9 Best Flashlights of 2022
When you need a flashlight, there are plenty of choices. Here are nine of your best options.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Buying a Flashlight
Sometimes you can’t be without a flashlight. Whether you’re doing a plumbing or electrical repair in a dark place, enjoying wilderness camping or fumbling with a door lock, a flashlight saves the day.
Of course, anyone with a smartphone already has a flashlight. But there are plenty of times when the shape of the device itself makes an actual flashlight better suited for the situation. Anyone who has tried to hold a phone in their mouth while working in the dark will agree: Although it’s a handy feature, a flashlight on a mobile device is no substitute for the real thing.
Flashlights range from small ones that fit on a keychain or in your pocket to monsters that can help you spot a mountain lion from several hundred feet away. As with buying any tool, consider what you’ll most likely need it for and choose accordingly.
What To Look For in a Flashlight
While some flashlights are good for just about any task, others target specific needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Brightness: Measured in lumens. While there’s no direct correlation between brightness and power output, 450 lumens roughly corresponds to the output from a 40-watt incandescent light bulb. Flashlight brightness can range from four (essentially four candles) to 1,200 (roughly equivalent to a 75-watt incandescent bulb) and all the way to 15,000 lumens.
- Size: For light on the go, a tiny flashlight fits in your pocket or on your head. Larger ones go in your tool box or a kitchen drawer.
- Weight: Small flashlights aren’t always lightweight, nor are large ones necessarily heavy. Heavier ones do tend to be brighter and more durable, but they’re less portable.
- Directionality: Highly focused light is great for spotting faraway objects in the dark, but sometimes you need ambient illumination spread over a wider area.
- Power source: Flashlights have traditionally been battery-powered, mostly AAs and AAAs. But these days, more and more are rechargeable via a standard USB port on your laptop or a plug-in adapter. You can also get solar and hand-crank flashlights that aren’t as bright but will work when you’re out of batteries and don’t have power.
- Cost: Few flashlights cost more than $100, but some come close. Inexpensive models can cost less than $10. On average, expect to pay from $20 to $40 for a reasonably bright flashlight with a functional design.
Best Overall Flashlight
It isn’t rechargeable and isn’t the brightest on this list, but the ThruNite Archer 2A V3 pocket flashlight gets rave reviews for its versatility, durability and ergonomics. After conducting tests with 23 flashlights, one Amazon reviewer writes: “Even after trying all the other lights, we reached for this one first when we headed into the woods.”
Like many similar models, this one won’t roll, and it stands upright on its base. It can survive drops and immersion in water. Two AA batteries provide 500 lumens, great for dog walking and emergency use.
Best Keychain Flashlight
Among the features that make the Nitecore V2.0 55 Lumen Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight a good buy are its compact size, lightweight body and easy push-button operation. It’s about the size of one of your keys, and it’s there in your pocket when you need it.
This is one of a growing number of keychain flashlights that are rechargeable through a USB-C charging port. You get up to 58 hours of operation on a single charge, so you save money on batteries and don’t create more waste.
Best Pocket Flashlight
The Risemart LED Pocket Pen Light is just big enough to house a single AAA battery and comes with a pocket clip. The LED bulb puts out a maximum of 100 lumens, more than enough to check your mailbox or find your car keys.
It’s affordable; you can get them in four-packs for about the same price as most other single flashlights. A convenient push-button switch on the back of the cylindrical body means no fumbling for the switch in the dark.
Best Head Lamp Flashlight
The lightweight Black Diamond Spot 350 and doesn’t have a lot of straps to get tangled up. One easy-to-adjust strap holds it securely to your forehead.
The Power Tap switch allows easy shifting from full brightness (350 lumens) to dimmer settings. The built-in memory remembers the last setting so you don’t have to cycle through settings each time you turn it on.
Best Tactical Flashlight
Law enforcement officers carry tactical flashlights because they’re typically extremely bright and focused. With a maximum light output of 1,200 lumens, the Gearlight S2000 is surprisingly affordable at $20.
It isn’t pocket size, but it fits easily in backpacks and tool chests. The adjustable lens lets you focus in on objects as far away as 1,000 feet. The push-button on/off switch at the rear of the housing makes for easy operation.
Best Super-Bright Flashlight
Some tactical flashlights are bright and some are super-bright. The waterproof Bercol Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight will make you feel like you’re on a movie set.
The 10,000 lumen output of the LED bulb is 10 times that of a conventional tactical flashlight. The telescoping lens provides plenty of ambient light for camping, and focuses in on objects that might be in your way. Battery life suffers because of the brightness. But you can get 10 hours on a charge in low-light mode, and the power indicator tells you when you need to recharge.
Best Portable Shop Light
Whether you’re painting, working on your car or tinkering in your wood shop, the Ryobi P727 Rotating LED Work Light provides all the light you need. It offers a maximum output of 950 lumens, and you can position it upright and pivot the light up to 270 degrees.
It’s part of Ryobi’s One+ system. One drawback: If you aren’t committed to Ryobi’s 18V battery system, you have to purchase the battery and charger separately.
Best Pocket Work Light
Mechanics need a flashlight that provides general illumination as well as a more focused beam to see into the recesses of a dark engine. The Dr. Prepare Work Light combines a foldable 700-lumen LED array with a 100-lumen LED on the tip for deep inspections.
The unit is small enough to clip into your pocket and has a strong magnetic base to keep it stable while you’re working. The battery powers the LED array for 30 hours on a single charge.
Best Solar Flashlight
A solar flashlight isn’t bright, but during an extended power outage it may be all you’ve got. The Simpeak Hand Crank Solar Powered Flashlight stores enough power through its onboard solar panels to provide instant illumination. Turning the hand crank for one minute generates enough power for 10 more minutes of light.
The compact design makes this flashlight easy to tote on camping expeditions. You can charge it with pretty much any light source, not just the sun.