Best 18650 Flashlights Reviewed [A Buying Guide]

Who doesn’t hate being lost in the dark? Whether you’re at home & in the midst of a power outage, on a camping trip at night, or at work in low lighting, you need a beacon of light — something to always guide your way. One of the best such tools is, undoubtedly, a 18650 flashlight.

18650 flashlights are essential to any home, and not just that. They’re crucial pieces of equipment that aid you in home defense & make it possible for you to see in low-light conditions. These highly effective torches can be real lifesavers if you find yourself in a dark area.

Do you know what 18650 flashlights are, and what differentiates them from other types of torches? Are you sure which one to pick for your own use? Don’t go in blind. Let us help.

We’ve pooled all of our knowledge on 18650 flashlights into this handy review & buying guide. Keep reading to find the best 18650 flashlights on the market in 2020!

What is a 18650 Flashlight?

First things first, let’s establish what these flashlights are, because trust us, they are NOT your typical flashlight. 18650s are typically a lot more powerful and are used in situations where your old run-of-the-mill torch will simply not suffice.

These flashlights are often used in EDC or tactical defense situations. Some of them can be attached to firearms using a specialty Picatinny rail system. This makes them a popular pick for AR owners. While these flashlights are a bit too large for pistol attachments, some slimmer models have started cropping up that can be made to work with pistols.

If you’re not into firearms, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a 18650 flashlight is not for you. They find plenty of uses in camping, exploring, hiking, and more. You can use them at home in the event of a power cut, in the garage, or in the car. They replace your standard flashlight in every way possible.

Using 18650 flashlights without a firearm

As mentioned above, you can successfully use 18650 flashlights when you are unarmed. You don’t need to be a fan of guns in order to find a lot of uses for these flashlights. However, some people don’t know how useful these things are even if you’re unarmed.

18650 flashlights are incredibly bright. This makes for an easy, non-violent way to escape a potential attacker. You can temporarily blind them as you gave away, or you can defend yourself further. If your flashlight is equipped with a strobe function, this helps even more.

Whether you use it as a backup escape route or a tool to attack, a 18650 flashlight can sure come in handy in most situations.

What Are the Best 18650 Flashlights?

We’ve talked at length about all the important things to consider when shopping for a new flashlight. Now, it’s time for us to show you the recommendations. Keep reading for the best of the best 18650 flashlight reviews.

Phixton Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight

It’s not often that you can find the perfect mix of affordable, powerful, and easy to use — especially not in a tool like a 18650 flashlight. It’s fortunate that this Phixton product delivers on all of those accounts, delivering a truly high-quality product & arguably, the best 18650 flashlight on the market.

This tactical torch comes equipped with Los Angeles-made, 100% original, XM L2 LED chip. This chip is around 20% brighter than a standard XML T6 chip. It has about 1200 Lumens on max output, so there are models that have more, but this one uses technologies that truly boost the brightness.

The flashlight allows you to zoom in, seamlessly switching between focus light, spotlight, and floor light. It also has 5 light modes: low, mid, high, strobe, and SOS light. In addition to that, it’s waterproof & highly durable.

Pros

  • Ultra-bright thanks to the XM L2 LED chip
  • Zoom feature included
  • Five light modes, including strobe light and SOS
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • The Lumen count is not the highest on the market

Wuben LED Tactical Flashlight

This tactical flashlight is perfect for emergencies during camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket while remaining powerful enough to light up even the darkest nights. It’s definitely one of the best 18650 flashlights on the market.

Wuben also offers several lighting modes (brightness levels). There’s the high mode that operates at 1200 Lumens on the highest setting and has a battery life of 1.5 hours. There are also the medium (400 Lumens, 2.5 hours battery life), low (75 Lumens, 8.5 hours battery life), eco (5 Lumens for up to 143 hours!), and SOS (200 Lumens, used only in emergencies).

It’s USB rechargeable and it is powered by a reliable, durable, and rechargeable 2600 mAh 18650 lithium-ion battery. The USB cable is included and will be compatible with most devices. The flashlight itself is very sturdy thanks to the aircraft grade aluminum alloy used in the body & premium type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish.

Pros

  • Five standard light modes and SOS mode for emergencies
  • Compact build & a powerful performance
  • Reliable and strong battery
  • Made out of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy

Cons

  • The battery life on high mode could be a bit better

Hoxida Rechargeable Magnetic Flashlight

A magnetic flashlight can truly prove to be super helpful if you need to keep your hands free. That’s why this product by Hoxida is a wonderful addition to any camper’s arsenal of gear.

It doesn’t have the highest Lumen count of all on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less bright. It provides a scope of light that can light up to 600 ft with the power of 1000 Lumens. The light is zoomable and adjustable, so you can allow yourself some time to adapt to the brightness before you dial it up to full.

It’s waterproof with an IP6X rating, rechargeable through USB, and equipped with a 18650 battery that will provide light for up to 10 hours in low lighting mode. Moreover, it also features a COB sidelight that helps produce that 360-degree lighting effect.

Pros

  • Magnetic 18650 flashlight that allows you to put it down on any surface
  • Adjustable light with zoom
  • Waterproof
  • Rechargeable through USB; strong battery included

Cons

  • Only 1000 Lumens

Nicron N9 18650 Flashlight

Nicron N9 is an affordable 18650 flashlight that provides a lot of the features you’d expect to see only in more pricey models. What makes it stand out from the rest?

First of all, this flashlight is remarkably bright for a model of 1,000 Lumens. It will illuminate the area regardless of whether you’re out in the wild, at home, or in a workspace. It comes with a wide variety of different modes, including max, high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. All of the modes feature different brightness levels & battery run time.

As this is a durable product, Nicron N9 is a popular choice with the camping crowd. It’s skid-proof and has a waterproof design that is rated IP65 for water-resistance. It can be used in heavy rain, snowstorms, and in pretty much all other weather effects.

Pros

  • Long-lasting battery life (up to 100 hours on moonlight mode)
  • 650 feet of light illumination at up to 1,000 Lumens
  • Magnetic tactical 18650 flashlight
  • Six different light modes

Cons

  • Does not include a battery

Wuben 1200 Lumens Waterproof Technical Flashlight

If you’re looking for the best 18650 flashlight when it comes to waterproofing, this Wuben model just might be it. It’s an ultra-durable & high-quality product that you can take with you anywhere.

Wuben L50 utilizes a highly efficient OSRAM P9 LED light, which shines at up to 1,200 Lumens in brightness. The maximum beam distance you can expect is about 200 meters, which adds up to 656 ft. You can adjust the lighting to match your needs by using the five lighting modes supported by a mode memory function that makes it easy to use.

As mentioned, this is a very sturdy product. It’s made out of hard-anodizing aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. That makes it IP68 water-resistant and dustproof, ensuring that it will survive any and all camping trips.

Pros

  • Incredibly durable & made out of quality material
  • Highly waterproof & dustproof
  • Five lighting modes
  • Up to 1,200 Lumens

Cons

  • No zoom function

Karrong Zoomable Water-Resistant Magnetic Flashlight

360-degree light is a complete possibility in the best 18650 torches. This Karrong product provides exactly that, combined with a sturdy magnetic base for hands-free use.

The magnetic base in this torchlight allows you to attach it to any iron surface. Then, the time comes to activate the cob light function. Cob light provides 360-degree lighting that illuminates the whole area better than most lamps.

Moreover, this is a set of two flashlights, so for a cheap price you get twice the use. You can bring these to your next camping trip and recharge them through a car charger, power bank, or a computer USB interface anywhere. They’re powered by a strong li-ion battery that comes included with the set.

Pros

  • Just about the best bang for your buck
  • Set of two flashlights
  • 360 degrees of light
  • Cob light option with a strong magnetic base

Cons

  • The battery life is not outstanding

USB Rechargeable LED Flashlight 18650

When you’re out in the wild, it’s not just the brightness that matters — it’s also the length of the light beam. If you want to see everything far into the distance, get the best flashlight in terms of beam distance.

This product has an output of max 1,200 Lumens with a max beam distance of up to 1312 feet. That amounts to over double the other flashlights on our list. Despite the enormous beam size, the lighting is focused & unmatched in its undeniable brightness.

You can trust this product to withstand any and all weather effects. Constructed from top-notch military-grade aluminum alloy, this flashlight is IPX6 waterproof and it provides 1-meter high impact resistance. It’s compatible with several kinds of lithium-ion batteries, including the 21700 lithium-ion battery.

Pros

  • Package of two flashlights
  • Amazing light distance
  • Reliable OSRAM P8 LED lights
  • Rechargeable by USB

Cons

  • Just two light modes

T6 Set of Two 4000 Lumens Rechargeable Flashlights

Let’s be real — all of the flashlights featured on our list are ultra-bright. However, if you want to kick it up a notch, there is no brighter 18650 flashlight than this set of two by T6.

They’re about 70% brighter than your basic LED flashlight, and the beam of light provided is really strong. The beam distance in these is similar to two football fields in length (100-300 meters, 1000 ft). You can control it with the handy zoom function.

These flashlights come with a set of batteries already included & rechargeable at any time. Most of all, they’re simply really, really bright thanks to their pure 4,000 Lumens of power.

Pros

  • Incredibly bright
  • Easily rechargeable
  • Set of two 18650 lights
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • The settings are not very intuitive

LED 18650 Flashlight with Headlamp

For spelunking, cave-exploration, camping, running, and other outdoor activities, you want to keep your hands free. Sure, magnetic flashlights allow for that, but do they let you keep moving? No! This is why this 18650 flashlight with a headlamp included is one of the best choices for active people to get.

Sofirn SP40 is a sturdy & powerful head flashlight that makes use of the Cree XPL LED technology. This amounts to about 1,200 Lumens at the turbo (highest) mode with a 136 meters max beam distance. It’s supported by 4 different light modes.

The temperature is adjusted automatically when the temperature is over 55 degrees Celcius. This ensures that your lamp won’t overheat. It’s a powerful 18650 headlamp that can also double as a mini headlamp with the addition of the spare short tube. Moreover, it can be used as a simple tool flashlight & it functions outside of the headgear.

Pros

  • Headlamp for exploration, repairs, work, camping
  • Uses the latest LED technology
  • Can be used without the headpiece

Cons

  • The power switch is difficult to operate with gloves on

ThruNite TC15 The Outsider Handheld Flashlight

Thrunite TC15 “The Outsider” is a high-end handheld 18650 flashlight. It encompasses most things you could want in a military flashlight, including ultra-brightness, which works well for self-defense.

The light in this torch is powered by a Cree XHP 35 LED and produces up to an astounding 2,300 Lumens. This beam of light can reach as far as 807 ft (246 m). You can adjust it to match your preference using one of the built-in light modes: firefly, low, medium, high, turbo, and strobe.

ThruNite features a very ergonomic design. Where other flashlights may not function well when used with a pair of gloves, this one is adapted to all circumstances. This means you can easily use it while you work.

Pros

  • Incredible brightness
  • Long-distance range of light
  • Several built-in light modes

Cons

  • It’s rather pricey

Reasons To Buy & Carry A 18650 Flashlight

Knowing what these flashlights do, what are the reasons most people decide to buy one? If you still haven’t found a use for it in your life, let us talk you through some ways that you can use your flashlight for.

Keep in mind that these torches are a lot brighter than, for example, a smartphone flashlight, so they serve entirely different purposes.

It’s legal to carry in all states

While a 18650 flashlight can be used as a weapon, it’s legal to carry in all the states in the US. It makes for a great addition to your EDC setup and it is easy to transport by simply clipping it onto the belt.

Attack prevention

As mentioned above, a 18650 LED flashlight is a great way to defend yourself against dangers such as home invasion or other types of combat. It’s not a lethal weapon, but it’s capable of temporarily blinding the attacker, and the toothed bevels on the surface of the flashlight can be used as a low-harm weapon.

Remember that in order to properly use the flashlight in combat you will need to learn and practice first.

Blackout protection

Trust us when we say that not many light sources will be as helpful in a blackout as a 18650 flashlight. Whether you’re out in a dark place or your own home has a temporary power cut, a 18650 torch is a sure-fire way to get you out of that situation unscathed.

Camping

When the night falls, you can sit by the fire, but you can’t take the fire with you. Fortunately, a 18650 flashlight is powerful enough to light up even the darkest woods.

Things To Consider When Buying the Best 18650 Flashlights

You might think that shopping for a flashlight is the easiest thing in the world. That might be true for some basic models, but for a 18650 flashlight, there are many things for you to keep in mind when you get one. There are also many flashlights on the market that may meet your needs.

In order to make the best possible decision, please review our tips on what to look at when buying a 18650 flashlight.

Shape & design

No matter the intended use, you want your torch to be compact, lightweight, and ergonomic. Fortunately, 18650 meets every single of those criteria. These torches feature a small chassis, a cylindrical shape, but the size shouldn’t fool you — they produce a remarkably powerful light beam that can light up to half a mile or even more.

If you want a pocket flashlight that will fit a standard pistol, you should get a 18650 torch that measures at under 5 inches. These models can usually be clipped onto the belt and often come with their own belt or holster clip.

It’s important to keep a strong grip on your torch, especially if you intend to use it for self-defense purposes. We recommend looking into flashlights that have cross-hatched grips etched into the barrel-frame. Such a grip will provide the best traction when you wear tactical gloves, allowing you to make sure that you won’t drop the torch.

What about home defense? If you want your torch to serve as more than just a guiding light, you need to buy a 18650 flashlight for home defense that has a bevel at the front. The bevel acts as a weapon in dangerous situations.

Lumen output

The Lumen output describes the brightness of the light that your flashlight can produce. When it comes to 18650 flashlights, you should aim for at the very least 1000 Lumen or 1200 Lumens. However, if you’re able to afford a stronger model, you can go as high as 2 000 Lumens.

The torches with a high maximum Lumens count (2 000 Lumens+) are referred to as high-power models. These tools are perfect for close-quarters combat (CQC) because their light is nothing short of blinding. Of course, this applies to the highest setting – they normally have lower light variants, too. You can expect light modes such as high, medium, low, firefly, and more. Firefly & low modes are often rather dim in most tactical flashlights, especially those below 1000 Lumen.

No matter what you plan to use the torch for, remember that generally, the higher Lumen count, the better. More Lumens equals a broader throw of the torch & a brighter light beam.

Build quality & durability

As you’ll most commonly use your flashlight in low-light areas, odds are that you will drop it many times over the years. As such, it’s often better to spend a little more and get yourself a sturdy flashlight.

The most durable tactical flashlights will have a stainless steel chassis or an aluminum chassis and will also have extra reinforcement. It’s also a bonus if the coating is corrosion-resistant.

Water resistance

Just as you want corrosion resistance, you might want to look into the torch’s water resistance rating. If you want to go to the tactical range, hiking, or camping, a water-resistant flashlight will be a lifesaver.

During camping and on your hikes, you will need a made from aircraft grade & hard-anodized, stainless steel, pocket-sized flashlight capable of surviving a rainstorm, snow, and even taking a swim. Most torches have an IPX6 rating or higher, but if you want something totally waterproof, you need to aim for IPX8 rating.

Battery life

All 18650 torches rely on battery power for continuous operation. The best battery type to look for is 18650 lithium-ion. Flashlights with lithium-ion batteries offer the longest battery life of all.

An added benefit of these batteries is that they offer USB-charging capabilities. Some of them offer USB-C compatibility, but most models are compatible with micro-USB chargers. One way or another, this means that you will likely have a rechargeable battery & a long run time.

Extra features

If you really want to get the best bang for your buck, look into picking up a torch that offers even more in terms of extra features.

  • Zoom — Some models of 18650 flashlights offer zoom and focus functionality.
  • Light beam expansion — You may be able to twist the head of the torch, adjusting light beam size.
  • Magnetic positioning base — A magnetic base will allow you to light up the room while keeping your hands free. This is a feature often used around cars or workshops.

Best 18650 Flashlights: FAQ

We’re nearing the finish line in this review, but not before we equip you with some extra knowledge about these incredible tools. Keep reading for our quick FAQ section.

What is the best 18650 battery for flashlights?

Without a doubt, the best battery used in a 18650 flashlight (and many other electronics) is always going to be the lithium-ion. These batteries are renowned for their durability and long battery life.

What is the brightest 18650 flashlight?

It’s important to note that even dimmer models are still super-bright when it comes to these products. However, if you know right off the bat that you will need something extra powerful, we recommend the T6 Set of Two 4000 Lumens Rechargeable Flashlights. They are some of the brightest 18650 flashlights on our list.

What is the brightest LED flashlight on the market?

When it comes to LED flashlights, the Lumen count can rack up into the tens of thousands. If you want a flashlight that is truly blindingly bright, we can recommend IMALENT Brightest Flashlight.

This flashlight produces an astonishingly strong beam of light and operates at up to 100,000 Lumens. That’s right, a hundred thousand! It allows you to see up to 1350 meters, so it’s perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities that require bright light.

The beam it creates is super-wide and controlled by 9 different beam modes. It also comes with a rechargeable battery pack for your convenience.

Conclusion

It’s always important to have a backup source of light. 18650 flashlights make for an extremely reliable & powerful light source while doubling as a self-defense weapon in the event of a home invasion or another dangerous situation.

There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones, so don’t hesitate. Get the best 18650 flashlight today and sleep soundly tomorrow.