The 10 Best 18650 Flashlights in 2019 for Demanding Users

Benjamin Roussey
DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, which means we earn a fee when you decide to buy something through our links at no extra cost to you. We try to recommend products that believe are of high quality and from reputable brands that care about customers. This helps keep this site afloat. If you want to learn more, click here. Thanks.

Introduction

Ask a camper, and he will agree that a flashlight can save your life if you have the right one!

Whether you are buying a flashlight to take out on your next camping trip, or for tactical purposes, its reliability is absolutely critical. And, what makes a flashlight reliable? Yes, you are right – its power source – the battery.

When looking for a flashlight for emergency preparedness, do not settle for anything less than, a 18650 flashlight.

These flashlights are powered by 18650 batteries and will never let you down. In just a few moments, we will share our top picks for the best 18650 flashlights that money can buy. But, before that let us tell you why these flashlights powered by 18650 batteries stand out from the crowd.

At a Glance: Our Choices for The 10 Best 18650 Flashlights

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each flashlight.

Why You Should Buy 18650 Flashlights?

Protection: Most 18650 batteries that power these handy flashlights come in protected forms. These batteries are preferred over unprotected ones, as they can protect against overcharge, short circuits, a surge in temperatures, and even over-discharge. While much cheaper in price, unprotected batteries fail to offer these features and can damage your flashlight.

Last Longer: Flashlights powered by 18650 batteries are more reliable and last longer thanks to the batteries used in them. Like most rechargeable batteries, even 18650 batteries have a rating which is measured in mAH – milliAmpere hour. This rating serves as a way to measure how much current your batteries will discharge per hour.

For instance, a 2400 mAH battery can maintain a 2400 milliAmp draw an hour before it drops to a discharged voltage level. 18650 batteries are available in varying mAH ratings. And, while this rating doesn’t directly indicate how long the battery will last, you can rest assured that these high drain batteries that have low mAH ratings do last a long time.

Users claim that on normal use, the cycle life of 18650 batteries is up to 500 times more than regular batteries, which means your flashlight will not need a frequent change of batteries.

Better brightness: Since 18650 batteries have a much higher voltage than their counterparts such as nickel-cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries, the flashlight will emit bright light. You can depend on 18650 flashlights to guide your way, even in pitch dark.

Rechargeable: Yet another selling point of 18650 batteries is that you can recharge them instead of having to dispose of them after use. When your flashlight runs out of charge, simply pop out the battery, plug it into the charger, recharge them and viola your flashlight is ready to use again!

Economical: Since 18650 flashlights use 28650 batteries that can be recharged, they are more viable and are a lot more economical in the long run. Invest in a backup set of batteries and keep them charged at all times. When you run out of juice, simply swap the batteries and you will have light again.

Flashlights are undoubtedly indispensable tools, if you are someone who loves camping. However, if you use yours with alkaline batteries, it may run out right when you need it most.

However, when you invest in a 18650 flashlight and have 18650 batteries, you can be sure you will have a strong beam anywhere anytime. These battery-flashlight combinations aren’t just powerful and consistent, but also take just a few hours to charge completely.

Now, those were a few pros of 18650 flashlights. Let us now review some of the best brands on the market.

The Top 10 18650 Flahslights

 #1

Nitecore P12

1.-nitecore-p12
Our Rating:(4.9/5)
Lumens:1000 lumens
Light Modes:4 b. levels, strobe, sos
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:28 h (Low)
Weight:3.10 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Made from aluminum alloy which makes it lightweight and durable
(+) Very stylish
(+) Versatile
Cons:
(-) Warranty is valid only if you make your purchase from an authorized dealer
(-) Warranty is void if you use non-Nitecore parts such as batteries

Overview

Looking for a tactical flashlight that is reliable? Look no further than Nitecore P12. This is an above average tactical flashlight that has strobe mode, is water resistant and very durable.

Built upon C CREE XM-L2 (U2) LED you can expect a light output of approximately 1000 Lumens from this handy flashlight. Its high-tech circuitry, reliability, and longevity make it a really good tactical flashlight worth your consideration. This flashlight is very handy and measures just 5.47″ x 1″, and is 3.1 ounces in weight.

While other flashlights in this size segment provide different levels of luminosity – high, medium, low, and very low, the Nirecore P12, has additional modes such as self-defense strobe, candle mode, locator light, and even SOS and can easily light up your path in the wilderness.

Conclusion

Is Nitecore P12 flashlight a worthy buy? We believe that if you are on the lookout for a versatile light that can serve more than one purpose, then this is a flashlight worth considering. We loved its rugged design and outstanding performance, and the fact that it can be recharged.

We also liked that the manufacturer, offers a Nitecore rechargeable 18650 battery, and a LumenTac Charger with the flashlight, making it value for money. While the warranty terms aren’t the best, no other flashlight in this segment throws light this distance (252 yards)!

Yes, there are many great flashlights on the market, but only a counted few in this category of size as well as capability, making us score it a 10 out of 10.

 #2

Fenix FX-PD35TAC

2.-fenix-fx-pd35tac
Our Rating:(4.9/5)
Lumens:1000 Lumens
Light Modes:3 b. levels, eco, turbo, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:29 h (Low)
Weight:3 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Easy to operate stainless steel side switch
(+) Waterproof
(+) Rear switch allows you to turn on/off with ease
Cons:
(-) Constant use can drain battery real soon
(-) Light tends to dim as power decreases

Overview

The Fenix FX – PD35 TAC – Tactical Edition, is a pocket-size flashlight that renders higher performance when compared to its predecessor the PD35. The company has taken the best-selling PD35 and given it some innovative upgrades to enhance its tactical capabilities.

This flashlight measures less than 5.51″ but can put out a light of about 1000 lumen. Its beam distance is quite impressive at 656 feet. The FX-PD35TAC can be run on a single 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries.

It features two modes – The Outdoor mode and the Tactical Mode. In the Outdoor Mode, the flashlight can deliver 6 output modes, while on the other hand, the Tactical Mode strengthens the flashlight with faster and simplified operation.

The flashlight also features a ‘Low-voltage Reminder’ that tells you when to change the battery. Other features include an ‘Intelligent Memory Circuit’, that remembers last-used output mode, when switched on, Reverse polarity protection, and digitally regulated output ensures consistent brightness.

This flashlight is durable and perfect for not just outdoor use but also is widely used among security and law enforcement personnel. You can count on this flashlight to deliver reliable and bright lighting for a wide range of situations.

Conclusion

The Fenix FX-PD35TAC is a powerful flashlight that can, not just deliver 1000 lumens of light, but can also stand up to heavy-duty use. We liked the rugged construction of the flashlight and the fact that it also has an SOS mode, apart from strobe mode, and 3 light levels.

Despite its rugged build, we found it light and compact which makes it easy to stow in a backpack or even your pocket. We also found that the flashlight does get warm to touch on constant use, however, this outweighs its many features. All in all, this is a flashlight worth investing in.

 #3

ThruNite TN12

3.-thrunite-tn12
Our Rating:(4.7/5)
Lumens:1050 lumens
Light Modes:5 b. levels, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:74 h (Very low)
Weight:2.89 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Shock and water-resistant
(+) Affordable
(+) Multiple light modes
Cons:
(-) LED head tends to heat up
(-) Some light settings drains batteries swiftly

Overview

Whether you are out camping, fun hunting, or even on a wilderness hike, you must pack a few important accessories such as a lighter, compass, ammo, binoculars, and a reliable flashlight.

Many first time buyers find it hard to find the right flashlight. If you are on the lookout for a great EDC flashlight, your search ends with the ThruNite TN12. This is a flashlight that is engineered for mobility; it is lightweight, can be easily carried in your pocket or backpack and has an added lanyard.

The ThruNite TN12 EDC LED Flashlight has a rugged design with a thick light head, which is optimized for use in rough terrains. It is made from aircraft grade aluminum and can reach up to 1050 Lumens when set in Max mode and 800 Lumens in Strobe Mode.

It can also be used as a tactical flashlight with the flick of its tail-switch. By pressing the side switch you can cycle between firefly, low, medium, high, and max modes with ease.

Conclusion

Upon use, we found the ThruNite TN12 a good choice for a flashlight. We liked that the flashlight could provide both Cool White and Neutral White light. However, the Neutral White light output was about 20% less than the output in Cool white mode. We found the flashlight easy to use, even with one hand. On half-pressing the tail switch, you can activate light momentarily.

Upon clicking the switch, the flashlight turns on, another click or press and the flashlight is off. Unlike most flashlights, ThruNite comes bundled with a number of accessories. The pack contains O-rings that will keep your flashlight waterproof, a handy stainless steel pocket clip to attach your TN12 to your pocket or belt, a holster to protect it, and a lanyard too.

We found that the LED head gets warm to touch with constant use, but it is not a serious problem and can be lived with. This is by far the best flashlight on the market for under $50.

 #4

Olight S30R Baton III

4.-olight-s30r-baton-iii
Our Rating:(4.6/5)
Lumens:1050 lumens
Light Modes:5 b. levels, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:130 h (Very low)
Weight:3.88 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Has a charging port
(+) Lasts for hours on a single charge
(+) Turbo mode is extremely bright
Cons:
(-) Light sometimes doesn’t function in very cold temperatures
(-) Exposed contacts for the charging system
(-) Holster is too large for the flashlight

Overview

An Amazon bestseller, the Olight S30R Baton III is a flashlight that delivers what it claims. This third generation Olight S30R Baton flashlight comes with a Cree XM-L2 LED and can deliver a powerful maximum output of 1050 Lumens. It measures just 4.49”, and weighs under 4 ounces even after slipping in the battery, making it ideal for every day carry.

The Olight S30R Baton III utilizes an aluminum reflector that delivers an improved beam focus for close and medium range illumination. The reflector is paired with a hardened glass lens that allows 99% light transmission rate. That is not all, the Olight S30R Baton III low power indicator that nests under the side switch and glows red when the voltage dips.

Conclusion

Just like its predecessors, the Olight S30R Baton III is a flashlight you can depend upon. We found its build, sturdy, and durable. We also liked that the flashlight has a charging port that is compatible with Olight magnetic charging cables that however need to be bought separately, but are certainly handy for quick charging.

Yet another feature we liked about the flashlight is that you can double-click to get direct access to turbo mode. One of the few caveats of this otherwise good flashlight is that its exterior houses exposed contacts for charging, which could make it more prone to shorting.

However, this isn’t a huge concern if you are careful. The latest version of the S30R Baton is smaller, brighter, faster to charge, and more efficient too. 5 intensity modes plus strobe, magnetic tail, timer function, low battery indicator, and lockout mode make this a great torch to carry and wins our thumbs up.

 #5

Streamlight 88065

5.-streamlight-88065
Our Rating:(4.6/5)
Lumens:1000 lumens
Light Modes:3 b. levels, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:23 h (Low)
Weight:6.2 w/batteries
Water Resistant:IPX7

Pros:
(+) Very durable
(+) Works on rechargeable as well as disposable batteries
(+) Light and Handy
Cons:
(-) 10x tap end cap takes time to get used to
(-) Tad bit thick

Overview

The Streamlight ProTac HL-X is a compact flashlight that features dual fuel technology, which allows you to use it with either a single 18650 rechargeable battery or two CR123A lithium batteries. This high-powered flashlight has C4 LED which is impervious to shock, and puts out powerful 1000 Lumens that can be used in three power modes.

It also has a strobe function that can be used for disorienting targets and even signaling. The TEN-TAP program switch on this flashlight lets you choose between three programs so you can switch between high only, high/strobe/low, and low/medium/high, with ease. The multi-, push-button tactical tail switch facilitates one-handed operation of variable intensity, momentary, or strobe mode. Wow, and you thought tax cuts were cool!

Conclusion

The Streamlight 88065 ProTac HL-X is a versatile flashlight that produces brilliant and blinding light. It is designed to use in all markets and comes with a removable pocket clip and holster. The anodized aluminum body is quite rugged and durable as well as abrasion resistant.

We also tested the flashlight by immersing it in water, and it survived a good 30 minutes in a meter of water. We felt that the flashlight could have been thinner, however, at $65, it has more features than most of its competitors, making it a worthy buy and one of our top picks for the day.

 #6

ThruNite TN32

6.-thrunite-tn32
Our Rating:(4.5/5)
Lumens:1702 lumens
Light Modes:3 b. levels, firefly
# of Batteries:Three
Battery Duration:21 h (medium)
Weight:23 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Not heavy even with three 18650 batteries
(+) Simple to use
(+) Splendid throw and performance
Cons:
(-) LED flickers slightly when powered off at times
(-) Narrow beam profile

Overview

If you are looking for a flashlight that has an excellent throw, blindly buy yourself a ThruNite TN32. Designed for flash-aholics, the TN31 is much brighter than its predecessor and can produce a maximum output of 1702 Lumens. The flashlight’s copper plated, chromium circuitry makes way for better heat dissipating and performance.

The ThruNite TN32 weight a mere 650 grams, is easy to carry and ideal for tactical and search purposes. The flashlight needs 3×18650 batteries and has an impressive beam distance of 1043 Meters. The ThruNite TN 32 also features mechanical reversed polarity protection design that ensures you always slot the batteries the right way.

Conclusion

Specially designed for self-defense, military, law Enforcement, hunting, search & rescue and outdoorsy activities, the ThruNite TN32 is a truly incredible flashlight. We found that though it doesn’t have a wide beam profile that can illuminate vast areas, its narrow beam profile is wide enough for most activities. We could put daylight at the other end of over 300 yards, no matter which direction we pointed it.

The flashlight has a simple user interface and can go from standby mode to turbo, strobe or any of the lower modes with a quick flick. To sum it up, the build quality, UI and Lumens OTF – for the price – is simply outstanding! Even with all those amazing bonuses because of the tax cuts being dished out!

 #7

Pelican 7600

7.-pelican-7600
Our Rating:(4.5/5)
Lumens:944 lumens
Light Modes:3 b. levels, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:29 h (Low)
Weight:5.4 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Tough and powerful
(+) Multiple selectable modes
(+) Easy to store and carry around
Cons:
(-) Tail cap button is too sensitive
(-) Takes a long time to charge

Overview

The Pelican 7600 is a dual-powered flashlight with an ideal beam and is suited for police officer use. If you are one of those many hundred users, who skim through several product reviews, to find yourself a great flashlight, you are in luck.

The Pelican 7200 has an excellent form factor. It is 6.19” long and has a diameter of just 1.3”. The light has an innovative switch assembly and bezel that is thicker at the ends and makes it easy to grip as well as orient without having to look at it.

The maximum output of this flashlight is 944 Lumens. The low setting produces 37 Lumens while the medium setting can deliver 479 Lumens. The beam produced by the Pelican 7600 has a generous spill beam and uses a textured reflector so as to throw a flood beam minus hard edges.

Conclusion

The Pelican 7600 is rugged, it is stylish, and is a poignant buy. Upon use, we found that the beam is consistent in brightness and has no hot spots, while also being concentric to the body of the light. Both the LED emitters fire through the same single reflector. To our surprise, we found that this flashlight is also fully submersible despite having a rotating ring switch.

We also found the size perfect, as it can be easily stuffed under the arms when not in use. The only flip side is that flashlight takes forever to charge. However, the company has a workaround for this – USB charging and an adapter that can store additional batteries. In short, the Pelican 7600 is a flashlight that can be sworn in any time.

 #8

EagleTac D25LC2

8.-eagletac-d25lc2
Our Rating:(4.4/5)
Lumens:850 lumens
Light Modes:4 b. levels, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:15 h (Low)
Weight:1.7 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Stainless steel bezel
(+) IPX-8 waterproof
(+) Superior knurling for better grip
Cons:
(-) Gets pretty hot on continuous use
(-) Push button tends to get accidentally turned on often

Overview

The EagleTac D25LC2 takes a 18650 lithium-ion battery and has a twisty interface with no dedicated switch. All you need to do is tighten the head to turn the light on, and loosen-tighten in order to change modes. This flashlight has a solid build and comes with a Cree XM-L2 emitter.

It is a simple design with fewer points of failure and is very compact and can go right into your pocket. The flashlight can deliver a maximum output of 850 Lumens and can be powered on by either 1×18650 or 2xCR123A batteries. It also comes with a durable EagleTac-standard deep carry clip and has 4 different brightness settings and a strobe mode too.

Conclusion

The EagleTac D25LC2 is a simple yet promising flashlight. The fit and finish of the unit we reviewed was nothing short of excellent. Though this flashlight doesn’t have a memory mode, it is quite easy and quick to operate.

By rapidly cycling through low-medium-high, twice you can get access to many hidden strobe and beacon modes. The model comes with an inbuilt “orange peel” reflector that is lightly textured and paired with an anti-reflective coated mineral glass lens.

This combination makes way for a nice, smooth and powerful beam. When you buy this flashlight you get accessories that include a rechargeable 18650, a charger and a Lumentac Keychain Light. The product also comes with a ten-year warranty that speaks highly of its durability and craftsmanship. Buy it with confidence!

 #9

Foursevens Maelstrom Regen MMR-X

9.-foursevens-maelstrom-regen-mmr-x
Our Rating:(4.3/5)
Lumens:800 lumens
Light Modes:5 b. levels, sos, strobe
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:40 h (Low)
Weight:4.55 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Knurling on the tail cap and the body provides extra grip
(+) Resistant to rolling off on flat surfaces
Cons:
(-) No lockout function for tail cap switch
(-) Full charge takes nearly 5 hours

Overview

Fourseven’s Maelstrom Regen MMR-X is one of the most compact 18650 lithium-ion flashlights on the market today. It is a little under 5.5 inches in length and weighs 5 ounces even with the battery inserted. This rugged Cree XM L2 flashlight is also versatile and gives you a run time of 35 days.

The flashlight can be used only with 18650 lithium-ion batteries. This is one of the few flashlights that has a micro USB port and is reconfigurable in Maelstrom’s portfolio. It is easy to switch between 5 different interfaces based on your purpose and needs.

This light works amazing as a patrol light, and gives the user sufficient spill beam for targets. The MMR-X also has last memory mode which kicks in after the light has been on for at least 4-5 seconds in the same mode. If the flashlight is off for at least two seconds, it will return to its memorized mode when turned on.

Conclusion

Foursevens Maelstrom Regen MMR-X is an outstanding high-output flashlight that can be recharged and can produce 800 lumens in Burst mode. We liked that this flashlight is user programmable and very compact.

The flashlight also comes with tons of accessories that allows users to customize their light. Yet another feature that we liked about the flashlight is that the standard switch can be swapped with the reverse click type switch that comes with the package. This makes it easy to change modes and turn on-off the light. Though this flashlight does take a long time to charge, it is bright, durable and worth every penny spent on it.

 #10

ThorFire VG10S

10.-thorfire-vg10s
Our Rating:(4.3/5)
Lumens:1100 lumens
Light Modes:3 b levels, strobe, moonlight
# of Batteries:One
Battery Duration:200 h (moonlight)
Weight:4.6 oz
Water Resistant:IPX8

Pros:
(+) Very bright light
(+) Made from aircraft grade aluminum and very durable
(+) Waterproof
Cons:
(-) Head size may be a deterrent for some who wish to carry in pocket
(-) Tail switch protrudes slightly and is wobbly

Overview

The VG10S is a handy flashlight that is tail switch operated, and has 5 modes of operation. The 1100 lumen flashlight powered by a powerful Cree XP-L2 V6 3D LED. The flashlight is designed with a large reflector that helps throw light better than a conventional tube light.

The user interface is simple and easy to use. The order too is rather simple – moonlight – low – medium and high. After the cycle, the flashlight resets to moonlight. The hidden strobe mode can be activated by double-clicking. The flashlight also has a memory mode and is a good design for those looking for a simple flashlight.

Conclusion

The ThorFire VG10S is a versatile flashlight with easy to use features and is a worthy addition to your survival gear. We liked the ‘Intelligent Power Saving’ feature that ramps down the light after 5 minutes of working on high to a medium mode for 15 minutes in order to save energy as well as protect it from getting overheated. The flashlight’s intense beam can reach up to 900 feet.

Conclusion

Manufacturers make 18650 flashlights from various materials such as aluminum, plastic, and anodized aluminum. While plastic may work well, flashlights made from aluminum like the ones we mentioned above offer superior strength and performance.

Never hurry into buying the first flashlight that you come across. Take time to research a dozen or more flashlights, compare their features, and read user reviews on them before you zero in on a flashlight that fits your needs and budget. With a little diligence and patience, you can end up with a durable and tremendous flashlight that can produce sparkling light and can be used for a myriad of purposes.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

Send us your questions and inquiries and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
Best Olight Flashlights and Reviews Featured ImageBest CR123A Flashlights Featured Image