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.


RovyVon Aurora A5

These days it takes more than a spec bump and a smaller footprint to stand out when it comes to EDC lights. Up and coming light manufacturer RovyVon brings both the output and the portability to their 550-lumen Aurora A5 keychain light, but that's just the beginning. Its glow-in-the-dark body is jam-packed with multiple LEDs and other carry-friendly features, making it one of the most versatile lighting tools you can EDC right now.

The Aurora A5 bucks the trend of your typical metal-tube flashlight design with its fluorescent polycarbonate shell. It glows green in the dark, but it's also translucent enough for its two side-mounted LEDs to shine through. The glow-in-the-dark green helps locate the light without using up its battery, while the red side LED functions as a beacon or signal light, and the side-mounted white LED offers a lantern-like flood for reading.

Its main CREE XP-G3 LED pushes up to 550 lumens on its highest setting. Its medium mode hits around 220 lumens, while its Low mode offers 20 lumens of general EDC utility. A stainless steel bezel protects the emitter from impact, while a total internal reflection lens makes for a wide, even beam of floody light. You can control its modes using its side switch that's even capable of both momentary and constant-on operation.

The Aurora A5 also comes with a low-battery indicator and recharges via USB in just 45 minutes. For even more convenience, it comes with a 2-way friction clip for pocket- or ballcap carry, while a lanyard attachment points rounds out your EDC options. Perhaps most impressive is it manages to fit all this technology into an IP65 water resistant body that's only 2.16” long and weighs less than half an ounce at 0.416 oz. You can upgrade your keychain kit with an Aurora A5 at the link below.

View on Amazon

10 Best 18650 Flashlights for Everyday Carry 2018

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.

EAGTAC DX3B Mini Pro

In general the type of battery a flashlight uses really defines what it can and can't do. Lights with larger batteries offer more lumens and runtime, but they're usually much less pocket-friendly. EAGTAC's DX3B Mini Pro delivers the specs and performance you'd expect from a light twice its size thanks to its compact, built-in 18350 battery. It's a feature-packed pocket rocket boasting an 1830 lumen output in a truly EDC-friendly form factor.

The best part about using an 18350 light is the battery itself. While it's shorter in stature (35mm vs the 18650's 65mm, hence the designation), it loses none of the power output of its big brother. This means that when paired with the Cree XHP50.2 LED, you get an almost ridiculous 1830 ANSI lumens on the DX3B Mini Pro's highest level, scorching all the way to 165 yards with its deep reflector. Understandably, you lose some capacity in exchange for the smaller size, but you still get up to 20 hours of runtime on its lowest 21 ANSI lumen Low mode. Navigating its five levels (with more programmable) is done via a side button, which also doubles as a battery indicator.

EAGTAC have also thrown in some key features to round out the DX3B Mini Pro for EDC. An 800mAh 18350 battery is included as part of its kit, with charging built right into the light via a micro USB port. A crenelated stainless steel bezel protects the business end from drops and impact while also letting you see if you've left the light on when placed head-down. If you need longer runtimes, the DX3B also comes with an 18650 extension tube so you can take advantage of higher-capacity batteries you may already have on hand. The light makes the most of its size for EDC with a 2.6-ounce weight and 3.4” length, along with additional carry options by way of a 2-way removable deep pocket clip and magnetic (tailstanding) tailcap.

With power that belies its size and features that make the most of its platform, the EAGTAC DX3B Mini Pro is a compelling contender for your next pocket rocket. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

View on Amazon

Fenix LD02 V2 Penlight

Before we had keychain-sized pocket rockets we have today, EDCers would rely on a trusty AAA light to hit the sweet spot between performance and portability. Fenix led the way with their nearly bombproof E01 and their more feature-packed LD02, and after much anticipation they've updated the latter with improvements all around. To make an impact in 2018, the Fenix LD02 V2 sports an entirely new look and unique features even discerning flashaholics can appreciate.

While the 1xAAA form factor is a dying breed these days, it's still a great format for general EDC. The LD02 V2 measures in at a very pocket friendly 3.6” long, 0.5” diameter, and weighs only 24 grams without a battery. The LD02 V2 uses anodized aluminum for the main body of the light, but sports stainless steel at the business end for impact resistance. The first of many of the LD02 V2's unique design cues is its stainless steel push button assembly at the rear of the light, giving a robust and premium feel in hand. A snug, stainless steel pocket clip rounds out the build, letting you carry it in your shirt pocket or in the admin panel of a bag or EDC pouch like you would a pen.

Unlike most EDC lights, the LD02 V2 features both a 90-CRI warm white CREE XQ-E HI emitter for general use and a 200mW UV light for specialized tasks like checking currency. The main warm white emitter puts out up to 70 lumens on High, 25 lumens on Medium, and 1 lumen on Low for 75 hours off a single alkaline or NiMH AAA battery.

With its uniquely useful LED combination, convenient battery type and form factor, and premium build quality, the new and improved LD02 V2 makes a strong case for EDCing a light of this class in a modern EDC. Check it out at the Amazon link below.

View on Amazon

Maratac Peanut LED Flashlight

We talk about small flashlights a lot here on the site, and for good reason—they're arguably the best thing to add to your EDC to up your flashlight game. They're easy to carry, stay out of your way, but always up to the task the moment the sun goes down. And when it comes to flashlights tough enough to survive the rigors of your day, Maratac knows their stuff, no matter the size. With their manufacturing prowess and experience they've built their smallest, most powerful light yet, and the Peanut LED flashlight is ready to brighten up your day from the smallest of spaces.

With how small the Peanut is, it's a remarkable engineering feat to make the most of its compact space. Its 1.29” length is able to fit in a Cree XP-G2 S4 LED, a 70mAh 10180 battery, and a tailcap with a split ring. Said tailcap even thoughtfully integrates a design where the split ring sits flush with the base, letting the Peanut tailstand as a candle. And while the 10180 battery is uncommon, you can easily recharge it by swapping the light's LED head with one that has a built-in micro USB port (included with the kit), letting you top up when needed with a power bank or wall adapter.

Its power is anything but candlelike, however. The combination of its LED and battery allows a dual output of either 12 lumens for up to 6 hours, or an impressive 145 lumens for up to 25 minutes, controlled with a twisty mechanism. An orange peel reflector in its head creates a smooth, even beam, making the light ideal for general EDC tasks. The Peanut is also IPX7-rated against the elements, and with its stainless steel construction, it's a light that's sure to last.

With thoughtful design, robust construction, and surprising power from a light the size of an actual peanut Maratac's got the compact powerhouse to add to any EDC. Pick up the complete Peanut kit from the Amazon link below.

View on Amazon

RovyVon Aurora A2 Mini Flashlight

"It may be small, but this little keychain flashlight is mighty. It packs a 550 lumen CREE XP-G3 S5 LED, set into a durable stainless steel case with PVD coating. It weighs just 1 oz, measures 2″ long, is IPX-65 water-resistant, and..." (via TheAwesomer)

Read More

Olight M1T Raider

With plenty of EDC-favorite flashlights in their catalog, it would be easy for Olight to rest on their laurels. But that hasn't stopped them from innovating, with fresh releases this year upgrading their entire line with modern specs and features. The M1T Raider is their new champion for the CR123A battery space, taking familiar features from previous popular models, powering them up, and giving the light a fresh new look with Olight's new design aesthetic. It offers all of that while staying affordable, making it an incredible value as an everyday light.

Olight's S1 series of lights have become staples in EDCer's pockets, with a great balance of size and power that make them mainstays as lights that can just disappear in your pocket. From the S1 Baton's exotic finishes, to the S1R's rechargeability, and more recently, the S1 Mini's portable prowess, the line had something for everyone, including significant power drawn from the CR123A cell. The M1T takes a different approach, sacrificing portability to give it more rugged and tactical applications. Its longer frame with Olight's new helix pattern knurling allows for a full-palm grip, which includes a proud tailswitch compared to its side-switch S-brothers. This makes it easier to grip and click while gloved, with a new UI also now allowing momentary activation via the tailswitch.

The M1T combines a Luminus SST40 CW LED (known for its efficiency) with TIR optics to give it 2-stage floody output of either 5 or 500 lumens. You get up to 100 hours on that low setting, or up to 2 hours (after a 5-minute stepdown to 300 lumens) on the high, with no other special modes to muddle up its main focus as a tactical light. The M1T stays light at 2.29 ounces thanks to its aluminum construction, while maintaining a robust IPX8 resistance rating to handle any environment or situation. And as with Olight's new lights this year, a 2-way clip makes it easy to EDC in any orientation.

Simple, effective, powerful, and most importantly, affordable—what more can you ask for from an everyday light? Check out the Olight M1T Raider at the Amazon link below.

View on Amazon

KLiPT LED Light and Tool Kit

With limited space in your pockets, lugging around a regular one-trick light can be hard to justify. The Ecuipt KLiPT, on the other hand, adds a bit more versatility to your EDC than your run of the mill flashlight. Besides being a 300 lumen flashlight, it plays multiple roles thanks to its built-in multi-tool and secret storage capabilities. It packs all of this into a pocket-friendly design, letting you consolidate your carry and do more than just light the way while carrying less.

The KLiPT is a capable flashlight on its own, featuring a Nichia 219B LED with a maximum output of 300 lumens to a distance of 43 meters. The light is daylight balanced at 5000K, with a high-CRI value of 93, making this a good light to carry around if you need color accuracy for your work or if you dislike the harsh tints of most other LED flashlights. A single side switch lets you turn the light on and off, select an output setting, and switch between emergency SOS and strobe modes. Aside from the 300 lumen high, there's a medium 150 lumen settings, a low 28 lumen setting, and a economical 'moonlight' mode that dials everything down to 0.2 lumens. And because the flashlight's included 18350 li-ion battery is USB rechargable, getting it back into action isn't too much of a hassle.

The KLiPT is made of strong yet lightweight aerospace-grade aluminum that's been anodized to further resist corrosion. With its shockproof LED module and a 2 meter impact resistance, it can stand up to whatever you put it through. And it'll keep on going even when things get wet because it's IP68 water resistant.

But what really sets the KLiPT apart is the titanium multi-tool built into its design. On its frame you'll find a plethora of everyday carry essential functions like a bottle opener, wrenches, and a pointed cutter for boxes and tape. The integrated carabiner also lets you clip it and the light to your pockets or to your gear for easy retention. Pulling the attachment point for the multi-tool reveals the small secret storage capsule and space for additional hex bits to get the most out of its magnetized socket.

It's rare that you find such a practical light with this many features at a size that's perfect for everyday carry. You can make a pledge and secure this light or the multi-tool as a standalone pledge at the link below.

Check It Out

This is a sponsored post presented by Ecuipt.

Fenix UC35 V2.0

If you're still changing your flashlight's batteries in 2018, it might be time for an upgrade. With a modern light, keeping a charge is as easy as plugging in your phone, thanks to built-in USB ports and new battery technology. Fenix was one of the first to introduce this with their UC35, which was based on an EDC crowd favorite, the PD35. They've updated it further in 2018 with all-new specs to give you the performance you need. The UC35 V2.0 is a great light made smaller, brighter, more versatile, and longer lasting than its predecessor.

The original 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.

You'll still find 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. If you still prefer primary cells for your flashlight, like for use in colder environments, the UC35 V2 also accommodates two CR123a batteries. Check out the UC35 and all its features in full detail at the link below.

View on Amazon

Nitecore Concept 2

Here's a concept: imagine 6,500 lumens scorching your eyeballs coming from a compact cuboid the size of a small soda can. Or a candle that's able to light up your surroundings for the next two and a half months. While it may sound like something out of science fiction, Nitecore has turned it into reality. Their new Concept 2, born from their line of experimental lights, is no flight of fancy, but a forward-thinking look into the future of powerhouse everyday carry flashlights.

The best place to start with the Concept 2 would probably be its futuristic design. CNC-machined from a single piece of aluminum for both strength and heat dissipation, the Concept 2 calls back to the old “soda can” designs of this class of light: lots of batteries plus lots of LEDs equals insane amounts of lumens. But thanks to modern tech the soda can design has taken a compact turn, and this modern light is a fraction of the size of its predecessors while doubling or tripling their original outputs. Its smaller stature also means a compact clip is all you need to EDC the light.

If it's output you want, you'll get it with the Concept 2. With up to 6,500 lumens at its disposal across 5 main modes and 3 special modes, it's safe to say the light is up to any task. Thanks to its 4 built-in high-drain lithium-ion batteries and 4 Cree XHP35 HD LEDs, you get its full 6,500-lumen output on Turbo for up to 30 minutes and throw all the way out to 398 meters. On the other end, you get a 1-lumen candle for a mind-boggling 2000 hours (over 80 days!) with its incredibly deep power reserves. You also get a complement of modern flashlight conveniences, like built-in charging, a side switch that doubles as a battery indicator, and onboard intelligent charging and thermal regulation.

The future is bright and right in the palm of our hands. Pick up the Nitecore Concept 2 from Amazon at the link below.

View on Amazon

Olight i3T EOS Flashlight

Once you've seen enough of them, you can probably guess how a flashlight works and performs just by looking at it. Giant heads and bigger batteries throw long range, while smaller AAA lights usually trade lumen output for convenience and portability. But thanks to the progression of flashlight tech, bigger and better performance is starting to come from even the smallest platforms. Olight have been ushering in a new generation of functional EDC lights in recent years, with the I3T EOS bucking the trend of what we've come to expect from an compact light. It's got style, power, functionality, and a rare appearance AAA light feature—a tailswitch—that makes it a compelling light for any EDC.

The first concern for AAA flashlights is usually their output. You're probably used to seeing around 100 lumens out of AAA lights, but the I3T is able to output 180 lumens for over 20 minutes with its Philips LUXEON TX emitter. This is unheard of in terms of power and runtime from an AAA light, especially since it's able to do it with a regular alkaline battery. Another welcome feature is the I3T's forward-clicky tailswitch, which allows you to control its two outputs (5 and 180 lumens) from either an overhand or underhand grip instead of the usual twisty interface lights of class come with. The tailswitch also gives you momentary or always-on control for both outputs as needed.

A number of external features also let the I3T bring the AAA form into more modern styles. The first is the helix body knurling that gives it a distinct look (a new design feature of the rest of Olight's new lights) while still providing ample grip for its entire midsection. The light comes with a pocket clip that attaches toward its tail, but allows 3 options of carry thanks to a 2-way design and a built-in lanyard hole. And finally there's the knurled tail and rubber boot switch that, while prevents the I3T from tailstanding, allows for easier operation even while gloved. All-over anodized aluminum gives the light rugged IPX8-rated resistance while still keeping it an EDC-friendly 1.45 ounces.

Gone are the days of AAA lights being keychain backups—Olight proves that size doesn't matter with the I3T's potential as an EDC light. Pick one up today from Amazon at the link below.

View on Amazon

Nitecore TINI Cu

As much as we chase performance and an impressive spec sheet when it comes to our EDC gear, sometimes it's the subtler details that make all the difference. In the case of the Nitecore TINI, a brand new copper build transforms the light into something more substantial. With copper's unique heft, handfeel, and patina, it gives the light a new presence both in hand and on your keychain. It'll only get better the more you use it, and with its 380-lumen output and convenient USB charging, it's a light you'll have for the long haul.

If you're looking for that classy, traditional style in your EDC but don't want to compromise on modern performance and features, the TINI Cu should be on your radar. It has the same CREE XPG-G2 S3 LED, capable of hitting 380 lumens with a peak beam distance of 70 yards on its Turbo mode. Side switches give you instant access to its Turbo mode and also allow you to cycle down to more general EDC modes, including a 145-lumen High, 38-lumen Mid, and a 1-lumen Low.

Its built-in battery reaches 60 hours of runtime, making it an excellent back-up option for your keys. If you choose to use it as your primary light, keeping it charged is easy thanks to its built-in micro-USB port. Handling it often as your main light also has the benefit of creating a unique patina as the copper body oxidizes over time, taking on that beautifully worn look. The original TINI already punched well above its weight. For a new keychain light option in a more exotic material, check out the TINI Cu at the link below.

View on Amazon

Prometheus Preon P1 MkIII Flashlight

When you put together manufacturing prowess, over a decade of experience in pioneering flashlights, and the latest in flashlight tech, you're bound to get something special. And it's hard to describe the Preon P1 MkIII as anything but, with all the history behind it. Born out of the partnership of Prometheus Lights and Foursevens, the Preon represents a quality tool that only makers of their caliber can produce. Needless to say, it's one of the most refined AAA lights you can buy today.

The Preon P1 MkIII's exterior is a subtle fusion of both companies' design languages. On first glance you see the familiar Foursevens Preon, with its machined ridges and tapered middle barrel to accommodate your preferred grip method. Then there's the Prometheus screw-in titanium clip: a clip so good it sells on its own for other flashlights. Finally there's the materials the Preon comes in: Electroless Nickel plating and CR3 (Tri-Chrome) + PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) coating over 6061-T6 aluminum, both technical solutions Prometheus have used to give their lights a unique total coating that doesn't mess with the light's rear click switch operation.

In spite of its looks, the Preon P1 MkIII isn't meant to be just pocket candy. It comes with the latest and greatest Nichia 219C LED, rated at 92+ CRI (Color Rendering Index) for the closest approximation to natural light you can currently get. It also allows for a higher current than its 219B predecessor, meaning it can more efficiently produce and hold its 100-lumen output. The Preon also comes with a programmable user interface, letting you pick from 6 configurations that make use of its 7 modes. An included NiMH AAA battery also gives the light a stable and rechargeable power source so you aren't wasting disposable batteries on your light (or harming it in the worst case).

While the Preon P1 MkIII marks the first steps of Prometheus and Foursevens, it's clear that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and shows the clear influence and experience of both its creators. Learn more and pick one up for yourself in your choice of finish direct from Prometheus at the link below.

Check It Out

Olight I1R EOS

Sometimes the next big thing in EDC actually turns out to be tiny. In fact, Olight's new I1R EOS keychain light is their smallest to date at just an inch and a half long. But despite its impressively compact footprint, it offers innovative features and power you'd expect from a brand like Olight, all in a considered, easy-to-use design. If you've been looking for a powerful, no-frills EDC light on a budget, don't miss this one.

The I1R EOS takes a “less is more” approach to its design and operation, keeping things refreshingly simple for a modern flashlight. It just takes a simple twist to turn the light on. To make that easier, ribbed “knurling” provides ample grip along most of the IPX8 waterproof, anodized aluminum body of the light. Once on, the light starts at its 5-lumen Low mode. Twist further to reach its high mode, which puts out an impressive 130 lumens out to 54 meters. Low mode usage will get you about 7 hours of runtime, while the I3R runs on High for about 20 minutes. No extra modes to navigate here — just a practical, 2-stage interface with well-spaced brightnesses for general day-to-day use.

The I1R uses unconventional components for both the business end as well as its internals. A Philips LUXEON TX serves as its LED paired with TIR (total internal reflection) optics at the lens to provide a wide, smooth beam that's well-suited for general close range work you'd want out of a keychain light. For added convenience, the I1R's included Li-ion battery recharges via an included microUSB cable and integrated charging port built right into the body of the light.

With a barely-there weight of 0.42 ounces and an integrated lanyard attachment point, the I1R is especially easy to add to your EDC. It won't set you back too much, either, with a sticker price of about $20. Check it out and grab one for your own keychain at the link below.

View on Amazon

Streamlight PolyTac X

If there's anyone with experience with putting a reliable light in your pockets, it's Streamlight. Thanks to incredibly popular (and more importantly, inexpensive), high-quality flashlights like the MicroStream, hundreds of EDCers carry their gear. And while their smaller lights get a lot attention, they've got some versatile, bigger lights packing some power, too. The PolyTac X takes their line of handheld lights and packs more power and versatility in a practically bomb-proof build.

The first thing you'll notice with the PolyTac X that sets it apart from its peers is its molded nylon polymer exterior. It's a super-tough material that gives the light up to 3 meters of impact resistance, and comes with a unique stippled texture that locks in your grip. New to the PolyTac X is its ability to take either an 18650 battery or 2 x CR123A lithium batteries to power its C4 LED, giving it up to 600 lumens with 205 meters of throw for up to 3.5 hours, or a 36-hour runtime with its 35-lumen Low mode. Another unique feature is the light's TEN-TAP programming system which lets you select 3 operating modes for the light, changing how it cycles its modes or giving it a single output on High for emergency/tactical use.

While ruggedness and IPX7 resistance are great features, the light doesn't mean much for EDC if it isn't easy to carry. The PolyTac X has you covered with its two-position clip, attached with a washer-style ring that's pretty rare among flashlights. This ensures the clip will never fly off even during extreme use while giving you plenty of options with carrying the light tip up, down, or attached to your hat for hands-free use.

The PolyTac X is unique, versatile, and requires little investment to add to your EDC. Pick one up in 3 colors from Amazon at the link below.

View on Amazon

Knog Bandicoot Headlamp

"Knog, makers of the excellent Qudos Action Light light are back with a new creation – a lightweight and comfortable silicone headband with built-in LED illumination. It offers spot, ambient, reading, and night vision modes, and..." (via TheAwesomer)

Read More