Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we have discussed in this article, we may receive a small, and much appreciated commission.
One word can describe your basic over-the-counter flashlights—disappointing.
You know what I’m talking about—either they don’t provide sufficient illumination, or they run out of power just when you need them most.
At best, this is annoying. However, if you’re using your flashlight when camping, on a tactical operation or in a survival situation—this lack or performance can threaten your safety and well being.
Luckily—there’s a light at the end of the tunnel—literally.
The best 26650 flashlights can provide the ultimate in light provision while delivering long-lasting and reliable power.
Here are some of the Best 26650 Flashlights on the market:
- Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
- Olight R50 2500 Lumens Seeker Cree XLamp XHP50
- ThruNite Catapult V6 Mini Thrower Rechargeable Flashlight
- Klarus G20
- Sofirn SP33
What Is a 26650 Flashlight?
Quite simply, the name refers to the battery which the flashlight uses for its power.
A 26650 is a rechargeable lithium-ion cell (also known as LIB or Li-ion). While standard alkaline batteries all have a familiar grading (AAA, C, D, etc.), these designations signify very little—apart from allowing you to choose the correct cell for your flashlight.
However, in the case of lithium rechargeable cells their names have a specific meaning.
The number refers to the size of the battery. The first two digits indicate its approximate diameter, the second two numbers its length and the last ‘0’ shows it’s a cylindrical cell.
Hence in a 26650 flashlight, the battery is 26mm in diameter and 65mm long.
Why Choose a 26650 Flashlight?
Specific features and quality will differ across brands and models. However, the attractive features of using a flashlight that runs off a 26650 battery are:
High Milliampere Hour (mAh)
Size to Power Ratio
The relatively small dimensions of the battery allow for a powerful torch that is often small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Low Self-Discharge Rate
You want your torch to provide illumination—even if you haven’t used it for a while. Lithium-ion batteries have a self-discharge rate of just 1-2 percent per month compared to 15 percent in NiMH—meaning even when not in use, the cells will retain significant juice.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
No Memory Effect
Many batteries lose capacity if you recharge them before they deplete fully. Research shows that this ‘memory effect’ doesn’t apply to 26650 lithium cells.
How to Choose the Best 26650 Flashlight
Selecting the best 26650 flashlight means having a light source that will deliver impressive power with a long-lasting battery. However, there are crucial considerations that will ensure you possess a flashlight ideal for your personal needs.
Milliampere Hours (mAh)
The mAh of your torch affects how long the battery will last on one charge — the higher the number, the greater the battery capacity and longevity. If you’re using the flashlight for an extended period (say during search and rescue situations), you require a larger mAh. Alternatively, for intermittent use, say as a glove-box emergency flashlight, a smaller mAh may be sufficient.
In addition to the flashlight, consider what other items the retailer includes. A 26650 battery is a must, together with a charger such as a USB cable. Other common extras can consist of carrying pouches, belt straps, wrist lanyards, battery adapters and spare parts.
While 26650 batteries have high longevity—they still require recharging. If you’re consistently running the cells flat, you may benefit from a flashlight with a faster recharging facility.
Furthermore, for added peace of mind, consider those flashlights which incorporate a low-battery warning function.
The Best 26650 Flashlights
Here are my choices of the best 26650 flashlight brands currently on the market.
- Dimensions: 7.1 inches by 2.4 inches
- Weight: 19.2 ounces
This sturdy aluminum tactical torch, with its 1300 lumens output, could prove to be the best 26650 flashlights for those demanding a device for self-defense and safety. It has five security-boosting settings—high, medium and low beams, strobe, and SOS.
The 5000 mAh cell will recharge in eight hours with the included USB cable. Alternatively, a one-amp mains adapter is available separately.
With an IP67 (internal or ingress protection) rating, this flashlight will not allow the entry of dust and can withstand immersion in water up to 3.2 feet. This, combined with its anti-slip coating, may make it ideal for use in moisture-rich environments such as sailing or extreme trekking.
What We Love
- Up to six hours of continuous illumination.
- Three Cree LEDs with 50,000 hours lifespan.
- Stands on its end for room illumination.
- Illuminates up to two football fields (820 feet).
- Includes a wrist-strap and welcome guide.
- 18-month warranty.
Keep In Mind
- Mains adapter sold separately.
- Dimensions: 5.23 inches by 1.65 inches
- Weight: Nine ounces
If you’re looking for the best 26650 flashlights with serious illumination power—this may be the ideal choice. Delivering 2500 lumens combined with an orange-peel reflector, it emits a beam of impressive distance (974 feet) and width.
The 4500 mAh cell recharges through an included USB cable — providing a maximum running time of 50 hours. The tail cap incorporates an LED that glows red while in recharge mode—switching to green when complete.
This flashlight has a memory function, returning you to your last-used brightness level after restarting the device. You can switch between three levels of light intensity plus a strobe function.
What We Love
- IPX8 rating—waterproof up to 6.56 feet.
- Impact-resistant from a height of 3.2 feet.
- Low power warning light.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum body.
- Lock-out facility prevents accidental activation.
- Includes carry case.
Keep In Mind
- The activation switch is on the top, not the tail cap, which may not suit all users.
- Dimensions: 5.2 inches by 2.3 inches
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
I’d suggest that if you require a flashlight for maximum distance, this could be the best 26650 flashlights. This thrower will provide an incredible beam distance up to 2460 feet—emitting the light from a Cree XHP35 LED, delivering 1700 lumens.
You can recharge the 5000 mAh cell by employing the included USB 2A charging cable. Furthermore, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of power, as this flashlight incorporates a low-battery warning function.
If you’re using your device in extreme conditions, it needs to be durable. The manufacturers have made the body of the ThruNite from military-grade Type III anodized aluminum.
This means this flashlight will withstand accidental dropping from a height of 4.9 feet. However, with the heavily-knurled grip, it’s unlikely to slip from your hand easily.
What We Love
- Six brightness levels, including a strobe feature.
- One-hand operation.
- Includes lanyard, holster, O-rings, and spare USB plug and side-switch cap.
- LED with over 20 year’s run-time.
Keep In Mind
- It becomes hot very quickly.
- Dimensions: 4.88 inches by 1.33 inches
- Weight: 4.65 ounces
Should you be concerned about overheating during extended use—I’d suggest this may be the best 26650 flashlight option. It incorporates an ITS temperature control system—ensuring that the vital circuitry and LEDs don’t become too hot and suffer damage.
The 5000 mAh battery is capable of extremely fast (twice the normal) recharging through a 2000 milliampere USB port. This, however, is only through a separately purchased 2A adaptor. The included USB cable will not charge the flashlight as rapidly.
With both a side and tail switch, it’s adaptable for use in either underhand or overhand positions—useful if you’re utilizing an FBI-style stance.
Check out our article on What Makes a Flashlight ‘Tactical’
The 3000 lumens output will illuminate a distance of up to 492 feet with a maximum run-time of 150 hours.
What We Love
- Remaining power level indicator.
- Four intensity modes plus strobe and SOS.
- Impact-resistant for 3.28 feet and water-resistant to 4.92 feet.
- Aerospace-grade aluminum body.
- Hardened lens to prevent scratches.
- Includes lanyard, spare O-ring, holster and USB light.
Keep In Mind
- 492-foot illumination distance may be insufficient for some users.
- Dimensions: 5.04 inches by 1.46 inches
- Weight: 12.3 ounces
This may prove to be the Best 26650 Flashlights for those people looking for the ultimate in power versatility.
It includes a 5500 mAh 26650 cell. However, it also has the facility to accommodate a 18650 through an adapter (included). Hence, should the 26650 battery require recharging, you can continue to use the flashlight with any pre-owned smaller cell.
A Cree XHP50 LED delivers a maximum output of 2500 lumens—offering widespread coverage in outdoor conditions. Furthermore, the water-resistant IP68 rating, aluminum case, and anti-reflective and toughened lens may make this ideal for extreme survival use.
This flashlight incorporates six modes—turbo, high, medium, low, strobe, and a power-saving eco-function. Additionally, a lock-out feature prevents accidental draining of the cell when in your pocket or backpack.
What We Love
- Mode memory.
- Includes lanyard and two O-rings.
- Battery power indicator light.
- Orange peel reflector.
- Knurled grip.
Keep In Mind
- No belt-clip or holster.
- No rapid access to modes—involves repetitive clicking to switch.
- Some users find it becomes uncomfortably hot.
The best 26650 flashlights will provide impressive and powerful illumination—with the peace of mind that your battery will not rapidly drain.
While the above flashlights are all excellent LED light sources, for me, the Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight stands above the rest. This tactical flashlight illuminates an impressive 820 feet, is water-resistant, and arrives complete with a 5000 mAh 26650 cell.
Furthermore, the three Cree LEDs give 1300 lumens and will deliver up to six hours of continuous light.
Other noteworthy mentions should go to the immense throw-light capacity of the ThruNite Catapult, and the temperature control system of the Klarus G20.
But, for the ultimate and best 26650 flashlight—there are few better than the Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight.