Finding the best LED flashlight to buy is like finding the best sandwich to buy, it’s actually a very subjective question. It really depends on what you’re looking for in an LED flashlight and how much money you’re willing to put into it. So, if you looking to get a flashlight, first of all, an LED flashlight is absolutely your best bet. So, you have fewer and fewer non-LED flashlights in this day and age, because the LED flashlights give you a lot more brightness for a lot fewer dollars.
The Ghost of Flashlight’s Past
So, the day of the old Maglite flashlight would just about be gone if Maglite itself hadn’t switched over to LED. So, let’s take a look at a Maglite LED for a baseline here. So, with the Maglite, you’ve got a little over 400 meters of distance on the beam and that’s what the LED industry calls the beam throw. So, over 400 meters, that’s a lot pretty great amount of distance. You’re going to have some decent flood as well. The brightness on the Maglite LED is measured at 168 lumens. This is pretty comparable to the old Maglites, actually a little brighter, but 168 lumens is really just scratching the surface of what an LED flashlight can do.
So, part of the Maglite’s claim to fame is it’s bulkiness, it’s heaviness. It gives it an alternate use as a sort of striking weapon, a clubbing weapon even. And that’s why it was popular with police even up until recently. But the mark of a lot of LED flashlights today is that they’re actually very small and very light. That’s part of what LED technology has allowed them to do. This makes them a lot more transportable. Today you’ll see police using LED flashlights that are much smaller than Maglites, like the … basically just fit easily in the palm of their hand.
So, another flashlight that you might see police using today would be the Klarus XT20. This is a really nice flashlight. It’s got a dual head on it. I told you before that the Maglite LED had 168 lumens. The XT20 is 2,000 lumens and actually a considerably smaller light. So, not as small as some of the other stuff that we’re going to get into, but the Maglite is just about a foot and a half long and the XT20 is something more like eight inches. So, it’s a huge difference in size. And the important lesson here is that size, to a certain extent, can suggest what a flashlight is capable of as far as brightness, but it’s by no means the final indicator.
Best Flashlight Price
A much stronger indicator of how bright a light is going to be is going to come from the price. Now the Maglite LED is about a third of the price of the Klarus XT20. So, that’s a huge difference in price there. And where it comes out, mostly, is in the brightness. Another place it comes out in is the overall toughness of these lights. So, the Maglite is, of course, pretty tough. It’s whole reputation is staked on that, so it’s got to be. It’s pretty much weatherproof. It’s impact resistant up to a meter. So, it wouldn’t be much good for possibly hitting an attacker if you couldn’t also drop it. The XT20, of course, has those same qualities and more. It’s actually much more typical of a modern, tactical LED flashlight. It’s got that aircraft grade aluminum. So, it’s extremely tough. Also, impact resistant up to a meter. So, this is something that could also theoretically be used as a striking weapon, if it needed to. But it’s also much more waterproof, while the Maglite is weatherproof, the XT20 can actually submerged in two meters of water.
Now, you might be thinking if you need to use this for self-defense or maybe even law enforcement, why necessarily would you need that? And it’s likely that you wouldn’t, but LED flashlights have branched out into a lot other areas. So, this is also something to consider when you’re trying to figure out what is the best LED flashlight to buy. You’ve got to wonder, what are your … what it is you’re going to be using it for. So, a lot of LED flashlights today are used not just for tactical purposes but for outdoor camping gear, hunting kind of purposes. And that’s part of why these lights are also waterproof is because the tactical flashlight design is also be repurposed for outdoor, recreational use.
Flashlight for Hunting
If we take a look at another product, the Klarus FH10. This is a light that’s explicitly a hunting flashlight. It’s doesn’t have any other explicit use and it’s built with a lot of hunting exercises in mind. It’s got an adjustable zoom, which gives it a beam distance up to 500 meters. So, even better than the adjustable zoom on the LED Maglite. It’s also got different colored LEDs. So, you can slide into place a green LED light for map reading or a red LED light to conserve night vision and hopefully not startle animals as much. So, and it’s 700 lumens. So, it’s a very, very bright LED flashlight. It’s got a lot of these special bells and whistles, which are going to hopefully enable you to be a better hunter. All it’s really missing is the ability to make you shoot better, but that’s just going to have to be on you. And it’s also impact resistant up to 1.5 meters. And it’s also waterproof enough that it can dumped under shallow water. So, this is definitely a flashlight that’s going to stand up to the elements. It’s going to stand up to some rough use, which is exactly what you would expect out of hunting.
Flashlight for Home
Now, on the other end of the spectrum, from law enforcement and recreational hunting and other rough and hardy uses, there’s just home use. Everyone likes to have a flashlight in the utility drawer in case of emergencies. It’s also very useful on a night to night basis, to have something to help wander the house a little bit without turning on the lights and waking up the family. It’s something to check something in the darkness really quick. And there’s definitely also flashlights that help you with that.
Flashlights for Work
Lots of flashlights could also be considered useful in a professional capacity. So, the flashlight made by the manufacturer, Coast. It’s called G19. The use of this flashlight is explicitly a professional flashlight. So, it’s meant to be used for inspecting small items, maybe IDs if you’re a security guard or pipes or something if you’re a kind of maintenance worker. So, it’s a very small, slim flashlight. It’s about the size of your middle finger or your index finger. And it’s got just a little bit of basic weatherproofing. So, nothing that’s meant to be dropped in a lake, like these sturdier hunting lights, but something that can definitely stand up to rain. A 65 foot range, which is pretty nice, but obviously being a beam that you’re trying to inspect things with, something that you would not likely need. And it’s also just very small, very compact and that can easily be slid into a shirt pocket or into your jacket pocket and just put away and have it ready to use for something. And it’s a AAA battery, whereas a lot of these LED flashlights require lithium ion flashlights to give it all that raw power. This is a flashlight that requires a very standard battery. Part of its design being … keeping that very common, every day use in mind.
Best General-Use Flashlight
So, let’s say you want to get yourself an LED flashlight, but you’re not really sure what specific thing you’re going to be using it for. You might be using it for a lot of things. You need a variety of functions, something that you can mount of a gun, something you can have on your nightstand, something you could take on a camping trip. Basically that would be a flashlight that handle a lot of different scenarios. It doesn’t exactly excel with everything, but it can handle pretty much everything. And so, there’s a lot of lights like that, that just have sort of general all-around use. Fairly priced, still very tough. Flashlights like this are … You can find them around. There’s one called the BEACON, the FlashlightZ BEACON. This is definitely, if you’re not sure … something that you should consider. It’s a relatively cheap light at $40. Still got that aircraft grade aluminum. The adjustable zoom that we’ve discussed from other flashlights. Very bright: 1,000 lumens. And it’s also got a feature that’s becoming increasingly popular, which is it’s rechargeable. So, you never need to remove the battery. You just plug in the adapter and plug the flashlight in and you’re going to be ready to go next time you need it. This makes it really convenient in a lot of different situations.
So, basically there’s a lot of different kinds of LED flashlights out there. So, the better question is: What’s the best LED flashlight for you? And to just go from there. And maybe you can use some of the flashlights we’ve talked about here to start your search.