Let there be light, and I promise you it’s going to be so much better.
Having a handy flashlight, on the ready, used to be the ultimate sign of someone who’s prepared for everything. However, with smartphone lights in every person’s pocket or handbag, they’ve started to be considered unnecessary. Of course, mostly by the same folks who think that having a roadside assistance plan makes them a survivalist.
Let’s be honest, though, there are still plenty of everyday situations where you want a proper flashlight just like you might want a great multi-tool on hand. The sorts of conditions in which a smartphone light isn’t going to cut it or will just be ridiculously awkward. For example:
- roadside engine trouble
- feeling secure on a dark pathway
- finding things in a dark closet
- cooking a steak after dark
With the right EDC Flashlight, not only will you get more light than any phone bulb is going to provide, but you will be able to clip and angle that light, so it shines where it’s most needed.
Of course, with many EDC lights today, they also double as a self-defence tool. Offing a strong blast of light to stun an assailant and even a reinforced strike edge in the event it comes to that.
In this piece, we’re going to delve into what you should look for in an EDC Flashlight. And then we’ll give you a few of our recommendations and tell you why we like them. Although if you’re in a hurry and are thinking to yourself, just tell me which damn EDC light is your favourite, click here. It’s amazing.
What you need to know
The first thing to consider is how bright you need your light. You could invest time trying to understand lighting tech and learning the difference between Lumens, Watts, and Candelas, but there’s really no need. Most flashlights measure in lumens, and that’s good enough. So what’s a lumen? A Lumen is the measure of the amount of light being output by a source within a specified area and time. Put simply, the higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Put more sciencey, one lumen equals to the amount of light received in a square foot area, one foot away from a lit candle.
What do you need?
Don’t go below 100-lumens, or you’re going to be disappointed. At 100-lumens, you will have a good amount of downrange light, whereas anything less than that won’t see much more than what’s right in front of you. For comparison, the LED light in the iPhone X, depending on the brightness settings, provides between 12 and 50-lumens. Now, if you’re looking to use a blast of high-intensity light to ward off a potential attacker, you will want to go with something closer to 600-lumens. At that brightness, you make a point.
The Power supply
Next, you need to consider your power source. How much juice do you have and how often do you need to replace that power. Today’s EDC flashlights come in a wide variety of options. Rechargeable power cells, lithium high-output batteries, and basic AA consumer alkaline options are available. And, of course, they all have advantages and drawbacks.
What do you need?
Lithium-ion batteries are usually going to be the most potent option. The good news is there are rechargeable options. These are similar to what’s used in the Tesla Model S sedans, only much smaller. And, they cost under ten bucks and will last several years. Regular alkaline batteries, on the other hand, are great because they are available everywhere. However, they aren’t quite as powerful and will need to be replaced more frequently. Finally, the built-in USB rechargeable power cells are very convenient for charging on the go. Still, they also tend to be much less powerful than the other varieties. Perfect for a flashlight in the desk drawer.
The size and build
Smaller EDC flashlights still come in a range of sizes and materials. How big is too big for everyday carry? Often this depends on how you plan to carry your light. If you want to put it in your pocket, that’s one size. If you take a handbag with you everywhere and want to keep it in there, that’s another size. If you prefer to take the Batman approach and clip to your belt, that’s another size still. When it comes to materials, there are a lot of fancy names, but really it comes down to metal or plastic. And, either one could be right for you depending on what your needs are.
What do you need?
Ideally, you want to go with something lightweight and metal. This usually means a more durable product, but it can also be helpful in a self-defence situation. However, if the only thing you care about is that your EDC ultra-lightweight, then a quality plastic polymer casing is probably what you want.
1. SureFire Everyday Carry LED Flashlight Series
If you’re looking for a serious EDC flashlight and willing to make a small investment, anyone of the E-series lights by SureFire is going to knock your socks off. The largest, measuring 5.84-inches can blast up to 1,200-lumens for up to an hour, straight. When turned down to the lowest 5-lumens setting, you could run this light for 60-hours non-stop. The body is made from high-strength aerospace aluminum that has been Mil-Spec hard-anodized for extreme durability, and useful for self-defence situations. The on/off is done by a Tactical Tailcap Switch, making for smooth one-hand operation. The power is supplied by 2 Surefire 123A Lithium Batteries (included).
Lumens Range: 5 to 1,200 lumens (varies by model)
Length: 4.5 to 5.84-inches (across the range)
Weight: 3.3 to 4.1-ounces
Model: E-Series (EDCL2-T, EDCL1-T, E2T-MV)
Power: 2 Surefire 123A Lithium Batteries
2. XENO - Premium Titanium Alloy ES1 Ti Cree Led flashlight
If you’re looking for something durable and stylish that won’t cost you a small fortune, the XENO ES1 Ti is a great EDC Flashlight. The gunmetal finish looks incredible and fits well with any of your other EDC essentials. And, despite being inexpensive, this little guy is waterproof to IPX-8, meaning it’s submersible up to 2-meters in depth. While the lumens aren’t quite as high as the ones listed above, this 140-lumens max output is pretty fantastic for the price and build quality.
Lumens Range: 40 to 140 lumens
Materials: Titanium Alloy construction
Model: ES1 Ti
Power: one AA-size battery-NiMH rechargeable or Alkaline (not included)
3. Streamlight - 66608 Coyote
The Coyote is precisely the sort of everyday carry flashlight that should be USB rechargeable. Sure, swapping batteries on a high-end EDC light can be convenient and help with longevity, but at under $50, why bother. The Lithium-Ion cell pack in this guy delivers 250-lumens on the high setting. Its lightweight, small stature means it can easily be kept anywhere. So, if you work in an office and are looking for something ultra-low profile to slide into your pocket without it being noticeable, this is the one. And, at the price they are, maybe pick up two or three just to have them handy.
Lumens Range: 5 to 250-lumens
Materials: Aluminum housing with Type II Military Spec anodizing
Power: Lithium-Ion cell pack (built-in)
4. SureFire - Stiletto Multi-Output Rechargeable Pocket LED Flashlight
A super-powerful rechargeable option, the Stiletto is an amazing EDC light that will give you way more illumination than you’re ever likely going to need. It’s not cheap, but it charges quickly and lasts a long time. The device powers on easily via a top-switch or tail button, both of which are programable for selecting the power setting or for activating the strobe feature. The compact, lightweight polymer body is waterproof up to one meter in depth for 30 minutes, and the fit is like holding a knife handle. Another fantastic feature is the LED power gauge that allows you to track the battery charge status in realtime.
Lumens Range: 5 to 650-lumens
Materials: polymer body
Power: USB rechargeable lithium-polymer battery (built-in)
5. WUBEN - Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
My favourite thing about this light is the battery situation. Sure, it’s a fine-looking light. It has a whopping 1200-lumens at full power. And, it comes set with five light modes, including the obligatory strobe setting, if you find yourself in distress. But the battery. A USB rechargeable 18650 Battery that, in an instant, can be swapped out for 2 CR123A batteries. So it’s both rechargeable, and you can grab extra batteries to keep in the glovebox, just in case. This is a preppers dream light.
Lumens Range: 5 to 1200-lumens
Materials: aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, with premium type Ⅲ hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
Model: Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight
Power: rechargeable 18650 Battery (Included)
6. OLIGHT Baton 3 Flashlight
Olight has quickly and consistently gained a reputation as one of the premium flashlight makers in the world. And when they consistently update their products with a relentless focus on improved iteration, the end result is a product like the Baton 3 flashlight. This ultra compact EDC flashlight packs a huge punch for its size. We liked it so much in fact that we did an in-depth review of the Olight Baton 3 flashlight.
Lumens Range: 0.5 to 1200
Materials: 20 days runtime
IPX 8 Waterproof
Model: Baton 3
Max beam throw: 166 meters
Light intensity (candela): 6,889
Weight: 1.87 oz.
7. SureFire - Defender Series LED Flashlights with Strike Bezel
There is a reason they refer to this EDC Flashlight as brutally tough. Not only is its 600-lumen capacity enough to stun a would-be assailant, but the strike bezel edge means that this bad-boy can turn into your last line of defence in a pinch. Just don’t go around knocking heads willy-nilly, the Defender can cause some real damage. Of course, the aerospace aluminum is built tough. However, for this thing to be reliable all the way around, they included a coated tempered window over the bulb to resist impact and maximize light. At 8-inches long, it’s a little larger than most others on here, but it’s still my favourite. Small enough to take with you almost anywhere and big enough to stick up for you.
Lumens Range: 5 to 600-lumens
Materials: High-strength aerospace aluminum
Power: 2 CR123A batteries (included)
8. RovyVon - Aurora
When it comes to EDC Flashlights, most people want something unobtrusively tiny. And, while many offerings come close, at 2.9-inches long by 0.8-inches wide, with 1000-lumens, the Aurora is definitely small but mighty. You may even mistake it for a chapstick in your pocket. Being IPX8, this little fella can be submerged for up to 30 minutes and survive a 2-meter drop completely intact. If small and sturdy are top priorities, this may be just the light for you.
Lumens Up to 1000-lumens
Materials: aluminum shock-resistant
Length: 2 .9-inches
Model: Aurora A23 LED Flashlight
Power: 600mAh rechargeable and replaceable battery (Included)
9. Hoxida - Tactical Flashlight
If you like to have an EDC light at the ready, you know that many situations call for a little bit of extra light (or a lot of extra light). The great thing about the Hoxida is that not only does it give you a powerful straight-ahead beam, but the flashlight body has a fantastic little sidelight. Perfect for the times you need an overhead lamp. Pair that with its magnetic base, and this light is simple to position, just about anywhere.
Lumens Up to 1000-lumens
Materials: Aluminum Alloy
Length: 4 .57-inches
Model: Tactical Flashlight with Cob Sidelight
Power: 18650 rechargeable battery (Included)
10. SureFire Titan - Ultra-Compact LED Keychain Light Series
If you want a light that’s so easy to carry, it fits on your keys, and yet is powerful enough to qualify as a proper flashlight, this is it. The Titan will literally sit in the palm of your hand at 3.5-inches in length and weighs in at only 2-ounces all told. And yet, at max power, it throws 300-lumens of light wherever you need it for up to an hour. The body is made from nickel-plated brass, making it virtually indestructible. The quick-release key-ring connection means you can swiftly remove it from your chain and use the easy clip to secure it wherever you need.
Lumens Range: 15 to 300 lumens
Materials: nickel-plated brass
Power: Rechargeable AAA NiMH battery
11. NEBO - Torchy EDC Flashlight
I love how clever the folks at Nebo have been with the little lamp they call Torchy. At just over 2.5-inches long, this guy is shorter than a business card and infinitely more useful. But it’s the backend that really impressed me. Not only is there a magnetic base, but they designed it to click onto a mag-charge cable to create a wireless connection. And, of course, I was also dazzled with the Turbo feature. At the high setting, this little lamp throws out 500-lumens and can do it steadily for about an hour. But just say you need to really blast it. The Turbo feature allows you 30-seconds at 1000-lumens (130-metres of visibility). It’s like having 30-seconds of Bat-signal. Not necessary for every day, but perfect when you absolutely have to have it.
Lumens 50 to 500-lumens (30-second 1000-lumen blast)
Materials: Anodized aircraft-grade aluminum
Power: 1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (included)
12. Prometheus - Lights Quark
The Quark is a well-made tactical EDC Flashlight that has the distinction of having the lowest possible light setting of any on this list. “Moon-mode” allows you to shine 1-lumen of light for up to 270-hours of late-night reading. While the “Burst-mode” gives you an hour and a half of 30-second 700-lumens blasts to illuminate a distance of up to 170-meters. Not the top of the spectrum or the bottom, this moderately priced option provides a dependable, quality choice in the mid-range.
Lumens 1 to 700-lumens
Brand: Prometheus Lights
Power: 16650 Li-Ion rechargeable battery (Included)
13. Euyee - Rechargeable EDC LED Flashlight
At 5-inches long, this mini tactical flashlight is an innovative addition to your EDC set. The Lotus-head design is strong enough to break glass and boasts a telescopic-zoom slider. By adjusting the zoom feature, you can focus from a powerful broad light to a condensed search beam that can blast a lot of light where you need it most. When using the metal clip, this light can be positioned to brighten up a room or attach it to the front of your hat for hands-free search.
Lumens up to 800-lumens
Materials: Aluminum alloy
Length: 5-inches (5.3-inch fully zoomed)
Model: Rechargeable LED Flashlight,800 Lumens Zoomable Flashlight
Power: 18650 rechargeable lithium battery (Included)
14. EdisonBright - Fenix EDC Flashlight
A perfectly capable mid-range option, the Fenix is not my go-to light for surviving the wilderness, though it would probably do just fine. Well-built and compact, with a respectable lumen count, this EdisonBright option is perfect for everyday use and able to respond with more light than most situations require. The standard-issue pen clip is super useful for positioning, but as you know, available with pretty much every EDC Flashlight. While this light isn’t going to win any Best-in-class awards, the price range makes it a perfect companion for most EDC kits.
Lumens 5 to 550-lumens
Materials: aircraft-grade aluminum
Weight: 1.6-ounces (excluding battery)
Model: Fenix Keel
Power: 16340 rechargeable Li-ion (Included) or 3V CR123A Lithium
15. OLIGHT - S2R Baton II
The S2R Baton II is another solid mid-range choice. Quite practical in design, it features five standard modes: 1150 Lumens, 400 Lumens, 120 Lumens, 15Lumens, 0.5 Lumens, with one special mode, a 10Hz Strobe-Mode. They’ve also included a nice feature for campers, the built-in magnet on the flat tailcap. This option should let you work hands free near surfaces you can stick the flashlight to.
Lumens 0.5 to 1150-lumens
Includes a 18650 recharagable lithium battery (can be charged magnetically)
Portable fast charging via USB
Perfect for everyday carry, camping, fishing, household, car, etc.
Model: S2R Baton II
Beam distance: 443 feet
Max lumens: 1150
Waterproof rating: IPX8
Weight: 3.47 oz.