If you benefit from the use of a tactical flashlight in your professional capacity, then you’ll have first-hand experience regarding the usefulness of certain manufacturers’ products and the advantages of those flashlights have over other brands. However, the absolute brightest tactical flashlight may just be out of your reach for a number of reasons, the most important of which will be explored below. Whether you’re on the market for the best tactical flashlights for self-defense precautions, for general-purpose use around the house, for outdoor environments, or even for professional deployment, discover all you need to know about chasing the highest lumen rating through our tactical flashlight reviews and discussions.
Overview: Brightest Tactical Flashlights
|FENIX TK35 2000 LUMEN ULTIMATE EDITION (2015) LED||Check on Amazon|
|NITECORE P36 2000 LUMEN CREE MT-G2 NEUTRAL WHITE LED||Check on Amazon|
|SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 PROFESSIONAL SERIES FLASHLIGHT KIT||Check on Amazon|
|STREAMLIGHT 69260 TLR-1 HL HIGH LUMEN RAIL-MOUNTED TACTICAL LIGHT||Check on Amazon|
|STREAMLIGHT 75458 STINGER DS LED HL RECHARGEABLE HIGH LUMEN FLASHLIGHT WITH 120-VOLT AC12-VOLT DC PIGGYBACK CHARGER||Check on Amazon|
Brightest Tactical Flashlight Reviews
1. FENIX TK35 2000 lumen Ultimate Edition (2015) LED
Although you can get a maximum brightness output of a whopping 2000 lumens, operating this tactical flashlight at the lowest setting is still enough to find your way around your dark house. The pack comes with lots of great accessories which include a smart charger amongst many others, but it’s perhaps the seven operational modes you’ll be most impressed with (Eco, Low, Medium, High, Turbo, Strobe, and SOS).
- The beam’s power doesn’t only reside in the 2000 lumen output, but also in the 1050 ft distance it covers; you get a minimum of 100 yards at maximum brightness
- The brightness level remains constant, thanks to digital regulation
- No problems if you insert the batteries incorrectly; it has inverted polarity protection
- You can light up the whole room instead of just illuminating one isolated spot
- Recharging takes a bit of a while, due to the battery size
- One-handed use can be a bit tricky with the rear-located buttons
If it’s a lot of light you want, that’s what you get in abundance with this tactical flashlight. It’s amazing!
2. NITECORE P36 2000 Lumen CREE MT-G2 neutral white LED
Usually, when a tactical flashlight output gets as bright as 2000 lumens, you know you have to compromise in many other areas. This LED tactical flashlight from NITECORE goes against that trend however because you also get decent peripheral lighting. In action, powered by original Nitecore NL 183 18650 batteries, you can rip through the thickest mist and if you drop the flashlight, 1.5 meters is how far the impact-resistance protects it.
- Rotation-operated switch manipulates the flashlight’s many functions, making it very easy to use
- The regulation of the flashlight’s temperature is very good, which saves energy and makes it very comfortable (doesn’t get too hot in your hands)
- The light output mode chosen offers consistent performance (brightness levels remain constant)
- One of the better memory features in a tactical flashlight, which saves power by working with the regular light modes
- It seems just a little bit too big to be a proper tactical flashlight
- The light appears to get a bit warmer when compared to some other tactical flashlights in its class, but it’s not really a deal-breaker
This is an extremely bright flashlight which adds up to some good value for the money you’ll spend.
3. SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 Professional Series Flashlight Kit
This professional tactical flashlight from Solaray weighs a mere 5 ounces, yet it packs a decent punch in terms of its light output and performance. We’re not sure about the 1200 lumen claims, but it is bright enough to get the job done well, featuring five modes; SOS, Strobe, Low, Medium, and High.
It’s powered by two 3.7Volt 18650 batteries which come included, otherwise, you can use 3 triple-A batteries as well.
- Being able to use AAA batteries via the adapter is a nice additional touch
- It zooms very smoothly and features a zooming functions which actually works
- Great flooding beam which doesn’t generate a hot spot
- The flood beam also doesn’t result in any over-spilling
- We’d have a hard time confidently acclaiming this to indeed be a 1200 lumen flashlight, but it is still very bright nevertheless
- It’s a bit of a mission to fit the batteries in correctly
Well, we can’t fault the manufacturers for producing a tactical flashlight that pretty much does what it claims. You get great output with this flashlight, running on batteries that give roughly the same performance in a 2800 Nitecore 18650 battery.
4. Streamlight 69260 TLR-1 HL High Lumen Rail-Mounted Tactical Light
630 lumens is more than decent and is a luminous flux claim which is refreshingly close to reality.
- Attaches safely and conveniently to your firearm (like a Glock 21) and you can even do it one-handed while your hand never gets close to the muzzle
- Fits a wide range of firearms very securely
- Its aluminum build makes it go well with most guns it’s fitted on, making it look like one unit
- It’s really quite a durable tactical flashlight which will last through multiple thousand rounds while maintaining great form and functionality
- The strobe light mode appears a bit of a challenge to select, which may make you feel as if it doesn’t work at all
- The door to the battery compartment seems to be the least securely-built part of the flashlight
If you are okay with giving up about 5% accuracy on any target you’re aiming to shoot at, at up to about 16 feet away, the flashlight’s bright spot can be used to replace your firearms aim. The mounted tactical light with the help of an sight attached to your handgun, the accuracy will be doubled.
5. Streamlight 75458 Stinger DS LED HL Rechargeable High Lumen Flashlight with 120-volt AC12-volt DC PiggyBack Charger
Perhaps not a tactical flashlight for professional law enforcement officials, but it very well could be with 640 lumens and a beam distance of 297 meters. It weighs 2 pounds but makes up for that relative weightiness with a surprisingly compact size. It’s also very durable and will give you a good four hours on one charge.
- This flashlight’s battery is very impressive in two ways; it outputs up to four whole hours of illumination and it’s also very durable, lasting for up to a thousand recharges
- Very durable flashlight with impact resistance of up to a meter
- Durability is added to by usability, with a comfortable rubber grip that prevents slipping
- Very stable performance which maintains consistent light output
- Turns out to be smaller in size than what the 2-pound weight suggests
- Too much impact can cause the consistent performance to fluctuate, such as dimming of the light after a few seconds usage
It comes with a charger which allows you to also charge a spare battery simultaneously. Great battery life and solid brightness levels to make a good all-around tactical flashlight.
Overview: BRIGHTEST TACTICAL FLASHLIGHTS
|ECOGEAR FX PROFESSIONAL GRADE LED FLASHLIGHT KIT||Check on Amazon|
|GRACE TOP TACTICAL LED FLASHLIGHT||Check on Amazon|
|LINGSFIRE ZOOMABLE SCALABLE LED FLASHLIGHT||Check on Amazon|
|SUPERNOVA GUARDIAN 1300 PROFESSIONAL SERIES ULTRA BRIGHT RECHARGEABLE||Check on Amazon|
|STREAMLIGHT 88040 PROTAC HL HIGH LUMEN PROFESSIONAL TACTICAL LIGHT WITH WHITE LED||Check on Amazon|
6. EcoGear FX Professional Grade LED Flashlight Kit
At 1600 lumens, this is the manufacturer’s brightest flashlight and comes with a lot of accessories. It’s powered by 18650 lithium batteries for the best performance and the kit comes with a free mini LED flashlight too. It is indeed of professional tactical LED flashlight grade.
- None of the brightness is wasted; the reflector ensures the light intensity travels a good distance
- The durability resides in the lifespan of the LED emitter because of constant voltage (current) maintained
- Very intuitive switch to turn the flashlight on and off as well as to switch between the different modes of light
- It’s a good flashlight but seems a bit expensive for what it offers
- Doesn’t really seem like a flashlight which is built to last long (apart from the LED emitter). Yes, the manufacturers rightfully point out its aluminum alloy build, but they also point out that that assists in avoiding scratches when it falls, not exactly functional damage
- “Water resistant”; they say so, but not really, since you’re not to submerge it in water
This is a very bright flashlight which would definitely stun an opponent/attacker if shone in their eyes.
7. Grace top Tactical LED Flashlight
Five light modes powered by three AAA-sized batteries or one 18650 battery can generate up to 1200 lumens, which is extremely bright. Don’t let the rather cheap-looking packaging fool you – it’s what’s on the inside that counts. If it’s good enough for professional law enforcement officials, then it’s definitely also good enough for activities such as camping and night-time patrols – as routinely completed by security personnel.
- The light spreads out quite well
- It is a very bright light with a great zoom feature that results in razor-sharp focus
- Small size fits very well in the hand, but it has enough weight about it to make it feel like you didn’t spend your money on something insignificant
- Super price for what you get
- The batteries aren’t included, but you get a battery plastic sleeve
- The claimed output 1200 lumens holds true, but only if you use an 18650 battery (which you must buy separately)
This is a very powerful tactical LED flashlight which is just built for comfortable and effective hand-held use around the house, in emergency situations, outdoors, etc.
8. LingsFire Zoomable Scalable LED Flashlight
Considering the amount of money you’ll spend to acquire this red tactical flashlight, it becomes clear that you’re getting every bit of value for every cent. It is extremely bright and is powered by one 18650 battery or three triple-A batteries. How bright is it? 2000 lumens bright, but it is some brightness which can be adjusted over different modes. It only falls short of being perfect as a result of the funky “memory” mode when you switch if off and back on again. It sort of cycles through the modes (goes to the next mode) when you switch it back on.
- This flashlight maintains its high performance in just about any environment and it is water resistant as well
- Refreshingly different light color (red)
- Metal body appears to be solidly built as it feels really robust, so the weight becomes a non-issue
- The batteries it uses aren’t included
- It’s a bit of a mission to get to grips with operating the switch for the different light output modes
Despite its red color, this is a great tactical flashlight that’s also extremely bright. In fact, the brightness coming together with the red color makes this is a great tactical flashlight, especially to startle opponents.
9. Supernova Guardian 1300 Professional Series Ultra Bright Rechargeable
This tactical flashlight from Supernova falls within that rare bracket of flashlights with a brightness output of over 1200 to 2000 lumens. In reality, it’s hard to believe it actually is 1300 lumens. Compared side-by-side with other tactical flashlights, it appears to be nearer to 950 lumens, but it’s still a great tactical flashlight that’s very bright.
- This tactical flashlight features a high-quality build, which is reassuring because it means all the functions remain operational for a long time
- You have a choice between three AAA batteries or one 18650 lithium battery
- Convenient slight glow-in-the-dark switch for easy location in the dark
- We’re not quite sure it is indeed 1300 lumens bright, as advertised by the manufacturers, but it’s still way brighter than many other tactical flashlights in the same class
- The durability seems to be limited by a need for some caution; it’ll work and last long, but don’t drop it too often as the lens may shatter
This is a tactical flashlight which packs a lot of punch in its power. It’ll rival flashlights or torches of a bigger size.
10. Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL High Lumen Professional Tactical Light with white LED
This is probably about as bright as a tactical flashlight indicated to give off 600 lumens can get as it is very powerful. Weighing a mere 0.35 pounds, it’s powered by 2 CR123A batteries, is waterproof and has three simple operating modes.
- The flashlight doesn’t roll away when it falls to the ground because of the anti-roll design
- It is insanely bright
- Has a wider beam spread than most of the other tactical flashlights in its class, making it great for illumination at close quarters
- Feels a bit warm after using it for about 10 minutes, but it’s actually quite a “comfortable” warmth which doesn’t burn at all
- Not the most durable tactical flashlight you’ll find around, but it works well while it stays intact
This is a very powerful tactical flashlight which packs an insane amount of explosive power to be enjoyed for quite a while. It won’t last forever, but for its price the power it outputs can work out to a different tactical flashlight with less power, but lasting longer. It’s powerful enough to tear through tinted windows, making it a hit with night-time patrols-men.
What to Look For the Best Tactical Flashlight?
Lumens – A Measure of Brightness
What are these lumens we keep referring to when discussing the brightness of tactical flashlights? It’s exactly that; the unit of measurement for brightness expressed as the rate at which light energy flows (luminous flux). The higher the rate at which this light energy flows, the brighter the beam produced by a tactical flashlight. A tactical flashlight indicated to output higher lumens is simply one which achieves its brightness through the use of a combination of a powerful power source (battery) and an LED which maximizes that power source to efficiently output a strong beam of light.
Granted, as the title of this post suggests, we’re featuring the most useful tactical flashlights we could lay our hands on, but we were met with a bit of a quandary when it came to considerations of quality and performance. Tactical flashlight manufacturers are very quick to highlight the high brightness rating of their products in lumens, but the brightest units with the highest lumens don’t always necessarily equate to the best overall tactical flashlights.
Brightness is Relative
As with just about everything else with variable and measurable output and performance, brightness is indeed relative, even if in this case it can be measured. We’re pretty sure most consumers don’t have any reasonable cause to invest in the equipment that precisely measures luminous flux, so the next best thing is natural to rely on the brightness levels indicated by the manufacturers themselves. To establish some sort of uniformity, however, anything above 700 lumens can be comfortably referred to as being a bright tactical flashlight. Our brightest featured tactical flashlights go up to a maximum of 2000 lumens and if you take into account the ‘tactical’ part of the equation, around 2000 lumens is perhaps the highest you can go without compromising too much on some of the other features which come together to make up what is considered a “tactical” flashlight. Yes, you get torches which can output around 3500 lumens or more, but then nine out of ten times these are indeed torches or lamps instead of tactical flashlights.
TACTICAL: “Pertaining to tactics in order to gain an advantage, primarily in a war-like situation”
With this consideration of the definition of the word ‘tactical’ in mind, it’s clear to see that there’s nothing tactical about a lamp or torch, so in terms of tactical flashlights, anything above 700 right up to 2000 lumens falls within the brightest tactical flashlights bracket.
Beyond Brightness – Flood, Throw & Different Modes
If you are active in the tactical division of the field of professional law enforcement, you’ll know all about the different tactical flashlight light modes and their significance. The same goes for military personnel, otherwise, if you’re just using your tactical flashlight for everyday uses and possibly for self-defense, you can still benefit from different settings such as SOS and Strobe. These settings naturally come in addition to the various brightness levels of course. So it goes beyond just looking at it as the absolute tactical flashlight passing off as the best one you can get.
Two other terms associated with tactical flashlights are also thrown around a lot, namely throw and flood. These two terms refer to tactical flashlight light modes in a different way to the likes of SOS, Strobe, and brightness-adjusted modes.
- The Throw profile refers to a narrower beam which is usually stronger and illuminates further ahead of where you’re pointing it, but offers very little in the way of peripheral illumination.
- The Flood profile refers to light spread more widely from the lens of the flashlight, allowing you to see a wider field of view which is illuminated. Generally, the throw profile offers the brightest beam and some tactical flashlights which are adjustable in this way are only at their brightest and offer their highest lumen output at this setting.
What You Should Know About the Tactical Flashlights?
Naturally, as is probably the case with your reading of this guide, there are instances when all you really want is the luminous tactical flashlight you can get. You don’t particularly care about anything else but the brightness, but even then there are a few things you need to know about what is perceived to be the good tactical flashlight.
- Pure Brightness Comes with a Compromise
If a tactical flashlight is built for pure brightness and nothing else, you’ll almost always inevitably have to put up with some or other compromise. The most likely of these compromises is the lifespan of the flashlight, both in terms of how long you can shine it at maximum capacity and in terms of how long it lasts as a product. Even for an LED light to burn brightly at up to 2000 lumens, quite a lot of power needs to be consumed and so rechargeable batteries tend to work the best. LEDs themselves have a limited lifespan, so if you do use your tactical flashlight at full blast often, don’t expect it to last forever.
- Lower Lumens Often Make Flashlights More “Tactical”
With the many tactical flashlights we’ve tested, including some which we cannot consider to being “tactical” (not featured here), we found an inverse relationship between brightness and the “tactical” property of a flashlight. Yes, there are some stupendously bright torches and flashlights which shine at well over 2000 lumens, but then the tactical nature decreases because these flashlights get too big and bulky to use in tactical situations such as self-defense or as part of a law enforcement/military operation. A lot goes into making a flashlight bright and in the case of tactical flashlights, everything that goes into making the lens emit brighter light needs to be fitted into a rather small unit. So usually if you want a better overall tactical flashlight, going just a few lumens lower does the trick.
Brightest Tactical Flashlight Buying Guide
If you insist that you want the absolute useful tactical flashlight your money can buy, Shooting&Safety recommends you ensure ultimately make the best decision.
- Lumens (Luminous Flux)
The brightness of a tactical flashlight, or any light source for that matter, is measured in lumens, but you probably already know that by now. Now, if you’re looking for a flashlight to be used in tactical situations, the brightness levels which would be effective in that regard fall within the 700 to 2000 lumens bracket. Anything above 700 lumens is bright enough to achieve the desired effect, much like having a deer caught in the lights. Professional law enforcement officials such as police officers and military personnel will mostly attest to 700+ lumens being enough to do the job they’re required to do, but if you’re planning to use your tactical flashlight for some other domestic and outdoor purposes, perhaps a minimum of 900/950 lumens will suffice. The 700 to 900 lumens range is still blindingly bright, but say for example you’re out camping or cycling, you could benefit from a slightly brighter flashlight which goes all the way to 2000 lumens. The same applies for tactical flashlights which are to be deployed in self-defense scenarios, such as shining it in the eyes of an attacker to stun them.
- Size Matters
Remember that in a typical tactical situation, whether professional or for self-defense, you’ll probably be using your tactical flashlight with a range of other firearm accessories, such as earmuffs maybe, or ar 15 scopes or with shooting glasses. This is when size matters, but fortunately when it comes to the tactical flashlights, manufacturers generally tend to make them small, compact and durable. They still pack a big punch, though, but there are one or two specific models which do tend to get a bit bulky. Are yo in search of hunting lights? Then read our predator hunting lights post.
- Price is Relative
When it comes to gauging the value in the price of a tactical flashlight, it can get a bit tricky because a lot of tactical flashlights are sold as part of a complete kit. This kit normally includes extra accessories such as the batteries the flashlight uses, one or more battery chargers maybe, and even things like battery sleeves. This is what makes it particularly tricky to know for sure whether you’re getting good value for the money you spend.
This is when some of your own discretion needs to come into play because as much as extra accessories such as battery chargers are good to have, they shouldn’t replace the intrinsic value of the actual tactical flashlight’s functionality. For example, does the market price of the charger included in the whole tactical flashlight kit mean you have to settle for dimmer flashlight (less lumen)? What if you bought the charger separately; does the isolated price of the flashlight then justify the price you’d pay for that flashlight if you bought it as a single item?
Another way of looking at this consideration is the peak performance. Some tactical flashlights indicated to output up to 1200 to 2000 lumens only achieve those levels if powered by specific batteries from specific manufacturers, usually produced by the same manufacturers of the flashlights themselves. So in this instance, it then becomes a matter of weighing up the cost of maximum output, i.e. is it worth using a cheaper battery if you’re not going to get the brightest lumen output?
Brightest Tactical Flashlight Comparison Chart
|FENIX TK35 2000 LUMEN ULTIMATE EDITION (2015) LED||$$$||2000||Two 18650 rechargeable batteries or four 3V CR123A Lithium batteries.|
|NITECORE P36 2000 LUMEN CREE MT-G2 NEUTRAL WHITE LED||$$$||2000||Four CR123A Lithium Batteries|
|SOLARAY PRO ZX-1 PROFESSIONAL SERIES FLASHLIGHT KIT||$$||1200||Lithium-ion Battery , Deluxe (2 battery) Cordless Lithium-Ion Rapid Battery Charger|
|STREAMLIGHT 69260 TLR-1 HL HIGH LUMEN RAIL-MOUNTED TACTICAL LIGHT||$$||630||2 CR123A batteries required.|
|STREAMLIGHT 75458 STINGER DS LED HL RECHARGEABLE HIGH LUMEN FLASHLIGHT WITH 120-VOLT AC12-VOLT DC PIGGYBACK CHARGER||$$||640||1 Nonstandard Battery batteries required.|
|ECOGEAR FX PROFESSIONAL GRADE LED FLASHLIGHT KIT||$$||1600||2 x 18650 3.7v Lithium Ion Battery Lithium batteries.|
|GRACE TOP TACTICAL LED FLASHLIGHT||$||1200||1 x 18650 3.7v Battery OR 3 x AAA Batteries|
|LINGSFIRE ZOOMABLE SCALABLE LED FLASHLIGHT||$||2000||1x 18650 3.6v/3.7v OR 3X AAA battery|
|SUPERNOVA GUARDIAN 1300 PROFESSIONAL SERIES ULTRA BRIGHT RECHARGEABLE||$$||1300||two lithium or 3 AAA alkaline batteries|
|STREAMLIGHT 88040 PROTAC HL HIGH LUMEN PROFESSIONAL TACTICAL LIGHT WITH WHITE LED||$$||600||2 CR123A batteries required.|
The Bottom Line
So which brand/product/model should you settle on then if you are indeed on the hunt for the brightest tactical flashlight? Hopefully, these tactical flashlight reviews we put together for you will edge you closer to the right decision for you, but what’s important is to keep in mind that it’s not a matter of just going with the flashlight indicated to output the highest lumens. The best tactical flashlight with the highest output of up to 2000 lumens is only as effective as it can stay on at those levels. At the end of the day, it’s all about consistently maintaining a high level of brightness for the longest time possible.