At first thought, it may sound strange to say that the right flashlight in an emergency situation can save your life, but survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts know how true that statement is. When it comes to buying the best 18650 flashlights, there are a large amount of factors to consider; continue reading to learn about most of them.
There is no doubt that there are huge varieties of flashlights to buy on the market. What makes a 18650 flashlight different is its battery. ‘18650’ is a battery-term indicating a lithium-ion battery with a size of 18mm diameter by 65mm length in a cylindrical shape. While many people opt for your average AAA-battery flashlight, a single 18650 battery gives out the same power as three disposables, can be easily recharged, and provides brighter light for a longer period.
Why a 18650 Flashlight is the Best Choice
A 18650 flashlight is a great choice for every-day use or for outdoor enthusiasts/survivalists who are prepared for every and any kind of situation. Because of its lithium-ion battery, users enjoy a brighter light for longer. When the battery does eventually run out, it is easily recharged. 18650 flashlights are known for their functionality and durability. For people on the move, search and rescuers, anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, or even for professionals to use at work, the single 18650 battery is more powerful than 3 or 4 AAAs. It will also put out higher volts at 3.7, facilitating three times the amount of runtime. Its length is the same as two CR123A batteries so it can easily be interchanged.
Understanding the merits of the 18650 battery is a good place to start, but you will also need to understand some key flashlight features like run time, bulb type, lumens, application, beam type, and budget to help guide you in your pursuit of finding the best 18650 flashlights.
Run time refers to the time it takes for a flashlight to drop its power to 10 percent of its rated output. Most often, the run time is determined by which light mode the light is using. Flashlights that offer high run times, even while on the brighter mode, are the better-quality ones.
The main preference for bulbs currently is LEDs. They have longer lifespans, and they are more energy-efficient than their incandescent-bulb counterparts.
Put simply,‘Lumens’ is a measure of light output and also refers to the light’s intensity level when used in the flashlight’s highest setting. Lumens designations vary across a huge spectrum from 20 to 3,500. A flashlight with a high lumens equals a brighter light.
A flashlight’s ‘throw’ refers to how far its light beam travels ahead before it lessens. The beam distance can vary depending on which brightness mode the light is using.
The throw is an important factor to consider as it reflects how the light will be used. If you are looking for a light for search-and-rescue missions, you will want one with a long reach and a narrow beam. Floodlights are best for hiking and camping purposes for a wide light displacement, while flashlights with different color modes are ideal for hunters.
Most flashlights have three main beam types: spot, flood, and adjustable. Flood beams are single beams most commonly chosen for basic tasks like hiking or camping. Spotlight is a condensed beam which is good for illuminating far distances. Adjustment allows the owner to change the light between ‘spot’ and ‘flood’.
When it comes to pricing, expensive doesn’t always equal better. Durable and high-lumen lights with 18650 batteries make a good choice as many flashlights that take AAs, AAAs, or specialty batteries make it harder and more expensive to find replacement batteries.
Now that you are familiar with some of the main features and differences between flashlight types and models, we’re ready to move on to 5 top recommendations for the best 18650 flashlight.
The GearLight M10 LED tactical flashlight 2-pack is a fantastic deal. Casing a wider and brighter beam, these flashlights are still compact enough for use as an every-day carry. It can easily be clipped to your belt or pack.
There are 5 operating modes, High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and Flash, and a handy zoom function. Powered by a single 18650 or 3 AAAs, the adjustable zoom brings users a spotlight feature for illuminating objects in the distance and lighting up a wider area.
Its Anti-slip aluminum body is highly durable, making it ideal for tactical use and serious outdoor/survival enthusiasts.
American-made and for only $17, you get two amazing 18650 flashlights that are durable, effective, and affordable.
The ThorFire 18650 flashlight delivers 1,070-lumen output with an impressive 600-feet beam distance. The flashlight comes with a 3,000mAh lithium-ion battery and a USB charger featuring over-charger protection, short-circuit protection, and reverse-connect protection for ultimate safety.
There are 5 different modes: Firefly, Low, Mid, High, and Turbo. There is also a double-tap tail switch for activating strobe mode, an excellent feature for emergency situations. Made from aircraft-grade aluminum and an anodized treatment, this light is highly durable and ideal for tactical use, camping, hiking, and emergency preparedness.
With this ThorFire flashlight, you get the flashlight, one 3,000mAh 18650 battery, a USB cable, battery charger, and a user manual. ThorFire offers its customers an 18-month warranty and is known for its customer service. For $30, this light has an impressive list of features.
What we like:
Comes with USB cable and charger
5 different modes
What we don’t like:
Lens can pop out
The clip is stiff and flashlight is not easily removed from it
The ThruNite TN12 EDC LED flashlight is an excellent choice as an every-day carry light source. It runs on a single 18650 battery and has a Cree X M-L2 U2. Its light is a warm neutral white and will be 20 percent less than cool white at the output.
This is a compact flashlight, making it easy to transport. It is waterproof and popular with military, law enforcement, and army personnel. Ideal as a tactical light source, it features an upgraded side switch constructed from stainless steel for sensitive operation with 5 different mode outputs.
Impressive circuitry makes the difference in the brightness settings of ‘High’ and ‘Max’ to be very clear. For $90, this 1,000-lumen 18650 flashlight makes a versatile and durable tool for long-term use.
What we like:
Compatible with a Cree X M-L2 U2
5 different modes, including emergency ‘strobe’ effect
The Sofirn SP32A 18650 flashlight is bright and reliable. It delivers an impressive 1,300 lumens for ultra-bright light. The light has two side-switch controls with 6 modes: Eco, Low, Mid, High, Turbo, and Strobe. This flashlight is ideal for every-day use and outdoor activities.
It features an efficient design with a power indicator so you will never be caught off guard with an uncharged flashlight. It also has over-heat protection and comes with an anti-slip finish. It also can stand upright for use as an emergency candle or lamp.
It also comes with an 18-month warranty and only costs $26.
This Hatori 18650 flashlight has 5 light modes, High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS, and its beam can be adjusted from wide to narrow. The rechargeable 18650 battery produces a strong and bright light capable of lighting up a large space.
This pocket-sized flashlight is perfect for those on the move as it is lightweight and compact. It is water-resistant and drop-proof for ultimate durability. With a slip-proof finish, it can be used in a variety of weather conditions and emergency situations.
For only $9 and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, this flashlight is ideal for those wanting some handy high-end features at an affordable price.
What we like:
What we don’t like:
When turned back on, it defaults to the next setting, rather than the last setting used
The WindFire zoom flashlight produces an extremely bright light at 1,600 lumens. It has a lifespan of 50,000 hours and is powered by its single rechargeable 18650 battery. With 5 modes from High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS, this is a versatile light ideal for those looking for a bright light source. For only $11, some users have reported that the light is almost too small for easy operation.
The CIVICTOR T5 offers users an intensely bright light with a far throw of up to 365 meters. It has 900 lumens, is LED, and has a 50,000-hour lifespan. It has 5 different modes to make this flashlight super versatile. For $40, some consumers consider it too pricey but enjoy its compact and lightweight design.
The Anker tactical flashlight features a 900-lumen brightness with a throw of 200 m. The beam is zoomable from wide to narrow and is great for spotlighting. With 5 modes, it’s a versatile light that lasts up to 6 hours. Considering its throw and brightness, for $28, this is a great flashlight for a variety of purposes.
This NPEY car flashlight is ideal for travelers and campers. It has a headlight feature that lasts for 4-to-6 hours, is rechargeable, has different modes, and even has an emergency seatbelt cutter. With a light throw of up to 700 feet, this is a great safety flashlight to store in your vehicle during trips. While there is no indicator for solar charging, for $26, this light could come in very handy in an emergency situation with a vehicle.
This Soonfire 1,000-lumen flashlight is made from durable aluminum, is rechargeable, has a charging indicator, and 5 different modes. For $36, users are reporting this is a great light and worthy of its somewhat-high price.
When it comes time to decide on the best 18650 flashlight, you can now consider yourself armed with enough information to make an informed decision. The clear winner of this roundup is the GearLight M10 tactical flashlight. This 2-pack is a fantastic deal. Not only do you get two flashlights, but they also throw a bright light, are rechargeable, zoomable, have 5 different modes, are great for spotlighting, and are ultra-durable. You receive two flashlights for less than many of the competitor brands charge for one and are still getting a high-end product with an impressive list of features.