Any homeowner who’s dug around in their attic or crawlspace will tell you just how important it is to have a bright flashlight. But when it comes to a tactical flashlight, we’ll bring you into the light.
As with handguns or home defense safes, certain manufacturers have the edge on their competition and many offer flashlight that others don’t.
But the absolute brightest tactical flashlight may be unavailable to you for reasons we’ll break down shortly. But first, we’ll explore a range of tactical flashlight options that may be suited to your needs, whether it’s for self-defense, general purposes or professional purposes.
As you’ll see in the article below, it all comes down to lumen rating which you’ll understand after reading my tactical flashlight reviews.
Get Great Guns and Ammo Deals!
Top 12 Brightest Flashlight Options on the Market
You may be asking yourself, “What is a lumen rating?” In lay terms, “lumens” (or lm) are a measure of the total amount of visible light from a lamp or other light source. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light source.
Here is my list of the best flashlights based on lumen rating and other factors, starting with the brightest at #1:
Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS LED HL Rechargeable High Lumen Flashlight w/ 120-Volt AC12 Volt DC Piggyback Charger
Ecogear FX Professional Grade LED Flashlight Kit
Grace Top Tactical LED Flashlight
Streamlight 88040 Protac HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light w/ White LED
Acebeam T27 Cree XHP35 HI Led 2500 Lumens Throw distance 1180 Meters Power Bank Flashlight
This one usually gets a five-star rating among consumers and it’s easy to see why. 100,000 LUMEN!!!
The IMALENT MS18 Brightest Flashlight is a sturdily-built aluminum flashlight with a peak beam intensity of 123000 cd. It has a 700 meter range and has a built-in thermal module which automatically adjust brightness to suit your environment.
Its has a lifespan of fifty thousand hours and produces a maximum output of 100,000 lumens.
Users can get a max brightness output of 5,000 lumens with this one, but even on its lowest setting, the Fenix TK35 is adequate for finding your way around in the dark. Each Fenix pack is loaded with accessories including a smart charger.
It has inverted polarity protection in case you load the batteries incorrectly and features seven operational modes including Eco, Medium, High, Turbo and Strobe. When I think of the word “tactical,” I think of the Fenix because of its SOS mode.
Its beam reaches 1050 ft in distance and you can get at least 100 yards at maximum brightness, making this a real monster in terms of portable light sources. Digital regulation ensures consistent brightness which explains why it takes a long time to re-charge.
A truly tactical flashlight not only does well to illuminate the darkness during scouting, spotting, hunting, search and rescue, and camping, but it also allows you to use it easily during hostile situations to target and defend. The Nitecore C17 is a great dual-use tactical flashlight that has a bright-as-day 2500 lumen output.
The duo in “dual use” is the 2500-lumen white light output and the 7000mw IR Infrared light that comes in the same system. A smooth, well-designed head ring twists to activate the infrared light or back to the white light- this is an essential feature that any night hunter needs in their tactical flashlight. Another essential detail is the one-hand operation. The reliable tactical tail switch has the main on and off, momentary flash, as well as your strobe and brightness cycler-unlike other flashlights, where you have to clumsily change grip to go back and forth between the two switches.
A Little Pricey
This flashlight from Nitecore is a little on the pricey side, but its advanced heat regulation tech and IR tech, as well as the bonus included rechargeable batteries, charger, and durable plastic battery organizer, make this a great option for a bright, durable, and well-designed tactical flashlight. While it’s well-constructed from durable material, and tested for water resistance and impact resistance at 2m and 1m, respectively, you might find competing products with higher durability ratings. But, compared to this dual-use flashlight, with the highest-quality infrared light doubled up with a long-distance bright-as-day white light, there isn’t much competition.
Comes with battery organizer case for the two extra batteries
Turbo bright setting bright enough to be dangerous if shined in eyes
Truly one-hand, one-grip tactical operation
On the pricey side- some might choose a more well-constructed body flashlight at a smaller price
With a weight of 0.26 pounds and CR123A battery power, this Streamlight model gives you as much as an hour and twenty plus minutes of running time without needing to be recharged. It’s also ideal for gun lovers as it easily attaches to firearms (Glocks, etc.).
Its aluminum design makes it appear as though it is one with the unit it’s attached to which may be a bonus for some shooters. As a tactical flashlight, this one’s a top pick if for no other reason than it will safely attach and last for thousands of rounds with terrific functionality.
Buyer beware, however, that the battery compartment is kind of shoddily built compared to the rest of the flashlight’s components. That being said, the Streamlight’s bright spot can be used to replace your firearm’s aim.
The Stinger differs from the previous Streamlight model in that it has 640 lumes compared to the TLR-1’s 630. With a beam distance of 297 meters, it provides a steady beam for up to four hours without recharge.
A bit heavier than its predecessors at 2 pounds, the Stinger is still a nice option for most practical purposes as it is durable, easy-to-use and is built to last for as many as a thousand recharges.
It may not be the best tactical flashlight for weaponry as impact causes the brightness to fluctuate, but for most indoor and outdoor scenarios, it is a top of the line choice.
Powered by a 18650 lithium battery, this ultra-performance flashlight will blow you away with 1600 lumens. A lot of users also appreciate the free miniature LED flashlight that’s included in the kit, the perfect back-up light for camping and other expeditions.
This one’s of professional tactical grade and has a reflector which ensures that no brightness is wasted. It has an intuitive on/off switch and a dual channel battery charger.
A bit pricey at $57.99, it nevertheless performs well and is safe and easy to use. The only thing I really don’t like about this one is the company’s claim that it is water resistant because you can’t actually submerge it in water. Other than that, it’s a solid option for the appropriate budget and it’s certainly not the most expensive choice on the market.
Generating up to 1200 lumens, this Grace Top model’s light spreads out to encompass a large space and comes with a great zoom feature that’s easy and convenient. It small size means that it will fit comfortably into your hand and is quite affordable compared to many of its counterparts.
The Grace Top Tactical flashlight is often used by law enforcement officials which should give the casual consumer a feeling of confidence when purchasing one. You’ll know that you’re getting what you paid for.
It’s effective for outdoor purposes or in emergency situations such as home defense.
The only caveat here is that the 1200 lumens it is billed as producing is only something achievable with a 18650 battery so be sure to include the purchase of that battery in your budget before ordering.
Indicated to reach 600 lumens, this one is still mega-bright compared to other tactical flashlights and has a wider beam spread than many similar models. One of the things I like most about it is its anti-roll design which makes sure that it’ll never get far away from you if you drop it.
The only drawback to this one is the fact that it starts to get pretty warm after running for a continuous period of ten minutes or more. But it’s favored by many professionals, especially night patrolmen who appreciate its ability to penetrate tinted windows.
Whether you live in a rural area and need to investigate noise or commotion on your property, or you need a reliable, powerful flashlight for overnight camping or hunting, an option with great throw distance is the Acebeam T27 Cree XHP35. Reaching 1180 meters distance, and with reliable brightness and strong beam, this model is great for tactical use. It’s durable, with aircraft-grade aluminum body, and ultra-clear tempered glass lens, with anti-reflective coating and tested for 98.3% complete light transmittance. This aspect is responsible for the long distance beam’s clarity.
Practically, the specially-designed two-switch system works great and is designed to be tactile enough to find in complete darkness. The normal side switch toggles between five brightness options and a strobe option, while the base/tail button switch activates an instant turbo brightness that is handy in any camping, storm, or other extreme situation.
Acebeam also boasts a reliable, large capacity battery with 30 days max runtime. A convenient edge is the fact the battery is rechargeable by USB, and with a two-way cable and battery adapter included that you can plug in from any power bank, this flashlight system is a solid option for emergency use.
Switch easy to find & manipulate even in pitch dark
The included charge cord is shorter than your standard cord by a good chunk- might be awkward plugged into a wall
Solid durable construction
Using the higher brightness or turbo settings eats into the battery life
Another five-star rated option, the Olight X7 Marauder produces an imposing 9000 lumens and comes equipped with a trio of CREE XHP70 LEDs. Put simply, when it comes to mid-range tactical flashlights, this one’s a beast.
The LEDs make for cleaner, clearer white light which put less of strain on the user’s eyes when navigating through the dark. It comes with 4 dimmer outputs from 3000 lumens to just 3 lumens. It also has two “turbo modes” which give it intense illumination temporarily in unique situations.
The Marauder has a smart design that is simple and easy to use with a single side switch interface. There’s really nothing bad I can say about this one. It’s relatively affordable compared to similar models (just under $200) and is embraced by professionals for its 10 herz tactical strobe function that can seriously dishearten an adversary.
Truly blaze through the darkness with this high-powered, 4400-lumen tactical flashlight from Nitecore.
This powerful and durable tactical flashlight boasts one of the highest lumen brightness on the market, and its middling price makes it a great option for daily tasks, emergencies, and tactical operations. If you need to see or be seen during an emergency, this flashlight reportedly has a good amount of spillover and floods the area with clear brightness. While this is great for tons of home and professional uses, some law enforcement or military might prefer a skinnier beam without flood for collecting evidence or staying concealed during a pursuit. Its design and construction make this Nitecore a great tactical flashlight- it’s truly one-hand, one-button operation is sleek and intuitive. For its price, it has good waterproof and impact testing results.
This is another option that has a great battery system included. These are actually super-fast charging, not just advertised as such. And, it includes a power indicator on the tail that is subtle but noticeable. Also included is a battery cable and battery organizer. Nitecore solved the fatal flaw of many rechargeable battery flashlights with this ingenious touch: a protective, waterproof slide cover that easily protects the open port from extreme weather, dust, dirt, or sand.
Whether you need a reliable flashlight for protecting your home, or for emergency use in hostile or hectic situations, this Nitecore torch is a bright option that instantly gives you the sight you need.
Super high-lumen brightness
Doesn’t throw the longest distance (but still throws about 250 yards)
One-button, one-hand operation
Considerable flood, not ideal in some tactical situations
Waterproof charger port cover easy to slide on/off
Gets hot while charging
Sensitive, high-tech button switches only need to be tapped
Included lanyard & holster nothing to write home about
If you’re in the market for something that’s easily concealable and portable that will always be right at your fingertips, the Titan Plus LED keychain light is the way to go. It’s not necessarily the best tactical option, but it’s good for an outdoor environment and is great for when you’re on the go.
I keep a Titan Plus on my own keychain when I’m visiting relatives who live in the wilderness. If you’re from New York, you’ve probably heard about the long, steep winding roads of Sullivan County. If you’ve driven down one, you know that it wouldn’t take much for you car to go off a steep include and land you in the wilderness.
When driving late at night in the remote woods of America, this is the light you want to have in your car’s ignition should anything go wrong. It has an ultimate brightness of 300 lumens and high-performance LED light.
What’s more, it’s virtually indestructible, making it a great accessory light for even the most extreme of conditions. SureFire’s proprietary faceted reflector provides a broad MaxVision beam that adapts to your field of view.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Tactical Flashlight
As I mentioned before, there are several key factors to consider before selecting the flashlight that is right for you.
Before picking out a flashlight, you should think about what you need from your flashlight. These are a few factors that should be assessed prior to purchasing your light:
LUMENS: HOW FLASHLIGHT BRIGHTNESS WORKS
Most manufacturers heavily advertise their high brightness levels, but high lumen levels don’t always equate to high quality flashlight designs. Remember, just because a flashlight has a high brightness level does not necessarily mean that it’s built for optimal performance and longevity.
I usually recommend purchasing a tactical flashlight with a midrange brightness and adjustability. For most practical applications, tactical flashlights should have a minimum of 600 lumens and a maximum of 2,000 lumens.
Anything more than 2,000 lumens can compromise the tactical element of the equation. The word “tactical” is defined as, “Pertaining to tactics in order to gain an advantage, primarily in a war-like situation.”
As we’ve seen, the best tactical flashlights come with a variety of tactical modes such as SOS and strobe. Many flashlights with high lumen levels skimp on these features for the sake of focusing solely on brightness.
“THROW & FLOOD”
These are terms which are commonly associated with tactical flashlights. Here’s a handy breakdown of what they mean:
The Throw profile of a flashlight refers to a narrower beam that is generally stronger and illuminates at a farther distance than what you are aiming it at. While this can be advantageous in certain situations, it offers a lack of peripheral illumination.
The Flood profile refers to a light that is spread more widely from the lens, enabling the user to have a wider field of view. Most of the time, a flashlight reaches its highest lumen output at the throw profile.
Main Considerations When Looking for a Tactical Flashlight
PURE BRIGHTNESS ISN’T NECESSARILY THE BEST THING
Flashlights that are built for pure brightness and nothing else can compromise some of the other things you should want out of your flashlight such as longevity (the flashlight’s lifespan) and other features.
At just 2,000 lumens, the amount of power required to generate this level of brightness means that you are draining your battery power far quicker than you would at a lower setting.
SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER
When purchasing a flashlight for tactical purposes, you want something that is easily concealable and easy to maneuver. Whether it’s for self-defense purposes, spying or hunting, a tactical flashlight should be small in size and able to fit into a hidden compartment or pocket.
Manufacturers typically built them to be small and compact, but don’t think that means you’re losing power. These sleek, tiny flashlights pack a lot of punch regardless of how small they are.
KITS VS STAND-ALONE FLASHLIGHTS
For the serious user, it’s best to purchase a flashlight kit as the many accessories will come in handy. This is especially true for law enforcement professionals and other pros who will be using it on a regular basis.
Tactical Flashlight – Conclusion
Hopefully, this comprehensive list of the best tactical flashlights will help you to decide on the right choice for your personal needs.
If you think I left any worthy contenders off the list, be sure to contact us with your suggestions. Be safe and stay bright.
Hey everyone I'm Chris. Founder and editor at Gun News Daily. This site was originally started by my father who passed it on to me. Gun News Daily has been reporting on gun news and conservative politics since 2001. We are the original gun news source. Life-long Second Amendment Supporter.