Best EDC Flashlight for Survival Prepardness: An In-Depth Look

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By Dennis Howard •  12 min read

I often get asked why I carry a flashlight as part of my every day carry.  The simple answer is that I don’t like to be in the dark unless I am asleep.  This comment generally evokes some slightly uncomfortable laughter until I explain a bit further.

I review the best edc flashlights in the market

I begin by pointing out how much time most people spend inside buildings where there is no available outside light if the power fails.  Most people nod and there is usually someone who mentions that almost all buildings these days have battery-powered emergency lights.  I agree.  Many building codes now require emergency lighting.

The problem is those battery backup lighting systems are notorious for being badly maintained. Many will only last for a few minutes and the rest will never even brighten.

How, I ask, will you find your way out of an intensely dark situation, with panic mounting around you, and no real sense of direction?  Most of those who start this conversation have a sudden realization that they could be left in the dark as well.

That is where my EDC flashlight comes into play. 

Sure, it is handy when I am traveling and staying in a strange hotel, or at night when I am fumbling in the dark for car keys, and other mundane uses. But the real reason I carry that light is for that unforeseen situation where light could make a difference in surviving a bad situation.

I then get a few questions about which EDC flashlights I prefer, and I will get to that in a moment.  First, let’s look at some choices of what I consider to be the top four best EDC flashlights.


Best EDC Flashlight: My List

Best edc flashlight

This list represents my picks of the best choices for everyday care flashlights.  These are in no particular order as I feel that any of them are well worth the price and are dependable enough to serve the purpose. 

Olight S2R II EDC LED Flashlight Review

OLIGHT S2R II 1150 Lumens EDC Flashlight USB Magnetic Rechargeable Torch...

Olight, until recently, has been relatively unknown.  In recent years, reviews and product testing have found the Olight products to be real contenders in the EDC and tactical flashlight markets.  A growing system of dealers and Olight’s presence on Amazon and other online markets have gained them a foothold in the flashlight markets.

The Olight S2R II flashlight makes my list of every day carry flashlights easily.  It meets all my requirements and more with the feature-rich design.  This small flashlight has a simple design that doesn’t look “tactical,” and its size makes it easy to carry fulltime.

Olights get consistently high marks from other users.  The attention to detail and the quality control exercised during manufacturing are proven out by the experiences related across the board by those who have purchased Olight products. 

Pros

Cons

OLIGHT S2R II 1150 Lumens EDC Flashlight USB Magnetic Rechargeable Torch...
  • MULTI-FUNCTION SIDE SWITCH: It has several modes to choose from including three standard modes,...
  • 1,150-LUMEN OUTPUT: S2R II can produce a maximum output of 1,150 lumens.Includes a rechargeable...

Last update on 2022-12-02 at 05:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SOG Dark Energy Flashlight Review

SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-01-188

SOG made a name for themselves designing and producing some of the finest knives available on the market.  Many people swear by the SOG line of knives and won’t carry anything else. 

SOG has taken that concept into the flashlight field and produced a line of flashlights with the same attention to detail and ideas.

The SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-01 is a perfect example of that kind of engineering forethought. This is truly a tactical style every day carry flashlight. The SOG Dark Energy DE-01 flashlight offers all the features anyone could want in an everyday carry flashlight as well as a few that make it a dependable survival flashlight as well.

The SOG reputation for design and dependability reflect the way those who carry this SOG flashlight respond in comments about the product. Consistently, this flashlight is ranked high among other flashlights and by users. 

SOG Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

SOG Dark Energy Flashlight DE-01-188 Lumens, One CR-123A, Annodized...
  • They look different and they behave differently
  • 214 lumens in the palm of your hand

Last update on 2022-12-02 at 05:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Streamlight 88054 ProTac Review

Streamlight 88054 ProTac HL USB 1000 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight with High/Low/Strobe with USB Charger - 1000 Lumens, Black

In the last few years I worked as a professional firefighter, I carried a Streamlight every day I was on duty, attached to the front of my bunker gear. 

It literally went through hell with me and never let me down.  Streamlight has a reputation among emergency first responders for building flashlights that are rugged and dependable.

Streamlight has migrated those same characteristics to the Protac HL USB Flashlight, and it makes my list of EDC flashlights for more than just fond memories from my earlier days. 

The USB recharge capability is a handy feature in any light and more so in an EDC flashlight that may need recharging away from home.

You won’t be disappointed with this quality EDC flashlight.

It is a bit bigger than the other flashlights. However, that slight size difference is more than offset by the amazing runtime you get from the rechargeable batteries and the capability to recharge your EDC flashlight on the go in your car or from your laptop.

Streamlight Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Streamlight 88054 ProTac HL USB 1000-Lumen Multi-Fuel USB Rechargeable...
  • High for maximum illumination: 1000 lumens; 12000 candelas; 219m beam and runs 3 hours and 15...
  • TEN-TAP Programming allows the choice of three programs: 1: high/strobe/low; 2: high only; 3:...

Last update on 2022-12-02 at 05:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fenix PD35 V2.0 Tactical Flashlight Review

Fenix PD35 V2.0 Tactical Flashlight

I first discovered Fenix Flashlight when I had my store open a few years ago. I saw the first Fenix lights at ShotShow in Las Vegas and immediately put in an order. 

I have carried and used Fenix flashlights regularly since that time. I still carry a Fenix PD35 Tactical Flashlight as my EDC light.

Fenix lights feature rugged construction, top-of-the-line materials, and an eye to functionality that makes them ideal flashlights for almost any circumstance. 

The PD35 meets my criteria across the board. The quality and dependability of these flashlights keep them in my pocket all the time. Here are some of the key features:

I have carried the earlier versions of this light for years and have never been disappointed in my choice. 

I still have several older models in my spare kit drawer and keep some version of a Fenix flashlight in my bugout bags, my get home bags, and my other outdoor gear. There is even one in my range bag. I just ordered the Version 2 with the onboard recharge capability.

Fenix Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Fenix PD35 V2.0 1000 Lumen LED Flashlight with Fenix Built-in USB...
  • UPGRADED 1000 LUMEN OUTPUT - Upgraded for 2018, the PD35 V2.0 features a CREE XP-L HI V3 LED capable...
  • SIMPLE TO OPERATE - Control On/Off operation via the tactical tail cap and adjust through 5...

Last update on 2022-12-02 at 05:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What do I look for in an EDC Flashlight?

When choosing an everyday carry flashlight, there are some features that I consider. For a flashlight that I intend to carry every day, these features are non-negotiable.

If I may need to depend on that light to get my family and me out of a dangerous or very dark situation, I want the comfort of knowing that I have the best possible tool in my pocket for the job.

Features of The Best EDC Flashlights

Reliability

When I push the power switch, I want light. As part of my reliability test, I want the components of that light to be of the highest quality, the materials from which it is made rugged and durable, and top-quality manufacturing practices.

A worthy flashlight must be a reliable flashlight.

Brightness

When the world goes dark, the more light I can throw on the situation, the better.  I want to see as far as I can and as much area as I can illuminate. If the situation calls for it, I want to be able to blind an opponent momentarily from a distance.

Battery life

When you need light, you can never be sure how long the situation will call for that EDC flashlight to work. A good EDC flashlight will have several power modes that can provide light while conserving battery power.

The type of battery you carry in your EDC flashlight can affect how much time you may have before power source fails.

power source

Maintenance and Repair

A good EDC flashlight may represent a considerable investment for some people. The ability to get spare parts, to make effective repairs, and do the proper maintenance on your flashlight is as crucial as performing the same sorts of tasks on your EDC concealed carry gun.


FAQs

What is turbo mode on a flashlight?

Some flashlights on the market have what is called turbo mode, which is just an extremely bright setting.

What is moonlight mode on a flashlight?

Moonlight mode is just another name for the lowest brightness setting on your EDC flashlight.

What is an EDC keychain flashlight?

A keychain flashlight is just that, a flashlight that can be attached to your keychain. Some options are incredibly small and if you are carrying a flashlight every day on your keychain, then you can refer to it as an EDC keychain flashlight.

Generally speaking, a keychain flashlight is the smallest flashlight that you can carry.

Should my EDC flashlight have an adjustable focus?

This is purely a personal preference and ultimately depends on what tasks you will be using your EDC flashlight for.

Is it okay if my EDC flashlight uses an AA battery or AAA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery?

Nowadays, most shoppers are looking for a rechargeable flashlight, which is certainly a convenience and keeps you from having to scrounge for batteries when you need them. However, flashlights that use a AA battery or AAA batteries are not necessarily worse than a rechargeable model.

It all comes down to personal preference, availability of batteries, and availability of an external power source to recharge batteries.


When the Lights Go Out

No matter where you are when the lights go out, it is a good idea to have a source of portable light handy. That is why having a dependable flashlight as part of your everyday carry is so important.

Choosing which light to carry is almost as personal a choice as which every day concealed carry gun you choose. Making that choice is up to you. You know your needs and wants better than anyone. I hope that my insights and the information in this article make that decision a little easier.

If you found this article of help, or if you have comments or experiences that you can share about every day carry flashlights, please do so in the comments section below. Your experiences and knowledge can help up all as we seek the best flashlights on the market and to be better prepared for the unforeseen.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.