You have a multitude of reasons to carry a flashlight with you for everyday activities, the same way you would not leave the house without your wallet or phone. Having a flashlight makes it easy to navigate at night, helps you search under your dark car seat, or can make reading easier with clear illumination. Even if you only carry a flashlight for emergencies like power outages or self-defense, keeping one close at hand comes in handy.
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If you want an everyday carry (EDC) flashlight, you have an almost overwhelming number of options. One of the most important features is the brightness, measured in lumens. 50 lumens is a good average, with maybe a few more if you want to use your flashlight outside.
To help you make the best purchase, here is our guide to the best EDC flashlights available.
Our Top Picks
When choosing an EDC flashlight, consider what you want to use it for. Is brightness a priority for night-use? Does it need to be compact enough to fit on your belt loop? Always look for your go-to features foremost to help balance the price.
OLIGHT Baton 3 Premium Edition
In many ways, this flashlight is the embodiment of premium EDC lights. The OLIGHT Baton 3 is made with an aluminum alloy case, as well as being waterproof and corrosion resistant, so you get the durability you need from an EDC flashlight. When you switch the light on, you see just how much OLIGHT stuffed into this tiny package.
The best feature is the compactness of the flashlight. At only 2.5” in length, the Baton 3 can easily fit into a backpack or even a pants pocket. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and comes with its own charging carry case. When the battery gets low, simply pop the flashlight into the case and it will charge back up.
This is also an incredibly powerful flashlight for its size. The highest setting outputs a staggering 1,200 lumens of brightness, enough to illuminate objects 544 ft. / 166 m away. You also get a range of five other brightness levels, including a strobe mode which works well as an emergency signal.
Read our hands-on review: Olight Baton 3 Premium Edition
The Fenix E18R delivers on both compactness and power, which if you are going to bother carrying a flashlight around all day, you want both of. This flashlight is 2.36” long and only 1.17 ounces in weight before putting in the battery. When turned on, you can get a maximum of 750 lumens, or go as low as 5 lumens.
The flashlight gets its power from a high-capacity lithium-ion battery. This can be recharged with the included magnetic charger. Simply snap the charger onto the flashlight, plug the other end into a USB port, and the lithium-ion battery will be refilled. On low modes, the flashlight’s battery can last up to 70 hours.
A few other great features include a magnetic tail cap. This means you can stick the flashlight onto metal girders and the like for hands-free use. It is also made with an aluminum case, the best material for rugged flashlights. On the side you will find a sturdy belt-clip for easy carry.
Nitecore is known for its high-power flashlights, and the NM02 is no exception. This little guy can output 2,700 lumens, brighter than most car headlights. Even at this brightness, the high-capacity battery lasts 45 minutes. On low brightness modes, you can get 310 hours of battery life.
This is a flashlight designed for everyday carry. It has a belt-clip on the side, and comes with a holster and lanyard for easy carry and deployment. The NM02 is also water resistant and impact resistant, so it is durable enough for use in any conditions.
The high brightness output of this EDC flashlight means it is great for jobs that use flashlights for self-defense or emergency use. For instance, it is perfect for a security guard on patrol, equally as useful for scaring off trespassers as it is during a power outage. Even if you just wanted to go for a hike along a dark trail, this flashlight can cut through the gloom with ease.
Related: Review: Nitecore T4K Flashlight
Pelican 1910B Gen 2
If you want a simple, dependable EDC flashlight that does not bother with a handful of extra features, the 1910B from Pelican is just for you. Pelican has earned its reputation for making unbreakable products, and the high-grade aluminum casing on this flashlight means it lives up to that expectation. Even if it does somehow break, the flashlight includes a lifetime warranty.
This EDC flashlight is compact and reasonably powerful. It has two power modes: one outputting 72 lumens and one outputting 14 lumens. Both are at brightness levels you can expect to use every day, so you do not need the half-dozen brightness modes some other flashlights have.
The biggest benefit of this flashlight is its price tag. Even at a fraction of the cost of other EDC flashlights, you still get a powerful beam and durable design. This flashlight is meant to do one thing—cast light—and it does that one thing really well.
EDC flashlights rarely get more versatile than this. The ThruNite T1 is designed for every possible way to carry a flashlight, like clipping onto your belt, clipping to your hat brim, hanging from a lanyard, or magnetically attaching to metal surfaces.
The T1 has a powerful light, capable of 1,500 lumens. One unique feature is a built-in dimmer, so rather than jumping between several brightness levels, the light smoothly dims, making it perfectly adaptable to any situation. Inside is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can be charged using a USB cable. On the side of the flashlight is a convenient battery indicator to let you know when the battery needs a top-up.
Even with the battery inside, the whole flashlight only weighs 1.6 oz. / 45 g, making it exceptionally light and portable. The whole flashlight is 2.75” long, so when you need a flashlight that you can always have on hand for whatever situation you find yourself, the T1 is a great choice.
Foursevens Mini MKIII
This EDC flashlight by Foursevens is remarkably small and compact while still packing a punch. The Mini MKIII is less than 2.5” in length yet can output 900 lumens. Combined with its high-quality manufacturing, this is an EDC flashlight you can depend on in a tight situation.
The makers of the Mini MKIII started off building machine parts, electric motorcycles, and watches. All that design sense and precision manufacturing comes together in this flashlight, made of anodized aluminum. The light beam is designed to emit a warm, natural light rather than a harsh industrial light, and does not wash out colors.
You get a suite of six light modes, ranging in brightness but also in function, with modes like beacon and strobe. The flashlight can be customized to several configurations which change which light modes are accessible at a button press, so you can skip having to click through every mode to find the one you want.
Olight I3T EOS
This I3T EOS by Olight is one of the most accessible EDC flashlights on the market, perfect if you are looking to buy your first EDC light. The low price point buys you a powerful and durable flashlight, and it runs on cheap and easily replaceable AAA batteries. You also do not have to worry about blinding yourself, as the I3T EOS emits a soft, wide beam that is easy on the eyes.
With the click of a button, the flashlight can switch been a 5 lumen output and a 180 lumen output. The flashlight is competitively bright compared to other EDC flashlights on the market, even at its low cost. It also has a handy dual clip so you can conveniently carry it on your belt or a hat brim.
It is made with an aluminum case machined for extra grip when held. The I3T EOS is also water resistant and impact resistant. This is a rugged EDC flashlight which is perfect for stashing in an emergency kit or just for everyday use.
What To Know Before Buying an EDC Flashlight?
You can find almost any combination of features available on an EDC flashlight. These are the most crucial features, the ones that can make or break a purchase.
Brightness / Lumens
The brightness of an EDC flashlight is its most obvious feature. High-end tactic EDC flashlights can emit up to 1,500 lumens, and some more restrained flashlights can emit as low as 1 lumen.
If you think you will use your EDC flashlight indoors, or in enclosed spaces, a super bright beam can be blinding. On the flip side, if you are using it outdoors, such a beam can cut right through the darkness. Consider how you will use your EDC flashlight and look for a brightness level that makes sense for you.
Additionally, brighter beams eat up battery charge, so only go for an ultra-bright EDC flashlight if you really need it.
There are three main types of batteries for an EDC flashlight. The first is replaceable alkaline batteries: AAs or AAAs. These are cheap, but run out quickly, and usually cannot handle a high-lumen output.
Second is specialized batteries. The most common of these is the CR123A, a staple for many EDC flashlights. They are compact and can store a lot of energy, making them well-suited for portable flashlights.
Third is rechargeable batteries. These are batteries like your phone has, with many recharging using similar power cords.
If you plan to use your EDC flashlight outdoors, or if you are buying one for emergencies, look for water resistance. The International Electrotechnical Commission grants the IP rating, which tells you the flashlight’s waterproofing at a glance. Higher numbers indicate better water resistance.
EDC flashlights typically receive one of two IP ratings. The IPX7 rating means the flashlight is water resistant for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1m. An IP67 rating is the same but also includes dust resistance.
If you have ever dropped a plastic flashlight only to find it has cracked, you know a durable flashlight is important. Look for cases made of durable materials like aluminum, and also check if the EDC flashlight is impact resistant.