Even if you are not a dedicated flashlight enthusiast, chances are you have heard of Maglite flashlights. They are one of the most popular and well-known brands of flashlights found inside the home and many law enforcement departments. Although known for their high-quality flashlights, Maglite didn’t start out manufacturing these popular products until later.
Not the brightest lights but well made and American Made. If you are looking for the most powerful lights around check this buyer’s guide.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List:
- Fastest Rechargeable Maglite: ML150LR(X) Rechargeable LED
- Longest Running Maglite: ML300L 4D LED
- Best Tactical Maglite: MAG-TAC Crowned Bezel
- Best Keychain Maglite: Solitaire LED
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How Maglite was Started
Tony Maglica came to the US from Croatia, determined to make a better life for himself and his family through hard work. In the beginning, he worked as a machinist in Denver, where he found problems within the union because of his fantastic work ethic. Often he would work through his required breaks, but he also worked faster and produced more pieces than that of his coworkers. Rather than slow down, he decided to move to California with his family in 1955.
It was in California that Tony decided to venture out on his own doing contracted machinery work. He rented a tiny garage and invested in the required machinery. His attention to detail on his tool work and his excellent quality work landed him several loyal clients allowing him to succeed. Through the course of his machine work, he created and patented improvements for various precision tool devices. In 1974, he fully incorporated Mag Instrument.
While working on fulfilling orders for flashlight parts, an idea on how to create a better flashlight popped into Tony’s head. Older flashlights used by law enforcement officers offered a plastic body that broke easily. Tony designed a flashlight body out of anodized aluminum that had the capability to resist corrosion. Along with a sturdy frame, Tony created self-cleaning contacts, an adjustable beam, a push-button switch, and seams sealed with O-rings for improved water resistance. He filed the patent for this design in 1978 and got to work manufacturing these high-quality lights with powerful beams for first responders in the US.
What Maglite Offers Customers
First responders from all over would tell stories about how amazing these new lights were and how many lives had been saved since they started using them, but they weren’t the only ones to jump on board with these high-quality lights. Consumers from around the US also impressed with these high-quality products. One of the promises Tony made to his customers was all of the products he manufactured would be 100% American made.
To uphold this promise to his consumers, Tony not only had to build the lights, but he also had to build several new machines to make his lights. A perfect example is when Mag Instrument required a specific battery clip. Rather than import the part from China, Tony invested a lot of money into his plant so he could manufacture the part in-house. In the beginning, these lights were hand-assembled, but today automation plays a significant role in mass-producing these lights. The only part of these solidly built American made flashlights not manufactured in the US is the tiny build found inside the Mini Maglite.
Maglite’s First Flashlights
Consistency is something Maglite brings to its customers. The wholesale price of the original Maglite had remained the same since 1979 when it was first manufactured. It is something Tony Maglica refuses to change, despite how much money he could potentially make from an increase in price.
The first Maglite manufactured ran on D cells. In 1984, the Mini Maglite was introduced to the public and required AA batteries. The AAA version was introduced to the Maglite line in 1987, three years after the AA version. In 1988, Maglite introduced its keyring sized light known as the Solitaire. Mag Instruments is also responsible for developing underwater lighting, which was used by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau.
Maglites are not just a popular choice in the United States. In 1995, the brand was introduced to the European market, where they succeeded in every country, including Germany. Japan also accepted the light, which in the late 1990s was quite the accomplishment due to Japan’s high standards for quality. The long-term goal for Maglite was to have at least half of the company’s total sales were from exports.
Best Maglite Flashlights on the Market
Fastest Rechargeable Maglite:
Everybody wants a flashlight that works when you need it; for rechargeable lights, that means you need something that is charged and ready to go. One of the best features of the Maglite ML150LR(X) is how fast it charges. In just 30 minutes, the batteries are 80% charged, which means you can rely on this light whenever you need it. This Maglite has been field-tested by the National Tactical Officers Association, where it scored a 5-star rating. The light has also been reviewed highly in several reviews on various websites, including one dedicated to law enforcement officers.
The Maglite ML150LR(X) utilizes a high-quality LED to emit a maximum of 1082 lumens of light but can go as low as 25 lumens in its Eco Mode. The LED produces a peak beam intensity of 52,555 candelas with a throw of 500 yards. The ML150LR(X) uses Maglite’s patented Heat Sink Technology to ensure the best performance, no worry about overheating. The light comes with a rechargeable battery pack that allows the light to work for up to 79 hours on Eco mode, and even more impressive is the 3 hours and 15 minutes of run time on the highest setting. The user-friendly interface is entirely customizable so that you can set it for fast access to your preferred functions.
- User-friendly interface
- Weight: 15.2 ounces w/batteries
- Dimensions: 10.687 inches long and 1.937 inches diameter
- Highest Output: 1082 lumens for 3 hours and 15 minutes
- Lowest Output: 25 lumens for 79 hours
Longest Running Maglite:
If you are looking for a bright, durable, and long-lasting flashlight, look no further than the Maglite ML300L 4D LED. There are several versions of the Maglite ML300L, with the difference being runtime due to battery requirements. The Maglite ML300L 4D Led requires four D cell batteries so it can offer a longer runtime than other versions that use only two or three-D cells. In the highest setting, the ML300L 4D provides over 5 hours of runtime, and on its eco setting, it provides 18 days of useable light. These runtimes are some of the most extended runtimes you will find on any Maglite or even competitors’ lights.
The high-quality LED used in the Maglite ML300L 4D emits a maximum of 1002 lumens of light with a peak beam intensity of 65,407 candelas and a maximum beam distance of 558 yards. The body design of the Maglite ML300L is a typical Maglite design, its comfortable in your hand, and you never have to worry about it overheating. The light utilizes Maglite’s LED Heat-Sink technology to ensure the best and longest performance and to prevent the risk of overheating. The ML300L 4D offers an easy to use interface with four function settings, and you can switch between spot and flood with a simple quarter-turn of the head.
- Extended runtime
- Sturdy and durable design
- Weight: 32 ounces w/batteries
- Dimensions: 14.039 inches long and 2.235 inches diameter
- Highest Output: 1002 lumens for 5 hours and 4 minutes
- Lowest Output: 25 lumens for 434 hours
Best Tactical Maglite:
The Maglite Mag-Tac LED was designed to be the best tactical flashlight in the industry. When creating the light Maglite was after something that would outperform its rivals, as well as prove superior in terms of build quality and appearance. What Maglite came up with was the Mag-Tac, which offered excellent performance, plus a rugged design that was ‘fist-grabbable’ for secure handling. The Mag-Tac offers two basic designs a plain bezel and a crowned bezel, but both models offer a knurled design with weatherproof seals and an anodized aluminum body.
The Mag-Tac Crowned Bezel light is suitable for everyday use by anybody but was designed with law enforcement and military personnel in mind. The Crowned Bezel light offers three distinct modes, including a momentary with a maximum beam distance of on, strobe, and full power, and are all controlled through a click switch located on the tail of the light. The Mag-Tac Crowned Bezel is powered by two CR123 batteries to provide a maximum of 320 lumens of light for up to 211 yards.
- Crowned Bezel
- Strobe mode
- Plastic lens
- Weight: 4.8 ounces w/batteries
- Dimensions: 5.275 inches long 1.5 inches diameter
- Output: 320 lumens for 4 hours
Best Keychain Maglite:
Why drain the battery on your phone when you can invest in a small keychain style, such as the Maglite Solitaire LED. The small, compact design offered by the Maglite Solitaire is perfect for key chains, as well as purses or backpacks. The original Solitaire design was first released in 1988 and is still going strong, but this one updates the bulb from an incandescent to an LED for a brighter beam of light. Like all other Maglite’s, the Solitaire LED offers superior craftsmanship with a hard anodized finish inside and outside to prevent corrosion along with weather-resistant seals.
A single AAA battery powers the Maglite Solitaire LED, but don’t let its small size fool you. The light is capable of producing a powerful beam of light of 47 lumens that is also adjustable. The little light comes with a keychain lanyard for hooking the light in the desired location. Inside the tail cap, there is a spare lamp. The Maglite Solitaire LED is water-resistant with an IPX7 rating and drops resistant up to 2 meters. The Solitaire will run for up to 2 hours before the battery requires replacement.
- Flickers occasionally
- Weight: 0.8 ounces w/battery
- Dimensions: 3.2 inches long and 0.5 inches in diameter
- Output: 47 lumens for 1 hour and 45 minutes
Best Maglite Flashlights Final Thoughts
Making high-quality flashlights since 1979, Maglite is one of the most popular and respected names in the industry. Over the years, the look, feel, and quality of Maglite flashlights hasn’t changed much even when they come out with a new product. While the original designs with incandescent bulbs are still available, newer models of these original designs have been released and feature LEDs for a brighter light.
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