So let’s talk about price, because most of us don’t just want the best tactical light. We want the best affordable tactical flashlight. We also want to have a good quality light. So what kind of flashlight is going to meet both of these criteria, and find them in the right ratio so that we’re getting the best deal for our budget? There’s a lot of great options in the under-$50 dollar range in the tactical light world these days. So let’s take a look at some of the options, starting with the smaller, “less tactical” keychain lights.
All Around Best Budget Light
Now if you’re looking for something brighter and cheaper but still within that basic size, a good cheap tactical light that you could look into would be the FlashlightZ Beacon. This is a light that’s the same size as the PolyTac, at five to six inches with a body. And it has a one inch diameter so it’s compatible with most rifle mounts. And it’s much, much brighter. This light is 1000 lumens, so that’s about four times what you’ve got on the Streamlight PolyTac, which again is a respectably bright light. 1000 lumens though, that’s pretty incredible. Plus, the Beacon has an adjustable zoom feature. So the beam can actually be narrowed by adjusting the head at the neck.
So that 1000 lumens can either be used for flood to illuminate your immediate surroundings as much as possible, or, you can concentrate those lumens and you can increase the range on the light and illuminate something very far away. So it’s nice to have that option available with your tactical flashlight. Lastly, the Beacon is fully rechargeable and just an overall tough, quality flashlight. It’s a pretty good value for all those different elements in one light.
Everyday Carry Flashlights
One of the cheapest quality rechargeable lights that you can find is in the key chain category. It’s the Nitecore Tip. This is a very small light. It’s built to just be hung right off your key chain or to easily slip into your pocket. The Tip is completely everyday carry but incredibly bright, still 360 lumens, which is amazing for something that you can basically completely enfold in the palm of your hand. Also: totally rechargeable. So you’ll never have to buy new batteries for this light. Nice clip for your belt. Lockout functions so you’re not accidentally pressing the button and turning it on, if you’re carrying it around in your pocket. And a very tough light just overall. The Tip is impact resistant up to one point five meters. So if you’re looking around and you drop it, it’s guaranteed to keep working. So definitely if you’re looking for something under $50, the Nitecore Tip is something that you’re going to want to check out.
Now let’s say something you need let’s say you need something in that price range but something a little bigger or something a little bit more professional. Maybe you’re an electrician or a police officer who needs a quality light to go into your pocket. For a lot of working professionals a pen light is a great option. This is a light which is basically pen sized and it’s just a sleek looking professional light. And right now probably the best cheap pen light is going to be the P20 from Klarus. This is an ultra-simple, straightforward top flight pen light. Like I said with a nice clip so it can easily stay attached to your shirt pocket. A single switch with a very simple interface. So you don’t have to spend any time at all thinking about it while you’re on the job and it’s just got a good feel to it. The button has a good feel to it. And it’s cheap! So definitely look into the P20 if what you’re looking for is some sort of working man’s LED light.
But so far we’ve only talked about the smaller options, the lights that are key chain or especially everyday carry. And I want to move on to the bigger lights but just before I do, I want to talk about some of the slightly higher priced small lights that you might be interested in.
So besides the P20, Klarus has released another interesting smaller light and it’s been one of their big successes lately, the Mi1C. So the Mi1C is a very small light, about the size of your thumb, and it’s utterly tough. This is really made to the same level of any tactical flashlight that you might want to mount on a gun. And the Mi1C is something that is just very, very tough but it’s also great just to have for non-technical purposes. This is a light with a professional grade optical lens and a nice fade in and fade out for its max brightness of 600 lumens. So it’s just very easy on the eyes. Gives us some very crisp illumination in whatever situation that you’re in and that matters a lot. As far as rechargeability the light itself is not rechargeable, HOWEVER, the battery is. And that sounds a little strange. But let me lay that out. You do need to remove the battery to recharge it, but the battery itself has a plug. You plug the battery directly into some kind of power source using a micro USB to micro USB cord and you charge the battery directly and once the battery charges, you put it back into your light.
So that does come with the Mi1C. That’s part of the value, and so you’re never going to have to get another battery for that light either. And like I said, it’s very durable. IPX-8, so it’s pretty much totally waterproof. You can submerge it in up to two metres of water and it’s guaranteed to keep working. And very small, less than an inch long. So definitely this was a little pricier than the other lights we’ve talked about. Despite how small it is it is still a powerful LED light. Basically rechargeable when it comes with that battery and great light quality. So it is a little bit more but if you’re willing to put a little bit more money into an everyday carry light, it is definitely definitely worth it.
So let’s get away from the smaller lights. Maybe you know you’re looking for the best affordable tactical light, but you’re not looking for something small, you want something that’s more regular sized for today’s tactical light. Something about five to six inches long with that one inch diameter, so it’s good for mounting on a tactical rifle, but you don’t want to break the bank acquiring it. If so, we definitely have some good-looking options here for you.
Full Size Tactical Flashlights
So let’s start with a Streamlight. Streamlight is a pretty trusted brand. They make a pretty good quality flashlight. So if you’re looking for something that’s affordable, a good LED flashlight about five six inches, then what you’re probably looking for is a Streamlight PolyTac. One of the PolyTac’s best features is built into its name. It’s got a really unique polymer grip on it. Whole thing’s made of the same stuff on the outside, so it’s a very tough light which is also great for holding. It’s got probably the maximum grippability of just about any flashlight you could find. So it’s got a very nice unique feel to it.
The PolyTac also has a clip that can be used on a pocket, and it comes with a couple of batteries, which is nice. The light gives you a high of 275 lumens, which is not the brightest light on this list. However that’s still very bright and it’s still going to illuminate any kind of dark room, and that’s still a very useful strobe that you have on this light. Plus, this light is especially tough its impact resistance. Up to three meters! The PolyTac is also water resistant and the interface is to a certain extent programmable. So overall it’s like a quality, balanced flashlight with this unique hook of the interesting polymer textured grip. Overall a pretty good deal if you’re just kind of looking for a middle of the road “everything” light.
Coast Polysteel 600
Now if you don’t mind going a little bigger on your tactical lights, maybe not something that’s used with the traditional tactical purpose of being mounted on a weapon but just a really tough, sturdy flashlight to have around the house and something kind of big, then there’s a couple of more options that we have for you that might be what you’re looking for. First, the Coast Polysteel 600 is a light that really might be for you. The light’s about eight inches long, an inch and a half in diameter, and 710 lumens. It’s a very bright light, and a very thick sturdy light. Very tough, impact-resistant, waterproof.
So the PolySteel’s something that’s definitely going to hold up to just about anything you can throw at it. And what’s nice is that this light, like the Beacon, also has an adjustable zoom feature. You can either go very wide for a very floody beam that makes everything around you lit up, or you can adjust the head and you can zoom that beam and concentrate those 710 lumens and get a good look at something a little further away. So just overall a very quality and sturdy light in the PolySteel 600.
Last but not least, if you want to go really big with it and maybe even have some fun with it. There’s always the classic everyone knows about, the classic Maglite, the myth, the legend. So these are giant flashlights, especially by today’s standards. The full-size Maglite is just a little over a foot long. And what’s nice is that the Maglite company has kept up with the times. They no longer use the bulbs that they used starting decades ago. Maglites have upgraded to the LED. So it uses modern LED technology, which is really nice. Note that here I’m talking about the Magite 3D cell LED flashlight. And like other lights on this list, the Maglite has that zoom so you can focus that light and get some incredible range out of it. The Maglite’s size means it’s got plenty of room for a deep reflector, which means that the range on this light is pretty great. You just twist that head and you’ve got yourself over 400 meters on the range which is no longer than a football field of light.
So the only thing is, strangely, it doesn’t have quite the raw power some of the other lights have. It’s got only 168 lumens, but you know 168 lumens is going to be still a very nice amount of light so you shouldn’t have trouble in most cases seeing what you want to see. On top of that, it’s just nice to have this sturdy, heavy light at your side. It’s a good defense kind of light.
So those are all the best of our picks for best affordable tactical light. Hope some of these caught your eye and definitely check them all out.