6+ Best LED Tactical Flashlights Reviews & Buying Guide (2018)
The maximum brightness, light settings, distance, and bulb life are the primary concerns when choosing a flashlight based on its bulb type. Of course, once you narrow it down by those parameters, you’ll also want to consider the power source, modes, focus, size, and accessories of the different models you could buy.
To help you in your search, we’re highlighting the top 7 units available. Our favorite among them is the Primitive Survivors XT808.
With 800 Lumens, three light settings, a distance of 550 yards, and a bulb life of 100,000 hours, it’s already a strong contender. Add to that strobe, SOS, four focus settings, the ability to use rechargeable or AAA batteries, and a watertight build, and you’ve got the total package.
But keep reading to see the rest of our top choices.
Our Top Choices On The Market
Top 7 LED Models On The Market
1. Primitive Survivors XT808
As we mentioned above, the XT808 has everything you need. The 800-Lumen brightness is equivalent to staring into a 60-watt LED bulb. Not only will that help you see anything in the dark, but when you shine in that someone’s face, it will temporarily blind them.
The strobe mode uses the same light intensity but in a quickly pulsating rhythm. When you shine that at someone, not only will it blind them, but it will also leave them disoriented for a longer time.
When you do use that level of brightness, the beam will shine up to 550 yards away. That’s almost a third of a mile! But you can also turn it down to shine not as brightly and conserve the battery.
Speaking of the batteries, it uses an 18650 rechargeable battery. It also comes with an adapter that will let you run the flashlight on three AAAs.
It has SOS, focus, and it’s waterproof. It costs about $55.
2. Nitecore EC23
If 800 Lumens isn’t enough, you can pick up the EC23 and let your light shine with 1800 Lumens. Keep in mind that the light won’t shine as far, though. This has a max distance of 278 yards.
Your light will shine that bright for half an hour on one 18650 rechargeable battery. You can make it last longer by dropping the intensity down between 980 and 55 Lumens. If you don’t need much light, you can even turn it down as low as 1 Lumen.
Besides the brightness, this unit is also rated IPX8 waterproof. It can survive submersion in 6 feet of water for as long as you want to leave it there.
It’s unique with the inclusion of a beacon mode. It’s similar to SOS (which it also has) but with longer light pulses. It also includes the defensive strobe mode, but no focus settings.
You can purchase it for $55.
3. SkybenKlarus XT11GT
If 1800 Lumens still doesn’t catch your fancy, you can upgrade to the XT11GT. It produces 2000 Lumens with a medium range of 345 yards.The battery also lasts a little longer – up to one hour on the highest setting.
This is also the first on our list to feature USB charging. It takes two 18650 batteries or two CR123As.
You can turn down the light intensity between 400 and 10 Lumens. It also has strobe and SOS settings. And, like the model above, its rated 1PX8 waterproof.
On the negative side, it is a little larger and heavier than some others we’re looking at. Most of these models weigh around 3 ounces and have a length of about 4 inches. This one is 5.5 inches long and weighs about 15 ounces. It’s up to you if you think the larger size and heavier weight is worth it as a defensive weapon.
It’s available for around $90.
4. Soonfire VS50
Stepping back down in brightness but not in watertight protection is the VS50. It has a maximum brightness of 1000 Lumens and an IPX8 waterproof rating. This is the model you want to use when you’re wading and hunting in the raining.
The max distance is 280 yards. You can turn this unit down between 500 and 8 Lumens. It also has strobe and SOS, but no focus.
For power, you can use the included 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123As. It also features USB charging.
Other notable features that this model has in common with the others are the front edge design, belt clip, and lanyard. The front edge is designed to do some damage when needed and the clip and lanyard are designed to help you keep ahold of it.
We like the VS50 because it gives you the same waterproof rating, if not the same brightness, for less. It only costs about $50.
5. Evolution Outdoors Military
With the Outdoors Evolution Military Tactical LED Flashlight, we’re back down to 800 Lumens. Again, that’s as bright as a 60-watt bulb with no covering, so it’s perfectly adequate for lighting up a dark space or blinding an attacker.
The reason we like this model so much, though, is the plethora of charging options. It comes with 18650 rechargeable batteries and everything you need to keep them juiced up wherever you are. It includes a wall charger, car charger, and a USB charging cord. But even if you’re without power completely, you can still use disposable AAAs.
Like the others, it has three brightness settings, strobe, and SOS. It’s not waterproof, but it is water-resistant for use out in the rain.
It also features the defensive front edge, lanyard, and belt clip. You get the flashlight and all the chargers in a convenient case for a low cost of $15.
6. Fenix PD35 V2.0
The PD35 2.0 provides 1000 Lumens and a visibility distance of 820 feet. From there, the settings drop the intensity down between 350 and 3 Lumens. It has strobe mode, but no SOS function.
The rechargeable 18650 battery or two CR123As last a fairly long time in this unit. Even on high power, they’ll give you up to three hours of use. You can monitor your charge with a power indicator.
The power indicator is a unique feature of this model. It comes in handy when you think you might be going into a dangerous situation. The last thing you want is your battery going dead. It would be much better to check the level and change it ahead of time. That’s what this unit allows you to do.
It’s water-resistant for use in the rain and temporary submersion.It costs approximately $70.
7. StreamlightProTac 1L
The 1L is a low-light model. The maximum output for this unit is 350 Lumens. It’s perfect for lighting up an area and even blinding someone temporarily, but it’s not enough to disrupt night vision goggles.
The max distance is 525 feet. On the bright side, it only takes one AA battery or one CR123A to power it at maximum brightness for an hour and a half.
It does have a medium and low setting as well as a strobe mode. It doesn’t have SOS, but it is rated IPX7. That means that you can keep it under 3 feet of water for half an hour before it starts to leak.
This is one of the smaller units at 4.25 inches long and a weight of 2.5 ounces. You can buy it in black, blue, or pink for around $40.
Final Verdict: Our Top Choice for Your Money
Primitive Survivors XT808
After viewing all of the models, our top choice remains the Primitive Survivors XT808. Let’s go over why one more time.
Some units are brighter or have other notable benefits, but no other unit combines as many features in one package. And it only costs $55.
Besides, if you’re not totally satisfied, the company will give you a full refund within 30 days of purchase. There’s no reason not to give it a try!