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.
Hrs @ Max Output
Max Output (Lumens)
|Fenix TK35 LED||9||6.45||4* CR123A lithium or 2* 18650 rechargeable Li-ion||CREE XM-L LED||1.37||860||$$$$|
|Klarus ST11 LED||5.15||5.55||1* 18650 Li-ion or 2* CR123A lithium||CREE XM-L2 LED||2.3||900||$$|
|Nitecore P25 Smilodon||6||6.3||1* 18650 Li-ion or 2* CR123A lithium||CREE XM-L U2||1.25||860||$$|
|Olight M22 Warrior LED||5.15||5.67||2* CR123A lithium batteries or 1 x 18650 Li-ion||CREE XM-L2 LED||1||950||$$$|
|Surefire M3LT CombatLight||10.9||8.7||3* CR123A lithium||4-die CREE MC-E LED||1.7||800||$$$$$|
|Surefire M6LT Guardian||17.1||8.2||6* CR123A lithium||LED||3.2||900||$$$$$|
|Surefire UNR Commander||12||9.4||1* Li-ion rech. or 2* 123A lithium||LED||2.25||800||$$$$$|
|Surefire UBR Invictus||12.7||9||1* Li-ion rech. or 2* 123A lithium||LED||2||800||$$$$$|
|ThruNite TN11S||5.96||6.2||3 or 4*CR123A lithium or 2*18650 Li-ion (with extended tubes)||Cree XML U2 LED||1.2||830||$$|
|ThruNite TN30||19.74||7||3* 18650 Li-ion||3x Cree XM-L2 LED||1||3338||$$$$$|
Included in the matrix are 8 columns:
*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier
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.
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TN30 Review Video
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.
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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.
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* = Approximate prices only, subject to change.