What to know the top EDC Flashlights? I just analyzed the top expert tactical sites to find out.
“We are all experts in our own little niches“. Alex Trebek
Recently, I posted a review of the Top EDC Knives from the EDC site experts on the Internet. So it was time to also survey the top EDC flashlights.
What was interesting about that post was the common thread of recommendations that ran through the various websites which were run by professionals in the tactical community.
There were, in fact, a number of knives that consistently and continually showed up in the reviews – which I called the “classic” EDC knives.
But quality knives are a little more difficult to manufacture than tactical flashlights and there is a super resurgence of tactical lights coming out of China.
I believe users understand knives more than they do flashlights and there are more options available with tactical lights.
For example, all of the tactical knives were folding knives with maybe three to five different locking mechanisms, and with lengths of from perhaps 3 to 5 inches. Certainly, there are a number of different types of steels (which is covered in my article here) which are utilized and the handle material may be different. But, even that doesn't equate to drastic variations. Finally, many of these knives have been around for a number of years and new knives are not that common.
Not so with tactical flashlights.
Even though I could classify EDC tactical lights as “pocketable” and eliminate the keychain lights and large D cell lights of yesterday, there are lights that run the spectrum of AAA, AA, 14500, CR123A, and 18650.
Also, lumens can range from 100 to 2000 or more.
Finally, features can be simple and tactical momentary on/off only to side and tail buttons, to tail buttons with paddles, to strobe to SOS to red light.
The computer chip that is present in many of these lights offers almost endless possibilities.
Additionally, as alluded to earlier, there are a ton of cheap tactical light knockoffs.
This is an issue I constantly fight on this website as I review these lights and let it be known that you can't rely on these lights.
I ignore these recommendations in this review.
Bottom line, this will be more challenging, but I believe we'll see again the commonality of the recommendations. After all, we're dealing with experts who know what quality options are available in the tactical flashlight arena.
Here, are the top recommended EDC tactical lights from the top expert tactical sites.
BTFlashlights states they were created to help fill the void of a high-end flashlight consumer-focused review site. Their goal is to honestly test and review every flashlight on the market and provide an easy reference that will help you make the best buying decision.
So, what are BT Flashlight's top 10 recommendations?
- SureFire Titan Plus – AAA
- Nitecore Tube
- Zebralight SC5 – AA
- Sunwayman V11R
- Olight S1 – under 3″
- Eagletac D25C
- Zebralight SC600 Mk III – under 4″
- Nitecore EA11
- Surefire P2X Fury – 4 – 6″
- Fenix PD35 TAC
Summary – So, BT Flashlight shows some really helpful categories both by battery type and size. Not a bad concept for analyzing EDC Flashlights. Also, they've picked some quality brand names, names we should see over and over in our survey.
Thanks BT Flashlights for your insights.
Eric Yang and Ben Bowers, co-founders of Gear Patrol have a huge following and are based out of New York City. Gear Patrol is a print and digital publication, store and content studio. “Products, in short, are culture.” And, Gear Patrol delivers continuous updates and a deep dive into a number of products.
So, what are Gear Patrol's top recommendations for tactical lights?
- Surefire P2X Fury
- CRKT Williams Tactical Applications
- Fenix PD35
- Streamlight ProTac 2AAA
- Foursevens Maelstrom REgen MMR-X3R
- Streamlight Scorpion HL
- Viseri VZ230 Tactical
- SOG Dark Energy 247A
- Inova X5DM HB
Summary – Gear Patrol has thrown in both commonly known tactical manufactures and some that are a bit unique and unusual. Their recommendations, however, seem to follow a pattern of small and compact with enough power and yet at a reasonable pricepoint.
Thanks Eric and Ben.
Once again, Eric Hung of PewPew Tactical comes in with a quality review of tactical flashlights. What they lack in the number of recommendations (they pick the top 5) they more than make up in the quality of their review.
So, what does PewPew Tactical think are the best tactical EDC lights?
- Nitecore MH25GT
- ThruNite TN12
- Fenix PD35 TAC
- Nitecore Mt10A
- Streamlight ProTac 1L01aa
Summary – Believe it or not, it's more difficult to come up with 5 recommended light than it is for 10 lights and certainly 20 or 30 recommended lights which are really easy to develop. The point is, these tactical lights were really tested and this list holds a lot of weight.
Again, thanks Eric for your review.
The Gun Zone is another popular site with some significant traffic and tons of tactical gear reviews. For whatever reason, their about page was unavailable but it is easy to surmise that this is another digital publication with a number of contributors and a wide range of product reviews.
So, what does Gun Zone believe are the top tactical flashlights?
- Fenix PD25
- Fenix PD35
- SureFire P2X Fury
- Olight S1 Baton
- ThruNite Ti3
- SureFire Titan Plus
- ThruNite Ti4
- Sunwayman V11R U2
- EagleTac D25C
- LRI FMW Photon Freedom LED
Summary – Again, some new candidates and some of the same names. Their list essentially goes from largest to most compact. Prices can be all over the place, for example the SureFire Titan is really small but certainly not inexpensive.
Thanks to The Gun Zone for their recommendations.
Tactical Flashlight Guide by Alex Ferdenz has an interesting site that is devoted to tactical flashlights and he advises to buy flashlights from popular brands. You'll see in my conclusions below, how true this is. There are simply too many knock-offs out there.
So, what does Alex believe are the best tactical lights?
- Olight S1
- Fenix PD25
- Streamlight 88061 Pro Tac
- Lumintop Tool
- NiteCore MT1A
- Klarus Mi7
- Coast G19
Summary – Actually, not a bad list and Alex goes into why he has selected these specific torches by using summaries of the various Amazon reviews. Again, many of the same brands with really only one surprise, the Lumintop.
Thanks Alex for your insights.
Survivors Fortress is a product of Conrad Novak who states his mission is not to push scare tactics but portray informed decisions. They don't opt for opinion based articles, rather write blogs that provide step-by-step guides that can be put into practice with each blog crafted by an informed team who values the importance of useful, in-depth guidance.
So, what does Conrad believe are the tip EDC tactical torches?
- ThruNite Archer V31A
- Coast HP1
- Eagletac D25A
- Streamlight 88032 Protac
- Fenix LD12
- Olight S1A
- Zebralight SC52 L2
Summary – Survivors Fortress has picked a winning list of EDC lights. The reviews, again, are really summaries of Amazon reviews and might be more helpful with actual hands on testing, but all and all a nice representation.
Thanks Conrad for your thoughts.
Some great EDC tactical lights but also knockoffs everywhere
Unlike a similar article on EDC tactical knives, I was simply unable to find more than six sites that truly offered legitimate recommendations on EDC tactical lights.
I even tried different keywords adding backpacking, first responders etc. No luck.
As I've stated before, and as a number of my own site's reviews attest to, there are too many cheap knock-off tactical lights on the market.
Many of these lights are literally the same light with different names –
I've actually counted a dozen or so alternative names for the exact same cheap light. This is not true with EDC knives as they are not as easy to produce.
A number of review sites simply take the same cheap lights and produce a table of results with ratings and links to Amazon.
These are not helpful as they are essentially trying to legitimize cheap lights in an effort to gain affiliate commissions. Sad but true.
One site even had a list of the same light with different names in 7 of the 10 recommendations and they were rated differently – the very same light.
Another site had a review for “front snapping bras” next to their review of tactical lights.
I don't know about you, but that type of site just loses all credibility.
How to determine what sites are not helpful
Avoid the following:
- Sites that open with a table of products and show price categories, such as $, $$, $$$, $$$$ etc and ratings 4.9, 4.7 etc.
- Sites were EDC lights are $11.99 or come in a 5 pack.
- Sites that list pros and cons that are obviously from Amazon reviews. Please, we can read Amazon reviews on our own.
- Sites that show tiny pictures but not pictures of the products being tested or held by the editor.
- Sites where you can't find anything about the owner or editor of the site.
- Sites where all product reviews look the same.
- Sites that list 30, 40 and 208 products. Really?
- Sites that even review unrelated products.
- Sites that are overloaded with affiliate click links.
- Sites where multiple EDC lights look the same but have a different name.
- Well, you get the picture.
Unfortunately, Google doesn't do a great job of weeding out the chaff.
Many of their top hits are truly legit but it quickly goes downhill from there.
Unfortunately, there are some sites with valuable reviews but they are on much lower pages of Google because they simply haven't received any traction yet.
How to select a quality EDC tactical light
Here are some tips:
- Avoid the above type sites.
- Look for reviews where the editor has legitimately purchased and tested the product.
- Stick with quality brand names, such as:
- Coast, and a few others
- Check some quality online stores to see what brands they offer. They definitely will not offer the knockoff brands because they don't want the bad reviews and returns when these lights fall apart.
- You'll also find the legitimate brands have their own websites – for example:
- Klaruslight.com etc.
So, what are the best EDC Tactical Flashlights?
I've made my recommendations, again, both on my own research and on the conclusions from the above EDC websites.
So, what are the top and brightest EDC torches? The best EDC lights for you?
I own, use and have tested all of the items I recommend below, and here are three of the best.
- Klarus Mi7
- This 700 lumen light uses a single AA or 14500 lithium-ion rechargeable battery and weighs only 0.93 oz without battery at 3.43 inches. It offers three light levels and an easy strobe and SOS controlled by a side light. It also offers a lockout mode to prevent accidental discharge and has a battery level flash indication. Finally, it even comes in a number of colors.
- Nitecore MT10A
- Using 1 AA or 14500 lithium-ion rechargeable battery with 920 lumens and at only 4.25 inches and 2.14 oz without battery, the MT10A is an excellent example of what you would want in an EDC light. It also sports 5 power modes with a low light of 1 lumen and a 100 hour run time. With a tail and side control for strobe, SOS and even a red light, this is hard to beat especially at less than $50.
- Fenix PD35
- Coming in at 1000 lumens and using the larger 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery the Fenix PD35 is one of the most recommended EDC lights in our survey. This light has 5 levels plus strobe and weighs a bit more at 3.1 oz excluding battery and is a little larger at 5.4 inches. For that, you get a runtime of 430 hours at the 3-lumen level and almost 3 hours at the 1000 lumen level. The PD35 uses both a tail switch and side switch and offers a batter level indicator and low voltage warning.
Of course, all three recommended EDC tactical lights are built with quality aircraft aluminum and use a mineral crystal lens with anti-reflective coatings.
Depending on your size and lumen output requirement, you won't go wrong with any of the above three selections.
There are, of course, a number of other quality light options available.
My requirements for a top EDC light is that:”
- Its small enough that I'll carry it all the time. (My first selection, the Klarus Mi7 even fits in my jeans key pocket.)
- That it is powerful enough to be really useful.
- Has an easily replaceable battery system (two of the recommendations use the universal AA), and
- That it has a strobe.
All three recommendations meet every one of these requirements.
Thanks for reading my survey of the top EDC flashlights from some of the top EDC websites. Unfortunately, the information on Google is not particularly helpful sometimes and hopefully, this review will shed some practical light. Also, Amazon pushes the good and bad lights – as long as they profit Amazon, so you need to be discerning.
I invite you to review my site.
Additionally, I detail the construction of tactical lights and discuss current battery options.