I originally posted this during 2014, however given it’s popularity in search results I’ve revisited it, especially since I still like this one the best.
While there is no ‘best’ flashlight (because it’s subjective), we all have varying criteria.
‘My’ best flashlight of 2018 is based on my own personal opinion of must-have features, all bundled in a quality product that I can depend on.
I chose the Fenix LD22, (Fenix LD22), to be the best – for the following reasons.
Here’s a list of flashlight features which I consider to add up to the best overall set to determine this year’s best flashlight:
The Best Flashlight Must Have Features
AA batteries. The AA battery is the world’s most common battery and will be the easiest to acquire in a pinch. A good preparedness battery choice.
Ability to fit Rechargeable AA batteries. Surprisingly, not every flashlight designed for AA batteries will physically ‘fit’ a NiMH rechargeable battery.
LED. The light source must be LED (most are these days), which offers the best and efficient use of battery power.
At least two brightness (lumens) settings. A flashlight with at least a high and low lumen output will provide needed flexibility for various uses.
A brightness setting in the approximate range of 100 lumens. Through experience, I have found that a flashlight with 100 lumens of ‘brightness’ is very adequate for trekking (or tracking) through the dark – and this setting will provide a MUCH longer battery life than the higher settings. It’s a good ‘best’ balance of light output vs. battery life if I know I will be using it for a long period of time.
A brightness setting in the approximate range of 300 lumens. Similarly through experience, 300 lumens is very bright for most flashlight applications. While the battery life will be shorter, 300 lumens will not drain the AA batteries too quickly compared with much higher lumen ratings. Again, it seems to be a best balance and trade-off.
At least ~ 8 hours run time at about 100 lumens. If I am out most of the night, it is reassuring to know that I have enough battery life to power the flashlight for the duration. This is an important consideration.
Tactical push-button tail switch. Used for on/off including momentary.
Separate switch control for brightness ‘modes’. I find it very annoying to have to cycle the push-button of a flashlight to select the various brightness modes. Instead I find it best to have a separate (side) switch to change brightness modes, especially since I’m usually only using one mode for a given period of time. I prefer the flashlight tactical button to simply turn on and off.
Waterproof. As opposed to water resistant, it’s best if the flashlight is waterproof for at least several minutes or more (if dropped into a puddle, etc.)
Lanyard loop and/or clip. It’s important to have multiple means of carrying or fastening the flashlight.
Anti-roll design. When I put the flashlight on a flat uneven surface, I don’t want it to roll away.
Must have good overall reviews. A proven track record of quality, reliability, and positive customer reviews (at least 4 of 5 stars).
What Is The Best Flashlight?
The Fenix LD22 flashlight meets all the criteria mentioned above, plus more.
Here are the extra advantages:
The flashlight has four levels of brightness as listed below with their associated run times.
300 Lumens / 1.5 Hours
100 Lumens / 7 Hours
30 Lumens / 25 Hours
5 Lumens / 100 Hours
The 5 lumen output is an important bonus, as it provides a very low light to read a map, etc., without being highly noticed or ruining your night vision.
Operating at 30 lumens is also adequate for seeing your way through at night. Although not super bright at this setting, the run time is incredible at 25 hours.
Another bonus feature is it’s ability to accept various color filters.
It also has two strobe modes (controlled via a side switch, along with the brightness levels – independent of the tactical push button).
The customer reviews are outstanding, and Fenix has a long standing reputation of producing a quality flashlight (many models).
It’s not a cheap flashlight in the vicinity of $50, however you do get what you pay for.
There are lots of great brands out there, and I have many of them (suited for various purposes). There are flashlights whereby you could spend hundreds of dollars, or even just one dollar. But this one fits my needs nicely and is a good value for the money, IMO.
What about you? What do you like in a flashlight? Do you have a best flashlight?