Reviews

LAST UPDATED: March 21, 2019

Best Road Flares: Our Top Picks to Keep Your Car Safe

Be safe during roadside emergencies with these top road safety flares

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    15 Reviews

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PUBLISHED ON March 21, 2019

When your car breaks down on the side of the road, it's important to be visible to passing drivers. A critical item for your emergency roadside kit is road flares. Traditional flares are pyrotechnic devices that burn brightly. Today, most people use battery-operated flares instead. Whatever your preference, check out our reviews and recommendations for the best road flares.

  • Best Overall
    Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
    Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
    Summary
    Summary
    These LED road flares maximize visibility with four vertical flares. They have three flash modes: strobe, flashlight, and solid. You’ll also get two cases for carrying them.
    Pros
    Pros
    The height of these flares makes them visible from further away, which increases safety. Getting four means you’ll be able to adequately surround your vehicle.
    Cons
    Cons
    The flares require 12 AAA batteries. This can get expensive, and if you forget to change them, your flares could be dead when you need them most.
  • Best Overall
    Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
    Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
  • Best Value
    Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit
    Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit
    Summary
    Summary
    The three LED lights will run for 20 hours in steady mode or 60 hours in flash mode. They are crush-resistant for up to a 6,000-pound vehicle.
    Pros
    Pros
    The flares emit a bright light, are highly visible and have strong magnets that stick well to steel-bodied vehicles. The storage bag is small and compact.
    Cons
    Cons

    There are only two modes: flash and steady. The three AAA alkaline batteries required for each beacon are not included in the kit.

    Battery installation may be challenging.

  • Best Value
    Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit
    Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit
  • Honorable Mention
    4-Pack LED Road Flares with Storage Bag by Garage Monkey
    4-Pack LED Road Flares with Storage Bag by Garage Monkey
    Summary
    Summary
    This set includes four road flares—one more than most sets. They are waterproof and completely weatherproof and come in a storage bag.
    Pros
    Pros
    The LED lights are very bright and feature a variety of display modes. A fold-out hook on the back allows you to hang the flare in various spots.
    Cons
    Cons
    Batteries are not included, and you will not be able to install or replace them without a screwdriver. The magnets on the flares are not super strong.
  • Honorable Mention
    4-Pack LED Road Flares with Storage Bag by Garage Monkey
    4-Pack LED Road Flares with Storage Bag by Garage Monkey

    When your car breaks down on the side of the road, it's important to be visible to passing drivers. A critical item for your emergency roadside kit is road flares. Traditional flares are pyrotechnic devices that burn brightly. Today, most people use battery-operated flares instead. Whatever your preference, check out our reviews and recommendations for the best road flares.

    Best Road Flares Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This set of four road flares come in two cases. To use them, you’ll load the batteries and mount the flare vertically in its stand. You’ll need 12 AAA batteries to work them. There are three flash modes: solid, flashlight, and strobe.


    The fact that these flares are vertical and not lying flat on the ground means that other drivers will see them from further away. This gives them and you greater visibility and increased safety. Getting four flares means you’ll be able to signal cars from both directions.


    Unfortunately, because this set of road flares requires 12 AAA batteries, you’ll have the ongoing expense of buying replacement batteries. You’ll also need to remember to replace the batteries, or you could risk having them be dead when you need them the most. They also come in two separate cases, which can be bulkier than other flare kits.

    Best Value

    This kit includes three LED emergency beacons and a bag for storing them. The lights will run for 20 hours in steady mode or 60 hours in flash mode. They are small, lightweight, and crush-resistant for up to a 6,000-pound vehicle.


    The flares are easy to use, emit a bright light, and are highly visible from a good distance. Rechargeable batteries will also work in the beacons. For storage, the included bag is small and compact. The magnets on the flares are strong and stick well to steel-bodied vehicles. 


    There are only two modes: flash and steady. The three AAA alkaline batteries required for each beacon are not included in the kit, so battery installation and removal may be challenging. The lights may also accidentally turn on while they are in the pouch, killing the battery life. 

    Honorable Mention

    This is one of the few sets that comes with four flares instead of just three. The flares have a waterproof seal that makes the battery compartment close tightly so the flares are completely weatherproof.


    The bright red/orange LED lights do not get hot and are very bright. They feature a variety of light display modes for maximum attention. One mode allows you to use it as a flashlight, and another uses the universal distress code (S-O-S) signal. A fold-out hook on the back allows you to hang the flare if you don't want to place it on the ground.


    Batteries are not included with the flares, and you will not be able to install or replace them without a screwdriver. The lights "spin" in a counterclockwise direction that may be visually disruptive to passing drivers as well. Finally, the flares tend to fall off due to weak magnets.

    Honorable Mention

    This emergency preparedness kit comes with everything you need when your car breaks down on the side of the road. It all comes in a bright orange storage bag that has an internal zippered pocket. You’ll get two mylar thermal blankets, a window breaker and seatbelt cutter escape hammer, battery changing tools, and three beacon disk road flares. Each safety light comes with 15 super bright LEDs (3 white and 12 amber). There are also nine unique lighting modes to choose from.


    What’s nice about this kit is that everything is ready for use and comes with detailed instructions. This helps you to use the tools in the kit immediately. The LED safety lights come pre-installed with AAA batteries. The safety lights are incredibly versatile because they’re waterproof, crushproof, and magnetic. You can leave the flares on the ground or use the industrial strength magnets to secure them to the side of your truck or RV.


    Unfortunately, the included batteries aren’t very good quality, and you should probably immediately replace them. The hinge to hang the lights isn’t very durable and likely to break with use.

    Honorable Mention

    This portable emergency light measures 3.8 inches in diameter, and requires four AAA batteries. It has two lighting modes to choose from: flashing light and steady light. When on, the LED light is very bright and can warn cars up to 5,000 meters at night. The back of the light has a magnetic base that lets you stick it to the metal on your vehicle.


    What’s nice about this flare is that you don’t need any tools to open it. This makes changing the batteries incredibly easy. The light is very durable, with a waterproof design. This makes it perfect for use in the rain or snow.


    The downside of this road flare is that it doesn’t come with batteries, so you’ll need to buy batteries separately. The spring battery contacts aren’t strong, meaning the batteries can slip out of place and lose connection.

    Honorable Mention

    This single pack of road flares comes with three individual flares. They have a non-perchlorate formula. The flares are self-consuming, so there’s no need to hunt down waste from using the flare in the dark. The manufacturer claims the light produced is five times brighter than electronic signals.


    What makes these flares stand out is the new water-resistant packaging. The resealable pouch ensures your flares stay dry. This keeps the flares ready to use when you need them most. The formula is eco-friendly to make it safe to use anywhere.


    Unfortunately, this one pack is a single-use item. This means you’ll need to buy another pack to replace these flares after they’re used. They’re also slightly more complicated to use because they require more steps than merely pushing a button to turn it on.

    Honorable Mention

    This black emergency LED light can shine both amber and white light. It’s 400 lumens for an ultra bright light. It shines light in 360 degrees with a visibility distance of one mile. There are nine flashing modes and three brightness levels to choose from. The unit is waterproof and crushproof. The backside has a magnet for versatile mounting. This light uses three AA batteries.


    What makes this light stand out is that it doesn’t just flash. Some of the flashing modes are pre-programmed SOS rescue signals for both marine and vehicle emergency signaling. It’s also easy to change out the batteries because no tools are required.


    Unfortunately, batteries don’t come with the light. You also can’t store the light with the batteries in it. The magnet on the back isn’t the strongest, which can make keeping it in place challenging. The clips for hanging the lights aren’t durable and can break from normal use.

    Honorable Mention

    Three flares come in this safety kit. You’ll also get a premium red carrying bag, safety whistle, batteries, and a multi-tool with Phillips and flathead screwdrivers. Everything comes packaged in a gift-ready box. The road flare lights are square-shaped, and each has 20 industrial strength LEDs. They have a clipping hook and a hidden magnet. Each light is made of durable ABS plastic, which makes them crushproof. They can withstand up to 1,000 pounds on top of them.


    You’ll like the flares in this kit because they are incredibly bright and capable of being seen up to two miles away at night and one mile away during the daytime. These lights don’t just claim to be durable and waterproof; they’re rated IP67 waterproof.


    The downside of these flares is that you need the included tool to change the batteries. This makes it slightly more difficult to use than other flares. The four magnets on the backside of the lights aren’t very strong, and you may find the light sliding down your car.

    Honorable Mention

    This emergency roadside kit comes with a zippered red carry bag. Inside you’ll find a whistle, three road flares, a multi-tool keychain, and a combo window breaker and seatbelt cutter tool.  The flares are made of durable ABS plastic to make them crushproof and IP67 waterproof. They can also float when in deep enough water. The lights have 15 LEDs and nine different flashing modes. They have visibility of 5,200 feet.


    What makes this kit stand out is that the flares are certified to be DOT-compliant. The flares also come with the necessary batteries pre-installed. The internal design of these flares reduces their power usage to prevent draining the batteries while the flares are in storage.


    Unfortunately, these lights don’t have as many LEDs as other road flare lights. They also don’t shine as bright, so they have reduced distance visibility. The batteries that come with the lights aren’t the best.

    Honorable Mention

    This set of two road flares come with two stands for upright positioning and a carrying case. The flares have three operation modes: solid, strobe, and flashlight. The lights measure 8.66 by 5.31 by 2.17 inches and weigh 1.03 pounds.


    What makes these flares stand out is their height. Thanks to the vertical stands, the light is higher and gives you greater visibility from further away. The flashing strobe is perfect for signaling an emergency situation in both driving and marine situations.


    One downside of these flares is that they require six batteries, three for each flare. They’re also quite bulky in the hard case, which can take up valuable space in your trunk.

    Why Trust Us


    All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

    Learn more

    Why Buy Road Flares? 

    • Caution others. If your vehicle is disabled, a roadside flare kit will alert other drivers and passersby about the situation. Road flares will give you more space to address whatever problem is plaguing your vehicle.
    • Create a safety zone. Safety flares for cars can slow traffic and keep it from encroaching on an emergency area. Passing drivers will recognize the significance of the flares and avoid getting close to the scene.
    • Protect your family and property. Safety is extremely important when you're broken down on the side of the road. If you want to ensure that your loved ones and vehicle are safe, the use of emergency roadside flares will help.
    • Be visible. This is particularly important in severe weather conditions. If you're changing a flat tire, coping with windshield wiper issues, etc., make sure to set up highway flares so other drivers can see you.
    • Illuminate an area. If you are stuck on the side of the road with very little light, road safety flares can help. They can provide a light source if you do not have access to a flashlight.
    • Create a warning signal. If you come across a road hazard, such as a deer carcass or tree branch, highway safety flares will warn other drivers about the hazard.

    Types 

    Battery-Operated Flares

    Modern technology has led to the proliferation of battery-operated flares. They are much safer for drivers to use and store than their traditional counterpart pyrotechnic flares. Today’s flares typically require the installation of three AAA batteries. They are very convenient to use as long as the batteries are in working order.

    Pyrotechnic Flares

    An old-fashioned flare, also known as a fusee, will typically burn for 10 to 60 minutes with a bright red light. They are pyrotechnic devices and are also called highway flares, road flares, or ground flares. Modern technology has largely eliminated the need for this type of flare, which can cause injury if improperly handled.

    Close up road flare on pavement
    gettyimages

    Top Brands

    Heliar

    Ling Ming Technology Ltd. has owned Heliar since 2015. The company also distributes an emergency roadside kit and other automotive parts and accessories in addition to LED road flares. It sells products in the United States, Japan, Korea, Europe, and South America. One top product is the Heliar LED Road Flares Emergency Disc Roadside Safety Light Flashing Road Beacon.

    Orion Safety Products

    Orion Safety Products has been making automotive flares and railway flares (fusees) for nearly a century. Its products are engineered and manufactured in the United States, largely in Indiana and Pennsylvania. A popular item is the Orion Safety Products 3153-08 3-15 Minute Road Flares.

    Hokena

    The Hokena name was inspired by the founders' favorite Hawaiian beach, Ho‘okena. The company is solely committed to producing LED Flares for car owners, boat owners, and others who may require them during an emergency. Its top product is the Hokena LED Road Flares Emergency Lights.

    Pricing 

    • Under $20: You can purchase a decent box of road flares for under $20, particularly if you look for a deal.
    • $20-$30: Most good-quality road flares fall into this price range. Typically, they include a storage bag, but they don't always come with batteries.

    Key Features

    Battery Installation & Life

    It's important to know what kind of batteries the flares require so you have spares for backup. Also, are the batteries easy to replace or do the flares require special tools? Battery life is also a key factor. It's frustrating to have to continually change the batteries, particularly if you forget to do so and get stuck in an emergency.

    Other Considerations

    • Number in the Kit: Most roadside flare kits include three beacons, but there are some that have as many as four or six. Three are adequate for an emergency roadside kit, but the more you have at your disposal, the more protection you can put around your vehicle.
    • Storage Bag: Some companies include storage bags with their roadside flares. This keeps the flares safely secured in the trunk or another part of your vehicle. If you purchase a set of flares without a storage bag, then you have to find something else to keep them in, and it may not protect them as well.
    • Light Patterns: While steady lights may get a person's attention, a strobe pattern may be even more effective. Many road flares have a variety of modes and light patterns that are hard to ignore. It can be particularly useful in bad weather to have a product that features a variety of lighting patterns.
    • Waterproofing: It's not unlikely that you will get stuck on the side of the road in bad weather. Flares with good waterproofing will serve you better when they are placed outside, particularly in the freezing cold or pouring rain. It's critical that the flares can protect the batteries inside to ensure they function properly.
    • Build and Design: Flares that are cheaply made are less likely to last very long. If they are too flimsy, they may not hold to the road very well or maintain a charge. Look for road flares that have solid construction so they can withstand bad weather and still function if they are run over by a vehicle.

    Best Road Flares Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit

    This set of four road flares come in two cases. To use them, you’ll load the batteries and mount the flare vertically in its stand. You’ll need 12 AAA batteries to work them. There are three flash modes: solid, flashlight, and strobe.


    The fact that these flares are vertical and not lying flat on the ground means that other drivers will see them from further away. This gives them and you greater visibility and increased safety. Getting four flares means you’ll be able to signal cars from both directions.


    Unfortunately, because this set of road flares requires 12 AAA batteries, you’ll have the ongoing expense of buying replacement batteries. You’ll also need to remember to replace the batteries, or you could risk having them be dead when you need them the most. They also come in two separate cases, which can be bulkier than other flare kits.

    Best Value
    Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit

    This kit includes three LED emergency beacons and a bag for storing them. The lights will run for 20 hours in steady mode or 60 hours in flash mode. They are small, lightweight, and crush-resistant for up to a 6,000-pound vehicle.


    The flares are easy to use, emit a bright light, and are highly visible from a good distance. Rechargeable batteries will also work in the beacons. For storage, the included bag is small and compact. The magnets on the flares are strong and stick well to steel-bodied vehicles. 


    There are only two modes: flash and steady. The three AAA alkaline batteries required for each beacon are not included in the kit, so battery installation and removal may be challenging. The lights may also accidentally turn on while they are in the pouch, killing the battery life. 

    Honorable Mention
    4-Pack LED Road Flares with Storage Bag by Garage Monkey

    This is one of the few sets that comes with four flares instead of just three. The flares have a waterproof seal that makes the battery compartment close tightly so the flares are completely weatherproof.


    The bright red/orange LED lights do not get hot and are very bright. They feature a variety of light display modes for maximum attention. One mode allows you to use it as a flashlight, and another uses the universal distress code (S-O-S) signal. A fold-out hook on the back allows you to hang the flare if you don't want to place it on the ground.


    Batteries are not included with the flares, and you will not be able to install or replace them without a screwdriver. The lights "spin" in a counterclockwise direction that may be visually disruptive to passing drivers as well. Finally, the flares tend to fall off due to weak magnets.

    Honorable Mention
    HOKENA LED Road Flares Emergency Lights

    This emergency preparedness kit comes with everything you need when your car breaks down on the side of the road. It all comes in a bright orange storage bag that has an internal zippered pocket. You’ll get two mylar thermal blankets, a window breaker and seatbelt cutter escape hammer, battery changing tools, and three beacon disk road flares. Each safety light comes with 15 super bright LEDs (3 white and 12 amber). There are also nine unique lighting modes to choose from.


    What’s nice about this kit is that everything is ready for use and comes with detailed instructions. This helps you to use the tools in the kit immediately. The LED safety lights come pre-installed with AAA batteries. The safety lights are incredibly versatile because they’re waterproof, crushproof, and magnetic. You can leave the flares on the ground or use the industrial strength magnets to secure them to the side of your truck or RV.


    Unfortunately, the included batteries aren’t very good quality, and you should probably immediately replace them. The hinge to hang the lights isn’t very durable and likely to break with use.

    Honorable Mention
    MIUHIU Roadside Flashing Flares Safety Warning Light

    This portable emergency light measures 3.8 inches in diameter, and requires four AAA batteries. It has two lighting modes to choose from: flashing light and steady light. When on, the LED light is very bright and can warn cars up to 5,000 meters at night. The back of the light has a magnetic base that lets you stick it to the metal on your vehicle.


    What’s nice about this flare is that you don’t need any tools to open it. This makes changing the batteries incredibly easy. The light is very durable, with a waterproof design. This makes it perfect for use in the rain or snow.


    The downside of this road flare is that it doesn’t come with batteries, so you’ll need to buy batteries separately. The spring battery contacts aren’t strong, meaning the batteries can slip out of place and lose connection.

    Honorable Mention
    Orion Safety Products Minute Road Flares

    This single pack of road flares comes with three individual flares. They have a non-perchlorate formula. The flares are self-consuming, so there’s no need to hunt down waste from using the flare in the dark. The manufacturer claims the light produced is five times brighter than electronic signals.


    What makes these flares stand out is the new water-resistant packaging. The resealable pouch ensures your flares stay dry. This keeps the flares ready to use when you need them most. The formula is eco-friendly to make it safe to use anywhere.


    Unfortunately, this one pack is a single-use item. This means you’ll need to buy another pack to replace these flares after they’re used. They’re also slightly more complicated to use because they require more steps than merely pushing a button to turn it on.

    Honorable Mention
    Emergency Vehicle Light for Accident

    This black emergency LED light can shine both amber and white light. It’s 400 lumens for an ultra bright light. It shines light in 360 degrees with a visibility distance of one mile. There are nine flashing modes and three brightness levels to choose from. The unit is waterproof and crushproof. The backside has a magnet for versatile mounting. This light uses three AA batteries.


    What makes this light stand out is that it doesn’t just flash. Some of the flashing modes are pre-programmed SOS rescue signals for both marine and vehicle emergency signaling. It’s also easy to change out the batteries because no tools are required.


    Unfortunately, batteries don’t come with the light. You also can’t store the light with the batteries in it. The magnet on the back isn’t the strongest, which can make keeping it in place challenging. The clips for hanging the lights aren’t durable and can break from normal use.

    Honorable Mention
    MARCALA 2020 Roadside Safety Discs

    Three flares come in this safety kit. You’ll also get a premium red carrying bag, safety whistle, batteries, and a multi-tool with Phillips and flathead screwdrivers. Everything comes packaged in a gift-ready box. The road flare lights are square-shaped, and each has 20 industrial strength LEDs. They have a clipping hook and a hidden magnet. Each light is made of durable ABS plastic, which makes them crushproof. They can withstand up to 1,000 pounds on top of them.


    You’ll like the flares in this kit because they are incredibly bright and capable of being seen up to two miles away at night and one mile away during the daytime. These lights don’t just claim to be durable and waterproof; they’re rated IP67 waterproof.


    The downside of these flares is that you need the included tool to change the batteries. This makes it slightly more difficult to use than other flares. The four magnets on the backside of the lights aren’t very strong, and you may find the light sliding down your car.

    Honorable Mention
    MARCALA LED Road Flares 3-Pack

    This emergency roadside kit comes with a zippered red carry bag. Inside you’ll find a whistle, three road flares, a multi-tool keychain, and a combo window breaker and seatbelt cutter tool.  The flares are made of durable ABS plastic to make them crushproof and IP67 waterproof. They can also float when in deep enough water. The lights have 15 LEDs and nine different flashing modes. They have visibility of 5,200 feet.


    What makes this kit stand out is that the flares are certified to be DOT-compliant. The flares also come with the necessary batteries pre-installed. The internal design of these flares reduces their power usage to prevent draining the batteries while the flares are in storage.


    Unfortunately, these lights don’t have as many LEDs as other road flare lights. They also don’t shine as bright, so they have reduced distance visibility. The batteries that come with the lights aren’t the best.

    Honorable Mention
    2 LED Emergency Road Flares

    This set of two road flares come with two stands for upright positioning and a carrying case. The flares have three operation modes: solid, strobe, and flashlight. The lights measure 8.66 by 5.31 by 2.17 inches and weigh 1.03 pounds.


    What makes these flares stand out is their height. Thanks to the vertical stands, the light is higher and gives you greater visibility from further away. The flashing strobe is perfect for signaling an emergency situation in both driving and marine situations.


    One downside of these flares is that they require six batteries, three for each flare. They’re also quite bulky in the hard case, which can take up valuable space in your trunk.

    Tips & Advice for Road Flares

    • Set the flares up at a reasonable distance from your vehicle. This gives motorists a chance to react to them. If they're too close to your car, they won't work as effectively.
    • Be aware of your surroundings when you set up a road flare. Ensure that you are safely away from passing vehicles. Drivers may not see you when you get out of your car.
    • Most flares require three AAA batteries, and you should check them and replace them every few years even if you don't use the flares. Store the batteries separately from the flares to reduce corrosion and protect the flares.
    • Brighter LED flares will go through batteries more quickly. Take that into consideration when choosing which type of road flare you want to include in your emergency roadside kit.
    • Pyrotechnic road flares can be dangerous if you don't know how to properly store or use them. LEDs are a safer alternative and easier to set up.
    • Sometimes the striker fails to start the fuse on a traditional road flare. You can solve this problem by using a lighter, so make sure you have one with your emergency roadside kit.
    • Keep the flares in a dry storage space, such as a plastic tote. Traditional fusee flares may break down if they get wet or damp, which can be messy, and prevent them from working.

    FAQs

    Q: How many road flares are necessary, and where should they be placed? 

    A: Three flares should suffice. To warn traffic that your vehicle is parked on the side of an interstate highway, place them at 10 feet, 100 feet, and 200 feet from your car. If you're on a two-lane, undivided road, put one 100 feet in front of your vehicle and two 10 feet and 100 feet behind it.

    Q: Do flares make an orange flash?

    A: It depends on the product. Many LEDs are orange or amber. A few feature several different lighting modes, some of which may also include a white LED flashlight.

    Q: Can you mount the flares on top of a car? 

    A: Some products include magnets on the bottom of the flares so they can be affixed to a vehicle's steel bumper or roof. They can also be attached to a guardrail.

    Q: Do pyrotechnic road flares expire?

    A: Pyrotechnic road flares will eventually expire. Many have a shelf life of fewer than four years. They may work after the expiration date but could misfire.

    Final Thoughts

    Our top pick for the best road flare is the Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit. They are very bright and durable.

    For a less pricey alternative, consider the Stonepoint Emergency LED Road Flare Kit.