Ounce for ounce, you will never do better for a useful daily carry tool than a good, dependable flashlight.
There is no gun, perhaps even no knife that is as vital in all situations, all seasons, and all places as a flashlight. From boring everyday chores to hardcore survival situations, you’ll always have a need for a survival flashlight.
Humans are almost completely dependent on our primary sense: sight.
Unlike some of the big cats and other predators out here in the world that have an excellent night-adapted vision, humans do not. Without light, our sharp binocular vision fails.
While a little light from the moon or stars can let us see enough to navigate or at least not fall off a cliff, more light is always better.
In a dark building or basement, or in the middle of the pitch-black under the canopy of a forest at midnight, you need a way to create light at the flick of a switch.
Lucky for you is today’s LED flashlights are extremely powerful, power-efficient, and best of all small and easy to carry in a pouch or pocket.
And this article I’ll offer you a list of the 20 of the best EDC flashlights on the market today suitable for any kind of work.
Why Carry an EDC Light at All?
If you keep with the line of reasoning above that light on demand is a necessity to make the best use of our primary sense at all times in an emergency, then it is eminently logical that a flashlight is the most versatile, and handiest, of the lighting tools available.
Compared to other modern lighting systems, even portable ones, flashlights are smaller, easier to carry, easier to draw, and significantly more flexible.
Flashlights are smaller, lighter, and easier to tote than lanterns, they are far swifter to draw and bring into action than headlamps and only flashlights have the form factor that allows them to be efficiently used both for mundane utility purposes, and high-pressure, life or death self-defense and tactical situations.
What’s more, flashlights are valuable for signaling and even two-way communications if you learn some old-school cool skills like Morse code.
Our modern flashlights are so powerful they can be seen from miles away, easily cut through the mist, and still boast battery life that would have been unimaginable even two decades ago.
More light is always a good thing, especially when you need it, and if you need to get the attention of someone on the next peak, across the field, or high up in the sky in a search and rescue aircraft you’ll want a blazingly powerful light.
Even these phenomenally powerful flashlights, which are more akin to a handheld searchlight than a flashlight of old, will easily fit in a pocket on most jeans and slacks, and almost any purse or belt pouch.
There’s very literally no reason to not have one with you. Much like a gun, a flashlight that is waiting in the car or, even worse, back at home is worse than useless.
You’ll be stumbling and staggering in the dark cursing your lack of foresight and discipline. In an actual emergency, seconds count, and seconds in the dark feel very long indeed.
Make sure you have a good EDC flashlight in your pocket ready to draw when the lights go out.
That’s a lot of Light! Are more lumens Really the Best Option?
You’ll see prospective buyers and fans of flashlights arguing regularly about how much light output, measured in lumens among other factors, is best. This conversation will usually boil down to how much light is “too much”.
There’s one school of thought that describes the idea that too high an output can cause problems.
Light can reflect back into your eyes and distract you, the glare off of what you’re working on at close range makes it hard to discern detail, and so on.
The only answer to the question “is more light always better?” is “it depends”.
This is a choice you’ll have to make as a user: more light is almost always better from a performance standpoint because a higher output lets the light work better across a wider variety of circumstances and environments.
Anything that may serve as an obstacle to the light, things as mist, fog, smoke, and physical transparent barriers like tinted glass and mesh over doors or windows will impair the light from reaching the thing you want to see.
More powerful flashlights will get more light through the obstruction to the “target” allowing you to perceive it better.
Also keep in mind that in a defensive situation very powerful lights or another defensive tool, one that can impair or even strip the vision from an assailant.
The reflected light is one thing, but having the most powerful flashlights aimed directly into your eyes may take away the visual horizon from the person so afflicted and is a major advantage for the person not affected.
But the price you pay for massive and blinding amounts of light is almost always a short run time.
There is no free lunch: powerful flashlights are battery hogs and will quickly drain cells or built-in power supplies in no time flat.
Probably not a big deal if you are a cop or a soldier or a self-defense-minded citizen who’s not relying on the light for utility purposes for any great length of time and have spare batteries close at hand.
For someone trying to survive in the woods after an SHTF event, knowing you have about 15 minutes of “personal sun” might be pretty stressful to contemplate.
Better to have an hour or two of lesser light so you can get more work done, longer, before needing to refuel.
But luckily, you don’t have to choose. Modern lights make use of selectable switching or even programmable switching, allowing you to set the light up to serve your purposes best.
If you’re a self-defense-minded prepper, you may want the light running on full output all the time until you click the controls a certain way or in a certain sequence to activate a low-power mode for utility tasks.
If you were far more concerned with regular chores and survival than retina-melting output, you can do the opposite, keeping a light on a low-to-mid power setting but allowing it to dial-up to full power with a specific activation.
You will notice all the flashlights on this list are very powerful, excepting the smallest.
That is because when you need a light for any reason, more light is almost always better and my choices for this list reflect that.
The 20 Best EDC Flashlights
20. Surefire Sidekick
One of the smallest and best all-around flashlights for “normal earth people,” Surefire’s Sidekick is just about as small as you can make a key fob flashlight and it is still packing major power, reliability, and excellent all-around performance.
The pint-sized Sidekick is less than 3 inches long but kicks out 100 lumens for every inch in length it is; that’s right, 300 lumens of robust, eminently usable task and utility lighting further bolstered by selectable low, medium and high outputs.
One of the Sidekick’s biggest strength is its adaptability. When you have a light this small, you have very few excuses for forever going without it.
I can imagine the sidekick being used in the traditional on-the-keychain role, attached by a cord on a pack or bag, clipped to a zipper or even carried on the belt with a retractable lanyard.
The Sidekick is powered by an internal recharge-only battery making use of a micro USB connection.
For minimalists or just people who want the smallest light imaginable without getting down to “single match” levels of light, the Sidekick should be at the top of a short list.
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While it is significantly more expensive than some other competitors in the sector, it really is a tremendous amount of light for the money. You can get it here.
19. Fenix LD15R
A retro-inspired offering by Fenix, the LD15R shows its obvious parentage in the old, plentiful, plastic military crookneck flashlights of yesteryear.
Rarely seen these days, the right-angle head flashlight is something of a dying breed.
That’s a shame, as when done right like this flashlight is, they afford a surprising amount of utility for everyday citizens and Preppers alike.
The LD15R includes both white and red LEDs to take care of all your task lighting needs; white for general use and red for preserving night vision in dim or low light conditions.
While this light does boast of a 500 lumen maximum output, that is from the so-called turbo mode, which you can read as battery drainer extraordinaire.
Normal output on high is a far more leisurely 150 lumens. Medium and low output modes can produce 30 or 3 lumens to conserve energy or just when less light is acceptable.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about feeding the LD15R batteries too often since it is rechargeable using a standard 16340 battery with the capability to use a 123A lithium as a backup, so this will see you lose a few lumens on the top end.
Honestly, it is this light’s features, not its output, which make it so enticing for Preppers.
The detachable clip is ideal for pocket or on body carry, and the capability of clipping the light to a backpack strap, a shirt pocket, a collar, or any place else on your person. It’s very handy.
For off-body task lighting, the light has a magnetic base do allow you to set it on any ferrous metal surface without fear of it getting away from you.
The top-mounted switch and right-angle head are not traditionally taught for use with firearms, but with a little practice, it actually lends itself fairly well to the two-handed support of a handgun. You can get it here.
18. Elzetta Alpha Series
Elzetta flashlights take a fairly novel track to get the customer what they want in a personal lighting solution.
Rather than offering a multitude of base models, Elzetta flashlights are more or less built and shipped to order based on their customers’ requirements.
By offering a variety of body length, switching, bezel and lens options Elzetta allows you to get a flashlight that is completely tailored to your requirements.
Your choices are many: you can have selectable output switching, momentary on only switching, or click on click off switching.
You can choose from flood light or spot beam lenses which are also interchangeable. you can even choose from a standard smooth or a wickedly pronged bezel surrounding the lens, with the latter being ideal for self-defense purposes though it is a little harder on your pocket.
All of this housed in a sturdy aluminum body with great texture that is super secure in the hand.
Combined with a modest price, no-frills styling and dependably high output (dependent on your choices in construction!) the Elzetta Alpha modular flashlight can be a picture-perfect light for you. Get one here.
17. Surefire Aviator
If your purposes mean you’ll need a flashlight with special capabilities, like maintaining night vision or perhaps tracking spilled blood through a darkened forest, you should definitely check out Surefire’s Aviator Series of flashlights.
At first glance, the Aviator looks very much like the Surefire flashlights we’ve all grown to know and love.
It is nearly indestructible, coated with low glare and durable black anodizing, and features a nifty pocket clip.
What sets the Aviator apart from other Surefire offerings is a built-in set of color LEDs that support the main white LED.
While not selectable, you can choose models featuring amber, blue, red or green lighting for nearly any purpose.
Amber is a common choice of pilots (it’s in the name!), while blue makes spilled blood especially noticeable on the ground at night.
Red is a great, all-purpose low-light color to help preserve your night vision, but sorry to tell red, green is even better than red at preserving night vision.
The controls on the light are simplicity in themselves: you can click the bezel left or right to choose the color of the light and the tailcap toggles the light on or off.
A single click or press of the tailcap will cycle the light to high, while a double click or press turns the main beam on low.
If either color, this allows you to get the absolute most life out of your batteries by dialing only the amount of light you need for the task. You can get it here.
16. Coast PX20 Dual Color
Maybe you need a dual-color flashlight that doesn’t cost several hundred dollars like the admittedly excellent Surefire Aviator above.
If that’s the case, I need a light that will help preserve your night vision on a budget, you should check out the Coast PX20.
As small as many competitors lights but using cheaper materials and simplified construction techniques to give you the capability you need without breaking the bank.
The PX20 features only a white or red LED. That’s it, no other color options. It is largely adequate for most tasks, though, with a 315 lumen output main beam and a 30 lumen output color beam.
A pocket clip helps you get the light situated the way you want and you can turn on either color using a dedicated switch on opposite sides of the main body, which is heavily knurled for a secure grip even in wet weather.
Coast makes a nice little flashlight, but you should not expect it to hold up to extremely rigorous conditions or abusive impacts like more expensive lights.
That being said, the vast majority of people will never test their flashlights in such a severe way, so if you’d rather save your money for other things aside from spending it all on a flashlight, give Coast a try. You can get it here.
15. Fenix E18R
Fenix Flashlights are popular with enthusiasts for their combination of excellent output, innovative features and modest price.
With the latest offerings boasting magnetic charging connections, tons of switching options and respectable run time in very compact packages Fenix is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the flashlight market.
The E18R is no exception. This all-purpose flashlight is equipped with a Cree XP-L LED and pushes a maximum 750 lumens all the way out to 150 yards.
But a compact form factor is not this light’s sole trick, either. It affords output selectable from one of four preset settings and also features a strobe option for signaling or dazzling an assailant.
Perhaps this light’s most interesting feature is its charging system. A built-in, no-click magnetic charging attachment supplies power to its internal 16340 rechargeable battery.
The E18R is barely 2 ½ in. long and weighs less than 1 ½ oz and its textured body and ergonomic pocket clip make it a cinch to carry and to use.
The kit includes the lights, a battery, the magnetic charging cable and a special battery holder to hold a spare battery or safely holds a primary battery while traveling. You can get it here.
14. Coast PX1
You’ll find expensive flashlights in no short supply on this list. Even more budget-conscious entries like Fenix and Olight can easily run over $50.
If you want top-tier performance you’re looking at Surefire or Streamlight, and their handhelds can easily go over $100. That’s a lot of cheddar to drop on a flashlight.
Coast is popular for making a wide assortment of lights for all conceivable tasks at a price that the average working stiff can afford. One of their most popular is the PX1.
The PX1 boasts a feature set typically found on lights that cost twice as much. This piggy bank-sparing light pushes 315 lumens at over two hours on bog-standard AAA batteries.
While this is no longer set-your-hair-on-fire levels of light in this day and age, it is more than enough to solve most utility and tactical problems that a citizen is likely to encounter.
Output is adjustable also with a 25 lumen low mode that will squeeze astonishing 40 hours out of those AAA’s.
As something of a throwback to flashlight design of yore, the PX1 features a twist focus feature meaning you can rotate the bezel clockwise or counterclockwise to go from a flood beam to a tight, long-range spot beam or anything in between to suit your task.
The light features a now industry-standard tailcap switch allows you to use it easily with most grips.
While the body is aluminum, you should not expect this light to hold up to levels of abuse that more expensive lights will withstand, so if you’re a hard-working tactical professional, it might be worth spending more to gain more durability in a crisis.
That being said, it is sturdy and should hold up well for most other tasks. You can get it here.
13. Surefire G2ZX Combatlight
Surefire flashlights are known for a few things. They are known for best in the world durability and reliability, extraordinary performance, and extremely refined, useful features for self-defense and tactical environments.
They’re also known for being kick-you-in-the-balls expensive. While not the cheapest light on this list, Surefire’s G2ZX combat light is one of Surefire’s most affordable and also among their best suited for self-defense.
This handy light pushes 600 lumens for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It’s not the brightest, and it’s not the longest-lasting but it is definitely nothing to laugh at and furnishes more than enough power, reach and run time for almost any situation, not just tactical ones.
But the tech specs are not this light’s claim to fame: The G2ZX features a lightweight Nitrolon polymer body with a rubber ring around the circumference of the middle.
It is this ring that facilitates the light’s use with a two-handed grip on a pistol, and is the feature that makes it so appealing for armed citizens.
As you would expect, switching on a light like this is the picture of simplicity. The tailcap switch is momentary only, meaning it cannot be clicked on, accidentally dropped and left to roll around and reveal your position in a high-pressure situation at night.
As an alternate option, the tailcap can be twisted down clockwise for constant on.
Not the most convenient arrangement when you just want the light to stay on, but considering the light’s pedigree and what it is designed for the switching arrangement makes sense. You can get it here.
12. Streamlight Pro-Tac 1L-1AA
Streamlight is another big-name manufacturer of flashlights, and one with a well-deserved reputation for reliability and stellar performance at a price point that won’t put you into the poorhouse like Surefire.
They also happen to make one of my favorite lights at any price point and are an excellent contestant for the ideal all-day-everyday carry light.
The Pro-Tac 1L-1AA is notable for its flexible battery options. A clue is in the name: this flashlight can make use of either a single lithium 123A battery, a single AA battery, or even rechargeable cells.
The performance is dependent upon the battery used. As you might have expected, you’ll get the best performance from the lithium battery option, with that single 123A getting you 350 lumens on high and 40 lumens on low.
A standard AA battery will get you 150 lumens on high and will also get the same 40 lumen low mode.
This might seem underpowered compared to some of the biggest and most beastly of flashlights we have today, but it is more than enough light for almost any task.
Another excellent and welcome feature of this light is its programmable tailcap. Configurable on the fly, the programming mode will allow you to run the light as high output only, high-low-strobe, or high-strobe depending on your wants and needs.
It’s worth noting that this feature is easily changed on the go with just a little practice, so as the situation changes your light can change to meet it.
With a rugged hard-anodized aluminum with a two-way pocket clip and practical knurling around the middle, this Streamlight may possibly be the ultimate all-purpose EDC light. You can get it here.
11. Surefire Fury DFT
If you want “all the lumens”, eye-melting candela, and a hot spot that can peel paint, then the SureFire Fury DFT is for you.
This light offers the best possible combination of immense brightness with a still pocketable form factor. The DFT is the most feature-packed model of the fury lineup and what it forsakes in nifty features it makes up for it with raw performance.
The Fury DFT produces a retina-searing 1,500 lumens on a 18650 battery, the new standard in replaceable rechargeables.
Handily, you do not give up the ability to use standard lithium batteries and this light will still produce 1,200 lumens using a pair of 123a batteries.
The hot spot is, as mentioned, extremely intense with a famously even and pure beam pattern that makes Surefire lights some of the best in the world.
This Fury is ideal for all long-range applications, and this light is more than effective past 250 yards. Make no mistake, this is a tactical light, and perhaps its only practical purpose is as a handheld searchlight.
The tail cap clicks on, click off, and full power only. A gentle press on the switch will now you to use it as momentary-on, but there are no programmable features or other such trickery. It is a “portable sun” or nothing. You can get it here.
10. Olight S1R II
Olight is another flashlight company that has made a tidy profit and a good name for themselves offering lights with Innovative features for modest prices.
Despite occasional hiccups with reliability and performance along with some overheating issues thanks to the monstrously high-output LED’s that are typically crammed into small form factors, they’ve gained a reputation as bright, compact lights for everyday carry. The S1R is the paradigm in that school of thought.
It might seem impossible, but this flashlight packs a 1000 lumen led into a body that isn’t even 2 oz in weight as not quite two and a half inches long.
What’s more, this little wonder has a battery status indicator that will alert you when power gets low; green for high, yellow for medium to low, and red for nearly empty.
The S1R II is amazingly compact and a dream to carry, featuring a two-way removable pocket clip and a heavily knurled “pineapple” texture body that will kind of remind you of an old frag grenade.
Even better, the light can make use of a standard 123A lithium battery as a backup to the rechargeable battery. Recharging is accomplished by an extremely convenient magnetically attachable cable.
Be warned, this light does have its flaws and not the least of which is fast overheating so this is not the best task light for a couple of reasons. You can get it here.
9. Streamlight Nano
Sometimes all you need is just enough light. Literally, enough light to see your feet on the trail or a keyhole in the dark.
The Nano is a far departure from Streamlight’s typical tactical, practical lighting solutions. This teeny-tiny light is, though, eminently useful and its chief attribute is its ability to always, always be close at hand.
Bordering on intangible, and using equally tiny batteries, the Nano isn’t even one inch long and can fit anywhere on your person or in your kit.
Quite literally anywhere and it’s just as at home in pocket survival kits as it is clicked to zipper pulls and key fobs using the attached shackle.
But the light produces only, get this, 10 lumens. 10 whole lumens. That’s not a typo. But 10 lumens are more than enough light to read a map or find your way in a pitch-black situation.
You’re not going to get through a gunfight with just 10 lumens, or signal a passing helicopter but there are a lot of other problems that 10 lumens can take care of.
Aside from its small form factor, the Nano’s other good attribute is its cheap price. These little things are so inexpensive you can buy a handful and stash them everywhere: survival kits, zipper pulls on your jacket, on your key ring, in your range bag, in your glove box- anywhere!
I would say you were half out of your mind if you’re planning to rely on this as your primary light.
But as a backup or even a contingency option, they are excellent and one of the few lights in this size category that are even worth buying; most are terribly unreliable. The Nano is not.
8. Fenix TK35 Ultimate
If you want a truly preposterous amount of light out of your flashlight, you have come to the right place.
Designed as a purpose-specific tactical and law enforcement light, the Fenix TK35 is designed to do one thing: put out as much light as humanly imaginable from a flashlight this size.
The TK35 employs a CREE XHP70 HI white LED that cranks out on an astonishing 3200 lumens on its highest setting.
You’ll never sustain this kind of output on common batteries, so to provide the juice for such a power-hungry LED this flashlight makes use of two 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Make no mistake; this is probably the largest of the lights on this list and not one easily carried in anything smaller than a cargo pocket.
The provided belt pouch is a welcome addition to the kit, but if you’re carrying this light you’re getting out to some special activities.
The wide, flattened body of the lights features a pair of tail caps at the rear for control of the light and the switches moods are further selectable by a toggle that changes the light from tactical to outdoor modes of operation.
The switch can also lockout the light from activating inadvertently during travel or storage.
The first operation mode, tactical, will cycle the light between a 2000 lumen turbo setting, a 3200 lumen rapid strobe for the disorientation of assailants, and a much weaker 100 lumen SOS mode for emergency signaling.
The outdoor mode features, frankly, too many options with a 3200 lumen turbo mode carried over from the tactical setting, a 1000 lumen High mode, a 350 lumen medium, a 100 lumen low mode and a 20 lumen eco mode.
It also carries over the 100 lumen SOS mode from the Tactical switch setting.
This is an awful lot of flashlights, and not for everyone. But if you don’t mind its hungry power requirements in large form factor you get one of the most powerful handheld flashlights available with the TK35. You can get it here.
7. Streamlight Stylus Pro
It isn’t tactical, it isn’t the strongest and it isn’t even particularly cool, but what it is is extremely handy, easy to carry, and most importantly useful.
Streamlight’s Stylus Pro is incredibly slender, with a form factor that has more in common with a quality ballpoint pen than a typical EDC flashlight.
Despite the waifish profile the Stylus Pro puts out a respectable 250 lumens on high mode and will still afford you over one and a half hours of run time on a single charge.
The low output mode is similarly respectable, pushing 90 lumens for over three and a half hours. No matter which option you choose this is a lot of cast lighting for a long time and an extremely convenient package.
This one has a built-in battery that is recharged via micro-USB. The USB port itself is protected by a sliding metal sleeve to keep out dirt, dust, and moisture.
The switch is the expected tailcap, but its small size and protruding nature make it prone to inadvertent activation if you’re not careful.
Keep an eye on this one if you have it stashed in a sleeve or in a pack as you may pull it out only to find out the batteries have drained in transit.
The only other quibble is the detachable pocket clip is not permanently affixed to the light body.
Even if this affords you more choice in setting up the light according to the way you want, to carry it does make it prone to lose, should the light get torqued or twisted while you have it clipped onto something.
Extremely thin, feathery light, and offering a surprising amount of performance the Stylus Pro is one of the most elegant and convenient EDC lights on this list. You can get it here.
6. Olight Keychain i1R EOS
Super compact “hideout” lights are a dime a dozen in today’s crowded flashlight marketplace, but very few pack in the latest full-size light features and respectable output in such a diminutive size envelope.
Enter the Olight Keychain i1R EOS. Barely bigger than the keys on your key ring, this Olight nonetheless manages to cram in a ton of great features.
With a 150 lumen high mode and a barely-there 5 lumen low mode this is a remarkable amount of output for a truly tiny light.
Switching is accomplished via twisting the head; a short-throw will turn it on low. Twisting all the way will turn it on high. Twist it the other way to turn it off. That’s all there is to operation.
This light also does not make use of disposable batteries, relying instead on recharging via a micro USB port.
An on-board charging indicator will glow red when charging, and green when it’s topped off so you know you’re always leaving home with the most juice.
The aluminum body is durable and the light weighs a scant half an ounce. For sure performance and usability, this is the micro light to beat. You can get it here.
5. Coast HP1 Rechargeable
Straightforward features with the convenience of flexible fueling; this is what the Coast HP1 is all about. This flashlight is no fuss, no muss.
With a user-focusable beam of a modest 190 lumens, an inexpensive price tag and a small form factor, this is the flashlight for the everyman.
The HP1 can make use of a single AA battery, AA rechargeable batteries, or 14500 lithiums depending on user preference and availability.
The body is textured for a secure grip, and features an anti-roll hexagonal section, tailcap controls and a robust, bolted-on pocket clip that you can remove if you don’t have any need of it and want to reduce the size somewhat.
The focusing feature is worth mentioning because it is slider adjustment, not a rotation as is commonly encountered.
Simply pull the bezel forward or backward to adjust the focus from a wide, soft, area flood beam to a sharp, focused spot beam and back.
While this is likely to change itself around as it rides in your pocket, it is a snap to reset to whatever is desired at the moment.
So long as you don’t need one or the other for a defensive or tactical situation at the instant it is not a problem.
Perhaps best of all you can get reliable performance from this flashlight for very little money, making it a great backup or bulk purchase to pad your spares.
4. Fenix E16
The E16 by Fenix is larger than a micro light and smaller than a typical compact EDC flashlight.
About the size of a single AA cell battery, theE16 still manages to ring out 700 lumens using a disposable 123A lithium battery.
As an alternate, more ecologically friendly option it can make use of a rechargeable battery meeting the same size parameters.
Multiple switching options, a low-power warning, a magnetic tail section and an excellent two-position pocket clip round out this compact Powerhouse.
Squeezing 700 lumens from a light this small is an impressive feat, but there is no way around how much energy that level of power will wring from a single battery. Luckily you don’t have to run the light on max output at all times.
The E16 makes use of five selectable output modes: A 700 lumen turbo mode, a 150 lumen high mode, a 30 lumen medium mode, 3 lumens on low, and then back up to a dazzling 700 lumens on strobe.
You’ll also be glad for the included lanyard and key ring. Chances are it will be all too easy to lose a light this small if it is just rolling around in your pocket.
Despite its tiny form factor, the E16 is also IP68 submersion rated down to six and a half feet for half an hour. This is one mighty mite you’ll be glad you put to the test.
3. Nightcore TM10K Tiny Monster
Nightcore has earned something of a reputation as the mad scientists of the flashlight manufacturer world. The TM10K Tiny Monster is one of the latest hallmarks of their passage on the flashlight market.
Boasting 6 high output LEDs that can pump out a truly unbelievable 10,000 lumens on the highest “burst” setting, the TM10K is nonetheless a high-tech and adaptable flashlight for all kinds of tasks, from general utility to search and rescue.
Much of this light’s appeal comes from its customizability, as light allows you to select the primary “high mode” to emit anywhere from 400 to 2000 lumens in 100 lumen increments. If you don’t need concrete-scorching output, you don’t have to use it.
While an output of 10000 lumens might seem like bragging rights, considering it will begin to overheat the light and drain the batteries in very short order, it does not take much imagination to think of why this might be useful in a survival situation.
A flashlight capable of generating that much brightness will be easily seen by any searchers on the ground or in the air.
This light uniquely features a built-in LED display that reports the current output setting and other operational info such as the battery temperature and remaining battery life.
While one of the larger lights on this list the Tiny Monster is still pretty compact, far more compact than the big bulky Maglites of old.
About as long as your average smartphone and barely as thick as the average wallet, the Tiny Monster has a useful pocket clip and included holster to make carrying a little easier.
And don’t let the square, blocky profile dissuade you: it fits and feels pretty good in the hand, and both switches are easily accessed.
LED’s of this magnitude have massive power requirements even on lower settings, and the Tiny Monster uses a built-in high-capacity battery to accommodate this. Recharging is accomplished by USB-C cable with enabled Quick Charge capability.
That means you’ll spend a lot less time waiting on your light to charge and more time with it ready to go in your pocket or on your belt where it should be. You can get it here.
2. Streamlight Pro-Tac 2AA
The slightly less adaptable but more economical cousin to the Pro-Tac 1L-1AA elsewhere on this list, the 2AA is all about easing your logistical concerns and expenditure on batteries.
Let’s face it, even the flashlight junkies among us have come close to needing smelling salts when we’ve been hit with the price of a box of lithium 123A batteries.
Even the modern rechargeables, while a great value and economical in the long run, can have very high start-up costs.
It can feel like a relief if all you have to purchase is common, incredibly easy-to-find AA’s to fuel your favorite flashlight…
Giving up lithium batteries means you also give up a little bit of performance, and this one pushes 250 lumens for at least an hour and a half.
250 lumens may sound a little weak by today’s standards, but it’s more than enough for almost any utility and many tactical tasks.
You may also drastically increase the already ample run time by making use of the programming feature so you can activate a reduced output mode when you don’t need the blinding high-beam.
As a utility light, this flashlight excels. And it is also no pushover in the tactical role thanks to its small form-factor, excellent switching, and a pocket clip that allows you to set it up for a draw no matter how you prefer to carry.
If your requirements do not mandate blisteringly high output and incredible range, you will likely find that the Pro-Tac 2AA is just the ticket for your EDC light. You can get it here.
1. Surefire Stiletto Pro
Surefire’s original Stiletto made a big splash when it premiered.
The coffin-shaped body, MaxVision reflector and triplex switching were a big departure from Surefire’s usual fare, and a major improvement over the light’s predecessor, the Guardian, which, while innovative, was not quite ready for prime time in the eyes of many prospective buyers.
The new Stiletto Pro refines the concept pioneered by the original Stiletto- easy to carry, with an easy, intuitive draw and a light ideal for self-defense that is still valuable for utility tasks- and enhances its already ample strengths while adding even more capability.
The Stiletto Pro bumps up the output, from 650 lumens in the original Stiletto, to 1000 lumens. It retains the 300-lumen medium and 25-lumen low outputs to handle any mundane tasks.
The switching is unchanged from his predecessor with the tactical tailcap switch going straight to either High mode or strobe based on user preference.
The traditionally located side switches activate your preferred lower output mode and also allow programming of the main tailcap switch. The light is fueled by an internal rechargeable battery via a protected USB port.
The Stiletto Pro also boasts a new for the model machined aluminum body instead of a polymer body crowned with an aluminum bezel as with the original Stiletto.
The coffin-shaped body, while unusual, is very ergonomic, and the flat, tapered shape makes it a cinch to carry in the pocket.
The name itself is an allusion to its intended mode of carrying- like a pocket knife- and in keeping with its intended self-defense purpose; it is quickly and easily drawn from either side.
The Stiletto Pro is expensive, even more, expensive than its predecessor, but if you have the coin you might just find this is the ultimate self-defense EDC light. You can get it here.
Darkness is an ever-present companion to many disasters and emergencies, and one bad turn of luck can see you plunged into it, unable to see and vulnerable.
Any good flashlight will let you banish the darkness with the click of a switch, allowing you to see what you need to see, make the decisions that need to be made and act on them with certainty.
An EDC flashlight is the most essential tool for any citizen of any walk of life and in any situation. Take a look at the flashlights on this list, and you’re sure to find one that will suit your purposes.
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