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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 would recommend to friends and family and 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 now 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:
- 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 into the tens of thousands, though, even LED flashlights produce a lot of heat, so having radiator fins or even a fan to cool the flashlight is beneficial.
The brightest LED flashlights come with innovative ways to help the heat dissipate, like a heat sink. Even so, using them at their highest level for prolonged periods can reduce the life of the LEDs and batteries. Thankfully, these lights also come with lower lumen output levels 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 blinding bright one can be challenging for consumers. We have selected the brightest of flashlights in several sizes and styles in our review for you to check. Hopefully, our recommendations 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 LED light and bright plating process optical reflectors, the Imalent offers eight different lighting levels. This variation combined with bright light means some users even used it for photos and video creation. 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 Lithium Ion Battery Pack from Imalent provides over 14 hours of run time. At the highest setting, it will provide 60 seconds at the maximum 100,000 lumens before lowering to 25,000 lumens for almost an hour.
One hundred thousand lumens in a handheld flashlight 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 issue and promote active cooling.
A multi-function OLED display allows for easy access to the various parameters and settings of the flashlight. The Imalent torch has an ergonomic design made from high-performance aluminum alloy materials which 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 maintaining 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 tactical flashlight attached. With a rail mount included, like other tactical flashlights, the OLIGHT PL-Pro can be installed on weapons with a Glock rail or a MIL-STD-1913 within seconds for self-defense.
Click here to see the Best Shotgun Rail Mount Flashlights reviewed!
With two power modes, including 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. It’s not the brightest tactical flashlight, but it has many other features.
Like many other tactical flashlights on the list, the top 1,500 lumens power is only available for a short time, 90 seconds, before it reduces power consumption to 600 lumens for up to an additional 45 minutes. Model 2 has a max runtime of 1.5 hours.
Heavy-duty and water-resistant, the tactical flashlight uses a quick attach and release system for mounting and an ambidextrous activation LED switch. You slide it forward with your fingers 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 tactical flashlight. With this handy feature, you no longer have to worry about stocking up on CR123a lithium batteries.
- Tactical flashlight that’s easy to mount on most pistols and long guns.
- Simple and ambidextrous activation system.
- Exceptionally bright on both lighting 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 intense light source 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 lighting levels, Lumintop includes a free piece of software called Anduril with several settings 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 torch from military-grade anodized aluminum, so it will keep working even under the toughest of conditions. Use it while climbing mountains, by the coast or a lake, in the woods, or during storms.
Replaceable and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries give the flashlight its power. Most rechargeable batteries begin to lose their charge after 200-300 cycles. Being able to swap an old 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 contactless use. This is a great feature for a mechanics flashlight.
It comes with a glow in the dark diffuser to soften the beam distance to a fraction and allow its use as a reading light. Since it glows in the dark, you can find its precise location 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 Acebeam TK18 tactical flashlight 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 chassis of this light. The battery itself includes the charging port. This makes it easier to keep the water out of the tactical flashlight, allowing for up to 6 feet of submersion. The durable anodized aircraft aluminum construction offers 3 feet of impact resistance, the manufacturer has ensured quality control on this feature.
Besides the removable pocket clip, this Acebeam tactical flashlight comes with an adjustable wrist strap to make it even easier to use.
- Multiple lighting options.
- Long run time on lower settings.
- Very compact light size.
- Samsung LED technology.
- 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 flashlight in a durable case that’s able to withstand almost any punishment dealt to it. Tactical flashlights are available for everyone.
While designed for tactical use and self-defense, the Klarus XT21 flashlight will serve you well while camping with friends or as an everyday flashlight.
Easy to operate one-handed with its dual tactical tail switch, the torch is capable of a maximum output of 4000 lumens, making it our brightest tactical flashlight, strong enough to light your backyard. No matter your use pattern, it can adapt to it with one-touch strobe, turbo, and low functions.
With a case made of 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum and 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 lighting settings, from 4000 lumens at the max, down to the 5-lumen moonlight eco mode, it also includes two flashing LED light settings. 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 lifespan of the battery.
- Multiple lighting options.
- Smart color temperature control system.
- Long runtime on the lower setting.
- Brightest tactical flashlight.
- The prolonged use of turbo reduces brightness.
- Gets too hot when used at higher brightness for long periods.
The Brightest Headlamp
Tactical 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 sleeve sections for holding between the teeth, but doing the same with an aluminum or stainless steel model might chip a tooth! A headlamp frees both hands and allows conversation for consumers.
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 in the woods, hunt or go for a nighttime bike ride for miles 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 as a night light.
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 has a waterproof rating 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
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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 settings, 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 3 feet and can also survive submergence in water up to 3 feet. Take it fishing by the coast or a lake and light-up objects, no problem. 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 still 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 highest setting gives off a short burst, of 60,000 lumens for around 60 seconds, before dropping to, a still blinding, 15,000 lumens for a little less than an hour. The other five brightness options offer greater usage times, down to the ultra-low mode, which gives off 625 lumens for a full 24 hours on a single charge.
The removable battery pack can take a charge independently. If you carry multiple batteries, you can swap them out to prolong the service of the flashlight and be sure you won’t run out of juice.
The Acebeam handles heat dispersal with a fan system and copper heat sink 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 this flashlight for submersion.
The super bright 600-lumen mode is one of five available, including an emergency strobe. In such a compact package, power consumption will be fast at higher levels, lasting only 38 minutes, and 2.5 hours at the lowest setting, but it needs only 20-80 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, which leaves your arms free to carry on with the task at hand.
- 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 common and easy to find components and 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 including cool white, neutral white, and moonlight for preserving your night vision.
Click here to see the Best 14500 Cell Flashlights reviewed!
Waterproof up to 6 feet and impact resistant to heights of 5 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 flashlight with a magnetic tail to make contactless operation easier. The manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back return policy and a five-year free repair warranty.
- Uses 14500 lithium cells.
- Offers moonlight mode for low light.
- Oversensitive button.
- Only provides 400 lumens for non-lithium cells.
When using our review list, remember that lumens are only one feature to check out. The IMALENT MS18 can pump out an unmatched amount of lumens compared to the competition on the market but it is large, heavy, and expensive.
Consider how you plan to use your dazzlingly bright flashlight before buying. Smaller models like the 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.