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A flashlight should be one of the most critical components of your EDC loadout—right next to your pocket knife, wallet, phone, and keys. You never know when the electricity will suddenly cut out, when you’ll need to crawl under your car to check for some leak or clanking noise, or when you’ll need light on your camping trip.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Below, we’ve collected a list of the best EDC flashlights to carry around with you every day. From ultra-bright miniature suns to small keychain-compatible lights, we’ve got plenty of options for you to consider.
Since 2019, the official unit of measurement for brightness is “lumens”. The more lumens a flashlight can generate, the brighter the light.
For a compact light, you won’t get a lot of lumens (anywhere between 50 and 200), but there are many brighter lights that can generate a lot of lumens (though at the cost of faster battery drain).
More lumens are needed for darker environments (security, night patrol, camping, etc.), but fewer lumens typically will suffice for your everyday use.
Durability should always be a factor to consider for your EDC loadout. You’ll want a flashlight that is impact-resistant, water- and dust-resistant, and ideally with a scratch-proof lens. The tougher the light, the longer it will last no matter how rough you are.
Size is another critical factor. If the light is too bulky, it won’t be easily carried around in your pocket or backpack. Typically, EDC flashlights are pocket-sized, even with a clip to keep it easily accessible. Some of the larger options may include a belt sheath, however, which is a bit bulkier but still fully portable.
Let’s be honest: you don’t want to lug around a heavy flashlight along with a heavy knife, wallet, phone, and key chain. Lighter is always better for EDC items—you can always have a bigger, heavier flashlight in your car, house, or camping gear as a backup when you need serious power. Compact and lightweight is the way to go.
EDC lights with multiple brightness settings, strobe settings to disorient attackers, and red lights to preserve your night vision are always better than the flashlights that only have a single setting (on and off).
Some EDC flashlights come with their own rechargeable battery packs, while others use AA or AAA batteries. Typically, built-in battery packs will have a longer lifespan, but will cost more. AA and AAA batteries are cheap and easily replaced, but don’t deliver as much power.
And you always want to consider how long the battery lasts. That way, you know exactly how much run time the flashlight is capable of, and you can prepare accordingly.
Keep these factors in mind as you consider the EDC flashlights below.
The ACEBEAM Rider RX is one of our favorite EDC flashlights for the simple reason that it’s built with an ultra-tough and surprisingly lightweight titanium case, with a blue aluminum alloy inner core that doubles down on the toughness factor.
It’s impact-resistant from up to 1 meter, water-resistant, and dust-proof (IP68 rating). At 3.7 inches long and just over 3.5 ounces, it’s lightweight and compact enough to fit in any pocket.
On its max setting, it can generate a beam of roughly 650 lumens. For extra-long run time, turn it down to its lowest setting (7 lumens) and you’ve got around 53 hours of battery life. Best of all, it comes with its own built-in battery that is USB-C rechargeable, so it’s easy to keep powered up all day long.
Get ready for some serious brightness! On its highest setting, this flashlight can generate a beam as bright as 2000 lumens (though only for 30 seconds). Still, you get 90 minutes of 500-lumen light, or 9 hours at 50 lumens.
It comes with a strobe function that will serve as a self-defense tool, and its anodized aircraft grade aluminum body is tough enough that it can take a beating—plus it’s water and impact-resistant. It’s one we’ve always been happy to recommend.
This flashlight is purposely designed different—and in this case, different definitely equals better. The flashlight features a rotating shaft that allows you to adjust the angle of the beam, allowing you to use it as a headlight, vest light, belt light, and handheld flashlight.
The light tail and back clip come with built-in magnets so you can clip it onto anything metal (PFD, buckles, vest, the side of your car/RV, etc.). With up to 400 lumens of light output, it’s bright enough to serve you well in any situation.
You can use the built-in lithium ion battery pack but still keep a few AA batteries on standby so you never run out of juice.
For durability and reliability, it’s hard to beat the FENIX E18R V2.0. This light has been upgraded from its original model (hence V2.0), and improved features include a brighter light (now 1200 lumens) with a longer beam distance (479 feet), a single thumb-activated side switch, and six lighting modes.
The battery indicator will let you know when the built-in battery pack is low and in need of recharging, which is a breeze thanks to USB-C charging.
The aluminum case is highly resistant to heat, warping, rust, dust, and water. The magnetic tail allows you to stick it to any metal surface, and the belt clip ensures the flashlight is always close at hand on your belt or in your pocket, ready at a moment’s notice.
The NiteCore Tiki LE is one of our favorite flashlights for anyone who works in an office. It’s small enough to hang on your keychain and the 300-lumen beam is bright enough for navigating even the darkest corridors or dingiest supply closets.
However, thanks to its built-in battery pack, you can easily recharge it via USB (plugged into your computer or wall charger), and you get up to 40 hours of battery life per charge.
The flashlight lets you switch between white, red, and blue lights, so you can call for help or send a signal in case of emergency. Made of tough aluminum, it’s IP66-rated so you can use it in any wet or dusty environment. For any power outage, you’ll be glad you had this flashlight handy.
What sets this flashlight apart from the rest on our list? Aside from its excellent brightness (1125 lumens) and convenient design (belt clip + magnetic tail), we’ve fallen in love with the shape and texture of its body. The perfectly cylindrical flashlight features a textured grip that makes it easy to hang onto even in rainy or muddy conditions.
The flashlight is also waterproof and impact-resistant up to 1.5 meters. It weighs just under 4 ounces and is sized perfectly to carry in your pocket, fit in a backpack, or clip onto your belt.
Best of all, on its lowest setting (moonlight), you get up to 60 days of runtime. Talk about an amazing emergency or survival tool.
Keychain-sized lights like this one are great for those who want to keep their EDC gear compact and minimalist. The light is just 1.3 inches long and weighs just 0.6 ounces, making it ultra-portable and delightfully lightweight.
The copper body is solid and can stand up to daily use, but it gives the flashlight a truly unique flair that you won’t find on any of our other lights. The simple twist action makes it easy to turn on/off, and the 60-lumen beam, while not the brightest, will more than suffice for everyday situations.
Best of all, it’s rated IP68 (waterproof and dustproof) and can be submerged up to 2 meters in water—so you can take it boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Make no mistake: though this is the most expensive EDC flashlight on our list (by a pretty hefty margin), it’s an investment that you won’t regret.
On its highest setting, it generates a 1000 lumen beam that will light up your surroundings like a boss. On its lowest setting, you get pretty impressive battery life (up to 63 hours of runtime). However, thanks to the Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens, the beam is tightly focused and serves as a spotlight to blind attackers.
The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold even for long hours, and the tough aluminum body can handle a lot of wear and tear. The Type III Mil-Spec hard-anodized coating ensures that it’s able to withstand corrosion, water, and abrasion, making it great for taking hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, urban exploring, and even into active combat zones & tough situations.
5.11’s motto is “Always Be Ready”, and with the Response XR1 among your EDC kit, you definitely will be, no matter what comes your way. It’s one of the larger (5.75 inches) flashlights on our list, making it a great self-defense weapon in case of an emergency situation.
Though the 1031-lumen beam isn’t record-breaking, you get 97 minutes of run time on the highest setting and a beam distance of 770 feet. It can run on both disposable and rechargeable batteries, and it’s easy to swap out for a fresh set when the juice runs low. With a 1-meter impact resistance and waterproof rating of up to 2 meter submersible, it’s a truly rough-and-rugged light you’ll be glad to carry everywhere you go.
The Prometheus Preon P1 MKIII is the only AAA-powered flashlight on our list, but don’t think for a minute that smaller battery size equals less utility. On its lowest setting (1 lumen), you get an impressive 45 hours of runtime, and on its highest setting (100 lumens), you still get an hour of light.
It’s designed to be ultra-sleek and sized to fit in any pocket, pouch, pack, or vest, and last for the rest of your life. The flashlight will actually “save” your last mode used, but it’s easy to revert to a new mode if you want to change up operations.
The integrated “Digital Bump Protection” software will protect against power interruptions so your light will always stay on even if you drop it. Though small, it’s affordable and one of the toughest, longest-lasting flashlights on our list—so well worth the price.
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