In A Nutshell
- The brightest flashlight is now the Acebeam X60M which shines at 7500 lumens and costs about $400 (it’s rated at 10,000 lumens but commentators here say this is not correct).
- The brightest compact flashlight is the Thrunite TN36 UT. It outputs around 7300 lumens and costs about $337.
- The brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries is the Nitecore EAX. It shines at 2000 lumens. It takes eight AA batteries and costs about $200.
- The brightest headlamp that uses AA battery is the Fenix 15-U. The maximum output is 900 lumens. See the full review.
- Update Dec 2015: Surefire has released the Titan Plus, a new keychain flashlight that produces 300 lumens in its highest light mode. See the full review.
Brightest Overall: The Acebeam X60M
The Acebeam X60M is the brightest flashlight I’ve come across. It’s rated at 10,000 lumens by the manufacturer, but owners say the output actually about 7500 lumens, which is still extremely bright.
The flashlight runs on six 18650 rechargeable batteries and it has a beam range of 525 meters. It is waterproof and impact resistant to 1.2 meters.
Home page: Acebeam
It’s available on Amazon for about $400: Acebeam X60M
Brightest Compact Flashlight: Thrunite TN36 UT
The Thrunite TN36 UT6 is a compact flashlight that outputs an impressive 7300 lumens. It runs on four 18650 rechargeable batteries. It’s waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (1.5 meters) and impact resistant to 2 meters.
The Thrunite TN36 UT6 is available on Amazon for about $240
The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries: Nitecore EAX
It’s waterproof to IPX-8 Standard (1.5 meters) and impact resistant to 1.5 meters.
The Nitecore EAX is available on Amazon for about $200.
The Brightest Keychain Flashlight: Titan Plus
Update Dec 2015: Surefire has released the Titan Plus, a keychain flashlight that produces 300 lumens in its highest light mode. Prior to this release, the brightest keychain light produced about 80-120 lumens, so this threefold increase is significant.
I’ve purchased this light and will be testing it soon. The 300 lumen mode is said to last about 1 hour with using a AAA Ni-MH battery.
All Surefire flashlight are designed and built in the USA, although some components are still sourced outside the US. Surefire says:
We do import a few components – most notably, the finest light emitting diodes (LEDs) from top-notch manufacturers outside the country – to incorporate into our products. All of that said, we do rely on as many American-made parts and components as possible, and the assembly of these components is done under our watchful eye in the U.S. to ensure optimal quality.
The Titan Plus is available from Amazon for about $90.