As you likely already know, we believe that everyone should carry with them a flashlight as a part of their everyday carry gear. But not everyone can afford a top-of-the-line (and, by proxy, top-of-the-price-ladder) portable torch. That doesn’t, however, mean that a worthwhile one is out of reach, as there are plenty of affordable small-scale illuminators out there.
In fact, you can get a really good flashlight for well under $100. So, if you haven’t already picked one up, it’s time to get onboard and get yourself a decent light source to stash in your pocket, everyday backpack, desk drawer, or wherever else. Because the following are the 12 best EDC flashlights you can purchase for $50 or less.
J5 Tactical V1-PRO
The ultimate bang-for-your-buck option, J5 Tactical’s V1-PRO offers up an output of 300 lumens for about the price of lunch. And it’s not just bright, it also has three interchangeable modes you can switch between – including high, low, and strobe. What’s even better is that it can run on both a single AAA disposable battery or a 14500 rechargeable one.
ThorFire VG10S XPL2
Equipped with an impressively powerful CREE XP-L2 emitter, this inexpensive EDC flashlight boasts an output of up to 1,100 lumens – which it can throw up to 900 feet. But there’s even more to it than that, as it features 5 different interchangeable modes and will ramp down over the course of 15 minutes from high to medium modes if left on for more than 5 minutes straight – saving it from overheating. It’s also waterproof rated at IPX8 and made from durable aircraft-grade aluminum.
Though probably most well known for their portable chargers, Anker actually makes some pretty good flashlights, as well. Case in point: their LC90 tactical flashlight. This little torch uses a CREE LED emitter to throw up to 900 lumens nearly 1,000 feet and features a focusable lens, up to 6 hours of micro USB-rechargeable battery life, and comes with 5 adaptable lighting settings. It’s also water-resistant at a rating of IP65 – meaning you can use it even in pouring rain.
Fenix is one of the top names in the portable lighting business, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of their budget options has made it onto our list. The E12 doesn’t have the biggest output of our picks – offering a total of just 130 – but you’d be surprised exactly how bright that actually is in the dead of night. It’s also precision machined from high-quality aluminum, has a battery life of up to 40 hours straight, has bright and dim lighting modes, and runs on a single AA battery.
5.11 Tactical TMT PLx
Another EDC flashlight that offers great functionality without being loaded with a bunch of unnecessary features, the 5.11 Tactical TMT PLx is a slim and easily pocketed penlight that offers an output of up to 90 lumens via a CREE LED emitter powered by two AAA alkaline batteries. It’s also water-resistant, has a bright light cone that travels up to 40 meters, and has a pocket clip for convenient storage and easy access.
FourSevens Preon P1
If you want a portable torch that’s as functionally sound as it is incredibly stylish, then you might be in the market for something like the FourSevens Preon P1. This ultra-compact pocket-friendly aircraft-grade aluminum flashlight has an impressive output range of 5-100 across 5 reconfigurable illumination modes, which include normal, strobe, SOS, high beacon, and low beacon. It also runs on a single AAA battery and has a total runtime of up to 20 hours of straight operation.
FourSevens Mini MK II
If modern style is a little lower on your list of desires in an EDC flashlight than size and functionality, you can’t go wrong with the FourSevens Mini MK II. Measuring up at only 2.17 inches in length, this tiny titan has an impressive output range of 0.8 to 550 lumens across 6 reconfigurable modes that range from low, to SOS, to a pair of beacons. It’s also water-resistant rated at IPX8, making it completely dunk-friendly, and it can run for up to 465 hours on a single battery charge.
Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA
If you want a decent budget flashlight, but you don’t want to have to worry about what batteries you can and can’t use with it, then you’re probably in the market for Streamlight’s 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA. This small, 350 lumen output flashlight works with CR123A lithium, AA lithium, or AA alkaline batteries – so you can use rechargeable ones if you want to save some scratch or you can rely on the old standard disposables. It’s also constructed from anodized aluminum, so it’s tough enough for any adventure.
Maratac AAAx2 Extreme
For a classic penlight with a bit of a tactical style touch and some fairly impressive capabilities, turn to Maratac’s AAAx2 Extreme. As you may have gathered from its name, it runs on a pair of AAA batteries, which give it a runtime of up to 90 hours straight on the low setting. It also has medium and high beam light modes which can be accessed with just the press of the tail button. It even features military-grade anodizing for a little extra toughness.
Tec Accessories Pixel
Even if you think you don’t have room for a flashlight in your everyday carry, the Tec Accessories Pixel begs to differ. And that’s because it measures up at only 1.69 inches in length total – more than small enough to fit on even the most fully-loaded carabiner keychain. And it offers a output of 25 lumens, is powered by 4 LR521/379A alkaline batteries, and operates with a simple twist. Best of all, it’s crafted from super tough and durable titanium. It’s small, convenient, practically unbreakable, and easy to use – so, now you’ve got no more excuses.
Olight S1 Baton
Olight is one of the top names in illumination for a very good reason: they make supremely excellent products. One of their best happens to be the S1 Baton, which also happens to be just under the $50 price point. And that’s great news for anyone who can afford one, because it offers a range of 0.5-500 lumens, is water resistant with an IPX8 rating, is impact resistant to 1.5 meters, and can run for up to 600 hours on a single battery. Impressive.
If you’re only got a couple of inches worth of room on your keychain, but you still want a solid flashlight, you can’t go wrong with MecArmy’s Illuminex-1. Measuring up at just 1.61 inches and with a diameter of only 0.5 inches, this 130 lumen titanium-constructed flashlight is waterproof to 2 meters, runs for up to 6 hours on a single charge, and is the world’s smallest flashlight that can be charged up by mini USB.
Best Tactical Flashlights
For when money is no object and you simply need the best, toughest EDC flashlight available, you’ll want to get your hands on one of our picks for the best tactical flashlights.