Once again, we have scoured the internet to find the highest rated flashlights. The lights we feature here received the most praise from the forums and review sites we assessed. These sites included: Backpacking Light, Light Reviews, and the Candle Power Forums.
A few notable brands of flashlight are still made in the U.S. – Streamlight (made in Eagleville, Pennsylvania) and Surefire (made in Fountain Valley, California), and Pelican (made in Torrance, California).
See also my our article on the Brightest LED Flashlights.
Best Overall Flashlight – Fenix TK11 R5 LED Flashlight
Pros: Very bright, durable, quality components, waterproof, inexpensive.
Once again, a Fenix light heads up our list of top rated flashlights. The Fenix TK11 R5 impressed reviewers with its build quality and light quality. The TK11 R5 uses of two Cree 7090 XR-E Premium Q5 LEDs, producing very bright beam of light (285 lumens in turbo mode). Most reviewers say that Fenix now rivals Surefire in terms of build quality, but because Fenix lights use Cree LEDs, their flashlights are brighter and more affordable than Surefire lights.
The Fenix Tk11 is part of the Tactical range of flashlights from Fenix Light. The Fenix TK11 is actually an enhanced version of Fenix T1 Tactical. The TK11 uses two CR123 or 18650 batteries. A 18650 is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a 3.7V working voltage. You can find rechargeable 18650 batteries and the chargers at Amazon. You can use rechargeable CR123A batteries in this flashlight. You switch between light levels by turning the flashlight’s head: turbo mode is 225 lumens, and general mode is 60 lumens.
The body of the TK11 is built of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, and it has a very solid construction. The flashlight is coated inside out with olive color type III hard coat anodizing that not only provides excellent surface look and feel finish but also protects body against bruises scratches.
25 Amazon reviewers gave the Fenix Tk11 an average of 4.9 stars (out of 5 stars).
It’s available from Amazon for $73.
A less expensive, but equally well-rated light is the Fenix E21.
Best Keychain-sized Flashlight – Fenix LD01 LED Flashlight
Pros: Very bright, uses single AAA battery, rugged, waterproof, affordable.
Reviewers are virtually unanimous in recommending the Fenix LD01 as the best keychain-sized flashlight. The Fenix LD01 flashlight runs on a single AAA-sized battery, yet it can produce 80 lumens of light on its highest setting. It uses a Cree Q5 LED as its light source, and the lens is made of toughened, anti-reflective glass (as with all Fenix lights). It has three output modes: 10 lumens, 27 lumens, and 80 lumens.
The Fenix LD01 is also “IPX-8 water proof” which means it is suitable for continuous submersion.
The Fenix LD01 is available from Amazon for $41.
Home Page: Fenix Light
Best for Law Enforcement & Self-Defense – Nitecore Extreme Flashlight
Pros: Very bright, uses single CR123 battery, excellent runtime
The NiteCore Extreme is flashlight design for Law Enforcement and for self-defense. Reviewers say the output and runtime of the flashlight are top-notch (see this extensive review for details). TheNiteCore Extreme runs on a single CR123 battery, and they body is built of military-grade aluminum alloy. It has two light operating levels both of which are are configurable through light programming and are memorized.
The NiteCore Extreme uses Cree 7090 XR-E Premium Q5 binned WC tint LED. The reflector is built from solid aluminum with a Light Orange Peel reflector finish. It uses digitally regulated electronic drive circuit along with micro controller based programming unit. Brightness levels are controlled by turning the head.
The Nitecore Exteme flashlight is available from Amazon.
Best for General Household Use – Streamlight 4AA LED Flashlight
Pros: Inexpensive, extremely rugged, good beam shape.
Reviews say the Streamlight ProPolymer 4AA Flashlight is the best flashlight for general household use. There are lighter and brighter flashlights out there, they can’t beat the Streamlight’s price at $28. The flashlight uses 7 LEDs that produce a flood beam with a hotspot in the middle. Reviewers at Amazon give this flashlight 4 or 5 stars, and rave about its ability to fill a room with light.
Home Page: Streamlight 4AA Product Page