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The 5 absolute best flashlights of 2016

3 Mins read

Ready to buy a new flashlight? Technology in these things has changed so fast in the past couple years that it is hard to keep up. LED’s have brought them into blindingly bright territory and rechargeable battery technology makes sure we can power these things for days (if not weeks or months). Flashlights are one category where you can drop a few bucks, but believe me, it’s worth it to spend a bit extra. Water resistance, durability and metal construction are all factors you want to keep in mind. Most of these flashlights will run on 18650 rechargeable batteries or CR123A cells.

Without further ado, here are my picks:

[wpsm_titlebox title=”Top 5 absolute best flashlights of 2016″ style=”4″][wpsm_toplist][/wpsm_titlebox]

Overall winner: Fenix PD35 flashlight

Fenix PD35 flashlight - Buy it for life (BIFL)

I am partial to Fenix flashlights. They are just plain awesome. And the PD35 is the most durable and well-tested out of the bunch. With a whopping 960 lumens, 5 brigtness levels, waterproof certification and a lifetime warranty, this flashlight is a gem. The knurling around the handle is perfect, precisely constructed out of military grade aluminum. This model also has a tail switch, which I prefer on my flashlights for quick on and off when you’re in a hurry (or a bear is attacking your camp). Just watch out with the strobe function, this sucker is so bright that it can actually temporarily blind someone in a dark room. All around this is my favorite flashlight right now.

Fenix PD35 v3.0 Tactical Flashlight, 1700 Lumens with USB Rechargeable Battery and Lumen Tac Battery Case

$80.45  in stock
2 new from $80.45
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • POWERFUL TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT - The Fenix PD35 v3.0 is the ultimate tactical flashlight with a very bright beam up to 1700 lumens, farther throw up to 390 yards.
  • USB RECHARGEABLE BATTERY - Just plug into the USB port on the battery to recharge. The indicator beneath the side switch tells you the remaining battery power.
  • EASY TO USE - Use the two-stage tail switch to power on-off and themetal side switch to adjust the mode and brightness.
  • DESIGNED FOR EDC - Take the PD35 v3.0 anywhere with a steel pocket clip that can be attached to backpacks, belts, and MOLLE systems for easy access, or use the included holster or lanyard for everyday carry.
  • Contents in Package - Fenix PD35 v3.0 flashlight, ARB-L18-2600U (pre-installed), charging cable, lanyard, holster, and LumenTac Organizer

Runner up: Nitecore P12 flashlight

Another solid entry is the Nitecore P12. This is a very similar flashlight to the Fenix Pd35. 1000 lumens of output and a bonkers 932 meter throw distance make it one of the beefiest flashlights of its size. It does not have a tail switch like the PD35, but some people actually prefer a side switch. Overall a great flashlight.

NITECORE NEW P12 1200 Lumen Tactical Flashlight and 5000mAh USB C Rechargeable Battery with NTH10 Holster and LumenTac Battery Case

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • HIGH PERFORMANCE TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT - NITECORE NEW P12 triples the runtime, is 20% brighter, yet is still compact and easy to carry. The 1200 lumen max output has over 260 yards of throw.
  • EXTENDED BATTERY RUN TIME - NEW P12 maintains the 1200 lumen high mode for over 3 hours and 45 minutes. On low, the battery lasts up to 50 days.
  • EASY TO OPERATE - Comes with a tactical tail switch capable of momentary or constant-on, and a side switch for mode selection. 4 brightness modes plus strobe, beacon, and SOS for emergencies and tactical situations.
  • GREAT FOR DUTY OR EDC - At just over 6 inches in length, NEW P12 is a solid choice as a duty light or EDC flashlight with included pocket clip, lanyard, and hard holster.
  • NEW P12 STARTER KIT - this bundle includes the NEW P12 from NITECORE, a USB C rechargeable battery, charging cable, a NTH10 hard holster, and LumenTac battery organizer.

Big bruiser award: Maglite 3 cell D flashlight

This is a bit old school, and its a beast. These are the big long buggers that you see police using all the time (mainly because they can easily be used as a weapon as well). There’s nothing incredibly notable from the specs of this flashlight, but it is certainly decently bright. Where it excels is its supreme durability. People have reported these guys working perfectly after 15-20 years. You can’t kill them if you tried. Well, I’m sure you could, but you get my point. The Maglite will last you decades.

MagLite - ST3D016 Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight, Black

$47.49
$44.99
 in stock
32 new from $39.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • Superior quality craftsmanship with weather-resistant seals and anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance. D batteries required (best with Polaroid D batteries)
  • A premium drop resistant and water resistant flashlight renowned for its quality, durability and reliability
  • Advanced lighting instrument with a diamond knurled design and a powerful projecting beam making it suitable for camping, climbing, fishing, hunting, etc.
  • Designed for professionals and consumers alike, the Maglite LED flashlights build on the experience in craftsmanship, engineering, and advanced technology evident in all Mag flashlights

Reliability award: Surefire G2X tactical flashlight

There are a lot of flashlight geeks that swear by Surefires. This is their best know and best reviewed model. It doesn’t have quite the blinding output as the PD35 or the P12, but it has a decent output at 320 lumens. There’s only one brightness setting on this one but it does a great job with beam throw.

SureFire G2X Tactical Single-Output LED Flashlight with Tactical tailcap click switch, Black

$89.00
$75.67
 in stock
18 new from $74.99
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light output and runtimex
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light
  • Tactical tailcap click switch—partially press for momentary-on; push further until it clicks for constant-on
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • Tough Nitrolon body, anodized aluminum bezel, Tough polycarbonate window resists impact

Compact award: Fenix LD02

This is the flashlight I use the most. And this is because your best flashlight is the one on you when you need it. This is a tiny little guy with a big output. It is basically just a bit thicker than the AAA battery that powers it, but it drops an amazing 100 lumens. From a keychain flashlight that is nothing short of amazing. I’ve used this for hunting down stuff under my desk at work, camping and walking home after a night of boozing. It is an amazing little flashlight that deserves your attention. It makes a great gift too since it is so affordable.

Fenix E01 V2 100 Lumen LED flashlight with EdisonBright AAA alkaline battery bundle (Black)

$14.95  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • 100 lumen keychain flashlight
  • Rotary switch
  • Single AAA battery powered
  • No standby current draw
  • Bundle includes EdisonBright AAA alkaline battery

The best flashlights of 2016 rundown

That’s it folks. We have a list that includes a few light powerhouses, a bug bruiser and a miraculous keychain light. Any one of these choices will make a very happy new owner of one of the best flashlights of 2016. Enjoy!

Fenix PD35 v3.0 Tactical Flashlight, 1700 Lumens with USB Rechargeable Battery and Lumen Tac Battery Case

$80.45  in stock
2 new from $80.45
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • POWERFUL TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT - The Fenix PD35 v3.0 is the ultimate tactical flashlight with a very bright beam up to 1700 lumens, farther throw up to 390 yards.
  • USB RECHARGEABLE BATTERY - Just plug into the USB port on the battery to recharge. The indicator beneath the side switch tells you the remaining battery power.
  • EASY TO USE - Use the two-stage tail switch to power on-off and themetal side switch to adjust the mode and brightness.
  • DESIGNED FOR EDC - Take the PD35 v3.0 anywhere with a steel pocket clip that can be attached to backpacks, belts, and MOLLE systems for easy access, or use the included holster or lanyard for everyday carry.
  • Contents in Package - Fenix PD35 v3.0 flashlight, ARB-L18-2600U (pre-installed), charging cable, lanyard, holster, and LumenTac Organizer

NITECORE NEW P12 1200 Lumen Tactical Flashlight and 5000mAh USB C Rechargeable Battery with NTH10 Holster and LumenTac Battery Case

 out of stock
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • HIGH PERFORMANCE TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT - NITECORE NEW P12 triples the runtime, is 20% brighter, yet is still compact and easy to carry. The 1200 lumen max output has over 260 yards of throw.
  • EXTENDED BATTERY RUN TIME - NEW P12 maintains the 1200 lumen high mode for over 3 hours and 45 minutes. On low, the battery lasts up to 50 days.
  • EASY TO OPERATE - Comes with a tactical tail switch capable of momentary or constant-on, and a side switch for mode selection. 4 brightness modes plus strobe, beacon, and SOS for emergencies and tactical situations.
  • GREAT FOR DUTY OR EDC - At just over 6 inches in length, NEW P12 is a solid choice as a duty light or EDC flashlight with included pocket clip, lanyard, and hard holster.
  • NEW P12 STARTER KIT - this bundle includes the NEW P12 from NITECORE, a USB C rechargeable battery, charging cable, a NTH10 hard holster, and LumenTac battery organizer.

MagLite - ST3D016 Maglite LED 3-Cell D Flashlight, Black

$47.49
$44.99
 in stock
32 new from $39.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • Superior quality craftsmanship with weather-resistant seals and anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance. D batteries required (best with Polaroid D batteries)
  • A premium drop resistant and water resistant flashlight renowned for its quality, durability and reliability
  • Advanced lighting instrument with a diamond knurled design and a powerful projecting beam making it suitable for camping, climbing, fishing, hunting, etc.
  • Designed for professionals and consumers alike, the Maglite LED flashlights build on the experience in craftsmanship, engineering, and advanced technology evident in all Mag flashlights

SureFire G2X Tactical Single-Output LED Flashlight with Tactical tailcap click switch, Black

$89.00
$75.67
 in stock
18 new from $74.99
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • Virtually indestructible LED emitter regulated to maximize light output and runtimex
  • Single high output level of 600 lumens for maximum light
  • Tactical tailcap click switch—partially press for momentary-on; push further until it clicks for constant-on
  • Precision micro-textured reflector creates smooth, optimized beam
  • Tough Nitrolon body, anodized aluminum bezel, Tough polycarbonate window resists impact

Fenix E01 V2 100 Lumen LED flashlight with EdisonBright AAA alkaline battery bundle (Black)

$14.95  in stock
Amazon.com
as of September 29, 2022 8:26 pm

Features

  • 100 lumen keychain flashlight
  • Rotary switch
  • Single AAA battery powered
  • No standby current draw
  • Bundle includes EdisonBright AAA alkaline battery
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