What to Look For In The Best 18650 Flashlight?
When you are looking for the best 18650 flashlight, you need to keep in mind there are some very specific qualities that these flashlights should have. Like all other flashlights, the last thing you want to do is buy a flashlight that doesn’t work, which happens all too often when you shop by price alone. Rather than buying the cheapest flashlight around you are going to want to look for a flashlight that is going to work when you need it to, not just when it wants too. Something else that you need to look at when choosing the best 18650 light is if it’s durable or not. No matter how careful you are, chances are you are going to drop your flashlight a time or two. So, in order for a flashlight to be considered one of the best in its class it cannot shatter or break apart just because you drop it. Durable flashlights are made from strong materials, such as titanium or aircraft grade aluminum, and they have seals that entirely close off the inside of the flashlight to protect it.
Not Much Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Best 18650 Flashlight (EDC Budget): Olight S20-L2
- Best 18650 Flashlight (EDC): Zebralight SC62
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Slim Head Budget): Thrunite TN12
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Slim Head): Fenix PD35
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Larger Head Budget): Nitecore MT26
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Larger Head): Eagletac G25C2 MK II
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Thrower): Olight M2X-UT Javelot
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Flood Budget): Thrunite MINI TN30
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Flood): Niwalker Nova MM15
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Throw Budget): Olight SR52 Intimidator
- Best 18650 Flashlight (Throw): Thrunite TN32
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
While durability and reliability are important to look for when choosing the best 18650 light, so are a few other things. The current 18650 flashlights are some of the most powerful flashlights ever made, with that said you are going to give up a little on portability due to the size of the battery. These are not keychain flashlights. When looking through the 18650 flashlight reviews you will want to pay attention to how much power and features the flashlights have, as well as what kind of light they are using. With the best single 18650 flashlight you are not going to have as much power as you will with the a multiple 18650 light because more batteries means more power. However, each style still has its uses. When looking at 18650 lights look for one that uses the current generation of LEDs rather than an older LED.
Why Choose 18650?
With all of the different types of batteries out there for flashlights, you might be wondering why you should choose the 18650 over something else like the CR123A. One of the best reasons we can think of is that the 18650 battery is a Li-Ion rechargeable battery rather than a single use, primary battery and with the right connection, you can easily charge them while you are on the go. Not only that, but a single 18650 battery is as powerful as 3 to 4 AA battery because of the higher voltage. The 3.7 volts put out by the 18650 provides you with about three times the amount of watt –hours for the same capacity. If you opt for a high capacity 18650, it can be almost 4 times as powerful as standard AA batteries. Another reason to opt for the 18650 is because it is the same length as 2 x CR123A batteries, which makes them easy to interchange. 18650 batteries have a great size to capacity ratio, and they have a high discharge and high capacity rate making them superior to similar sized batteries.
Favorite 18650 Batteries and Chargers
Something else to consider is the best 18650 battery for flashlights. As with other types of batteries you are going to run across numerous manufacturers, but they do not all have the same quality. When it comes to the best 18650 battery for flashlights you are going to want to stick with batteries that are built around the Panasonic NCR18650B 3400 mAh industrial core. Some people like buying unprotected Panasonic NCR18650B batteries trying to save a little money but we prefer the protected batteries. The best 18650 battery for flashlights that we have ever used is the Orbtronic 3400 mAh protected top button batteries, which are made specifically for flashlights.
Knowing the best battery to use is one thing, but what about when those batteries need to be charged. These Li-Ion batteries aren’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is destroy them by using a horrible charger. In all of the chargers that we have looked at, we feel that the best is the Xtar VP2 Li-ion battery chargers. Not only is it one of the most advanced chargers, it is also available for a great price and comes with a USB connection that allows you t use the charger as a battery pack.
Top 11 18650 Flashlight Comparison Guide
Price: $ = <$40, $$ = $40-$80, $$$ = $80-$120, $$$$ = $120-$160, $$$$$ = $160-$200, etc…
|Flashlight||Max Lumens||Low Lumens||Battery Life (Max)||Battery Life (Low)||Battery||LED Bulb||Length||Bezel Dia.||Weight||Price||Rating||Keychain||Strobe||Weapon Mount|
|Flashlight||Max Lumens||Low Lumens||Battery Life (Max)||Battery Life (Low)||Battery||LED Bulb||Length||Bezel Dia.||Weight||Price||Rating||Keychain||Strobe||Weapon Mount|
|Olight S20-L2 Baton||550||0.5||2 hr.||600 hr.||18650||XM-L2||4.2 In.||0.9 In.||1.83 Oz. w/o Bat.||$$||4.7||N||Y||N|
|Nitecore MT26||800||25||2 hr.||45 hr.||18650||XM-L||5.87 In.||1.34 In.||4.7 Oz. w/o Bat.||$$||4.5||N||Y||N|
|Olight SR52 Intimidator||1200||40||4 hr.||40 hr.||3 x 18650||XM-L2||6.3 In.||2.5 In.||14.3 Oz. w/o Bat.||$$$||4.9||N||Y||N|
|ThruNite TN32||1702||0.6||1.5 hr.||1920||3 x 18650||XM-L2||7.94 In.||3.11 In.||22.9 Oz. w/o Bat.||$$$$$||4.9||N||Y||N|
|Fenix PD35||960||14||1.16 hr.||150 hr.||2 x CR123A||XM-L2||5.5 In.||1 In.||3 Oz. w/o Bat.||$$||4.7||N||Y||N|
|Zebralight SC62||1000||3.7||2 hr.||384 hr.||18650||XM-L2||3.8 In.||0.96 In.||1.4 Oz||$$$||5||N||Y||N|
|ThruNite TN12||1050||0.3||1.5 hr.||1585 hr.||18650||XM-L2 U2||5.63 In.||1 In.||2.89 Oz w/o Bat.||$$||4.6||N||Y||N|
|EagleTac G25C2 MK II||1180||8||1 hr.||100 hr.||18650||XM-L2 U2||5.9 In.||1 In.||4.8 Oz||$$$||4.4||N||Y||N|
|Olight M2X-UT Javelot||1020||20||1 hr.||30 hr.||18650||XM-L2||6.4 In.||2.5 In.||7.7 Oz w/o Bat.||$$$||4.5||N||Y||N|
|ThruNite MINI TN30||3200||0.4||3.9 hr.||2352 hr.||4 x 18650||XM-L2||4.95 In.||2.52 In.||13.56 Oz w/o Bat.||$$$||5||N||Y||N|
|Niwalker Nova MM15||5233||6||3 hr.||100 hr.||4 x 18650||MT-G2 P0||4.49 In.||2.52 In.||11.75 Oz w/o Bat.||$$$$$$||4.8||N||Y||N|
Best Single 18650 Flashlight
Best 18650 Flashlight (EDC Budget):
Made from aircraft grade aluminum that is coated with an anti-scratch coating the Olight S20-L2 is one of the most durable flashlights around. The S20-L2 is manufactured by one of the top flashlights companies. To let you know that your battery is getting low on charge the Olight S20-L2 features a power indicator that is built into the side switch. The side switch allows you to operate the S20-L2 in one of the four different brightness levels, as well as the strobe mode. The u-shaped pocket clip allows for easy carrying of the Olight S20-L2 and can be placed in one of two positions. The tail cap is flat and thanks to the powerful magnet inside the tail cap, the flashlight can be secured to metal surfaces.
- Weight: 1.83 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions:4.2 inches long and .9 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 0.5 lumens for 600 hours
- Highest Setting: 550 lumens for 2 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (EDC):
The Zebralight SC62 is one of the smallest on our list, but it is also one of the most powerful. The Cree XM-L2 cool white LED is very efficient and comes with several different user levels for brightness. The Zebralight SC62 has three main brightness levels, but each of these levels can be further programmed to one of two sub-levels. The second sub-level can also be programmed to different brightness levels, giving this flashlight plenty of modes to choose from. The Zebralight SC62 runs on a single 18650 battery and comes equipped with a battery capacity indicator, which will flash a set number of times to alert you that the charge is running low.
- Weight: 1.4 oz
- Dimensions:3.8 inches long and .96 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 3.7 lumens for 384 hours
- Highest Setting: 1000 lumens for 2 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Slim Head Budget):
The Thrunite TN12 was specifically designed to improve single-handed operation. The Thrunite TN12 also features improved UI, which allows for more lumens. The Cree XM-L2 LED has a lifespan of 50,000 hours. The Thrunite TN12 can be used with a single 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries. This high quality flashlight is offered at a rather low price. For users comfort it features both a side switch and tail switch for switching between modes. The glass lens has been treated with an anti-reflective coating and the smooth reflector gives the perfect beam of light, as well as the best throw for distance. The aircraft grade aluminum body is impact resistance up to about 5 feet and has an IPX-8 waterproof rating.
- Weight: 2.89 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions:5.63 inches long and 1 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 0.3 lumens for 1585 hours
- Highest Setting: 1050 lumens for 1.5 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Slim Head):
If you are looking for a portable, yet very powerful flashlight, the Fenix PD35 is the ideal choice for you. The flashlight features five different brightness levels, plus a strobe mode. The Fenix PD35 can be powered by a single 18650 battery or it can run off two CR123A batteries and comes equipped with a low voltage indicator. The output is digitally regulated, so maintaining brightness is never a problem. Switch between modes with the easy to use side switch or use the tactical tail switch to make use of the momentary-on function. The aircraft grade aluminum body is impact resistant up to about 3 feet and receives a waterproof rating of IPX-8.
- Weight: 3 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions:5.5 inches long and 1 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 14 lumens for 150 hours
- Highest Setting: 960 lumens for 1.17 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Larger Head Budget):
The Nitecore MT26 is a decent quality flashlight being offered for a great price. One of the greatest features with the MT26 is like other MT models it features a high mode where the flashlight operates at 100%. The Nitecore MT26 also features four customizable modes, which are all accessed by twisting the head of the flashlight. Turning off the MT26 will save the last mode used. To ensure the flashlight runs longer lower light intensity is recommend. The aero grade aluminum alloy aids in the durability of the light, while its anti-roll design prevents most accidental falls. Accessories included with this light include a tactical ring, spare o-ring, lanyard, anti-rolling clip, and a spare plastic cap. This flashlight was also featured as one of our top budget hunting flashlights.
- Weight: 4.7 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 5.87 inches long and 1.34 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 25 lumens for 45 hours
- Highest Setting: 800 lumens for 2 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Larger Head):
The Eagletac G25C2 MK II offers flashlight enthusiasts revolutionary performance, we think most of you will be pleased with this small, but powerful flashlight. It has one of the best output and throws around. The C3300 Extreme circuit that comes featured on the G25C2 is one of the most reliable designs around, as it has been thoroughly tested and has been proven to survive even the toughest environments. The Eagletac G25C2 uses a single 18650 battery to power four brightness levels that are accessed by simply twisting the head, while a tail cap switch powers the light on and off. The Eagletac G25C2 has lots of accessories available for after market purchase, including a great diffuser.
- Weight: 4.8 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 5.9 inches long and 1 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 8 lumens for 100 hours
- Highest Setting: 1180 lumens for 1 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Thrower):
For you flashlight enthusiasts who are looking for a single 18650 flashlight that can throw the farthest, the Olight M2X-UT Javelot is the perfect choice. The dedomed LED and the large head is what gives this flashlight its ability to throw light as far as it does. Using just a single 18650 battery the Olight M2X comes with three brightness levels, plus a strobe mode. Each of these modes is controlled via the mode selector that is built into the head of the flashlight. The built in memory feature allows you to automatically return to your last brightness level. The aircraft grade aluminum body is impact resistant up to 3.3 feet and is rated IPX-8 in terms of being waterproof.
- Weight: 7.7 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 6.4 inches long and 2.5 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 20 lumens for 30 hours
- Highest Setting: 1020 lumens for 1 hour
Best Multiple 18650 Flashlight
Best 18650 Flashlight (Flood Budget):
For those of you that really enjoy the Thrunite TN30, the MINI TN30 is just right for you. One of the reasons so many people enjoy the MINI TN30 is it’s ergonomically designed so it’s easier to use one-handed. The flashlight itself is rather compact, about the size of a soda can. The 3 XM-L2 emitters make it one of the brightest LED flashlights on the market. The MINI TN30 is powered by four 18650 batteries and has the ability to work in six different modes. The flood light features an electronic metal switch equipped with low voltage indication, and the ThruNite Intelligent Temperature Control prevents any damage to the light from overheating.
- Weight: 13.56 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 4.95 inches long and 2.52 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 0.4 lumens for 2352 hours
- Highest Setting: 3200 lumens for 3.9 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Flood):
If you are looking for the best flood flashlight around the Niwalker Nova MM15 is the best choice. The Nova MM15 offers three brightness levels, and features a turbo, strobe, and SOS mode. The two Cree MT-G2 LED emmiters make this light a flood champ. Each of these modes are accessible via the side switch. Momentary activation as well as powering on and off the Nova MM15 is also controlled by the side switch. Those four batteries provide the MM15 with enough power to emit a huge wall of light for a flashlight that is about the size of a soda can. The LED indicator light will also changes colors to alert you when to switch to a lower output mode and recharge the batteries. The Nova MM15 is made from aircraft grade aluminum and is impact resistance up to about 5 feet. The mil-spec hard-anodized coating is great for maximum wear.
- Weight: 11.75 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 4.49 inches long and 2.52 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 6 lumens for 100 hours
- Highest Setting: 5233 lumens for 3 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Throw Budget):
The Olight SR52 Intimidator offers users a smaller body with more lumens. The Olight SR52 has the option of three different brightness levels, plus a strobe mode. The Olight SR52 Intimidator is powered by three 18650 batteries and comes with a battery power indicator, so you know if your batteries are running low. To prevent accidental activation the SR52 Intimidator features a nice lockout feature. The Olight SR52 internally recharges through micro USB, allowing you to easily charge it while you are on the go. The CREE XM-L2 LED beam throws about 2,100 feet, and it is waterproof up to 6 ½ feet.
- Weight: 14.3 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 6.3 inches long and 2.5 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 100 lumens for 40 hours
- Highest Setting: 1200 lumens for 4 hours
Best 18650 Flashlight (Throw):
If you a true flashaholic, then the Thrunite TN32 was designed with you specifically in mind. The Thrunite TN32 comes with 6 modes, plus a strobe mode that are switched between using the selector ring, which is smoother to use and switches between levels faster than a tail cap switch. There is no question whatsoever that the TN32 Thrunite throws, as it can throw up to 2,854 feet. This flashlight uses three 18650 batteries to power itself. Made from aircraft grade aluminum the TN32 Thrunite is impact resistant up to about 5 feet. The streamlined body design makes the light easy to hold, making it a great light for law enforcement, military personnel, and survivalists.
- Weight: 0.04 oz. (without battery)
- Dimensions: 7.94 inches long and 3.11 inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 0.6 lumens for 1920 hours
- Highest Setting: 1702 lumens for 1.5 hours
Final Thoughts The Top 18650 Flashlight
As you can see there are several top 18650 flashlights on the market, and there are many other models to choose from depending on your needs. With so many different flashlights to choose from, how do you know for sure that you are picking the right one. With the 18650, the biggest deciding factors is going to be how reliable it is and what features you need. After all, there is really no sense in purchasing a flashlight if it isn’t going to work. And, like with many other flashlights the more durable it is the better because no matter how careful you are, there is going to come a time where you drop your flashlight.
Regardless of what 18650 flashlight you end up purchasing, we just want to thank you for taking the time to read out “Best 18650 Flashlight” article, while you are here take a look at all of our best flashlight articles. If you are new to the flashlight world and have any questions in regards to the vocabulary used in this article, please feel free to refer to our tactical flashlight buyer’s guide for some great definitions. To help you compare flashlights, so you can choose the best 18650 light, please use our handy Flashlight Comparison Guide. This guide allows you to easily sort through a list of flashlights using specific specifications, such as battery type, battery life, lumens, etc. If you like one of the flashlights you read about here, please follow one of our links to Amazon to purchase one of the best 18650 flashlights.