.

Foursevens Mini Mk II

Sometimes you find the most impressive things in the most unassuming packages. Taking one look at the Foursevens Mini Mk II, you see a standard, compact flashlight. Pretty normal, until you realize that the light hides impressive technology and performance under its knurled exterior. The Mini Mk II squeezes a ton of functionality out of a single CR123A battery. And with a pocket-friendly size, it's a great addition to any everyday carry.

2.17 inches at 0.62 ounces. That's all the space the Foursevens Mini Mk II takes up. And it doesn't waste any of that space, either—from tip to tail, the light makes full use of its form factor. In its head lies a Cree XM-L2 LED paired with TIR optics, giving you a useful floody beam with 550 lumens on High. You can even configure its 8 outputs to choose which of them get activated while traversing its twisty interface, including strobe/beacon modes and a 0.8-lumen moonlight mode that lasts up to 19(!) days.

The Mini Mk II's aggressively knurled body comes with IPX8-rated water resistance, allowing you to submerge the light if needed (or survive an unfortunate fall into water). Its flat tail lets you use the light as a candle, and also comes with a groove to accommodate either a 2-way clip or a keyring attachment. These let you carry the light either in your pocket or clipped onto a hat, sitting alongside the rest of your keys, or attached to a bag.

However you choose to EDC it, the Foursevens Mini MK II will surprise you with its functionality at every turn.

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Lantern Platinum+ Multifunctional Light

"The age of the incandescent flashlight is over. No regrets, either, considering flashlights like the Lantern Platinum+ Multifunctional Light do much more than just light the way. Of course this it does well thanks to a CREE XM L2 U3 LED that outputs as much as 1,000 lumens, comparable to one of your car’s headlamps. But the torch is also equipped with a 4,800mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery, a USB port to charge other devices, a power indicator, and..." (via GearHungry)

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The Best AA Flashlights of 2017

One important consideration when choosing the best EDC flashlight for your needs is the type of battery it uses. On paper, LED flashlights that take AA batteries seem a bit out of place. They aren't the most powerful or longest lasting, nor are they compact enough to carry on a keychain like other EDC lights. But the main draw of AA batteries is their availability.

You can find them everywhere, from gas stations to grocery stores, so if your main EDC light uses it, you can bet you'll never be far away from a backup source for it. Even better: modern AA flashlights can make use of rechargeable AA batteries (or their more powerful lithium-ion versions), saving you money in the long run while giving you a performance boost to boot.

Whether it's for availability or convenience, an AA flashlight is a great choice for everyday carry. We've put together 12 of the best EDC flashlights below.