The Best EDC Flashlights Under $100


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)

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!
I wish there were vote buttons so we could see what viewers opinions qualitatively.
Zebralight SC62: power of an 18650, as small as any AA light. My all-time favourite.
Where's the olight series flashlights?
Maratac AAA anyone? 138 lumens for over an hour, 40 lumens for 7 hours, or 1.5 lumens for 55 hours. All in a tough, waterproof, lightweight package with a strong reversible pocket clip and lanyard hole. Smaller than my pinky finger!
and under $30
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.
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.
I'm really happy with my Electro Polished Stainless MARATAC™ AAA Flashlight ( REV 3 ). For 35.00 I'm not sure you can beat the performance for the price.
I have the regular black rev 3 and can't ask for more. I'd like to get the solid copper one,.. one day.
I have a Fenix LD15 have really liked the size of the barrel and the length. Only minor drawback is the twist not being flush with the barrel. Is the thrunite T10 the most analogous option in this list? Any other more simplified minimalist options in the AA set?
I really don't like the Fenix PD22. The switch on the barrel is something that I can't find instantly. Various other models have been "upgraded" with that switch as well. Fenix crushed it with the PD20. The button on the tailcap is always there and it's easy to find. Fortunately, I have several as well as spares of the discontinued EDC light.
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.
Sorry, when I need a light, I need a light not a toy. I have carried various Maglite models for more than 30 years. From the AAA that can go on a key ring, to the 4D that works across a football field, it will do the job. I said a prayer when my 6C cell bit the dust after 18 years of daily use. For my night job, seeing what is out there can be what means I get to come home at the end of a shift. I need a tool that does the job.

Waterproof, shock proof, etc. etc. I keep a 2AA in my briefcase and on my beside. Oh, and made in the USA of USA parts, except for one small part. Available everywhere.
Well, probably the "made in the USA" part is the more interesting one for people living in the the USA, but as I see this is a pretty international website. And aluminum is aluminum in China too, Cree XP-G2 is Cree XP-G2 as well (just an example LED). The value of the Thrunite, Nitecore and Zebralight flashlight is just too great to pass. They are shockproof, waterproof (based on ISO standards). So yeah, maybe they are not on the market for 60 years like Maglite but they have proven lot of reliability in the past years. And they have nothing to do to toys by a longshot.
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