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The Best EDC Flashlights of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

May 16, 2024 - Blog

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Before leaving the house I check my pockets for keys, wallet, cellphone, pocket knife, and flashlight. It’s my standard preparedness checklist. Whether you use it for work, outdoor pursuits, or daily life, that last item on the checklist is an important tool to light up the night and dark spaces during the day. But, choosing the EDC flashlight that graces your pocket comes down to personal preference. 

You can carry a super bright pocket torch or something with less output and a smaller size. Your flashlight can have a custom user interface or a simple on/off switch. Options abound and I’ve been testing 14 of the top lights to help you find the best EDC flashlight.  

Best Overall: Streamlight Wedge

Best Keychain: Nitecore Tini2 Ti

Best Compact: Olight Baton 3

Best Powerful: Nitecore EDC 25

Best Budget Compact: Thrunite Archer Mini 

Best Budget Powerful: Wurkkos FC13

Best with a Laser: Olight Arkfeld Pro

Best EDC Flashlights at a Glance

FlashlightLumensBeam DistanceRun Time EDC ScoreWeightPriceStreamlight Wedge300, 100045 yards3 hours (300 lm)53.1 oz$100Olight Baton 3.5, 12, 60, 300, 120060 yards1.5 hours (300 lm)51.9 oz$69Thrunite Archer Mini18, 157, 40550 yards50 minutes (157 lm)41.3 oz$20Nitecore Tini2 TI1,15, 65,200, 50040 yards45 minutes (200 lm)4.8 oz$45Nitecore EDC 2515, 65, 200, 1000, 3000651 hour 45 minutes (1000 lm)43.8 oz$75Wurkkos FC13.5, 5, 20, 57, 150, 420, 1080, 3500 502.5 hours  (1080 lm)34.4 oz$34Olight Arkfield Pro1, 15, 100, 420, 1300452 hours 6 minutes (420 lm)33.9 oz$100

How I Tested the Best EDC Flashlights

The EDC lights were tested and used in daily life for six months.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

While I set out testing to find the best EDC flashlight, what I found are seven uniquely awesome lights that excel in different areas. I whittled the field by half, but I was surprised by how difficult it was to choose a definitive best among my large test group. Here’s the criteria each everyday carry light was graded on.

Beam 

I measured how far each light could effectively illuminate a person for identification. This is listed as “beam distance” in the test results. 

I took photos of each light’s beam at 10 yards with consistent camera settings for your reference. I also took videos of the beams at their various lumen settings for reference.  

EDC Score

I carried these lights for six months while evaluating how they carried, the user interface, ergonomics, and how well they integrated with my daily life. These attributes made up my EDC score, which was graded on a 1 to 5 scale. A 5 is excellent, a 3 is good, and any light with a score of 2 or lower didn’t make the final cut.  

Weight

Since no one wants to carry a boat anchor in their pocket, I weighed each flashlight for reference. 

Best EDC Flashlights: Reviews & Recommendations

Here are my picks for the best EDC flashlights that range from large to small and straightforward tools to feature-rich examples of the latest flashlight technology. 

Best Overall: Streamlight Wedge

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 45

Run Time: 3 hours at 300 lumens

Weight: 3.1 ounces 

Best Use: Daily carry, dog walking, and home

Key Features

Price: $100

Lumens: 300 and 1,000 (momentary on only)

Rechargeable with USB-C

IPX7 waterproof to 1 meter

Deep carry clip 

Pros

Excellent beam for EDC tasks 

Ergonomic and simple to use

Comfortable to carry in a pocket

Cons

Lacks the customizable settings enthusiasts prefer 

The Wedge at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The gear nerd in me loves things like custom user interfaces, LCD screens, and various lumen settings. But, I also like streamlined gear that’s not overly complicated to use. While evaluating EDC lights my pragmatic side won out and I chose the intuitive and simple Streamlight Wedge as the winner. 

When you pull the Wedge from your front pocket, your hand naturally falls in the right position to flick the switch on. If the 300 lumens isn’t bright enough for your task, you can push the switch forward for 1,000 lumens. The max brightness setting will jump back to 300 lumens if you let off the switch. The operation is that simple. 

In the pocket, the flat and thin Wedge goes unnoticed by the carrier. The deep carry clip keeps the light secure and unobtrusive. In my weeks carrying the Wedge I never had it accidentally turn on in my pocket or felt like it was a burden to carry. I occasionally carried it in my back pocket which was comfortable as well. 

The beam is wide, evenly bright, and has a neutral tone. To me, it’s the ideal beam for EDC use. It excels at lighting up a dark parking garage, finding things in a car, and taking a dog for a walk. When using the light at 300 lumens continuously for 30 minutes it was barely warm to the touch, and my laser thermometer read its temperature at 84.5 degrees. 

The main cons of the Wedge are that it doesn’t have any hands free capability like a magnet or two-way clip and it lacks features of more technically advanced lights. 

Read Next: Best EDC Knives

Best Keychain: Nitecore Tini2 Ti

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 40 yards

Run Time: 45 minutes at 200 lumens

Weight: 0.8 ounce

Best Use: Clipped onto a keychain, backpack zipper pull, or dog leash. Excellent as a backup light. 

Key Features

Price: $45

Lumens: 1, 15, 65, 200, 500

Candela: 2,000 max

Titanium

LCD Display 

Rechargeable with USB-C

Pros

Easy to carry

Bright for its size

LCD screen displays key information

Cons

Lower battery life than larger options 

The Tini2 at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

An EDC flashlight has to be one that’s easy to carry with you every day. With knives, pens, multi-tools, hanks, phones, and power banks all competing for pocket space, a keychain light like the Tini2 makes for a compelling option. It’s always with you and it doesn’t take up more space than a key fob. 

The Tini2’s user interface is simple with a power button that turns the light on and a mode button that cycles through the brightness settings. Hold down the mode button to unleash all 500 lumens. You can set the flashlight into a daily or demo mode. The difference is that the demo mode has an auto shutoff feature. 

I used the light on the daily setting, and found the 65 and 200 lumen settings to be the most useful. I like that the LCD screen provides the lumen setting, and the remaining battery life in minutes. The button lock is also handy to keep the light from turning on accidentally. 

The beam is surprisingly bright for such a tiny flashlight, and it will leave you wondering why you need a larger light for EDC. It’s all flood and no throw so don’t expect to reach out and illuminate objects beyond 40 yards. 

Read Next: Best Power Banks

Best Compact: Olight Baton 3

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 60

Run Time: 1.5 hours at 300 lumens

Weight: 1.9 ounces

Best Use: EDC, automotive work, home use

Key Features

Price: $69

Lumens: 0.5, 12, 60, 300, 1200

Wireless, magnetic charger

Magnet

Two-way clip

IPX8 waterproof  

Pros

Small and portable

Excellent for hands free use

Ideal as a work light 

Cons

Proprietary charger 

The Baton 3 at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Baton 3 has the most throw for its lumens of any light I tested. This palm-sized flashlight reached out to 60 yards, and it takes up half the pocket size of similarly bright options. It uses a proprietary magnetic charger, which can be a con if you end up losing the cable. But it means you don’t have a charging port that gets filled with lint or exposed to water. 

The magnet and two-way clip allow for hands free use. Whether you’re clipping it to your hat on a hike or sticking it to the hood of your truck while you work. 

The on button has a tactical and audible click that’s very difficult to turn on accidentally. The user interface is pretty straightforward. Just press the button for light and hold it to change the brightness setting. A double click will turn on the turbo mode. 

Best Powerful: Nitecore EDC 25

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 65 yards

Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes at 1,000 lumens 

Weight: 3.8 ounces 

Key Features

Price: $75

Lumens: 15, 65, 200, 1000, 3000

Rechargeable with USB-C

Battery and lumen indicator 

Button lock 

Flat design 

Pros

Super bright

Ergonomic 

Locking power button

Cons

Slow to turn on 

The EDC25 at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

I tested the Nitecore EDC 27, and while I liked it, it had flaws that held it back from being a top pick. Mainly the momentary button jumped from turbo to strobe far too easily. The light also got very hot at its brightest settings. 

The new EDC 25 solves many of those problems. It’s far more user friendly and it’s about an ounce lighter. The momentary button puts you at the light’s max output and it will light up a large area with a wide, 3,000 lumen beam. A click and a hold on the power button will turn on the EDC 25’s other settings. One quirk is that you have to press and hold the power button to turn the flashlight off. There are indicator lights on the flashlight that show the light output and battery level. 

The flat shape of the EDC 25 is excellent for carry, but about ½ inch of flashlight sticks out of your pocket since it doesn’t use a deep carry clip. The EDC 25 gets hot during continuous use of its high settings. At 1,000 lumens it reached 125 degrees after 12 minutes, and was uncomfortably hot to hold. Even with those cons, the EDC 25 is the best EDC flashlight I’ve tested if you want to carry a super bright flashlight. 

Best Budget Compact: Thrunite Archer Mini

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 50 yards

Run Time: 50 minutes at 157 lumens

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Key Features

Price: $20

Lumens: 18, 157, 405

Tail cap click 

Two-way pocket clip 

Rechargeable with USB-C

IPX8

Pros

Small and easy to carry

Good clip

Cons

Constant on only

The Archer Mini at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Archer Mini is a classic AAA EDC flashlight. I tested it against several similar models but found its light, button, and user interface unbeatable. It takes up very little pocket space and the pocket clip has the right amount of tension to keep it securely in place. It also fits well in an organizer. I carried the Archer Mini in an Alpaka Zip Pouch Pro and it fit perfectly into the exterior pocket. 

The button has a nice tactile click and exclusively has a continuous-on mode. Click it on for the 18 lumens and double click for 405, which will step down to 157 lumens after about 2.5 minutes. There’s a USB-C port hidden in the head of the flashlight for recharging. That means no buying expensive batteries or keeping track of an external charger. 

Best Budget Powerful: Wurkkos FC13

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 50 yards

Run Time: 2.5 hours at 1080 lumens

Weight: 4.4 ounces

Key Features

Price: $34

Lumens: 0.5, 5, 20, 57, 150, 420, 1080, 3500 

Two way clip 

LCD Display 

Rechargeable with USB-C

Can be used as a power bank 

Water Resistance: IP68

Button lights up 

Pros

Bright

Good balance of throw and flood 

Ergonomically-placed button 

Cons

Heavy 

The FC13 at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Wurkkos FC13 provides the most lumens for your dollar, while also being ergonomic and feature rich. It has eight brightness settings that are easy to navigate with a push and hold of the button — double tap for max brightness. Wurkkos sidestepped the traditional tailcap and went for a button on the flashlight’s head. This makes it ergonomic for EDC tasks. 

The beam is well balanced between throw and flood. On the FC13’s brightest setting you can easily illuminate an area that’s 40 yards wide by 40 yards deep. The lower settings are great for up-close tasks or conserving battery life. 

Its main cons are its size and weight. It was the heaviest flashlight that made the final cut, and the least pocket friendly. But if you want a bright flashlight that’s packed with great features for under $40, the FC13 is my top choice. 

Read Next: Best EDC Multi Tools 

Best with a Laser: Olight Arkfeld Pro

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Test Results

Max Illumination Distance: 45 yards

Run Time: 2 hours and 6 minutes at 420 lumens

Weight: 3.9 ounces

Key Features

Price: $100

Lumens: 1, 15, 100, 420, 1300

Two way clip 

Rechargeable with Olight magnetic charger

Class 3R Laser 

900 megawatt UV light  

Battery level indicator 

Pros

Easy actuation 

Interesting feature set 

Cons

The laser and UV light are fun, but have limited utility for daily tasks 

Arkfeld Pro at 10 yards.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

The Olight Arkfeld Pro is the most fun flashlight I tested, but the features that made it fun also made it one of the least practical. The green laser is powerful and bright. It stretches out well past 100 yards at night and is bright enough to be used indoors during the day. The UV light is great for recharging objects that glow in the dark and seeing things only visible when hit with the UV spectrum. It would have been cool if the Arkfeld Pro had a lower UV spectrum, it’s at 365nm, which is too high to be used for disinfecting objects. A portable UV disinfector would be really handy. 

The flashlight portion is excellent with a nice wide, even beam. The user interface is simple and easy to use. You toggle the switch between the different modes and then click the button to turn on. A long hold cycles through brightness levels. 

In the pocket the flat Arkfeld Pro is easy to carry and it has a nice deep carry clip. It’s right up there with the Wedge in terms of ease of carry and operation. 

How to Choose an EDC Flashlight

An EDC flashlight must be easy to carry and its beam should match your needs.

Photo by Scott Einsmann

Lumens vs Candela 

A lumen is a measurement of light emitted and a candela is a measurement of light intensity. That means a light with high lumens is very bright and a light with high candela will carry its brightness to far distances. 

For an EDC light, candela, also described as throw, can be helpful for illuminating shadows and helping your light source outcompete with things like street lights. But it’s not ideal for using your flashlight upclose. 

Wide vs Narrow Beam

Most people will prefer a wide beam that illuminates a large area for EDC. Flashlights with wide beams cast their brightness intensity evenly and are ideal for things like lighting up a path and finding objects. A narrower beam will cast its light farther with an intense center spot. 

Final Thoughts on the Best EDC Flashlights

EDC is all about carrying portable tools that make life easier. Whether it’s a knife to open a box or a flashlight that helps you navigate a dark alley, it’s great to be prepared. I’ve tried a lot of flashlights and the options in this review are the best EDC flashlights I’ve tested. From the $20 marvel, Thrunite Archer Mini, to the incredibly easy to use Streamlight Wedge, there are excellent options for everyone.  

Best Overall: Streamlight Wedge

Best Keychain: Nitecore Tini2 Ti

Best Compact: Olight Baton 3

Best Budget Compact: Thrunite Archer Mini 

Best Powerful: Nitecore EDC 25

Best Budget Powerful: Wurkkos FC13

Best with a Laser: Olight Arkfeld Pro

The post The Best EDC Flashlights of 2024, Tested and Reviewed appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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