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Just in case you might be more interested in very bright lights, check out this detailed list of the current brightest flashlights in the world. And yes, they were all reviewed by our dedicated and competent team.
Tactical lights with 2AA batteries
ThruNite Archer 2A V3
Currently one of the best 2AA tactical flashlights available.
- Very affordable
- Max output : 500 lumens
- Quick access to Strobe (from On: press-and-hold side switch)
- 4 main modes
- Runs off 2AA batteries (Eneloops recommended)
Although the Thrunite Archer 2A v3 is already a little dated, there aren't any competitors better than this one. The Thurnite Archer 2A V3 is currently the most up-to-date 2AA tactical flashlight Thrunite produces. The tail switch is used to activate and deactivate the light, while the side switch is used to change its output. This means that the tail cap switch can be used for Momentary mode! It has 4 main modes and Strobe. You can access strobe by doing a long press with the side switch. If you are looking for a tactical 2AA flashlight, you can't go wrong with the Archer.
Please check out our full Thrunite Archer 2A review here.
Lithium Battery Powered Tactical Flashlights &
Tactical rechargeable flashlights
Best Military Tactical Flashlights with 18650 batteries
Olight Warrior Mini 2
A Short Tactical flashlight with proximity sensor
- Short tactical flashlight
- Maximum output: 1750 lumens from a single LED
- High power 18650 rechargeable battery included
- Standard mode configuration and tactical
The Olight Warrior Mini is a pretty short tactical 18650 flashlight, with a powerful Luminus SST40 LED. If you carry flashlights on you and are looking for a small tactical light, pay attention.
One of the unique characteristics of some of Olight flashlights is the different colors of anodized aluminum they offer. Mine is a special edition, but they are also available in black, and a few more.
During our test, we noticed that the runtime of the Warrior Mini is exceptional. It runs for 19 hours at 100 + lumens in Medium mode, while Turbo and High mode last more than 4 hours each. Its highest output of 1750 lumens (which I measured at 1658 lumens after 30 seconds). After the output drop to 500+ lumens it continues running at this output for more than 3.5 hours, which is just amazing from a single 18650 battery.
The included battery can be charged with a normal lithium-ion battery charger (using a trick) but it's recommended to charge it inside the flashlight. If you want to read all the details about the flashlight, we have a very in-depth review for you. Please find out more about the Olight Warrior Mini 2 here.
Malkoff MDC Bodyguard V2 18650
Specialized tactical use flashlight with 1150 out the front lumens
- Maximum output: 1150 lumens Out The Front (OTF) (we actually tested 872 Lumens, see review link below)
- Tactical mode
- Light source: Cree XP-L cool white (6200K) LED
- Battery: dual fuel: a single 18650 or 2*CR123
- Includes reverse polarity protection, just in case you put in a battery in the dark
Is durability the thing you value the most? Do you want a light built like a tank? Then consider getting the Malkoff MDC Bodyguard. I mean it.
This flashlight was designed for use with two primary lithium CR123 Batteries or one rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion cell. The best performance and runtime is, of course, achieved with a high capacity 18650 cell. The rated input voltage range is 3.4 - 6V, and input voltages above 6V may damage this light, meaning a 2x RCR123 cell configuration is not supported at all, and will probably fry the light’s circuitry if you try to insert them. The Malkoff MDC is also protected against reverse polarity battery insertion.
As with all Malkoff products, the Malkoff MDC is manufactured and assembled in the USA. Some parts are not sourced domestically by the company, but that was to be expected for parts like the LEDs, and some electronic components.
If you are looking for a durable light with a lifetime warranty, this is the one to get. Check out the Malkoff MDC Bodyguard review for a more in-depth look at the MDC Bodyguard. Slip it in your pocket when you need 1000 lumens instantly without a complicated UI. I also have to add that the anodization quality is superb.
- Easy to use UI
- Maximum output: 5000 Lumens (we tested this)
- Duty mode and Tactical mode
There are only a handful of dual 18650 tactical flashlights on the market, and the TK35UE v2 is one of them. This is the latest edition sporting 3 emitters with a total of 5,000 lumens.
And yes, our copy reached over 5,000 lumens albeit on turn on. Read our in-depth review of the Fenix TK35UE v2 for all the juicy details.
The most self-explanatory benefit of this dual 18650 setup is a longer runtime. Having 2 batteries in parallel will double the capacity, and therefore extend the runtime. Oh, please don't forget to buy 2 Fenix button top batteries together with the light because flat tops don't work, and unprotected button tops can be too short!
And when you are running out of batteries, the red light indicator in the switch will warn you on time.
Best Tactical Flashlights with 21700 batteries
- Simple easy UI
- Maximum output: 3000 Lumens
- Includes a high-quality Fenix 5000mAh 21700 lithium-ion cell
- The battery has a built-in charging feature (no need to buy a dedicated battery charger)
We reviewed the Fenix PD36 Tac extensively. It provides great value for an all-round tactical flashlight with USB-rechargeable battery (5,000mAh). Keep in mind that USB rechargeable batteries are more expensive than ones without USB ports, and the good thing about the PD36 Tac, you can use normal 18650's as well. The package also includes other flashlight accessories like a carry strap, a deep-carry reversible pocket clip, a holster, a USB-C charging cable, and two spare O-Rings, so you are set from the get-go. . If you don't want to bother buying a separate battery charger and still want a high-quality flashlight, the Fenix PD36 Tac should be on your wishlist. And in case you want to attach it to a rifle, there are many additional weapon mounting accessories like remote switches and rail mounts.
All in all, this is a great package, and great for gifting during the winter holidays, when natural light is usually sparse.
Tactical flashlight with holster
- Max output: 2,300 lumens (we measured 2568 lumens at turn on)
- Battery: 21700 (included with charging cable)
- Beam intensity: of 23,000 cd (mine reached 26,400)
We extensively tested the Olight Warrior 3S and came to the conclusion this is one of the highest-quality tactical flashlights currently on the market. It's the successor of the M2R PRO and Warrior 3, and performs even better, both in terms of lumens and throw. Of course, the highest output is only available for the first few minutes, but the options and accessories are superb.
Charging works via the included MCC3 magnetic charging cable. All in all, this is a great tactical flashlight with some great features in a ready-to-go package. Read our full in-depth review for all the details.
Use our special code: 1LUMEN for an extra 10% off at Olightstore
- Most interesting light on this list
- Maximum output: 2500 lumens (We measured 2545lm)
- Package includes a 5000mAh 21700 cell
- Built-in magnetic charger (no need to buy a separate charger)
The Olight Warrior X3 is quite a unique tactical flashlight as it comes with a Vibrating Low Voltage Warning system. When the battery level goes down to 30%, it starts vibrating once every 5 minutes. When the battery SOC(State of Charge) drops to 10%, it will vibrate every 60 seconds. When it drops to 5%, it does so every 10 seconds.
This is another flashlight that has lots to offer. It has a simple UI with only 2 modes, 1 Turbo and 1 Low. No hidden modes like strobe or anything else. Probably my favorite, or even the best tactical flashlight with 21700 batteries. We did an in-depth review of its, please check it out here: Warrior X3 review. Use code: 1LUMEN for 10% discount at Olightstore
Best Affordable Tactical flashlight
ThruNite TN12 PRO
Best budget tactical flashlight
- Max output: 1900 lumens (We measured 1566 lumens)
- 5 main modes, including moon
- Runs off a single 18650 battery
- Built-in USB charging
- Lots of accessories included, great bang for the buck
If somebody asks: what is the best affordable tactical flashlight you recommend: the answer is Thrunite Tn12 PRO. For $40 you get a cheap tactical light with lots of accessories and plenty of power. (standard price is $40)
The user interface is easy to understand, so everyone knows how to use it within a minute. It also includes a strobe mode, that can be accessed easily with 3 clicks of the side switch (while on or off).
The accessories include a holster, lanyard (if you don't like pocket clips), extra o-rings (for water resistance), and a spare side switch membrane, and a pocket clip. Just add a high-capacity 18650 battery and you're ready to go. If you are looking for a budget tactical flashlight, you can't go wrong with the TN12 PRO.
Oh, and of course we reviewed this flashlight as well. So please check out our in-depth review of the Thrunite TN12 PRO here.
Brightest Tactical flashlights
- Maximum output: 9800 lumens (Ours reached 11,500 lumens for a second)
- Light source: 9*CREE XP-L2
- Light intensity: 19800cd (ours reached 23,425 cd / 306 meters / 335 yards)
- Runs off a 21700 lithium-ion cell (non removable)
- Onboard charging: USB C rechargeable
- Full Nitecore TM9K Tac review
The Nitecore TM9K Tac is definitely a special breed. It's about the size of a C8, but multiple times the output. Instead of the average 1000-2000 lumens tactical lights, the TM9K does 10 times that amount, but only in short bursts though. Since Turbo can only be activated momentarily, by continuously pressing the tactical switch.
With the built-in 21700 lithium-ion battery, you can get a burst of over 10,000 lumens. The 9 LEDs are sitting in a shallow reflector that results in a maximum candela of 23,425 cd or 306 meters of throw. High mode still reaches 136 meters / 149 yards. If you want the baddest and brightest Tactical light, get this one.
Brightest tactical light
- Maximum output: 20,000 lumens (Ours reached 11,500 lumens for a second)
- Light source: 19*CREE XP-L2
- Light intensity: 22,200cd (ours reached 23,425 cd / 306 meters / 335 yards)
- Runs off 2 21700 lithium-ion cell (non-removable)
- Onboard charging: USB C rechargeable
- Full Nitecore TM20K review
The Nitecore TM20K is extra special. Not just because of the astounding lumen rating of 20,000 but also because of its size and form factor.
The 3 switches are all at the tail end, so the TM20K is designed to be carried with your thumb at the end and your pinky towards the head. You can actually carry it cigar-grip style, using the clip for extra grip, though it’d get heavy after a while.
The UI looks a bit overwhelming with 3 switches, but it's quick and easy to learn.
This is currently the brightest official tactical light on the market. period.
Best Tactical Thrower
(With the focus on high power in combination with throw.. Not just throw!)
Best tactical thrower in the world
- High output LED: CREE XHP70.2
- Maximum output of 5000 lumens (We measured: 6189 lumens)
- Max beam intensity and beam distance is 57,000 candelas / 521 yards
- USB-C built-in charging
The Acebeam L35 is a golden goose. It is currently one of the best tactical throwers in the world. Sporting a CREE XHP70.2 it claimed to deliver 5,000 lumens, but we measured 6189 lumens.
After the initial drop in output (see the runtime graph, or read the in-depth Acebeam L35 review), it stays just below 2000 lumens for almost 1.5 hours. That is insane! This is the best tactical thrower you can buy at the moment. The beam isn't too narrow because of the XHP70.2, and you can light up a vast area in front of you. You need a high-power single 21700 battery (ours included one), and you have a ready-to-go tactical kit. The only gripe we found is the slow charging of the battery, at 0.75A. If you have a dedicated charger, this is no issue at all. This tactical thrower is highly recommended. Want to know more? Check out our Acebeam L35 review.
FAQ Torch/tactical Flashlight
Before you start shopping around for your new tactical flashlight, understanding what makes something a real tactical led flashlight, is quite important! When you start browsing some online shops like Amazon, you'll notice the word Tactical being used rather often. Some sellers actually call these types of lights also military flashlights or military-grade flashlights, while most of them in reality, are just plain regular flashlights. We wrote an article about this specific topic: What's a tactical flashlight, go read it.
Looking at just the brightest flashlight, we have an excellent page dedicated to just that, with the entirely impractical Imalent, but nice, Imalent MS18.
If you are only looking for a tactical flashlight, the Nitecore TM9K might be the brightest sustainable tactical flashlight currently available. This can change, of course. Check out our list with the brightest tactical flashlights we reviewed.
Tactical LED flashlights are often referred to as Military flashlights. Unfortunately, looking on Amazon or eBay, you'll soon notice that many sellers claim to sell 'super bright tactical flashlights' or "Ultra bright military-grade torch". Lights like the LumiTact G700 or J5 Tacticals are an actual scam and aren't military-grade flashlights at all. It's a simple zoomable aa flashlight with adjustable focus. And AA flashlights (with 1 AA battery) are never bright. They’re not good flashlights. period.. You don't want to depend your life on one of those. Seriously.
IMHO, these kinds of lights should be put in a category called: “Flashlights to toy around with when bored”. Check out this fun Youtube video. It’s just a classic from Advanced Knife Bro: https://youtu.be/swSU5GbWjgM
One of the smallest tactical lights is the Klarus XT1C. Definitely check out our list with the smallest tactical flashlights for more interesting ones.
The best tactical flashlight under $40 must be the Thurnite TN12v4 we reviewed. Great all-round package with lots of accessories and great quality. It uses a 18650 lithium-ion battery, so you need to buy a battery and charger separately.
There are lots of great brands producing Tactical flashlights. But some pay lots of attention to this specific market. Brands like Fenix, Olight, and Klarus are amongst the most popular ones.
My first question would be: what for? Do you plan on using 18650 batteries? When will you be using it? Generally speaking, the Klarus XT1A seems to be the cheapest of the bunch, not breaking the $50 mark. It's the most affordable tactical flashlight, while still not sacrificing important features. It does lack the battery life of its bigger 18650/21700 counterparts, but easy availability of NiMH cells counters that a bit.