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The Best EDC Flashlights & What To Look For

Avatar for Samantha Biggers Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: May 24, 2021
The Best EDC Flashlights & What To Look For

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When it comes to flashlights there are some that are built for every day carry and some that are best used for special situations.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a flashlight for your daily needs and some flashlights I have found that offer good overall value and reliability.

1. Size

An every day carry flashlight should be compact. Bulky or large flashlights are too much to deal with and they are not something that you are going to want to put on your belt or throw in your bag.

2. Type of Batteries

I suggest a flashlight that takes AA batteries. AAA batteries are okay too but AA is more common. You can use the same rechargers usually for both types. I would never consider a flashlight for every day carry that takes button cells or an odd size battery.

In a survival situation, you want something that is easy to find replacement energy cells for. There are some very powerful AA battery powered lights out there now so you will not be lacking in brightness.

3. LED

This technology means a flashlight is going to burn longer. Some preppers are worried that they will not work during an EMP so you may want to have a few incandescent style flashlights small enough for EDC put back. During times where EMPs are not a factor the LED is superior for battery life and brightness.

4. Special features

There are all kinds of lights out there that have special features. This can add to cost and weight so you need to consider the pros and cons of these and decide if you will really actually use them. There is a lot of really neat prepping gear out there so it can be easy to be drawn in by something that does multiple things.

5. Brightness versus battery life

If a flashlight can be turned to a low, medium, or high setting, you can get a longer battery life. A flashlight that has just one setting is going to burn energy at the same rate the entire time you have it one. Regardless of which one you have, the brighter the light or more lumens it has the more energy it is going to burn.

6. Color of light offered

Red light can be nice to have at night so you don’t mess up your night vision. Older flashlights used to have disks that could be changed out as needed and were stored in the handle. Modern lights can just have a function where you flip a button.

7. Reputation

I have to say that there are a lot of quality flashlights coming on the market today but that also means there is a lot of junk out there. Your EDC flashlight needs to be reliable.

Burnt out LEDs, bulbs, etc are not something you want to happen when you really need light for a tedious task. While some bad reviews are sometimes just because something was late to arrive, some are genuine and worth paying attention to.

Some Standout Choices

Mag Lite Mini LED Flashlight with Holster

amazon product

For some, it is hard to beat the original Maglite. This flashlight is verry affordable and takes two AA batteries. It comes with two regular batteries and a holster. You can also use rechargeable batteries with ease. The solid metal body is tough but not overly heavy.

You can drop this light without worrying about breaking it or cracking the case. This Mag Lite is small but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use it as a defensive weapon if you needed to just like the larger Mag Lites out there. This is a good gift idea for any prepper. This is actually the light my dad carries with him all the time because he lives alone but close to us.

If the power goes out he needs a reliable light to get around with to avoid falling and other accidents and this does the job well. He really likes this one and he can be pretty particular about flashlights!

You can choose high, low, or SOS blinking mode with this light that has a beam length of 145 meters! That is pretty good for a small light.

J5 Tactical 3 Pk Flashlights
amazon product

This 3 pack of flashlights has a lot to offer and gets some great reviews from customers. Although these lights are a bright 300 lumens, they only take one AA battery and each flashlight weighs under 2.5 ounces! You can choose between high, low, and strobe settings. J5 claims that the light beam will reach up to 600 feet.

There is also a feature that allows you to zoom in or out. For a little more this is an exceptional deal that is worth looking at for stocking up on lights for use around your home or distributing among family members.

HAUSBELL Mini T6 Flashlight LED Flashlight Tactical Pack of 2

amazon product

While I know the price may sound too good to be true on this 2 pack of flashlights, reviews are solid on these. They are only about as long as smart phone as you can see from the picture but they offer a strong bright light and don’t take up much room in a bag or hanging from your belt. Each flashlight takes 3 AA batteries.

You can choose between high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS settings. This variety of settings allows you to get more out of your batteries because you can choose the lower setting when only a small amount of light is needed.

These are a good choice for keeping in your car, backpack, purse, or utility vehicle. The handle is made of aluminum to save on weight while maintaining durability and strength.

Brivation LED Heavy Duty Handheld 300 Lumen 3 Light Modes Ultra Bright Tactical Waterproof Flashlight

amazon product

This flashlight is a bit different and I decided to include it because I could see how some might like a more substantial offset handle that could double as a hanger. If you get frustrated with the grip on a lot of flashlights then this might be an option worth looking at.

The handle also provides a steadying effect so you can set the flashlight upright in candle mode which can be handy when camping or when you need hands free lighting.

You enjoy three choices of light with this flashlight; high, low, and SOS mode. If you get it and decide the handle is not for you then it appears it can be removed with an allen head wrench fairly easily. The maker says it it will run for 20 hours on high which is an output of 300 lumens. On low or 100 lumens you get 30 hours out of 3 AAA batteries. The body is made of aluminum and it is water resistant.

SOLARAY PRO ZX-1XL Professional Series Flashlight Kit

amazon product

This is one of the more expensive options on our list but for your investment you are getting a lot of function. This flashlight includes 2 AA batteries and a charger. Those that already have chargers may not get as excited but I can see how having a charger that is dedicated to keeping your flashlight going may be kind of handy.

Solaray is made in the USA and used by a lot of law enforcement and emergency personnel. The smaller light that is included is a nice bonus. The smaller light takes 1 AAA battery that is not included. Most AA charges can handle AAA batteries too so if you have one of those you are good to go. Both have belt clips for easy carry and retrieval.

The light offers up to 1600 lumens so it is very powerful and you can zoom in with it. If you want a professional grade tactical light then this light is worth the extra expense. The air craft aluminum body is strong and the housing around the light doubles as a defensive device.

An Incandescent Option

For those of you that are concerned about EMP effects or are just not a fan of the LED light options out there I am including and incandescent option. I have to say finding any incadescent flashlight is becoming more and more of a challenge.

The only reputable and affordable brand I managed to find as Mag Lite. You can get different sizes that take varying types of batteries. I am only going to show you the AA version because the larger Mag Lites that take C or D cells are heavy for everyday carry.

If you want something to throw in your car or something they are one thing but I would not want to carry around that heavy of a light unless I thought I might need a bludgeon.

Mag Lite Mini

amazon product

With a 325 foot beam distance and a durable body this is a solid choice for incandescent flashlights. You still have the convenience of a light that takes two AA batteries. The combo pack includes a lanyard and a stand so you can use the light in candle mode for hands free light whenever you need it.

I like that there is an included spare lamp that fits into the handle so you have a great back up. This combo is an exceptional deal for what you are getting. Mag lite also offers other packages that include a holster but the package above seems to be the best one in terms of value.

Multi Packs For Trade

During the course of my research I found some highly rated multiple packs of inexpensive lights. Not everyone is like you and thinking about having good lights on hand.

This means during a SHTF situation having some inexpensive EDC worthy flashlights on hand could be a good item for trade and barter. Here is one of the packs that are an option.

Mikafen Mini Cree Q5 LED Flashlight Torch 300lm Zoomable Lamp Light

amazon product

These 300 lumen lights each take a single AA battery which you will have to purchase separately. What is also amazing is that you can choose high, low, and SOS mode.

It is hard to believe that they can offer these lights at the price they are and I was skeptical but the reviews for them appear to be solid. The body is made of aluminum and includes a clip. These are small enough for kids to handle well.

Weighing The Pros & Cons

Flashlights have come a long way and you have more options than ever before. A lot of preppers have all types of flashlights. Having a good EDC light for each member of your family and some budget back ups is one approach to consider.

If you live near a lot of water you may want to check the water resistance rating more thoroughly before purchasing a light. There are flashlights that will float better than others too.

Do you have a favorite EDC light? Do you prefer the old fashioned incandescent to LED lights?

Those that are incandescent fans and know of good lights for EDC that are made by a brand other than Mag Lite, please share with us!

Author Bio

Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them. She can be reached at [email protected] or Facebook.

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10 Responses to “The Best EDC Flashlights & What To Look For”

  1. I carry two types of lights, the first is a uking, a generic single AA or a single 14500 rechargeable battery. The output is about 1200 lumens with the 14500 rechargable battery. The other light is a Albinaly, Shuster rechargeable light, with an internal 18650 rechargeable battery built in. With a usb recharge plug on the end under a protective cap, with a strong magnet on it used to hold the light to metal surfaces. Both lights have a cob leds, three light modes, high,low and SOS. All caps have o-ring seals on them for waterproofing. They are not for underwater use but are rain proof or momentarily submersion in water. The output is about 1900 lumens on the shustar. The Shuster also has a 4th setting with a cob led light strip on the side of the handle, with high and low settings on it as well. Both have zoomable light beams. And are water proof and very rugged, with casings made from aircraft grade aluminum. These are by far the brightest lights I’ve ever owned. I bought both from the Wish internet site. The uking was about $5 and the shustar was about $9 delivered. I highly recommend them to anyone on a budget and looking for a great light easily carried in a pocket or on a belt with the included clip. Easy push button on and off as well as changing modes of light output. Cob leds are the greatest advancement to the flashlight industry in years, they use less power than incandescent bulbs, and are much brighter lasting many times longer than the older types of bulbs and much lighter in weight making them much easier to carry for extended periods of time.

  2. Hi Samantha! Great article!
    Check out the family of Black Diamond lights
    The 2nd generation Orbit is really useful. A combination of
    Lantern and flashlight small enough to fit in your pocket or purse , two hanging options, only one button. Rated very highly as a backpacking light.

  3. I like the Coast HP-1 for EDC. Takes a single AA, fits in the watch pocket of jeans, quite bright, adjustable beam. Throws an even light without dark spot or rings on the wide angle setting. I’ve run on through a washing machine and it worked fine. About ten dollars on Amazon and well worth it for reliability.

    Coast and Streamlight are both premium brands. Law enforcement officers are big on Streamlight. If you need a highly reliable primary flashlight or lantern, they are really good. Not cheap, but highly reliable.

  4. i like block lites. small, uses batteries that every household has, bright adjustable light. only negative is that you can’t attach them to stuff.

  5. I currently carry the powertac e3 168 lumens it takes 1 aaa battery it has a high low and strobe and the pocket clip I don’t even know it’s on my pocket I use it just about everyday

  6. these are great and I have purchased one of the smaller ones. It has very good light and adjustable to cover just the right size area needed at night outside. light does attract attention and the human eye is a wonderful thing because it adapts quite well to the dark. man has become used to living in light. this is the one thing they must overcome if we are to survive in the event of a large and permanent crisis. I was fortunate to have cousins that lived on a farm in Canada. each summer we went up there as soon as school closed. I learned many things, one was how to use the dark. even now I am comfortable walking about my house in the dark. I keep some of the dollar store flashlights handy for when my great grandson visits and wants to play with a flashlight. if it gets broken then we haven’t lost a valuable part of the survival gear. also they are kept in nearly every drawer should we loose power. my wife needs lots of light. even in the day time. because she never puts things back they are easily replaced and most of all cheap. some even use the small button batteries that can be purchased at the dollar store. care must be taken with these because they can be fatal if swallowed. so I keep them in our cars as well I spend twelve dollars a year per car and just recycle them to have ones that work. the only care I take is to check on the ones in the car in the winter because they will fail with the cold. lastly for all who have cell phones and who doesn’t. the stores with $5 and below have charger battery banks that have built in lamps that will provide a long lasting light should you need one in your car it would also provide that extra power needed for an emergency call when you are away from the car. just some useful wisdom I accumulate in the latter years of life. hope you find it useful.

  7. Dear Samantha, my wife calls me a “flashlight collector” (reason is obvious). My current flashlight of choice is the Lux Pro LP 630. It takes 4 AAA batteries, has a zoom feature that is really helpful when I’m out at night checking to make sure our flock of chickens is where they ought to be. It’s an LED flashlight that has a metal case with rubber handgrip. So far, in using it over a year, I have absolutely no complaints about it and recommend it highly (even though it uses the AAA batteries). Great article, by the way.

  8. I will no longer purchase the mini maglite led flashlight. I have had about 6 of these things over the space of 2 years. They do not last. The internal parts come loose very easily, and after that the only thing to do is replace the light with a new one. Maglite would help me troubleshoot the light, but could not understand all I wanted was a light that works reliably. I purchase an Energizer Vision HD 400 lumen light at Lowes a few months back for around $24. So far it has been very reliable.

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