Best Rechargeable Flashlights: Don’t Fumble Around in the Dark
Never run out of light with a reliable rechargeable flashlight on hand
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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 have died 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 outlined our top picks and tips to help you find the right flashlight.
- Best OverallThruNite 3800 high lumens Tactical FlashlightSummarySummary
A sturdy flashlight with a strong lumen output, varying light settings, and various charging methods for easy use.ProsPros
The ThruNite rechargeable flashlight is a smart option for emergency kits around the home or in your car. This flashlight charges through micro USB, and you’ll appreciate the indicator that lets you know when it’s time to recharge.ConsCons
Inconsistency with the charger is one of the biggest complaints; in some cases, it never fully charges the flashlight. Another common issue is the indicator not working properly.
- Best ValueAnker Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Super Bright 900 LumensSummarySummary
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.ProsPros
A water-resistant IP65 rating makes this a versatile pick for various environments. Multiple settings allow you to adjust the light output for extended use. This flashlight is also small enough to fit in your pocket.ConsCons
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.
- Honorable MentionSTANLEY Rechargeable 700 Lumen Lithium-Ion Ultra Bright LED Spotlight FlashlightSummarySummary
A solid, heavy-duty rechargeable flashlight from a reliable brand known for creating long-lasting tools. A professional level of lumens offers intense illumination.ProsPros
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.ConsCons
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.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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 key in the event of 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 the 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 the most basic of 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 2019
Best Overall: Soonfire Rechargeable Flashlight with Cree XP-L LED
The Soonfire Rechargeable Flashlight with Cree XP-L LED is our Best Overall Rechargeable Flashlight. Despite its compact size, this flashlight is capable of 1,000 lumens of power. Made of aerospace technology aluminum, it is tough and rugged and features five different lighting levels.
The Soonfire’s adjustable lighting settings is our favorite feature. The brightest setting offers 1,000 lumens, and the battery should hold up for 150 minutes. Set the Soonfire to its Firefly (8 lumens) setting, and the flashlight should run for 500 hours. In an emergency, battery life like this can make a huge difference.
The Soonfire does have its share of considerations, however. Some users have said they weren’t able to charge their new flashlights out of the box. Others stated that the flashlight may activate in your pocket and get very hot.
The Anker Rechargeable LED Flashlight wins our Best Value category. 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 requires six hours of charging time 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 in the event of an emergency.
Quality, however, may be the issue for Anker. Users have reported that this flashlight gets too hot too quickly. Others have reported that the batteries have started leaking. 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.
Honorable Mention: STANLEY SL3HS Rechargeable 700 Lumen Flashlight
The STANLEY SL3HS Rechargeable Flashlight is a rugged, spotlight-style flashlight, and it’s taking our Honorable Mention role. STANLEY is a trusted name in the tool world, providing 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 strong side of the STANLEY SL3HS. 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 handling easy. The SL3HS can be charged via 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 few months.
- 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 an all-in-one rechargeable flashlight kit, our Best Overall selection, the ThruNite 3800 high lumens Tactical Flashlight, is perfect because of its high lumen output, convenient size, and ease of use.
Budget-focused folks should stock their emergency kit with our Best Value option, the Anker Rechargeable LED Flashlight with Super Bright 900 Lumens.