In A Nutshell
Update: The brightest flashlight is now the Olight SR96 Intimidator which shines at 4800 lumens.
The brightest compact flashlight is the Nitecore TM15 Tiny Monster which can output 3800 lumens in Turbo Mode. It costs about $320.
Another bright light is ThruNite which shines at 3338 lumens with a 440 meters beam distance. It costs about $110.
The Fenix TK75 shines at 2900 lumens. It costs about $188.
Nitecore Tiny Monster 26: 3800 Lumens
The Nitecore TM26 Tiny Monster LED Flashlight achieves its brightness by incorporating four CREE XM-L LEDs. The flashlight runs for 45 minutes on turbo mode (3800 lumens). It uses 4 x 18650 rechargeable batteries, or 8 x CR123 batteries.
The Nitecore TM26 is available at Amazon for around $300.
Fenix TK-41: 860 Lumens
The Fenix TK-41 U2, which shines at 860 lumens, is the brightest flashlight that runs on AA batteries. It uses eight AA batteries, and these can be rechargeable NiMH or alkaline AAs. The TK41 produces four brightness levels, the lowest (10 lumens) allows the flashlight to run for up to 240 hours.
The Fenix TK-41 U2 is available from Amazon for about $111.
Fenix TK-35: 820 Lumens
The Fenix TK-35 is another bright flashlight with good ratings — it gets an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars from 159+ reviewers on Amazon. The first flashlight to use a Cree XM- LED, the TK-35 shines at 820 lumens in turbo mode.
You can find the Fenix TK-35 on Amazon for about $100.
Here it is in action: