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.


Klarus XT12S Tactical Extended Reach Flashlight

Far too often the “tactical” badge gets added to flashlights, with lights promising robust performance but delivering far less functionality than expected. Fortunately for a manufacturer like Klarus, with their pedigree of cutting-edge flashlight products, such a title isn't all show. And that's true more than ever for their XT12S light, the compact upgrade to their previous XT12GT tactical light. It combines the convenient tech of a modern rechargeable flashlight with the fit and finish of a duty light, giving you an EDC powerhouse more than capable of handling every situation.

With an 18650 battery paired with a Cree XHP35 Hi D4 LED, the XT12S has up to 1600 lumens across 6 modes at the touch of its switches. For everyday use you have 10 lumens on Low for up to 200 hours. For the outdoors, the XT12S can throw it's full power to 400 meters on Turbo. And with its dedicated tactical button, you have one-touch access to Strobe for emergencies. Its body is built from anodized 6061 aluminum, IPX8 rated for full functionality even while submerged up to 2 meters. This rugged body also integrates magnetic charging, making it convenient to charge its 18650 battery while also sparing you from having to carry an extra charger around.

Both on and under its surface, the XT12S comes loaded with thoughtful features. A crenelated bezel lends itself to the light's tactical applications. Its magnetic charging port integrates an intelligent battery capacity indicator. Fins along the head help dissipate heat, while knurling along its body give the best grip. A clip makes the light convenient carry, which ends at a tactical ring for grip versatility and anti-roll capability. Klarus didn't skimp on its electronics either, giving the XT12S programmability and battery polarity protection to round out its internal features.

Whether it's a convenient, modern EDC light you're after or a powerful partner as a last resort, the XT12S has your back. Pick one up from the Amazon link below.

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Olight M2R Warrior

We talk a lot about flashlights around here. That's because there's always something new to talk about with how fast technology advances. But as we've seen in their past lights, Olight somehow manages to push the envelope in exciting ways that continue to surprise us. With their latest release, the M2R Warrior, they took the best parts of all their models and produced an everyday light that hits all the right notes. Whether your'e wielding it for EDC or need a powerful partner for tactical applications, the Warrior is ready for duty.

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.  These and its modes in between are navigated via 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.

The rest of the M2R's features add a few nice layers of icing to an already delicious-looking cake. If you're a flashlight enthusiast, it's hard to find fault with what the light brings to the table. A choice of cool or neutral white tint. Full compatibility with standard 18650 batteries in addition to the 3500mAh one it comes with. Magnetic charging with an included cable. IPX8 waterprooofing with its ergonomically-knurled aluminum shell. A thick, stainless steel pocket clip that's not only dual-facing but also dual-positioning for tip up or down deep carry. And if that's not convenient enough for EDC, it even comes with a lanyard and holster.

Olight has done it again, cramming every feature you could want from an 18650 light in the M2R Warrior. Pick one up for yourself at the Amazon link below.

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8 High CRI Flashlights for EDC

Your EDC flashlight might put out a ton of lumens, but that's not the only mark of a good light. The quality of light can be just as important as the quantity. For instance, a lot of flashlights make things look washed out or more blue than they actually are. For some critical tasks, especially in electrical, mechanical, and medical work, seeing colors accurately makes all the difference. Imagine needing to cut a red wire when your light tints everything so purple it's hard to figure out which is which. Proper color rendition also helps with outdoor navigation at night. Luckily, you have solid options for lights that show colors more accurately. In this guide, we'll go over the importance of a high color rending index (CRI) and some excellent high-CRI lights to prepare you for the darker months to come.

Klarus Mi1C

When you think of the most compact yet versatile lights for EDC, certain brands and models come to mind. But with the speed of tech and innovation, what used to be a niche for strictly small lights now boasts some of its most powerful and convenient. Case in point: the new Klarus Mi1C. You wouldn't expect such power or runtime from a light the size of your thumb, but that's where it's just getting started.

At the heart of the Mi1C is a 16340 battery, with good voltage and capacity for a cell of its size. When paired with the light's XP-L HI V3 LED, you get outputs of up to 600 floody lumens on its highest output or up to 6 days of runtime on its 1-lumen Moonlight mode. And before you start worrying about having to charge it, the Mi1C is one step ahead with a built-in micro USB charging right in the battery, extending its use in your light as well as any other device that can use it.

Despite its size, Klarus didn't skimp on the Mi1C's build quality. It comes in IPX8-rated, HAIII-anodized aluminum, giving it 2 meters of waterproofing as well as impact resistance of up to 1 meter. Of course, it helps that the light is a mere 0.95 ounces without its battery, with a magnetic tail to let you position and secure it when in use. And last but not least, a stainless steel clip with lanyard hole lets you carry the Mi1C as needed.

There's a new contender for your coveted pocket space, and the Mi1C looks to make its mark. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below.

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Manker PL10 Multi-tool Flashlight

Sometimes the most useful and impressive results come from the most unlikely partnerships. Despite flashlights and pens often sharing a similar shape, no one's managed to put them together well in the same tool. And while a poor effort can easily end up ineffective in both applications, Manker's taken the best parts—especially the parts EDCers like—from tactical pens and flashlights and put them into the PL10. It's a compact multi-tool that's no jack of both trades.

The PL10 seeks to hit 3 EDC nails on the head: the need for a pleasant and pocketable light, the usefulness of always having a pen, and the robust construction for tactical use in an emergency. As a light, the PL10 comes with a hi-CRI Nichia 219B LED, pushing out up to 120 lumens in a versatile, floody beam. It uses a rechargeable 10180 lithium battery as a power source, which you don't have to worry about replacing since the PL10 comes with a built-in charging port and USB cable. On the pen side the PL10 uses a black refill cartridge. While it does serve to keep the tool compact, this unfortunately means it's a refill you'd have to replace direct from Manker. It's a bit of a compromise, but the two included refills should last you quite a bit.

For tactical applications, you get IPX-6-rated fit and finish in a solid stainless steel body. It's knurled with a deep diamond pattern, with fins and grooves that give added grip when used as a pen or striking tool. A tungsten tip on the cap also gives the PL10 glass breaking ability should you need it. Said cap also comes with a smooth pocket clip that lets you easily carry the tool as you would a light or pen, making it easy to EDC, especially at only 2.1 ounces with its battery.

Whether as a light or a tactical pen, the PL10 means business for both departments. Pick one up from Amazon at the link below, or direct from Manker here.

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Nitecore TIP SS

From Tube to TIP, the iconic Nitecore keychain flashlights have proven their mettle through the years. And while they came out with a high-CRI model earlier this year, they're beefing up the TIP yet again from the inside out. In this newest iteration Nitecore adds some metal to the mix, outfitting the TIP 2017 SS with a stainless steel build and a stronger output for heavy keychain duty.

The key features of the TIP 2017 are still present in the SS model. The reworked clip gives you carry options and protects the TIP's charging ports, dual intelligent modes tailor the light's 360 lumens and 46 hours of runtime to your needs, and IP54-rated metallic construction and USB charging round out its features.

New in the SS are the exotic new finishes: polished stainless steel and jet black/tropical PVD (physical vapor deposition) titanium coatings. They add a touch of elite aesthetic to your TIP of choice, making it even easier to match them to your equally exotic EDC.

Exceptional portability, exotic aesthetic, and ease of carry: the TIP 2017 SS is game, set and match. If you have have room to add yet another versatile keychain flashlight to your carry, pick out your SS of choice at the link below.

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ASP Flashlights

If you ask any police officer about the gear on his or her duty belt, chances are there’s something on it made by Armament Systems and Procedures, better known as ASP. If you're unfamiliar with ASP, they've been making solid and reliable tactical gear for law enforcement professionals for over 40 years now. While their products are primarily designed and made for the pros, they've got what it takes for civilian EDC, too. ASP offers an eclectic lineup of everyday carry flashlights, all designed with an emphasis on high performance, ease of use, and reliability.

MecArmy MOT10 Flashlight

It's 2017, and we don't just rely on the trusty tools in our pockets anymore. We also depend on tech that keeps us connected and enhances our day-to-day. Whether it's a laptop for work, a tablet for the kids, or the mobile phone for, well, everything, tech is very much a part of our carry these days as a knife or flashlight. And with all that tech there just isn't enough power to go around, making power banks as ubiquitous as the gear they power. So now there’s the problem of carrying too much gear, which MecArmy are keen to fix. With the MOT10, they solve two carry problems with one flashlight that's got the right features for EDC.

The MOT10 first and foremost aims to be a great light. Powered by 1 x 18650 battery, it uses a Cree XP-L HI V3 LED to push out up to 1000 lumens on Turbo for 4.15 hours, or a 12-lumen low for up to 254 hours. With its Strobe and SOS modes you get a plenty of light to use for all your tasks, controlled by the MOT10's side switch. An included clip and detachable metal tailcap loop also give you options for carrying the light or suspending it from your gear.

Its secondary function lies under the cap on its bottom. Two USB ports—one standard and one micro—let the MOT10 either charge your devices or be charged itself. The onboard charging saves you the trouble of carrying another set of cables and adapters, and the capacity of a good 18650 gives your devices enough charge in a pinch when using the light to charge.

Whether as a powerful and EDC-friendly light on its own or the battery backup you need in an emergency, the MOT10 is a great addition to both enhance and consolidate your gear. Pick one up from the link below.

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MecArmy SGN7 Rechargeable Alarm/Flashlight

It seems just yesterday that our flashlights used huge disposable batteries and still couldn't hit a hundred lumens. Thanks to modern tech, exponentially powerful pocket rockets are now a thing we slip into our pockets. Best known for their compact keychain flashlights, MecArmy are tackling more than the dark with the SGN7 rechargeable flashlight. With a personal alarm and power bank functionality combined with its significant output, the light not only helps you stay prepared, but keeps you safe, too.

Housed within the SGN7's IPX5-rated aluminum shell is a Cree XP-G2 S4 LED that gives it a maximum output of 550 lumens. You can navigate its 4 other modes with its top switch, including a 1.55 lumen Low mode that runs for 117 hours and a tactical strobe. Speaking of strobe, the SGN7's main personal safety feature is quick access to both this mode and a 120dB siren, giving you security and buying you space in emergency situations at the touch of a button. Side ports for regular and micro USB also let you access the SGN7's portable charging feature. While it won't give you a significant charge, it may be enough for that one important phone call in a pinch.

When your nightly commute turns into a crisis, the SGN7's got your back—even if your emergency turns out to just be a low battery. Pick up the light in your choice of color at the Amazon link below.

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Rofis TR15 Adjustable Head Flashlight

No need to adjust your screen, you aren't looking at a broken flashlight. It's the TR15, a versatile flashlight from Rofis that pulls double duty as either a straight or angled flashlight. This feature gives you all the versatility you need to handle any lighting task. And with up to 700 lumens at your disposal along with a slew of carry-friendly options, the TR15 deserves a spot in any everyday carry.

A Cree XP-L HI V3 LED is at the heart of the TR15, giving it up to 700 lumens on High with a 14500 battery or up to 200 lumens with a standard AA. You can navigate its 6 modes with a touch of its side switch, which also works as its battery indicator and lockout mechanism. But the light's key feature is its ability to angle its head 90 degrees, converting the TR15 into an angled light for the tasks that need it. This lets you grip the light as needed in any configuration, letting you adapt or fit it into the right spaces to get the job done. Add to that an included clip and magnetic tail, and you get your bases covered whether in hand, as a headlamp, attached to a surface, or clipped to your pocket or bag.

With the Rofis TR15, you'll have all your angles covered in a single light. Pick one up at the link below.

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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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