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EDC is an abbreviation that stands for “Everyday Carry”. This is a catchall phrase used to describe items that you have at all times, irrespective of where you are. All of them are often personal in nature, but they do vary depending on the individual’s occupation, passion, and even daily errands. Your EDC item list might include a penknife, wallet, pen, pencil, phone, watch, or flashlight.
Today’s post will focus on EDC flashlights because we believe they should be a priority to everyone—not just avid campers and hunters. We’ll first look at eight of the best EDC lights on the market, and then move on to a buyer’s guide.
|Best Overall||Fenix PD36R Rechargeable Flashlight||
|Best Value||TrustFire MC3 Tactical LED Flashlight||
|OLIGHT Baton3 1200 Lumens Flashlight||
|NITECORE P20iX 4000 Lumen Flashlight||
The PD36R rechargeable flashlight is the PD35 V2.0’s upgrade. And we can confirm that it offers everything that its predecessor offered, and then some. Just take a quick look at the runtime, for example. If it’s operating on an eco-mode, it can comfortably clock 115 hours at 30 lumens. That means if you’re not a frequent user, the time period in between charges could be months.
But that’s eco-mode. Should you decide to switch it back to turbo-mode, you’ll be working with a searingly bright 1600-lumen output. That’s more than enough light for anyone looking to illuminate an object that is 928 feet away. Sadly though, the runtime hours will reduce to 2.9.
According to Fenix, this iteration has an IP68 waterproof rating. They say their divers dove 6.5 feet underwater, came back up, and the flashlight was still as good as new. It is also shock-resistant and dustproof.
What they forgot to mention was how easy it was to shift from standard use to tactical function. All you need to do is click the tiny button conveniently placed at the front, next to the battery level indicator. The on/off switch is at the tail, to facilitate its user-friendly functionality.
Unlike the previous model, this one comes with a USB-C cord. The charging port rubber covering was a good addition, but they need to find a way to help the model dissipate heat at higher settings.
You know, it’s virtually impossible to talk about flashlights without mentioning TrustFire at least once. Time and time again, they’ve proven to be a force to be reckoned with. This time around, they gave us the MC3 Tactical LED Flashlight—a model that offers four very different modes, in addition to the strobe mode.
At the lowest level, we have the moonlight mode. It only offers 3 lumens, but the runtime is 1,000 hours. That’s the equivalent of 41 days, in case you’re wondering! On the next level, we have the medium mode which has a range of 75 meters, an output of 160 lumens, and a runtime of 16 hours. Then you’ll move up to high mode, which guarantees 700 lumens, at a range of 128 meters—its runtime moves down to 3.9 hours. And finally, the turbo mode. Even though you only get to work for 168 minutes it will illuminate a target that’s 360 meters away, with an output of 2500 lumens.
If you’re looking for something compact, you’ll never find anything better than this. Only weighing 2 ounces, it has a diameter and length of 30mm and 112.5mm, respectively. There’s also a sturdy clip installed to give you the option of securely attaching the light to a bag.
The MC3 Tactical LED Flashlight’s charging cable is special in that it’s magnetic. And its neck has a smart indicator that’s supposed to inform the user of the charging situation. If it’s red, that means it’s still charging. If it’s green, you should disconnect, as it’s done charging.
Another special feature is the magnetic end cap. It’s exactly what you need if you’re looking to buy a flashlight that can be used hands-free, by attaching it to any ferrous metal surface. We loved the fact that it was IP8 waterproof at 6.56 feet and IP6 dustproof, to ensure it withstands the harsh elements that characterize outdoor environments.
The aircraft-grade aviation aluminum and high-quality LED lamp beads were a necessity, as the brand wanted to give assurance to its loyal base that the product is durable. The only problem is, that the charging port is not a reliable one.
We don’t know if you’ve ever used the S1RII, but this is the upgraded version. Its housing is made of aluminum alloy, a material that’s notorious for making products waterproof and resistant to corrosion. When the battery is installed, it only weighs 1.9 ounces, making it the ideal EDC flashlight for hunters, hikers, cyclists, and anyone who loathes working with models that aren’t lightweight.
Just because the OLIGHT Baton3 is small in size doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful. The lamp beads installed here are the high-efficiency SST409(5A)s, and the lens is the TIR. This type of lens is cone-shaped and relies on internal reflection to distribute the light evenly.
It has a total of six brightness modes that will cater to your every illumination need. The lowest—moonlight mode—only produces 0.5 lumens, while the highest mode generates 1200 lumens. The charging cable is magnetic and the battery indicator has smart technology.
The light and motion sensors are to help you adjust brightness as the lighting conditions change or according to your riding speed.
We noticed that most of the people who go for this model are those who want to work with the Ledlenser Advanced Rapid Focus System. It’s a feature that makes it possible for users to adjust their long-distance beam to a broad floodlight by simply flipping a switch. Just flip it once, and the light focus widens.
There’s no denying that the MT10 model was designed to be an outdoor flashlight. It produces a maximum of 1,000 lumens, with a range of 591 feet. You don’t have to worry about it overheating since it comes with a temperature control system to dissipate excess heat. The lowest output is 10 lumens, with a runtime of 144 hours. It’s usable, but not great for hiking.
Accessing a good charging cable should yours be broken won’t feel like a hassle, as it uses the standard micro-USB cable—one of the most common cables in the market. We also fell in love with the smart transportation lock that’s meant to ensure the flashlight doesn’t inadvertently turn on, without the user’s knowledge. The battery and charging indicator will let you know when to start charging, and when to disconnect.
The P20iX 4000 Lumen Flashlight is an incredible model, but not the best for hikers hoping to work with models that are small-sized. For the record, we’re not saying that it’s the bulkiest model in the market—we’ve seen worse. It’s just not suitable for those who really value products that are compact.
The good news is that it’s one of the most powerful flashlights on the market. In turbo mode, it will give you 4,000 lumens, and hold onto its charge for close to 30 minutes. To put that into context, this level of brightness is enough to illuminate targets that are 750 feet away. The lowest level has a runtime of 350 hours, and the strobe mode generates patterns that have an enhanced dizzying effect.
If that’s not something that impresses you, this will: it has anti-impact protection, IP68 waterproof rating, and an aluminum housing. Features that are meant to ensure your flashlight stays in peak condition at all times. The bezel can be used to break glass in case of an emergency.
Accessories that you’ll find in the package include a USB-C charging cable, 5000mAh battery, clip, and lanyard.
We initially thought Slughaus was trying to pull one over us when they told us they are working on a micro-EDC waterproof flashlight that’s just as powerful as the lights currently being offered in the market. But clearly, they weren’t joking.
This fireproof model only weighs 0.39 ounces and generates 100 lumens. It might not be powerful enough to light up a yard, but it’s all you need to illuminate an object that’s less than a mile away. You don’t even need a backpack with this one because it can be used on a keychain.
It has 100,000 hours of LED life, but that wasn’t shocking considering it operates with 3 LR44 alkaline, 1.5 V button-cell batteries. The construction is made of aero-grade aluminum, one of the lightest, strongest, and corrosion-resistant materials in the game.
All we’re going to say is, that Slughaus didn’t disappoint. We loved all the features, including the shatterproof Micro Light LED.
The Streamlight 88061 ProTac is a budget-friendly model. In retrospect, we think that the price tag could be the main contributing factor as to why it has quickly gained popularity over the years. It uses two types of batteries: the alkaline AA batteries and the CR123A lithium batteries.
Whatever you choose will determine its brightness level and luminous intensity. If you choose to work with the AAs, you’ll only get 150 lumens. But if you upgrade to lithium, you’ll have an additional 200 lumens, and 6400 candelas. Unfortunately, they are not rechargeable.
The lighting modes are three; strobe, high, and moonlight low. We noticed the CR123A batteries offer the best battery life, as they had a runtime range of 4.5 to 8 hours. The flashlight has an IPX7 waterproof rating, a clip to always secure it in place, and a state power regulator to maximize your light output.
Buying a product that caters to your every need should be as easy as pie, but some brands have made the whole experience difficult—especially for those who are buying their EDC flashlights for the very first time.
It’s so difficult to figure out which model is ideal for a specific situation, considering these devices come in different sizes, are made of a wide variety of materials, and have several brightness options. Asking an inexperienced consumer to buy the ideal flashlight is like asking them to throw a shot in the dark, hoping to hit the bullseye.
It’s a real hassle but fortunately for you, you have us. So before we wrap this up, we thought we should share our guide.
Even if you have easy access to electricity, you wouldn’t want to walk around with an EDC flashlight that doesn’t retain any charge.
The other thing is the battery type. Don’t make the mistake of buying an EDC flashlight that relies on batteries you’ve never seen before. If that battery is not available anywhere in the state, move on to the next product. These are the type of batteries that are common in our market:
Right out of the gates, you’ll realize that some flashlights are a lot fancier and shinier than others. You’ll be tempted to get one of them, seeing as you’ve been conditioned through commercials to believe that anything eye-catching is of premium quality.
Well, we hate to be the guys to break it to you, but that’s not always the case. We’ve bought EDC flashlights that had all the bells and whistles, only to be disappointed down the road.
All we want you to remember is that when it boils down to pricing, cheap does not automatically equate to low quality. Maybe the product is pocket-friendly because it can only provide the basics. And the last time we checked, “basic” is not bad.
The primary purpose of a flashlight is to guarantee visibility in situations where the light conditions are less than ideal. And its optimal brightness level will be contingent on what the user is planning to use it for.
In physics, we normally measure brightness in lumens. Therefore, if your lumens count is high, we already know your device’s light intensity is high.
But then again, that doesn’t mean that you should only buy flashlights that produce more than 1000 lumens—400 to 500 lumens are all you need.
There’s really no one-size-fits-all in the flashlight industry. It’s a classic case of one man’s meat being another man’s poison. And to be clear, anytime we’re talking about size, we’re referring to all the aspects that come with it. That is, the flashlight’s diameter, length, and more importantly, weight.
Your ultimate goal should be to buy something that won’t be difficult to carry. We always like to remind our audience that the ideal EDC light is one that comfortably fits in their palms or any bag compartment. If you wish to go for a model that weighs the same as a brick, no one will stop you.
Most of the EDC flashlights we’ve discussed today have at least 3 brightness modes. There’s the moonlight mode, the medium mode, and the high mode—those are the basics. Then we have the tactical EDCs that come with the strobe and/or turbo mode, just to facilitate efficiency in the field.
These controls are not there to fool you into thinking that you’re looking at a premium product. They are meant to provide the ultimate consumer experience, by catering to the wide variety of user tastes and preferences.
Don’t go for an EDC that only has one mode, if you have the option of choosing one that offers more. Product versatility should be a priority on your list.
We know you’re not planning to swim with the flashlight, but models that don’t have any level of proofing are susceptible to various harsh weather elements. Even if you live in a desert or a hot climate with no form of precipitation, you can still inadvertently drop the light in water.
The best rating in the market is the IP68 waterproof rating. These models are not only fit enough to resist submersion, but they are known to be dust, dirt, and sand proof.
If we had to define what impact resistance is, we’d say it’s the housing’s ability to take on any form of brutal force or shock. Aluminum is the perfect example of a material that offers the highest level of impact resistance. So, if you’ve read somewhere in the description that your flashlight has an aluminum alloy casing, part yourself on the back. You obviously made a good investment.
It will withstand any shock or intense force caused by accidental drops or bumps, and hence protect the integrity of the device. Not even the lens will show signs of a crack.
Let’s assume for a quick second that you’re a hiker, and you’re planning to go on a 10-mile hike. You’ve done it before, so you know you’ll be back home by the time the sun goes down. But what if you sprain your ankle, or something unexpected happens? Covering those remaining miles won’t be easy if you can’t see where you’re going. Administering first-aid to your ankle will also be an issue, without a powerful light source.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, seeing as it all depends on the application. If you’re going out camping, and you need a powerful light source, we say go for it. It’s also ideal for first responders or law enforcement officers, as you can never know what you’ll be walking into. You’ll want to be certain you’re carrying with you a model that will be able to provide sufficient lighting, regardless of the situation.
But if you’re going to use your EDC flashlight indoors, a 5000-lumen brightness level is too harsh. You’ll need a more subtle level of illumination, like 400 lumens.
The standard or regular model is more focused on the basic features of a flashlight, while the tactical model focuses on how easy it is to access turbo or strobe mode. Tactical EDC flashlights are meant to assist officers or marksmen illuminate targets in low-light situations.
And with that, we’ve come to the end of today’s post. As always, we’ll sign this off by reminding you what our topic three picks were. The Fenix PD36R Rechargeable Flashlight took the overall position because it offered everything you expect to find in an EDC flashlight, and more. The TrustFire MC3 Tactical LED Flashlight offered value for money, while the OLIGHT Baton3 1200 Lumens Flashlight was our premium choice.
We’d love to answer any questions that you might have, so feel free to drop us a line any time.
Featured Image Credit: OgnjenO, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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