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Let’s talk about this right up front: Someone out there is going to know of a brighter flashlight than the ones on my list. Let’s clarify – these are the Brightest Flashlights that I know about, and that I would buy myself.
With that in mind…read on.
Whether you are exploring the backcountry, night walking the dog, need light during a power outage or require some extra illumination at work, sometimes a brilliant beam is essential to banish the shadows.
With advances in LED technology, many flashlight options offer a staggering amount of brightness.
We created our list of the brightest flashlights to include models that run the gamut of sizes, uses, and cost — to ensure that there is something for everyone.
On top of our list, coming in at a whopping 100,000 lumens is the IMALENT MS18. The other dazzling offerings are:
- The Brightest Flashlight on the Market: IMALENT MS18
- The Brightest Rail Mounted Light: OLIGHT PL-Pro Valkyrie
- The Brightest Small Flashlight: Lumintop EDC18
- The Brightest EDC Flashlight: ACEBEAM TK18 AL
- The Brightest Tactical Flashlight: Klarus XT11X
- The Brightest Headlamp: Lupine Lighting Systems Betty RX 14 Headlamp
- The Brightest Penlight: ThruNite Archer 2A V3
- The Second Brightest Flashlight on the Market: Acebeam X70
- The Brightest Keychain Flashlight: RovyVon Aurora
- The Brightest 14500 Flashlight: Lumintop EDC05
Issues to Consider When Looking for the Brightest Flashlights
Thanks to inexpensive and energy-efficient LEDs, there are so many models on the market today. Wading through them to find the best can be difficult. Before we get to our reviews, we wanted to offer a quick guide of what to look for.
What are Lumens?
Lumens are the measurement of a light’s output, and the more lumens a light produces, the brighter the light will be. For comparison, a 100-watt incandescent bulb produces 1690 lumens, while the brightest flashlight on our list produces 100,000 lumens. That is the equivalent of almost 60 incandescent lights!
We include the lumens for every flashlight on our list, and many of them have lower brightness levels besides the highest setting. Many of the highest lumen producing flashlights can only provide their listed brightness for a short period before dropping to a lower level or sapping the battery power.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
The Downside of Brightness
A blinding ray of light can be attractive to have, and vital in some circumstances, but the lumen pumping settings some models below are capable of, come with their own issues.
LEDs transfer 80 to 90 percent of their energy to light compared to incandescent lamps, which produce more heat energy than light. When the lumens reach the tens of thousands, though, even LED flashlights produce a lot of heat.
The brightest flashlights come with innovative ways to help the heat dissipate, but using them at their highest level for prolonged periods can reduce the life of the LEDs and batteries. Thankfully, they come with lower lumen level settings for everyday use.
Read our Ultimate Guide to Flashlight Tint to learn all about how important Flashlight Color Tints are.
Our Top 10 Brightest Flashlight
With the vast selection of portable lights available, finding the right, dazzlingly blinding one, can be challenging. We have selected the brightest of flashlights in several sizes and styles for you to choose from. This will help you find the perfect option for your needs.
The Brightest Flashlight on the Market
Capable of producing a beam output of up to 100,000 lumens, reaching 1350 meters, this is the choice for anyone who looked at a giant spotlight and wanted that power in the palm of their hand. Flashlights don’t come brighter than the IMALENT MS18.
Using 18 CREE Xhp70 LEDs and IMALENT’s bright plating process optical reflectors, it offers eight different brightness levels. Turbo at 100,000-25,000 lumens, right down to low at 700, which is still higher than a lot of other flashlights’ top settings.
At low, the rechargeable battery pack provides over 14 hours of run time. At the Turbo setting, it will provide 60 seconds at the maximum 100,000 lumens before lowering to 25,000 lumens for up to 52 minutes.
One hundred thousand lumens in a handheld package produces a lot of heat. IMALENT includes a built-in pipe radiator with silent and waterproof fans at the inlet and outlet to dissipate the heat generated.
A multi-function OLED display allows for easy access to the various parameters and settings of the flashlight. Its ergonomic design, made from high-performance aluminum alloy, provides impact resistance and a comfortable grip.
- Incredible power at 100,000 lumens.
- The built-in pipe radiator helps keep it cool.
- Includes two heads, carrying case and carry strap.
- Only capable of 100,000 lumens for 60 seconds.
- The OLED screen can be hard to read.
- Easy to lose grip in wet weather.
The Brightest Rail Mounted Light
Hunters, law enforcement, and nighttime security guards will never have to worry about not being able to see in front of their pistol or long gun with this flashlight attached. With a rail mount included, the OLIGHT PL-Pro can be installed on weapons with a Glock rail or a MIL-STD-1913 within seconds.
Click here to see the Best Shotgun Rail Mount Flashlights reviewed!
With two modes: Model 1 at 1,500-600 lumens and Model 2 at 300 lumens, it also comes with a 13Hz strobe mode at 1,500 lumens. Like many other models on the list, the top 1,500 lumens power is only available for a short time, 90 seconds, before it reduces to 600 lumens for up to an additional 45 minutes. Model 2 has a runtime of 90 minutes.
Heavy-duty and water-resistant, it uses a quick attach and release system for mounting and an ambidextrous activation switch. You slide it forward to activate, so lefties won’t have to worry about switches on the wrong side of the firearm.
While it is rechargeable, instead of a USB that can wear out over time, you charge it by attaching the magnetic cable directly to the flashlight.
- Easy to mount on most pistols and long guns.
- Simple and ambidextrous activation system.
- Exceptional brightness of both modes.
- Innovative charging system.
- Short battery life.
- No low light mode.
- Potentially clumsy on smaller handguns.
The Brightest Small Flashlight
Sometimes you need a blindingly bright light in a much more compact package. Lumintop offers that with a lot of bells and whistles.
The EDC18, while fitting in the palm of your hand, is a contender for the overall best flashlight on our list.
It offers a staggering 2800 lumens from its three Cree XPL-HI LEDs, reaching a distance of 200 meters. While most flashlights on our list offer two or three modes, Lumintop includes a free piece of software called Anduril with several modes and options to meet any need.
Click here to see the Best Small Fenix Flashlights reviewed!
Waterproof, dustproof, and with anti-reflective coating on its lens, Lumintop made this product from hard anodizing military-grade aluminum, so it will keep working even under the toughest of conditions.
A replaceable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery gives the flashlight its power. Most rechargeable batteries begin to lose their charge after 200-300 cycles. Being able to swap an old rechargeable battery out for a fresh one can extend the life and usefulness of the flashlight.
The extras are where Lumintop excels. The tail end is magnetic so that you can attach it to metal surfaces for hands-free use. Mechanics love this feature.
It comes with a glow in the dark diffuser to soften the beam and allow its use as a reading light. Since it glows in the dark, you can find it much easier in low-light situations.
- Multiple modes including strobe, candle, lightning storm, and more.
- Comes with a light diffuser and magnetic tail end.
- The rechargeable battery is removable.
- At 1-inch in diameter, it is too wide for some pockets.
- Some users found mode changes complicated.
- No battery charger supplied.
The Brightest EDC Flashlight
Because of their usefulness, it’s not surprising that many people include a small penlight as part of their everyday carry items. You don’t have to be a boy scout to be prepared.
At just over 2 ounces and only 4 inches long, the TK18 fits in most pockets and will not weigh you down. The three Samsung LEDs offer up to 3000 lumens with multiple settings for different levels of illumination and a strobe feature.
Unlike other USB rechargeable flashlights, there is no USB port on the body. The battery itself includes the charging port. This makes it easier to keep the water out, allowing for up to six feet of submersion. The durable anodized aircraft aluminum construction offers three feet of impact resistance.
Besides the removable pocket clip, this comes with an adjustable wrist strap to make it even easier to use.
- Multiple brightness modes.
- Long run time on lower brightness settings.
- Very compact size.
- The proprietary battery charging system cannot use third party batteries.
- No low voltage protection.
The Brightest Tactical Flashlight
You need not be a member of the military or law enforcement to enjoy the benefits of a compact light in a durable case that’s able to withstand almost any punishment dealt to it.
While designed for tactical use, the Klarus XT21 will serve you well while camping or as an everyday flashlight.
Easy to operate one-handed with its dual tactical tail switch, it is capable of a maximum output of 4000 lumens. No matter your use pattern, it can adapt to it with one-touch strobe, turbo, and low functions.
With a case made of 9.6061-T6 Mil-Spec aerospace aluminum and a scratch-resistant tempered glass over the LEDs, it can more than handle adverse environments. Klarus designed it for use in heavy rain, and it can handle freezing temperatures down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check out our article on What Makes a Flashlight ‘Tactical’
Equipped with seven brightness settings, from 4000 lumens turbo mode, down to the 5-lumen moonlight setting, it also includes two flashing modes. The Strobe function uses the full power while the SOS flashing at 100 lumens can continue for a staggering 63-hour runtime.
The rechargeable battery uses a micro USB port on the side of the flashlight. Three separate battery protection systems ensure efficient charging while preventing overcharge and other issues that can reduce the lifetime of the battery.
- Multiple brightness modes.
- Smart temperature control system.
- Long runtime at lower brightness.
- The prolonged use of turbo reduces brightness.
- Gets too hot when used at higher brightness for long periods.
The Brightest Headlamp
Flashlights are one of the most useful tools in low-light situations, but sometimes you need both hands. A few flashlights come with soft biteable rubber sections for holding between the teeth, but doing the same with an aluminum or stainless steel model might cause you injury. A headlamp frees both hands and allows conversation.
Lupine’s Betty RX 14 claims to be the brightest headlamp in the world, capable of an astounding 5000 lumens, up to 380 meters. You can hike, hunt or go for a nighttime bike ride with a bright light that follows your head movements.
The 11 brightness settings provide the perfect amount of light for almost any situation. You control the settings with the included Bluetooth remote. For convenience, the remote is on a velcro strap that you can attach to your wrist or handlebars.
Click to see all of our other Headlamp reviews!
The flashlight comes with an AC wall charger and a 12 volt DC charger for use in a vehicle’s cigarette lighter. The 13.8Ah SmartCore battery can offer runtimes as high as 310 hours on lower brightness settings.
Lupine designed the headband to remain in place even during high activity, with its over the top strap for stability. The lightweight aluminum construction of the flashlight is waterproof and is highly durable in all weather.
- Includes multiple charging options.
- 11 brightness settings.
- Strong head straps.
- Bluetooth remote.
- The remote is easily misplaced.
- Hot at high brightness settings.
The Brightest Penlight
Who doesn’t want startling illumination in a tiny pocket-size package? Five hundred lumens might not seem like much compared to some larger models on our list, but at only 6.81 inches long and just over 2 ounces, this offering from ThruNite is one of the smallest and easy to carry models available.
Powered by two AA batteries, keep spares handy, and you don’t have to worry about recharging times or the difficulty of finding a power outlet in an emergency. Besides the 500-lumen, high mode, it features four other modes, including the 0.5-lumen firefly mode and a powerful strobe.
Click here to see the Best Penlight Flashlights reviewed!
Designed for everyday portability, it has impact resistance up to three feet and can also survive submergence in water up to three feet. With the diamond non-slip design, you won’t have to worry about losing your grip, even when wearing gloves.
- Powered by common AA Batteries.
- Firefly brightness mode extends battery life.
- Included lanyard and belt clip.
- Belt Clip is in the middle, so half the flashlight sticks out of pockets.
- Not rechargeable.
- Hot to the touch with prolonged use.
The Second Brightest Flashlight on the Market
Nobody wants to be the second-best, but when they offer 60,000 lumens at almost half the price as the number one, heads turn. Beyond blistering brightness, Acebeam packed in the features on the second brightest flashlight in the world.
Constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, with a Type III anodized and anti-abrasive finish, the X70 is robust and is water-resistant up to 60 feet. The ultra-clear tempered glass lens provides 98.3 percent light transmittance, thanks to its anti-reflective coating.
Like many other ultra-high-power models, the turbo mode gives off a short burst, of 60,000 lumens for almost a minute, before dropping to, a still blinding, 15,000 lumens for an additional 50 minutes. The other five brightness modes offer greater usage times, down to the ultra-low mode, which gives off 625 lumens for a full 24 hours on a charge.
The removable battery pack can take a charge independently. If you carry multiple batteries, you can swap them out to prolong the use of the flashlight.
It handles heat dispersal with a fan system built into the removable handle. You can detach and reattach the handle with no additional tools.
- Greater water-resistance than most models.
- Multiple brightness levels from 60,000 to 625 lumens.
- Swappable batteries.
- Detachable handle.
- The lowest brightness level is too bright.
- Gets hot.
- Cooling fan limits use time on turbo mode.
The Brightest Keychain Flashlight
They say good things come in small packages, and the tiniest light on our list emits an astounding 600 lumens in its 2.1-inch long body. Ready to hook on to almost any keychain, you will find your car on the darkest of nights.
Click here to see the Best Keychain Flashlights reviewed!
The hard anodizing aluminum alloy provides durability and can stand up to getting knocked around with your keys without getting scuffed up. Splash resistant for all-weather use, they have not rated it for submersion.
The super bright 600-lumen mode is one of five available, including an emergency strobe. In such a compact package, battery life will be low at higher levels, lasting only 38 minutes and 2.5 hours at the lowest setting, but it needs only 70 minutes to get a full charge through the micro USB charging port.
Besides the keychain loop, it comes with a removable clip that works for both front and back use. If you wear a baseball cap, it works as a headlamp for hands-free operation.
- Tiny size.
- Quick charging through the Micro USB port.
- Four brightness settings.
- Short battery life.
- Odd low, high, medium brightness sequence.
The Brightest 14500 Flashlight
AA powered flashlights offer the convenience of a common and easy to find batteries, but most of them are not rechargeable and the cost can add up the longer you use the device. 14500 cells are the same size as AA batteries but hold a more significant charge and can be recharged multiple times.
Our favorite 14500 flashlight pumps out 800 lumens with a single cell in a 3.4-inch long body. Along with the high mode, it offers three others down to moonlight for preserving your night vision.
Click here to see the Best 14500 Cell Flashlights reviewed!
Waterproof up to six feet and impact resistant to heights of five feet, the military-grade aluminum body is durable for almost any situation you encounter.
While small enough to fit in your pocket, this is a great all-round choice with a magnetic tail to make hands free operation easier.
- Uses 14500 lithium cells.
- Offers moonlight mode for low light.
- Oversensitive button.
- Only provides 400 lumens for non-lithium cells.
When using our list, remember that lumens are only one feature to look for. The IMALENT MS18 can pump out an unmatched amount of lumens. but it is large, heavy and expensive.
Consider how you plan to use your dazzlingly bright flashlight before buying. Smaller models like the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 are great for everyday carrying, while the Lupine Lighting Systems Betty RX 14 Headlamp is the perfect option when you need hands free operation.
Finally, don’t forget the lower brightness options. The Lumintop EDC18 with its multiple modes and included diffuser works well as an all-round flashlight, capable of shining a bright beam into the darkness or as a reading light.