Best EDC Flashlights
Why should you buy an everyday carry flashlight? Granted, it’s safe to say almost every cell phone in the modern-day comes equipped with a flashlight, however that doesn’t mean you should be fully reliant as phones are notoriously known for their lack of reliable battery life and they don’t provide the levels of illumination. Moreover, everyday carry flashlight serves a multitude of purposes. With tactical levels of illumination that can produce a brightness powerful enough to act as a source of self-defense, to everyday usage to provide light in dark places and or spaces, an EDC flashlight is an essential tool for every person.
That said, an EDC flashlight should be a part of your EDC essentials, carried alongside your wallet, phone, keys, etc. While it isn’t exclusively for survivalists or outdoor enthusiasts, choosing the proper one is dependent on your needs and lifestyle. Not all offer the same features and functions. In the effort to make this process a bit easier, we’ve done the dirty work for you by compiling a list of the top seven best EDC flashlights out on the market today.
In our opinion the 7 Best EDC Flashlights in 2020 are:
Quick Product Comparison
1 J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight
The J5 Tactical V1 Pro is the Best EDC flashlight. Equipped with features such as an intense, supercharged LED bulb, adjustable focus range, 3 modes of use, and an incredible lasting battery life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option offering both tactical protection as well as the features that come with other high-end EDC flashlights on the market. This product also featured on our best flashlights under $50 reviews as the top of its class.
Compact Tactical Design
The J5 Tactical V1 Pro is pre-equipped with an attack head, functioning as a source of protection if given a situation in which you must defend yourself from a potential assailant. Convenient and effective.
This wide to narrow adjustable beam zoom is ideal for a variety of usage. Simply zoom in for an intense beam or out for much wider illumination.
Cost and Value
With additional features such as 3 modes of use (high, low and strobe), a pocket clip, an impressive battery life, operating with a single battery, and a beam that can sweep light for up to 600 feet, the J5 Tactical V1 Pro is worth every penny.
2 ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-G2 R5 AAA Torch
With a length of about the size of the average palm, the ThruNite Ti3 EDC is best suited for those wanting a high end, reliable and small enough to be worn on a keychain or discreetly clipped onto clothing.
Impact Resistant Compact Design
Rest assured that the ThruNite Ti3 EDC will not break under pressure. This product is impact resistant, surviving both drops and high pressure due to its lack of glass or filament.
Easy to Carry
The ThruNite Ti3 EDC is incredibly easy to carry. Equipped with both a removable keychain and a two-way reversible pocket clip, this product was built for absolute portability.
Cost and Value
Not only is the ThruNite Ti3 EDC compact design the best in regards to complete portability, but it’s also additional features such a the removable keychain and pocket clip make this product stand out amongst its competition.
3 Fenix PD35TAC (PD35 Tactical Flashlight)
The Fenix PD35TAC (PD35 Tactical) is the ultimate bundle for those seeking a high quality, long-lasting EDC flashlight. Along with the 1000 lumen, 6 output Fenix flashlight, this bundle includes a single Fenix 18650 battery, charger & LumenTac battery organizer.
With a dual tactical and side switch design, the Fenix PD35TAC (PD35 Tactical) allows for its users to access its six outputs or modes with ultimate ease.
With its incredible range and strobe mode, the Fenix PD35TAC (PD35 Tactical) is a powerful little thing! At its highest mode, it has a brightness of 1000 lumens and at its lowest, 60 lumens.
Cost and Value
The Fenix PD35TAC (PD35 Tactical) is a high-end product. Its value is found best for those seeking a compact, powerful and reliable flashlight that will last for years.
4 SureFire P2X Fury Tactical Flashlight
The SureFire P2X Fury is another product packing a major punch. With a single output of 600 lumens, tactical tail cap click switch, and high strength aerospace aluminum body, this product is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and survivalists alike.
600 Lumens Brightness
Coupled with a precision reflector and a single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum brightness, the SureFire P2X Fury delivers powerful yet smooth and optimized beams.
High-Strength Aerospace Body
Featuring a lightweight yet durable knurled design, the SureFire P2X Fury proves itself to be both reliable and durable. Its hard-strength aerospace aluminum body is built for extreme pressure and weather conditions.
Cost and Value
Because of its high-quality tactical design, lifetime guarantee, and powerful illumination, the SureFire P2X Fury is a must-have essential for anyone seeking a professional-grade product.
5 EdisonBright Fenix PD25 550 Lumen
The EdisonBright Fenix PD25 is of high quality. Featuring a 550-lumen brightness capacity with a lifespan of 50,000 hours, rechargeable lithium battery, tactical tail switch, Fenix holster, pocket clip and lanyard, this product is a top-notch bundle!
The EdisonBright Fenix PD25 operates with a single 16340 rechargeable Li-ion or 3V CR123A lithium battery allowing the EdisonBright Fenix PD25 to produce up to 550 lumens of brightness and 5 outputs (including strobe).
Tactical Tail and Side Switch
Perhaps one of the best features of the EdisonBright Fenix PD25 is the tactical tail cap switch with a momentary-on function and the side switch at the head of the everyday carry flashlight for output selection.
Cost and Value
The EdisonBright Fenix PD25 comes as a bundle including Fenix holster, Pocket clip, lanyard, and EdisonBright CR123A Lithium battery. At first glance this flashlight may seem pricey, however, you will get your money’s worth.
6 Prometheus Lights Beta
The Prometheus Lights Beta Quick Release v2 Keychain Flashlight is just that, a quick-release keychain flashlight. This product is perfect for those wanting something simple and portable to have at their disposal at all times.
With its intuitive quick-release design, the Prometheus Lights Beta Quick Release v2 Keychain Flashlight allows users to detach the flashlight from the keyring with ease. Simply push to engage, pull to disengage.
The Prometheus Lights Beta Quick Release v2 Keychain Flashlight is tiny! This is perfect for the average person wanting a simple, yet professional-grade EDC as an addition to their keyring.
Cost and Value
Though the Prometheus Lights Beta Quick Release v2 Keychain Flashlight only boasts modes of 1, 15 and 60 lumens as well as a range of 19 meters and 37 meters, it’s still a quality product.
7 Olight S1 500 Lumen Compact EDC LED Flashlight
About half the size of a regular smartphone, the Olight S1 is compact! While small stature, the Olight S1 is powerful. Boasting a 500-lumen brightness, a beam range of 120 yards, magnetic tail-cap, and rechargeable battery, this EDC flashlight is both reliable and portable.
The Olight S1 comes with a 1x Olight RCR123A rechargeable battery and compact LumenTac traveler’s charger. Perfectly suited for those wanting a reliable EDC without the worry of lack of battery.
Magnetic Tail Cap
Going the extra mile in terms of functionality, the addition of a magnetic tail cap for standing or attaching to magnetic surfaces was a wonderfully smart design decision.
Cost and Value
The inclusion of a rechargeable battery, travelers charger, and land yard makes the Olight S1 an absolute steal. With its compact design as well as its rechargeable bundle, this EDC is for everyone on the go.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
They are practically designed to be portable, however, in creating the criteria used for this evaluation, portability was put into consideration for a variety of reasons. The definition of portability can vary from person to person depending on their needs.
Before purchasing yours, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using the flashlight primarily for. If you’re a worker and you need it for industrial work, perhaps a larger EDC will best suit your needs If you’re an everyday average person wanting something portable enough for a keychain, perhaps a keychain/keyring EDC flashlight is best for your needs. If you’re an outdoor recreational enthusiast or survivalist, perhaps a cusp between keychain/keyring portability and industrial-grade portability is best suited for you.
Value is another important factor to consider when purchasing. Determining the value should be contingent on your intended use. While the price range for products on this list varies, they each bring their own individual value to their buyers. Remember, price doesn’t determine the device’s value.
First determine what your needs are, what your primary usage is for, and your predicted frequency of use before purchasing yours. Upon putting these three factors into consideration, you should know which will bring the most value to you.
A quality flashlight should have lasting battery life or rather, have an efficient design to prolong the battery’s lifespan. However, this too is dependent on the type of battery you purchase or the type of rechargeable battery that comes with your EDC flashlight bundle (if applicable).
Choose a product with a design that doesn’t quickly drain its battery. Also ensure that if purchasing a bundle, the rechargeable batteries coming alongside the EDC flashlight are also efficient. If not purchasing a bundle, go for well-known brands with high-quality rechargeable lithium or NiMH batteries to get the most value.
There are several factors to be considered in determining the effectiveness of an EDC’s flashlight. For this list, factors such as runtime/lifespan (the total amount of time the flashlight will function before needing to replace the battery), battery (the type of battery the flashlight takes or comes with, for rechargeable batteries the best are lithium or NiMH batteries), lumens(the metric used to measure the level illumination or brightness), modes (or outputs, to increase or decrease lumens or activate strobe) and range (how far the beam can travel) were put into consideration.
However, keep in mind that effectiveness is another criterion that can be subjective. Consider first your needs, usage, and frequency as previously mentioned to determine whether the chosen will be effective for you and your unique needs. Nonetheless, if you are still uncertain, go for one with a quality emitter (LED).
Purchase one that is meant to last. A quality light is both impact and water-resistant. Normally tactical EDC flashlights offer the highest level of durability, yet regular class or simple EDC can prove themselves to be durable as well.
It’s smart to look at the design of the EDC flashlight if you are unsure of its level of durability. What materials are used for the body? What type of filament is used? Does it have an O ring ensuring water resistance? What material are the buttons composed of? Do they seem prone to sticking or heating up for the LED bulb? Questions like these can be of aid if you are unsure about the flashlight’s durability.
Lumens, Battery & Runtime
In short, the illumination (level of brightness measured in lumens) and lifespan or runtime of the flashlight are dependent on both the emitter (LED) and the type of battery used. Choose a quality brand battery for the brightest illumination and an product with quality LED emitter.
Lumens are the metric used to describe the amount of light emitted depending on the mode or output level of the lightbulb. The higher the lumen the higher the brightness or illumination. The level of lumens is determined by both the battery and the LED of the flashlight. However, having yours on the highest output or mode will decrease the flashlight’s lifespan or runtime as the higher the lumen, the more voltage is used in the battery to power the brightness or illumination.
The battery serves as the power source, AA or AAA alkaline batteries are typical for EDC flashlights, other alternatives are lithium or NiMH batteries (rechargeable and longer-lasting). While AA or AAA alkaline batteries are sufficient (of course depending on the brand you buy), a fresh lithium battery can have a slightly higher voltage than alkaline batteries as well as less internal resistance. This means that they allow for more voltage to reach the LED creating a brighter light in comparison to alkaline batteries. In regards to C or D cell batteries (typically used for the smallest EDC flashlights), these batteries are powerful in and of themselves. Which is how even the smallest of flashlights can rival many larger products on the market.
The runtime or lifespan is the total amount of time in which the flashlight will function without needing to replace the battery. The overall runtime or lifespan decreases as the lumens increase. The emitter’s (LED) specifications determine both the lumens and the runtime when combined with battery type. If you want one with a longer runtime/lifespan, invest in quality lithium batteries (as they produce a higher voltage) as well as one with a professional-grade emitter.
Size & Brightness
EDC flashlights come in a variety of sizes. It’s a common mistake to think you need a bigger build for a brighter or powerful light. This is not the case. Many smaller products can rival larger sized flashlights as it is not the size that determines the level of illumination, rather it is the battery and emitter.
Take into consideration the quality of the LED in your chosen EDC flashlight. If the quality is high and you buy a professional grade battery, be it C, D, AA or AAA, you will have a great level of brightness. However, to ensure this, look at the maximum level of lumens in each. Some only measure to 20 or 30 lumens while others can reach a maximum of 1000 lumens.
Replaceable & Rechargeable Batteries
EDC flashlights take a variety of batteries depending on the size of the flashlight. Most require two C or D cell batteries while some require one AA battery (be it alkaline, lithium or NiMH). Normally ones that are of smaller stature take C or D cell batteries while the average-sized flashlights take one AA or AAA battery.
In terms of rechargeable batteries, these are typically lithium or NiMH batteries. These batteries are known to be longer lasting than regular AA batteries. Depending on your preference, (be it you prefer to have multiple batteries at your disposal as backups or on your person or you prefer to use a charger) make your decision accordingly. It would possibly save you money buying a rechargeable lithium or NiMH battery instead of countless alkaline batteries.
Other Factors to Consider
A water resistant is a godsend. You will not not find yourself in a situation in which you’ll be in need of your flashlight while raining. It’s inevitable. Not every flashlight is made to be water resistant, if this is a determining factor for you, then put this into consideration before making your purchase.
Some are waterproof for a few feet or meters underwater while others can only withstand rain. If you’re unsure whether or not your desired light is water-resistant, take into account if it comes with an O ring. If so, then it is perhaps water-resistant, however, we do recommend receiving further confirmation before making your purchase.
Be it a simple or tactical flashlight, always purchase one made with quality material. You are guaranteed to get your money’s worth when choosing quality. If it is cheaply made, you will be able to tell immediately by its runtime and illumination.
Not every device is made equal so this does not exempt EDC. Take into account the material used for the body of the flashlight (copper, stainless steel, aluminum, i.e. strong metals) the type of light (if in doubt, LED). At the end of the day, the best EDC flashlights should be durable and dependable, two factors dependent on the materials used.
It is important to consider the brand when purchasing. Do a quick search on the brand online if you’re unsure of their reputation. Online EDC communities are very vocal in their favorite and most trusted brands, review their online community forums if desired (some do require you to register first, however).
Also, keep in mind that there are countless knockoffs posing as popular brands so do be aware of this when making your purchase as well as if the EDC flashlight is made in China. A lot of EDC products made in China have a reputation of being made poorly or cheaply but this varies from brand to brand. Olight is known for creating quality EDC flashlights and they happen to be made in China so this is not absolute.
The size is another factor to put into consideration before making your purchase. In general, an average-sized EDC flashlight is about 4 inches, however, some can be significantly smaller, ranging from about 1 to 2 inches! A larger sized is about 6 inches, still managing to be small enough to be considered an EDC.
Depending on your intended use, the size of the flashlight should be put into consideration. However, keep in mind that even the smallest of flashlights are powerful enough to suit the needs of the everyday, average person.
While accessories are never entirely key factors but do provide additional benefits and can serve as determiners when making your decision. Depending on your needs, some accessories can “make” or “break” an EDC flashlight.
In creating this list, we found that it is essential to at the very least come with a pocket clip or a keychain/keyring. Rechargeable batteries should obviously always come with a charger. An additional holster or lanyard is also a major plus!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an EDC flashlight?
A: An everyday carry is a flashlight that you have on your person every day. They are small enough to be worn on a keychain or keyring, lanyard, or pocket clip. Most of all, they have multiple modes of illumination. Some have a strobe mode as well.
Q: What should you look for in an EDC flashlight?
A: Size, brightness, battery type and ease of control are the four main factors to consider when choosing the right EDC flashlight for your needs. You want a flashlight that is small enough to carry in your pocket or bag, yet bright enough to serve your needs. Determining the battery type depends on your preferences, whether you want to carry extra batteries around or not. Ease of use means quick and easy deployment of your light.
Q: Why should you EDC a flashlight?
A: Everyday carry flashlights are useful for a multitude of situations. Not only are they useful for the very purpose of producing light in dark spaces or places, but they are also used as self-defense tools when producing a certain level of illumination.
Q: What is the best EDC flashlight?
A: Determining the best EDC flashlight is subjective to the buyer's needs. Consider what your needs are in order to decide which is best for you. Choose one with at least two modes of illumination.
Q: How can a flashlight be used for self-defense?
A: For an EDC flashlight to act as an effective self-defense tool, it should have a brightness of around 120 to 300 lumens, the higher the better in terms of self-defense. The illumination or level of brightness needs to be bright enough to effectively disorient or temporarily blind attackers.
Q: What kind of batteries do EDC Flashlights typically take?
A: They typically take batteries of the size AA, AAA, C, D. The type of battery you buy is what will determine the level of illumination and lifespan/runtime of your EDC flashlight.
Q: Will lithium batteries make my flashlight brighter?
A: Fresh lithium batteries have a slightly higher voltage than alkaline batteries as well as less internal resistance. This means that they allow for more voltage to reach the LED creating a brighter light in comparison to alkaline batteries.
Everyday Carry, The Beginner’s Guide to EDC Flashlights
Gallantry, Why You Should Always Carry a Flashlight
Nitecore Store, Why You Should EDC a Flashlight
Urban Ed Supply, Ultimate Guide to Flashlight Battery Sizes
Lights ‘n’ Gear, What Is An EDC Flashlight and Why Would I Need One