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A flashlight is a handy tool that everyone should have. It can be useful in many situations like everyday carry (EDC), camping trips, breakdowns, or in the case of emergencies. Many of the new models feature energy-efficient LED bulbs in a tough and durable package that can withstand the elements.
Some of the best flashlights on the market use 18650 batteries. These lithium-Ion batteries are more powerful than three or four AA batteries and are normally rechargeable. In this guide, we take a look at some of the best 18650 flashlights to see what they offer.
The Best 18650 Flashlight
The Klarus XT11X is very bright at 3200 lumens and features a CNC-machined, aircraft-grade aluminum housing with mil-spec hard anodizing. It also has an IPX8 rating, meaning it can withstand being 2 meters underwater. It’s also impact-resistant up to one meter.
This rechargeable flashlight has six different modes, including turbo, high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. It also comes with a battery charge indicator and reverse polarity protection. One of the brilliant things about this flashlight is that it comes with many accessories like a spare O-ring, a holster, a clip, and a small USB light.
Six different modes
Lockout tail switch
- ModelXT11X Bundle
- Weight14.1 ounces
Water-resistant up to 2 meters
Impact-resistant up to 1 meter
Battery charge indicator
Can be complicated to use
Gets very hot
Questionable maximum output figure
This LED flashlight is rated for a maximum output of 1040 lumens, but it depends on the operating mode and battery type. It’s constructed from military-grade aluminum and is water-resistant and shock-resistant. It comes with five modes, including high, medium, low, and SOS. There is also a wide to narrow beam zoom setting.
The GearLight S1000 is portable, and with two flashlights and two holsters contained in one package, it offers exceptional value. It is also versatile and can be powered by either a single 18650 rechargeable battery or three AAA batteries.
Military-grade aluminum construction
Five lighting modes
Wide to narrow zoom
Can use either 18650 or AAA batteries
- Weight5.1 ounces
Average build quality
Changing modes can be difficult
The Acebeam L30 is a tough rechargeable flashlight that uses a Cree XHP70.2 LED bulb to make a massive lumen output of 4000. It has two switches. The side switch is to go through the five different brightness levels including firefly, low, mid, high, and strobe. The tail switch is for turbo mode and for momentary illuminations.
It’s one of the best 18650 flashlights at any price. It has an IPX8 rating for use in heavy rain and it can also withstand the impact of up to 1.2 meters. The fast-charging micro-USB port means it can be charged using a phone charger, computer USB port, or car charger.
Bright 4000 lumens maximum output
Uses one 18650 or two CR123 batteries
Five different brightness modes
Micro-USB charging port
- Weight5.9 ounces
IPX8 waterproof rating
Impact-resistant to 1.2 meters
Buttons are flimsy
Can get very hot on the highest setting
The Anker LC90 is a compact flashlight that’s perfect for everyday carry or outdoor activities. It uses a Cree LED bulb and has a maximum output of 900 lumens. It’s made from a tough aluminum body that’s shock-resistant and IP65-rated water-resistant. It features a wide to narrow beam zoom and five different lighting modes, including high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS.
This rechargeable flashlight comes with a large capacity 3350mAh battery and can use either a micro-USB port or a 1A adapter to charge.
Maximum lumens output of 900
Zoomable from wide to narrow beam
Five different lighting modes
- ModelLC 90 Bolder
- Weight6.24 ounces
The Soonfire Cree XP-L is a compact EDC flashlight with a pocket clip for easy carry. It’s very durable and is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with HAIII military-grade anodizing. It also boasts IPX-8 water resistance and is impact resistant up to 1.5 meters.
It puts out a maximum of 1000 lumens from the CreeXP LED bulb and has five programmable brightness modes, including high, medium, low, moonlight, and strobe. This LED flashlight uses a single 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries and is charged with a micro-USB cable.
Five programmable light modes
Red and blue battery indicator
1000 lumen maximum output
- ModelSoonfire E07
- Weight3.36 ounces
Impact-resistant up to 1.5 meters
Sensitive power switch
Short battery life
No tactical button
The Thorfire is another compact LED flashlight with a built-in pocket clip. It comes with a 3000mAh 18650 lithium battery and can also use two CR123A batteries. For added safety, it boasts short circuit protection, reverse connect protection, and overcharge protection.
This rechargeable flashlight has five different light modes, including firefly, low, mid, turbo, and high, and uses a double-tap tail switch to activate the strobe mode. It’s constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum with a hard-anodized finish and has an IPX8 rating for water resistance.
Maximum output of 1070 lumens
Can use either 18650 or CR123A batteries
Five lighting modes
Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
- Weight2.79 ounces
Easy to use
Suspect long-term durability
Short battery life on the highest setting
Can get hot fast on the highest setting
Best 18650 Flashlight Buying Guide & FAQs
You never know when a flashlight may come in handy. It’s one of the most useful tools you can keep in your house, car, or workplace. Most of the new flashlights on the market feature high-lumen LED lenses in a compact and durable package that’s easy to carry and store.
Some of the best LED flashlights on the market use 18650 lithium-ion batteries because they are rechargeable and more powerful than conventional AA or AAA batteries. Most of them also feature multiple light modes and convenient USB charging ports that are compatible with different types of chargers.
In this guide, we will give you the ins and outs of the different types of 18650 flashlights on the market and answer the most commonly asked questions.
The Advantages of Owning a 18650 Flashlight
Almost everyone has had a moment where they wish they had a flashlight on them. It could have been during a breakdown or during a camping trip. It might have been that you were working in a dark place or just taking a walk at night. Either way, it’s a nifty tool to have and a 18650 flashlight has many advantages over some other types.
Flashlights with 18650 lithium-ion batteries last longer than flashlights with conventional batteries and because they are rechargeable, they are more economical. Thanks to using LEDs instead of the old incandescent bulbs, they are much more energy-efficient and have a far longer lifespan. Most modern 18650 flashlights are much brighter than older types and have a higher lumen count.
- They have a long run-time and are more economical because they are rechargeable.
- They are energy-efficient and have a long lifespan.
- The light itself is very bright.
Types of 18650 Flashlights
There is a wide range of 18650 flashlights on the market that are targeted towards different users and different requirements. It’s best to choose the best rechargeable flashlight that meets your requirements and budget when making a decision. We take a look at some of the most common types of 18650 flashlights on the market today to help you decide.
- General Use
These types of flashlights are basic and lack some of the advanced features found in the more specialized types of flashlights. Most of them aren’t very bright or have multiple light modes. Their main purpose is to provide adequate lighting in an inexpensive package. In many cases, they aren’t as durable or weather-resistant as the other types and are best kept in a home setting.
General use flashlights aren’t recommended for serious users like law enforcement, military, or outdoor fanatics. Many people start off with a general use flashlight before moving on to the more specialized ones. The advantage of general use flashlights is that they are cheap and you don’t have to worry too much if they break or get lost.
These LED flashlights are designed to be hard-wearing and durable. They put out very bright light and are ideal for people who bet their lives on having great illumination. The best tactical flashlights can take a beating and will have some form of water resistance and shock resistance. They will also have a solid construction using high-quality materials like aircraft-grade aluminum.
Many tactical flashlights prioritize practicality so that they can be activated quickly and feature a tail cap button that’s easy to access. Because they are required to be very bright, they might have various light modes, and maybe use multiple batteries for longer life.
- Everyday Carry
These flashlights often combine the elements of a tactical flashlight and a general use flashlight in a smaller package. Despite the smaller size, they can still offer the same solid construction, durability, and light modes as the tactical flashlights. EDC flashlights have to be as small as possible, so they often use a single 18650 battery instead of a battery pack.
Some everyday carry flashlights can be just as bright, if not brighter than a tactical flashlight, but the battery may run out faster. Some of the most common features of EDC flashlights are pocket clips and lanyard rings to make them easier to carry.
What to Look for When Buying a 18650 Flashlight
There are many LED flashlights on the market, each with its own prices and features. Some are made for basic use, while others are made for advanced use. There are some standard features that are important to consider regardless of which flashlight you’re thinking of buying. Here we take a look at some of the most important features to consider when buying a flashlight.
A lumen is the unit of measurement for how much light is released per second. The higher the lumens, the brighter the flashlight will be. Since flashlights with a higher lumen count are brighter, they use more power, and can run down the battery faster. This is why many of the best LED flashlights have different light modes that can be used depending on your requirements.
The best flashlights tend to have a higher lumen count, but many also use multiple batteries. It’s worth noting that while lumens play a big part in the flashlight’s brightness, there are also other factors to consider like the throw and beam type.
- Adjustable Modes
You probably won’t need your rechargeable flashlight to be super bright at all times. In many cases, it can be overkill and it also runs down the battery much faster. Having adjustable modes means that you can adjust the brightness of your flashlight according to your circumstances and requirements.
The best 18650 flashlights normally have five different modes, including an SOS mode and a strobe mode that can be used for self-defense. Some flashlights also have a zoom option that allows you to focus the beam and adjust the light output. This means that you can make it wide to cover a large area or focus on a small area.
High-quality flashlights generally have a solid construction and are designed to work in all weather conditions. The best flashlights are made from strong aluminum and are often coated to make them weather-resistant. They should have at least some form of standardized water resistance ratings such as IPX8 or IP65. It’s also wise to get a flashlight that can withstand impact and has some form of shock resistance. Some conditions may also require your flashlight to be rubberized for a better grip or to have scratch-resistant materials. When it comes to construction, it’s worth looking for other features that you may need such as a pocket clip or a lanyard.
Tips for Buying and Using 18650 Flashlights
Choose a flashlight that has the correct throw to match your requirements. The throw is the distance that the light beam travels before it lessens. For certain uses like search and rescue, it’s best to have a narrow beam with a long throw, while a wide beam with a short throw may be better for general use. Some flashlights have an adjustable throw.
It’s worth looking at flashlights that can use more than one battery type. In some scenarios, your 18650 battery may run out and you won’t be able to charge it or find a replacement. Many of the best 18650 flashlights can also use CR123A batteries, and some can also use AA or AAA batteries.
The prices of flashlights can range between very reasonable to quite expensive, so there’s one to suit any budget. It’s possible to buy a high-quality flashlight for a low price if you can’t afford the top of the range. At the end of the day, even a cheap flashlight is better than no flashlight.
- Choose a flashlight with a throw to match your requirements.
- Get one that can use different types of batteries.
- It’s possible to get a good flashlight on a tight budget.
Best 18650 Flashlight FAQs
A: We’ve looked at the best 18650 flashlights on the market as well as the pros and cons of each. We’ve also covered some of the features to look for and some of the tips on how to choose the best ones. Now we’ll answer some of the more commonly asked questions by people wanting to get the best 18650 flashlights.
Q. What is the strobe mode used for?
A: It can be used to alert nearby people if you are lost. It can also be used as a self-defense tool to blind an assailant.
Q. Who makes the best 18650 flashlights?
A: There are a number of reputable manufacturers. It’s worth researching beforehand to see what they offer and what type of warranties they give. Fenix and ThruNite are a couple of manufacturers to consider.
Q. Can 18650 flashlights be repaired?
A: It depends on the flashlight and the manufacturer. Many reputable companies offer some repairs to the products depending on the circumstances.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best 18650 flashlight goes to the Klarus XT11X LED Flashlight. It is super bright with a high maximum output of 3000 lumens. It also has six different light modes. This flashlight has sturdy construction with an aircraft-grade aluminum housing and is water-resistant and impact-resistant.