What is the Brightest Tactical Flashlight?

After scouring through the various tactical flashlights available on the market, we’ve put together a list of the 10 brightest tactical flashlights.

The total amount of visible light emitted by a flashlight is most commonly measured in lumen. To get a rough idea, if you are wanting to navigate a dark room or read a map you would only need something around the 10 lumen range. If your goal is illuminate an entire field or a neighbor’s front yard your getting up towards 300-700 lumens. However for more intensive uses such as search and rescue type situations a more powerful 800+ lumen flashlight is required.

The brightness of a flashlight is generally related to the type of bulb and the amount of power it can receive. For some of the most beastly tactical flashlights, they require a large amount of batteries which has the downside of weight and portability due to size etc.

We’ve listed the top 10 contenders in a comparison chart that is responsive, meaning you can sort by weight, lumen, size, price etc. Below are our winners of the respective categories including the brightest, most energy efficient and  most economical.

Tactical Flashlight
Hrs @ Max Output
Max Output (Lumens)
Fenix TK35 LED
96.454* CR123A lithium or 2* 18650 rechargeable Li-ionCREE XM-L LED1.37860$$$$
Klarus ST11 LED
5.155.551* 18650 Li-ion or 2* CR123A lithiumCREE XM-L2 LED2.3900$$
Nitecore P25 SmilodonNitecore P25 Smilodon66.31* 18650 Li-ion or 2* CR123A lithiumCREE XM-L U21.25860$$
Olight M22 Warrior LED
Olight M22 Warrior LED
5.155.672* CR123A lithium batteries or 1 x 18650 Li-ionCREE XM-L2 LED1950$$$
Surefire M3LT CombatLightSurefire M3LT CombatLight10.98.73* CR123A lithium4-die CREE MC-E LED1.7800$$$$$
Surefire M6LT GuardianSurefire M6LT Guardian17.18.26* CR123A lithiumLED3.2900$$$$$
Surefire UNR CommanderSurefire UNR Commander129.41* Li-ion rech. or 2* 123A lithiumLED2.25800$$$$$
Surefire UBR InvictusSurefire UBR Invictus12.791* Li-ion rech. or 2* 123A lithiumLED2800$$$$$
ThruNite TN11SThruNite TN11S5.966.23 or 4*CR123A lithium or 2*18650 Li-ion (with extended tubes)Cree XML U2 LED1.2830$$
ThruNite TN30ThruNite TN3019.7473* 18650 Li-ion3x Cree XM-L2 LED13338$$$$$

Included in the matrix are 8 columns:

  • Flashlight brand and name/model – (click to view more details or to purchase) with image
  • Weight – flashlight weight in ounces
  • Length – overall flashlight length from tip of bezel to bottom of tail in inches
  • Power – type and amount of batteries used to power flashlight
  • Bulb – type of bulb
  • Hours @ Max Output – approximate duration of time the flashlight can last while on maximum brightness in hours
  • Max Output – approximate total amount of visible light flashlight is capable of emitting in lumens
  • Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com.  These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more.  But generally speaking: $= $1-50, $$= $51-75, $$$= $76-100, $$$$= $101-150, $$$$$= $151+


*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier


The brightest tactical flashlight: Thrunite TN30

Pure Lumens

This bad boy can produce a massive 3338 lumens for up to 1 hour, an insane amount of light, and still the flashlight is only 7 in long. The catch? It’s weight. The TN30 weighs in at a hefty 19.74 ounces and requires 3* 18650 Li-ion batteries to reach the max output. Featuring six levels of varying light output and high intensity strobe setting, the flashlight can be used in many different situations but what really sets it apart is it’s power to be an effective search and rescue illumination tool. With a maximum beam distance of an incredible 440 meters, this is certainly the brightest tactical flashlight around.

Price*: was $279.00 now only $179.95 & FREE Shipping – buy now at Amazon.com

See here for a full review of the TN30


TN30 Review Video



Most energy efficient: Surefire M6LT Guardian

Lumens per hour

Surefire have produced a powerful LED version of their popular M6 model capable of producing 900 lumens for a staggering 3.2 hours. The M6LT is powered by 6* CR123A lithium batteries held in an easy-load battery magazine. Like the Thrunite TN30, the M6LT is heavy at 17.1 oz. The high amount of batteries has a lot to do with it, but generating 900 lumens for over three hours is not to be sniffed at.

Price*: was $499.99 now only $298.00  – buy now at Amazon.com

See here for a review of the M6LT


Value for money: Klarus ST11 LED

Lumens per dollar

The Klarus ST11 is the second cheapest in the $51-75 price bracket but has almost double the battery life than the other tactical flashlights in the similar price range, and is the brightest. Capable of producing up to 900 lumens for 2.3 hours, this tactical flashlight can illuminate over 100 meters but remains a lightweight 5.15 oz and can fit comfortably in one hand at 5.55 in long. Capable of a high intensity strobe setting, the ST11 also has a patented Tail-cap & Side Switch design, allowing quick and easy access to power settings with one hand if necessary. This tidy number is an all round winner, cheap, lightweight, small, decent battery life and very powerful.

Price*: $63.25 & FREE Shipping – buy now at Amazon.com 

See here for a review of the Klarus ST11 LED


* = Approximate prices only, subject to change.

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