A good light source is a must carry gear when hiking, camping or staying outdoors and you intend to spend the night out in the open. There are multiple options available – camping lanterns, headlamps and flashlights. Though camping lanterns and headlamps have gained wide popularity, handheld flashlights still stay an essential gear for hiking, backpacking or camping. Situations where flashlights are useful include tasks in which you need to control the focus of light such as pitching a tent in dark and for signaling or directing your kids in the night. In addition, flashlights can also be useful during emergency and bug out situations and at home.
The emergence of rechargeable batteries and advancements in technology have resulted in the availability of rechargeable LED flashlights which are smaller, lighter and brighter than ever before. In this extensive review, we will take a look at the best rechargeable led flashlights that are available in the market. We will also look at some of the factors to consider before picking the best rechargeable led flashlights for your next outdoor trip.
Best rechargeable led flashlight comparison listOur pick of the best rechargeable led flashlights out in the market and how they stack against each other
|J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 14500 battery or single AA Battery||Max. : 300||0.15||3.7|
|Fenix FX-PD35TAC LED Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries||Max : 1000||0.22||5.4|
|Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or three AAA batteries||Max. : 900||0.75||6.8|
|OxyLED MD50 LED Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or three AAA batteries||Max. : 800||0.88||5.31|
|Hausbell CREE Mini LED Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 14500 battery or single AA Battery||Max. : 300||0.14||3.7|
|Refun E6 Tactical Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or three AAA batteries||Max. : 900||0.28||5.12|
|Revtronic CREE XM-L2 LED Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 battery||Max. : 800||0.37||5.31|
|PeakPlus Zoomable Tactical Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or three AAA batteries||Max. : 900||0.31||5.30|
|EcoGear FX LED Flashlight Kit (TK120X)||Two removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery||Max. : 1600||0.44||7.95|
|Anker LC130 LED Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 26650 Li-Ion battery||Max. : 1300||0.84||7.09|
|Olight M1X Striker Tactical Flashlight||One removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries||Max : 1000||0.20||5.35|
How to choose the best rechargeable led flashlight?
A rechargeable flashlight is a good choice over other lighting options because they give precise control over the light, are portable, are rechargeable and can throw light as a beam or scatter them. Most of the rechargeable flashlights in the market will have multiple output modes, ranging from low to medium and high output. Selecting a low or medium out mode can help prolong the battery life.
When shopping for a good flashlight, you need to consider the following factor,
- Bulb type
- Battery type
- Light output
- Length and weight
- Body material
- Other features
Most modern flashlights nowadays use a LED bulb. A LED bulb is not only energy efficient, it is also less prone to failure due to lack of any moving parts. It also emits less heat and can be handled without worrying about damage due to accidental falls.
Some flashlights are still available with incandescent bulbs, avoid these at all cost as they will soon be obsolete and finding a replacement will be harder.
The type and availability of the battery used in the flashlight become an important factor when choosing a good flashlight. Generally, you will find flashlights which have disposable, rechargeable or renewable batteries.
Disposable batteries come in a variety of sizes, the most common being AA and AAA which are widely available. CR123A battery is another option which is available but it is generally expensive and harder to find in your local store. Some flashlights use CR123A batteries as they provide superior output and voltage compared to their small size which can give a brighter light.
Rechargeable batteries can be charged when they are out of power and reused again. Lithium-ion batteries come in a variety of shapes, from the common block shaped to the regular cylindrical shapes like the AA batteries.
The 18650 battery is a size classification of lithium-ion batteries and is the most popular types of rechargeable batteries. They are of the same shape, but a bit larger than an AA battery. AA batteries are sometimes also called as 14500 batteries because of their 14mm(diameter) x 50mm(height) dimension.
The rechargeable batteries in flashlights can either be fixed or removable. Fixed batteries can be charged by either an AC or DC outlet, using a USB connection or using an alternative power source like a solar panel. Removable batteries can be charged using the charger provided which is available with most of the flashlights.
Rechargeable batteries are costlier compared to the disposable ones but their high cost is negated in the long run by their low running cost and lower wastage.
When shopping for the best rechargeable led flashlight, go with the ones which have replaceable rechargeable batteries. Some people suggest that fixed batteries are better but that is not the case always. It is much harder to get a fixed battery repaired or replaced and chances of them going wrong are more as they have an integrated circuit. Even though good brands have a tested integrated circuit, they are still not completely fail-proof.
Renewable batteries can be charged by converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. Flashlights with a renewable battery source have an internal fixed battery that can be charged by a crank. A few quick rounds of the crank can give you light for well over five to 10 minutes.
Renewable batteries are even more cost-effective compared to rechargeable batteries but they are not very sturdy. The crank mechanism consists of moving parts which can fail and make the whole unit unusable. Even flashlights from reputed brands are known to fail with prolonged use.
Light output is the term used to measure how much light a source is emitting. It is measured in lumens. The question asked more often is how many lumens do you need for your flashlight? This is a very subjective area but let us elaborate on it a little for you to make a choice. For everyday purposes, a flashlight with a 30-lumen light bulb is more than enough. For hiking or camping, a 100 lumens flashlight is all that you will ever need unless you are looking for a stronger throw beam. A higher lumen flashlight will have a stronger throw beam and also good scatter. Throw beam refers to the distance a flashlight can converge light to and scatter refer to the breadth of the light spill.
Stronger throw flashlights are useful when you need to signal your location whereas wider scatter lights are useful for following trails. Most flashlights in the market today provide multiple modes with varying output. Remember that a higher lumen output can drain the battery pretty quick. It is better to pick a flashlight which has multiple output settings rather than one with a single higher lumen output.
Length and weight
The length and weight of a flashlight decide how comfortable and practical is the flashlight for general using. Generally, the dimensions of a flashlight are personal choices but it makes sense to choose a length and a weight which you are comfortable operating with. Flashlights come in a variety of size from the ultraportable pen-sized to well over ten inches in length and more than half a pound in size. A longer flashlight can act as an extension of the hand and can be used in self-defense against an intruder or an attacker out in the wild. Some heavier flashlights sport a special build at the tail that can help in breaking a car’s windshield or a window.
Most flashlights are made of aluminum alloys, stainless steel, titanium or plain plastic or polymers. Flashlights made of aircraft/aerospace grade aluminum are the most widely available options because they are lightweight, hard and very strong and can survive harsh drops and bumps. Flashlights made of stainless steel tend to be heavier than their aluminum counterparts but are also stronger. Plastic or polymer bodies come in a variety of colors and shapes as they can be literally molded into any desired shape. Polymer-based flashlights can take the occasional drops as they bend instead of taking a dent. A brightly colored flashlight is preferable while camping so that it is readily visible.
Most of the popular flashlights out in the market today come with five different modes of light output – low, medium, high, strobe and SOS. While the low, medium and high modes are used often, the strobe and the SOS modes are rarely used and most of the people may never actually have a need for it. But is still useful to have them. The strobe mode can be used to signal and alert passing vehicles when you are out in the dark changing tires or to draw attention to you. The SOS mode has a set flickering pattern which is the international pattern for relaying distress calls. It should be used only when you are in trouble and want to draw the attention of rescue workers or other staffs towards you.
Apart from this, it is very important to know if your flashlight is water resistant or not. Most of the flashlights in the market are at least water resistant which means you can take them out in the rain or a sudden downpour but may not survive if dropped in water. An IPX-6 waterproof rating can work in a very heavy downpour. Flashlights with an IPX-7 waterproof rating can survive being immersed in water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes.
The accessories that come with the flashlight also add up to the benefits of choosing a specific flashlight. For example, the Revtronic CREE XM-L2 LED Flashlight and Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight come with the rechargeable battery and the charger included in the package. While some flashlights such as EcoGear FX LED Flashlight Kit (TK120X) and Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight include a mini LED flashlight with the rechargeable batteries and the charger. OxyLED CREE T6 LED Flashlight comes with a battery protector. For some other flashlights such as J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight, you will have to purchase the batteries separately.
Which are the best rechargeable LED flashlights and what our picks are?
Mini flashlights are a perfect choice for backpacking and hiking as they are ultralight yet reasonably bright. J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight is truly a leader among rechargeable mini flashlight. The flashlight weighs only 2.4 ounces and has a length of 3.7 inches.
With a maximum luminosity of 300 lumens, this power-packed flashlight has three different operation modes – High, Low and Strobe (for cycling). This pocket-sized flashlight can beam the light to as long as 120 feet.
J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight also features a compact, strong body along with anti-reflective flashlight lens. The flashlight can run on one removable and rechargeable 14500 battery or single AA Battery.
The only limitation offered by this flashlight is that it does not come with the rechargeable or AA battery included with the package and you would need to invest in purchasing one. However, considering the market price of the flashlight, this should not be a major factor for campers and hikers who are looking for a suitable mini-lite.
For all its features and support, the J5 Hyper V Tactical Flashlight is the Official Flashlight of Joe Gibbs Racing and the Number 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry driven by Carl Edwards.
The Fenix FX-PD35TAC LED Flashlight ( Popularly known as the PD35) is one of the most popular flashlight for camping and hiking, and there are reasons for it. This ultralight flashlight weighs only 4 ounces (without batteries), is 5.4 inch in length and boasts of a maximum luminosity of 1000 lumens. can be shipped to select countries outside of the U.S.
This flashlight has five different operation modes – Turbo, High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and Eco. Though it does not have a zoom, the operation modes manage the scattering settings and hence you can use the settings to manage the beam focus. Moreover, there is a tactical buttaon on the back to further control the settings. The best part is that the settings are preserved and when you turn it on the next time, you get the light as per your saved setting.
The Fenix PD-35 Tactical Flashlight outer body is made up of hard anodized aircraft-grade aluminum with stainless steel side switch, making it extremely sturdy and durable. It can run on one removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries. The two CR123A batteries are included in the pack, but you would have to buy the 18650 battery separately. The flashlight is fully waterproof to the level of IPX-8 standard, making it suitable for camping, hiking, and hunting during wet weather.
In addition to the flashlight, the package includes a holster, lanyard, and spare O-Ring set.
If you are looking for a a decently sized, yet economical and lightweight flashlight, then look no further than the Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight. This flashlight packs the maximum luminosity of 900 lumens and a length of 5.3 inches, but weighs only 12 ounces.
This flashlight has five different operation modes – High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS. It is zoomable to provide throw and scatter light and can be used in a variety of situations. This flashlight can beam the light to as long as 120 feet.
The Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight outer body is made up of high quality 6061T aluminum alloy, making it extremely sturdy and durable. It can run on one removable and rechargeable 18650 Li-Ion battery or three AAA batteries. The best part is that the rechargeable battery and charger are included in the package.
In addition to this, the package includes a protector to put in the rechargeable battery when not in use. The package also includes one free keychain-super mini LED flashlight for use.
The only limitation with this flashlight is that it is not fully waterproof. It is reasonably water resistant to the level of IPX-5 though, making it suitable for camping, hiking, and hunting during wet weather.
Best batteries and chargers for flashlights
As discussed above, not all flashlights come with batteries and chargers included. If you are looking for batteries and charger for your flashlight, you can consider the following options,
- ThorFire 2pcs 18650 Battery and Charger for LED Flashlights
- Outlite 2PCS 18650 Battery and Charger for LED Flashlights
- SmartLive 4PCS 14500 Battery and Charger
- ThorFire 7V 26650 rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Taking care of your flashlight
It is important to provide proper maintenance to your flashlight, irrespective of whether you use it daily or only occasionally. Cleaning your flashlight periodically would not only ensure its longevity but also ensure reliability during usage. Cleaning your flashlight is mainly about cleaning the three major parts:
- Exterior: Clean the exterior of your flashlight carefully to ensure there is no dirt or stains on the surface. You can use a simple cotton wipe or microfiber cloth to clean up the outer casing. For toughened stains, you can use an old toothbrush. Once you have wiped the exterior, you can use an alcohol pad or wipe to bring it to mint condition.
- Interior: After cleaning the exteriors, you can remove the batteries and dismantle the flashlight. Ensure that the batteries do not show any signs of leakage or damage. Clean up the interiors carefully keeping an eye on any corrosive chemicals due to leaked batteries. For the threads, use a toothbrush to clean up any dirt in between the grooves.
To prevent corrosion of electric contacts, use DeoxIT Solution. This solution prevents further wear and abrasion to the connections and reduces arcing and intermittent connections. If you are not going to use the flashlight soon enough, do not replace the batteries back in it. Instead keep them separately.
- Lens: You should take special care while cleaning up the lens. Use glass cleaners and eye-lens cloth to clean it up. You can also use pre-moistened lens cleaner wipes to clean the lens.
Final thoughts on the best rechargeable led flashlight
Choosing the best rechargeable led flashlight is not a matter of buying whatever flashlight you see first, it is important to consider factors like the bulb type, the light output, build of the flashlight, the battery type, the dimension of the flashlight and any extra features that it provides. In this guide, we compared a list of available flashlights in the market and provided our picks. We hope this guide help you choose the best rechargeable led flashlight in the market that suits your needs.
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