Everyday Carry

The 12 Best Flashlights to Add to Your EDC in 2022

Adam Molina
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The 12 Best Flashlights to Add to Your EDC in 2022

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With the weather getting colder and the nights getting longer here in the Northern hemisphere, it’s a great time to stop and take stock of your gear. There are a lot of different items that go into making sure your bases are covered. Plenty of people opt for a quality knife or multitool. Still, one often overlooked piece of EDC gear is a flashlight, which is interesting because you would carry an umbrella for a 20% chance of rain, but most people opt not to carry a light when there’s a 100% chance of darkness every day.

A light you can rely on can be handy whether you’re trekking through the wilderness, prepping for the next power outage, or walking the dog. Not to mention a small, super bright light can also come in handy for emergencies and is a way brighter and more purpose-built tool than the light on your phone. Whether you’re looking to fill a gap in your EDC or are looking to upgrade, this list of the best flashlights has you covered. A quality light you can trust doesn’t have to be unattainable.


Our Top Picks

The Best Overall Flashlight: Fenix PD34 V3.0 [Buy] / [Full Review]

The Best Flashlight on a Budget: Convoy S2+ [Buy

The Best Keychain Flashlight: RovyVon Aurora A4x  [Buy

The Most Bombproof Flashlight: HDS Rotary [Buy

The Best Flashlight for Enthusiasts: Emisar D4V2 [Buy


Keychain

Keychain Flashlight: Nitecore TINI 2

Purchase
Key Features
USB-C rechargeable
OLED display
Easy-to-use interface
Specifications
Maximum Output
500 lumens
Emitter
OSRAM P8
Material
Aluminum, titanium, stainless steel
EDC Rating


Price
$
If what you’re after is a small light that you’ll always have on you, look no further than the Nitecore TINI 2. It’s small yet mighty, measuring only 1.8” in length and weighing 0.6 ounces. Despite its small size, it still manages to pump out 500 lumens in max mode thanks to dual OSRAM P8 LEDs. It has a simple 2-button interface and a unique OLED display that shows helpful information like battery level, brightness level, and runtime remaining. It also charges via USB-C, so you can charge it with the same cable that charges many other devices.
Keychain

Keychain Flashlight: RovyVon Aurora A4x Titanium

Purchase
Key Features
Micro USB rechargeable
Huge output
Many other options in the Aurora line
Specifications
Maximum Output
650 lumens
Emitter
Multiple
Material
Titanium
EDC Rating


Price
$
Rovyvon makes some of the coolest looking flashlights around, and the Aurora A4x titanium is just another example of that. To be fair, this is only one of the many options you can choose from when buying this light, but EDCers have a soft spot in their hearts for titanium. On max output, the A4x can get up to 700 lumens and it also has a built-in strobe mode that can come in handy for cyclists or if you’re stuck on the side of the road. Best of all, it’s small enough to fit on your keychain at just 2.3”.
AAA

AAA Flashlight: Skilhunt E3A High CRI

Purchase
Key Features
Single output high CRI
Twist activation
IPX8-rated waterproof
Specifications
Maximum Output
100 lumens
Emitter
Samsung LH351B
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
If you believe that keeping it simple is better in most cases, then the Skilhunt E3A High CRI might be for you. There’s nothing extravagant about this flashlight, making it a great option if you don’t want to overthink your purchase. It features a high CRI and is IPX8 waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it if you end up in some water. You only need a single AAA battery to give you up to 100 lumens. You need to twist the tail cap to activate the light intentionally, so you shouldn’t have any accidental activations that run through the battery. You can choose between multiple color options, and at just 2.3”, it can easily fit on a keychain.
AAA

AAA Flashlight: Prometheus Beta QRv2

Purchase
Key Features
Unique quick release attachment
3-level twist activation
High CRI
Specifications
Maximum Output
90 lumens
Emitter
Nichia 319A
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
The Prometheus Beta QRv2 is a certified EDC classic flashlight that just happens to be small. It’s made of solid aluminum, has an IPX8 waterproof rating, and only needs one AAA battery. You can twist the head to cycle through the three modes (Low, Medium, and High) with a max brightness of 90 lumens. What makes this light special is the unique quick-release keychain that allows you to detach it from your keys when you need to. The system can hold up to 10 pounds, so you can bet that it’ll hold onto the flashlight just fine.
AA

AA Flashlight: Skilhunt M150 High CRI

Purchase
Key Features
Latest and greatest enthusiast LED
14500 compatible
Built-in magnetic charging system
Specifications
Maximum Output
750 lumens
Emitter
Multiple
Material
‎Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
The Skilhunt M150 is one of those flashlights that you’d have a hard time finding something that you hate. It’s solid in just about every way that matters. It’s made of aluminum alloy and uses the latest and greatest community favorite high CRI Nichia 519A LED. It accepts a 14500 lithium-ion battery (with onboard magnetic charging) and NiMH AA. The removable tail cap is magnetic, allowing the user to work hands-free in a pinch. Not to mention that it has three main light modes as well as a strobe for emergencies.
AA

AA Flashlight: AceBeam Rider RX Titanium

Purchase
Key Features
Fidgetable double-barrel design
Two-way clip
High CRI
Specifications
Maximum Output
650 lumens
Emitter
Nichia 219F
Material
Stainless steel, titanium
EDC Rating


Price
$
For anyone that wants a flashlight for practical reasons and then a fidget toy for the rest of the time, check out the AceBeam Rider RX Titanium. As the name implies, this flashlight uses a double-barreled titanium design that better insulates (and simply looks cool). While the 3.7-inch titanium build allows it to be durable enough for the most rugged EDC kits, the built-in mechanical switch and bolt-action barrel design also lets it act as the perfect fidget toy. It has a maximum output of 650 lumens and uses a CRI90 light which is surprisingly close to natural light, so you can accurately see the colors of whatever you’re looking at. You’ll get five different lights, including Ultra-low, Low, Medium, High, and an SOS strobe that can go for roughly 53 hours.
CR123A

CR123A Flashlight: HDS Rotary

Purchase
Key Features
Unique and programmable rotary interface
Potted electronics
Extremely overbuilt bombproof construction
Specifications
Maximum Output
250 lumens
Emitter
Cree XP-G2
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
The HDS Rotary is arguably a grail light for many EDCers, and for a good reason. It combines an extremely rugged build with an intuitive UI that makes it easy to use, all while utilizing a common battery in the CR123A. You only need to click the tail cap push button to activate the light, and then you can use the unique rotary control to switch between 24 steps of adjustable brightness going all the way up to 250 lumens. Of course, you can always just press and hold the button to skip straight to maximum brightness. It’s a dead-simple interface that takes all the complication out of this EDC essential, efficiently giving you the exact light you need at the push of a button.
CR123A

CR123A Flashlight: Sofirn SC21

Purchase
Key Features
Compact size
Tint options
Magnetic tailcap
Specifications
Maximum Output
1,000 lumens
Emitter
Samsung LH351D
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
Another CR123A flashlight worth keeping in mind is the Sofirn SC21. This small flashlight measures only 2.8”, though it has a slightly larger diameter than some similarly sized keychain flashlights. It has three different tint options you can choose from (2700K, 4000K, or 5000K) and has a peak brightness of 1000 lumens. At max brightness, the beam can reach an insane 134 meters. Thanks to the rechargeable battery and a USB-C input, you can charge it completely in roughly one hour. You also get a magnetic tail cap with a dual direction clip, so it’ll be right at home on MOLLE webbing or the bill of your cap like a makeshift headlamp.
18350

18350 Flashlight: Emisar D4V2

Purchase
Key Features
Advanced Andúril interface
Many, many tint and LED options
Lots of custom hardware options for the perfect light
Specifications
Maximum Output
Up to 4,300 lumens
Emitter
Multiple
Material
‎Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
For the enthusiast that wants complete control over every little detail, there’s the Emisar D4V2. This flashlight has many LED options, plenty of color options, and even some accessories so you can get the exact flashlight you want. The LEDs, tint, and even maximum output can all be tweaked to your desired specs, thanks to the incredibly versatile Andúril programmable interface. This system may be daunting at first, but it allows for plenty of customizability and versatility with how you use your flashlight. The D4V2 is IP67 rated, meaning that it’s plenty waterproof and dustproof so you won’t have to baby it even in the toughest environments. Not to mention the fantastic knurling that helps you keep a good grip on it even when wet.
18650

18650 Flashlight: Fenix PD35 V3.0

Purchase
Key Features
Dual switch design
Micro USB rechargeable battery
Power indicator
Specifications
Maximum Output
1,700 lumens
Emitter
Luminus SFT-40
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$$
Fenix is one of the most trusted brands in flashlights. The company makes lights of all shapes and sizes, but the Fenix PD35 V3.0 is worth paying extra attention to. It has an impressive max brightness that reaches 1,700 lumens, with four other brightness levels and a strobe mode to cover your bases. One useful you won’t find everywhere is that this light has a built-in battery level indicator so you can tell how much battery is left at a glance. The PD35 comes from a long line of reliable Fenix EDC flashlights, and has no weaknesses in terms of value and performance for an everyday flashlight.
18650

18650 Flashlight: Convoy S2+

Purchase
Key Features
Very affordable
Great modding platform
Reverse polarity protection
Specifications
Maximum Output
440 lumens
Emitter
Nichia 519A R9080
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Price
$
Finding a worthy flashlight doesn’t mean you need to break the bank, and the Convoy S2+ is proof of that. For less than $20, you can get a solid 4.6” flashlight to cover your bases. It has the high CRI Nichia 519A LED (which is all the rage right now), and you can configure the flashlight to your preferred specs thanks to multiple tint and color options. The Convoy S2+ is a solid option for anyone that doesn't want to break the bank but still wants to be able to choose what is most important to them. For enthusiasts, the S2+ is also a very popular modding platform for those who want to customize their light with aftermarket emitters and parts, and the low entry point makes it an easy place to start.
18650

18650 Flashlight: Cloud Defensive MCH

Purchase
Key Features
Comes in 18350 or 18650 sizes
Two output/LED options
Extremely durable construction
Specifications
Maximum Output
Up to 1,400 lumens
Emitter
Multiple
Material
Aluminum
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
The Cloud Defensive MCH flashlight is purpose-built specifically for people that expect a little more out of their gear. It measures 5.17” long, is made with 6061 precision machined aluminum, and has an IPX8 waterproof rating to boot. It comes in two light head configurations: EDC or High Candela. Depending on the model, you can configure both versions to either a single or dual output LED light ranging from 1100 to 1400 lumens. Then there’s also a customizable tail cap so you can choose which accessories you find most useful for carry. And if an 18650 platform is a bit too large for your EDC, Cloud Defensive also offers a shorter 18350 body for the MCH for a more pocketable option.

Key Features to Consider When Buying a Flashlight - How to Choose

Before finding the best flashlight for you, there are a few key things you should know. Not all flashlights prioritize the same features, so having a solid foundational knowledge of each term can help you pick the light best for you. You can learn something useful even if you don’t pick up a flashlight for yourself.

Brightness

You can’t talk about a flashlight without discussing how bright it gets. We measure brightness in lumens, which is how much light a source (like a bulb) emits. It’s hard to understand what this means without seeing it, so for reference, the flashlight on the back of the average smartphone is roughly 50 lumens when compared to our picks in this list.

Battery Life

Battery life is essential because it doesn’t matter how bright a flashlight can get if it has no power. Different battery types will provide different amounts of power. Plus, it also determines the minimum size that the flashlight needs to be. For example, a flashlight that accepts a AAA battery will likely be able to fit on your keychain, while other flashlights that need larger batteries need to rely on a pocket clip to be carried. Many flashlights on this list rely on CR123A batteries, which offer an above-average output and long runtime for their size, making them perfect for everyday carry.

Rechargeable Flashlight

If you don’t want to deal with replacing batteries every time the flashlight dies, you can always opt for a USB-rechargeable flashlight instead. These have built-in rechargeable batteries, so you can simply plug them into a charger when they die. These flashlights have benefits (like never needing to carry spare batteries with you) but also have downsides. If the battery dies while you’re out and about on a non-rechargeable flashlight, you can swap in a new battery and continue. With rechargeable batteries, you’ll need to wait before it has enough juice to keep going. Non-replaceable rechargeable batteries also mean your light has a finite lifetime and will need eventual replacing when its battery degrades and no longer has any usable capacity.

Light Output Type

If you really want to get down and dirty with flashlights, you should always know a little about the types of light output. Flashlights typically use LEDs (light-emitting diode) and will be either CREE or Nichia, both of which are tried-and-true options.
Nichia bulbs tend to have a more natural-looking light, meaning objects you shine your light on will have a more faithful reproduction of color. Some lights will also have different color temperatures ranging from 2000K to 5000K. The higher the K value, the cooler (more blue) the light. Lower K value lights will have a warmer tint closer to candles or old incandescent bulbs.
If you want to really dig into the details, we recommend reading our guide to EDC flashlights.

Beam Distance

While a flashlight's brightness is an important feature, you shouldn’t overlook beam distance. This is how far your flashlight beam can reach, just like it sounds. If you’re only looking for whatever fell under your couch, this probably won’t matter to you, but the next time you’re looking for something outside, you’ll thank yourself for getting a flashlight with a decent throw.

Water-resistant

Flashlights use electronic components and electric currents, and electricity famously does not get along with water. Getting a flashlight that is at least water-resistant (or at best waterproof) will mean that your new light won’t get destroyed by the first passing raincloud. A typical flashlight is fairly water-resistant already, but flashlights with a waterproof Ingress Rating (IP) will have the upper hand in a gloomy downpour.

Form Factor

Flashlights come in all shapes and sizes. The ones on this list are standard lights that will fit on your keychain or in your pockets, but there are also other kinds. If you’re someone that prefers a light that you can use hands-free, then what you might need is a solid headlamp instead. If that sounds like you, check out our list of the best headlamps you can get.

Tactical Flashlight vs Normal

There are key differences between tactical flashlights and normal EDC flashlights. The main ones are that tactical flashlights are typically much larger, heavier, and have a strike bezel. They tend to be purpose-built for the most intense situations where the emphasis is on toughness over how easy they are to carry (think law enforcement). EDC flashlights place more value on being big enough to be effective but small enough that you can carry them daily. Tactical flashlights can also get extremely bright, so it might be a little impractical for someone simply taking the dog for a walk.


Best Flashlights FAQ

What is the best flashlight on the market?

If you want a powerful light with proper modes and a reasonable price, then the best flashlight is the Fenix PD34 V3.0. It won’t break the bank, and it lives comfortably in the gray area between being a small, pocketable flashlight and a large tactical one, while still offering many solid features.

What brand of flashlights do police use?

While this answer differs between places, a popular option is Streamlight.

What flashlights do Navy SEALs use?

Navy SEALs tend to use more tactical lights due to the need for brighter output, rugged build quality, and waterproofing.

What are the most popular flashlights?

While MagLite had a moment back in the day, the most popular flashlights now come from brands like Streamlight, SureFire, Fenix, and, Olight.

What are the best flashlights for camping?

The best flashlight for camping is something like the Sofirn SC21. You’ll want something that can get wet, get bright, and last long. This flashlight checks all three. It’s small enough to be comfortable to carry with you at all times but powerful enough that you can rely on it in the pitch black of the woods.


How we picked

Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily lives. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.

Why you should trust us

Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.

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Discussion (3 total)

Shane ·
These are all low-budget options. You've got nothing from CWF, Okluma, Laulima, Reylight, etc. or any option in the $300 - $500 range or higher. You can't say something is the best flashlight, period, and not talk about actually good flashlights. At best you can say these are good low-budget flashlights.
Nobody who is serious about EDC is looking at that bling crap. Buyers looking for top-line custom lights are getting Hanklights, period.
Jason E Franzone ·
Have Gen 1 & 2 of RV A4 Ti. Gen 3 adds USB C charging. Great keychain light!