It may sound dramatic, but having a proper flashlight is a life changing experience. The fact is that our world is simply too dim. It’s easy to disregard this until you’ve experienced the alternative. Yet, once you have a proper flashlight strapped to your hip, it can be difficult to know how you ever did without.
However, one of the inherent side effects of a tool that is so useful is that you will use it almost constantly. My personal EDC light is properly on for at least an hour a day, whether I’m working on cars, camping, or simply investigating that noise in the basement. Through this, replacing batteries can get pricy and annoying.
Thus, rechargeable flashlights grant all of the benefits without the inconvenience. There are a lot of variables in the flashlight market, and you want to make an informed decision. Here are the best rechargeable led flashlight models available today.
Last update on 2020-06-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- 1 The Best Rechargeable Flashlight Reviews
- 2 Streamlight 74751 Strion LED High lm Rechargeable Professional Flashlight
- 3 Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight
- 4 OLIGHT Seeker 2 Pro 3200 Lumens
- 5 Fenix PD36R 1600 Lumen USB Rechargeable CREE LED Tactical Flashlight
- 6 ThruNite TC15 2300 High Lumens Ultra-Bright Flashlight
- 7 How to Choose the Right LED Rechargeable Flashlight
- 8 Conclusion
The Best Rechargeable Flashlight Reviews
Certain products are perfectly suited for very specific uses, yet flounder somewhat once they are outside of that scenario. That is the case with the Streamlight 74751. There is a lot to like about this light, but also a few aspects that make it less than ideal for some users. One of the most notable advantages is the brand itself. Streamlight is one of the foremost manufacturers in the flashlight space and the quality of their products never disappoints. My personal EDC light when I’m not reviewing another model is a Streamlight, and I have been an advocate of them for years.
The Streamlight 74751 uses a C4 LED, which is a more modern driver than many models. This unique cell gives this light an extremely impressive output while still maintaining admirable efficiency. At 615 lumens, this is one of the brightest rechargeable flashlight models available. Yet, despite this intense rating, it can still operate for up to 4.5 hours of continuous on-time. It’s an impressive set of stats.
Beyond the numbers, the 74751 is a beautifully built light. It feels great in the hand, and the fit and finish are superb. The lens is also one of the best in terms of design and optical clarity. The lens is nicely recessed to protect it, and the beam is highly adjustable. Depending on your needs, this light can be set to an extremely narrow long-distance beam or a very broad flood pattern. The flexibility is admirable.
My primary issue with this light is the charging protocol. Unlike many other models that simply have a USB or barrel plug, the 74751 uses a wall-mount clamp mount. Not only is this bulky, but it renders the light unusable if it ever fails. The heft of the charger means that this is not an ideal light for traveling, as having to transport the charging setup would be fairly inconvenient. However, this charger may be a nice feature for the right person. If you use your flashlight for work, for example, having a permanently mounted charger to place your light in every night may make organizing your routine easier. However, if you need to charge your light on the go, this is not the best choice, despite its otherwise superb design and specs.
- Excellent build quality
- Very bright
- Great battery life
- Adjustable beam
- Bulky proprietary charger
- Fairly expensive
Anker has been a go-to brand for battery packs and other USB accessories for years, but they are a relative newcomer to the flashlight industry. Despite their relative lack of history with flashlights, the Bolder LC90 makes it clear that they did their research. This is a flashlight that gets the details right. In fact, I struggled to find a complaint.
Anyone who reviews this light is likely to focus first on the brightness. As superlative features go, the light output from this flashlight is hard to ignore. I’ve long stated that any output over 500 lumens is sufficient for almost all scenarios. But, of course, more never hurts. The LC90 takes that philosophy to heart by producing a staggering 900 lumens. At times, it is almost disorientingly bright. Not only does it make working at night easier and safer. This model is bright enough to be used for self-defense. Anyone who has the misfortune to stare into that lens is going to be blinded for quite a while. Luckily, this flashlight has 5 distinct light modes, so the brightness can be reduced if needed. Adding to the versatility, the beam is also adjustable. In terms of lenses and light production, this model gets everything right.
Power management is another highlight. The Anker LC90 uses a 18650 cell, the same battery as most laptops and Tesla cars. As a standardized cell, it means that the battery is extremely easy and affordable to replace if needed. Further, charging is smartly executed. I have always had a dislike for lights that require a proprietary charger. The LC90 simply requires a generic micro-USB cord. Simple, elegant, and serviceable. They even mounted the charger port internally behind the threaded case, protecting it from moisture or damage. The attention to detail is impressive to say the least.
The only notable drawback I could discern during my time with the LC90 is the lack of a pocket clip. Although this is a personal preference, I find that a clip makes a light much easier to carry. However, if you can overlook this minor caveat, this is a superb light.
- Great value
- Replaceable battery
- Non-proprietary charger
- Elegant design
- No pocket clip
I’m a big fan of innovation and unique features. However, sometimes a product can be too clever for its own good. The OLIGHT Seeker 2 Pro approaches that point. As a technical exercise, the OLIGHT is an impressive device. Using three CREE LEDs, OLIGHT claims that this light can produce 3,200 lumens of light. This is the same light cell as the Anker above, but with three included instead of one. In my measurements, the actual output of this light was closer to 2,600. Regardless, it is an almost disorienting amount of light. If your primary requirement is a bright rechargeable flashlight, then this is likely the brightest one made today.
The power source is a positive aspect too. The Seeker 2 uses a 21700 battery. While not as ubiquitous as the 18650 of some lights, it is still an easily sourced and replaced battery if the need ever arises. However, beyond the matters of brightness and battery choice, the Seeker 2 Pro has a few questionable aspects. My primary challenge with this light is the charger. It uses a magnetic ring charger, similar to a modern MacBook. While this provides increased weather protection due to the lack of an open port, the charger itself is bulky and proprietary. You’ll want to leave the charger at home, so plan accordingly.
Further, the Seeker 2’s form factor is an acquired taste. This is a very short and thick light, stubby even. Some users may not take issue with this. However, I have relatively small hands and found the light somewhat uncomfortable to hold for long periods. The middle of the light has a silicone grip for increased purchase. It is a nice idea but in practice, the material felt a little cheap. Again, preference will dictate your opinion here.
If your requirements demand the brightest light on the market, the OLIGHT Seeker 2 Pro is it. Yet, some of the details are slightly lacking.
- Incredibly bright
- Standard battery
- Bulky charger
- Odd ergonomics
This was not my first experience with the Fenix PD36R. It is a light I have reviewed numerous times, and I own one myself. The PD36R serves as a gold standard flashlight for many gear reviewers, as few lights offer a more complete package. Whenever I am holding a Fenix PD36R, my first reaction is always to be impressed by the build quality. Every aspect of the machining and finish is simply perfect. Simply by holding this light you can tell it is an incredibly high-quality product.
The specifications are an impressive showing as well. At 1,600 lumens, this light ranks among the top performers regarding light output. But it also has one of the most adjustable outputs as well. At its lowest setting, the PD36R can output just 30 lumens, which is ideal for protecting your night vision or providing ambient lighting. More impressively, the battery will remain charged for an unheard of 115 hours in this setting. That’s right – this light can stay lit continuously for almost 5 days.
Fenix also avoided the trap of using proprietary components. Charging is via micro USB, and the battery is a simple 21700 cell. It has both side and rear controls, so it will adapt to your preference. Even the pocket clip is versatile, with accommodations for clipping to a pocket or the brim of a hat for hands-free use.
The Fenix PD36R is not the least expensive light on the market, but it is likely the best. In terms of features, finish, and function, it’s hard to imagine a better light.
- Incredible quality
- Huge battery life
- Great design
- Somewhat expensive
Having a basic design isn’t always a bad thing. The ThruNite TC15 borrows heavily from the form-factor of the Fenix PD36R. Laying the cases next to each other, it is clear that ThruNite used the Fenix as a point of inspiration. This is not a bad thing, simply an interesting facet in the design of this light. Overall, the TC15 is an impressive package for the price. At 2,300 lumens from its CREE-sourced LED, it is a very bright light, albeit I think that rating might be slightly optimistic.
Beyond the output, the ThruNite is simple but functional. It has five light modes, accessed by toggling the side-mounted switch. Unlike the Fenix, the ThruNite lacks a redundant rear-toggle. Power is from a 18650, and charging is via micro-USB. In terms of fit and finish, the unit I reviewed was passable but not perfect. There were some mild surface imperfections, and the threads were not the smoothest. That said, there was nothing to detract from the function of the light.
Overall, this light is essentially a PD36R for those on a budget. You won’t be blown away by the build quality, but the design and function are generally excellent. As a lower-priced option, this is a great choice.
- Familiar form factor
- Very bright
- Good value
- 18650 Battery
- Fit and finish are just okay
How to Choose the Right LED Rechargeable Flashlight
It is not an exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of options available to anyone looking for a rechargeable LED flashlight. Finding the best rechargeable flashlights can be a tricky task. Here’s what you need to look for.
Standard Charging and Batteries
One of the biggest mistakes I see many manufacturers making is using proprietary cords and batteries. A well-made flashlight can be expected to last for decades. Modern LEDs are typically rated for at least 5,000 hours. However, inevitably, cords and batteries will eventually fail. It is a shame to see an otherwise usable light rendered worthless because a charging cable or battery cannot be replaced.
Most batteries are fairly standardized. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a AA or AAA. However, most high-end lights use higher output lithium cells. Look for a light with either a 18650 or 21700 battery. These are easily found and affordable to replace. For charging, micro-USB will suffice, but USB-C is proving to be a more robust standard. Barrel jacks are fine in a pinch but hardly ideal.
Pay Attention to Water and Dust Ratings
Any flashlight in regular use will undoubtedly see its fair share of dust, drops, and water. You don’t want to be left without a flashlight just because of a little rain. Look for a light with an official IPX rating. For most uses, IPX5 is sufficient, as this protects against rain and splashes. However, if there is a risk that your light will ever be submerged, look for an IPX6 rated light. If you need to use your light underwater for extended periods, IPX7 or higher is a must-have.
They Need to Dim
Everyone wants the brightest light possible. Yet, in many situations, a light can be too bright. Whether you are trying to protect your night vision, avoid scaring an animal, or simply don’t want to disturb your fellow campers, having a dimmable light can make a big difference. Look for a light that has at least three output settings for the most versatile package.
Adjustable Beam Can Be Handy
Although not as crucial as an adjustable output level, having an adjustable focus beam can be a huge advantage. Some jobs require a floodlight output, while some detailed tasks need a focused beam. I generally look for lights that can toggle between 30 and 120 degrees at a minimum. However, more never hurts.
Don’t Overlook Build Quality
When choosing a light, do not make the mistake of simply looking at the specifications. A high-performing light made poorly by a disreputable manufacturer will be a disappointment, regardless of specifications. Long-standing manufacturers tend to have more refined production processes, resulting in a higher-quality and consistent light. Pay attention to reviews and details to see if a flashlight will meet your standards.
With the glut of models on the market, finding the best rechargeable flashlights can seem like an overwhelming task. Luckily, you can find the best rechargeable flashlight simply by carefully reviewing specifications and understanding what features you truly need. For this review, the Anker Bolder LC90 made a true impression. Despite Anker’s relatively new foray into flashlights, the value and quality of the LC90 made it a fantastic choice for any shopper with a slightly lower budget.
However, the best rechargeable flashlight of the bunch was readily apparent. If you simply want the best and are not willing to compromise, the Fenix PD36R is the flashlight for you.
- 1600 maximum lumens output and 283 meters beam distance.
- Powered by a High Capacity 21700 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery (included)
- 4-hour fast charging with 5V/3A USB Type-C charging port.
- Instant power activation with momentary tactical tail switch.
- Bundle includes EdisonBright charging cable carrying case
Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API