LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2019
Best Rechargeable Flashlights: Don’t Fumble Around in the Dark
Never run out of light with a reliable rechargeable flashlight on hand
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2019
There’s nothing worse than being caught in a blackout or trying to investigate a dark space only to find that the batteries are dead in your trusty flashlight. There’s a fix for this: opt for a rechargeable device. Depending on your needs, you can find a rechargeable flashlight that’s perfect for everyday use, emergencies, workshops, or camping. We’ve listed our top picks and tips to help you find the right flashlight in the buying guide below.
This rechargeable flashlight has three operating modes: high/low/strobe, high only, and low/medium/high. You charge the flashlight with the included USB cable.
This flashlight is super bright at 500 lumens. The body of the flashlight is made out of anodized aluminum, so it’s very durable. It also comes with a nylon holster to carry it.
It can randomly stop working and refuse to recharge. The light can also flicker. It is more of a cone of light instead of a beam.
A super-bright and slim rechargeable flashlight at a modest price point. It can be charged via micro USB. It comes with a charging cable and an external battery for quick recharges.
A water-resistant IP65 rating makes this a versatile pick for a variety of environments. Multiple settings allow you to adjust the light output for extended use. This flashlight is also small enough to fit in your pocket.
This flashlight can run hot fairly quickly. In some cases, the internal battery can leak over time. To select an illumination setting you have to cycle through all of the options, which can be cumbersome.
A solid, heavy-duty rechargeable flashlight from a reliable brand known for creating long-lasting tools. A professional level of lumens offers intense illumination.
Shoppers will appreciate the five levels of illumination. Its rugged construction is ideal for use in garages or workshops, and the convenient grip makes holding this flashlight easy. It can be recharged via wall outlets or car chargers.
In some cases, the light can stop working after only a few months of intermittent use. This rechargeable flashlight may have trouble holding a charge.
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Benefits of Rechargeable Flashlights
- Convenience. When you need a flashlight, you just need a flashlight. What you don’t need is to be fumbling around for batteries. A rechargeable flashlight can be at the ready anytime you need one.
- Emergency Preparedness. Rechargeable flashlights are often very reliable, and reliability is in an emergency. Having a bright, charged flashlight is not something you want to have to think about.
- Security. Manufacturers of rechargeable flashlights have the benefit of not being as battery-conscious and instead can produce a very bright, powerful flashlight that can be useful in a security situation. Whether you hear a noise in the night or need a strong flashlight for walking to your car in empty parking lots, a rechargeable light can do the trick.
- Savings. Initially, a rechargeable flashlight might seem more expensive than a replaceable battery option. You need to consider how often you use your flashlight. If you use one often enough, you’ll save money by not having to purchase as many batteries.
Types of Rechargeable Flashlights
A pocket-style rechargeable flashlight can be an important part of your everyday carry. Many of these flashlights are extremely bright while taking up very little of your pocket space. Some attach to key rings, many can be worn on belts, and others can knock around in the bottom of a backpack or purse. You won’t notice a pocket flashlight until you need it.
Tactical lights are the sporting entry into the rechargeable flashlight field. Some are large, police-style lights, while some are not much bigger than a pocket style flashlight. These lights have multiple switch positions. One click usually provides the brightest setting, two clicks provide a strobe effect, and holding the button allows regulation of light intensity.
Spotlights are bright, far-reaching handheld lights. They’re very useful for illumination over long distances. This can be helpful for farmers, hunters, police, or anyone who needs to be able to see far away in the dark. They’re big, powerful, and have long-lasting battery lives when they are adjusted properly.
Streamlight is one of the leaders in the rechargeable flashlight arena. Based in Eagleville, Penn., the company has been around since the 1970s. Streamlight products like this Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS are trusted by first responders around the world.
Perhaps there is no more recognizable flashlight than the Maglite. The company was founded in 1979. These are the lights you’ve seen patrolmen using on TV for years. Here’s the rechargeable version: Maglite RL1019 Rechargeable Flashlight System.
Chinese manufacturer Fenix produces quality lights for all applications. Flashlights, headlamps, and bike lamps are just some of the products offered by this Shenzhen-based company. Check out this Fenix LR40R 12000, which has an 845-yard range.
Rechargeable Flashlight Pricing
- $20 and under: Here you’ll find basic flashlights. Shorter battery life and reduced candle power are common, but reliable lights can be had in this range.
- $20 to $100: This range will suit most consumers. Here you’ll find long battery life, bright lighting, and long-casting beams of light.
- $100 and up: This is the range you’ll find the best tactical lights. These options have long run times, are extremely bright, and feature switches geared towards first responders.
Adjustable Lighting Settings
Sometimes you need the brightest lighting your flashlight can offer. Other times you might just need consistent lighting for a long period of time. Adjustable switches are an excellent feature to have on a rechargeable flashlight. Run times can be drastically improved just by stepping down the output power a level or two.
Some consumers might find they need a tactical switch on their flashlight. A tactical switch will have the ability to cycle through several lighting modes quickly but will most likely also have a thumb switch on the rear of the flashlight. Law enforcement personnel especially like this feature. Pressing the switch lightly with your thumb activates the light silently and shuts off when pressure is removed.
Technology is constantly evolving. One thing that has remained consistent over the past few years is the transition to devices being charged by USB. Cars now come with built-in USB adapters. Even some wall outlets have them built-in. The ability to charge via USB is an excellent feature to have.
- Size. Rechargeable flashlights come in a range of sizes from very large to very small. The larger, spotlight options are a good choice for sportsmen and farmers. The smaller options are good for anyone who occasionally needs a reliable light. In the middle is where the majority of tactical and emergency response lights fall. Choose a size that is convenient for you.
- Runtime. Keep an eye on the runtime chart for the flashlights you’re looking at. Regardless of its application, a flashlight with a long runtime is desirable. Often, runtime is determined by the mAh (milliamp hour) rating of the battery. The higher the rating number, the longer the runtime of the light.
Best Rechargeable Flashlight Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This rechargeable flashlight comes with three light modes: high/strobe/low, high only, and low/medium/high. When fully charged, it can last for several hours. The flashlight has a USB cable for charging, a holster, and a belt clip.
This flashlight is super bright, as it produces 500 lumens. The flashlight is also incredibly durable because the body is made out of anodized machined aircraft aluminum. It’s waterproof and impact-resistant up to two meters.
Unfortunately, this flashlight can randomly stop working and may refuse to hold a charge. The light may also constantly flicker when it isn’t supposed to. In addition, the light it produces is more of a cone and less of a directed beam of light.
The Anker Rechargeable LED Flashlight is our best value pick. The Anker is a slim rechargeable flashlight with 900 lumens of power. The Anker comes with a micro USB charging cable and is water and shock resistant. It provides up to six hours of brightness in medium-beam mode and comes with an 18-month warranty.
The Anker is a tough flashlight despite being so compact. Most importantly, the Anker has our favorite feature of all the flashlights listed: it is able to stand on its end and operate as a lamp if necessary during an emergency.
Quality, however, may be the issue. Users have reported that this flashlight gets too hot too quickly. Others have reported that the batteries leak. These are big issues. A minor but frustrating issue is that in order to select the desired lighting setting, the user has to cycle through the other settings first.
The STANLEY SL3HS Rechargeable Flashlight is a rugged, spotlight-style flashlight, and it is our honorable mention. STANLEY is a trusted name in the tool world and has been creating quality tools and equipment for a very long time. This rechargeable flashlight is solidly and ruggedly built for heavy-duty work.
The construction is the flashlight's strongest point. It’s built to be rugged and dependable, making it ideal for use in the garage, workshop, or bouncing around in your vehicle. The ergonomic pistol grip makes it easy to handle. The SL3HS can be charged using a wall charger or vehicle charger, so it’s always ready.
Some users question the battery life of the SL3HS. There have been complaints about the battery not holding a charge after a few months. Also, some users complain that the flashlight has stopped working altogether after a short period of use.
- Be mindful of light output as this will impact how you can use your rechargeable flashlight. LED bulbs are measured in lumens. A flashlight with less than 100 lumens is not suitable for outdoor use but is fine for emergency blackouts. For outdoor use, look for anything between 100 and 300 lumens.
- If you’re buying a rechargeable flashlight for outdoor use such as evening hikes or camping, it’s worth it to upgrade to a tactical flashlight that offers light settings. This will help you preserve battery life.
- To maintain the overall lifespan of your rechargeable flashlight’s batteries, avoid letting the battery fully die and don’t leave it charging when the batteries are at full levels.
Q: Which type of rechargeable flashlight should I pick?
A: This depends on your needs. If you only use a flashlight occasionally, then a cheaper everyday flashlight is a smart choice; you’ll still have useful features like LED bulbs. But if you use flashlights regularly, opt for a tactical flashlight. While pricier than everyday flashlights, these versions have upgrades like water resistance, longer-range beams, and the option to choose light settings to optimize run time.
Q: Which size rechargeable flashlight should I choose?
A: This depends on how you will use your flashlight. Rechargeable flashlights can range from something small enough to hook onto your keychain to models that are a foot or larger. When selecting an appropriate size, always consider how you plan to use your flashlight and whether or not it will impact your mobility.
Q: Which is better: a flashlight that charges via USB or one that takes rechargeable batteries?
A: Again, this depends on your needs and habits. If you keep a portable battery with you at all times or are always near a power source, a USB-based rechargeable battery can be a smart option. If this doesn’t sound like you, a flashlight where you can easily replace the rechargeable batteries is a smarter option.
For those in need of a compact flashlight with a lot of power, consider the Streamlight 88083 ProTac 2L-X USB, Rechargeable Battery.
Budget-focused folks should stock their emergency kit with our Best Value option, the Anker Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Super Bright 900 Lumens.