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We currently reviewed 296 flashlights!

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Best Tactical LED flashlight with AA battery

black XT1A tactical flashlight

Klarus XT1A

Built for tactical operation, one touch access! Mini flashlight

  • Dual user interface settings
  • Tactical setting: 1 touch strobe, one-touch turbo, momentary on
  • Outdoor setting: Momentary on, One-touch turbo, One-touch Low, SOS
  • Uses an efficient 70CRI XPL-HD V6 LED
  • Maximum output: 1000 lumens claimed on a 14500 cell and 300 lumens with AA batteries (tested with NiMH cells)
  • Can use a variety of AA sized batteries,  including alkaline, NiMH, and primary lithium cells, along with 14500 lithium-ion cells!
  • Built-in charging for NiMH rechargeables, and includes a rechargeable 14500 lithium-ion cell

The Klarus XT1A is one of the very few real tactical single led flashlights that runs of AA cells. It has found quite a bit of favor in the flashlight community. The included 14500 lithium cell has a micro USB charger built-in, so you can directly charge the battery with a Micro USB cable. Any 5V USB phone charger should work fine, as the charger will only ask for what current it needs. For use with other types of AA sized cells, NiMH cells are recommended for full 300 lumen output, and for the ability to charge them internally as well. Primary lithium AA cells and alkaline are not capable of being recharged, and should only be used in emergencies. The UI is also great if you want to use it for everyday usage as well, as you can switch between the outdoor and tactical settings on the fly.

Tactical lights with 2AA batteries

Thrunite Archer 2A v3 in hand

ThruNite Archer 2A V3

Currently one of the most powerful 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

normal side view
runtime graph

Olight Warrior Mini

One of the Shortest Tactical flashlights

Extremely short at 4.2 inches / 107mm

  • One of the shortest tactical flashlights
  • Maximum output: 1500 lumens from a single LED
  • High power 18650 cell is included
  • Standard mode configuration and tactical

The Olight Warrior Mini is one of the shortest tactical 18650 flashlights on the market. Its primary LED is a powerful Luminus SST40.

During our test, we noticed that the runtime of the Warrior Mini is exceptional. It runs for 18 hours at 140 lumens in Medium mode, while Turbo and High mode last more than 3.5 hours each. Its highest output of 1500 lumens is available for 4 minutes before it drops to roughly 500 lumens. This continues for more than 3 hours. And all of that with a single battery.

The included battery can be charged with a normal lithium-ion battery charger as well is inside the flashlight itself. 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 here.

Malkoff holding in hand

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
  • Runs off 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.

Fenix TK35UE v2

The Fenix TL35UE is a dual 18650 tactical flashlight

  • 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!

Best Tactical Flashlights with 21700 batteries

Fenix PD36 Tac

The Fenix PD36 Tac is the successor of the extremely popular Fenix PD35 TAC

  • Simple easy to use UI
  • Maximum output: 3000 Lumens
  • Includes a high quality Fenix 5000mAh 21700 lithium-ion cell
  • Battery has a built-in charging feature (no need to buy a dedicated battery charger)

We reviewed the Fenix PD36 Tac. It provides great value for an all-round tactical flashlight kit. The package includes a 5000mAh battery, a carry strap, a deep-carry reversible pocket clip,  a holster, a USB-C charging cable, and twospare O-Rings, so you are ready to 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.

All in all, this is a great package, and great for gifting during the winter holidays, when natural light is usually sparse.

Olight Warrior 3

A tactical flashlight with dual stage switch

  • Max output: 2,300 lumens
  • Battery: 21700 (included with charging cable)
  • Beam intensity: of 23,000 cd (mine reached 26,000)
  • Spiky bezel for self-defense

We extensively tested the Olight Warrior 3 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 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.

I wouldn't recommend carrying it in the pocket because it can cause damage with the spiky bezel. You better use the included high-quality holster or the pocket clip.

Charging goes via the included MCC3 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

Olight Warrior X PRO

First tactical flashlight with a vibration alert for low battery power?

  • Most interesting light on this list
  • Maximum output: 2250 lumens
  • Package includes a 5000mAh 21700 cell
  • Built-in magnetic charger (no need to buy a separate charger)

The Olight Warrior X PRO 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 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 on is, please check it out here: Warrior X PRO review. Use code: 1LUMEN for 10% discount at Olightstore

Brightest Single Cell Tactical flashlight

Nitecore TM9K Tac

World's most powerful tactical flashlight

  • 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)
  • Built-in USB C charger
  • 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.

Best Tactical Thrower

(With the focus on high power in combination with throw..

Acebeam L35 holding in hand
Acebeam L35 runtime chart

Acebeam L35

Best tactical thrower in the world

  • CREE XHP70.2
  • Maximum output: 5000 lumens (measured: 6189)
  • Runtime: 86 minutes
  • Max beam intensity: 57,000 cd / 521 yards
  • USB-C 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 a tactical flashlight, well, tactical, 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. So, what actually makes a flashlight a real Tactical Flashlight? Why are tactical flashlights used by the military or law enforcement?

First of all, a tactical flashlight has great build quality, with a simple user interface, good battery life, large battery type compatibility, and a good warranty, just in case something goes awfully wrong, which shouldn’t be the case anyway.

In my opinion though, my particular feature set would look like this:

  • Should have 1 button to turn the light on and off with the same brightness! (Regular flashlights with 1 switch usually use the same button to change modes, but that isn't very handy in critical situations where you should trust your flashlight and not skip modes from high to low for example).
  • Should have a strobe option that can be accessed quickly, in a high stress scenario.
  • Should be waterproof.
  • Uses a forward clicky at the rear end of the flashlight so you can turn the light on and off without pressing the button completely (a reverse clicky switch need a complete press and will turn on after the click, while a forward clicky will power the light on before the click, as it’ll activate much earlier), so you can put your thumb on the bottom and decide how long you press the button to use the light, instead of having to click a second time to turn the light off.
  • In most cases, they include some kind of strike bezel or crenelated bezel, in order to use it for self-defense or as a non-lethal weapon. Being trained in using it helps tremendously, and without training, such a feature is usually not necessary.

Some people suggest such a light should be attachable to a pistol or a handgun. But that doesn't make it a tactical flashlight! Those are weapon mount flashlights.. a different class entirely, with different uses and characteristics. Some people say Tactical Flashlights are only used in combat.. that is also untrue.

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.

In terms of reliability, something like the Malkoff MDC would be your best bet, along with Surefire in a close second, for superb warranty support and extensive availability. 

Tactical flashlights are often referred to as Military flashlights. Unfortunately, looking on Amazon or eBay, you'll soon notice that many sellers claim to sell Military flashlights or a "Military-grade torch". Lights like the LumiTact G700 are an actual scam and aren't military-grade flashlights. It's a simple zoomable flashlight. They’re not even good flashlights at all. 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

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. 

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.