Brightest flashlight of 2018

Unfortunately there are many lists of "brightest flashlights" on the internet today. However, many of those lists are written by people who know nothing about flashlights! In fact, many of these people do not even own a flashlight.  So I'll do my absolute best to help you with real knowledge. I've been active on flashlight forums since 2009.. (check out my ‘About Page’), I have owned well over 100 flashlights in that time. I currently own a few dozen.  I hope to give you some real insight with many in-depth reviews covering all types of flashlights. Please ignore my non-native English, because I'm actually Dutch.. ; --)
Some of the ones on the list I have reviewed already, to those I added a link to the review.

Well, we start with a tiny AAA light outputting a mere 100 lumens, and then go up to massive 8*18650 lights outputting 50k+ scorching lumens, to even lights throwing far into the night at well over 2000m. From a tiny Cree XP-G LED, to an large 12 XHP70.2s, there’s a vast array of choice from small and pocketable, to dangerous and absolute overkill. Here, we are on the edge of technology, efficiency, and most prominently, power. Let’s begin on the subject at hand now: high power flashlights!

The ones listed below are separated into categories. Each category is divided into a Budget, Medium Budget and Premium priced flashlight. This list includes the brightest flashlights available in 2018, but it is not limited to this production year alone! Because in some areas nothing has surpassed the brightest lights of previous years.

The list will be updated once there are brighter flashlights available during the year.

Announcement: Found any brighter ones? Found any codes that don't work anymore? Email me.

AAA battery flashlights

thrunite TI3 flashlight

Thrunite Ti3 

(AAA flashlight)

The Thrunite Ti3 is one of the brightest and cheapest currently available AAA flashlight that can do over 100 lumens on a single (rechargeable) AAA battery. (Alkaline batteries are not recommended)

  • Available with XPL LED (130 lumens)  and XPG LED (120 lumens)
  • Does not turn on accidentally in your pocket.
  • Easy to operate with 1 hand
  • Can use with rechargeable AAA batteries
  • (can also be used with a 10440 battery, but it will lose all modes. You will also lose the light’s warranty.)
  • 3-modes, Low-Medium High
  • Hidden strobe mode.

This mini flashlight is available for between $10 and $20, depending on the type LED you choose. It is still used by many flashaholics as their keychain light. I use a MBI HFR and recently returned to a Fenix LD01.. This Thrunite is brighter.. You lose it? Buy another one at this price. Although this one has been on the market for 3 years, it still is one of the brightest AAA flashlights out there. That in itself is somewhat amazing!!

The knurling is aggressive enough to use with one hand. Definitely a winner. I have not reviewed this one yet.

manker-e02

Manker E02 

The Manker E02 is a right-angle flashlight. But it can do over 200 lumens on 1 AAA battery. Plenty bright, and the brightest AAA right-angle light currently on the market.

  • Available in XPG3 (200+ lumens) and Nichia 219C (180 lumens)
  • Brightness step-down from Turbo to High after 3 minutes.
  • High is about 60 lumens
  • Built in magnet in the tail
  • Pocket clip included
  • One-handed operation
  • Works with (eneloop) AAA batteries 
  • 4-modes, Moon- Low-High-Turbo
  • 3 hidden strobe modes

But there is literally no right-angle flashlight that can beat this one in its price range! Its only 72mm long with a head diameter of 20mm. You can choose between the XPG3 (with a cooler white beam) and the Nichia 219C ( with a more neutral white beam). It can also be used as a headlamp if you buy the extra headband. This will cost about $5 extra.

Acebeams_pt10-penlight

Acebeam PT10

Acebeam being famous for their extremely bright and powerful flashights. They have this PT10 series on the market since 2016, but there aren't any other ones that beat this one in brightness on 2AAA batteries! This one holding the brightest LED flashlight with 2AAA batteries!

  • Available in different colors: Black, Silver, Grey, Copper.
  • Work on 2xAAA batteries (eneloops recommended)
  • With XPL-HD max output of 360 lumens. 
  • 3 Modes
  • Older XPG version is less bright (Amazon info is a little off)

The Acebeam PT10 has been upgraded to the XPL-HD led, with a max brightness of 360 lumens. This is rather unique for any light running of 2*AAA batteries, and you can get this by using 2 rechargeable AAA batteries, not alkalines.

In High mode the Acebeam PT10 will run for about 40 minutes. And with the lowest mode up to 10 hours (30 lumens). Lovely little pen light. Current price for the aluminum version is about $32 and copper version around $70. I would recommend this for indoors and safe for kids as well.

AA battery flashlights

utorch ut01 flashlight

UTORCH UT01

This extremely bright Budget AA flashlight gets almost 450 lumens from 1 AA eneloop battery. It’s one of the cheapest on this list, but still one of the brightest flashlights using simple AA (rechargeable) batteries.

  • Max 450 lumens on 1 eneloop AA battery
  • Max 900 lumens on lithium-ion 14500 battery
  • Side switch
  • Works with AA and unprotected 14500 batteries (protected 14500 cells may be too long)
  • 4 standard modes
  • Reversible clip
  • Good low output mode
  • Ultra bright
  • Hidden strobe

Launched in December 2016, the Utorch UT01 has become a very popular light over the past couple years. It is available in both neutral white (NW) and cool white (CW) emitters, which means that most people can get one that suits their tastes. Running the Utorch on an eneloop AA, it can provide up to 450 lumens in Turbo mode. On a 14500 cell, it can provide up to 900 lumens, but please take note that protected 14500 cells may not fit! The light is usually between $12-$17, but can be had for $10 when on sale.

Please note the following things:

The output is programmable, but there have been reports of people having difficulty getting this to work. Also being a budget light, there have been reports of bad switches. It's also an obvious copy of the Manker E11, which is about $20-30. However, none of that changes the fact that the Utorch UT01 is currently the brightest budget AA flashlight.

lumintopEDC05

LUMINTOP EDC05

One of the latest models of Lumintop, with a very pleasant output of 400 lumens on 1 AA battery. This makes it the brightest LED light in the medium-budget segment.

  • Max 400 lumens on 1 eneloop AA 
  • Max 800 lumens on a 14500 cell
  • Side switch
  • Multi chemistry: NiMH and Lithium Ion
  • 4 standard modes
  • 3 strobe/flash modes
  • Magnetic tail cap

The Lumintop EDC05 was launched in the 4th quarter of 2017. It is available in Neutral white as well as in Cold White. It has 7 output modes, (4 main modes and 3 blinky modes (beacon, strobe and sos). It has a length of 87mm and is therefore very well a pocket light. Runtime is 1.2 hours on Max with a rechargebale battery (Eneloop) and 15 minutes on a 14500 with 400+ lumens for maximum outpu. The average price is $32 for the brightest flashlight in its category. Use the code: CFNKL at banggood.com for almost $8 discount.

Although a BLF member has tested the EDC05 being less bright than the much cheaper Utorch UT01, mentioned above.

sc5wii

Zebralight SC5W mkii

Premium AA flashlight from a top manufacturer Zebralight. Get this AA powered one if you want the brightest AA flashlight!

  • 550 lumems on 1 eneloop AA
  • Battery capacity indicator
  • Current regulated
  • Automatic step-down when battery runs down.
  • Quick access to High, Low Medium and strobe

Zebralight is well known for the world's highest output drivers for AA flashlights since about 2013. The Zebraglight SC5W mk2 is one of their latest models. Sporting an XP-L2 emitter with 4500K and 83 Cri, this is the brightest AA currently on the market. Keep in mind that the batteries you are using can make a huge difference. Eneloop PRO are the top pick for these.

An awesome choice for people who want to have the best and brightest flashlight on the market. If you don't mind the $70 price tag, this is the one to get. Zebralight is an American owned and operated manufacturer, based in Irving, TX!

Flashlights with 4AA / 8AA batteries

nitecore-ea42-new

Nitecore EA42

The EA42 gets almost 2000 lumens from a 4xAA light, which was impossible just a few years ago. Therefore, the EA42 is currently the brightest light running off of 4 AA batteries.

  • 1800 lumens claimed (with 4 eneloop AAs)
  • 31,000cd intensity
  • Throw of 353 meters / 0.21 miles / 1158 feet
  • Made of Polycarbonate (heat/impact resistant)
  • Max of 280 hours on lowest mode
  • Stainless steel bezel ring

Nitecore has been upping their game with more and more powerful flashlights. A few years ago, the Sunwayman D40A was one of the most powerful lights running off 4AA batteries, peaking at 1000 lumens. Now, just 4 years later, the Nitecore EA42 is almost doubling that output. It does this using an XHP35 HD LED, which is not only much more powerful than the older XML2, but can also throw much farther. Besides the main modes, the EA42 also includes beacon, SOS, and Strobe modes. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of these.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to reach that power with Alkaline batteries. And another warning, don't use Alkaline batteries in flashlights at all! They are prone to leaking electrolyte, which can damage your flashlight. Not only are NiMH batteries safer, but they’re also rechargeable! Buying quality NiMH batteries (such as eneloops) can save you quite a bit of money long-term.

nitecore-ea81-flashlight

Nitecore EA81

(Brightest multi-AA flashlight)

The Nitecore EA81 with 2150 lumens on 8 AA batteries, making it the most powerful AA-powered flashlight available in 2018.

  • 2150 lumens on 8 AA batteries
  • 53,000cd intensity
  • 462 meters / 0.28 miles
  • Micro textured reflector for throw and flood.
  • Low of 1 lumen

About 4 years ago I owned the Nitecore EA8, which was at the time the most powerful 8xAA flashlight, with an XML2 LED. This time, Nitecore used the XHP50 LED. The XHP50 allows the light to hit 2150 lumens from its 8 (yes, 8!) AA batteries. Again, these numbers are only achieved by high quality NiMH batteries, and not Alkaline. I personally don’t like to use 8 AA batteries, but this is definitely the most powerful AA-powered flashlight currently available. Also, this is not a "tactical" flashlight. It’s large, and quite heavy with its 8 AAs.

Anyone who buys this light should make sure to get the latest XHP50 version, and not the XML2.

Lithium battery powered flashlights below!

Single-cell lithium powered Flashlights

The single cell Emisar has been on the market since 2017, but its still the single cell brightest led flashlight on the market at the time of writing.

Emisar D4

Emisar D4

(Smallest brightest flashlight)

The Emisar D4 is the brightest compact led flashlight of 2017 and 2018 running off a single 18650/18350 battery. Reaching approximately 4300 lumens!

Brightest 18650 flashlight

  • With a Nichia 219C 5000K you can get up to 3800 lumens
  • With the XPG-2 you can get up to 3300 lumens
  • With the XPL-HI you can get up to 4300 lumens.
  • Brightest compact led flashlight
  • Max power only possible with good high drain cell like the sony VTC6
  • Low voltage protection

So it is a real sub 10cm hotrod that blows everything out of the water that is currently available in stock format! The Emisar is only available at 2 stores worldwide at the moment. Those include Intl outdoor in China (see link) and Mtn Electronics in the US (see link).

The light can be used with a single 18650, 18500, 18350 or 16340 cell. For each battery type there is a special body part. Because the body can be replaced for a shorter or longer version.  It has a simplified Narsil UI firmware on its driver. One common problem with the light is that it can be activated accidentally while carrying it in your pocket. This is due to the electronic side switch. You should always do a lock-out by twisting the tailcap to cut electric contact.

It's the brightest currently available single-cell flashlight.. that was a mouth full. And only around $40. 

the light itself

Lumintop ODF30

The first single 26650 powered flashlight with a XHP70.2. Reaching approximately 3500 lumens!

  • CREE XHP 70.2 LED (xtra high power?)
  • Running of a single 26650 battery or 18650 with a spacer
  • Super bright for a few seconds in Turbo mode
  • 3 main modes, 1 Turbo, 1 Low lumen, and Strobe
  • Low voltage warning
  • Fits very nice in the hand.

It's just a bit bigger than the palm of your hand, and runs of a lithium-ion 26650 battery. The brightest 26650 I have had and the only with with a XHP70.2 in my 26650 reviewed lights. If you have a spacer you can even use 18650 Li-Ion batteries. Or check out my ODF30 review.

Turbo mode will give you 3000+ lumens for a few minutes.  It's ultrabright, but with the step-down you can have some fun with it, and still have good battery life.

If you're looking for a single 26650 powered flashlight with a XHP70.2 this might be the one to get!

18650 headlamp

Armytek-wizard-pro-v3

Armytek Wizard Pro v3 XHP50

Claiming 2300 lumens off a single battery, this is one of the brightest headlamps in 2018.

  • 2300 lumens from 1 single lithium Ion battery
  • The brightest single cell headlamp available
  • Charge the battery while being installed with the USB magnet charger
  • TIR optics for a floody beam!

When searching for powerful headlamps, this is probably the brightest available. Specs show 2300lumens, but I imagine this is very optimistic. If you're getting 1600 lumens OTF (out the front) you should be really happy.  The Cree XHP50 is powered from a single 18650 Li-Ion battery, which is included in the package. It's waterproof with a rating of IPX8, and has a low-battery indicator in case you run out of juice.

Armytek is a Canadian brand and sells worldwide.

multi lithium cell flashlights

Flashlights with multiple batteries.

In order to provide enough power, these lights most always use Lithium Ion batteries.

These are not meant to be used by children... They can burn down your bed, tent, or even worse... your house, if left powered-on and unattended.

package

BLF Q8 with Quad XPL LED's

The best budget flashlight currently available. Nothing beats this in this price range. See coupon codes for Amazon and Banggood..

Use code: 72b445 at Banggood for a huge discount. At Amazon use the promotion code: DK88PQQM for 30% off. If that doesn't work anymore, use: BLFQ8.

This is an extremely bright light, spec’d by the BLF (BudgetLightForum) team in order to bring the most bang for the buck. This results in the brightest budget flashlight with multi-battery configuration made today, aptly named the BLF Q8 (4x XP-L + 4× 18650s)

It was produced by flashlight manufacturer Thorfire. It has been a very, very popular light amongst many flashaholics, and has been a hit amongst flashlight enthusiasts from all around the world.

Using 4x XPL-HD 5000k LEDs to produce a mind blowing 5000+ lumens, this flashlight is a monster to be reckoned with, and a must have for all flashlights users. The Q8 is an all-purpose light and can be used for anything, from lighting up the road in front of you, to being used while camping, to even being a great night light for some.

Good high drain 18650 cells like the NCR18650GA, Samsung 30Q, LG HG2, Sony VTC6, Samsung 25R, and many others have to be used to get maximum performance out of it. All of the cells are in parallel, so they need to be kept at the same charge level to prevent problems, and they need to be kept in the same group as well.
So, buy 4×18650s at once, and keep them only for 4×18650 lights. Do not separate them.

Its driver is running the NarsilM firmware, with the standard UI being ramping and direct turbo accessible with a double click. Press and hold for ramping up, and same for ramping down. It’s also very advanced and configurable. It can ramp all the way down to a miniscule 0,1 lumen, to a mind boggling 5000 lumens on maximum, even higher if you modify the BLF Q8 as many flashlight enthusiasts have. You also have access to standard modes if you don’t like ramping and strobes.

Astrolux where to buy

Astrolux MF01

The Astrolux MF01 is powered by an array of 18*XP-G3/Nichia 219C leds. One amongst the top of the flooder range, illuminating a whole soccer field with ease. It also throws well, but with a wide array of LEDs and small optics, it only throws far because of the sheer amount of brightness granted by its 12 000 lumen output. Since Astrolux lights are only sold on Banggood,  using the code e04bc8 will get you the lowest price possible.

  • One of the highest power lights below the 100$ class
  • Compact light and very powerful
  • Your choice of emitters, XP-G3 6500k or Nichia 219C 5000k 90CRI
  • Cool white(6500k) and Neutral White(5000k) tints are available
  • 53 000 candela  for 450 meters
  • Max brightness of 12 000 lumens
  • 18x Powerful XP-G3 or Nichia 219Cs
  • 4 modes, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
  • Strobe, SOS and Location beacon modes are also available
  • 2x 18650 or 4x 18650 cells
    • To get maximum output and the longest runtime possible, it is strongly recommended to use with 4x18650s, along with using 10A+ capable cells (4x Samsung 30Q)

As small as it is, this is still a tiny sun! Only a fraction longer than the venerable Convoy S2+. The battery carrier is arranged in a 2S2P configuration (so 2 batteries in series and 2 batteries parallel) at a total max voltage of 8,4V. . It has the advantage of only requiring 2x18650s to work in series, but as stated before, power output will be reduced. At 2.9V the low-power indicator starts blinking. At 2.7V the light turns off.  Max output is about 120W, and 12000 lumens.

On a final note, I would strongly recommend the 219C version. Not only does it have a better Neutral White tint, but it can reproduce colors very well due to its high CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 90+. That means color quality is excellent, colors are very accurate, and with a tripod mount, this is probably the best flashlight for photography due to its excellent color characteristics. It’s still very bright too.

Note: One light which is now under the $100 mark is the Haikelite MT03 TA flashlight that I reviewed, having 21,000 lumens, I thought it was worthy to mention here, because it's still around $100. It’s a much more powerful light with a better user interface, called NarsilM, but with lower color quality in exchange for a massive wall of light.

TOP 5 World's Brightest Flashlights

The brightest LED flashlight in the world?

2018 has been a crazy year, with the release of many new flashlights above 20,000 lumens. Because the few that reached the top are similar in real output, I thought it would be better to post a TOP 5! The 32,000 Lumen DX80 is surpassed by the 32,500 X80GT, which I feel is a little lame... However, those numbers are just on paper, so I decided to create this list of the top 5 brightest LED flashlights!

acebeam_most_powerful_flashlight

Acebeam X80

The Acebeam X80 has recently been replaced by the current #3 (the X80-GT), but don't underestimate this bad boy!

NUMBER 5

  • 25000 lumens (The brightest flashlight of 2017)
  • Weight: 330 grams
  • 117 mm length 65mm head dia, and 49mm body dia.

The Acebeam X80 used to be the best in its class, but it has since been surpassed by the Number 3 (Imalent DX80).

The lowest output on this bad boy is 80 lumens, and on paper it can run 52 hours on a set of batteries. Unfortunately I don't own this one to test it, but 25,000 Lumens is still extremely bright, and can still be recommended.

Imalent DX80

Imalent DX80

The previous brightest led flashlight on the market (on paper) the Imalent DX80. It was known for a few little problems. Either way, for $219 with current code 1bcb33 at banggood it is the cheapest 25000+ Lumens flashlight on the market.

NUMBER 4

  • 32000 lumens (Just 500 Lumens less than the number 4, the Acebeam X80-GT, on paper)
  • 1250 grams 
  • 210 mm length 92mm head dia, and 50mm body dia.

The Imalent DX80 was the previous king of LED flashlights. It was screaming 32,000 lumens. Which was 7000 more lumens than the number 2 at that time, the Acebeam X80. In the beginning there were some problems found on this light, but still worthy to be on the list. 

acebeam-x80-gt

Acebeam X80-GT

Brightest flashlight in the world that can currently be bought! 

The Acebeam X80-GT has evolved from the 12 white and 5 colors LEDs of the X80 to 18 XHP50 LEDS, allowing it to create a whopping 32500 Lumens! You can use the following promotion code at checkout: 1lumenma (valid thru 09/30.)

NUMBER 3

  • 32500 lumens (Just 500 more than the Imalent DX80... probably done to claim the title)
  • 330 grams without batteries
  • 118 mm length, 65mm head dia, and 49mm body dia.
  • 1 minute Turbo timer...

The Acebeam X80-GT is the newest version in the X80 lineup. And it also has the highest lumen rating, with a manufacturer claim of 32500lm. This means that it has 500 lumens more than the previous “King of Lumens,” the Imalent DX80. On paper the X80-GT is currently also not the brightest stock LED flashlight anymore. The package includes 4 high drain Acebeam cells, and Acebeam even claims it can be submerged in water up to 30 meters deep. That is a bold claim.

brightest flashlight 2018 imalent ms12

Imalent MS12

Now this is what I like to call a real light! I thought I couldn’t be impressed anymore, but the Imalent MS12 claims an incredible 52,000 lumens. 

NUMBER 2

  • Pre-order it now, maybe 🙂
  • Claiming 52,000 lumens
  • XHP 70 LEDs (brightest single LED chip available for flashlights)
  • 8x 20700 non-replaceable battery pack
  • Possesses internal active cooling

This one was recently announced, and will have a Turbo mode reaching a claimed 52,000 lumens. That number alone is ridiculous! Keep an eye on the website for availability, as I will post links to it when in stock, and will hopefully be able to review the MS12 or the Acebeam X70 mentioned below. Perhaps luck will strike and I’ll get to review both in a very detailed manner. It's currently available for pre-order at banggood with promo code MS12M.

acebeam x70 with handle

Acebeam X70

The upcoming Acebeam X70 posses 12 XHP70.2 LEDs for pure flood and 1 XHP35-HI for throw.  60,000 total combined lumen output

NUMBER 1

  • Initially claiming 40,000 lumens, and now, 60,000 lumens!
  • 1130 meters throw with the extra installed XHP35-HI LED
  • Built-in cooling fans with the handle
  • 8x18650 non-replaceable battery pack
  • External active cooling

Not many flashlights have external fans to cool down the light, the first one actually. Power output is comically high, so heat management is crucial. Besides having a huge flood beam, or flood, it can also illuminate objects as far as 1000 meters (0,6 miles throw) with the small XHP35-HI LED and deep reflector. When this beast becomes available, it will be the brightest flashlight manufactured in 2018.This, hopefully, will come to my desk for flasholic and scientific testing of the light.. This is not a light for one-handed use, and output on max will surely have a step-down, although actively cooling it will help a lot.

Both of these lights are monsters, and I would only recommend them to the most knowledgeable and careful people, along those with deep pockets. Outputting 40k+ lumens of lights is extremely dangerous to the high power output, which, unlike other lights, can not only burn materials, but can actually cause fires if mishandled properly. More power to you if you have the responsibility and money to get it.

Summary:

What is the Brightest LED flashlight in the world?

The Top 5 flashlights in the world with the highest lumens are:

  1. Acebeam X70 : 60,000 lumens
  2. Imalent MS12 : 52,000 lumens
  3. Acebeam X80-GT : 30250 lumens
  4. Imalent DX80 : 30,000 lumens
  5. Acebeam X80 : 25,000 lumens

See the details above. Ranging from 25,000 lumens to 60,000 lumens. I believe we will hit the 100,000 lumens before the end of 2020.

What is the brightest pocket flashlight?

  • The Emisar D4 is the smallest flashlight over 4,000 lumens. You need to use high drain batteries for this type of light. If you use mediocre batteries you won't be able to reach 4000 lumens.

What is the brightest using AA batteries?

  • That is the Nitecore EA81, using 8 AA batteries and producing 2150 lumens. Be warned to always use rechargeable NiMH batteries like eneloop, and never use alkaline batteries in flashlights.

The above lists of brightest LED flashlights that are bright, but not necessarily the best brightest flashlights on the market. Some lights like the Utorch can have some problems with programming modes. And the Imalent DX80 had some problem as well. So please decide for yourself which is best for you, and in which category you need one.