The best tactical flashlights come in handy for a variety of applications. In the past, tactical flashlights were used for tactical or emergencies but they are now being adopted for other uses such as camping, mechanics, and hunting just to mention a few.
You can never really predict when you will need a bit of extra light. And that is precisely why you need to always have your tactical flashlight with you, either in your car, pocket, purse, or even backpack.
In this article, we will review some of the best tactical flashlights in 2020. Let’s get right into it!
The 12 Best Tactical Flashlights Reviews On The Market In 2020
If you are looking for a solid and durable flashlight that can light for several hours on a single charge, then this should be your top choice.
This incredible lighting gadget is capable of handling a nine-foot fall without suffering any damages. That said, it is also capable of operating underwater for a limited duration. And not just that! But this J5 tactical flashlight is also available at an affordable price.
It has two different powering options; you can either use a rechargeable 12500 battery or one AAA battery. The batteries are, however not included in the package but they can be easily purchased.
This compact yet quite powerful flashlight can be carried in your purse, pocket, or any mini compartment in your car or bag. This means that it will always be readily available for use whenever the need arises.
What most users like about it is it three simple light modes; strobe, high, and low. Switching from one mode to another is easy and they enough to handle any lighting task.
The only downside, as mentioned earlier, is that the AAA batteries are not included in the package. You have to purchase them separately
- This is a relatively bright tactical flashlight; 300 lumens
- It has two powering options; a rechargeable and non-rechargeable option
- It comes with three simple lighting modes
- It is a strong, compact, and durable flashlight
- It has a high-quality construction
- The AAA batteries are not part of the package
The J5 Tactical V1-PRO is a well-built flashlight that can be used to handle several tasks both in and out of your home. It is a worthy purchase and one of the best budget tactical flashlights available today.
With a powerful brightness of 850 Lumens, you will certainly fall in love with this Streamlight tactical flashlight.
It is one of the best small tactical flashlights. Measuring 3.25 inches long and just 1inch wide, this Streamlight flashlight is indeed quite compact. This makes it very easy to carry around as it fits in your small pouch or pocket.
Another great thing about this lighting device is that can be charged anywhere where there’s a USB connector. With it, you don’t have to worry about changing the batteries now and then; just get it charged and you are good to go.
Featured in its design are two LED bulbs that have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. This makes this flashlight quite reliable; you can rest assured of enjoying its bright light for quite some time. Also, this flashlight can run for up to about 750 hours when used with continuous, brief light bursts.
There’s however, one thing that this tactical flashlight falls short on. It does not have a low battery warning. It just suddenly goes off. Other than that, it is an incredible product.
- It provides super bright lighting; 850 lumens
- It features a nice, lightweight and compact design
- It IS USB rechargeable
- It includes a tail cap switch
- It comes with two LED bulbs
- It does not have a low battery warning
At its price, this is certainly a purchase that’s worth making.
Are you looking to save some money on your purchase? If so, you should check this out. The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight comes as a pack of two and at a very affordable cost. It is one of the best affordable tactical flashlights you’ll ever come across on any flashlight; two for the price of one!
This gadget is waterproof and can be used even in the most rugged surroundings. It can be used in the snow, rain, and below zero temperatures without any worries. Additionally, its housing is so strong that it can even survive a 10-foot drop onto hard grounds without any damages.
This GearLight flashlight will provide you with brilliant brightness at a very low cost. What’s more, you get to choose your desired powering option; you could either use the rechargeable option or 3 AAA batteries.
The best part is the five different lighting modes, which allow you the freedom to choose the most appropriate setting for varying situations. You can either choose from a high, medium, or low brightness setting. The flashlight also has SOS and strobe settings as well. What more could one ask for!
On top of the five modes, the flashlight’s focus can also be adjusted. You could either go for a narrow and concentrated beam or a wider beam.
Its only downside is the minor inconsistencies that it has.
- An affordable tactical flashlight; one of the highest-quality tactical flashlight under $50
- The package comes with two flashlights
- It is waterproof
- It has a strong housing and is built to last
- This flashlight has a few minor inconsistencies
If you are a law enforcement officer, security personnel, or you just simply need a flashlight, you can count on this great package to serve you.
This PeakPlus rechargeable tactical flashlight comes with some incredible features for its price. It is a complete flashlight kit. The package includes a bright LED flashlight, battery charger, AAA battery holder, rechargeable battery with a nice storage pouch, a case, and a user manual.
Different from incandescent flashlights, this particular tactical flashlight uses modern LED technology. This provides you with a compact and bright flashlight solution. Also, this PeakPlus tactical flashlight features a sturdy design that’s waterproof, skid-proof, as well as abrasion-resistant.
This flashlight can either run on 3 AAA batteries or with the rechargeable battery that is included in the package. It is advisable to use the AAA spare as spares in case you run out of power when using the rechargeable battery.
There are five light modes to pick from depending on the current situation. They are low, medium, full, strobe, and SOS settings. And I particularly love that this flashlight includes a zoom function.
The only thing that I dislike is the fact that there is no waterproofing certification mentioned.
- This is a complete flashlight kit
- It features five light modes
- It has a rechargeable and a non-rechargeable battery option
- It has a zoom function
- It is abrasion- and slip-resistant
- It is one of the best rechargeable tactical flashlights
- There is no mention of waterproofing certification
Anyone looking for a complete flashlight kit should consider this product. It comes with everything that you’ll need.
This is hands-down one of the best and most convenient tactical flashlight in this list. It offers an incredible 800 lumens light brightness through a C4 LED bulb. Although less bright compared to a few other models in this list, it still produces lots of focused and clear light.
This Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL flashlight has been specially designed to nicely fit on to a wide selection of weapons. Additionally, it can be attached and detached using only one hand. With it, you will also get to enjoy a steady on and off switch.
The body is constructed using aircraft-grade aluminum and an anodized finish. It also features a glass lens that’s shock-mounted and produces a well-concentrated beam of light.
Apart from being waterproof, this flashlight is suitable for use in most weather conditions; from chilling -40 F degrees to hot +120 F degrees). It operates on double 3V CR 123A lithium batteries that can last for up to 1.25 hours. Also featured in this device is a battery door with a latch mechanism that prevents the loss of the batteries.
The major downside to this flashlight is the short life of the batteries. The batteries can only last for about one hour after which you’ll have to replace them.
- It is a well-built, lightweight flashlight
- It can snugly fit on to most weapons
- It produces very bright light; 800 lumens
- It is waterproof
- The battery life is too short
This Streamlight tactical flashlight is a great choice for anyone with a handgun. It is easy to attach and detach and it provides a well-focused and bright light.
Anker has done it again with this incredible tactical flashlight.
This particular Anker model utilizes a high-quality Cree LED bulb to produce a bright light of 400 lumens. This brightness might seem a bit less in comparison to other tactical flashlights that have been reviewed in this list, but it is without a doubt enough for daily use.
The best part about this product is its battery life. When on medium light mode, it can last for 20 hours without needing any recharge. This is all thanks to the superior 3350mAh battery used here, which takes less than 6 hours to fully charge. Additionally, the LED bulb can provide up to 50,000 hours of light, which is quite a lot.
There are five light modes featured (low, medium, high, SOS, and strobe) and all of them provide consistent brightness. Also, being waterproof, you can use this flashlight in wet surroundings without any worries of damage.
The one thing that most people complain about is the absence of a quick-press on or off button.
- It is cree tactical flashlight; it uses Cree LED technology
- It has an incredible twenty-hour battery life
- It features a rechargeable lithium battery
- It can be used in wet environments
- It comes with five different light modes
- The flashlight has no quick-press on or off button
This a nice all-round tactical flashlight that’s suitable for use in several applications. If you are in search of a general use flashlight, then this is what to go for. It is among the highest-quality tactical flashlight rechargeable.
Need a tactical flashlight that is strong and reliable? If so, look no further than this SureFire G2X Series tactical flashlight.
This particular flashlight is considered to be virtually indestructible; it is capable of handling any harsh physical or weather conditions you subject it to. The Nitrolon material used for its housing is very strong, and its construction also features an anodized aluminum bezel. Also, its screen is extremely tough and has been specially designed to withstand hard impacts and shocks.
That said, this lighting device is well suited to law enforcement officers, military personnel, or basically anyone that works in the field. In addition, campers, cavers, and other outdoor enthusiasts can greatly benefit from this flashlight.
The 600-lumen output is enough to light up any situation. Also included is a tail clip switch, which is a bonus feature.
The only issue with this flashlight is its battery charge. It can be a little bit tricky at times. It is also not waterproof.
- It features a sturdy Nitrolon housing
- It has an extremely tough build
- The flashlight produces bright light; 600 lumens
- It is well-suited for professionals
- It is not waterproof
- The battery charge is a bit tricky
Extremely strong and durable, this tactical flashlight is like no other out there on the market. Its Nitrolon housing makes it stand out from the rest. It is a good choice to consider.
If bright light is what you need in most in your tactical flashlight then this Vont model will certainly impress you. At its price range, it is quite difficult to come across a flashlight that’s brighter than this. It is capable of illuminating surfaces and objects that are up to an incredible 1000 feet away from you. What’s more, the beam can be adjusted from being extremely focused to being wider, depending on your needs.
On top of being waterproof, this flashlight can survive a fall of ten feet without breakage. Believe it or not, a truck can even run over it without causing any damage. This is all thanks to the military-grade materials that have been utilized in its construction. It is also suitable for use in extremely cold weather surroundings.
This particular Vont model is compact and super-lightweight, which makes it easily portable. The anti-slip surface allows for a solid grip and there is even a belt clip included that allows you to fasten the flashlight to your belt when not in use.
The one downfall is that this device is its short battery life.
- It is waterproof
- It features a compact and lightweight design
- It has an anti-slip body
- It comes with a belt clip
- It is available at a cheap price; it is a good tactical flashlight under $30
- It has a short battery life
If you want a tough, budget tactical flashlight, do not look any further than this. It will not disappoint!
I present you with a complete tactical flashlight kit featuring virtually every feature that one can need in their flashlight. This is, in fact, one of the highest-quality tactical flashlights over 1000 lumens.
Featuring a high-quality Cree LED bulb, this flashlight has an incredible output of about 2000 lumens. Additionally, there are several light functions to choose from including straight to strobe, instant low-light, and instant turbo. There is even an SOS mode included just in case yourself in trouble.
The best bit about this Klarus model is that it is very simple to use. It can easily be operated using just one hand. Additionally, this tactical flashlight features a dual tactical tail switch and a side-switch (for the advanced control functions) as well.
Apart from the different modes, this flashlight is also capable of clearly illuminating objects that are up to 315 meters away. It is also waterproof and impact-proof as well.
This flashlight, however, has a few shortcomings. First, its tail switch is cumbersome. And second, navigating some of its features could be a bit challenging.
- It is super-lightweight and compact
- It produces one of the most powerful flashes
- It is USB rechargeable
- It is both impact and water-resistant
- It is quite versatile
- Navigating some of its features is a bit challenging
- The featured tail switch is cumbersome
- The battery often overheats during use
For its price, it is very difficult to come across a similar product with such incredible features. That said, it is one of the most recommended tactical flashlights.
Here is a beautifully designed and well-built tactical flashlight that comes in a stunning matte black. This flashlight was constructed after thorough consultation with security, experts, military personnel, and law enforcement officers.
This Maglite flashlight has been specially designed for use in tough weather and rugged environments. It has a slip-resistant body and almost all its components have been anodized to make it even more resistant to corrosion.
It is also worth mentioning that this tactical flashlight is manufactured in the U.S. This means that its manufacturing standards are higher compared to other products that have been produced elsewhere. This flashlight boasts of superior construction and is impact-resistant as well.
A good thing about this particular gadget is that it is very easy to use. This makes it suitable for use by anyone who needs a quality tactical flashlight.
The only thing that I somewhat disliked about it is that I found it to be bigger than the normal tactical flashlight.
- It is one of the best LED tactical flashlights
- It is a well-constructed tactical flashlight
- It is water-resistant
- It is user-friendly
- It is capable of withstanding use in all sorts of environments
- It is bigger when compared to the normal tactical flashlight
This is a reliable flashlight that you can count on at any time. It is not only beautiful to look at but also performs really well.
This is another incredible tactical flashlight with lots of great features to offer.
If you are in search of one of the best rechargeable tactical flashlights, this particular one should be among your top considerations. Using a rechargeable lithium battery, this particular Pelican model allows you to always have a glimpse of the battery level. Note that it is USB rechargeable.
The best part about it is its lighting capacity. It can produce an incredible 994 lumens when in high mode, 479 lumens when at medium mode, and 37 lumens when at low mode. This means that it is suitable for a wide range of uses.
Featuring an aluminum casing that’s anodized for extra strength, this flashlight can last you a lifetime. It’s strong and steady construction makes it a favorite among many.
Its only fault is in its user interface; it could be a bit better. Other than that it is a great product.
- This is a strong and well-built tactical flashlight
- It is USB rechargeable
- It features four different light modes
- It has an aluminum casing with an ionized finish for guaranteed durability
- The user interface is somewhat shady’ it could be better
All in all, anyone can benefit from this Pelican tactical flashlight. Its strong construction and proper lighting features are more than enough.
This is another great tactical flashlight option. Even though its lighting capacity is not as those of other models in this list, it deserves to be here. It makes up for this with its other incredible features.
To begin with, it features five useful light modes; tac light flash, strobe flashlight, reading mode, and high a medium bright beams. Thanks to these different light modes, this flashlight can be used to offer lighting for a variety of scenarios.
What’s more, this flashlight has an examined and valid waterproof rating. It can be submerged in water without any issues (up to one meter). It can also be used in wet environments without any worries of damage.
This SOG model features an incredibly strong and anodized aluminum casing, which allows you to use it as a self-defense tool as well. Additionally, this flashlight is easy to carry around; it only weighs 3.8 ounces.
Its only shortcoming is the low light output; 128 lumens.
- It features a portable and compact design
- It has five light modes to choose from
- It is light in weight
- It can be used in wet environments because it is waterproof
- It has a low light output
Generally, this a nice multi-functional flashlight that’s suitable for use for a wide range of applications including camping, fishing, hiking, and even emergencies. It is, in fact, one of the best tactical flashlights in 2020.
What is a tactical flashlight and who makes the best?
A tactical flashlight can be described as a flashlight that has been specially designed for tactical (police or military) uses. Most of these flashlights are designed for mounting on weapons to allow for low-light aiming and shooting. They are normally smaller in size compared to the traditional flashlights, are constructed using weapon-grade aluminum for utmost durability, and produce more light.
There are several tactical flashlight models available on the market today. Some models are, however, better than others. It’s all up to you to carry out your research before settling on one particular model. That said, certain reputable companies are known to manufacture some of the best tactical flashlights. They include:
- SureFire: Tracing its beginnings back in 1969, SureFire is one of the top flashlight manufacturers. It is particularly specialized in the production of mountable weapon lights and tactical flashlights, which are a favorite among many emergency, military, and law enforcement workers. They’ve produced more than 100 flashlight models and for various governmental agencies like the FBI, SureFire is the main supplier of their tactical flashlights.
- Fenix: This is a Canadian company specialized in the production of high-performance light-emitting diode (LED) flashlights. They have more than 200 different flashlight models designed for military and police use. Their tactical flashlights are not only tough and hardy but also durable and highly efficient.
- NiteCore: With more than 600 flashlight models available on the market today, NiteCore is a force to reckon with. Their flashlights are well- designed with precision as well user-friendliness in mind, and also get upgraded with the latest LED advances and other relevant technologies as soon as they emerge. This is what makes them stand out from their competitors.
- Streamlight: Started back in 1973, Streamlight manufactures a wide variety of flashlights utilized by rescue, law enforcement, and military experts. They currently have more than 900 flashlights models available all over the world and are famous for their exceptional customer service. Their warranties are also among the best.
How to use a tactical flashlight
There are different ways of using tactical lights depending on different situations. These include:
When used alone
When used alone, then it is advisable to carry the flashlight in your strong hand. Use your other hand to carry out other tasks like opening doors or clearing the way. You’ll want to have the light in your strongest hand so that you could utilize it as a weapon (in case need arises) with maximum power in your strike.
When mounted on a shotgun, pistol, or rifle
Weapon-mounted flashlights are quite convenient. Simply grab one item and you’ll be ready to go!
You could also set up your flashlight with a temporary switch which will allow you to activate it from a distance only when necessary, keeping you secretly in the dark.
It is, however, advisable to use a separate flashlight. This is because mounting one to your weapon needs you to first aim your weapon at anonymous targets to properly identify them.
When used together with a handgun
One good combination is to carry a revolver or pistol and a flashlight together. Carry the flashlight using your offhand (weaker hand) with the lens being on one side as your little finger.
The flashlight should be held up close to your face, but not very close. This position is known as the FBI hold.
Hold your handgun on your strong (dominant) hand, pushed completely forward, and your arm stiff.
Types of tactical flashlights
There are various kinds of tactical flashlights available on the market today. Each one of them has its unique features that make it distinct from the rest. Below are some types of flashlights that you are most likely to come across:
1. Handheld tactical flashlights
This type of flashlight is designed for use alone without guns mainly for personal defense purposes. They are lightweight and small in size and so can be easily carried around. They can, however, be used together with handguns to maximize accuracy in places with little lighting.
2. Top-mounted tactical flashlights
These flashlights are mounted on top of shotguns or rifles to improve focus. They are most commonly used by shooters and hunters.
3. Bottom-mounted flashlights
This type of tactical flashlight gets attached below the firearm. It properly lights the sight thus making it a lot easier for you to concentrate on your target.
4. LED or colored filters tactical flashlights
This kind is perfect for night hunting. They preserve night vision in the most perfect way. They do a good job of illuminating the maps throughout night hunts.
5. Laser sighting tactical flashlights
As stated in the name, a laser is utilized (either green or red) to enhance the accuracy of the target. The laser beam maximizes the shooter’s or hunter’s precision. They are mostly used where accuracy is the top priority.
6. Siren tactical flashlights
These flashlights use light in conjunction with sound to enhance the overall shooting or hunting experience. They produce loud noises to get the attention of the attacker or predator. They are also commonly used as a warning to scare attackers of predators away.
Why do you need a tactical flashlight?
Below are a couple of reasons why you should carry around a tactical flashlight:
Some people might not know this but tactical flashlights are effective self-defense tools. And how is so? Given that most tactical flashlights are incredibly bright, they can be used to temporarily blind an individual who is threatening to attack you. This works especially well in dark surroundings as the eyes of the attacker will be attuned to low lighting. Blinding your attacker this way allows you to escape, which is normally the priority in most self-defense cases.
Thanks to their small and convenient sizes, you can easily carry around your tactical flashlight in your backpack, handbag, or pocket. This means that in case you ever find yourself walking alone in a dark path, or anywhere that just feels unsafe, you can reach for your flashlight and light up your path.
This not only helps with your safety against any potential thieves or attackers but also helps to ensure that every step you take is well-lit (you’ll be able to see any holes or obstacles on your way).
Anytime there is a power outage, your torch is most probably the first thing that you’ll look for. It will possibly be hidden away somewhere under your kitchen sink or at the back of your cupboard.
- To signal for help
In dire situations whereby you might be lost or face the need to signal other drivers passing by for assistance, we often signal for help either by sound (through yelling) or movement (through waving our hands in the air). A tactical flashlight is, however, capable of replacing these functions when they are no longer useful in darkness. In such a case, you could use your flashlight to signal for help.
- Utility tool
Among the design specifications of most tactical flashlights is to be durable and sturdy. Most current brands have tactical flashlight versions that are utilized in military and law enforcement industries. A Maglite can, for instance, be used as a weapon thanks to its tough exterior as well as long and thick handle. In addition, the notched edges that most duty-made flashlights feature can be utilized in breaking through a vehicle’s window, either when entering or exiting in a rush.
- To start up a fire
This might come as a surprise to many but flashlights can be used to start a fire. There a couple of ways of doing this. The first method involves breaking the light bulb (not the inner filament). Next, proceed to use some tinder at the top of the light surrounding the filament then switch on the light. Another method involves utilizing the protective glass lens from the flashlight’s cap to magnify the sun’s light onto the tinder. Both of these methods are for survival purposes.
Factors to consider when buying a tactical flashlight
There are several factors that one has to take into consideration when purchasing a tactical flashlight. Below are some of them:
Budget: The amount of money you wish to spend will determine the types of flashlights that are at your disposal. There is something for every price range.
Intended use: If you are a water enthusiast or simply enjoy fishing, then you might want to go for a completely waterproof model. However, if you intend to use your flashlight to simply find your way through the parking lot or light up dark corners, then a waterproof flashlight will not be necessary. Likewise, if you want to take out your yacht on a sail, then you’ll probably want something with sound.
Lumens: This is simply a measure of light energy that’s emitted from your flashlight. The higher the flashlight’s lumens, the more intense and brighter the light, and the more the heat emitted by the flashlight. Therefore, not unless you feel as though you are going to be needing the brightest light, you may want to go for something less powerful.
Waterproof versus water-resistant: These two terms are easily confused. Water-resistant simply means that the flashlight can be held in rain for a short without damage. However, when dropped in a pool of water, damages might occur. A waterproof flashlight, on the other hand, can be left in the puddle without any worries of damage.
Source of power: Most tactical flashlights are powered by lithium-ion batteries. And if your lithium battery is drained and you aren’t able to recharge it, the typical flashlight will also operate on standard alkaline batteries. That said, it is advisable to have a couple of alkaline batteries for backup.
Battery life: As stated earlier on, most flashlights run on lithium-ion batteries and are also capable of functioning on alkaline batteries. Different flashlights, however, have different rates of energy consumption. The more the lumens (high powered flashlights) the higher the energy consumption, and the shorter battery life. Also, the bigger the batteries capacity, the longer its life under whichever circumstance.
Size: If you intend to carry around your flashlight in your pocket, glove compartment, or purse, then you will want something relatively small; less than 5 inches long.
Zoom or no zoom: This is a very popular feature among most tactical flashlights. However, not all flashlights, include this feature.
Best tactical flashlight FAQs
1. What is the brightest tactical flashlight?
There are lots of bright tactical flashlights available out there but our top pick is the Fenix TK35 2000 Lumen Ultimate Edition (2015) LED. This particular model is capable of emitting an incredible 2000 lumens. In fact, its lowest light setting can even be used to light up the darkest of surroundings. With numerous operation modes (high, medium, low, eco, SOS, and strobe) to pick from, accompanied by its great features, anyone can greatly benefit from this tactical light.
2. How many lumens for a tactical flashlight?
For a narrow direct beam, anything between 100 to 150 lumens is enough to cause temporary blindness when directly shone in one’s eyes (in the dark). In regions that are properly lit, that figure increases to 300 to 500 lumens. In daylight, you will need about 1000 lumens to have the same effect.
This, however, changes for wider beams and for objects that are farther away. A minimum of approximately 900 lumens is needed for such scenarios.
3. How bright should a tactical flashlight be?
For a tactical flashlight to be considered an effective tool for self-defense, it has to be able to disorient attackers with its brightness. Any brightness that’s less than 120 lumens cannot get this done.
That said, for tactical applications, too much brightness could turn out to be a bad thing because of a phenomenon known as back splash; the light bounces off shiny and white objects disorienting the individual using the light.
Virtually anyone (ranging from homeowners, hunters, and campers to rescue personnel, police office, and first respondents) can benefit from a tactical flashlight. However, with the several different brands and models available on the market today, choosing the best tactical flashlights could be a bit challenging. Hopefully, the 12 that we have reviewed in the above list will help you narrow down your choices.