Flashlights are an essential item for nighttime outdoor activities like camping or walking the dog, emergencies, or whenever you need an alternative, portable light source. While the average handheld or phone flashlight shines a decent beam, there are significantly brighter options available built for more pressing circumstances or simply easier navigability.
“A super bright flashlight is good for anytime you need to travel in the woods at night, or if you need to find something at night,” says Jason Hitchcock, founder of emergency preparedness site Survival Stoic. “A good example would be hunting, or for search and rescue, so you can see farther and cover more area quickly.”
The world’s brightest flashlight, the Imalent SR32, clocks in at 120,000 lumens and has a built-in fan to keep the unit from heat from overheating in your hands. While this is the most powerful option, it does have a steep price tag, and flashlight enthusiasts and experts agree that it’s not the only option for outdoor pursuits, severe weather supply arsenal, or even photography lighting.
An outdoor enthusiast myself, I rounded up some of the best flashlights I’ve come across, keeping in mind real-life factors that can decrease a light’s output, which raw lumen outputs don’t usually represent. I also spoke to survivalists, campers, and flashlight enthusiasts who have used and recommended some of their favorite models.
The brightest flashlights of 2023
Best alternative for under $200
At 9,800 lumens, this flashlight is quite bright and can shine its beam up to 919 meters.
Best alternative for a splurge
Olight X9R Marauder
At $600, this isn’t your average flashlight, but it does put out 25,000 lumens. Overall, it’s a superior flashlight from a trusted brand.
Best alternative for a floodlight
This flashlight puts out 20,000 lumens, making it an excellent option when you need a powerful floodlight.