Cut the Crap...
Stop relying on Amazon reviews, top 10 websites, or manufacturer's specs.
We test flashlights to separate the wheat from the chaff.
We currently reviewed 280 flashlights!
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 any of the flashlights they recommend. So I'll do my absolute best to give you some real insight with many in-depth review articles covering all types of flashlights.
Please ignore my non-native English because I'm Dutch. ; --)
The list will be updated once there are brighter flashlights available during the year. In case you are more interested in tactical or military flashlights, check out our best tactical flashlights here.
Disclosure: 1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.
What is currently the Brightest flashlight in the world?
The Top 5 flashlights in the world with the highest lumens are. (We reviewed them personally, and there are links to the reviews if you need more details)
Strongest AAA battery flashlights
The Thrunite Ti3 is one of the brightest and cheapest currently available AAA flashlights that can do over 100 lumens on the highest setting with a single (rechargeable) AAA battery. (We don't recommend using Alkaline batteries)
- Available with XPL LED (130 lumens) and XPG LED (120 lumens)
- It does not turn on accidentally in your pocket.
- Easy to operate with 1 hand
- You can use it with rechargeable AAA batteries
- (can also be used with a 10440 battery, but it will lose all modes. You will also lose its warranty.)
- 3-modes, Low-Medium High
- Hidden strobe mode.
This mini flashlight is available for a price between $10 and $15, depending on the type of LED you choose. Many flashaholics still use it as their keychain light. I personally still use an old Fenix LD01, and this Thrunite is brighter. If you lose it? Buy another one. 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! Going outdoors without a flashlight is no good idea. Get this little performer. The knurling is aggressive enough to use with one hand—definitely a winner.
Acebeam PT10 GT
Acebeam is famous for its extremely bright and powerful flashlights. The PT10-GT is a pretty powerful penlight with over 400 lumens with the included lithium-ion battery.
- Max output: 472 lumens (included lithium ion battery) / 120 lumens (2x AAA Eneloop)
- LED options: Nichia 219C and Osram KW CSLNM1.TG and Samsung LH351D (the one we reviewed)
The Acebeam PT10 has been upgraded to the latest LED technology, with a max brightness of 470 lumens. This is rather unique for a penlight flashlight. You can only achieve that with the included high-power Lithium-Ion battery. The PT10 GT can also be powered by 2AAA batteries, but the output comes down to about 120 lumens. Also, we never recommend using Alkaline batteries, but use NiMH batteries instead. The brand we recommend is Panasonic Eneloop.
In High mode, the Acebeam PT10 GT will run for about 40 minutes with the included Lithium-Ion battery, and 1 hour and 45 minutes on 2 AAA batteries. Medium mode with the lithium-ion battery is 1 hour and 20 minutes and almost 8 hours on 2AAA batteries. For more details, read our in-depth review of the Acebeam PT10 GT.
Brightest AA battery flashlights (great for EDC)
Zebralight SC5W MkII
Premium AA flashlight from a top manufacturer Zebralight. Get this AA-powered one if you want the brightest AA flashlight!
- 550 lumens on 1 Eneloop AA
- Battery capacity indicator
- Current regulated
- Automatic step-down when the 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 PROs 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 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
(Brightest multi-AA flashlight)
The Nitecore EA81 with 2150 lumens on 8 AA batteries, making it the most powerful AA-powered flashlight available in 2021.
- 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 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. Personally, I wouldn’t say I 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.
Single-cell lithium powered Flashlights
Imalent MS03 is super bright. The brightest flashlight of 2021 running off a single 21700 battery. Reaching approximately 13.000 lumens!
- Maximum output of 13,000 lumens.
- Brightest compact led flashlight in the world
- Max power is only possible with the best high drain cell like the Samsung INR21700 40T, which is included
- Works on 21700 and 18650 batteries (with adapter)
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.
Imalent includes a high drain 21700 battery, so you are ready to go. Use coupon 1lumen for 10% off at Imalentstore.com
The Nightwatch shares its #1 spot of brightest flashlight running off a single 26800/21700 battery. Reaching approximately 13000 lumens!
Shared #1 Brightest single-cell lithium flashlight
- 4*SST40 / 4*XHP50.2
- Maximum output of 13000 lumens.
- Brightest compact led flashlight in the world
- Max power only possible with the best high drain cell like the Samsung INR21700 30T
- Works on 26800 batteries (package includes a 21700 adapter)
Nightwatch might be an unknown brand, but it surely has some appeal to the flashaholic within us. With a maximum brightness of up to 13000 Lumens, this is a different kind of beast. 130000 Lumens is only achievable by choosing the XHP50.2 K4 variant.
It is a 26800 type flashlight (very unique) but can be used with a single 21700 cell. Since it needs high quality, high discharge cells, you are sure it heats up like crazy. Within seconds the head becomes extremely hot. If you are looking for the brightest single cell flashlight, and you don't mind the disadvantages, this is the one you should get! We reviewed the Nightwatch NSX4 with the SST40 LEDs.
Utilizing 9* XPL-HD v6 LEDs, this beast is 2nd brightest flashlight of 2021 with 9500 Lumens, at least on paper!
#3 Brightest single-cell lithium flashlight
- 9*XPL Hd V6
- Maximum output 9,500 lumens
- Max beam intensity of 18,000cd
- Built-in 5000mAh 21700 High Amp battery
- USB-C charging
Like any other high power flashlight, the Nitecore TM9K produces heat like no other. Turbo mode is only available with Momentary On. This means that Turbo is only available when pressing the switch. Keep this in mind when you look for a high power flashlight. It lasts only for about 7 seconds before dropping back to High mode. A USB-C cable is included in the package, but no USB charger. The battery is not user-replaceable.
Nitecore is a big brand and has lots of experience with high power flashlights, so if you want to have a little more confidence in quality control and warranty, this might be something for you.
Powerful multi lithium cell flashlights
Still one of the best budget flashlights available under $50.
- Maximum output: 5000 lumens
This is an extremely bright light, spec’d by the BLF (BudgetLightForum) team, 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). Check out our full review of the BLF Q8 here.
Flashlight manufacturer Thorfire produced it. It has been a 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 be 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 the maximum performance. 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 minuscule 0.1 lumen, to a mind-boggling 5,000 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.
The Astrolux MF01s is powered by an array of 18*SST20 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 15 000 lumen output.
- One of the highest power lights around $100
- Compact light and very powerful
- Your choice of emitters, SST20 6500k, 5000K and 4000K
- Cool white(6500k) has the highest output
- 95 000 candelas (double the amount of its predecessor, the MF01)
- Max brightness of 15000 lumens
- 18x Powerful SST emitters
- Anduril firmware (most advanced firmware 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 batteries are 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.
On a final note, I would recommend the 5000K or 4000K version. It has a better Neutral White tint. And do yourself a favor and choose a colored flashlight instead of the boring black.
World's Brightest Flashlight top 5
Number 5: 36,000 lumens
The R90TS with 36,000 Lumens is not just an extremely, extremely bright flashlight, it also is a great thrower!
- Max output: 36,000 lumens
- LED: 18* CREE XHP35
- Battery: 8x 21700 non-replaceable battery pack
- Charging: Built-in charge system
- Active cooling fans
We were really excited when the R90TS and MS18 were announced. Both being in the top brightest flashlights of the world! We just had to get our hands on them, so we decided to get it, the moment they came out. During the review of the Imalent R90TS, we found that this is such a beast that it not only blinds you; it also throws a beam really, really far. If you doubt between an extremely powerful flashlight and a thrower, check out the R90TS, you wouldn't believe this is possible without seeing it!
Check out the full indepth Imalent R90TS review here.
Number 4: 40,000 lumens
Acebeam added a powerful little bugger that puts out more lumens than many flashlights that are double its size.
- Max output: 40,000 lumens (Measured mine 35,000 lumens at start, and 30,000 after 30 sec)
- LED: 8x XHP70.2
- Charging: USB-C charging (PD)
- 800 meters of throw (Mine measured about 600)
- 690 grams
The Acebeam X50 is one of the latest and most powerful flashlights by Acebeam. It's likely a successor of the X80-GT, which is about the same size but with 'only' 32,500 lumens. Although not as powerful as the X70, but at half the size and 3/4 of its power, pretty amazing.
We reviewed the Acebeam X50, and it's the real deal. Very, very powerful for its size.
If you order it at Acebeam.com use our 1Lumen discount code for 11% off: 1lumen323
Number 3: 53,000 lumens
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. It has been discontinued, and the MS18 is its successor.
END OF LIFE: this flashlight is no longer being produced.
- Maximum output: 53000 lumens
- LED: 12*XHP 70 LEDs
- Battery: 8x 20700 non-replaceable battery pack
- Charging: Built-in charger
- Internal active cooling
The Imalent MS12 has been getting quite a coverage on social media and YouTube. It is extremely bright and can lid a whole acre of land. The MS12 is such a best that it uses a built-in cooling fan to lower the heat while in Turbo. Turbo lasts about 3 minutes when it reduces output to 15,000 lumens. Still an amazing amount of power! 1lumen also bought the Imalent MS12 to review, so please check out the Imalent MS12 review here.
Number 2: 60,000 lumens
The Acebeam X70 posses 12 XHP70.2 LEDs for pure flood and 1 XHP35-HI for throw. 60,000 total combined lumen output! Currently world's 2nd most powerful LED flashlight.
- Maximum output: 60000 lumens!
- LED: 12*XHP70.2 + 1* XHP35 HI
- Maximum reach: 1130 meters throw with 1 emitter
- Charging: 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. This beast is already available and is the brightest flashlight manufactured in 2018/2019 and blinds its competition...pun intended
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. Check out our Acebeam X70 review for more details!
These lights are monsters, and I would only recommend them to the most knowledgeable and careful people, along with those with deep pockets. Outputting 40k+ lumens of lights is extremely dangerous, 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.
Get 11% off at Acebeam.com by using our special acquired 1Lumen coupon: 1lumen323
Imalent MS18 = the Brightest flashlight in the world
Number 1: 100000 lumens
The Imalent MS18 is the #1 brightest flashlight in the world, with a blinding 100000-lumen output.
Get 10% off at Imalenstore with this discount coupon: 1lumen
- Max output: 100,000 lumens
- LED: 18* XHP70.2 High Power CREE LEDs
- Battery: 8x21700 battery pack
- Built-in cooling
- Built-in charging system
This is literally the #1 brightest flashlight in the world, with a blinding 100000 lumens. Brighter than other handheld flashlights available anywhere on the planet. With the incredible output, you can light up a whole baseball field. We reviewed the Imalent MS18 extensively, and it is really the brightest LED flashlight we could get our hands-on. Check out our Imalent MS18 review to learn more about this amazing beast.
Even though many eBay sellers claim their flashlights are reaching 100,000 lumens, they are never officially announced. The Imalent MS18 is the first flashlight officially claiming 100K lumens from a major flashlight manufacturer. If you want to have the brightest handheld flashlight globally, there is only 1, this one.
If you don't believe me, check out the review and the comparison shots. Nobody else on the internet reviewed these many powerful flashlights as we do. Don't forget to use our coupon code to get an extra 10% off at Imalenstore. Our discount coupon for you: 1lumen
The Imalent MS03 is currently the smallest flashlight over 13,000 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 that output!
That is still the Nitecore EA81, using 8 AA batteries and producing 2150 lumens. Unfortunately, it's already a few years old, and no upgrade has been added yet. Be warned to always use rechargeable NiMH batteries like Eneloop and never use alkaline batteries in flashlights.