7 Popular Bright Tactical LED Flashlights Tested!

One of the hardest things about purchasing any flashlight and in particular a tactical LED flashlight is trying to find the best and brightest flashlight. You can easily spend hours researching lights and walk away feeling like you haven’t gotten anywhere. A big part of finding the best and brightest tactical lights is knowing what to look for in a light because it helps you narrow down your choices. But, even knowing what to look for leaves you with quite a few lights to consider, so here are some simple guidelines that will easily guide you to finding your perfect flashlight.

Brightness

 

Most flashlights will brag having 1000 lumens or even 2000 lumens, unfortunately with a single LED you simply can’t reach such a lumens output. Now it’s true that when you read reviews about these flashlights you will find many reviews stating how bright they are but this is only because they are comparing it to simple flashlights that at most will have 50 lumens power so anything compared to that would seem extremely bright.

So how can you tell then what are the real lumens, well for this you need simply to check which Cree LED they are using.


Best Brightest Tactical Flashlight World

 

  • The XML Q5 LED - Around 150 lumens
  • The XML T6 (most common type of all) – Around 350 lumens
  • The XML U2 - Between 400 - 600 lumens
  • The XM L2 U2 (The most advanced Cree LED) – Between 500 – 700 lumens

Now if a fake Cree Led is used instead of an original Cree Led the lumens output will be considerably reduced.

High-end flashlights will be able to get the maximum output out of their LED, so you will see flashlights with the same LED for example the T6 LED with different lumens output.

To demonstrate this we have tested Six different popular flashlights in UL Laboratories (a reputable 3rd party testing center), and here are the results. For legal reasons we are not disclosing the brand names of the flashlights which we tested (except those produced by us), just their claimed lumens output and their stated LED Type.

 

7 Popular Tactical Flashlights UL Lab Test Results

Claimed Lumens

Cree LED Used

UL Laboratories Lumens Results

700 Lumens

XML Q5

166 lumens

900 Lumens

XML T6

281 lumens

1000 Lumens

XML T6

331 Lumens

1200 Lumens

XML T6

319 Lumens

1000 Lumens

XML T6

412 Lumens

 

Press on this link to view Test Results

 

We have also tested the Brightex Flashlights in UL Laboratories and here are the results:

 

Flashlight

Claimed Lumens

CREE LED Type

UL Laboratories Lumens Results

Brightex FL11

600 Lumens

XML U2

599.5 Lumens

Brightex XR-700

700 Lumens

XM L2 U2

702 Lumens

 

So make sure to check if your flashlight vendor provides you with independent lumens lab testes this is the only way to verify the true lumens of the flashlight.

Spread of Light

 

The Lens and the internal reflector are important parts of the flashlight. If they are not optimized the intensity of the light may significantly differ between the center of the beam of light to the outer beam of light. The best flashlights will have an even spread of light, lighting up the area evenly.

Zoom

 

A Zoom is an important feature of the flashlight; it will enable you light up very large areas in the wide angle position or to zoom out to a distant object even 200 meters away.

Another important feature of the zoom which is rarely found among flashlights, is the ability to zoom in and out using only the hand which is holding the flashlight. This will enable you to hold the flashlight in one hand and a tool or a defensive weapon in the other hand.

Small Size

 

The smaller the flashlight, while still giving you all the above features, the better the flashlight would be. Small bright flashlights will comfortably fit into the palm of your hand, making them very easy to operate. they will also fit easily into your pocket so you can carry them comfortably around.

Belt Clip

 

A quality belt clip which is integrated into the flashlight is rarely found in tactical flashlight, this is unfortunate since it makes it extremely comfortably to carry around, but this is not all. With the belt clip your flashlight is right there when you need it and you can use it quickly in any emergency situation.

Fits the 26650 battery

 

Most of you are familiar with the standard 18650 lithium battery which is sometimes even supplied with flashlights (quality of which is very questionable but we will get to it later on). However the 26650 battery is far superior, unfortunately most flashlights are not capable of using this battery. It will give you more than twice the run time of a good 18650 battery. Since many batteries which are supplied with flashlights are not of high quality you will actually be getting three or even more times the run time than using those batteries.   So Make Sure Your Flashlight Can Operate with a 26650 Battery.

What to Look For in a Flashlight Kit

 

We will further elaborate on this issue in the Article dealing with Lithium batteries and chargers, however it is important for you to know that many chargers and batteries supplied with flashlights are of low quality. Since low quality batteries combined with a low quality charger are dangerous and can spontaneously ignite (see the current recall of all Samsung Note 7 Cell phones due to a problem with the lithium battery causing them to ignite), you must make sure you are using a quality charger which is UL certified and a good quality protected battery.

So make sure your charger is UL certified (compliant with the American Safety Standard) and that it gives you a charging current of at least 1000mA (normally only 500mA) unless you want to wait for many hours to charge your battery.

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