8 Best 18650 Flashlights for Everyday Carry

Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Shooting Mystery Best 18650 Flashlight

Packing high voltage, solid capacity, and reusability, the 18650 lithium-ion battery is one of the best power sources for electronic devices, including flashlights. Every year, flashlight manufacturers introduce multiple models that run on 18650.

That being said, while 18650 flashlights nowadays seemingly come in all shapes and sizes, a few stand out from the rest.

In case you wish to pick up some of the best 18650 flashlights on the market, this review article is a great place to start.

Best Value
Wuben L50
Best Overall
Anker Bolder LC90
Best Budget Pick
Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight

Our Picks for the Best 18650 Flashlights

1. Anker Bolder LC90

Best Overall

Anker Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 5 (High, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS)
  • Max Output: 900 Lumens
  • IPX-5 rating
  • Anti-slip finish
  • Pocket-friendly

Featuring Cree XM-L2 LED, the Bolder LC90 from Anker possesses a long reach compared to typical flashlights on the market. In addition to that, the Anker flashlight boasts 5 light settings that allow it to match a wide range of situations.

As it incorporates a dedicated built-in circuit designed to prevent fading, the output of Anker Bolder LC90 remains consistent over time. Unsurprisingly, the Bolder LC90 is considered to be the best all-around 18650 flashlight available for purchase.

Constructed from quality aluminum, the Anker Bolder LC90 is lightweight, but it’s still able to take on bumps and hits. Furthermore, being rated at IPX-5, this flashlight made by Anker illuminates reliably even after it’s submerged deep underwater.

Interestingly, the bezel of the Bolder LC90 is scalloped for striking, which means it also works well in a tactical role. The Bolder LC90 packs an aggressive anti-slip finish as well, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping away from your hands while using it.

As proof of confidence in its flashlight quality, Anker offers users of Bolder LC90 an 18-month manufacturer warranty. If you don’t want to worry about ending up with an unreliable flashlight, the Anker Bolder LC90 is one of the best options to add to your shortlist.

Pros:

  • Resilient
  • Intuitive handling
  • Bright and long-lasting

Cons:

  • The charging port should be overhauled
  • Quality control is less than ideal

2. Wuben L50

Best Value

WUBEN L50 USB Rechargeable LED Flashlight

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 5 (High, Mid, Low, Eco, and Emergency)
  • Max Output: 1,200 Lumens
  • IPX-8 rating
  • Memory circuit
  • Low power warning

Flexible and versatile, the L50 from Wuben could be put to good use by everyone with its assortment of lighting conditions. Made from hard-anodized alloy, this flashlight from Wuben is known to be highly portable, allowing almost anyone to wield it however they like. Also, since the Wuben L50 is dustproof and waterproof, it can operate in challenging environments.

As a result, the L50 is the all-time favorite of camping enthusiasts that wish to keep a sturdy flashlight around as they explore the outdoors.  

Normally, the L50 of Wuben is powered by an outstanding rechargeable 18650 battery that lets it run for a long time, but it accepts CR123 x 2 too. As the L50 integrates a USB charging port, you could charge the battery directly instead of removing it beforehand.

Once the battery is about to be depleted, the Wuben flashlight will send out a series of warnings, which can be especially helpful for campers. You don’t have to worry about wandering aimlessly in the dark because your flashlight shuts down randomly.  

Upon purchase, the Wuben L50 is accompanied by a battery, a lanyard, a charging cable, two O-rings, and a manual. You can conveniently start using this flashlight moments after taking it out of the package.

Pros:

  • Splendid light output
  • Dependable and reliable
  • Portability is excellent

Cons:

  • Tiny switch
  • Customer service is unresponsive

3. Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight

Best Budget Pick

Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 4 (High, Low, COB, and SOS)
  • Max Output: 600 Lumens
  • IPX-4 rating
  • Magnetic base
  • Sidelight

If you need an adaptable flashlight, we strongly recommended giving the Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight a look. Boasting a strong magnetic feature at its base, this flashlight from Karrong could be attached to things with metal exteriors. Because of that, the Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight proves handy in tasks that require both of your hands.

Additionally, thanks to the innovative light setup, the Karrong flashlight can send beams forward and to the side.       

Rated at IPX-4, the Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight handles rain, snow, and similar elements exceptionally well, so it’s definitely a marvelous companion in outdoor adventures.

Compact and light, this flashlight made by Karrong is a breeze to carry and use over extended periods. In usual cases, the Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight would run hour after hour on a single fully-charged 18650 battery. As the battery runs low, you could bring it back to full charge while it’s still in the flashlight using the USB charging port.    

For the control, the Karrong Magnetic COB LED Flashlight packs an on/off switch that also doubles as a setting toggle. All in all, this flashlight from Karrong is the best 18650 flashlight for ease of operation.    

Pros:

  • Well-built
  • Fair cost
  • Slim and sleek

Cons:

  • A few users experienced battery issues
  • Certain parts need to be strengthened

4. Fenix PD35TAC

Fenix PD35TAC

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 3 for Tactical (Turbo, Low and Strobe) and 6 for EDC (Turbo, High, Mid, Low, Eco, and Strobe)
  • Max Output: 1,000 Lumens
  • IPX-8 rating
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Stainless steel switch

Possessing two modes of operation, the Fenix PD35TAC is well-received by lots of people; from homeowners to tactical operators. The Fenix flashlight’s EDC mode should meet various lighting demands for daily use as it packs multiple settings. Compared to EDC mode, the Tactical mode contains few settings, but it lets you operate the flashlight at increased speeds.

Besides that, since its output is digitally regulated, the PD35TAC is deemed unmatched once it comes to consistency.      

Made from aviation aluminum, the flashlight from Fenix is regarded to be both light and rugged, which means it could be used for many applications. Moreover, the IPX-8 rating of the PD35TAC indicates that it will work fine even after being submerged underwater.

Due to the presence of an anti-abrasive finish and slip-resistant body, maintaining a good hold of PD35TAC of Fenix is, by all accounts, a walk in the park. The strategic locations of the switches facilitate easy handling as well.

As it lacks a built-in charging port, the Fenix flashlight requires users to remove its battery for a recharge. Fortunately, the PD35TAC is reverse-polarity-protected, so it remains undamaged even if you mess up the battery insertion.

Pros:

  • Powerful and tough
  • Packaging is sublime
  • Useful light settings

Cons:

  • Unable to tail stand
  • Quality control needs some work

5. Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight

Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 5 (High, Middle, Low, Strobe, and SOS)
  • Max Output: 1,200 Lumens
  • IPX-4 rating
  • Zoomable
  • Charging port

Designed to use XM-L2 LED, the Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight can deliver focused beams for quite some time. Depending on current requirements, users could change the Phixton flashlight’s focus by pushing and pulling its head.

Through the push-button switch, you would be able to turn it on/off and cycle between the light settings. As a result, adapting the Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight to particular light conditions is a cakewalk.

The standard source of power of this Phixton flashlight is a 18650 lithium-ion battery, but you could use x3 AAA batteries in a pinch. Additionally, the Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight integrates a USB charging port that allows direct recharges.

To prevent damages from careless battery insertion and electronic issues, the Phixton flashlight receives reverse polarity, short-circuit, and overload protection. Therefore, the Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight is known as the best 18650 flashlight in terms of integrity.

As for accessories, this flashlight is sold alongside a wall charger, a bike mount, a pouch, and other accessories. Because of that, you don’t have to make separate purchases to put the Phixton Tactical Handheld Flashlight to good use.

Pros:

  • Robust and portable
  • Convenient accessories
  • Nice values for the price

Cons:

  • Customer service is barely acceptable
  • Some users receive inoperable chargers

6. Soonfire NS17

Soonfire NS17

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 6 (Ultra Bright, High, Mid, Low, and Shimmery)
  • Max Output: 1,000 Lumens
  • IPX-8 rating
  • Aviation aluminum
  • Temperature control

By incorporating a precise temperature control system, the Soonfire NS17 never gets too hot to use, so it’s the best 18650 flashlight for draw-out works. Aside from that, this flashlight by Soonfire boasts a wide range of light settings that you could access at will.

Hence, the NS17 flashlight is a valuable tool to have around in plenty of situations. Constructed using aviation aluminum, the NS17 is often considered light, but it also resists shocks and vibrations relatively well.

For battery, the Soonfire flashlight is typically powered by a 18650. In the case that you don’t have a good 18650 on hand, the Soonfire NS17 accepts 16340 x 1 and CR123 x 2 too. After power drops below 20%, this flashlight automatically jumps to the lowest light setting while its red light indicator flashes the time to remind you to recharge.

Since the NS17 features a user-friendly integrated USB charging port, you should be able to fully charge its battery in a blink of an eye.

Regarding post-purchase support, Soonfire provides everyone that picks up NS17 with an 18-month manufacturer warranty that covers manufacturing defects. Furthermore, the customer service of Soonfire can help you take on issues surrounding the functions of NS17 reliably.

Pros:

  • Reasonable price
  • Fast delivery service
  • Sturdy and compact

Cons:

  • The push-button switch is fiddly
  • The charging port needs to be strengthened  

7. Sofirn SP31 V2.0

Sofirn SP31 V2.0

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 7 (Turbo, High, Mid, Low, Eco, Strobe, and SOS)
  • Max Output: 1,200 Lumens
  • IPX-8 rating
  • Dual switch
  • Battery indicator

Built to last, the SP31 V2.0 from Sofirn is often held in high esteem by those that look for ruggedness. Being rated at IPX-8, the flashlight of Sofirn works reliably in an assortment of settings, indoors as well as outdoors.

Thanks to ATR (Advanced Temperature Regulation) technology, the SP31 V2.0 automatically adjusts its light output once the driver temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius. That is why the Sofirn SP31 V2.0 is less susceptible to overheating compared to most flashlights on the market nowadays.

Possessing a dual switch control scheme, this flashlight made by Sofirn lets you manipulate its operation as you see fit. For momentary illumination, you need to use the forward switch, and all light settings of Sofirn SP31 V2.0 can be accessed through the side switch.

Furthermore, as the Sofirn flashlight packs a memory circuit, it remembers the last setting you use and changes to that setting the next time you use it. Thus, you don’t have to cycle through all the settings to get to the one you like every time you turn on SP31 V2.0.

Accompanied by a lanyard and clip, the SP31 V2.0 of Sofirn offers people lots of carrying options. That means it’s going to be a breeze to keep this flashlight close to you as you move.

Pros:

  • Wonderful light outputs
  • Splendid exterior finish
  • Handling is outstanding  

Cons:

  • Mediocre runtime
  • The switches get sticky now and then

8. PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight

PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight

Features and Specifications:

  • Light Settings: 5 (Full, Medium, Low, Strobe, and SOS)
  • Max Output: 1,200 Lumens
  • IPX-6 rating
  • Soft-touch tail switch
  • Zoomable

Resilient and portable, the PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight proves to be the ideal source of illumination in many cases. The PeakPlus flashlight body is made from heavy-duty aluminum, which allows it to tackle all sorts of abrasion and impacts. In addition to that, you could even use the PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight in the rain since it’s water-resistant.

As a result, for those that need long-lasting flashlights, this flashlight made by PeakPlus would be a worthwhile purchase. Besides that, the economical cost of PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight suits various shopping budgets too. 

Boasting multiple light settings, the flashlight from PeakPlus excels at adapting to many light conditions. The beam’s focus is adjustable as well, so depending on the current demands, the PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight could change from a spotlight to a floodlight and vice versa.

The PeakPlus flashlight packs a single switch that lets you cycle through the light settings and turn it on/off. Therefore, you should be able to get used to the PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight operation in a few minutes. 

As for the battery, the flashlight of PeakPlus runs on a 18650 battery, but you could substitute it using x3 AAA batteries. The PeakPlus LED Tactical Flashlight is sold alongside a battery charger as well which is a plus.

Pros:

  • Sublime intensity 
  • Affordable and durable 
  • Decent runtime 

Cons:

  • Inoperable charger is a common complaint
  • Battery contact often get loose  

 

Things to Consider When Buying the Best 18650 Flashlight


Overall, different people have different opinions regarding the best 18650 flashlight money can buy. That being said, if you wish to get your money’s worth, then it’s strongly recommended that you keep in mind the following considerations.

Light Output

Since people rely on flashlights for illumination, it’s obvious that light output would be one of the top concerns. Nowadays, the output of flashlights is measured in lumens: as the lumen rating increases, the output increases accordingly.

To determine the ideal output for your flashlight, you must think about its intended purpose. For instance, you don’t need a blindingly bright flashlight just to read books and if you frequently have to navigate dimly-lit spaces, remember to prioritize high lumen models.

Durability

Generally speaking, it’s unwise to handle flashlights roughly, but you should nonetheless give durability some thoughts before committing to a purchase. The last thing you want to spend your money on is fragile flashlights that break apart after the lightest hits.

Thus, while assessing models on the market, it’s suggested that you check out the design, material, and so on. Additionally, to reach an objective conclusion, you need to look at the reviews of fellow users.

Ease of Use

It’s definitely frustrating to get stuck in the dark with an overly complex flashlight that refuses to turn on no matter what you do. As a result, it’s widely advised that you pay attention to ease of use and save yourself a headache.

If you come to like a particular flashlight, refrain from picking it up until you know for certain that you could master its control. Flashlights packed with features would only provide negligible values if complicated controls prevent them from being put to good use.

Size and Weight

When it comes to size and weight, it’s all about individual liking: some prefer compact, lightweight flashlights, while others opt to purchase sizable models. Small flashlights should have top-notch portability in the typical case, but big ones usually boast superior runtime on average.

Hence, to grab a fitting flashlight for you, it’s essential that you consider the way you store your flashlight and how you wield it. This should help you narrow down your shortlist.

Price

Flashlights come at various price ranges, so suitable models exist for virtually every shopping budget. Unless you have specific demands, there is no need to empty your wallet to buy an expensive premium-grade flashlight.

Today’s market contains a wide range of quality models that come at reasonable prices. However, since the price is still linked to performance, you should steer clear of dirt-cheap flashlights as they often utilize corner-cutting to keep the price low.

Well-Regarded Brands for 18650 Flashlights

Technically, you don’t have to limit your choices to particular manufacturers of flashlights. If you come across a flashlight that meets your requirements, feel free to buy it without bothering about its brands. But in case you wish to stay on the safe side, it won’t be a bad idea to get your flashlight from one of the brands down below.

Fenix

By constantly updating its facilities and production techniques, Fenix builds solid flashlights that never displease. From household use to tactical applications, Fenix has top-notch models for pretty much everything. Also, Fenix backs its flashlights with outstanding warranties that give people peace of mind.  

ThruNite

Being a well-established name in the industry, ThruNite is held in high esteem by flashlight users worldwide. Flashlights from ThruNite prove to be relatively affordable compared to models of other brands, so they are sought after by those that have tight wallets.

Streamlight

As it continues to refine its existing flashlights and put together new ones based on customers’ reports, Streamlight ensure the best customer satisfaction. Thanks to a combination of quality materials and advanced technologies, flashlights made by Streamlight give a good account of themselves in an assortment of conditions.

Olight

Adhering to the latest manufacturing standards, Olight offers superb flashlights that last a long time. Strict quality control means only the best flashlights would reach the hands of the customers.

Klarus

Known as the pioneer of the dual-switch tactical flashlights, Klarus is deemed by many people to be one of the premier brands of flashlights. Dependable and reliable, flashlights from Klarus should work like a charm regardless of the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions About 18650 Flashlights

Can I Use Other Battery Types as Substitutes for 18650 Batteries?

Many 18650 flashlights can accept other batteries like CR123, AAA, and so on, as substitutes for 18650 batteries in a pinch. As a result, it’s possible to use certain 18650 flashlights even if you don’t have good 18650 batteries on hand. However, if you want to harness your 18650 flashlights’ full potential, it’s strongly recommended that you stick to genuine 18650 batteries.

What Should I Do to Keep My Flashlight in Good Condition?

Flashlights tend to be low-maintenance devices, so they only require basic care to stay in good conditions. Nonetheless, you should look at the user’s manual that accompanies your flashlight to see what needs to be done.

Additionally, you must avoid leaving your flashlight at the brightest setting for extended periods of time as that burns through batteries fast and can lead to overheating. To preserve your flashlight’s integrity, you should also use batteries from well-known brands like Sony, Panasonic, Energizer, and so on.

Is It Necessary to Invest in a Battery Charger?

A couple of 18650 flashlights have integrated chargers that allow users to charge the battery without taking them out. If you happen to buy a model that lacks such a feature, it would be wise to pick up a dedicated battery charger as soon as you can. By keeping a good charger around, it’s going to be a breeze to keep your flashlight supplied with charged batteries.

Conclusion

That’s pretty much it when it comes to the best 18650 flashlights money can buy.

It’s not easy to make a good purchase when you know little about market products and available options. But with the help of the information, you should have a good idea of what the best 18650 flashlight is for you.

MORE FLASHLIGHT REVIEWS: Best 2 AA Flashlight for Camping and Everyday Carry

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.