Best EDC Flashlights and What to Consider
The three essential everyday carry items are a gun, knife, and flashlight… but yet so many people do not carry a flashlight, despite it being one of the top three EDC items. You may say “I have my phone, why would I need to carry a flashlight?” I have two reasons why your phone flashlight is not sufficient… 1. The flashlights on phones are terrible and 2. If you lose your phone in the dark, how are you going to find it?
Things to look for in an Everyday Carry Flashlight
- Since it is an EDC Flashlight, you want it to be something that is easy to carry. When choosing an everyday carry flashlight, you want something that is small but also gives you good illumination
Lumens and Candela:
- What is a lumen? A lumen is the unit of measurement for the amount of light being put out by a source. Generally speaking, a lumen is about equal to the amount of light given off by a candle. As a rule of thumb, you want your flashlight to be at least 100 lumens. This is the bare minimum for an EDC Flashlight. The brighter the light the better. If the situation arises, your flashlight can be used to defend yourself by impairing your attacker’s sight with the light but the light has to be bright enough.
- What is Candela? A Candela is a unit used to measure the luminous intensity in a given direction of a source of light. In other words, lumens are how much light is produced overall and candela is how much light is produced in a certain direction. Candela is used to measure the “throw” of light or how far the light reaches.
- There are two options when it comes to batteries. You have rechargeable batteries and you have non-rechargeable. Each has pros and cons which we will go over. One of the most common flashlight batteries is the CR123. This is a good battery that is used in many EDC Flashlights but it is starting to get replaced with the 18650 battery. Typically 2 CR123 batteries are needed in a flashlight but they can be replaced with just a single 18650 battery.
- Do not have to buy new batteries when the battery runs out
- All you have to do is put it on the charger for a couple of hours and you are good to go
- When the battery eventually goes bad, you will likely have to replace the flashlight.
- If you are in a hurry and the battery dies, you will have to wait for it to charge vs slapping a new battery in
- Little more expensive
- Easily change out the batteries when they die and start using the light again right away
- If you do not have extra batteries with you, you have no way of using your light when the batteries die
- The cost of having to buy new batteries. However, the batteries that EDC Flashlights take are not usually very expensive.
Now that we have discussed some of the key features to consider in an Everyday Carry Flashlight, let’s see what lights made our list! The lights on this list vary in brightness, size, and cost to accommodate all needs and wants.
Best EDC Flashlights
- SureFire Stiletto Pocket Light
- High: 650 Lumens Medium: 250 Lumens Low: 5
- Battery Gauge
SureFire is known for making quality flashlights. The Stiletto is no different. The shape is a little bit different than what you typically expect from a flashlight. You probably think of a round cylinder when you think of flashlights, but this design is actually better for carrying around. This flat design allows it to fit into your pocket very nicely without giving you the infamous flashlight pocket bulge.
The Stiletto has 2 switches that are nice, tactile, and easy to find. The primary switch lets you choose between low, medium, and high output while the tactical switch gives you the ability to switch between constant on or a tactical strobe light. The strobe light can be used as a defense mechanism to disorient an attacker. At 650 lumens, this flashlight is plenty bright. Lumens is not the only thing to consider when it comes to light produced. You also have to consider the spread and distance of light. The Stiletto gives you good throw as well and a wide flood that allows you to fully brighten any situation.
This flashlight features a rechargeable battery and comes with a micro-USB charger. It also is IPX7 water-resistant so it is tested to withstand one meter of water for 30 minutes. This is great if you are out fishing and you drop your flashlight in the water because you do not have to worry about your flashlight dying on you. SureFire also offers a limited lifetime warranty!
- SureFire Tactical Everyday Carry Flashlight (Brightest Choice) (Great choice for Hunters)
We already told you that SureFire makes quality flashlights and that is why they made our list twice. The SureFire Tactical Everyday Carry Flashlight was made to be an EDC Flashlight. It is bright, small, and very durable. It is the total package.
This flashlight is great for hunters! This flashlight is incredibly durable and offers different power modes. In the morning when you are trying to get out to your stand, you can use the low power mode to create just enough light to see where you are going, and then when you are tracking your kill, you can use the high power mode to see everything clearly.
It has a very tactile button on the back that is nice and easy to find. The two-way clip allows you to have the bezel either facing up or down based on your preference and needs. It is almost 6 inches long so it is long enough to get a good grip on but not too long that it doesn’t fit in your pocket easily. SureFire really thought of everything with this light. It comes with SureFire’s limited lifetime warranty.
- Smith & Wesson M&P Delta Force CS RXP Flashlight (Budget Option)
- High output: 310 Lumens Medium: 72.6 Lumens Low: 20 Lumens
- Twist operation
When you think of Smith & Wesson, you probably think of firearms. Smith & Wesson has been a staple in the firearm industry for a very long time. They make a lot more than just firearms. The Smith & Wesson M&P Delta Force CS RXP Flashlight is the lowest price point on this list but that does not speak of the quality of this light.
This Everyday Carry Flashlight definitely surprised me. For 15 bucks, you get a quality light that is durable, bright, and rechargeable! If you are someone who does not want a “big” flashlight in your pocket, this is an excellent choice. At just under 3.5 inches long and weighing just over an ounce, you hardly notice this light in your pocket.
This flashlight is a twist operated flashlight which means you twist it to turn it on/off. This is good and bad. It is good because the twist-action keeps it from accidentally turning on in your pocket and wearing down the battery and the bad is that you can’t just click a button to turn it on.
Overall it is a fantastic light for the money.
- Streamlight Microstream USB
Streamlight is in the same boat as SureFire when it comes to quality and performance. They make quality lights for a wide range of uses and price points.
The Streamlight Microstream USB is a small yet powerful Everyday Carry Flashlight. This light is a very similar size to the Smith & Wesson light we just discussed. It is just slightly longer at 3.87 inches and almost the exact same weight. This light is button operated with one press for High output and two clicks for low output.
This makes a great light for Fishermen. It is small so you do not have to worry about carrying a bulky light with all your fishing gear but it is water-resistant so you do not have to worry about your flashlight getting wet. The clip is removable and it attaches securely to the brim of a hat for hands-free use. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty!
- Streamlight Protac HL 2
- High output: 750 Lumens Low: 35 Lumens Strobe Option
- Removable clip
- IPX7 waterproof
Just light SureFire, Streamlight made our list twice because of the quality of light they make. The Streamlight Protac HL 2 is a great middle of the road light. A big plus for an everyday carry light is a strobe mode for self-defense. Every tool you carry should be able to be used to defend yourself. A strobe option on your light is a great way to disorient an attacker.
This EDC Light is slightly on the bigger side but not too big. It is at a slightly higher price point, but again it is not too high. It’s really just a great all-around light. At 750 Lumens it is very bright but has a great low output mode for those times when you just need a little light. It comes with a removable pocket clip and a nylon holster.
The button on the back is very nice and it is great for one-handed operation. This light is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
All the items listed in this blog are great options. The information provided here was intended to inform and not persuade you what light to get. Everyone has different preferences and needs when it comes to EDC Flashlights. The goal here was to provide quality choices at varying price points with different options.
Check out our “Must Have EDC Gear” blog to see what other items you should be carrying.