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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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.
A 900-lumen flashlight with a Cree LED, 1000-foot range, and adjustable settings.
- IPX rated, pocket-sized flashlight with an aluminum non-slip design.
- Five settings, including strobe and SOS.
- Comes with an 18-month warranty.
- May not be as bright as other 18650 flashlights
- Possible issues with switches
- Some users report leaky batteries
The flashlight can function with 18650 batteries and 26650 ones. It’s powerful and provides a consistent and strong beam of light.
- Light’s ergonomic shape makes it fit more securely into a hand
- Has multiple lighting modes and zoom features
- Water-resistant and rugged
- Lens isn’t the most durable and can be scratched if handled too roughly
- Battery may last around an hour on the highest setting
A premium 18650 flashlight that features a comfortable rubber grip and easy-to-carry shape.
- Flashlight is fully rechargeable with a USB cable
- Has around 2,500 lumens
- Features three settings
- Includes an anti-roll cap
- Light is one of the most expensive on our list
- May not last all that long in terms of battery power.
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 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, 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.
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.
The Streamlight brand has been around since the 1970s and is a leader in the rechargeable flashlight industry. The Eagleville, Penn.-based company offers several 18650 li-ion flashlights, including this Streamlight PolyTac X Series flashlight, ideal for pocket carry and EDC needs.
GearLight is among the best-selling LED manufacturers around. The company is based in southern California and has other plants around the globe. Some of its most popular products are tactical flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns, many of which are built for biking and hiking. As for its best 18650 flashlight, consider the GearLight High-Powered LED Flashlight.
18650 Flashlights Pricing
- Under $50: 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.
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.
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.
- 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 2021
- 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.
Q. What is a 18650 flashlight?
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?
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?
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.
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.