Update: We have a new version of this article: The Brightest LED Flashlights For 2015
Most enthusiasts and reviewers agree that Fenix flashlights have the best build-quality and reliability for their price. Streamlight, one of the few brands of flashlights made in the U.S.A, is highly rated by reviewers on Amazon. Other top rated brands are: Cree, Dorcy and Surefire.
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.
Streamlight 74301 Strion Flashlight
Rated: 4.8 of 5 stars from 72+ Amazon reviewers
Fenix E21 Flashlight
Rated: 4.7 of 5 stars from 128+ Amazon reviewers
The Fenix LD01 Keyring Flashlight
The Fenix LD01 is barely larger than the AAA battery it uses (we recommend using a low-discharge rechargeable NiHm AAA battery). The flashlight illuminates with 80 lumens on its highest setting, which is brighter than most full-size flashlights.
The Fenix LD01 is solidly built — it uses a Cree Q5 LED as its light source, and the lens is made of toughened, anti-reflective glass. It weighs 1.6 ounces, and it is “IPX-8 water proof”, meaning it is suitable for continuous submersion. The flashlight is also RoHS compliant — it does not contain non-toxic heavy metals or flame retardants.