The Best Tactical Flashlights of 2022

Whether used for recreation or safety, a tactical flashlight needs to light the way under any circumstances. Here’s how to choose the best tactical flashlight on the market.

By Becca Lewis | Published Jul 28, 2022 2:22 PM

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The Best Tactical Flashlights Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Designed to be rugged and used in demanding situations, tactical flashlights should be bright, durable, and dependable. A tac light should be ready for whatever you need it for, from midnight hikes to self-defense, and it should hold a battery charge for a long time so it will work in emergencies.

Whether you’re looking for a lightweight, dependable flashlight for an emergency preparedness kit or simply an everyday carry light, you should choose a tactical flashlight with a long throw, a high number of lumens, and a hard-wearing design. Resistance to dropping, moisture, and grit are qualities that will make your tactical flashlight last no matter how much you use it.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Wuben C3 1200 Lumens Flashlight
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: ThuZW 2-Pack Tactical Flashlight
  3. BEST WATERPROOF: LumiNRG Tactical Flashlight 
  4. BEST RECHARGEABLE: Maxiaeon Super Bright 2000 Lumens Flashlight
  5. BEST POCKET-SIZE: Streamlight ProTac HL USB
  6. BEST EMERGENCY: PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight Kit
  7. BEST FOR CAMPING: Hoxida USB Rechargeable Flashlight
  8. BEST HANDS-FREE: Fenix HM65R Headlamp
  9. BEST LONG-THROW: Olight Warrior X Pro Tactical Flashlight
The Best Tactical Flashlights Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tactical Flashlight 

When choosing a tactical flashlight, reliability, brightness, and battery life are all important considerations. Other things to look for are durable materials like metal and rubberized coating to protect against impact as well as whether or not the batteries are rechargeable or exchangeable for regular batteries. Depending on what users want out of their tactical flashlight, other factors for the best-rated tactical flashlight are size and hands-free features like a magnetic base or a headlamp as well as versatility like a focusable beam spread.

Brightness and Beam Distance 

A tactical flashlight’s brightness, measured in lumens, is the amount of visible light it puts out. Using lumens as a measure is more accurate than wattage because two light sources can put out different amounts of light while using the same amount of power.

A tactical light’s beam distance or throw is a measurement of how far into the distance the flashlight’s beam of light extends. The beam distance of a tactical light is just as important as the brightness because it will tell users how far ahead their tac light will allow them to see in the dark.

Rechargeable vs. Traditional Batteries

Some tactical lights have rechargeable batteries, while others use standard nonrechargeable batteries.

If users will likely need their tactical flashlight for many hours at a stretch, nonrechargeable batteries may be their best bet because of the long runtime. But if they’ll need the light for shorter periods and can recharge the batteries between uses, a flashlight with rechargeable batteries might be the way to go.

Size and Weight 

Depending on the intended use, the best tactical light will be compact enough to fit into a pocket or clip to a backpack. For activities like hiking or camping, the best tac light won’t weigh much, so that it doesn’t add much weight to a pack.

For self-defense purposes, a more heavy-duty tactical light might be better. The best military flashlight will score highly for impact resistance and durability. Military-style tactical flashlights are often constructed of aircraft-quality aluminum, which is durable but lightweight, and they often are equipped with a quality nonslip grip.

Battery size and type can also impact the weight of a tactical flashlight. Larger batteries might last longer, but they also weigh more, so that’s something to keep in mind when choosing a tac light.

RoHS Compliance 

RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances; it is a marking that originated in the European Union to restrict the use of certain materials that are considered hazardous in electrical equipment. Although it’s not required in the United States, an RoHS marking can provide users with peace of mind.

For tactical flashlights, the marking is assurance that the product doesn’t contain harmful levels of lead, mercury, cadmium, or other toxic substances. Any manufacturer that sells electrical equipment like tactical flashlights in the EU must obtain a certification of RoHS compliance.

RoHS compliance for a tactical flashlight also means that the parts of the product are less likely to pollute the environment either during production or after it is discarded.

Modes and Additional Features 

Other features to consider are battery-usage indicator lights, water resistance for outdoor use, and lens focusability for variable beam spread. These are all features that can add convenience when using a tactical flashlight.

Modes to look for in a tac light are things like “SOS” mode that can signal for help, low-light or energy-saving modes that conserve battery power, and strobe mode to disorient an attacker in a self-defense situation. For emergency situations, having multiple functions built into a tac light is a practical consideration.

Another consideration is the flashlight’s ingress protection (IP) rating, which indicates the level of protection a flashlight provides against dust, dirt, and water. Expressed as, for example, IP65, the first digit represents the device’s ability to keep out particulate matter on a scale of 0 to 6, and the second number represents waterproofness on a scale of 0 to 8.

Our Top Picks

We carefully reviewed a number of tactical flashlights and put together this list of the best tactical flashlights in several categories.

Best Overall

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Wuben C3 1200 Lumens Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

The Wuben C3 1200 Lumens Flashlight is the best tactical flashlight of 2022 because it can adapt to fit your needs. With a compact 4.78-inch size and a weight of 4.34 ounces, it’s great for everyday carry or for hiking and camping. Its strobe and SOS modes make it good for emergencies, and its eco mode yields a long battery life, although it can only be charged with a USB-C cable.

The Wuben’s exterior is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, making it impact-resistant and very sturdy. The Wuben is the best tac light because, in addition having an 185-foot beam cast, it has an IP68 water-, dirt-, and particle-resistance rating, making it excellent for rugged conditions.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 1,200 lumens
  • Battery life: 2.5 to 143 hours
  • Weight: 4.34 ounces

Pros

  • Bright with a long beam distance
  • Rechargeable
  • Water-, dirt-, and particle-resistant
  • 6 light modes

Cons

  • Can’t be run on regular batteries
  • No hands-free mode

Get the Wuben C3 tactical flashlight on Amazon, Wuben, or Security Solutions.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: ThuZW 2-Pack Tactical Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

Shoppers get two flashlights with the purchase of the ThuZW Tactical Flashlight two-pack collection, making it our choice for the best budget tactical flashlight. Featuring a metal body and adjustable focus, this 5-inch flashlight is small enough to fit into a pocket. These flashlights provide a 218-yard throw distance, and users can rotate the head of the light to change the beam size from narrow to wide.

The price point makes this tactical flashlight terrific for use as an everyday carry and as a backup for emergencies. It can fit in a glove box or small emergency kit. It uses standard AAA batteries.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 3,000 lumens
  • Battery life: N/A
  • Weight: 6.5 ounces

Pros

  • Bright light
  • Adjustable
  • Waterproof
  • Compact

Cons

  • Not rechargeable
  • No hands-free mode
  • Not impact resistant

Get the ThuZW 2-Pack tactical flashlight at Amazon, Sears, or Spectrum Warehouse.

Best Waterproof

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: LumiNRG Tactical Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

The LumiNRG Tactical Flashlight is durable with a weatherproof (IP65) aluminum body. It’s impact-resistant, making this tac light good for outdoor or emergency situations, and at 5.5 inches long, it’s easy to slip into a backpack. The lithium-ion battery can be recharged via a micro-USB cord.

With a 1,000-lumen output and a 400-yard throw distance, the LumiNRG Tactical Flashlight is bright enough to use for self-defense or for long-distance illumination. It also has a magnetic base, allowing it to be positioned on any magnetic surface for hands-free operation.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 1,000 lumens
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Weight: 7 ounces

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Impact-resistant
  • Rechargeable
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Not as bright as some competitors
  • No emergency/SOS mode

Get the LumiNRG tactical flashlight on Amazon, Sports Ridge, or JSportsGoods.

Best Rechargeable

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Maxiaeon Super Bright 2000 Lumens Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

This rechargeable flashlight is great for camping and outdoor use as it is rechargeable as well as water-resistant. The Maxiaeon Super Bright 2000 Lumens Flashlight measures about 7 inches long, making it a little large for everyday carry but small enough to pack for a hike or to use in an emergency. It has a strobe mode as well as several brightness options, so it can be used for self-defense as well as recreation.

The Maxiaeon tactical light comes with lithium-ion batteries and a charger that provides 36 hours of battery life per charge. At 12 ounces, it’s heavier than most tactical lights, so it’s perhaps not the best for a light-pack situation.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 2,000 lumens
  • Battery life: 3 to 6 hours
  • Weight: 12 ounces

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Bright
  • Versatile, with 5 modes including strobe
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Doesn’t take regular batteries
  • Heavy for a tac light
  • Large for everyday carry

Get the Maxiaeon tactical flashlight on Amazon or Encymall.

Best Pocket-Size

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Streamlight ProTac HL USB
Photo: amazon.com

The Streamlight ProTac HL USB, our pick for best small tactical flashlight, is a compact, bright, and durable 7.2-ounce option for a light pack, everyday carry, or a glove box. It comes with a pocket clip and a USB charging cable that will work with any ordinary charger.

With an aluminum metal exterior, the Streamlight ProTac HL USB is water-resistant as well as durable. It has a design that helps prevent it from rolling away if placed on the ground and has three light modes from low to strobe, making it practical for self-defense purposes. Its rechargeable battery can be charged up to 1,000 times without failing, and the high-beam mode casts light 239 yards.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 1,000 lumens
  • Battery life: 1.5 to 23 hours
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces

Pros

  • Compact
  • Light
  • Rechargeable
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Doesn’t take regular batteries
  • Isn’t waterproof
  • No SOS/emergency mode

Get the Streamlight tactical flashlight at Amazon or Cabela’s.

Best Emergency

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight Kit
Photo: amazon.com

With a strong aluminum body and the ability to recharge or use standard batteries, the PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight Kit is a good choice for use as an emergency flashlight. The light casts a beam 328 yards long on its high setting, making it good for visibility as well as for use as a beacon.

This flashlight is compact enough to keep in almost any pack for emergencies or for everyday use for hiking and camping. Its durability and dual-battery capability make it adaptable for use as an emergency backup light. With a light-control button on the back cap of the flashlight, it’s also easy to use one-handed.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 800 lumens
  • Battery life: N/A
  • Weight: 11 ounces

Pros

  • SOS and strobe mode
  • Rechargeable and traditional batteries accepted
  • Compact
  • Weather-, water-, and impact-resistant

Cons

  • No hands-free mode
  • 6- to 8-hour charging time

Get the PeakPlus tactical flashlight on Amazon.

Best for Camping

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Hoxida USB Rechargeable Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

With a mode that illuminates 360 degrees, the Hoxida USB Rechargeable Flashlight doubles as a lantern, making this small lightweight flashlight the best tac light for camping. The flashlight also features a pocket clip and rechargeable battery. Its magnetic base allows it to be positioned firmly on any magnetic surface, and it has an SOS function, making it good for wilderness survival.

The Hoxida USB Rechargeable Flashlight is less than 5 inches long and rated at IP65. Its lens allows the user to focus the beam narrowly or zoom out for a more diffuse spread of light.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 1,200 lumens
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Weight: 3.36 ounces

Pros

  • Rechargeable
  • Water-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • 360-degree lantern function

Cons

  • Doesn’t take regular batteries

Get the Hoxida tactical flashlight on Amazon or Homeemo (for a 2-pack).

Best Hands-Free

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Fenix HM65R Headlamp
Photo: amazon.com

The Fenix HM65R Headlamp is made from a magnesium alloy, making it lightweight and durable. With IP68 water resistance, it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes without sustaining damage. The light can illuminate up to 149 yards away.

The extra-long-running battery on the Fenix HM65R Headlamp allows a path or workspace to stay lit for up to 97 hours of hands-free use without needing a charge. The best tactical flashlight with hands-free functionality, this tac light has a narrow spot and a wide beam light source, making it good for outdoor sports and work.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 1,400 lumens
  • Battery life: 97 hours
  • Weight: 3.4 ounces

Pros

  • Hands-free
  • Ultralight
  • Long battery life
  • Durable and water-resistant

Cons

  • Doesn’t take regular batteries
  • No SOS function

Get the Fenix HM65R headlamp on Amazon or Fenix.

Best Long-Throw

The Best Tactical Flashlights Option: Olight Warrior X Pro Tactical Flashlight
Photo: amazon.com

The Olight Warrior X Pro Tactical Flashlight is very bright at 2,100 lumens and can illuminate objects up to 546 yards away. With a water-resistant aluminum design, the Olight Warrior X Pro is a tactical flashlight that can be used for outdoor sports, searching, and self-defense. The durable exterior is drop-tested for impact resistance of up to 3 meters.

The Olight vibrates when the battery is low, alerting users that it’s time to recharge. The charge time for the included lithium-ion batteries is fast, allowing users to get back to work or play faster. The battery is guaranteed to provide 8 hours of runtime on a charge, and the Olight Warrior X Pro Tactical Flashlight is textured for a firm grip.

Product Specs 

  • Brightness: 2,100 lumens
  • Battery life: 8 hours
  • Weight: 8.43 ounces

Pros

  • Long beam throw
  • Rechargeable
  • Durable
  • Magnetic for hands-free operation

Cons

  • Doesn’t take regular batteries
  • Battery runtime is 8 hours
  • Price point is higher than most

Get the Olight tactical flashlight on Amazon, Olight, or Bright Guy.

Our Verdict

The most important feature for a tactical light is reliability, which is why the durability and weather resistance of the Wuben tactical flashlight make it the best tactical LED flashlight. Price point is another factor we considered for our best tactical flashlight review, and the ThuZW 2-Pack tactical flashlight offers good bang for your buck.

How We Chose the Best Tactical Flashlights 

Tactical flashlights should provide the user with a reliable light source in challenging conditions such as emergencies and outdoor adventure. To choose the best tactical flashlights of 2022, we compared the features of more than 40 tac lights for the most durable materials, the best battery life, and the brightest output.

For our best tactical flashlight review, the factors we focused on were adaptability, weight, and brightness, and we also looked at beam distance and light modes because these tend to be features that will come in handy when you’re looking for a good tac light. We also considered price as tactical flashlights for emergency kits as well as other day-to-day use can get expensive.

Tactical flashlights are often used for self-defense as well as recreation, so the best military flashlight might also be excellent for outdoor sports. Battery life can vary a great deal between models, so we spent some time looking for models that had good scores in that regard, too.

FAQs

Q. What makes a flashlight “tactical”?

A tactical flashlight is just a professional version of a flashlight. It is usually bright enough for use in self-defense, nighttime navigation, and search situations as well as being extra durable.

Q. How many lumens is a tactical flashlight?

A tactical flashlight can emit anywhere from 800 to 9,800 lumens.

Q. What is the smallest tactical light?

Some tactical lights are so small that they will fit in your pocket. The smallest flashlights that are considered “tactical” are about 3.4 ounces.

Q. Can a tactical flashlight start a fire?

Because LEDs emit so little heat, most tactical flashlights don’t get hot enough to cause a fire. However, some lights, when used in combination with extremely narrow lenses, can cause enough heat to start a fire, so you should follow all safety instructions. It’s also possible to start a fire with a tactical-light battery charger if it’s not used properly