Best EDC flashlights
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Unlike the authors of most of the “Top 10 best EDC flashlight” lists you will find on the internet, our team has collectively owned and reviewed hundreds of flashlights with decades of experience. Many of those Top 10 lists are written by people with little knowledge of flashlights or first-hand experience with them, evidenced by their very poor recommendations (no, that 1,000,000 lumen zoomable flashlight you see on Amazon is not a great flashlight). Below is our list of the best EDC (everyday carry) flashlights. EDC flashlights are designed to be lightweight, portable, and as pocket friendly as possible. They come in all sizes and outputs, so read on to see which is the best for you.
Popular rechargeable EDC flashlights / Smallest EDC light
Some of the most popular small flashlights would be right at home clipped to your keychain or your pocket.
Nitecore T4K : 4000 lumen flashlight
The Nitecore T4K is a performer. In-person it looks a little unusual with the two buttons and the OLED display, but it is a very functional and somewhat practical EDC light. We evaluated the Nitecore T4K, and it reached 3736 lumens.
Unlike cheap flashlights sold on eBay or Aliexpress advertising thousands of fake lumens, the T4K really generates (almost) 4000 lumens. The OLED display reports how many minutes of battery life is remaining. Although the peak brightness is only maintained while the mode button is pressed, the highest continuous output is 200 lumens.
Popular AA sized EDC flashlights (including 14500)
Note: Not all flashlights mentioned here can use regular AA batteries. Some will only run on lithium-ion type 14500 batteries.
A recent survey showed the Lumintop FWAA to be the most popular flashlight amongst the enthusiast community, and for good reason. It’s not only a well-made and nicely designed EDC light, but embodies everything great about the FW3A in a much smaller package.
Lumintop has become a household name in the flashlight community and therefore needs no introduction. They are most known for partnering with flashlight enthusiasts to develop and design new lights.
The Lumintop FWAA is roughly based on the popular Lumintop FW3A series lights, but it’s been shrunk down to accept a 14500 lithium-ion battery. The end result is a miniaturized FW3A, complete with Anduril 2 firmware. Dimensionally, it’s under 3 inches long and about .75 inches wide. For pocket carry, the included stainless pocket clip is a captive or collar-type two-way design so you can switch between bezel up or down carry without removing the clip.
The Lumintop FWAA has a triple LED arrangement behind a TIR lens, and you can choose from a nice selection of LEDs. The optic is frosted slightly for a wide beam (flood).
Turbo started at 2070 lumens (advertised as 1400), which is incredible as it is short-lived, lasting just 2 seconds before the aggressive step down. At 10 seconds the output is 1656 lumens and just 20 seconds later, the output was 621 lumens.Definity a pocket rocket. Check out the full review of the FWAA Here.
Popular 18350 EDC flashlights
These are one of the smaller EDC flashlights on the market, yet plenty powerful.
Great small and powerful flashlight for beginners and advanced users, sporting a Luminus SST40 LED.
The Thrunite T1s is a small, yet powerful, 18350 flashlight. The business-end of the ThruNite T1S is where you’ll find one of the biggest changes over its predecessor, the T1. The T1 featured a Cree XHP50 in a short orange peel reflector. It’s been replaced by a Luminus SST40 and a TIR optic. Thrunite advertises Turbo mode at 1212 lumens, but our testing showed Turbo mode started at 1255 lumens and dropped slowly over the first 2 minutes, at which point it was at 1065 lumens. Over the next 7 minutes, output ramped down to 324 lumens which is where it stayed until output began dropping out fast at 1 hour and 29 minutes. It crossed the 10% output threshold at 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Check out our in-depth review of the Thrunite T1S or follow to the links for purchasing.
18650 EDC flashlights
The 18650 size lithium ion battery still remains a very good choice for EDC lights. It’s only slightly longer than a 18350 and has much higher capacity (up to 3500 mAh vs. about 1100 mAh for an 18350) for longer runtimes. The most popular EDC lights use these batteries, so here are our picks for 18650 compatible flashlights.
(For advanced users)
The D4 was designed back in 2017 as part of the Emisar brand, and it quickly became a flashlight fan favorite with its high output, small size, and advanced user interface. The D4V2 is the latest version of this light, with some nice upgrades over the original.
It’s still one of the most popular EDC flashlights and uses an 18650 cell, but with optional battery tubes, it can also support the smaller 18350 and 18500 size batteries.
Emisar flashlights are built for enthusiasts, so you’ll get the latest and greatest flashlight technology with lots of options for customization.
The D4v2 uses the extremely popular Andúril UI, which features many interesting modes including utility modes for battery voltage, temperature check and calibration, smooth ramping, momentary on, special strobe modes including candle mode, party strobe, and even a lightning storm mode. It’s an excellent EDC flashlight and one of our top picks. For our full click here: Emisar D4v2, or buy at the following stores.
Rear e-switch flashlight., for advanced users.
This is another flashlight designed by Hank Wang (the chap behind the Emisar brand). The Noctigon KR4 is basically an Emisar D4V2 with a rear e-switch, and aside from the sleeker, curvier design, it retains the same quad Carclo TIR optic, drivers, and endless configurability as the D4V2.
The KR4 is not only a beautifully machined and great looking flashlight, but retains the D4V2’s performance capabilities. For more information check out our in-depth Noctigon KR4 review.
Emisar D1 (2022 version)
A compact, throwy EDC light, for advanced users.
The Emisar D1 has had a quiet existence up until 2022 when it was redesigned. It is a compact, very pocketable light with up to 100 Kcd when properly equipped.
The newly designed Emisar D1 runs off a single 18650 battery with optional tubes for both 18350 and the obscure, slightly slimmer 18500. The D1 is highly versatile, with a wide variety of the most popular LEDs on the market in just about every tint and CRI available, from cool white to R9080 and 98 CRI. When equipped with the Osram W1 or too-powerful for a small host Luminus SBT90.2, the D1 is capable of 100 Kcd. The UI has been updated to Anduril 2 for added features and two mode sets (Simple and Advanced). It’s an excellent EDC flashlight and one of our top picks. We tested the D1 with the GT FC-40 LED and it had excellent performance and consistent output. For our full click here: Emisar D1 2022.
21700 EDC flashlights
For some users, these might be a bit too big as an Everday Carry.
he Thrunite T2 is a compact, high power light that features a Cree XHP70.2 LED behind a shallow, textured reflector for maximum flood. It’s a lot of output in a lightweight, very pocketable package, great for beginners and advanced users.
Thrunite has become a familiar face here at 1Lumen, and not surprising since they’re a pretty popular brand and have brought the flashaholic and regular consumer market some great lights.
As usual, Thrunite includes their very comprehensive kit, something mirrored across their product line. It’s great for a first-time buyer, who doesn’t need to make additional purchases (li-ion charger, batteries) to get up and going.
For around $60-70 US, you get a lot for a little, especially these days when a tank of gas runs $50. Milled from 6061 T6 aluminum, the machining quality is nice and tidy, with no tool or machine marks, and everything fits together with no gaps or parts that don’t line up.
The UI is simple and has 5 modes, including Turbo, a Firefly mode, and a single Strobe.
Turbo started way down from the advertised output at 2855 Lumens, and it was short-lived, only lasting for about 10 seconds before stepping down. However, the sustainability is pretty decent for a small light, making better than 2000 Lumens for over 2 minutes.
Thrunite once again proves why boost drivers, or any current-regulated drivers are awesome and I think worth the added cost.
Check out more info in our awesome detailed review of the Thrunite T2
The Acebeam E70 is a high output compact 21700 size pocket light. However, the design is unique, with a tube-within-a-tube that looks awesome. It’s also available in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and titanium for an exclusive EDC experience. Great for beginners and advanced users.
The E70 was a new light for Acebeam. It’s a bit on the large side for EDC suitability, but it’s definitely one of the best-looking EDC lights on the market.
It comes with everything to get you started, including a 5,000mAh battery with USB-C port. It also includes a USB-C cable, which can also be used as a power bank since the included cable can be used to charge any device with a USB input. Pretty neat!.
Equipped with a CREE XHP70.2, during our test the E70 reached over 3800 lumens at turn on, and 3576 lumens after 30 seconds. After the drop, it stayed consistent at around 1000 lumens for about 2.5 hours. That’s pretty good performance, especially considering the test light is the stainless steel version (which doesn’t dissipate heat as well as aluminum or copper).
For more information on the E70, check out the full review here: https://1lumen.com/review/acebeam-e70-ss/
Brightest EDC flashlight
Imalent MS03 is extremely bright for its size. The brightest flashlight since 2021 running off a single 21700 battery. Reaching approximately 13,000 lumens!
|Max. brightness:||We measured 12,000 lumens (specced at 13,000)|
|Charging:||No built-in charging|
|Best for:||Every Day Carry / Utility|
Imalent is known for being one of the few manufacturers that try to achieve the maximum output. The MS03 is no exception in that regard. Pushing out over 10,000 lumens from a single cell is insane!
If you are looking for a pocketable flashlight to blind 100 people at once, get the MS03. This thing is seriously ridiculous. Please check out our in-depth review of the Imalent MS03 for all the details. And yes, it does include a pocket clip, but it’s easy to remove.
Imalent includes a high-drain 21700 battery, so you are ready to go.
EXTRA: EDC accessories
Do you want to pimp your EDC light? Here are a few accessories to help you do that.
Tritium vials (or trits) are made in nuclear reactors by neutron activation of lithium-6. They have a glow effect that lasts for years without the need for a recharge. It simply glows for years on end. You don’t need and you can’t recharge the glow effect.
NOTE: most tritium products are now very hard to come by.
The following accessories are glow in the dark. These will glow for a short time after you charged them up by pointing light upon them. If you use UV light, they charge even quicker and brighter. The effect lasts only for a short time. And because of this, the price is much lower than their tritium equivalents.
They look like tritium vials, but are glow in the dark. Buy at Nealsgadgets
Triple LED glow gasket
Fit: Carclo 105xx (10507/10508/10509/10510/10511) triple LEDs. Example: Lumintop FW3A, Hanko, Boss, Okluma, Reylight Buy at Nealsgadgets