A lot of people now see the need and the potential advantages of bringing the best EDC flashlights with them on their daily routine. Some of these carry an EDC flashlight because of their particular work or hobbies, while others keep a handy flashlight ready for emergencies, minor or major.
Whichever type of people you identify with, you’d agree that for a flashlight to be a part of your everyday carry collection; it has to be ingeniously light, durable for daily wear and tear, and of course, bright enough to illuminate the dark and light up the unknown.
Although, it should just help you find the keys you dropped on a cold, moonless night when all you want is to quickly open your front door and race towards your warm bed.
Hence, here’s our top five list of the best EDC flashlights you can have on hand. Also in this post is a helpful guide on EDC flashlights and our reviews of best.
*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Hallmarks of the Best EDC Flashlights
The EDC description of any item immediately places it in a very specific collection of attributes. For flashlights, earning the EDC conventional means, first and foremost, is portability. Yes, the defining quality is not durability nor lumen count.
So, let’s look first, into the importance of portability in EDC flashlights.
An EDC flashlight that shines a blinding light 50 miles away and withstands 50-meter drops stops being an EDC item if it’s neither small enough nor light enough to use and carry for daily use comfortably.
Why not just get the tiniest flashlight? Although portability is key, the smallest flashlight doesn’t necessarily mean the best EDC flashlight. There are, of course, limits and trade-offs the lower you go.
One trade-off is that the most compact flashlights can only use smaller batteries which mean they’ll be less powerful or bright. Hence, you’ll have to find a right balance between size and battery power.
We conclude that the right balance is in flashlights that use AA or AAA batteries with dimensions ranging from 2 to 4 inches in length and 0.5 to 0.8 inches in thickness.
Consequently, this size range would then keep the weight of the flashlight around 1 to 2 oz. Including the weight of the battery. Also, you could continue to decrease this weight by using more powerful batteries such as NiMH cells which are lighter than Alkaline.
At times, it’s durability that separates good EDC flashlights from the best EDC flashlights. There are, for example, EDC flashlights that are remarkably portable with high lumen counts at low prices.
However, the majority of these units are extremely short-lived due to their inferior quality. Quality, then, especially for flashlights that you will be carrying and using every day, is of utmost importance when it comes to EDCs.
It’s the housing material and anodizing that determine a flashlight’s toughness and durability. Therefore, our top five list features such high-quality housing materials like aircraft-grade aluminum and solid copper.
Also, the flashlights on our list are either type II or type III anodized making them markedly durable and resistant to abrasions, wear, and corrosion.
Further factors that contribute to a flashlights durability are shock resistance as well as water resistance. Manufacturers typically gauge flashlights’ resistance to water leakage then rate them accordingly with the IPX Standards. Also, some makers test models’ resistance to shock and impacts by grading them on the max height survivable by a flashlight.
So, when choosing EDC flashlights, I recommend water resistance ratings of at least IPX-4 and impact grades of at least one meter.
Lumens measures flashlights’ total light output. Therefore, a high lumen count typically means your flashlight will give off more light. Although lumens depend partly on the type of LED and reflector in a flashlight, it's battery power that influences the brightness.
Since we’ve established that portability limits battery size, then the lumens we can expect from the best EDC flashlights will, of course, be different from bigger less compact models.
Consequently, on our list of the best, the lumen count ranges from a mild 28 lumens to a blinding 130.
Incidentally, brightness isn’t just about the amount of light, but also the capacity of EDC flashlights to throw this light over certain distances. In other words, the higher the throw count, the farther into the distance your flashlight can illuminate.
4. Run Time vs. Lifespan
Don’t confuse yourself with these two specifications. First, a flashlight’s run time refers to how long it will stay on in conjunction with battery capacity and brightness setting. In other words, bigger cells and low brightness settings will mean longer run times.
On the other hand, smaller or cheap cells and high brightness settings will have shorter run times. For instance, a flashlight with variable brightness settings at 50 lumens will run for much longer than when it is at 120 lumens.
Meanwhile, lifespan refers to the overall life-expectancy of a flashlight. Excellent EDC flashlights, for example, have life expectancies ranging from 30,000 hours to over 175,000 hours.
Flashlights typically have several features that improve their usability and efficiency. Hence, you should also consider these factors when purchasing your next EDC flashlight.
There are two main categories for flashlights that feature variable light patterns. One is the Momentary On/ Always On category, and the other is the Variable Light Setting class.
Under the momentary on / always on feature, you’ll be able to turn and keep the flashlight on temporarily as long as you keep partially pressing the switch. The light will then turn off once you release the switch. Otherwise, you can fully press the switch until it clicks to turn on the light regularly.
Meanwhile, the variable light settings feature lets you control the brightness of the flashlight or at times, turn on a strobe effect. In other words, you could choose high bright the flashlight will be depending on the need.
Of course, the cost of the flashlight will depend largely on your budget. However, the highest price does not the best flashlight make. On this post, we also look for the best bang for your buck when it comes to choosing the top EDC flashlight.
Best EDC Flashlight 2019
The Ti3 from Thrunite is the lightest and second smallest EDC flashlight on our list, making it incredibly portable. Its 2.8inch length weighing 0.8 ounces means you can easily keep (and forget) this little torch in your chest or pants pocket without even feeling the weight! Also, this little thing packs a blinding 120 lumens thrown about 50 meters!
You can, however, choose to decrease the brightness of the LED down to 12 lumens or its firefly mode at 0.04 lumen. At this level of intensity, you can expect to use the Ti3 for over 100 hours! Also, it has a strobe effect that’s perfect for signaling during emergencies.
The Ti3 also has the longest expected lifespan of 20 years or over 175,000 hours, due to in no small part its aircraft grade aluminum type III anodized body, IPX-8 rating, and 1.2-meter impact resistance! This little flashlight will go the mile and beyond!
- Ultra-compact, ultra-light, as well as ultra-durable
- Variable light settings including strobe
- Run times range from 30 minutes to 115 hours
- Extremely long lifespan
- Highest water resistance rating
- Detachable two-way pocket clip
- Attachable to key rings
- No battery included with the package
- Switching between light modes can be difficult
- Short runtime on peak brightness
The Microstream is easily the most affordable on our list, but it’s no pushover. At its price, the Microstream is a great AAA-powered EDC flashlight giving you all of the essential features that you’ll need.
First of all, this flashlight scores high in portability due to its light 1.04 ounce-weight. Size-wise, the Microstream will fit nicely in your hand, measuring at 3.5 inches long and a mere 0.60 inches thick.
You can expect to use this flashlight for its entire 30,000-hour lifespan because of the tough aircraft-grade aluminum and type II anodizing that makes up its body. Add to that the Micro stream’s IPX-4 rating and 1-meter impact resistance, and you’ll have an EDC flashlight that will survive the average day out.
At a peak lumens of 28, you can expect this flashlight to run for 2 hours and 15 minutes as it throws light over 52 meters! Then, when it comes to light control, the Microstream sports the Momentary On/ Always on the feature.
- Lightweight as well as compact
- Includes a detachable pocket clip
- Momentary On feature
- Pre-included battery
- Average water resistance
- Small lumen count
- Hardy, but has the lowest durability rating on this list
The Thorfire PF01S is a tad longer and heavier than the other EDC flashlights on this list. However, it’s also highly durable with type III anodizing and aircraft-grade aluminum.
Hence, the PF01S will be perfect for those looking for an EDC flashlight but prefer a heavier more solid piece of hardware, without compromising portability.
Adding to these features is the three variable light settings you’ll find on the PF01S namely, a night-vision-friendly firefly mode, a low brightness mode, and finally, a High brightness setting.
- Feels solid when in your hands
- Variable light settings
- Highly durable
- Pocket clip
- Stealthy momentary on feature
- Uncertain water resistance or impact resistance ratings
- The PF01S does not come with a battery.
The Olight i3E strikes a different chord among our best EDC flashlights primarily because solid copper makes up its body instead of the usual aluminum, although it still a type III anodized.
This copper body eventually develops a patina making each i3E flashlight markedly unique for every owner! Also, it’s the smallest flashlight on our list at 2.4 inches long and 0.60 inches thick and weighing in at 1.15 ounces with a battery.
You can expect to use this little copper beauty for around 60,000 hours with a material housing more tensile strength than aluminum, as well as ratings of IPX-8 and 1.5-meter impact resistance!
At 120 lumens, the Olight is an excellent balance of form and function.
- Fantastic housing which will eventually develop a unique patina
- Lightweight as well as compact
- High lumen count
- Robust impact resistance as well as peak water resistance.
- Comes with a battery
- Some may dislike the patina
- A single light mode
- Short runtime
Unlike the other flashlights on our list, The Fenix E12 runs on a single AA battery. Consequently, this design makes the E12 the heaviest on our list at 1.81 ounces but is still portable at 3.6 inches long.
Conversely, due to the bigger battery size, the E12 has a runtime of 1 and half hour to 40 hours depending on the light settings which start at a low 8 lumens, to a striking 130 lumens! Moreover, the Fenix boasts the farthest throw distance at 88 meters!
All these without skimping on quality as its housing is aircraft-grade aluminum with type 3 anodizing with a water resistance rating of IPX-8.
Lastly, the Fenix has reverse polarity protection guards. In other words, an incorrectly installed battery will not damage its internal circuits!
- Highest lumen count as well as a Bigger battery
- Farthest throw distance
- Variable light settings and also high water resistance ratings
- Reverse polarity safety feature
- Long runtime
Into The Light
There you have it, our top five best EDC flashlights.
If you’re still on the fence, we recommend getting our favorite – the Thrunite Ti3! Its ultra-portability, variable light settings, remarkable toughness, and extremely long life-expectancy will surely make it the best bang for your buck! In fact, this flashlight might just outlive you!