The Best EDC Flashlights Under $100

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We've filled you in on why carrying a flashlight is a good idea, as well as presented interesting flashlight features that may be useful for your wants and need. Now, we’re tackling the hard questions: what makes a flashlight good for EDC, and in such a crowded market, which one should you buy?

The best flashlights for EDC are…

Portable: These are lights that should be able to slip in and out of your pocket with ease, ready to use at a moment's notice. A 4 x 18650 spotlight may be able to light up a field, but it won't see much action stowed in a bag or your vehicle.

Easily powered: What good is a light with no spare batteries? One of the main scenarios for a light is during an emergency. If it uses a non-standard cells, that could spell trouble if you're unable to replace its power source. Our picks use common, easy-to-replace batteries.

Easy to use: A good everyday light should be simple to use. When you need it to turn on and off, it should turn on and off, not make you go through a complicated menu of modes. Having a lot of modes may not be the best feature to have in a panic or emergency situation when you need a bright as fast as possible.

You know how handy and awesome flashlights can be in your carry. Now that you also know what makes for good EDC lights, here are five of our favorites, all affordable enough to add to your kit at under $100.


Nitecore Tube

Before the Tube was released, the market was flooded with keychain-friendly Photon clones. While those lights were nice and portable, they weren't very bright and their batteries were cumbersome to replace. The Tube not only addressed both these issues, but eventually became a keychain staple by offering 45 (variable!) lumens, USB charging, and 48 hours of runtime in a tough polycarbonate shell.

BUY ($12)


Prometheus Beta-QR

When we reviewed the Beta-QR, we loved it for its fit and finish, beautiful tint, and 85 lumens of power off a single AAA battery. Its quick-release system — which also accommodates a clip — makes it versatile for most carry styles. The Beta-QR remains one of the best examples of a mass production light with custom-level quality and features.

BUY ($60+)


ThruNite T10

The ThruNite T10 makes excellent use of its AA power source and plays to all the strengths of the cell. The narrower form factor makes pocketing the T10 easy. 208 lumens in the stainless steel version is plenty of light for daily tasks. The runtimes, however — we still find it hard to believe how long it can go. 147 hours on its 0.2 lumen firefly mode, almost a week(!) of night vision-friendly light, anyone? The T10 also comes in a choice of body material and tint, making it even easier to match the rest of your EDC.

BUY ($24)


Fenix PD22 Ultimate Edition

Fenix users swear by the brand's high quality and consistent performance, evident in the constant improvement of their flagship models. The PD22UE takes the already-powerful base PD22 model and bumps it up with a modern XM-L emitter able to use both the more common CR123A battery (400 lumens) as well as the higher-voltage 16340 cell (510 lumens). Its compact, anodized aluminum body makes it rugged and easy to carry, and its momentary-on tail switch makes operating its four modes a breeze. CR123A lights don't get any more solid than this.

BUY ($65)


Nitecore MH20

USB charging was one of the great conveniences of 18650 lights in the past year, and Nitecore have taken everything they learned from their MH line and packed it into the smallest space they can manage in their newest MH20 model. While a mere 4.13 inches in length, the MH20 isn't short on features. It packs the same 1000 lumens, micro USB charging, and integrated battery indicator of its bigger brothers. No other 18650 light on the market has the features:size ratio of this light.

BUY ($90)

Do you have a favorite EDC light that we missed? Let us know what torch you're packing in your pocket in the comments below!

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Discussion (47 total)

The under 100$ flashlight market is super crowded, and the mentioned lights are all good, but I would substitue the Nitecore MH20 for a Nitecore EC11, because it's way much more compact, and offers the same features (900 lumen at max by a 70 milimeter long flashlight!!).
Also I would mention the Thrunite Ti3, it comes with a pocket clip. It's a phenomenal AAA light, that I EDC for very long, you can just clip it and forget. It can do 120 lumens and it's smaller and thinner than your pinky.
Also please do not forget the Zebralight SC52. It generates 300 lumens from an AA battery! (500 lumen from Lithium). It has a customizable interface, so you can adjust the power of low, medium and high power to your liking. Very high-end, and very small!
Agreed about the Nitecore. Some people will carry the new MH20 but the EC11 is better for carry. Battery isn't common but who cares. I just got the EC11 and man is it impressive!
Surprised not to see the FourSevens Preon 1 in this article and the comments. It's my favorite EDC flash. Waterproof, runs on an AAA, incredibly bright LED. Excellent price. You can't go wrong with the Preon 1. I have four of them.
Feature request: rave mode
EDC stands for Everyday Carry, not Electric Daisy Carnival!
Streamlight stylus pro 2 aaa batteries give you 65 lumens for 6 hours. They make fantastic basic, easy, and reliable tools. I swear by mine and it lives in my back pocket.
I'm in love with my Fenix e05 stainless steel, AAA battery, small as a single AAA batteries, 85 lumen max power, and beauty as jewelry
Love that light too. Got the smoothest twist feel compared to my other AAA twisties and looks very elegant too.
I personally like CR123A flashlights for all around performance, small size, good power output, and rechargable with RCR123A (aka 16340)

The Jetbeam RRT-01 - Is great in morning and at night when I need super low light so I don't wake the wifey.

O Light S-10 Baton - Magnet on the tailcap is fantastic to have when you need it.

Eagletac D25C - Super petite, powerful, disappears in the pocket, but complicated Interface. needs a shortcut around SOS and Beacon modes.

Sunwayman M11R & V11R - The V11R is more usable with infinite variable control ring and max output of 500+ lumens but the M11R (Mine is the tan one) is just a really premium build. Aesthetically one of the nicest out there and can still do 300+ lumens.
Really quite happy with my Eagletac D25C
You and me both! Not as feature-packed as some of the lights listed here, but it's beautiful, compact, simple, and bright enough for me.
Yeah another great flashlight that really should have been included. In my opinion the best tailcap clicky flashlight on the market, especially for the size and power, pretty good for self defense too :)
My favorite flashlight snd small enough to carry in dress pants.
Agreed. I appreciate, and carry, lights with common batteries, but nothing beats the EagTac D25C - it provides a can of flashlight whoop ass in a small package!
Just unpacked my T10, still seeing black spot. Damn that thing is bright. Came with a spare tails witch
Damn phone....tailswitch itself needs some breaking in. But first impression are good.
The Nitecore TUBE is currently on Massdrop at 3 for 19.99.
I would have thrown Zebralight in the mix.
I've never owned one, but Zebralight lights look really nice. My current EDC light is a Streamlight Strion.
Yep, the Zebralight SC52 definitely belongs into this list, no idea why it was not included.
I carry the sc52 everyday. I Can't get enough of the interface. I Like that one button can get me to the exact setting I want without having to think.
I recall the sc52 being mentioned before on this site. It started me down the rabbit hole of flashlight research. To be fair, I would have purchased the sc32 if it were available at the time. Quite happy with the sc52, though.
It was, on the previous list of top ten edc lights. That list made me get the zebralight sc52 and I love it very much. I wish it was on this list since it was on the top ten not too long ago and I believe it still holds up.
I love this "under $100" article you've written Mikey. For those of us on a tight budget, this is fantastic to break down the positives and negatives and then let your viewers decide which they like best. For me, I've chosen the Prometheus Beta-QR although I do like that the Thrunite TI3 has a pocket clip! Pocket clips keep my knives in good shape forever so I would assume the same for a flashlight. http://www.foreverflashlights.com
I bought the Nitecore Tube due to this posting and was the best flashlight I've every bought. Now it's a constant use. Thanks!
Thrunite Ti3 is my EDC. I also have a Thrunite TN-12 (2016). Both lights are fantastic!!
Wow! No Streamlight? No surefire? Sadly, NO serious flashlights. Wouldn't trust my life to any of them. Okay, maybe I'm a little bit of a light snob. Curious what the warranty on these lights are? My pick is the Streamlight Pro Tac HL. List is well over $100, but I got mine on Amazon for less.
This year the Fenix E15 2016 model deserves a spot too. Runs on a single CR123 or 16340. A small keychain light that can put out 450 lumens max for just around $30!
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