It goes without saying that one of the more versatile tools you can carry around with you at night is a flashlight. But for the more vigorous purposes, like hunting and camping, or if you happen to fall in the law enforcement or security fields, an ordinary flashlight just won’t cut it. For this, you will need something that can live through all the hard knocks implied. You will need a Tactical flashlight.
The very best tactical flashlights are built like tanks; they come equipped with certain features that can aid you when you need to defend yourself, including the high intensity LED bulbs, which would do well to blind any assailant, and beams that shoot as far as 700 feet. Nowadays, these flashlights come in nicely compact sizes, with heavy-duty batteries in place, so they stay on for incredibly long periods. You can even get some that are waterproof to take out during the heavy rains.
That said, if you are looking for one handy mechanism to shed light on your every situation, we’ve got just the list of you – the 10 best tactical flashlights in the market today.
Top 10 Tactical Flashlights Of 2020 Reviewed
- Top 10 Tactical Flashlights Of 2020 Reviewed
- 1. Streamlight ProTac 88040 HL Flashlight
- 2. Fenix PD35 Tac Tactical Edition Flashlight
- 3. PeakPlus Super Bright LED Tactical Flashlight
- 4. Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight
- 5. SureFire G2X
- 6. Solaray Pro ZX-1
- 7. J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight
- 8. Ecogear TK120 Tactical
- 9. Eastshine T25 Tactical
- 10. Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra
- How to Choose the Best Tactical Flashlight: The Ultimate Buying Guide
- So, What Makes a Flashlight Tactical?
- What is Lumens?
- What Size and Weight Should My Tactical Flashlight Be?
- What About the Beam?
- How Much Battery Life is Ideal?
- What Material Should the Flashlight be Made of?
- Speaking of Durability…
- What are the Functions and Modes of a Tactical Flashlight?
- How Much Does a Tactical Flashlight Cost?
1. Streamlight ProTac 88040 HL Flashlight
The Streamlight ProTac 88040 HL Flashlight has a lumen rating of 35 to 750 and 900-18300 candela beam intensity. Its range is up to 270 meters with a battery life of 18 hours (at the lowest brightness level. It has an IPX7 rating which means it is waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Plus, it comes with a removable pocket clip. What really makes it stand out is its Ten-Tap Programming which allows you to select one of three preset programs. However, the flashlight sticks a bit when clipped to your pocket. It doesn’t come with rechargeable batteries and burns through the batteries that it comes with quickly.
- IPX7 rating
- Ten-Tap Programming
- Very bright
- Does not come with rechargeable batteries
- Drains batteries quickly
- Handle of flashlight sticks out a bit when clipped to the pocket
2. Fenix PD35 Tac Tactical Edition FlashlightBest Tactical Flashlight For $50
The Fenix PD35 Tac uses CREE LEDs with lifespans up to 50,000 hours and has a max output of 1000 lumens with a maximum range of 656 feet. It has 6 modes which include Outdoor mode, Strobe, and Eco mode. It is made of aircraft-grade aluminum with Type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish.
It has an IPX8 rating which means it can be submerged in waters up to 2 meters or 6.5 feet deep. It features simple side switches and reverses polarity protection which protects the flashlight when the battery is not properly installed. And it has intelligent memory circuits that remember the last mode you used. However, the battery and charger are not included. And it’s pricey. The flashlight can get pretty hot in Turbo mode.
- 6 modes
- IPX8 rating
- Remembers your last mode
- Battery and charger are not included
- Heats up in Turbo mode
- A bit pricey
3. PeakPlus Super Bright LED Tactical FlashlightBest Tactical Flashlight For The Money
The PeakPlus Super Bright LED Tactical Flashlight is our favorite for so many reasons. One, it features 5 light modes and a zoom function which include full brightness, medium brightness, low brightness, SOS mode, and Strobe mode. Two, the flashlight has an adjustable focus as well as a spotlight function that throws an intense beam that can reach up to 600 feet. The beam range is 200 to 500 meters.
The flashlight can run on a 18650 lithium-ion battery or 3 AAA batteries. It’s also water resistant, skid-proof, and anti-abrasive. And because it’s made of aluminum alloy, it is very lightweight yet durable. In case you’re wondering, this flashlight is rated as 1200 lumens. However, you do need to remove the battery in order to recharge it which is a tad inconvenient. The case that comes with the flashlight feels cheap. And the charger feels flimsy.
- Several modes
- Water resistant, skid-proof, and anti-abrasive
- Can run on rechargeable batteries
- Can’t charge the battery while inside the flashlight
- Cheap case
- Flimsy charger
4. Outlite A100 Tactical FlashlightBest Tactical Flashlight With Zoom
The Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight may be small but that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. The flashlight may only be 5.35 inches in length and weighs 5.3 ounces but it has a high power 10-watt CREE XM-L T6 LED bulb and a max output of 900 lumens. It features 5 different modes which are three brightness settings, SOS, and Strobe. This flashlight also has an adjustable focus, enabling you to zoom the beam in and out.
Its beam range is from 15 feet to 150 feet. The Outlite A100 can run on both AAA alkaline batteries and 18650 rechargeable. It is made of 6061-T6 Aluminum alloy which makes the flashlight durable, skid-proof, and scratch-proof. It has a waterproof rubber ring to keep the flashlight working even when in wet conditions. However, it is not water resistant when submerged. The flashlight does not come with a manual. And it does not come with a clip, just a strap for your wrist.
- Durable, scratchproof, and skid-proof
- Long beam range
- 900 lumens
- Not water resistant when submerged
- No manual included
- No clip
5. SureFire G2XBest Tactical Flashlight For Police
The SureFire G2X Tactical features a tough Nitrolon polymer body, a nearly indestructible LED emitter, and a Mil-Spec hard-anodized bezel – all of which screams durability. This flashlight can fit into the palm of your hand and its sculpted body provides you with a secure yet comfortable grip. The parabolic reflector ensures that you enjoy the single output of 600 lumens.
There’s also a built-in heat and fault protection which protects it from getting damaged from high temps and from short-circuiting. Because of its wide heat tolerance, you can easily mount this to your rifle and not worry about the heat affecting it. However, it only has a single output; no low brightness level or other modes. It uses non-rechargeable batteries and not standard ones too. It uses 123A batteries.
- Wide heat tolerance
- Built-in fault protection
- Incredibly durable
- No other power/brightness settings
- Uses 123A batteries (non-rechargeable)
6. Solaray Pro ZX-1
The Solaray PRO ZX-1XL Kit gives you 2 flashlights, a charger, and two Solaray rechargeables 18650 lithium-ion batteries. But that’s not why we love it. The ZX-1XL is a powerful flashlight that features U.S. made CREE XML-T6 powered LED chip, 5 light modes, a max output of 1600 lumens, and an adjustable focus.
The mini PRO LED flashlight included in the kit has an output of 300 lumens with 5 modes as well. However, the ZX-1XL is a bit big at 8-7/16 inches long and weighs 7 ounces. It cannot be used with AAA batteries, in case you’d rather go with standard ones instead of the rechargeable (like when you’re camping). And it doesn’t come with a manual.
- Complete flashlight kit
- Very bright
- Durable construction
- Bigger and heavier than other models
- Does not run on standard batteries
- No manual included
7. J5 Tactical V1-PRO FlashlightBest Ultra Bright Tactical Flashlight
The J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight is a versatile product that utilizes either an AA battery or a rechargeable one to provide ultra-bright light. It is capable of lighting an entire room of focusing on objects that are as far as 600 feet away. Featuring the low, high, and strobe modes, this flashlight provides a medium beam and is great to use when fishing, camping, hunting, and dog walking. If you would like to use it on-the-go, simply put the flashlight in your pocket, purse or backpack.
This flashlight is ideal for use in snow, rain or emergency conditions, given that it is water-resistant for a depth of up to 9 feet of temporary immersion. It can also stay in a freezer or get run over by a truck without getting damaged. The manufacturers of the best ultra-bright tactical flashlight are offering a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Simply report any issues with the product and you will receive a full refund or replacement, whichever you choose.
- An ultra-bright flashlight
- Water-resistant and indestructible
- Comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
- Reports of it dying after a short time of use
- Comes without user instructions
- Some users had difficulty adjusting the light beam
8. Ecogear TK120 Tactical
The Ecogear TK120 Tactical may be economical but nothing about it screams “cheap.” It features 5 modes, an adjustable focus, and can be powered by 3 AAA batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery. It has a lumen rating of 900 to 1200 and a beam range of up to 1000 feet.
At 5.5 inches, it fits comfortably in your hand. The TK120 is water resistant which enables you to use it in extreme weather conditions. And it is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum with a hardened anodized finish which makes it quite durable. However, it can get pretty hot. The light isn’t as bright when you only use AAA batteries. And it doesn’t come with a belt clip.
- Very bright
- Beam range up to 1000 feet
- Can get hot
- Not as bright with AAA batteries
- No clip included
9. Eastshine T25 Tactical
The Eastshine T25 Tactical is incredibly lean at only 1 inch wide. It has a maximum lumen rating of 1000 lumens with a beam range of up to 350 yards (1050 feet) and a maximum intensity of 25,700Cd. It has several modes including an Outdoor mode, Tactical mode, and Moonlight mode which uses just 1 lumen. It has an Intelligent memory function which stores your last brightness setting.
And it has an IPX8 rating and impact resistance of up to 1.5 meters. What makes it different from other flashlights at this price point is the presence of a battery indicator. It’s always better to know when you’re going to run out of juice instead of just suddenly being plunged into darkness when it goes out. However, at the higher settings, the flashlight tends to heat up. It doesn’t come with any batteries. And when used, it drains batteries pretty fast.
- Battery indicator
- Intelligent memory function
- Impact resistant and waterproof
- Can get hot
- No batteries included
- Drains batteries fast
10. Surefire E2D LED Defender UltraBest Tactical Flashlight For Self-defense
The Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra looks badass. And it’s easy to see why. It features a rugged crenellated Strike Bezel and a scalloped tail cap so you can easily turn it into a weapon when needed. And don’t worry about breaking it because it is made of a high-strength aerospace aluminum body that is Mil-Spec hard-anodized for impressive durability. The flashlight comes with two output modes – high at 600 lumens and low at 5 lumens.
The pocket clip allows you to attach the flashlight to a multitude of surfaces, right side up and down. However, there is no Strobe mode which is usually a feature at this price point. It runs through batteries pretty quickly which can become expensive since it uses 123A batteries. Also, the light seems to have a yellowish cast.
- Crenellated Strike Bezel for self-defense
- Very durable
- Can be attached to multiple surfaces
- No strobe mode
- Drains batteries fast
- Light has yellowish cast
How to Choose the Best Tactical Flashlight: The Ultimate Buying Guide
For most people, a flashlight is simply a tool that can aid you when it’s dark. But a tactical flashlight is so much more than that. Unlike an everyday flashlight, it is incredibly durable yet lightweight which makes it portable and long-lasting. They can be used as a self-defense weapon, for breaking open a window in an emergency, a handy tool in anyone’s survival kit, and a host of other benefits depending on the functions and features of a particular tactical flashlight.
If you’re looking for a tactical flashlight, you’re going to need to consider a number of factors and features before making a choice. This buying guide should help you learn everything you need to know about these flashlights so you can get the best tactical flashlight that suits your needs.
So, What Makes a Flashlight Tactical?
A tactical flashlight was originally designed for military use. It has a metal casing that makes it tough and durable, shock resistant even, but still lightweight. It features a clip that enables the user to attach the flashlight to his/her belt, pocket, or bag for ease of use. It is easy to grip in the hand but still big enough to be used as a weapon.
What is Lumens?
Lumens is the measurement of the total amount of light provided by a flashlight. For tactical flashlights, the lowest lumen rating you’ll find is 100 lumens. Most will have around 300 to 600 lumens while there are a few that come with 2,500 lumens or even higher. To give you an idea of how much power these flashlights give out, a 100-watt incandescent light bulb has an output of around 1,500 lumens.
300 lumens is bright enough to shine a beam that reaches up to 500 feet. 500 lumens is enough to temporarily blind a person when flashed in the eyes. Flashlights that have 1,000 lumens or higher are usually used by emergency personnel such as search and rescue. Take note that tactical flashlights feature different settings and manufacturers often list their highest setting. For example, the Streamlight ProTac 88040 HL Flashlight has a lumen rating that ranges from 35 to 750.
Now, candela is the level of brightness a flashlight’s beam has when pointed in one direction. In terms of power, this measurement is more important than lumens. Tactical flashlights typically have 1,000 to 150,000 candelas. The Eastshine T25 Tactical, for example, has 25,700 cd.
What Size and Weight Should My Tactical Flashlight Be?
There really isn’t a right answer to this simply because every individual is different. Only you can decide what size and weight are suitable for your needs. Tactical flashlights that are between 4 to 8 inches long are considered compact. This length makes it portable, easily carried in a pocket or bag. While small, these flashlights can have a lumen rating of 1000 lumens or more. The Surefire E2D LED Defender Ultra, for example, is only 5.6 inches long and weighs 4.2 ounces but its highest lumen rating is 1000.
Those who are looking for bigger tactical flashlights can find ones that are almost as long as a foot and weigh nearly 1 pound. Despite their larger size, these flashlights are slender by design to enable users to pack them into a bag. Because they have more space to hold batteries, large tactical flashlights tend to have higher lumen ratings.
What About the Beam?
When choosing the “reach” of a tactical flashlight, there are two factors that you’ll need to consider – range and width. The range is the “throw” of the light which means it’s how far the light can reach. When you read about a flashlight’s beam range, this tells you the distance of the beam from the lowest to the highest power settings. Tactical flashlights that have lumen ratings of 3000 or higher to be able to cast a light of up to 2000 feet. Now, width is how wide the beam is. The wider the beam, the larger the area the flashlight is able to illuminate.
How Much Battery Life is Ideal?
Tactical flashlights usually take A or AA batteries. Some will use standard batteries while others will use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries while others like the PeakPlus Super Bright LED Tactical Flashlight can run on both. Some even have built-in lithium-ion batteries that enable you to charge the flashlight via USB. Typically, a tactical flashlight will have several hours of battery life, up to 12 hours. How fast your battery drains will depend on how bright the flashlight is. Tactical flashlights typically have a couple of brightness modes. Some may even feature a power-saving mode.
What Material Should the Flashlight be Made of?
Many tactical flashlights are made of anodized aluminum because it is durable, lightweight, and nice to look at. Some can be made of stainless steel which is more durable than aluminum. However, this can increase the flashlight’s weight. A few tactical flashlights are made of rubber or composite material. While these flashlights are lighter in comparison, they are also the least durable.
Speaking of Durability…
Part of a tactical flashlight’s durability is its drop resistance and water resistance. Drop resistance is how far a tactical flashlight can be dropped without incurring significant damage. Many tactical flashlights have a drop resistance of 5 feet or 1.5 meters. Water resistance is how long the tactical flashlight can be submerged in water without incurring damage. Tactical flashlights with an IPX7 or IPX8 rating can be briefly submerged in water without causing damage. The Fenix PD35 Tac Tactical Edition Flashlight, for example, has an IPX8 rating.
What are the Functions and Modes of a Tactical Flashlight?
Tactical flashlights provide more than just the standard beam. Tactical flashlights have different light modes.
Strobe mode – a flashing light that can be used to attract attention. The Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight is one of the models on our list that has this mode.
SOS mode – the flashlight signals “SOS” to signify to others that you are in danger. While this is not a mode that you’ll always use, it can be handy in an emergency.
Power-saving mode – allows you to prolong battery life. This mode can also be used when you want to use the flashlight without disturbing others.
Zoom mode – this enables you to change the width of the beam; you can increase the width to illuminate a large room or focus the beam to an object at a distance.
How Much Does a Tactical Flashlight Cost?
Tactical flashlights can cost anywhere from $15 to $150. While inexpensive, those that cost around $15 to $30 can still be quite bright as well as durable. However, they often won’t have many features you’d typically find in more expensive models. Mid-range tactical flashlights cost $30 to $70 and will often feature USB charging, water resistance, and even a zoom mode. Expensive models often have higher lumen ratings (up to 3,500) and are extremely durable.