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LAST UPDATED: October 31, 2019

Best 18650 Flashlights: Powerful Lights for Camping, Home, and Safety

Never be lost in the dark again with these bright 18650 flashlights

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PUBLISHED ON October 31, 2019

A flashlight is one of the most useful tools you can have around the house, workplace, or car. You never know when the power is going to go out or you need to search the dark for something. One of the best and brightest types of flashlights are 18650 models. Their large size and robust batteries keep them powered up for hours. If you need a strong light to shine the way, consider one of these 18650 flashlights to keep nearby.

  • Best Overall
    ThruNite XP-L Edition 1110 Lumen Single CREE LED EDC 18650 Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary
    A powerful and sturdy 1110 lumen 18650 flashlight that is capable of lasting up to 74 days.
    Pros
    Pros
    The light features five various modes, it’s lightweight and easy to carry, features a durable pocket clip, and the casing is sturdy and capable of taking a beating.
    Cons
    Cons
    The biggest downside is it heats up quickly and can get quite hot in your hands. And there isn’t much difference between the last two settings.
  • Best Overall
    ThruNite XP-L Edition 1110 Lumen Single CREE LED EDC 18650 Flashlight
  • Best Value
    Anker Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary
    A 900 lumen flashlight with a Cree LED, 1000-foot range, and adjustable settings.
    Pros
    Pros
    It’s an IPX rated, pocket-sized flashlight with an aluminum non-slip design. It has 5 settings, including strobe and SOS. It also features an 18-month warranty.
    Cons
    Cons
    It’s an IPX rated, pocket-sized flashlight with an aluminum non-slip design. It has 5 settings, including strobe and SOS. It also features an 18-month warranty.
  • Best Value
    Anker Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight
  • Honorable Mention
    Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen 18650 Flashlight
    Summary
    Summary

    A 1000 lumen rechargeable flashlight with a maximum lifespan of around 50,000 hours

    Pros
    Pros
    It’s a small and lightweight flashlight that fits comfortably in a pocket, features a bright and powerful light, includes a convenient and easy-to-use brightness level switch, and comes with a lengthy battery time.
    Cons
    Cons
    The highest setting can make it overheat, the flashlight holster isn’t the greatest and feels flimsy, and the button to switch modes can be a hassle to understand at first.
  • Honorable Mention
    Fenix PD35 TAC 1000 Lumen 18650 Flashlight

    A flashlight is one of the most useful tools you can have around the house, workplace, or car. You never know when the power is going to go out or you need to search the dark for something. One of the best and brightest types of flashlights are 18650 models. Their large size and robust batteries keep them powered up for hours. If you need a strong light to shine the way, consider one of these 18650 flashlights to keep nearby.

    Best 18650 Flashlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    Our Best Overall 18650 Flashlight for 2020 is the ThruNite XP-L Edition 18650 Flashlight. This 18650-powered flashlight claims a 74-day runtime on the firefly mode. The ThruNite also comes with a holster, two batteries, and a charger capable of charging both batteries at once. There’s an included belt clip for EDC as well.


    The ThruNite XP-L is a sturdy, well-built flashlight with some noteworthy features. We like that you get two 18650 batteries in the pack, so you’ll always have a spare when one is needed. The XP-L is lightweight but tough, and the pocket clip feels like it will hold up to some abuse. There are five light modes, but we like that firefly mode really stretches out the battery life to a possible 74 days. We also like the XP-L’s waterproof rating of IPX8.


    ThruNite could improve upon a few things, though. For one, the on-off tail switch is fine, but the stainless steel side switch meant for toggling through power modes is less intuitive. There are similar flashlights on the market with less confusing controls. Some users also report that the XP-L heats up too quickly.

    Best Value

    Our pick for Best 18650 Flashlight Value is the Anker Bolder LC90 Rechargeable Flashlight. At this price point, you get a capable flashlight with a 1,000-yard beam distance. It operates on one 18650 lithium-ion battery. It has an aluminum body with a slip-resistant design and five adjustable settings. The Bolder comes with an 18-month warranty and is rated for wet weather, so it was built for some tough conditions. 


    We like the small design, capable of fitting in the user’s pocket. We also like the adjustable beam, which goes from a wide-angle to a narrow focus. Our favorite feature is the IP65 water resistance rating. It also has an SOS feature, so if you should ever find yourself in a tough spot, you’ll be prepared.


    There are a few things to consider with the Anker Bolder LC90. For one, there have been user reports that the batteries will stop working after a few seconds, and others have stated the flashlight isn’t as bright as it used to be. This is more likely a switch issue than a battery issue, but it is something to keep an eye out for. There was also a report of a leaky battery, so don’t lose your proof of purchase in case you have to take advantage of the 18-month warranty.

    Honorable Mention

    The Honorable Mention spot on our list of Best 18650 Flashlights goes to the Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight. This tactical light produces 1,000 lumens over a 654-foot beam distance and has dual-fuel capability. The Fenix has an outdoor mode and a tactical mode, both with turbo settings, providing the user with six levels of light output. It comes with two CR123a batteries; however, you can run the PD35 on one 18650 rechargeable battery, which is not included.


    The Fenix PD35 deserves an honorable mention for a few reasons. The PD35 is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which means it’s lightweight and perfect for tossing in a pocket or bag. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating as well. While the light doesn’t have the longest beam distance on our list, 1,000 lumens on turbo mode is an admirable output. We really like the six levels of power output, as it allows the user the ability to make the most of their battery life.


    There are some issues with the Fenix PD35, however. For one, we’d prefer the flashlight to come with an 18650 rechargeable battery and charger. All you’ll get from the seller is two CR123a batteries and a holster, so you’ll have to figure out the rest. The provided holster is also an issue, as users have complained about the quality and durability.

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    Benefits of 18650 Flashlights

    • Increased run time. While it’s difficult for a standard battery to reach the same power output, flashlights with 18650 lithium-ion (or li-ion) batteries have longer runtimes than standard AA or AAA battery flashlights running at the same power output.
    • Battery life cycle. The life of a lithium-ion battery can be expected to last considerably longer than standard batteries. These 18650 li-ion batteries can be recharged up to 500 times, which can be up to twice that of a standard rechargeable battery. 
    • Safety. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more highly regulated, and as such, 18650 batteries available to consumers in products like flashlights are required to meet the most stringent of standards. This keeps these batteries safe from explosion or fire.

    Types of 18650 Flashlights

    Tactical

    Tactical flashlights are the most common style of 18650-powered lights. These full-size flashlights usually have a tail switch for an on-off button and may have a side switch as well. They have multiple light modes, which may include tactical mode, strobe mode, and varying output settings. Tactical flashlights often contain multiple 18650 batteries arranged in a battery pack for extended life. Many of these flashlights are waterproof and built of high-quality, aircraft-grade aluminum to meet the needs of first responders.

    EDC Flashlights

    EDC, or everyday carry, flashlights are best described as tactical lights on a smaller scale. Picture an 18650 flashlight with most of the same capabilities as a tactical light that isn’t much bigger than the 18650 battery itself. They usually contain one 18650 battery, so expected battery life is reduced from the full-size version. Because these are ideal for pocket carry and are often super bright, they can be a good choice for self-defense. 

    General Use

    These 18650 lithium-ion flashlights are better suited for general use. They’re often not as heavy-duty or water-resistant, but some have additional features like an LED panel in the handle meant to be used as a lantern in a tight space. These are ideal for the home setting, as they are powerful and long-lasting and can be charged quickly before being stored in a drawer.

    Top Brands

    Streamlight

    The Streamlight brand has been around since the 1970s and is a leader in the rechargeable flashlight industry. The Eagleville, Pennsylvania-based company offers several 18650 li-ion flashlights, including this Streamlight PolyTac X Series flashlight, ideal for pocket carry and EDC needs.

    Fenix

    The Shenzhen, China-based Fenix produces a wide range of lighting products, ranging from tactical flashlights to bicycle headlights. This 18650-powered Fenix LR40R Rechargeable flashlight might be a good choice for someone who needs a big light in a compact package.

    ThruNite

    Another Chinese company, ThruNite, is around 10 years old and produces quality flashlight products at a lower price point than most of its competitors. This ThruNite TH30 Rechargeable Headlamp could make a nice addition to a camping kit. 

    18650 Flashlights Pricing

    • $50 and Under: Flashlights on this end of the scale tend to be smaller, EDC-style flashlights. While they will generally have one battery and limited functions, they can work well for general use.
    • $50 to $100: Here you’ll find some lights with battery-packs for longer life. They’ll feature multiple modes as well. EDC-style lights in this category will be well-built with multiple functions. Beam distances will also increase.
    • $100 and up: These are purpose-built flashlights intended for serious users. Many of these flashlights are marketed towards first responders and are heavy-duty and well-built. Flashlights in this range also come with longer warranties.

    Key Features

    Adjustable Modes

    Many 18650 flashlights feature programmable switches that will activate different modes. One click is usually full-power, while holding the tail switch or tail cap will cycle through multiple power ranges. Taking advantage of these modes helps optimize battery life. A double-click of the tail switch will often produce a strobe mode meant to disorient a threat in a self-defense scenario. 

    Dual-Fuel Capability

    There are several 18650-powered flashlights that are dual-fuel capable. This means that instead of only being able to use a lithium-ion 18650 battery to power your light, you may be able to use two CR123a batteries or even AA batteries. This is a nice feature when your light dies in a pinch and you can’t get to your charger.

    Increased Run Times

    While throttling your power output with the tail switch to lengthen your battery life is useful, you should be aware that 18650 lithium batteries have a considerably longer runtime in a flashlight than standard AA or C batteries might. Even towards the end of their charge, your flashlight’s performance will hardly suffer up until the moment it stops working. 

    Other Considerations

    • ​​​​Shelf Life. If your goal is to purchase a flashlight to throw in a drawer and forget about until you need it, one powered by an 18650 battery might be a good choice. The lithium batteries in these flashlights can store a charge for much longer than standard batteries. This means that the light will be ready when you need it to be.
    • Cold Weather Performance. While all batteries suffer some performance loss during cold temperatures, lithium batteries are less affected by extreme temperatures than a lead-acid battery. This makes an 18650 powered flashlight ideal for first responders, plow and tow truck operators, and anyone else who might have to brave the cold and need a reliable flashlight.
    • Safety. No batteries are 100-percent leakproof, but the odds of a lithium battery leaking are dramatically reduced. Flashlights powered by 18650 batteries are not only more reliable, they’re also safer to the user. Leaks are far less common, and these batteries are safety-checked to prevent fires and explosions. There are even well-known companies that guarantee their products against leaks.

    Best 18650 Flashlights Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    Our Best Overall 18650 Flashlight for 2020 is the ThruNite XP-L Edition 18650 Flashlight. This 18650-powered flashlight claims a 74-day runtime on the firefly mode. The ThruNite also comes with a holster, two batteries, and a charger capable of charging both batteries at once. There’s an included belt clip for EDC as well.


    The ThruNite XP-L is a sturdy, well-built flashlight with some noteworthy features. We like that you get two 18650 batteries in the pack, so you’ll always have a spare when one is needed. The XP-L is lightweight but tough, and the pocket clip feels like it will hold up to some abuse. There are five light modes, but we like that firefly mode really stretches out the battery life to a possible 74 days. We also like the XP-L’s waterproof rating of IPX8.


    ThruNite could improve upon a few things, though. For one, the on-off tail switch is fine, but the stainless steel side switch meant for toggling through power modes is less intuitive. There are similar flashlights on the market with less confusing controls. Some users also report that the XP-L heats up too quickly.

    ThruNite XP-L Edition 18650 Flashlight}
    Amazon

    Our Best Overall 18650 Flashlight for 2020 is the ThruNite XP-L Edition 18650 Flashlight. This 18650-powered flashlight claims a 74-day runtime on the firefly mode. The ThruNite also comes with a holster, two batteries, and a charger capable of charging both batteries at once. There’s an included belt clip for EDC as well.


    The ThruNite XP-L is a sturdy, well-built flashlight with some noteworthy features. We like that you get two 18650 batteries in the pack, so you’ll always have a spare when one is needed. The XP-L is lightweight but tough, and the pocket clip feels like it will hold up to some abuse. There are five light modes, but we like that firefly mode really stretches out the battery life to a possible 74 days. We also like the XP-L’s waterproof rating of IPX8.


    ThruNite could improve upon a few things, though. For one, the on-off tail switch is fine, but the stainless steel side switch meant for toggling through power modes is less intuitive. There are similar flashlights on the market with less confusing controls. Some users also report that the XP-L heats up too quickly.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    Our pick for Best 18650 Flashlight Value is the Anker Bolder LC90 Rechargeable Flashlight. At this price point, you get a capable flashlight with a 1,000-yard beam distance. It operates on one 18650 lithium-ion battery. It has an aluminum body with a slip-resistant design and five adjustable settings. The Bolder comes with an 18-month warranty and is rated for wet weather, so it was built for some tough conditions. 


    We like the small design, capable of fitting in the user’s pocket. We also like the adjustable beam, which goes from a wide-angle to a narrow focus. Our favorite feature is the IP65 water resistance rating. It also has an SOS feature, so if you should ever find yourself in a tough spot, you’ll be prepared.


    There are a few things to consider with the Anker Bolder LC90. For one, there have been user reports that the batteries will stop working after a few seconds, and others have stated the flashlight isn’t as bright as it used to be. This is more likely a switch issue than a battery issue, but it is something to keep an eye out for. There was also a report of a leaky battery, so don’t lose your proof of purchase in case you have to take advantage of the 18-month warranty.

    Anker Bolder LC90 Flashlight}
    Amazon

    Our pick for Best 18650 Flashlight Value is the Anker Bolder LC90 Rechargeable Flashlight. At this price point, you get a capable flashlight with a 1,000-yard beam distance. It operates on one 18650 lithium-ion battery. It has an aluminum body with a slip-resistant design and five adjustable settings. The Bolder comes with an 18-month warranty and is rated for wet weather, so it was built for some tough conditions. 


    We like the small design, capable of fitting in the user’s pocket. We also like the adjustable beam, which goes from a wide-angle to a narrow focus. Our favorite feature is the IP65 water resistance rating. It also has an SOS feature, so if you should ever find yourself in a tough spot, you’ll be prepared.


    There are a few things to consider with the Anker Bolder LC90. For one, there have been user reports that the batteries will stop working after a few seconds, and others have stated the flashlight isn’t as bright as it used to be. This is more likely a switch issue than a battery issue, but it is something to keep an eye out for. There was also a report of a leaky battery, so don’t lose your proof of purchase in case you have to take advantage of the 18-month warranty.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    The Honorable Mention spot on our list of Best 18650 Flashlights goes to the Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight. This tactical light produces 1,000 lumens over a 654-foot beam distance and has dual-fuel capability. The Fenix has an outdoor mode and a tactical mode, both with turbo settings, providing the user with six levels of light output. It comes with two CR123a batteries; however, you can run the PD35 on one 18650 rechargeable battery, which is not included.


    The Fenix PD35 deserves an honorable mention for a few reasons. The PD35 is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which means it’s lightweight and perfect for tossing in a pocket or bag. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating as well. While the light doesn’t have the longest beam distance on our list, 1,000 lumens on turbo mode is an admirable output. We really like the six levels of power output, as it allows the user the ability to make the most of their battery life.


    There are some issues with the Fenix PD35, however. For one, we’d prefer the flashlight to come with an 18650 rechargeable battery and charger. All you’ll get from the seller is two CR123a batteries and a holster, so you’ll have to figure out the rest. The provided holster is also an issue, as users have complained about the quality and durability.

    Honorable Mention: Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight

    Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight}
    Amazon

    The Honorable Mention spot on our list of Best 18650 Flashlights goes to the Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight. This tactical light produces 1,000 lumens over a 654-foot beam distance and has dual-fuel capability. The Fenix has an outdoor mode and a tactical mode, both with turbo settings, providing the user with six levels of light output. It comes with two CR123a batteries; however, you can run the PD35 on one 18650 rechargeable battery, which is not included.


    The Fenix PD35 deserves an honorable mention for a few reasons. The PD35 is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, which means it’s lightweight and perfect for tossing in a pocket or bag. It has an IPX8 waterproof rating as well. While the light doesn’t have the longest beam distance on our list, 1,000 lumens on turbo mode is an admirable output. We really like the six levels of power output, as it allows the user the ability to make the most of their battery life.


    There are some issues with the Fenix PD35, however. For one, we’d prefer the flashlight to come with an 18650 rechargeable battery and charger. All you’ll get from the seller is two CR123a batteries and a holster, so you’ll have to figure out the rest. The provided holster is also an issue, as users have complained about the quality and durability.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Tips

    • Don’t leave any flashlight on the highest and brightest setting for very long. It can become too hot and may eventually burn you if you are not careful.
    • If you leave it in your pocket, be sure it doesn’t accidentally turn on while you’re walking. It may be best to leave it in a pocket without other accessories next to it.
    • Put the flashlight in an easy-to-reach location around the house, office, or car to find it quickly in case of an emergency.

    FAQs

    Q: What is a 18650 flashlight?

    A: These flashlights get their name from the size of the battery that powers them. Each one measures 18mm in diameter and 65mm in length. They are robust and powerful for long-lasting light.

    Q: What is a flashlight’s strobe setting used for?

    A: The main reason for the strobe setting is to alert people of your position. It works best if you ever find yourself lost in the middle of the woods or difficult-to-reach place or if you need to signal someone else.

    Q: What is the definition of a lumen?

    A: To better understand your flashlight and its power, you need to look at how many lumens it has. A lumen is the measurement of the amount of light released per second. A flashlight with a greater amount of lumens will be brighter and more powerful. However, it will also use more battery power and may run out more quickly.

    Final Thoughts

    For a strong, durable, and bright 18650 flashlight, consider the ThruNite TN12 XP-L Edition 1110 Lumen Single CREE XP-L LED EDC 18650 Flashlight

    You can also check out the GearLight M10 18650 Tactical Flashlight to get two compact and bright flashlights.