You never know when you might need a dependable source of light. That makes an EDC flashlight an essential piece of gear to carry around. Since it can be a piece of life-saving gear, compromising on quality is not an option.
In this article, we have rounded up the best EDC flashlights that will meet the needs of buyers of all categories. So, let’s get busy.
Summary of Contents
- 1 Fenix E35 V3.0
- 2 Nitecore T4K 4000
- 3 Fenix UC35 V2.0
- 4 Thrunite T1S
- 5 Streamlight Microstream
- 6 Fenix E30R Rechargeable EDC
- 7 Hatori Mini LED Flashlight
- 8 Olight S2R Baton II
- 9 Features to Look for in The Best EDC Flashlight
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions about EDC Flashlights
- 11 Final Thoughts
Fenix E35 V3.0
- 3000-lumen output
- Excellent build quality
- Ready for extremely cold conditions
- A pronounced hotspot with wide angle beam
- Lacks direct access to turbo mode
The E series from Fenix is designed specifically for EDC purposes. This improved version of the original E35 emits a steady 3000 Lumens in turbo mode and 50 Lumens in Eco mode from the “Cool White” SST70 LED. The beam can cover a maximum distance of 787 feet.
The flashlight has an aluminum body with an IP68 rating and a 3.2-foot impact resistance. In other words, the durability is top-notch. It includes a 5000mAh 21700 rechargeable battery that allows USB charging. However, you need to take out the batteries for charging.
Unlike many other EDC flashlights, Fenix has added a side copper switch that is wear resistant. There are five illumination modes and a strobe mode. The lack of a tail light might turn off some users. But since this isn’t a tactical flashlight, it wasn’t an issue for us. The super simple UI makes it a breeze to operate.
The switch also has an LED light that works as a battery status indicator. There is also a lockout function to prevent battery drain. The battery runtime is around 1.1 hours in turbo mode and 50 hours in eco mode.
The E35 is our pick as the best EDC flashlight for and is perfect for almost every lighting condition.
- Ultra-compact design
- Excellent beam intensity
- IP54 waterproofing and 1-meter impact resistance
- Informative OLED screen
- The battery is not replaceable
Usually, small flashlights have limited outputs. But not the Nitecore T4K. This is a keychain flashlight from Nitecore that uses 4 CREE XP-L2 V6 LEDs to deliver a massive output of 4000 lumens.
Considering this is a flashlight that fits in your fist, the light output is outstanding. However, the top output is only available in 10-second bursts.
The T4K has a hard-anodized case with a premium finish. A textured surface makes it easy to grip. There is a USB-C port at the bottom of the light for charging. Nitecore includes a key clasp with a quick-release mechanism for attaching it to a keychain.
Interestingly, Nitecore has also added a real-time OLED display of the casing that offers all the necessary information. There are two buttons for operating the five light modes and the power. A 1000mAh rechargeable battery acts as the power source.
Nitecore has also added an ultralow mode that delivers 1 lumen and extends the battery runtime to 67 hours. Other features include temperature regulation and advanced power cut-off as a charging safeguard. It also has locking modes for safe portability.
The T4K is a great choice for late-night walks or as a part of an emergency kit. We only wish that this super bright EDC flashlight came with replaceable batteries.
- A long runtime
- Knurled aluminum body feels robust
- Battery capacity indicator
- IP68 rated for water and dust protection
- Some users may not prefer two-button controls
Fenix has updated the version 2.0 of the popular UC35 flashlight from the ground up to provide a better user experience. For example, the output and the maximum beam distance have been bumped up to 1000 lumens and 873 feet respectively.
While it isn’t the brightest EDC light you will find, the battery life is where the UC35 shines. It uses a 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery and can run on two CR123A batteries as well.
Fenix has used the CREE XP-L HI V3 LED, and the runtime with the rechargeable is over 2.2 hours in turbo mode. Shift to moonlight mode which delivers 1 lumen and you can get around 750 hours of runtime from the battery.
As expected from Fenix, the construction is solid. The oxidation-resistant aluminum casing has a hard anodized finish and feels premium. There is a tail cap switch for activation and a metal side switch for mode selection.
At 5.5 x 1.0 inches, the light is well-balanced. Even though it is not super compact, it can fit into large pockets. Fenix has also added a range of accessories including a holster, lanyard, micro-USB cable, and spare O-rings as well.
To sum up, the UC35 is a great EDC option with a tight spotlight beam that is good enough for near to mid-range distances.
- A compact and lightweight design
- Full range of accessories
- IPX8 rated waterproofing
- Offers good value
- Not the best battery runtime
The T1S is the updated version of the ThruNite T1 and delivers a bright beam with a small form factor. The maximum output is 1212 lumens with a beam distance of 603 feet.
The 18350 battery is USB rechargeable and Thrunite has included a USB C charging cable in the package. The T1S comes with six modes and the battery life is decent at best. The low mode delivers 7 lumens and lasts for 44 hours.
Note, the turbo mode drains the battery quickly and the peak intensity lasts only for 5 minutes.
On the plus side, the beam pattern from the Cree XHP50 LED is tight and the throw is good.
The anodized aluminum body has an attractive grey shade – a welcome departure from the standard black flashlights. One big plus of the T1S is the magnetic tail. It can stand upright or you can attach it to any metal surface.
The T1S is pocket-sized with a length of 2.7 inches. The operation is through a single switch at the head. However, some users mentioned that the button can be difficult to find.
In short, if you are looking for an affordable and reliable EDC flashlight, the T1S is worth checking out.
- A great finish with an attractive bronze color
- Extremely compact
- Easy to use with gloves on
- Offers excellent value
- Limited beam intensity
Streamlight has always manufactured top-quality flashlights for the budget-conscious buyer, and the Microstream is no exception. Even though it is not a chart-topper in terms of output and beam throw, the simplicity of the design makes it a great pick.
With a length of 3.87 inches and a weight of 1.1 oz, the Microsteram fits easily into the pocket. The anodized aluminum cylinder is well-made and is IPX4 water-resistant. The surface offers a solid grip and is durable enough to resist drops and bumps during regular use.
The Microstream runs on a lithium-ion cell pack and comes with a USB cord. It has dual high and low modes that deliver 250 lumens and 50 lumens respectively. The runtime on high mode is 1.5 hours.
Streamlight lists the beam distance at high modes as 223 feet. However, it is best used within 50 feet for feature identification. That makes it best for indoor or close-quarter use. Operating the light is dead simple by using the tail cap switch. By using the removable pocket clip, you can also use it as a makeshift headlamp.
Quite simply, the Microstream is not for buyers looking for high-lumen power. But as a cheap and reliable rechargeable flashlight, it offers a solid bang for your buck.
- Excellent output
- Compact and durable design
- Well-balanced beam profile
- Battery charge indicator
- No memory function
The Fenix E30R offers a perfect balance between a small form factor and high output. This powerhouse delivers 1600 lumens in turbo mode with a beam distance of 665 feet.
With a length of 3.8 inches and a diameter of 0.8 inches, the E30R is ultralight and versatile. It uses a Luminus SST40 LED and the beam diffuses evenly to create a perfect spill from the hotspot.
We found the beam perfect for everyday use. Fenix has also added a magnetic charger cable to the package.
The E30R runs on a rechargeable 18650 battery that delivers 1.5 hours in turbo mode and around 70 hours in Eco mode. You get six light modes including strobe. Still, we wish Fenix had added an ultra-low mode to conserve the batteries even further.
Note, the UI doesn’t allow you direct access to turbo mode, but there are multiple ways to access the Eco mode. That works great for everyday carry flashlights.
The build quality is top-notch with IP68 waterproofing. It also has safety features like over-heat protection and low-voltage protection. In short, it is ready to withstand harsh conditions.
The E30R is ideal for those who prefer simple interfaces. It operates through a side e-switch that has a clicky feel. However, some users may not like the fact that there is no mode memory.
While the E30R isn’t designed for outright tactical use, it is a great EDC flashlight with a solid output. All in all, another superb product from Fenix that hits the right notes.
- Light and compact design
- Uses alkaline batteries
- Durable and water resistant
- Affordable price tag
- Limited light output
To be honest, the Hatori Mini is not the best EDC pocket flashlight in terms of output. But if you are looking for a cheap EDC penlight, it is a good option.
Firstly, the Mini is super small with a diameter of just 0.59 inches and a length of 3.55 inches. The pocket clip makes it easy to carry in a pouch. The operation is through a tail switch that offers a good feel.
The tiny flashlight runs on an AAA battery and the peak output is 150 lumens. The beam distance is moderate, but it works great for indoor use and for repair work. The battery lasts for around two hours. There is also a half-power mode that can extend the battery life.
On top of that, the casing is made from 6061T aluminum alloy which is also water-resistant. It feels well-made with an anodized finish and also resists chipping or scratches. Also, the surface has sufficient grooves and knurling for a good grip.
In terms of specs, the Mini does not match up with the top EDC flashlights in this category. But considering the price, we feel it is a reliable pick for buyers on a budget.
- Crisp light output
- Impact and water resistant
- Magnetic tail cap for hands-free use
- A 5-year warranty
- Not the best performer in cold conditions
The Baton II from Olight packs a lot of neat features in a small package making it one of the best pocket EDC flashlights in the market.
The power source of the Baton II is a 3200mAh 8650 battery and a magnetic USB charge base. The maximum output is 1150 lumens in turbo mode with a beam throw of 442 feet. But the peak output lasts only for two minutes. Besides, the light heats up quickly in turbo mode.
Other than that, it has five different modes including a “moonlight” mode that delivers 0.5 lumens. That can extend the runtime to an incredible 60 days.
The casing is made from anodized aluminum alloy with IPX8 waterproofing. The Baton II also hits the right spot in terms of ergonomics. The shell is covered by a hard knurling that looks great and also provides a great in-hand feel.
Operating the flashlight is easy by using a side switch that also has a built-in LED battery level indicator. With a diameter of 0.91 inches, it is thin enough for pocket carry. On the downside, the two clips that come with the light can get bent easily.
To sum up, the Baton II provides solid performance at a competitive price. It is a reliable EDC flashlight for your glovebox or carrying in the backpack.
Features to Look for in The Best EDC Flashlight
Picking the best EDC flashlight from a crowded market can be a challenge. Here are a few points that you need to keep in mind.
Size and weight are important considerations that determine portability. Since an EDC flashlight is always with you, it should easily fit in your pocket, or a bag. However, if you have large hands, you may find smaller keychain flashlights difficult to grip.
Ideally, a flashlight should be below 5 inches to easily fit into an average pocket. That said, smaller and lightweight flashlights also have smaller batteries and less output. So, picking the right balance of size and output will need some digging.
Output and Performance
Truth is you may not need a flashlight with the highest light output. The output and range of the EDC light should be sufficient for the tasks or activities you will be performing. Additional modes like a strobe for self-defense or a beacon for signaling can also be important for some users.
For urban environments or indoor settings, a few hundred lumens are sufficient. If you are planning to carry the light for outdoor tasks, an output of around 1000 lumens should be good enough to light up large areas. Higher brightness and longer beam throw will be necessary for law enforcement officers or professionals doing maintenance.
The choice of a power source depends on your preferences. A built-in rechargeable flashlight with convenient charging options via USB is a good choice if you don’t want to carry spare batteries. Avoiding batteries that need an external charger is also a good idea.
Otherwise, you can pick flashlights that use CR123 batteries or AA batteries which are readily available. Keep in mind that CR123 batteries are not widely available like AA batteries. However, they have higher power output and longer shelf lives.
Ease of Use
Quite simply, fumbling with the complicated controls of a flashlight in the darkness is not a good idea. So, it is best to pick EDC lights with simple user interfaces and ergonomic controls. Lights with direct access to important modes and a memory function are convenient to use.
Battery status indicators and display screens are some other handy features that you might prefer. For easy carrying, the flashlight should come with a pocket clip or a lanyard.
Frequently Asked Questions about EDC Flashlights
What is the most powerful EDC flashlight?
For us, the Fenix E35 V3.0 is the best EDC flashlight with its excellent performance and simple user interface. Even though it is not the brightest flashlight you can pick, it excels as an EDC light.
Who makes the best EDC flashlights?
When it comes to everyday carry flashlights, Fenix is the best choice for professionals, as well as enthusiasts. In the past few years, the brand has emerged as a top-grade manufacturer of high-quality flashlights.
How many lumens is enough for EDC?
That depends on the environment and the activity you are performing. In general, an output of around 250 to 300 lumens should be sufficient for household tasks. For outdoor activities, an output of 800 to 1000 lumen should be sufficient.
So, these are the best EDC flashlights that you can pick. In this list, we have included the pocket-sized devices that offer the best combination of light output and functionality.
No matter the type of EDC gear you choose, it needs to be reliable and tough. So even though there are plenty of cheap flashlights available on Amazon, make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality by making the wrong choice.