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What to Look for in a Survival Flashlight

It goes without saying that survival flashlights are one of the most important items in any survival kit. And since this is a light you will reach out for when things are not looking good, it should offer top-notch performance and reliability.

When it comes to choosing survival flashlights, the preferences differ. Some people prefer using survival flashlights for their bug out bags while others prefer using their tactical or EDC lights for emergencies. 

To help you pick the best survival flashlight, we have sifted through some of the top options from the market to prepare this list.

thrunite t3 flashlight

Pros 

  • A complete package at an affordable price
  • Excellent build quality with a durable pocket clip
  • Simple user interface

 

Cons

  • The output drops quickly in turbo mode

The Thrunite T3 is a compact flashlight with a refined design that makes it a good choice for everyday carry as well as a survival flashlight. It has a maximum output and beam distance of 2250 lumens and 987.5 meters respectively.

There are five light modes including a firefly mode that can stretch the battery life to an impressive 133 days. However, at 0.44 lumens, the mode is too dim. The overall battery life is good enough for use in survival situations.

Thrunite uses a Luminus SST-40 LED that offers excellent brightness with a pronounced hotspot. The T3 is powered by a rechargeable 21700 battery and has a USB Type C charging port 

With a 6061-T6 aluminum body with a Type II hard anodized coating, the in-hand feel is great. Since the flashlight has a uniform diameter, it is easy to carry in a pocket.

Overall, the T3 offers a great combination of a rugged design and reliable performance. And considering the affordable price, we have no second thoughts about marking it as one of the best survival flashlights.

Pros 

  • High-quality Luminus SFT40 LED
  • Includes plenty of accessories
  • Durable with an excellent finish

 

Cons

  • Does not come with a high-capacity battery

The PD35 V3.0 is another high-quality LED flashlight from Fenix that is perfect for a survival kit. The top output is 1700 lumens and the maximum beam throw is 1171 feet. There are six light modes including strobe. The Eco mode delivers 230 hours of battery life, which is a big plus.

The operation is through a tactical tail switch and a side switch. Since the charging circuitry is in the battery, the circuit in the light itself remains simple. The output is consistent and the thermal regulation is excellent.

The PD35 can be powered by a 18650 lithium-Ion battery or two CR123A lithium batteries. With a length of 5.28 inches and a weight of 2.95 ounces, it is easy to carry but still offers a hefty feel. Apart from the rugged housing, it also has an IP68 waterproof rating.

All in all, the PD35 series has been a popular choice for professionals and the third version is no exception.

Pros 

  • A compact design with a simple UI
  • Combines aesthetics with durability
  • Offers excellent value for money

 

Cons

  • The low mode is too bright
  • Gets hot quickly in turbo mode

The Tool AA 2.0 is a mini flashlight that is perfect for EDC use as well as during emergencies. It has five modes and 650 lumens of maximum output. The beam distance of 417 feet is not the best in this class, but sufficient for practical use.

A big plus of this LED light is the small form factor that makes it easy to store in a backpack. The body is made from an aluminum alloy with a wear-resistant finish.

Another advantage of the Tool AA 2.0 is its compatibility with AA batteries. That allows you to keep the flashlight running even if you have no access to a power source. Additionally, you can also use the rechargeable Li-ion battery whenever possible.

Note, Lumintop offers the Tool AA in two LED types. However, the Cree XP-L HD LED has a slight tint, which makes the Nichia 219CT LED a better choice.

Pros 

  • The package offers great value
  • Can use multiple batteries
  • Decent beam throw and battery life

 

Cons

  • The lens is made from plastic
  • Not the best choice for emergency use or self-defense

Truth is, the S1000 from Gearlight is one of the most popular flashlights available on Amazon. It comes as a standard 2-pack, which means there are two flashlights in the package. Needless to say, you get excellent value for your money.

Coming to the power source, the flashlight can run on AAA batteries as well as the 18650s. And the best part is, the light is adjustable. You need to slide the head to change the beam from spot to flood.

In terms of build quality, the aluminum body feels sufficiently durable. The surface finish is not top-grade but considering the price, that is acceptable. It also has an impact resistance to drops from up to 10 feet. But even though the product is marked as weatherproof, it does not have an IP rating.

As a budget flashlight, the S1000 works well. But if you prefer high-quality LEDs and long-lasting durability, there are better options.

Pros 

  • Durable design with a premium textured finish
  • A bright light with a good beam pattern 
  • Micro-USB Rechargeable

 

Cons

  • Lacks a deep carry clip
  • No shortcut to turbo

The Fenix UC35 V2.0 is a significant upgrade over the original UC35. The peak light output has been raised to 1000 lumens and the beam throw is 873 feet. Also, it is more compact at 5.5 inches and has a lower weight of 3.13 oz

The UC35 V2.0 can use a 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123A batteries. It has five brightness settings and a strobe function. The overall runtime has also been extended and the turbo mode offers over two hours of high-lumen power. 

As expected from Fenix, the oxidation-resistant aluminum body feels super durable. The lens is made from toughened glass and the light has an IP68 rating. Like many other Fenix flashlights, the interface is a combination of the tactical tail light and a side switch.

Considering the price, the UC35 V2.0 is another strong performer from Fenix and is one of the best flashlights for an emergency kit

Pros 

  • Superior beam quality with consistent output
  • Excellent durability with an IPX68 rating 
  • Can be used with a Picatinny rail adapter

 

Cons

  • Limited battery compatibility

The Acebeam P15 is not a perfect survival flashlight, but the excellent design and consistent performance make it hard to ignore. To start with, it delivers 1700 lumens of peak output and 1083 feet of beam throw. 

Acebeam has included a customized 18650 rechargeable lithium battery with this flashlight. That means you will not be able to use standard CR123A or 18650 cells to power the light. Also, being 5.39 inches in length, it is not exactly a pocket-sized flashlight. Even so, build quality and ergonomics are top-notch.

The P15 has five brightness levels and a strobe mode. Even though the reflector is small, the Luminus SFT40-W delivers an excellent throw. The one-touch strobe switch is another feature that we liked.

While it is not the brightest option, the P15 tactical flashlight is a good choice for including in your survival gear. And it is also ready for professional use at the highest level.

Pros 

  • Great beam throw and consistency
  • Good runtime from the battery
  • Easy to use UI

 

Cons

  • Long length limits portability

The TK22 tac is another high-quality tactical product from Fenix that clicks all the right boxes as one of the best survival flashlights. It delivers an output of 2800 lumens over a range of 1772 feet at the highest setting.

Fenix has used a 21700 li-ion battery with USB charging as the power source. Apart from strobe, there are four brightness modes. However, it lacks a true low setting that would have conserved the batteries even further.  Activation and control are done by using a tail switch through rotary and push functions. 

At over six inches, the TK22 TAC is not the best choice for small pockets. But at 5.5 oz, it is light enough for carrying in a bug out bag. The aluminum body has been combined with a drop and impact resistance structure for better durability.

With the TK22 Tac, Fenix has designed one of the best long-throw flashlights on the market. In short, it is a dependable light source for emergency use.

Pros 

  • Good battery life
  • Decent beam distance of 426 feet
  • Good build quality

 

Cons

  • Only three light modes
  • Limited brightness

The Streamlight ProTac is not the most powerful light on this list. But with a maximum output of 250 lumens, it can be used as a backup light for law enforcement officials and during emergencies like a power outage.

Besides, there are practical features like a multi-function tail switch and three programming options. It also has solid-state power regulation for a consistent output. Since it runs on two AA alkaline batteries, you need not carry a charger for it.

With an IPX7 water resistance rating and a tempered glass lens, it can handle outdoor conditions. But the length of 6.14 inches makes it too long to be used as a headlamp. On the plus side, the affordable price tag makes it great for buyers on a budget.

Pros 

  • Good lumen output
  • Excellent build quality
  • A formidable impact weapon

 

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Only two brightness modes

The E2D is a unique product that combines versatility with top-notch quality. In reality, it lacks the standard features that you might expect from brands like Fenix or Nitecore. However, that does not make it unsuitable for survival situations.

Surefire has kept it simple with dual modes- 1000 lumens at high and 5 lumens at low mode. The max beam distance of 656 feet is acceptable. The light has a TIR lens to keep the beam tight with just the right amount of spill for assisting your peripheral vision. It is powered by two CR123A batteries.

On top of that, the aerospace aluminum body has a specially designed bezel and a scalloped tail cap. That gives the light enough striking capability for self-defense. In short, the E2D is designed as an impact weapon to give you an edge over an attacker.

Admittedly, the E2D Defender feels solid and delivers a bright beam. While it may not be the best emergency flashlight for all conditions, it is worth a closer look.

Pros 

  • A super bright flashlight
  • Lightweight at 2.36 oz.
  • Excellent durability

 

Cons

  • The Eco mode could be lower

With version 3.0 of the E35, Fenix has added a ton of new features and bumped up the max output to an impressive 3000 lumens. Combined with five brightness modes and a max beam distance of 787 feet, it is one of the best survival flashlights you can pick.

The power source is a 21700 rechargeable battery that comes with an USB-C port. You get around 7 hours of runtime in the medium mode that delivers 450 lumens. The Eco mode will stretch the battery to around 50 hours. The beam is more of a floodlight, which makes it good for outdoor use.

Note, the E35 skips the tail switch and is operated by a side switch. The aluminum body is super durable and the length of 4.65 inches makes it fit nicely in the hand. If you are looking for the best EDC flashlight that will also serve well during emergencies, go for it.

Pros 

  • A versatile beam with a great throw
  • Solid feel and compact design
  • Good thermal regulation

 

Cons

  • No lockout function

The TC20 V2 offers a peak output of 4068 lumens with a throw of 980 feet. It has five brightness levels and is powered by a 26650 rechargeable battery.  Thrunite combines the Cree XHP70 2nd gen emitter with a high-quality reflector to generate a great blend of spot and spill light.

A survival flashlight needs to be durable and the TC20 performs well in this department. It has an aluminum frame with an anodized finish and an IPX8 rating. 

Beyond that, the UI is simple to use and the USB type C charging works fast. That said, it is operated by a side switch. So those who prefer tail cap switches should look elsewhere.  Thrunite also packs a ton of accessories with the light

To be honest, it is hard to find any cons with the TC20 V2. Anyone looking for the best survival flashlight at an affordable price will find this a great choice.

What Should You Look for in the Best Survival Flashlight?

Picking a survival flashlight is not entirely the same as picking the best camping flashlight or EDC flashlight. Here are a few features to look for in the best flashlights for survival.

 

  • When it comes to survival flashlights, I would recommend picking a light that delivers somewhere between 800 to 2000 lumens. From that angle, the Klarus XT12GT is a great option that we recommend. Keep in mind, the higher the output the more the battery will drain.
  • An LED flashlight that features multiple modes gives you more versatility in different situations. An Eco or a moonlight mode can extend the battery life to multiple days. Besides, with less bright outputs, you draw less attention to yourself in an emergency.
  • Choosing the right battery for a flashlight is about balancing options. Alkaline and nickel metal hydride batteries have better shelf lives and are readily available. But they are not as powerful as lithium-ion batteries. On the other hand, a lithium-ion battery will need frequent charging.
  • While a keychain flashlight may be easy to carry, it will not deliver high-end durability or output. A survival flashlight should be compact and not weigh you down. In most cases, a flashlight with a length between 4.5 to 5.5 inches should be ideal for pocket carry. That said, they should not compromise on build quality and output.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the best survival flashlights that can be used in urban settings as well as in the wilderness. When you need to stay prepared for the worst, these are the products you can depend on.

While all the options are tried and tested models, their features and performances vary. Your choice will depend on the various considerations that we have mentioned and how you will use the light.

So, take the next step and let us know your top choice as the best flashlight for survival.

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