Nothing says more about a person than the objects they own. I don’t mean this in a classist way, like judging someone based on the expense of their belongings. In fact, there’s no judgement involved at all, just noticing. Look around yourself, wherever you are. Notice the things that are yours. They’re like little moons that have come into your orbit. At some point, you picked them up and made them your own.
The emergence of an online community interested in “everyday carry” (EDC) speaks to our intuitive awareness about the importance of objects. The EDC community discusses and shares the engineered matrix of practical objects they carry every day to ensure preparedness in unexpected situations, The EDC community harnesses an awareness of objects, optimizing it in case of emergency. From hunting knives to pry bars, a growing number of folks are fine-tuning their own EDC to fit a formula for their precise needs.
Naturally, flashlights top almost every list of essentially items for your carry. Not much can be done while stranded in complete darkness. Beyond the flashlight’s simple ability to illuminate what’s ahead (or very far ahead!), this tool can also signal others and keep critters at bay. Whether you’re in the first stages of assessing your own EDC or you’ve got the formula down pat and you’re looking to upgrade, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about buying the best EDC flashlight for your distinct needs.
Don’t get caught in the dark. We’re here to illuminate the way.
What to Consider When Shopping for the Best EDC Flashlight
Your EDC assemblage is entirely your own. You are the reason for its existence. Therefore, its functions should entirely suit your priorities. The best EDC approach improves preparedness as it relates to your actual everyday life. There are all sorts of nuances to flashlights. Choose the one that best suits you.
First, consider the flashlight’s durability in terms of its physical sturdiness. If you work in a rough environment or want to use your flashlight as a striking device against unfriendly strangers, you’ll need a piece of equipment that’s prepared to take life’s bumps and tosses. This characteristic is typically measured in terms of meters of impact resistance. Furthermore, while most EDC flashlights are waterproof by virtue of their purpose, definitely make sure to double check.
Durability can also be considered in terms of power. How long will you need its battery to last? Different flashlights are built to work with disposable or rechargeable batteries. The former allows you to bring backups, but the latter won’t leave you in the lurch if you forget to buy backups from the store. Many EDC flashlights can even run off both types!
Here it is, the whole reason for your EDC flashlight! Lumen output is the industry standard measurement for how much light your new pocket flashlight can emit. Most flashlights come with a range of brightness settings to suit different scenarios and maximize battery life. Low settings typically hover as low at 5 lumens. 100 lumens is closer to the flashlight brightness you’re likely most used to. However, as a piece of heavy duty equipment, some EDC flashlights can put out thousands of lumens on their highest settings. In addition to raw power, it’s also helpful to consider the color of the light, the shape it takes (flood or beam?) and the distance its beam can reach.
Size & Weight
Your EDC flashlight needs to leverage functionality with transportability. In the interest of customization, different people prefer different vessels to store their EDC. Pockets are most readily available and therefore also the most commonplace solution. However, some folks like to use a tactical ring, O-ring, or bag to store elements of their EDC. You’ll definitely want a flashlight that’s small enough to carry hands-free, but also large enough to perform its duties. Depending on which of these attributes you value more, your decision might swing one direction or the other.
Depending on what matters most to you, shape could prove even more important than size and weight. Most flashlights are just cylinders with illumination streaming from their face, right? Well, sure, but some are slimmer and others are bulkier. What’s more there’s traditional EDC flashlights and right angle options as well. The latter, which echoes a periscope’s shape, is great for illuminating your wider surrounding. It’s a great fit for out in the field or an indoor blackout. Better yet, consider keeping an array in your arsenal for different days.
Let’s say it like it is: Everyone wants stuff that looks nice. As we mentioned before, your EDC’s function suits you. As such, it should look the way you want it to (without sacrificing utility, of course!) Thankfully, the growing interest in pocket flashlights and EDC materials means manufacturers offer ever-sleeker designs to sate your needs in style. Some details, like aluminum bodies or magnetic, metallic tail caps, contribute to both form and function.
15 EDC Flashlights to Keep You Prepared
Nitecore P20UV v2 XP-L2 V6
Here’s a super sturdy new addition to serve as a staple for your EDC flashlight arsenal. Keep in mind though, it’s an investment, just like most of the flashlights on this list, at a fairly standard, if somewhat extravagant, $74 asking price. For that rate though, you get everything you need. Truly. That means a solid 1000 lumens maximum output, with a throw up to 179 yards. It’s pretty waterproof with a rating of IP2, meaning you can submerge this flashlight in up to 2 meters of water without incurring any harm. This 4.7 ounce flashlight’s impact resistance can also withstand up to a 1 meter fall. This one’s battery operated too, so make sure to keep an extra set on hand so you have all this gear’s capabilities on the ready—it’s equipped with Daily, Tactical, and Law Enforcement modes, along with an easily accessible strobe light mode.
FENIX is one of the most trusted names in the EDC flashlight game. In addition to their ultra compact flashlight (read on for more info), many everyday carriers favor this slightly more robust model, which is among the top-rated utility flashlights available on cult outdoors store REI’s website. The site we’ve linked, however, will help you score the PD36R for $10 cheaper though through LED Super Mall, while supplies last! For that still somewhat steep price, this USB rechargeable flashlight offers 1600 lumens at a 283 meter beam distance in one single light mode. It’s still small enough to classify as “hand held,” with exterior clips to maximize your carrying convenience. Meanwhile, its body of durable, lightweight oxidation-resistance aluminum boasts an anti-roll and anti-slip design.
588 Lumen Tactical LED Flashlight
Now, for something a little more affordable—whether that’s to center or supplement your EDC flashlight options on hand. At just under $14, this flashlight from Quantum can muster a solid 588 lumens that reach up to 583 feet away. That’s just enough to help you navigate the average unlit scenario. It’s built from aluminum too, but with a distinct five tooth striking edge and weighted striking heel for self-defense. This handy specimen even has an adjustable zoom, allowing you to focus or widen your beam from 1x to 2200x. Over 7,000 reviewers on the Harbor Freight site have given this flashlight a 5 star review, too.
Sofirn founder Qidong Yang named the company after his dear wife, a good start that should assure customers this gear will keep you and your loved ones safe. Then, Sofirn put their specs where their mouth is, creating the most powerful EDC flashlight we’ve seen on the market thus far. This one packs an unparalleled 5000 lumens that can throw up to 866 feet. Built from aviation-grade aluminum alloy with a water resistance rating of IPX-8, this flashlight’s product description says it “can withstand earthquakes, heavy rain, heavy snow, and other extreme weather events.” This LED flashlight rechargeable on its own, but you can also use it as a powerbank for any digital device compatible with a USB port on the import end. That’s a pretty rare special effect.
The cherry on top, though, it’s super customizable. You can choose from two different LED lights, with or without battery capabilities—and three colors, too.
MecArmy FM16 Dual Switch Rechargeable Right Angle Flashlight
We scoured right angle flashlights to bring you this sterling specimen from MecArmy. Perhaps because of the construction on this type of flashlight, most are decidedly weak, maxing out around 100 lumens. That’s fine, but it won’t do for the strongest, best EDC flashlight. Fortunately, MecArmy has stepped up to the plate by creating a right angle “tiny torch” measuring four inches long and just over three ounces in weight that still musters up a healthy 760 lumens at its highest output level, capable of reaching nearly 745 feet. This rechargeable ion battery machine provides users with two lower levels too, for less pressing situations where you want to conserve power. The middle range shines at 180 lumens, low at 7.8 lumens, and of course, the ever-desirable strobe setting is on deck as well.
This shape is particularly suited to a hands-free carry. As such, this self-aware flashlight also has wide, double-sided pocket clip for your belt, backpack and more. That means less worrying about the dark, and more exploring it. Stock runs out quick, so make sure to act fast.
M150 V2 Flashlight by Skilhunt
Skilhunt makes a fantastic showing with their affordable M150 V2 flashlight, a versatile model with unique features. At just three inches long, it’s a handy tool for camping, household tasks, and emergency preparedness, all hallmarks of what makes a great addition to your EDC. The M150 V2 can work with two different kinds of batteries (lithium or AA). It also features two customizable user interfaces. One reviewer on their site also likes that the “beam is more flood than throw,” meaning it casts a spread of light rather than a concentrated beam. This tough piece of equipment is great for anyone who likes to tailor their gear to a more personal level.
Aurora A5x GITD LED Keychain Flashlight by RovyVon
While most discussion around EDC flashlights center around what can comfortably fit in your pockets, many people choose to store at least some components in a bag or on a keychain. For those who like a little external hardware, RovyVon has assembled this lightweight pinch hitter that just might move its way up your batting lineup. At its highest mode, this flashlight can pump out a respectable 130 lumens. After 30 seconds, it shifts down to medium mode at 90 lumens in order to protect the flashlight from overheating. With a beam distance of 109 meters and rechargeable battery life of 66 hours, this rather unassuming flashlight shines sturdier than it looks.
S2R Baton II by Olight
The S2R Baton II by up-and-coming flashlight brand Olight consistently ranks best in class and king of the editors’ picks. Compared to other flashlights on the market, this piece of gear can emit a dazzling 1500 lumens. Its specs also state that its beam strength can reach up to 443 feet. Olight wraps up this feat of technology in a sleek but rugged exterior complete with knurling for a comfortable but strong grip. The company also uses an intuitive magnetic charging system compatible across almost all their wares. It can hold a charge for up to sixty days if its five brightness levels are used sparingly. Durable, reliable, and functional, the S2R Baton II just might be the best EDC flashlight on the market.
Meet the brightest pocket flashlight on the planet. At 4.62 inches long and 2.82 ounces heavy (without its battery), this compact piece of machinery packs a whopping 4400 lumens, achieving a beam distance of up to 692 feet on its highest mode. This heavy hitter can sustain that maximum setting for 30 minutes (still quite impressive considering the wattage) but its battery life can grow to 45 hours by relying more on its lower levels. This bonafide party trick will prove best for people who geek out over immense brightness and those working with extreme darkness. Spelunking, anyone? While it might be too bright for your average rummage about, this surprisingly affordable superlative creation can easily become a crown jewel in your EDC.
Fenix EI8R LED Flashlight
At a mind-boggling two inches in length, Fenix has jam-packed their E18R rechargeable LED flashlight with a startling amount of power—750 lumens, to be exact. The company does so without even sacrificing mass. This featherweight comes in at just 1.65 ounces without its battery. Really, Fenix has thought of everything for this smallest most powerful flashlight. It comes with a lanyard, pocket clip, and spare o-ring for all styles of EDC. You’ll find yourself lavishing in the functionality of every hour throughout its potentially 45-hour-long battery life.
Polytac Protac Extra-Bright Dual Fuel Tactical Flashlight
This tactical flashlight ranks one of the highest rated flashlights that esteemed outdoor outfitter Cabela’s has to offer. The Polytac Protac can work off both AA or lithium batteries to beam an impressive 350 max lumens. It’s also more durable than most flashlights, doubling the industry standard of one meter of impact resistance by promising a whole two meters. “Tough and durable,” writes one review. “It’s pretty bright for its size and it’s waterproof so no need to worry about dropping it anywhere. It’s my choice of EDC light.”
EDCL1-T by SureFire
SureFire has produced their smallest-ever EDC flashlight in this dual-output offering. The company lists its two predominant functions as an EDC light and also an improvised weapon—those 500 lumens were made for blinding enemies! When used with lower settings, this flashlight’s battery life can extend up to 45 hours. SureFire’s website explains that “Its Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens shape delivers a versatile beam with plenty of throw while also projecting a wide peripheral beam to keep you aware of your surroundings, an essential feature in an everyday carry light.” Its lightweight aluminum body won’t weigh you down no matter what’s afoot.
Acebeam TK16 AL EDC Pocket Flashlight
Measuring just 2.61 inches long and weighing just 1.31 ounces without its battery, this slick little EDC flashlight offers a compact size that still incorporates the outputs and features of a fullsize industrial flashlight. In Turbo Mode, the TK16 can shine all the way at 1800 lumens and throw light up to 338 meters. In addition, the TK16’s Total Internal Reflection (TIR) design allows it to throw light at different shapes and distances across both its modes and all six brightness settings. Replete with a durable and stylish two-tone material scheme built from aluminum and copper, this EDC flashlight packs an understated mix of urbanity and pragmatism.
Streamlight PT 2AA Ultra-Compact Tactical Flashlight
This sexy little Italian sports car of illumination tops its size class in light output. It’s a fan favorite across the outdoor community, and with good reason! Before we even get into the specs, this EDC flashlight’s narrow silhouette gives it a sleek appearance with an air of precision. Its compact frame harnesses four LED bulbs to provide 155 lumens for up to two hours of runtime. This flashlight is a little unique because it only runs off AA batteries, so you’ll need to keep a steady stack on hand to partake of its pleasures. Streamlight’s Ten-Tap programming empowers users to choose the three operating systems which best suit their needs, a precision, of course, best reflected in this tactical EDC flashlight’s frame.
Wurkkos FC11 Pocket LED Flashlight
If you’re looking for something a little larger (maybe to maximize accessibility or if you work in a space where size isn’t a problem) then Wurkkos might just have what you need. At 4.57 inches in length, their FC11 flashlight is a little longer than most EDC lights available on the market, though not by an absurd amount. Users enjoy both its lightweight build, constructed from Aerospace grade 6061 grade aluminum alloy, and its robust light output, clocking about 1300 lumens on its highest mode. Wurkkos also incorprates other industry standard features and favorites like a strobe mode and operating memory for every feature outside of it. This sturdy (and very affordable!) EDC flashlight is a great fit for anyone who needs to grab some illumination easily, in a pinch.