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The Brightest LED Flashlights Of 2016

by Justin Thomas •

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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 $240.
  • 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.
  • Update Dec 2015: Surefire has released the Titan Plus, a new keychain flashlight that produces 300 lumens in its highest light mode.  The brightest keyring-size LED flashlight: Fenix LD02, it outputs 100 lumens on the brightest setting it costs around $30. 

The Details

Brightest Overall: The Acebeam X60M

brighest-led-flashlight-acebeam

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.

Brightest Flashlight: Acesbeam X60M

Home page: Acebeam

It’s available on Amazon for about $400: Acebeam X60M

Brightest Compact Flashlight: Thrunite TN36 UT

Thrunite TN36: Brightest Compact LED Flashlight

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 UT is available on Amazon for about $240

The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries: Nitecore EAX

The Brightest LED Flashlight That Uses AA Batteries

The brightest flashlight that uses AA batteries is the Nitecore EAX, which shines at 2000 lumens. It takes eight AA batteries and costs about $200.

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

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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.

 

titan-b_3

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.

Comments 97

  1. Patrick

    Everybody needs to go buy a NITECORE P12GT is unbelievable the amount of light and almost 400m throw and it’s about 50 bucks you will not be disappointed with this light and its small enough to be an EDC

  2. Longnguyen

    The titan one is really a good one. I already had one and very please about its portable characteristic.

  3. Mona Clinton

    Excellent review!

    Could you help me choose between Acebeam X60M and Thrunite TN36 UT6.
    Which one is more convenient for using in forests.
    I like the Acebeam X60M but is it much brighter? Because i don’t want to pay an extra 160$ for just 2000 lumens.

    Tks!

  4. Jenny

    great review. the titan plus seems awesome, indeed. it’s small but really strong. I wish its price can be lowed down a little.

  5. Emily

    Those flashlights are awesome and definitely necessary when i go camping or the electricity is turned off. I prefer Titan Plus than others because it seems more portable and economical.
    Could you please make a video about these things? Cheer!

  6. Anonymous

    Law enforcement and other safety related occupations often have to rely on flashlights as their only source of light in some critical situations. I have a ATAC R1 that I purchased at a uniform shop. Very well built, very bright, and rechargable. FYI

  7. David

    I buy a cheap $3 flashlight with high/low settings from wish.com. Uses 2 AAA batteries. Takes over 2 weeks to get it from China but is only $1 shipping fee. What more would I need to see where the dog poop is so I don’t step in it. I’m so poor that I’m lucky I have enough money to buy my dogs food. Welcome to the real American life of over 60% of America. And to think you all are bitching about $700 flashlights. To have your problems must be horrible.

    1. Jonathan

      Way to make yourself look like a first-rate asshole, David. If these products don’t apply to you, then why read about them, much less leave a whiny comment about what you cannot afford…idiot.

  8. Dan

    As I read through these comments, I reflected on Stuart’s comment about going below deck into a cargo hold. As a past tanker mate and current owner of an environmental company, one of my most trusted and coveted “tools” has always been an intrinsically safe flashlight. When Mag Lights became all the rage in the 90’s, they were neither approved by USCG personnel for use on bravo vessels (bulk petroleum) or by oil terminals. Even though it was advertised as waterproof (O-ring), it did not receive the class “1” rating we needed. We were stuck using the double “D” incandescent safety lights with the metal clip that held the bulb, least it broke free and sparked, igniting an explosion…
    Fast forward a few years and better (and brighter bulbs) came into the market and were advertised as “tank lights”. They were coveted (and often stolen by the gremlins who worked for me ;-D) but were somewhat affordable at around $25-$75. Of course, flashlights continued to get better and I when I came across this website, I was immediately intrigued at having so much light available at a reasonable price (think new product, quality construction, etc. – I agree with those who purport the cost…you generally get what you pay for. I imagine the price will come down, but to be the first kid on the block with this new technology, expect to pay for it…) I digress…
    I was wondering, does anybody know (I couldn’t find it) – if these lights approved for Class 1A explosion proof tank entry? If so, I know what I’ll be asking Santa for!

    Thanks all…may your lights shine brightly and your batteries not fail when you need them most!

    Dan

  9. Stuart

    To those ( like Charley) who say it is stupid to spend so much on a utility bright compact light. Let’s see you climb down into an enclosed space or a tank on a 1000 foot long cargo ship with your $17 Chinese flashlight, and drop it in the grease. I am sure many posting here NEED quality high end lights for work and many other activities your not even thinking of. I like to have my own tools, and a flashlight is one I cannot live without, literally in some cases. great information here! thanks.

    1. master

      In the keychain flashlight category, the Aimkon iTP A3 is said to be brighter than the Fenix — the 130 lumens is impressive. However, some buyers on Amazon said the build quality is a dodgy. I will have to test this flashlight.

      1. master

        I bought the Aimkon iTP A3 for testing — it was flimsier than the Fenix. I took it on a night hike, and turned it on the brightest setting. It ran out very quickly on that setting.

  10. James

    Don’t know why you need a $700.00 flashlight, but it sounds like there are numerous people. I hope these people are worth at least $100,000,000. Then they may want it for their yacht.
    No more than $50.00 for a FLASHLIGHT, that’s all you need to spend. If you want a spot light or something similar, then maybe a little more. I bought spotlight (12″ (I think) diameter, maybe 14″) on sale for $49.99. We shine it into the woods from the cabin and see what shows up and then sometimes we would shine (signal) the small fishing boats going out at night on the lake. We had a clear view to the lake from the cabin.
    But I digress. Unless a company buys it for you or you are worth $100,000,000 or more then forget those outrageous prices.
    Oh Yeah you aren’t taking a $700.00 flashlight camping and if you are a security guard at night you should not spend for one, so then you are doing things at night when you should be home and/or sleeping. Be careful though.

    Thanks Brothers

    God Bless

    James

    1. JB

      It really isn’t any of your business what someone wants a 700.00 flashlight for. Same reason someone wants a BMW instead of a Honda. They have their reasons. Leave it at that instead of ranting on like a fool for multiple paragraphs. You chastise others for buying an expensive flashlight yet you are spending the time to do it. It is a fools errand either way. It is a flashlight. People buy expensive stuff that you can buy cheap every day. Diamond studded and gold plated smart phones that they will get rid of in 2 years or less. You bought a spot light for nothing more than to shine it into the woods to see what you can see or shine it at boats on the lake that probably did nothing but piss off the people in the boat you were shining it at. Some would say that was a waste of money as well.

      1. Skip

        I do have a $700.00 flashlight. And you know where I keep it? On my yacht! Couple things. First a yacht can be a 25ft sailboat. Second, you may take your cool 50 buck big light out to the porch at your cool cabin and looks for a coon in the trees and think thats real fun, but it will not do you a bit of good when you are sailing that 25ft yacht in the middle of the Atlantic double handed and your crew goes overboard in 25-30 foot swells with driving rain and a boat that is over on her side rather than standing up. That $700.00 has saved my life more than once. You should really not use such big numbers. It is just silly.

    2. 11B

      Some of us use these flashlights to identify and engage bad guys, NO we aren’t millionaires, we are actually way underpaid for the fact that we protect you and yours every day and night. We spend our hard earned money on reliable equipment that will not fail us and that erases the bad guy’s advantage of darkness. Leave your opinions at home, and if I want to spend 350 to 500 bucks or more to make sure I come home alive, it’s my prerogative.
      You’re Welcome

  11. Charley Howe

    A few things to keep in mind about “super-bright” LED flashlights…………..

    #1. Exactly what do you want it for? “bragging rights” so you can say, “I have the brightest light in town, yada,yada, yada” ? (You’ll be happy and no one else will know the difference!)

    That’s easy! just buy the cheapest Chinese flashlight that makes the biggest “claims”! (and costs $17 USD or less)

    Seriously….from reading some of these posts, one could easily assume that!
    Now, back to REAL #1. it will always have the best “led”? “emitter”? also; what is furnishing the POWER to make all of that light? 4 X rechargeable “D” cells from Hong Kong, that cost $3.29 /dozen? or 4 large car batteries, wired in parallel ? (Not so “portable” , need semi truck to “transport”)

    Can you see what I’m driving at here? Get serious, people! some of you sound like you expect to find a 10,000 lumen flashlight with a 5 kilometer “throw” at the neighborhood 5 & 10 cent store!
    If you really want the most light, you’re gonna need the best emitter/emitterS; (think “Cree” (and FORGET “halogen”! (That’s what college kids used to use to burn down their dorms! ) (things get HOT!)

    As you may have noticed by now, a LOT of people are trying to sell “super bright” LED flashlights on the internet these days; (come back in 6 months and see how many of them are still around) The crooks will be gone, but there will always be more crooks to take their place! (The best way to get rid of internet crooks is to have a LOT MORE “smart”, “knowledgeable” “buyers”! Become one!

    I’ll be honest with you; I have all of exactly ONE “decent” LED flashlight, that I bought “on a whim” at Wally’s World; $50 for the thing; I forget the name…..probably couldn’t pronounce it anyway; But hey….it’s a great light, only uses one li-ion cell, (forget which one), an 18650 I think, but probably not a great one, and I can’t find the charger so till I find the thing, I need another flashlight; (it’s a little on the “big” side to carry around much anyway );

    Here’s my best advice; before you try to “pick out” what light to plunk down $100 (or more) on, figure out what you’re gonna use the thing for, FIRST, then you’ll have a better idea of how much light you need, THEN you can start “picking out” the flashlight; me…….I’m about half way ready to buy a 2015 ed Fenix PD35, couple of L2S 18650 L-ion Fenix cells, (3400 m-ah )
    Remember: 18650’s come in dozens of “flavors” (more /less power , always rated by “mili-amp-hrs” (or “mah” something like that. Also remember; those really bright Crees make a LOT of light, and due to the laws of physics, they make a LOT of heat doing it! (so much heat in fact that after about 5 minutes on max, Fenix has some clever circuitry that automatically dims the thing down to the next level; ( so don’t buy a PD35 to clip on the handlebars of your mountain bike when you fly down off of Pike’s Peak at night! (The PD 35 is SMALL, but still makes 1,000 lumens (for 5 minutes), then drops down to maybe 600? Which will cover nicely what I need it for! (carry on mb belt, operate with my left hand while operating my G-34 with my right;
    The light from Wally’s World……..It’s great too, but for other things. (with only 600 lumens, you can easily see a katydid in the top of a tall oak tree by the road at night with it, and it’s 3 times as big as a PD 35 ).

    You’ve probably noticed those 18650’s aren’t cheap; ( some of them ARE “cheapER”………but FORGET them! They make less power, thus less light, last 2 weeks if you’re lucky! AND……always remember ……..you gotta charge ’em up now & then; you can get “cheap chargers”; DON’T! (Not for really good cells; ) At the end of the day, “cheap” usually ends up meaning “cheap performance”, “cheap reliability” and “cheap every thing else”. (the old saying, “you get what you pay for” (sometimes , sometimes not if you’re stupid).. (be “smart”/ “knowledgeable” / same thing.

    You still want a great flashlight……..that’s great……but do your homework before you blow $300 , (or even $50 ) on a clunker! Read, study, ask questions, and end up “delighted” with your new “light”!

    Charley

    1. JB

      I’m trying to figure out where the rest of your bullets are. I see #1. Never could find #2 in all the gibberish.

  12. DanielN

    Never heard of Supernova, stick with the quality brands. Cheap, no name brands, inflate the no. of lumens. BTW, do you know that when you multiply the lumens four times, for the human eye that light is perceived only twice as bright? So there is no significant difference between 1000 and 1300 lumens.
    Check this out for a suggestion: Jetbeam WL-S2

    Only one 18650 battery instead of four AA, much smaller package, same price

  13. Moose2Good

    Please list the equipment (light meter) that is being used for the lumen or candela (output) testing. Are you using a standard light meter that measures light waves in lux, and then a conversion calculation is performed? If so, please denote the conversion formula being utilized. Are multiple devices being used to give an average (standard scientific procedure) and if so, please list the equipment. Is the standard ANSI target method being used, with the 1 lx = 1 lm/m2 formula for lumen flux? What is the ambient temperature at which the measurements are being taken?

  14. Mardi

    Ok so I’m going to buy one of these highly over priced flashlights just because I want one and I walk my dogs at night and I want to light up my entire neighborhood. Is the Acebeam X60m still the brightest most powerful with the most distance handheld monster out there? If so, what are the best 18650 batteries to get with it? Thanks for any input!

    1. DanielN

      Mardi, X60M http://abload.de/img/p1120050e4uiq.jpg would probably not only light up the neighbourhood but also wake all the neighbours and get the police. It is too large, heavy and powerful to use in city. Thrunite TN36 http://abload.de/img/p1110402rxrv3.jpg or Nywalker MM15 http://abload.de/img/novamm15mfshr.jpg are more than enough. These are not throwers (only about 200m) but again, you don’t need more in a city. An even more practical solution to have your hands free would be this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RE5LuaIaQ4

  15. JOHN

    (ALSO THERE IS A NEWER FENIX 1XAAA TORCH: LD02 THAT AS I REMEMBER OUTPUTS MORE THAN 72 LUMEN IN ITS HIGH SCALE….CHECK IT!!!)

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