From going camping to working around the house, a tactical flashlight can be incredibly useful. Initially developed for ‘tactical’ purposes (police, military), these flashlights have now found a much wider audience. This comes as no surprise though. Who doesn’t like to have a powerful light source that fits into their pocket?
As you’ll have the chance to see, the best tactical torchs on the market have plenty of features in common. They are made of tough materials (usually aluminum) so they can withstand all the hits, drops, and bumps. Most of them use LEDs with incredible brightness and range. On top of this, strobe light mode and bezel head can be efficiently used for self-defense.
We know that searching for the perfect flashlight can be overwhelming because of all the technical info. Our 10 Best Tactical Flashlights in 2020 article gives you a full insight into all the important things when buying, hopefully making your choice easier. Also, be sure to check out our product list and discover fantastic tactical flashlights we’ve picked out for you.
How To Choose A Tactical Flashlight – Buying Guide
When deciding which flashlight to buy, always consider key features like size, brightness, and runtime. For example, a night hiking guide can tell you there are many different styles and materials in flashlight designs. If you are learning how to navigate at night, this guide will help you find the best tactical flashlight that will enhance your safety. The best pocket tactical flashlights can even be carried every day, making them a great investment.
Every flashlight has a certain maximum distance their light beam can hit, which can make a difference when using outdoors. A good rule of thumb to finding the right flashlight is to take the longest possible distance you will use your flashlight for and double the number. The resulting number will be the beam rating that you should get. All of the models on our list have at least 500 feet in range.
Usually, tactical lights have different beam distances to choose from. Those with this feature have different light beam settings that you can click through, with the last setting normally being the strongest one. In general, the more lumens a flashlight has, the longer its range is.
Lumens are a measurement of the total light energy output of a flashlight. A high lumen output makes the light more intense. Simply put, the higher the number of lumens, the more light power your tactical torch is capable of. While a high number of lumens doesn’t always correlate to having the brightest flashlight, it is a good indicator of what you can expect.
On the other hand, flashlights that have high lumens will also generate a lot of heat and drain the battery faster. Unless you think you need the highest lumens in a tactical torch, it’s better to get a less powerful model so that you don’t have to worry about these things.
Candela is the measurement of brightness, and your choice depends on where you plan to use the flashlight. A high candela output is often not great for use in close quarters, such a practice ranges or for home defense. A flashlight that is too bright can actually make things harder to see. Like a photograph where too much light can burn the image, a flashlight too bright can have you straining to see clearly.
As we said, it is important that you choose a flashlight appropriate for your environment. You want the beam to cover the distance you need, but not provide an overexposure of light. Tactical lights can have a full coverage beam or a concentrated beam. As an example, think about the light differences of stadium lights and a spotlight. Stadium lights flood an area with light, while a spotlight can expertly illuminate a focused spot. It’s a plus if the flashlight comes with the zoom feature, allowing you to adjust the beam and focus on a distant object.
Flashlights need to be very durable because they’re going to see a lot of use in outdoor conditions. The best tactical pocket flashlights are made to be tough so they don’t let you down in emergency situations. In addition, tactical lights are called tactical for a reason – they can be used in situations where you need to defend yourself. A flashlight needs to be durable enough to withstand being used for striking objects, people, or breaking car windows.
As you had the chance to see, the best budget tactical flashlights on the market combine top-level performance with excellent durability. Paying a bit extra for a top-quality flashlight is a smart decision because you’ll have a reliable companion for many years.
Batteries are the power source for your battery, which is why they are very important. There are different types of batteries available and it is important to know which type your tactical torch uses. Below, we will list and discuss some of the common batteries used in flashlights.
Alkaline battery: Alkaline batteries are the most commonly known type of battery. These disposable cells come in a variety of sizes, from AA to D. They are the least expensive type and are widely available in stores. However, these aren’t the strongest batteries. They can be on the lower end when delivering power, so it’s best to carry an extra set with you.
Lithium battery: Lithium batteries are a good technology. They were developed after the alkaline battery and normally perform a little better. They tend to last longer than alkaline batteries and work in lower temperatures. Due to their recent popularity, lithium batteries are more widely available. They are a bit more expensive than alkaline batteries but are worth the investment.
CR123A battery: CR123A batteries are not common in most stores, but they are a high performing cell. These batteries deliver more power and last for longer. CR123A batteries can deliver up to 3 volts, which is double the power of an alkaline battery. These are found in bright and high-performing flashlights.
Rechargeable batteries are a type of battery that can be fully charged, used, and then charged again. There are integrated and non-integrated rechargeable batteries, depending on the manufacturer. Integrated rechargeable batteries will have a charging port within the battery (you can’t take it out).
Non-integrated rechargeable batteries will have a separate adapter for charging them. This type of battery is long-lasting, with some models having the capability of 500 charging cycles. A good rechargeable battery should last for several hours on the brightest level.
Related Review: Rechargeable Flashlights
Runtime is closely related to the batteries we just discussed. It gives you the prediction of how long a single charge can keep the device working. Different batteries have different levels of performance, as listed above. If you plan on using your flashlight every day and throughout the day, it is best to select a model that has a high performing battery.
Keep in mind that most flashlights have several different mode settings. It makes sense that the battery drains faster when used on high, and lasts longer on low. The higher the lumens, the shorter the battery life. Also, other modes like strobe or an SOS signal drain the battery life on your flashlight faster. Normally, manufacturers will provide an estimate for how many hours you can expect on a single charge.
Some flashlights have tints that can be placed over the lens. A tinted lens can allow you to see true colors as you would in natural sunlight. Other tints can help you differentiate between colors. However, tints are not entirely foolproof. Oftentimes, the use of tints leads to a decrease in light output. Also, while it comes close, no tint will truly allow you to see colors as well as you would in natural sunlight.
Different tactical flashlights have different systems for turning the lights on and off. Most models have a button that you push to turn the flashlight on and off. Depending on the model, clicking the button can change between different light beams.
In addition, some flashlights have a momentary on/off functionality (works as long as you’re holding the button). Normally, a full click activates the light and keeps it on. If you push the on/off button before it clicks, you can illuminate the space and once you release, it turns off. Some people prefer using the momentary on/off functionality for a quick look around. For example, flashlight users that have their device mounted on their weapon are often trained to use the momentary on/off functionality.
It’s also important to note that using the momentary on/off functionality will not activate all the beams of your flashlight (if there are multiple choices). This will simply activate a beam of light, so you can briefly see. However, if you want to use a strobe or SOS signal, you will have to firmly click the on/off button.
For many users, the weight of their flashlight is important. A flashlight is a tool carried with the rest of your gear, so weight can limit you. Modern flashlights are normally compact and lightweight in their design. However, there will be a tradeoff in certain features for this reduced weight. Normally, the more powerful a lashlight is, the heavier it will be.
It’s important that you select a flashlight that you feel comfortable holding and using. A flashlight should always be easy to handle and fit your hand appropriately.
The best tactical flashlight will be waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant. There is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant, so you should choose carefully which design would best suit your needs.
Water-resistant flashlights can be held in the rain for short amounts of time without any damage to the device. However, if your flashlight is fully submerged in a puddle for more than a second, you could have problems getting the device working again. On the flip side, a waterproof flashlight can survive falling in water and still be fully functional. Explaining water resistance can be tricky because of the different measurements, but we’ll try to give you an idea.
In general, the most common and widely used system is the IPX rating system. The IPX rating system is used by many manufacturers as a guideline for their device’s level of waterproofing. Normally, a higher number of the IPX scale indicates a better resistance and functionality in water. Here are some common IPX ratings, so you can get a feel for what level you might need for your flashlight.
IPX4: With this level on the IPX rating scale, a flashlight is successfully water-resistant. Flashlights with this rating can be safely used in rainy environments. From light drizzle to a full out downpour, a flashlight with this rating can handle the rain. Your flashlight shouldn’t stop working in the rain and it should remain fully functional the next time you use it.
IPX7: With this level on the IPX rating scale, your tactical torch should be able to survive several minutes submerged in water (usually up to 30 minutes). Tactical lights with this rating can be used in water that is up to 4 feet deep without experiencing any malfunctioning.
The depth and pressure of being underwater for a long time is what can hinder a flashlight. An IPX7 rated flashlight can be useful in an emergency situation like being trapped in a submerged car. The flashlight should function long enough for you to point rescuers to your location or help you break a window before you find your way to the surface.
IPX8: This is a very high rating on the IPX rating scale and indicates a strong resistance to water damage. A flashlight with this rating can be used for several hours fully submerged. However, the depth that you are able to go is up for debate and depends on the model. Generally, if you are using the flashlight in water that is 4 feet deep or less, it should have no problem functioning.
It is not exactly clear just how deep you can go, but in an emergency, you can go well beyond 4 feet. Keep in mind that the flashlight may be affected when you go deeper. Still, flashlights with this rating are guaranteed to function in adverse conditions for quite some time.
You should also note that flashlights with a higher IPX rating are usually costlier. Unless you know you will be using your flashlight for diving or extreme water conditions, choosing a medium IPX rated device should be just fine. An IPX7 rated flashlight is a great choice because it ensures that you can use it in water emergencies and in the rain, without investing in a heavy-duty IPX8 model.
Q: How Bright Should A Tactical Flashlight Be?
If you’re using the tactical flashlight for self-defense, it should have an output of at least 300 lumens. This will temporarily blind your attacker and give you a chance to fight back or escape. A 300lm tactical flashlight will do great even if it’s not completely dark. In pitch-black surroundings, tactical flashlight brightness over 120 lumens will get the job done.
On the other hand, brightness isn’t only about self-defense. A brighter flashlight is better for outdoor use too – it allows you to see more and casts the light farther. All flashlights on our list have an output well over the specified 300 lumens, so you can be sure they will stand up to any task.
Q: What Is The Best Tactical Flashlight For Self Defense?
The best self defense tactical flashlight is bright enough to blind the attacker. As previously discussed, this is anything over 300 lumens. But, there’s more to a good self defense flashlight. It’s a huge advantage if the model you’re getting has a strobe mode because it helps with disorienting the attacker.
Besides the light itself, the construction plays a huge role too. You want a flashlight with a tough metal body that can deliver the hit when you strike the attacker. Furthermore, a crown-shaped bezel will make the hit even more powerful. Really good examples of this type of flashlight are SufeFire’s G2X and G2X Pro.
Q: What Is A Tactical Flashlight?
Tactical flashlights are an all-around type of flashlight that can be used for strategic advantages in potentially dangerous situations. Tactical flashlights can quickly illuminate a target, give you means of self-defense, or help you escape in emergency situations.
Most tactical flashlights will have fast light activation in the form of a tail switch. The tail switch can have a momentary on/off function for brief illumination. Clicking the button changes through the tactical flashlight’s different modes (low, medium, high, strobe).
Tactical flashlights are made of strong metals and often have features that enhance your safety. The best tactical torchs are highly durable to provide you with longlasting performance.
Q: What Is The Difference Between A Regular And Tactical Flashlight?
Tactical flashlights are more durable, have more features, and have a body that can be used for personal safety and emergencies. Tactical flashlights tend to be made of high-quality materials because they can be used for self-defense.
The lamp end of a tactical flashlight should have a striking bezel edge so that it can be used for self-defense or to break objects. They also have more light features such as changing the power of the beam, strobe mode, colored light, and sending SOS signals. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of a tactical flashlight is that most models are water-resistant or waterproof. Tactical flashlights are truly an all-in-one tool that can help preserve lives.
When talking about operation though, regular and tactical flashlights use the same basic principle. They are both used as a light source. Regular flashlights are great for basic needs like working around the home or office. Tactical flashlights are high-performance tools with certain features that regular flashlights lack.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of Using A Tactical Flashlight?
Tactical flashlights tend to have better performance (compared to regular flashlights) and use a heavy-duty design that is reliable in a variety of situations. For example, tactical flashlights are excellent for personal defense. If you are at home or office and need to defend yourself against an intruder, a tactical flashlight can be very handy.
Most tactical flashlights have a bezel edge that can be used for striking. This makes them perfect for escape scenarios too. If you were to be trapped in a sinking car, a tactical flashlight could potentially help you break the window or direct the rescuers to your location in the water.
Tactical flashlights are also used by working professionals and hunters. Their high-performance design makes them excellent for adding to a weapon and using them as a mounted light source. From emergency responders to wilderness explorers, tactical flashlights are a top choice.
For outdoor enthusiasts, tactical flashlights can be seen as survival tools. Various strobes or SOS alerts featured on some flashlights can bring peace of mind to explorers who are hitting the trails. They can signal for assistance if needed and have better batteries that can withstand harsh environments. Furthermore, rain and snow won’t stop a tactical flashlight from properly functioning. Plus, if you are camping with beginners, you want a strong light to give them confidence through the night.
Globo Surf Overview
When it comes to choosing the best tactical flashlight for the money, you have plenty of options. Our in-depth guide breaks down the design and features of flashlights so it’s easy to digest information. Like we pointed out, is important to choose a flashlight that you feel confident and comfortable using because it could end up saving a life.
You want to be sure that you choose a flashlight that can handle your adventures, whether you use it a couple of times a year or every day. We are confident that a top-rated flashlight will become a great everyday companion for you to carry. We hope that our guide helped you figure out what you want and need in a flashlight, so you can save time and money by investing in a top rated tactical torch.