Best Rechargeable Flashlight Guide 2017 – Reviews & Comparisons
Flashlights maybe don’t get the recognition that they should, but one thing’s for certain: when you need one, you need one.
There’s a ton of different options out there for rechargeable beams, but a good majority of them have really sub-par charging capabilities and poor runtimes. These being the most important features of any rechargeable flashlight, we’ve constructed a list of several of the best options out there that’ll give you the most longevity, durability, and overall bang for your buck.
Quick Look: Top Rechargeable Flashlights
Best rechargeable flashlights: Product summaries
Like with all of our roundups, we’ve tried to pick out products that apply to a range of different uses and applications. Whether you’re looking for a good camping, hiking, or tactical light, a tiny mini-light to keep in your pocket, or a monstrous spotlight for vaporizing small animals (just kidding), hopefully you can find something on here that’s applicable to you and your needs.
For an all-around, super good-quality general purpose light, the Streamlight ProTac HL Series is probably the best rechargeable LED flashlight you can get. They’re a little pricey, but like we said, a good option if you’re looking to invest in the best of the best.
Also, the ProTac series has several different models, so whether you’re looking for a headlamp or a good tactical beam (or something in between), there’s probably one for you. We’ll talk about several of the different models in detail below.
For a super compact pen-sized beam that you can keep stashed just about anywhere, the Streamlight Stylus Pro is our top pick for the best USB rechargeable flashlight.
It comes with a holster to keep it super handy and accessible when you’re out camping or hiking, and the USB connection makes charging about as simple as it can get.
Speaking of camping, the AGPtek Solar rechargeable lantern is far and away the coolest electric lantern we’ve ever seen… seriously. It has five separate charge methods (including solar), and has a total run time of over 20 hours.
And the best thing about it? Price. Absolutely unreal how cheap it is for what you’re getting.
For a full-size, super bright spotlight/floodlight, our top choice is actually the rechargeable Stanley FatMax Li-Ion. There are certainly more expensive options out there to choose from, but we generally prefer to consider overall value rather than straight-up performance.
That being said, the FatMax performs just as well and lasts probably longer on a single charge than a lot of the more expensive ones out there - definitely a great bargain for the price.
The Outlite A100 LED Tactical is without a doubt our top pick for the best cheap rechargeable flashlight.
We’ve got one of these things, and honestly can’t really remember ever charging it. We don’t use it a ton, but every time we do it flicks right on and is bright and powerful like it just came fresh off the charger.
Reviews of the Best Rechargeable Flashlights
Streamlight ProTac HL3: Best rechargeable tactical flashlight
Streamlight has definitely established itself over the years as one of the most respected and reliable names in quality flashlights. And make no mistake, the ProTac HL serious are excellent tools - not something you pick up down at the drug store or local Wal-Mart.
That being said, the price tag might be a little more than what a lot of people are willing to pay for a rechargeable flashlight. Like the old saying goes though, if you want the best, you pay for the best.
At 1,100 lumens, the thing is ludicrously bright - it’ll turn even the blackest of woods and darkest of basements into a 5th Avenue showroom. Also, with a 50,000 hr total life span, this thing should still be kicking and taking quality charges for years and years to come.
It comes with a holster and clip for convenient carrying/EDC options, and the 3-volt Lithium batteries are included.
Like we mentioned in the intro, the ProTac HL series has several different models and styles to choose from - another one of our favorites is the ProTac series headlamp for camping and hiking. Headlamps are irreplaceable when you’re doing something in the dark and you need both hands, and this thing is the without question the best there is.
A repeating theme that continusouly pops up in user reviews is how insanely long a charge will last with these ProTac HL lights. Take off on a week-long hike, and you’re tactical light and headlamp will still be kicking strong when you get back.
Not to mention, the 100% shock-resistant construction makes the frame rock-solid and durable even under the most brutal of circumstances.
Things we liked
Four different levels of brightness intensity (including strobe mode)
Quality nylon holster for belt carry
1,100 lumen max beam is rated for 379 meters
Perfect size/ergonomics for a tactical light
Things we didn’t like
Price. Like we said, prepare to pay for the best
It’s a bit on the heavy side if you’re into things like ultralight camping or hiking
Streamlight Stylus Pro: Best USB rechargeable mini-light
The Stylus pro is an ultra-compact mini light that gets our pick for the best USB rechargeable flashlight.
Being condensed into such a tiny little package (pen-sized.. a little over 6” long), the 70-lumen, 50-meter beam is actually deceptively bright. And weighing only 1.9 ounces, it could in fact work great as a single beam for ultralight camping (just tuck it behind your ear like a pencil when you need to use it as a headlamp).
As we all know, USB rechargeable lights are the preferred choice for traveling, as it allows you to use a single cord to charge everything. The Stylus Pro will charge from completely dead to 100% in under 2.5 hrs, and is rechargeable up to 300 times. On max power, it has a full run time of about three and a half hours.
The ProTac HL USB is a full-size tactical light and is another great USB option, but it’s a good deal more expensive than both the Stylus and the HL3 tactical.
A lot of users like to use the Stylus Pro as an inspection light - it’s absolutely perfect for getting into tight spots like under the hood of a car, behind messy piping/plumbing stacks in dark attics/crawl spaces, etc.
It’s also a popular choice for EDC, and plenty of people toss it in the holster and bring it with them to work everyday. It’ll come in handy a lot more often than you might think, and the minimal size makes it a negligible addition to your belt.
Things we liked
Long use on a single charge. You’ll rarely use an inspection light for more than a few minutes at a time, and with this thing lasting 3.5 hrs per charge, it’ll last for ages before needing to be plugged back in
Size! Enough said.
Comes with a perfect-sized belt holster/sheath for EDC
Things we didn’t like
More beam intensity settings would be nice (it has constant/momentary operation modes)
AGPtek 5-mode solar lantern: Best rechargeable camping lantern
Alright, seriously, this thing kicks butt. Hands-down the most impressive product on the list, even if it is just a lantern.
We’ve got two of them for camping and outdoor fires/barbecues, and wouldn’t think twice about getting several more.
Lanterns might kind of seem like a thing of the past, but they’re so nice to have when you’re outside in the dark trying to cook over a fire, or if you’re just sitting around a campfire with some friends.
A lot of electric lanterns are pretty limited with their runtime (a few hours max before they start dimming), but this thing is rated to last for over 20 continuous hours, and the experience we have with it so far tells us that’s probably not too much of an exaggeration.
The amazing thing about this lantern is it has five different power/recharge sources: a standard wall plug, a car charger, a solar panel (are you kidding!?), a ‘dynamo’ hand crank, and AA batteries.
The hand crank is kind of an emergency backup feature if your other power sources die out - crank the lever up and down for 60 seconds, and you get about 20 minutes of runtime on max power.
Usually products like these turn out to be gimmicky and are too good to be true, but like we’ve said we use the thing all the time for camping and have no reservations about recommending it. Also, it’s a super-popular buy on Amazon and the hundreds of user ratings are pretty much 5-star across the board.
Oh, and another cool feature: it’s got a universal USB port for charging your phone. Just keeps getting better and better.
Things we liked
Just about everything. For the price, we have no real complaints
Really convenient size (about 10” tall x 5” across) - perfect for car camping
USB port will come in handy a lot more times than you might think
Things we didn’t like
The solar panel won’t take a great charge unless it’s in solid sunlight, but come on... We don’t expect a world-class solar panel for something with a price tag like this
Stanley SL10LEDS FatMax Li-Ion: Best rechargeable spotlight
Like we mentioned in the intro, we chose the FatMax spotlight based mostly on overall value for the price. There are better spotlights out there, for sure, but there’s none that we’ve ever come across that match the performance, durability, and run time for anywhere near the same price.
There are two things people want to look for in a good spotlight: how bright it is, and how far the beam shines.
The FatMax excels in both these areas, with several users claiming it’ll shine clear across a 5-acre piece of land, or well over a ½ mile to illuminate buoys on open water. Also, the 2,200-lumen beam is truly blinding - it has a low-intensity mode (that you’ll definitely use) when you don’t need quite so much brightness.
The light comes with a red lense, which is pretty cool, although we’re still trying to figure out what you might use it for (roadside emergencies, maybe?).
Charge-wise, the FatMax is great. It’ll hold a single charge for over a year, and has nearly 7 hours of full runtime on high beam. A lot of users just keep one in their truck or boat, charge it every couple months, and never have an issue.
Things we liked
Durability and water-resistance. Any halfway decent light should be able to withstand a light drizzle. Don’t expect it to work underwater, but it can take a fairly good showering without any problems
Charge life. Like we said, it’ll easily last a few months on a single charge with periodic use
Ergonomics. It’s comfortable in the hand, isn’t too top heavy/tippy, and won’t wear our arm out holding it up for a few minutes at a time
Has a flip-up hinge on the top that lets you prop it up in place
Things we didn’t like
An included carrying case would be nice
Outlite A100 LED Tactical: Best cheap rechargeable flashlight
As the title suggests, this is hands down our top choice for a dirt-cheap rechargeable light. The size/ergonomics is pretty spot on for a tactical light, and it can hang with other models performance-wise that are double, triple, or even more that in price.
Usually when you skimp on something like battery-powered or rechargeable stuff, you get hosed when it comes to runtime and overall battery life. Several months, a few full charges, and it starts wearing out quickly.
That’s what makes the Outlite A100 such a great bargain - it has a max run time of well over 5 hrs, and we can definitely vouch for that claim. Also, unlike other junky rechargeable lights that we’ve sifted through over the years, the battery on this one won’t crap out after several months of non-use.
The beam itself is nothing too out-of-this-world (about 200 meters max distance), but it’s more than sufficient for standard use. Also, it’s got a really functional zoom/focal adjustment feature that lets you narrow/widen the beam according to conditions.
It has five different settings for beam intensity (including strobe and SOS), and it’ll take AAA batteries as well in an emergency, which is a great feature in our opinion.
As far as user reviews, the A100 is far and away the most popular value option out there in terms of rechargeable tactical lights. It has thousands of reviews on Amazon, the vast majority of them 5-stars across the board.
Things we liked
Comes with a cool mini keychain light too
Rechargeable battery and charge pack are included (you’d be surprised how often this is not the case)
100,000hr+ lifespan… really long-lasting for such a cheap tool
Things we didn’t like
Hmm… actually having a hard time thinking of anything!
Things to look for in a quality flashlight
Before you think about buying anything, here’s a good thing to keep in mind about flashlights: When it’s dark out, you don’t need a beam with the intensity of a newborn star to see well.
All of these flashlights that boast super-high lumens and a ½ km or more of travel are fine and well, but what’s far more important is having a charge that lasts. There’s nothing more annoying than your battery crapping out and dimming to nothing in the most inopportune moment.
That being said, this was our first priority when coming up with this list - every flashlight on here has a best-in-class runtime and holds a charge incredibly well. In our opinion, beam intensity is far less important than a good battery life and long runtimes.
A word about Lumens and beam distance
Flashlight beam intensity ratings can get a bit confusing, to say the least.
Pretty much all standard handheld flashlights nowadays are measured in lumens. Naturally, the more lumens a flashlight has the brighter the beam is. However, other factors can come into play as well that determine overall beam intensity and travel distance, such as the diameter of the lens, how condensed the light is, etc.
Think of it like a garden hose: when you twist the nozzle to the ‘shower’ or ‘mist’ setting, you get a wide range of coverage, but the water doesn’t travel too far. When you twist it the other way, the stream gets ‘skinnier’ but it blasts out harder, and travels a lot further. Same deal with flashlight beams.
For reference, anything over about 500 lumens coming out of a standard size tactical flashlight is going to be pretty darn bright. (The ProTac HL3 we recommended has a max intensity of 1,100 lumens).
Over 2,000 lumens, and you’re talking serious scorching business. Like, seriously, don’t look straight into the beam. (The Stanley FatMax we recommended has a max lumen output of 2,200).
One final thing to keep in mind is that all flashlight lumen ratings are based on a 100% full battery. Once the battery starts draining, brightness will diminish correspondingly until the whole thing’s dead. That’s why it’s so important to consider battery life and runtime when choosing a good rechargeable light.
Top Picks Based on Overall Lumens
Now that we’ve talked a bit about lumens, here’s our list again of the best rechargeable flashlights based on their beam intensities and max distances:
Stanley FatMax Li-Ion: 2,200 max lumen output, 500m+ beam travel
Streamlight ProTac HL3: 1,100 max lumen output, 379m distance rating
Outlight A100 Tactical: Rated at 900 lumens, but we’re a bit skeptical... The 200m max distance seems pretty accurate though.
AGPtek Solar Lantern: 240 max lumen (120 on ‘low’ setting), about 20m distance
Streamlight Stylus Pro: 70 lumen max output, 50m distance
Out of all of our top picks, we’ve got to go with the Streamlight ProTac HL3 as our first-choice for the overall best rechargeable tactical flashlight.
It is a bit on the pricey side, but it really is second to none in terms of performance, quality, and battery life if you’re looking for something long-lasting. And, it’s got a blisteringly intense 1,100-lumen beam to boot.
That being said, we absolutely love the AGPtek 5-mode lantern, too. Anyone who’s into any kind of camping/outdoor stuff should definitely give it a shot - you’ll have a blast playing around with it.