Almost every survivalists knows that not just any flashlight can be considered a “survival flashlight“.
Survival flashlights typically outclass you’re average everyday carry flashlights in durability, battery life, and brightness.
That’s one of the reasons why the best survival flashlights typically end up costing your significantly more than an average flashlight.
But a good survival flashlight is worth every penny you pay for it. And the best survival flashlight will ultimately end up saving you money in the long run by providing years of dependable service.
Below are a few that we recommend you check out. Just keep in mind that this free survival gear blog is supported by ads and affiliate products so we may earn a commission if you order something.
What Should You Look For?
Before you even start looking for a survival flashlight, the first thing to consider is what your particular needs are. Most decisions in life involve trade-offs, and finding the best survival flashlight for you is no different.
You typically want a flashlight that:
- Puts out a lot of light
- Has a long battery life
- Is durable
- Has easy to use and reliable controls
- Costs as little as possible
But the more light produced, the quicker your battery dies and the bigger and heavier it has to be. The more rugged and dependable your flashlight is, the heavier it’s likely to be and the more it will cost the manufacturer produce, which means a higher price for you. And so on.
If you carefully consider how you’ll be using your flashlight and what your priorities are, it’ll make the whole process easier and faster. You’ll also increase the odds that you’ll end up with the survival flashlight you need at a price you can afford. So let’s take a closer look at some of the different options you’ll face.
Brightness and Bulbs
Brightness is usually measured in lumens, which is the standard measure of the total light output produced by the bulb. But be aware that because flashlights use lenses and reflectors, different survival flashlights with the same lumen rating can perform differently. One might have a narrower beam with a longer range than the other, for instance.
Most survival flashlights (and even many an EDC flashlight) have multiple brightness settings, so you’ll mostly be looking at the range of lumens that can be selected. Often you have just a few lighting modes like low-medium-high, but sometimes also special options like SOS mode — which you’ll want to be bright.
You don’t necessarily need a high lumens model because a dark-adapted human eye can read a map or text and see well enough for many tasks with just a few lumens, depending on the individual. But keep in mind that as you age your ability to see in low light decreases.
LED bulbs completely dominate the field these days, so you won’t have much choice on that count. But you should consider the color and quality of the light produced, and the expected lifespan of the bulb.
The most important difference between battery types that you may not know is this: a rechargeable battery has a shorter shelf-life than non-rechargeable.
So if you want to throw a flashlight in your bug out bag and not have to worry about it still being ready to go in a couple years, you probably want standard alkaline batteries or (even better) non-rechargeable lithium batteries. Another advantages of these is that they’re usually AA batteries, which makes replacements and spares much easier to find.
But if you use your flashlight often, you may prefer rechargeable so you can save on battery costs.
Be sure to check out this How To Choose The Best Tactical Flashlight article on our blog.
Coleman Battery Guard
Coleman is an outdoor company which sells everything from replacement parts for outdoor survival gear, to stoves and grills.
The Coleman is one of the cheapest options in this list of survival flashlights, and runs on easy to find AAA batteries.
The Coleman doesn’t have the durability or brightness (500 Lumens on high) of the other flashlights on the list. But it is worth mentioning because its battery saving system is impressive.
The Coleman’s Battery Guard system “stops battery drain to preserve battery life and reduce corrosion” and “allows flashlight batteries to be stored for years.” The maximum run time for the Coleman is 200 hours (at its lowest setting).
Which makes the Coleman Battery Guard 325M flashlight a good bet for survivalists who care more about battery life than durability.
Olight 2300 Lumens Warrior 3
The Warrior 3 is a tactical flashlight that boasts a max 2300 Lumens, which is far more than any other flashlight on this list. However, the Warrior 3 also has lower lumens settings that will help you extend battery life. Which is great because the Warrior uses a customized 5000mAh rechargeable lithium battery.
The durability of the Olight Warrior 3 is even more impressive than its brightness. The Warrior aluminum alloy body is scratch resistant, waterproof, submersible (IPX8) , and can withstand drops from over two meters.
However, the Warrior does have its drawbacks. The most glaring one its short minimum run time (2.5 minutes at 2300 Lumens, although it can run for 2 hours and 40 minutes at 800 lumens after that — and then another 39 minutes at 250 lumens.). So, if you need something that is extremely bright and lasts for an extended period of time, you might not want to choose the Warrior.
However, the Olight is still about half the price of the Elzetta so it is still worth checking out.
Elzetta High Output Bravo
The Elzetta High Output Bravo falls somewhere in between the other two options on this light in terms of brightness (850 Lumens).
However, the Elzetta is not some middle-of-the-road solution. Price-wise, it is the most expensive option on the list, coming in at a whopping $215.
And, yes, the flashlight is equally expensive on Elzetta’s website, probably because Elzetta allows you to customize your flashlights when you order them. For this reason, we recommend that you order directly from the site to get the most out of your purchase.
While Elzetta’s flashlights are expensive, the company does provide “high output heads,” “automatic voltage sensing technology,” and supposed “unmatched durability.”
So if you’re willing to spend upward of 200 bucks, then go ahead and give the Elzetta a try.