Once you’ve landed in this post, we know that all you want isn’t just a well-rounded flashlight. You want more! If you’re trying to find the best small tactical flashlights but just not sure how to go about it, why not trust the experts? Below are 6 the finest options out there to try right now:
Here are the best small tactical flashlights you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: SureFire G2X
- The Longest Range: Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
- Most Versatile: Streamlight Protac HL5-X
- Best Penlight: 5.11 EDC 53380
- Most Powerful: Fenix PD36R
- Longest Lifespan: Fenix PD35 TAC
Best Overall: SureFire G2X
- Lightweight, small yet mighty and waterproof – can resist impacts very well
- Easy to use and simple construction
- Don’t give odd-pattern light at low mode
- Batteries are USA-made to ensure the quality
- If you use CR123s batteries, they’re quickly drained out
One of the smallest tactical flashlights with maximum runtime, the G2X has all unique features that Surefire is known for: durability, optimal beam, easy to use, and versatility.
It is a small, yet mighty flashlight crafted from anodized aluminum bezel with tough nitrolon body to hold up well daily abuse and impacts. The best thing is it delivers a very smooth beam even in the lowest mode – something that just the higher-end models can do.
You’ve also got two Surefire lithium batteries provided by the manufacturer. While others are usually made in China or imported, these are USA-made with a guarantee of a 10-year shelf life.
|SureFire G2X Specifications|
5.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches
Light source type
High: 600 feet
Low: 15 feet
Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light output and runtime
Two output levels
Precision micro-textured reflector creates a smooth
Highlighting the great balance of performance, quality, and compactness, the G2X excellently wins our Best-Overall Choice Award.
The Longest Range: Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight
- Give 6 hours of runtime at high mode before out of juice
- Can illuminate over 1200 feet for enhanced visibility
- 5 adaptable settings therein lie the SOS and Strobe for emergency and signaling usage
- No zoom capacity
- A bit struggling to charge it
When you’re away from home, like embarking on camping, night fishing, or hiking trip, a tactical flashlight with a longer runtime is beneficial.
Given the latest energy-efficiency technology to last up to 6 hours, the Anker is an unbeatable candidate in our test group.
Aside from the longest range, this flashlight also has a reliable build: can work 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes (IP67-rated) in addition to the endurance of rough handling.
Moreover, this unit features up to 3 muscular LED lights that can illuminate over 1200 feet while giving 5 switchable settings therein lies the SOS and Strobe mode for signaling and emergency cases.
|Anker Ultra-Bright Tactical Flashlight Specifications|
7.1 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches
Light source type
1300 lumens light output
Reach over 1200 ft.
Tough & reliable
If runtime and brightness are your two biggest concerns, this Anker with emphasis on 6-hour range and 1300L luminous flux might be what you’re after.
Most Versatile: Streamlight Protac HL5-X
- Give two power source options to flexibly use in different situations
- Can avoid rolling away when it’s placed in flat surfaces
- Give ultra-grippy and thermal-insulated hand-feel
While giving multiple programs like any versatile tactical flashlights, the HL5-X makes itself distinctive thanks to the Multi-Fuel innovation.
This feature allows the product to work on either CR123A lithium batteries when you’re away from home or Streamlight’s 18650 USB battery for money saving and environment protecting. In short, it serves your highest convenience.
When durability and endurance are also parts of the performance, this unit won’t let you down through its long-life C4 LED, anodized aluminum construction, and a waterproof gasket-sealed glass lens with anti-reflective coating.
So whether it’s rainforest humid, scorching hot, or freezing cold, just be sure that you can depend your life on this beast.
|Streamlight Protac HL5-X Specifications|
9.53” Length; 1.24” Barrel Diameter; 2.35” Head Diameter; 2.29” Tri-Lobe Diameter.
ProTac HL 5-X USB: 1-Pound 3.4-Ounce (550 grams)
Light source type
250L – 3500L
120 meters – 452 meters
1.25 hours – 10.5 hours
Choice of three operating modes: 1) high/strobe/low 2) high only 3) low/medium/high, IPX7;
Waterproof TO1 mount for 30 minutes;
1 impact resistance tested
Constructed smartly to meet all kinds of versatility, the Streamlight HL5-X is sure to meet anyone’s lighting needs no matter what.
Best Penlight: 5.11 EDC 53380
- Give superior brightness and runtime than other penlights at the same price point
- Include batteries in the package that you can use it right out of the box
- User-friendly design: Extra grip and easy-access power button switch
- Extra durable: pass 2-meter drop test and splash resistance
- Can’t adjust the beam width
- A bit thicker than other penlights
This 5.11 penlight beats off other competitors with far brighter output performance (107L to shine over 26 meters) at the same or even longer runtime.
We appreciate its power button switch location that is designed to be within your reach. In emergency cases, you can easily turn it on by one hand.
The penlight also impressed us for its surpassed durability: 5 minutes of splash resistance and 2-meter drop-tested survival.
Furthermore, the additional clip is a smart feature for extra grip.
|5.11 EDC 53380 Specifications|
Length: 5.00in | Diameter: .66in
Light source type
Cree XP-G3 LED
4 hours 20 minutes
107 Lumens of visible light up to 26 meters
Improved anodized grip for handling with improved pocket clip retention, small & versatile.
Patiently waiting for the best penlight for the price? The 5.11 Style 53380 will make you wait no more.
Most Powerful: Fenix PD36R
- Balance perfectly between the best powerful flashlight and the longest runtime range
- Take 2x shorter amount of charge time
- Quite expensive
Brighter flashlights are normally known for their faster energy eat-up, resulting in shorter runtime but maybe somebody forgot to tell the PD36R.
While giving 1600L of brightness output, it can run like a workhorse in 115 hours – twice as powerful as the common ones. The 5000mAh high-capacity battery is key for that and there’s more.
It’s compatible with a specifically-designed USB cable that each charge time now just needs a 2x shorter amount of time than the standard micro USBs.
Some other add-on features are the two-way body clip and the dual switch design for extra convenience.
|Fenix PD36R Specifications|
L-5.35″ x W-1.04″ x H-1″
Light source type
Luminus SST-40 LED
Over 115 hours of runtime
Easy to use
Designed for everyday carry
Designed with ultra-powerful performance in mind, the Fenix PD36R is best for whichever tasks at hand.
Longest Lifespan: Fenix PD35 TAC
- The LED lights last for 50k hours - 251% higher performance than the XP-G2 LED -> a good choice for long-term usage
- Two running modes, each of which features multiple light settings to afford in everything situations
- Anti-roll, waterproof, slip-resistant, anti-reflective, and anti-abrasive to work better and last longer
- The setting buttons are quite flush with the rest of the barrel -> a bit struggling to use under stress or in the dark
This Fenix tactical flashlight is another good performer to try.
But in this case, the biggest selling point lies in its Cree XP-L (V5) LED, which boosts up to 251% higher performance than the XP-G2 LED and delivers 1000L of brightness.
Versatility is also the PD35 TAC’s forte as it offers two running modes: the Tactical Mode and the Outdoor Mode. Both come in multiple light settings and easy-access switch button so that you can use it in different cases.
Keep ease in mind that the flashlight is rather durable.
Aside from the durable aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, it’s also coated with premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish with seamlessly sealed design. Plus, it’s anti-roll and slip-resistant pretty well.
|Fenix PD35 TAC Specifications|
5.4 in. x 1.0 in. x 3.1 oz.
Light source type
Tactical Mode: 1 hr., 10 min. – 29 hr., 15 min.
Outdoor Mode: 1 hr., 10 min. – 140 hr.
1000 Lumen max utilizing Cree XP-L (V5) LED with a lifespan of 50,000 hours
137 mm (5.4 in.) Length x 25.4mm (1.0 in.) Diameter ·89-gram weight (3.1 oz.) excluding battery
Featuring longer lifespan batteries than most (up to 50,000 hours), the Fenix PD35 TAC is great for value.
How To Choose The Best Small Tactical Flashlights?
- This is the measuring unit of the luminous flux of a lightbulb or LED light.
- The higher the lumen, the brighter the light. But notice that not all tactical situations will call for the brightest ones because the brighter, the more heat emitted, which might damage its batteries. In the worst case, shortening the flashlight’s lifespan and you waste the money.
- The number of lumens of a flashlight is decided by your purpose of use on it, mostly within 120 – 2000 lumens but in some exceptional cases, like fishing or before-bed reading, the range of 15L to 45L is just right.
- When we say “versatility”, it means for all aspects – from operating methods, power sources, and lighting modes.
- A tactical flashlight that delivers more features will be more adaptable to a wide range of situations encountered in the field. So if you have no idea which purposes to use it for, just go for the most versatile.
- It’s apparently not an optimal choice though because a “universal” tactical flashlight won’t be good at any specific category. They’re just a so-so performer! That’s why we still advise you to find out what you want in it.
- The world of tactical flashlights is vast, which mostly depends on their power source. Here are 4 common types of power sources you might find on the market:
Give the freedom of recharging to regain the power
The most expensive in price
Give more power and last longer than the alkaline batteries
Can work on extreme temperatures
Costlier than alkaline batteries
The easiest to find
The cheapest in price and most various in sizes
Provide low power and shorter runtime
Give brighter performance – double the alkaline batteries
Not easy to find in local grocery stores
4 – 7 years
Which Brands Make The Best Small Tactical Flashlights?
- SureFire is a big and reliable brand as it’s been into this industry since 1969 and its founder – Dr. John Matthews – is an engineer with a Ph.D. from Cal Tech. So their products are assured in quality and practicality.
- Anker is one of the key brands that lead the well-known Anker Innovations. With a professional in the manufacturing processes, technology applications, and customer services, this is considered one of the global leaders in this industry.
- Streamlight was founded in 1973 as a company specialized in lighting tool manufacturing and distribution. It is a dream brand that collects customers’ feedback as well as real-world experience to create its products. Hence, they are always praised for their high practicality.
- The brand is one of the most famous and trustworthy companies in the US for tactical gears. It even has created a decades-long relationship with the FBI – a mighty proof that shows how quality and safety of their products.
- Fenix is a China-based company specialized in unique lighting products. They gain trust and love from worldwide customers through their applications of only advanced illumination technologies as well as the restricted testing to ensure exceeding baseline ANSI standards.
How many lumens is a good tactical flashlight?
It should be at least 120 lumens to meet your basic lighting needs as well as for self-defense.
Are 1000 lumens good for a flashlight?
1000-lumen flashlights are normally a powerful lighting tool that’s good for daily use. They are bright enough to allow you to see objects in distance – usually within 600 to 1000 feet.
How bright are 1000 lumens?
1 lumen = 1 birthday candle (in terms of brightness at 1 foot of distance). So a 1000-lumen flashlight can give a beam distance of 656 feet.
While the standard 60W light gives around 800L of light, the 1000L will be a lot brighter.
How many lumens do I need for daylight?
For a standard darkroom, a 1000L to 1200L light is enough for daylight but if it’s a bigger space, like conference rooms or classrooms, it should be up to 2500L to be bright enough.
That’s all for this article. We hope this excellent guide has helped you find out the best small tactical flashlights on the market. Thanks for reading!