The 7 Best Rechargeable Flashlights of 2021

LED technology has transformed the rechargeable flashlight market.

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The Rundown
This professional quality flashlight is pricey, but it’s got all the functionality, power, and longevity you need.
A bit heavier than others, but at half the price with all the functionality, Anker is a winner.
A 500-lumen light that’s solar-powered and contains other useful built-in tools like a glass hammer and magnetic attachment.
A big light for emergencies or night jobs that need plenty of illumination.
This flashlight attaches to anything metal, or you can clip it to a belt loop to always have it handy.
A compact flashlight that offers 430 hours of light and five brightness settings.
Best Headlamp:
PETZL Actik Core at REI
A headlamp that recharges quickly, and shines bright with 450 lumens of light.

If you haven’t bought a flashlight in awhile, you might be surprised to hear that rechargeable versions rank just as highly as those that need disposable batteries. While it used to be the case that you might expect a rechargeable flashlight to be less-bright or not last as long, that’s just not a problem these days. 

Thanks to LED bulb technology, which can produce a bright, clean light using very little power, new flashlights may provide even more light than you might expect — or need, which is why the lights in this list all have variable settings. 

This new generation of rechargeable flashlights all are reviewed as shining bright, steady light for tens of thousands of hours. The differences in price reflect how long they’ll hold a charge and how far the beam will reach, as well as waterproofing and some various light configurations (some have extra lights on the body of the flashlight, not just the front). Outside of price, you should consider how you plan to use your flashlight: Is it for emergencies, to keep in the car, to use regularly for projects, or camping? Consider your particular needs when parsing the various options.

Below, you'll find the best rechargeable flashlights for all these situations.

Best Overall: Streamlight 74751 Strion LED High Lumen Rechargeable Professional Flashlight

Streamlight 74751 Strion LED High Lumen Rechargeable Professional Flashlight with 120-Volv AC/12-Volt DC Charger and 1 Charger Holder

This flashlight is bigger (but not heavier) and more expensive than most of our other recommendations, but it gets rave reviews, even after two to three years of regular use by police officers, building inspectors, and other regular-flashlight-using professionals. They’re tough too — several reviewers commented that they had dropped their Streamlight numerous times on pavement and had no issues, probably because it’s made with LED technology that’s impervious to shock.  

The Streamlight’s rechargeable battery can be powered up with an AC or DC charger (wall or car), and its High setting puts out 500 lumens for an hour, Medium is 250 lumens for two hours, and Low is 125 lumens for over three hours. It fully recharges in three hours. The exterior is made from anodized finished aircraft aluminum. When you set it down, this flashlight’s head is designed to keep it from rolling, a smart little hack.

Best Budget: Anker Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight

Anker flashlight

You’ll be covered in a storm with the Anker’s slip-proof frame and a tolerance for drenching rainstorms. This flashlight provides serious brightness when needed, thanks to a 900-lumen LED bulb that can reach almost 1,000 feet. The battery charges up via wall plug or USB. The beam can be zoomed from a wide beam to a narrow one, and it has five light settings: High, Medium, Low, a strobe function, and an SOS.  

While a bit heavier than some of the others on this list, the Anker gets solid reviews for performance. Users those who contacted the company with an issue often mention the excellent customer service, which is something you don’t hear often these days.

Best Solar Powered: Renogy E.Lumen 500 Multi-Functional Flashlight

Renogy flashlight

The Renogy E.Lumen flashlight has solar panels along the side, and if charging from nothing, it will take about 30 hours of sunshine to fully power the battery. That could be ideal for off-grid use or camping (especially for a top-up of an already-charged light), or its battery can be charged via USB to a power source like the other flashlights on the list. 

As the name indicates, the Bright setting on this flashlight is 500 lumens at the brightest setting. It has a low setting too, as well as a strobe function, and light options along the side of the barrel, giving even more low-light options. Along the side it also has a magnet, so it can be attached to metal objects like an overhead pipe or the body of a vehicle in a task-light position. An integrated seat-belt cutter and glass-shattering hammer means this flashlight is a true emergency tool.

Best Spotlight: Stanley FATMAX SL10LEDS Rechargeable 2200 Lumen Lithium Ion Ultra Bright LED Spotlight Flashlight

STANLEY FATMAX SL10LEDS Rechargeable 920 Lumen LED Lithium Ion Spotlight

Sometimes you want a big light in case of emergency, for a night work project, or to light up a whole room when the power’s out. True to its name, this flashlight is on the bulky side, at 11 inches (plus handle) and weighing in at 2 pounds. But with that bulk comes options, like a pivoting stand that means it can be set up for hands-free use. The FATMAX can be charged with either AC or DC current, so car charging is an option, or you can plug it into the wall, and USB charging is an option too. 

At 2200 lumens and a 10-Watt LED bulb, this flashlight produces a strong light. The lithium-ion battery will last for an hour at the highest setting, but closer to seven on the lowest (for a total of two brightness settings). It will hold its charge for a year, which is particularly useful if you want to keep on standby for emergency needs. Users most give this flashlight high ratings, but as with most rechargeable products, some reviewers report the battery failing after a few weeks or months of use—but this seems to be a random issue and many other reviewers don’t have this problem. The FATMAX comes with a year warranty in case you do encounter any issues.

Best with Magnetic Base: Olight S30R III 1050 Lumens EDC LED Rechargeable Flashlight

Olight Flashlight

This tiny flashlight can be easily attached to a metal object (like the underside of the hood of a car, or a basement duct) with its magnetic tail, and its small size of just 4.5 inches means it will fit in tight spots. The Olight also has a clip for the belt or to hook it in other configurations. 

It has five brightness settings, from Turbo to Moon, and while the highest couple will only last from three to four hours, the lower settings can go for 15 hours or more. The highest setting, Turbo, gives off 1050 lumens, and its next-highest setting is a decent 500. The flashlight charges using a USB charger that is included.

Best Small: Fenix PD35 V2.0 2018 Upgrade 1000 Lumen Flashlight

Fenix Flashlight

At just 5.4 inches and 3 ounces this Fenix flashlight isn’t quite the smallest on the list, but its extra length allows this flashlight to pack in a full host of features—and it’s only 1 inch in diameter, so it’s far from bulky. This flashlight has six light settings starting with Turbo, which will shine 1000 lumens for two hours and 50 minutes, then High, Mid (150 lumens for 12 hours 25 minutes of light), Low, and Eco (three lumens for 430 hours on a charge). There’s also a strobe setting.  

This light is waterproof to a depth of 6 feet, so it can be used in very wet conditions, and it comes with all the accessories you’ll need and then some. It has a pocket clip, holster, lanyard, spare o-ring, spare rubber boot, and charging cable.

Best Headlamp: PETZL Actik Core Headlamp

Petzl headlamp

Headlamps solve two issues with one smart design: They’re hands-free, and the light is always directed where your eyes go since they move with your head. The Petzl runs on a quick-recharging USB (it takes three hours) or via AAA batteries, so you will have backup if you are away from power for long periods and don’t want to carry a larger power bank

This headlamp can take getting splashed with water or sweat, and the headband is detachable for washing. The light has three settings: It will run for two hours on the highest setting, and 130 hours on the lowest one. It also has a red light option for preserving night vision.

Final Verdict

Our pick for most durable and all-around best rechargeable flashlight is the Streamlight LED High Lumen (available on Amazon). If you're looking to go solar, consider the Renogy E.Lumen 500 Flashlight (available on Amazon).

Good to Know

You’ll see lumens used as a light measurement scale in this and other discussions about flashlights. Don’t worry, even if you’ve never heard of lumens before, it’s fairly straightforward. A lumen is simply a measurement of the amount of visible light emitted by a source over a specific time period.

The number you see attached to the word lumens is simply how much light it gives over an area. So, for the most part, a higher number means a brighter light. However, brightness can be affected by how much the light is spread out. For example, a pinpoint beam vs. a spotlight beam could both emit 500 lumens, but the single beam might look brighter and travel farther because it’s concentrated.

Most of our recommended flashlights have multiple brightness settings and some have filters or allow for different thicknesses of beam as well, or may have colored filters (red is popular for easier night vision). Any manipulation of the beam can alter the perception of how bright a light is.

FAQs

Are rechargeable flashlights better for the environment?

The flashlights don’t differ much in terms of their impact — the materials, energy, and shipping costs are similar (and in fact, many flashlights that take a rechargeable battery can also take conventional throwaway batteries too).

But the batteries have a significantly different impact. Assuming you recharge your flashlight more than 50 times, the overall impact (including air pollution and waste) will be lower than using a flashlight powered by disposable batteries. No matter what kind of electronic you choose, it's also important to recycle batteries and other e-waste, don't just toss it in the trash.

How often do rechargeable flashlights need to be charged?

This completely depends on the quality and type of rechargeable battery, the age of the flashlight (batteries get worse at keeping a charge over time, though how quickly this happens depends on the battery), but most of all, how much it is getting used.

Many of the flashlights on this list can go for a year without a recharge if not used at all. That could mean that if you just use the flashlight a few times a year for a few minutes, you might only need to charge it up twice a year. If you are using the flashlight every day for multiple hours, you’ll need to charge it a couple times a week, since most have a max range of 15 hours on lower settings, and half that or less on higher settings.

What flashlight features are most important in an emergency?

The two most important functions in an emergency situation are light when you need it (so a reliable battery that keeps a charge) and where you need it. Emergencies could include a variety of situations, but life-threatening scenarios include treating an injury with first aid, and navigating your way out of a dangerous space. Both of those situations call for a strong, focused beam, rather than a light that fills a room (that’s more useful for camping or project work).

So for emergencies, look for a flashlight with a strong, directed beam (rather than one that is spread out) or a function that gives you that option. You also might want to consider two lights in your emergency kit — the flashlight with a powerful beam, and a headlamp, which gives you hands-free option if you need to do any close or detailed work with both your hands in an emergency. 

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