About this Page: Here are the best flashlight products I’ve found that cover a wide variety of use cases, and warrant recommendation. They are all solidly built, bright, with easy to find, easy to change batteries.
If you’re interested in flashlights for more specific situations, look at the articles in my blog page (also, check the Category list in the page footer below.)
Full Disclosure: The products that I mention here and link to, are affiliate links. That simply means that I’ll earn a small commission for any purchases you make using the links provided (there is no extra cost to you for using the link). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Flashlights have been around since 1899 according to Wikipedia, in one form or the other. They’ve been powered by the dry cell battery in one form or another since the earliest days. For decades, C cells and larger D cell batteries were the standard power source. More recently, solar panels and handcranks for rechargeable batteries have become options. With the advent of halogen and LED bulbs, the size of the power source has decreased. As a result, flashlights have grown more both powerful (brighter) and smaller over the years.
A useful flashlight serves one main purpose: to throw a beam of light. From a handheld device, you can safely light a path; locate an object at a reasonable distance in the dark on land, sea, air, or space; or send a signal.
Flashlights are used by all walks of life:
Basic versus Specialized
A basic flashlight will do the job for many of the users above. However, they’ve really evolved over time and today you can find flashlights that optimize lighting for very specific uses. For example, a standard household flashlight wouldn’t serve the police, a diver, or a coal miner due to the specific environments they have to work in. Different users require tailor-made flashlights.
How does a flashlight work:
A flashlight works by converting electrical energy into light. That light is bounced off of a reflector in the front of the flashlight which produces a fairly narrow beam of concentrated light. We usually call the a “beam” of light. The electrical energy is provided by batteries. A switch is how to turn a flashlight off or on. This switch is either a push button or a slide switch, and is located either on the body or the end of the flashlight. Flashlights either use an incandescent bulb (the kind with the glowing wire inside) or a more modern light “emitter”. to produce a beam of light.
What should I consider when deciding what flashlight to get?
For home or everyday use: You’ll want a decent wide beam, light but durable construction material (plastic is cheapest, and these are typically found in big box stores), and batteries that are easy to find in store without having to special order anything.
For outdoor use: Rugged material, not susceptible to damage when dropped or in wet environments. Consider rechargeable batteries and interchangeable battery packs.
For Aviation: Easy on/off, consider a head mount option, a flashlight that easily switches from white to red light to preserve night vision, easy-to-change batteries (or easily rechargeable from wall power or cockpit), optional beam focus
For Marine and Boating Use: Beam focus adjustment, waterproof or water resistant, non-slip grip and/or wrist lanyard, consider a flashlight with an SOS mode.
What are the different types of bulbs used in flashlights?
Two main type of bulbs:
Incandescent – used on standard household flashlights, it’s basically a glass enclosure with a glowing filament. Flashlights with incandescent bulbs have been around a long time!
LED (Light-emitting Diodes) – solid state, very bright, typical in tactical flashlights and flashlights where a bright beam is needed. (Don’t point these at your eyes!). LED technology has become so advanced that other bulb types are essentially obsolete. LED bulbs are energy efficient, have long run times, and very impact resistant when the flashlight is dropped.
Less used bulbs, seen infrequently
HID (High Intensity Discharge)
Xenon, Halogen, and Krypton Bulbs
If you really want to geek out over flashlight bulbs, take a look at the “Flashlight Basic Performance Standard” (ANSI FL1). It covers basic performance of hand-held/portable flashlights, spotlights and headlamps that provide directional lighting. The ANSI/PLATO FL 1-2016 Standard discusses beam distance, peak beam intensity, run time, impact resistance and water penetration protection.
Where can I find the best flashlights out there?
It’s important to find the type of flashlight that best suits your needs. This page offers up 6 of the best, highly rated general purpose flashlights.
For flashlights that meet specific uses categories, jump on over to the Products Blog
Here’s a hand-picked starter set of flashlights with high Amazon Customer Reviews to explore and purchase (note: if using an ad blocker, the listings may not be visible)
BONUS: Best flashlight IF…
you want to be a little independent >>> try a search for “flashlight” on any of these fine store’s sites. They are well known, reputable stores with a wide range of flashlights: