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.

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBC The Drive on YouTube The Drive on Facebook

The Review Team

  • Product Network

    21 Products

  • Clock

    9 Hours

  • Reviews

    15 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

PUBLISHED ON March 21, 2019

When your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, it's important to be visible to passing motorists. A critical item for an 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 available.

Best Overall
Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
LEARN MORE
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
  • 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
  • Flares require 12 AAA batteries
  • Can get expensive to maintain them
  • If you forget to change the batteries, your flares could be dead when you need them most
Best Overall
Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit
Best Value
Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

This affordable safety kit comes with three puck-style road flares, batteries, a screwdriver, gloves, and a storage bag. The flares have magnets and hooks for use versatility.

Pros
Pros
  • Rated IP67 
  • Shatter and crushproof
Cons
Cons
  • Low number of road flares 
  • Batteries aren’t good quality
Best Value
Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit
Honorable Mention
Tobfit Six Pack LED Road Flares
LEARN MORE
Summary
Summary

Stay safe with this six-pack of LED safety disks. Each flare has a magnetic base and a folding hook. The sides have shock-absorbing rubber. There are 12 LEDs around the perimeter of each unit.

Pros
Pros
  • Nine flashing modes
  • High-intensity amber LEDs
Cons
Cons
  • Batteries not included 
  • Need a screwdriver to replace the batteries
Honorable Mention
Tobfit Six Pack LED Road Flares

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

Tobfit

The Tobfit company sells various products. As stated on its website, “(they are) Constantly changing to meet the challenges of the market, tirelessly pursuing new technologies and services.” Tobfit’s top priorities are innovation and customer satisfaction. Consider the Tobfit LED Road Flares Emergency Lights Roadside Safety Kit.

SlimK

SlimK specializes in the development and production of many outdoor LED lights. The products include LED lanterns and car emergency roadside flares, which are exported to over 50 countries and regions. Places like America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. SlimK is ISO quality certified to meet the international standards. The focus is on delivering top quality products, the best customer service, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. One top product is the SlimK LED Road Flares Safety Kit.

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 and 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 of flares 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 2021

Best Overall

This set of four road flares come in two cases. To use them, load the batteries and mount the flares vertically in their stands. 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 Overall
Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit

This set of four road flares come in two cases. To use them, load the batteries and mount the flares vertically in their stands. 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

Pack this affordable kit in the trunk of your car and be ready for any emergency. The durable carrying bag holds a pair of work gloves, three puck road flares, batteries, and a screwdriver. These road flares are crushproof, shockproof, and waterproof with an IP67 rating. With fresh batteries, they can stay lit for up to 36 hours. A strong magnet on the back and a folding hook let you use these flares in various ways and situations. You can choose from six lighting modes. Thanks to the high-intensity LEDs, you’ll have visibility of up to one mile. 


Unfortunately, you only get three road flares with this kit. This limits your visibility and how you use them. The batteries that come with the flares aren’t great, and you’ll end up buying your own so that the flares stay lit for longer.

Best Value
Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit

Pack this affordable kit in the trunk of your car and be ready for any emergency. The durable carrying bag holds a pair of work gloves, three puck road flares, batteries, and a screwdriver. These road flares are crushproof, shockproof, and waterproof with an IP67 rating. With fresh batteries, they can stay lit for up to 36 hours. A strong magnet on the back and a folding hook let you use these flares in various ways and situations. You can choose from six lighting modes. Thanks to the high-intensity LEDs, you’ll have visibility of up to one mile. 


Unfortunately, you only get three road flares with this kit. This limits your visibility and how you use them. The batteries that come with the flares aren’t great, and you’ll end up buying your own so that the flares stay lit for longer.

Most Versatile

Use these pucks any time you need to be seen better. You’ll have a set of six plastic pucks that each have 12 high-intensity LEDs around the perimeter. To use the puck, you can lay them on the ground, use the powerful magnet on the back to attach them to your car, or hang them from the foldable hook. The sides are coated with a shock-absorbing rubber to make them more durable. These pucks are waterproof and crushproof, with an IP67 rating. You have six flashing modes to choose from. You’ll appreciate that they come with a carrying bag to keep them neatly organized in your vehicle. 


The downside of these lights is that they require batteries and do not come with them. You’ll also need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment, which can be inconvenient.

Most Versatile
Tobfit Six Pack LED Road Flares

Use these pucks any time you need to be seen better. You’ll have a set of six plastic pucks that each have 12 high-intensity LEDs around the perimeter. To use the puck, you can lay them on the ground, use the powerful magnet on the back to attach them to your car, or hang them from the foldable hook. The sides are coated with a shock-absorbing rubber to make them more durable. These pucks are waterproof and crushproof, with an IP67 rating. You have six flashing modes to choose from. You’ll appreciate that they come with a carrying bag to keep them neatly organized in your vehicle. 


The downside of these lights is that they require batteries and do not come with them. You’ll also need a screwdriver to open the battery compartment, which can be inconvenient.

Most Storage Friendly

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. It includes 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 (three 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.

Most Storage Friendly
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. It includes 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 (three 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. 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
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. 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 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
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 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

If you're stuck on the roadside in the middle of the day or night, road flares are helpful. The super bright SlimK High-Luminosity Roadside Safety Discs are great at grabbing the attention of others in the event of an emergency. 


With their nine flashing modes, they use the bright warning lights as a flashlight and are visible from a mile away at night. During the day, they can be seen up to a half a mile away.


SlimK road flares are easy to use. By a simple press of a button for 3 seconds, the light turns off. The LED road flares are water and crush resistant. SlimK discs/flares are designed with high-hardness ABS, which is a solid structure.

Honorable Mention
SlimK LED Road Flares

If you're stuck on the roadside in the middle of the day or night, road flares are helpful. The super bright SlimK High-Luminosity Roadside Safety Discs are great at grabbing the attention of others in the event of an emergency. 


With their nine flashing modes, they use the bright warning lights as a flashlight and are visible from a mile away at night. During the day, they can be seen up to a half a mile away.


SlimK road flares are easy to use. By a simple press of a button for 3 seconds, the light turns off. The LED road flares are water and crush resistant. SlimK discs/flares are designed with high-hardness ABS, which is a solid structure.

Tips 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? 

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?

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? 

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?

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.

An affordable alternative is the Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit. It comes with everything you need and is packed into a convenient carrying bag.