Tactical flashlights come in all shapes and sizes. They’re handy in an emergency, and for nighttime work, hunting, or digging around in your garage. But which one is right for you?
Before You Shop
You can’t just grab the biggest, brightest flashlight and expect it to fit right into your life. Whether they’re super bright, lightweight, or packed full of niche features, tactical flashlights are all special in their own way.
So, before you buy a tactical flashlight, you need to figure out which kind will fill that dark void in your life. Here are some key aspects you should consider:
- Brightness: A flashlight’s brightness (expressed in lumens) is, of course, its most important quality. Any light with 1,000 or more lumens is ideal for most situations, although some circumstances call for weaker or stronger beams. And, in case you’re wondering, all the flashlights in this article are LEDs.
- Weight: If you plan to carry your tactical flashlight in your pocket, a heavy one isn’t a practical choice. Try to find one that balances weight and power.
- Lighting modes: Some tactical flashlights have strobe, floodlight, or multicolor modes. These are most useful for nighttime work (in an industrial setting or at an airline, for example). However, these tend to add a few dollar signs to the price tag.
- Water-resistance: The best tactical flashlights are water-resistant. If you plan to get your flashlight wet (maybe you like to stand in the rain or you fish), we suggest you get one with a relatively high IPX water-resistance rating.
- Batteries and charging: It’s a pain in the neck when you have to replace batteries. All the flashlights in this article use common batteries or come with rechargeables (we’ll include these details throughout this article for your convenience).
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to find the tactical flashlight that suits your needs.
Best Overall: The WISSBLUE 1,600-Lumen Flashlight
The WISSBLUE is a fantastic, 2.5 oz. tactical flashlight with all the bells and whistles. It has an amazing IPX8 water-resistance rating (meaning, it can soak for a few hours and still work). Supposedly, it even works after being frozen or boiled (in case you’re wondering). It pumps out 1,600 lumens of light, is rechargeable, and has six lighting modes (including strobe and SOS), and a built-in magnet.
But the WISSBLUE lacks one important feature—a pocket clip. It does have a tassel you could attach to a carabiner. It’s lightweight enough to fit in your pocket comfortably, but if you need a pocket clip, you might want to go with a different flashlight.
WISSBLUE X2 Military Grade Tactical Flashlight Rechargeable, 6 Function Modes 1600 High Lumen Flashlight, Magnetic Base COB Light, Men's Tactical Equipment Gift
The WISSBLUE 1,600 lumen tactical flashlight is a lightweight military-grade device. It can soak in water for hours and still work, it has six lighting modes, and it even has a built-in magnet.
Budget Option: The Goreit 900-Lumen Flashlight
If you’re looking for a balance between price and quality, you should check out the Goreit 900-lumen tactical flashlight. It has five adaptable settings (including strobe and SOS), a beam adjuster to switch between a focused beam and floodlight, and a rain-ready IPX5 water-resistance rating.
Just keep in mind the Goreit weighs 5.3 ounces, which is a bit much for a tactical flashlight. The extra weight is a good sign of durability, but you’ll feel it in your pocket.
Premium Option: The Klarus 2,000-Lumen Flashlight
Looking for the brightest, fanciest tactical flashlight money can buy? The Klarus 2,000-lumen tactical flashlight is surprisingly bright. It has an IPX8 water-resistance rating (meaning it can handle a few hours in the pool), and it’s impact resistant up to one meter. It has a super-sensitive power button for quick illumination, a hard “off” button to prevent accidental illumination, and six lighting modes, including strobe.
Just keep in mind the Klarus weighs 4.6 oz. That’s not super-heavy, but it’s weightier than some of the others on our list (specifically, the 2.5-ounce WISSBLUE).
At least it has a pocket clip.
Klarus Upgraded XT11GT 2000 Lumens Super Bundle with LED Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight, 18650 Battery, USB Cable, Lanyard, Holster, Pocket Clip, Car Adapter, Wall Adapter, and USB Mini Light
The Klarus 2,000 lumen tactical flashlight has all the bells and whistles. It can handle hard falls, hours in the pool, and it has six different lighting modes to boot.
Best Pocket Light: The Hatori 150-Lumen Flashlight
The Hatori mini tactical flashlight is a bright, unidirectional penlight. It only weighs about one ounce, and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket, attach to your hat, or clip to your car’s sun visor. It also runs on a single, AAA battery, which is super-convenient and easy to replace. Just keep in mind, it doesn’t have a water-resistance rating, so it can’t handle a thunderstorm like some other tactical flashlights.
While the Hatori isn’t nearly as bright as most full-size tactical flashlights (150 lumens isn’t much), it’s cheap, small, and versatile. If you’re looking for a flashlight that’s always handy in a pinch, this one’s a no-brainer. Oh, and if you want something slightly brighter, Hatori also sells a 200-lumen version for just one dollar more—it’s also a bit longer, though.
LED Mini Flashlight, Super Bright Small Handheld Pocket Pen Light Tactical High Lumens Torch for Camping, Outdoor, Emergency, 3.55 Inch
The Hatori mini tactical flashlight is small and convenient. You can keep it in your pocket, attach it to your hat, or clip it to the sunshade in your car for any emergency.
The Multicolored Option: The BORUIT 1,200-Lumen Flashlight
Looking to add some color to your life? The rechargeable BORUIT tactical flashlight has built-in multicolor LEDs that produce white, red, green, blue, or UV light at an impressive 1,200 lumens. It also has a strobe function, a blue flickering function, and a red and blue flickering function (presumably, for scaring people). As for the specs, the BORUIT has an IPX8 water-resistance rating (it can handle a few hours of submersion), is rechargeable, and only weighs 4 oz.
Why would you want a multicolored flashlight? Well, they’re mostly used by professionals in industrial or aircraft settings. But different colored lights can be practical for everyday use. A red light, for example, doesn’t interfere with your natural “night vision,” a green light attracts wild game, and a UV light is handy if you need to look for stuff like bloodstains or urine.
BORUIT Tactical Flashlight Rechargeable - 1200 Lumens XP-L2 Chip 11 Mode IPX8 Waterproof LED Flash Light - White Green Red Blue VU 5 Color Light Hand Torch Adult Hunting Fishing Gaming Gear
Whether you work in an industrial setting or you love to hunt at night, you need a multicolored tactical flashlight. The 1,200 lumen BORUIT is a great option, it's bright and has an IPX8 water-resistance rating.