10 Best 18650 Flashlights for Everyday Carry 2018

107 Likes
19 Comments
69 Shares

The 18650 lithium-ion battery is one of the most popular battery form factors in production. Its size and features make it ideal for electronic applications, like laptop and electronic car batteries, and even portable battery chargers. Thanks to advancements in both battery and flashlight tech it's gained tremendous ground as a new format for an EDC light as we've seen in new releases this year.

An 18650 (named for its 18mm diameter, 65mm length, and cylindrical shape) battery offers higher voltage, bigger capacity, and reusability, making it an ideal power source for flashlights. As of 2018, we're talking upwards of 3000 lumens in your pocket, more options for high color rendering, runtimes measured in weeks and months (yes, months), and no longer having to buy disposable batteries or chargers which is always good for the environment.

Below we've rounded up 10 of the best 18650 flashlights available so far this 2018. They're lights that make full use of the battery's capabilities but remain compact enough for everyday carry.


Wowtac BlackScoutSurvival V3

If you're still on the fence about dipping your toes into 18650 lights, Wowtac offers great value for their inexpensive, feature-laden lights. The BSS V3 above is the latest version of their general EDC A1S BSS model. It moves the side switch nearer the rear to join the tail switch for quicker tactical activation, and ditches the more aggressive design of the A1S BSS for a more discreet, streamlined look (with the strike bezel included). But the real value of Wowtac lights come from their features that belie their price. The BSS V3 pushes out up to 1150 lumens with its Cree XP-L V6 LED, comes with its own rechargeable 3400 mAh 18650 battery, and throws in some neat touches like a removable clip and red lens cover. The BSS V3 is a great and inexpensive way to dive into the deep hole of 18650 flashlights.

View on Amazon


Emisar D1S

Emisar flashlights have made a huge splash in the past year thanks to their incredibly powerful, enthusiast-oriented flashlights that cost a fraction of their production counterparts. The D1S is the pocket-sized thrower in Emisar's stable, able to illuminate ~1300 lumens over 700 meters(!) thanks to the power of its XP-L HI LED paired with an 18650 light. Other features that would tickle a flashaholic's fancy include IP67-rated and CNC-machined aluminum construction, 3 LED tints (1A/6500K cool white, 5000K/3A neutral white, and 4000K/warm white) an open-source, ramping user interface designed by community programmers, and just the sheer value you get for its size and price. It's not a light for everyone, but it's definitely a light worthy of any respectable flashlight collection.

Buy


ThruNite TC12 V2

ThruNite's second version of their popular TC12 model is a perfect way to get your feet wet with lights of this size and performance. It offers up to 1100 lumens of output across 5 modes, controlled by an easy-to-use two-switch system. A built-in micro USB port ensures you never have to worry about charging, while the affordable asking price makes the light a regret-free investment. Other nice touches include a neutral white LED option for better color rendering, IPX8-rated construction, and EDC-friendly carry options by way of a pocket clip, holster, and lanyard. You can't go wrong with the TC12 V2 as your first 18650 EDC light.

View on Amazon


Manker E14 II

The upgrade to Manker's original quad-LED E14 brings to bear some useful modern features. You now have the option of upgraded emitters, namely the XP-G3 and Nichia 21C, the latter of which is rare and sought-after for its high CRI rating (even rarer is the quad-LED arrangement seen in this light), arrayed within an eye-catching, copper-accented head. The copper heatsink helps cool down its understandably hefty power to the tune of 2200 lumens across 5 modes, with an estimated throw of 155 meters. New to this upgrade is the switch moved to its side from the original's rear, along with a micro USB charging port built into its barrel's threads. And if you want an even more compact powerhouse, the E14 II also comes with compatibility for the shorter 18350 battery, trading capacity for a smaller profile.

View on Amazon


Zebralight SC64c

For many flashlight enthusiasts, a Zebralight is the first and last stop for an 18650 flashlight because of its design, features, and sheer customizability. The SC64c is the latest and greatest of their compact 18650 lights, and features their best tech on offer. Its Cree XP-L2 EasyWhite LED outputs an eye-pleasing tint at a max of 900 lumens, but can also run up to a few months months on its lowest 0.05-lumen setting. Its electronics regulate its outputs and protect against parasitic battery drain. A single side switch lets you operate and program the SC64c's extensive outputs and modes to your exact needs. And with a 3.64” machined aluminum unibody and built-in clip, it's one of the smallest 18650 lights you can EDC.

Buy


Klarus XT11X

Klarus are no strangers to pushing the limit of their lights, and the XT11X is their most cutting-edge yet. It's able to pull 3200 lumens on Turbo from an 18650 battery with its XHP70.2 P2 LED, along with a slew of features above and beyond most production flashlights. This includes a signature 2-buton tailswitch (with an overall tactical or outdoor mode you can switch between) that controls its 6 levels, while a side switch doubles as a battery indicator. Charging is performed via a built-in micro USB port, which takes nothing away from its IPX8-rated water and impact resistance. Multi-fuel compatibility, intelligent electronics with built-in protections, a rugged aluminum construction, and stainless steel clip and strike bezel round out its list of features, making it an impressive candidate for EDC.

View on Amazon


Fenix UC35 V2.0

The original Fenix UC35 was a great light in its own right, but the V2 still manages to squeeze in significant improvements. For starters, its redesigned body is 10mm shorter overall with a more centered grip section on the barrel for comfort and control. As for output, the V2 opts for a CREE XP-L HI V3 emitter to push 1000 lumens out 266 meters, slightly edging out the original's 960 lumen output and 200 meter throw. The V2's larger 3500mAh 18650 Li-ion battery (included) combined with an all-new 1-lumen Moonlight mode results in an impressive 800 hours of runtime. The V2 cycles through its 5 modes with an upgraded stainless steel side switch with an integrated battery level indicator. There are plenty of features you'd expect from a quality EDC light in the new UC35, like a tactical tail switch, hard-anodized aluminum construction, IP68-rated water resistance, and built-in micro-USB charging.

View on Amazon


Streamlight ProTac HPL USB

Streamlight makes some of the most popular EDC lights on the site, so it's no surprise they've tried their hand at making a high-utility 18650 flashlight. The new HPL USB makes use of a C4 LED combined with either an 18650 battery, 2 x CR123A lithium batteries, or Streamlight’s rechargeable 18650 USB battery for up to 1000 lumens with 35,000 candela behind it, translating to a throwy 374 meters of illumination. The light comes with 4 levels programmable to 3 types of modes, optimizing it for your activities. Accessing its micro USB recharging port is as simple as sliding down its collar, while IPX4 resistance and 6000 anodized aluminum gives the light a rugged shell.

View on Amazon


Olight M2R Warrior

At its core the M2R Warrior is powered by an 18650 battery, giving it the power and runtime you would expect from a modern light. Paired with the latest Cree XHP35 HD LED, you get up to 1500 lumens on Turbo for a little under 2 hours (with a step down to 700 lumens after 3 minutes) or up to 25 days on its 1-lumen Moonlight mode. You can navigate through all its modes with Olight's simple and effective side-button interface. The M2R's tailcap is where things get interesting, as Olight have packed both tech and tactical into it. You can access Turbo and Strobe at the push of its tail switch, a stainless steel button which doubles as a magnetic charging port(!) compatible with Olight's chargers and docks, letting the M2R play nicely with the rest of the family.

View on Amazon


Acebeam L30 II

Have you ever seen the sky divided in two by a handheld flashlight? Now you can with Acebeam's upgraded L30 flashlight. While the other lights on this list are built more towards EDC use, sometimes you just need complete, unbridled power from a light (bonus points if it's convenient to carry and charge, too). The Acebeam L30 has all this and so much more, as its Cree XHP70.2 LED pairs with its included 5100 mAh 21700 battery (also compatible with 1 x 18650 or 2 x CR123A batteries) for a staggering 4000-lumen output up to 373 meters. While it can only keep up this intense output for a couple of minutes before stepping down, 5 other modes including a 1-lumen Firefly mode good for 65 days covers everyday lighting needs. There's onboard micro USB charging of course, surrounded by IPX8-rated anodized aluminum for maximum toughness. And when you're heading out on your next adventure, an included holster and lanyard cable keeps the L30 within reach.

View on Amazon

Are you carrying an 18650 flashlight? Did we miss your favorite for our picks, or any other good ones we should know about? Let us know in the comments below!

#18650-lights #flashlights #buying-guides #olight-flashlights see all



Who Likes This (107)

98 others

Discussion (19 total)

I owe Armytek Prime C2 Pro XHP35 Magnet USB Warm
Seems to be quite a good choice
1700 OTF lumens, stabilized output, reasonable modes, TIR lens, feels good in hand.
Emisar D1S is a cute hand grenade)
Check out the Rofis R3!
The BLF A6 SE is still the one to beat for its combination of features, UI and price. I've got four of them, for the price why wouldn't I have one anywhere I might need a light?
Streamlight Microstream. Nice little light...
I am a convert to the 18650 battery flashlight love the power it delivers. I was glad to see the Olight m2r it's a great light. I have found the Olight h2r to be a good all around EDC light. With its 90°angle head you can use it as headlamp, magnetic base to attach to metal surfaces, usb charging and max output of 2300 lumens. It will fill multiple needs.
Great write up. Which of these has the widest beam spread? I'm looking for the highest lumen output in the widest flood light pattern. Thanks.
Hey Andrew, I'm not of the opinion that any of these lights in particular will be pure flood; however, Zebralight has an 18650 line that's designed to be floody: http://www.zebralight.com/SC600F-Mk-IV-Plus-18650-XHP50-Floody-Cool-White-Flashlight_p_226.html

This SC600F MkIV has 2260 lumens and 3 other tints you can choose from on the site.
Great article, Thank you!
18650 is my league in flashlights. Glad you mentioned one of the great lights made by Emisar ,but I would suggest the Emisar D4 flashlight . It is also driven by 18650 battery, could be downsized and puts out a 4000 lumen, in a pocket friendly size. Available in Aluminium or a wonderful Ti version.
Just my two cents.
Regards,
Chris
Up until the last second I was deciding between the D4 and the D1S since I like them both, but as I'd been researching throwers lately and seeing the price on some of them I thought the D1S was an exceptional and activity-focused value pick compared to a general hot rod like the D4. But I agree, the D4 is an excellent light as well and looking forward to picking up a few Emisars myself in the very near future (right now I have my eye on both the D1S and the D4S).
I own 3 of the Wowtac lights, the A-1S, the A2 (headlight) and the BSS V3 (one of my daily EDCs). I have been extremely satisfied with all of them and my opinion is that for the price, they cannot be beat. For some reason the Amazon page does not show the removable (And very aggressively styled) strike bezel for the V3, but for those curious it can be seen on Wowtac's page here. http://wowtac.com/wowtac-bss-v3-1150-lumen/

The V3 a decidedly tactical light in design, and while I love the light, if you want something that has a bit more utility and looks a little less tactical, I also highly recommend their A-1S which has the same 1100 lumen performance but lacks the strike bezel, has a shielded main switch with lanyard cutouts, and has a programmable main switch. It is also 10 dollars less.
Thorfire VG-15S. It is a great budget 18650 light. I've carried it every day for a little over a year and it is awesome. Super bright (1070 lumens), has survived countless falls/drops and has never given me any issues. It has 5 brightness modes plus strobe and it remembers which mode it was on. The pocket clip is strong, has a tail cap button and will stand on it's end. It is $20 well spent.
Emisar D1S...Deal breaker that it won’t accept protected batteries.
What about the Rovyvon Aurora? those things are amazing.
Definitely a consideration for a future guide!
malkoff devices - fully potted electronics. Or elzetta. The rest of these lights are crap by comparison.
Have always used Surefire 6P and 9P. How do they rank with the newer flashlights?
No SureFire Fury DFT? While it uses a slightly different 18650 with a higher amperage, it puts out 1500 lumens with it, 1200 with regular CR123.
If it doesn't have a deep carry clip, it doesn't go in my pockets.

I personally prefer the cr123a batteries as well, or if it's bigger - 18650 rechargeable. I don't like just the usb rechargeable lights. Those are terrible and designed to fail. But good ol AA or AAA will work too (of which I also use rechargeable high capacity versions).

And lastly, ALWAYS CARRY SPARE BATTERIES (in a pack, your vehicle, somewhere easily accessible or just on you if you can spare the room).