The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

10 best torches: From head torches to camping lanterns and spotlights

Whether it’s for outdoor adventures or DIY, we shed some light on the very best

Jacob Little
Monday 18 July 2022 11:14 BST
We shed light on their brightness (obviously) portability and ease of use
We shed light on their brightness (obviously) portability and ease of use (The Independent)

A good torch is a must in any household. Whether you’re using it to take the bins out, walk the dog, or for more outward-bound adventures such as hiking and camping, having a useful, trustworthy and reliable torch to hand is one of life’s musts.

We all know, however, the feeling when it comes to picking a torch from the cupboard – they often run out of batteries far too quickly or are not quite up to the job. That’s why picking the right one is vital.

We’d certainly argue that there’s a case for having a couple of different options for a variety of scenarios – you can normally pick good torches up cheaply enough to warrant buying a couple. It’s also worth considering versatility, which is why we’ve featured a couple of options here that adopt a jack of all trades approach, meaning they work as flood lights and lanterns as well as they do standard torches.

We’ve found that while there’s not necessarily a one-size fits all torch out there, we can certainly suggest a few options that cover as many bases as possible.

That’s why we’ve taken some of the best torches and put them through their paces – you’ll find standard torches in this list as well as more niche-specific, advanced torches for camping and outdoor adventures, for example.

Read more:

How we tested

We tested these in a range of scenarios around the house, garden and out and about. Portability and ease of use was a big factor, as well as the lumen rating (how bright the torch is) and weight. Size and shape also plays a big part in picking the right torch too, as often when using torches in tight spaces around the house you need one small enough to illuminate tight spots.

The best torches 2022:

  • Best overall – Olight S2R baton II: £64.95, Olightstore.uk
  • Best for lightweight power – Olight SR1 baton II mini: £54.95, Olightstore.uk
  • Best value for money – Life Systems intensity 370 hand torch: £24.99, Lifesystems.co.uk
  • Best home improvement and DIY – Liggoo light kit: £40, Tinkerandfix.co.uk
  • Best for camping adventures – Petzl actik core 450l head torch: £58, Cotswoldoutdoor.com
  • Best for active adventures – Alpkit qark: £34.99, Alpkit.com
  • Best for camping flood lighting – Princeton Tec helix backcountry: £64.15, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for outdoor parties – Alpkit soundbite: £34.99, Alpkit.com
  • Best premium option – Maglite ML150LRX rechargeable torch: £189.95, Torchdirect.co.uk
  • Best daily option – Nebo newton 1000: £30, Cotswoldoutdoor.com

Olight S2R baton II

Olight.jpg

Best: Overall

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 98.5g
  • Lumens: 1150
  • Waterproof rating: IPX8
  • Beam range: 135m
  • Runtime: 60 days

The Olight S2R baton II is only about the length of the palm, which is impressive considering that it packs a punch in the power department. It features a 3200mAh rechargeable lithium battery and comes with three modes to choose from – turbo, moonlight and strobe – which affects the power and the distribution of the light accordingly. We liked the charge status indicator light too, which glows red, yellow and green depending on the amount of power left in the battery.

Back to top

Olight SR1 baton II mini

Olight SR1 baton II mini.jpg

Best: For lightweight power

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 51g
  • Lumens: 1000
  • Waterproof rating: IPX8
  • Beam range: 145m
  • Runtime: 8 days

The 1,000 lumens this torch provides is incredibly impressive given its size – like the slightly larger S2R (£64.95, Olightstore.uk) it surprised us with its power for its size. Maximum runtime is given at around eight days, which is also especially useful and impressive given the fact that it only runs on one small rechargeable battery. Slipping it into a pocket when out and about is perfectly doable and it’ll largely go unnoticed – we also especially liked the textured hand grip for ease of use.

Back to top

Life Systems intensity 370 hand torch

Life Systems intensity 370 hand torch.jpg

Best: Value for money

Rating: 6/10

  • Weight: 150g
  • Lumens: 370
  • Waterproof rating: IPX6 water resistance
  • Beam range: Adjustable beam angle
  • Runtime: 60 hours

If you’re looking for something a little more wallet-friendly, this classic 370 lumens hand torch from Life Systems will do just the job. It’s a little more conventional in its appearance and set up – with two double-A batteries powering its five different lighting modes. Its 60 hours of battery life is especially useful however, and we’d happily have this to hand around the house or out and about.

Back to top

Liggoo light kit

Liggoo light kit.jpg

Best: Home improvement and DIY

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 254g (including all parts and case)
  • Lumens: up to 150 power: Micro USB rechargeable
  • Waterproof rating: IP44 (splash-proof)
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 1.5 – six hours

Most of us will want our torches to be useful in a variety of situations, and the Liggoo light kit might be exactly what you’re after. It features a number of different multifunctional setups to enable the torch to clip on to things, be used as a head torch or even a hands-free spotlight. The website has a useful video that demonstrates all available functions too – highly recommended if you’re after a torch that can serve many purposes.

Back to top

Petzl actik core 450l head torch

Petzl actik core 450l head torch.jpg

Best: For camping adventures

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 75g
  • Lumens: 450
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4
  • Beam range: Flood or mixed pattern
  • Runtime: Not known

Petzl is well known in the outdoor community for creating a range of excellent, sturdy and long-lasting head torches. Our pick of the bunch is the Actik core 450l, which combines comfort and ease of use with a selection of beam patterns to choose from, a rechargeable battery and usefully a detachable and washable headband. A red light that preserves night vision quality is also a nice touch which is highly recommended if you need your torch out and about.

Back to top

Alpkit qark

Alpkit qark.jpg

Best: For active adventures

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 95g
  • Lumens: 580
  • Waterproof rating: IPX6
  • Beam range: 150m
  • Runtime: 5h 30m on medium setting

A slightly more affordable option, but no less impressive, is this head torch from Alpkit. As with many other torches on this list it’s rechargeable, and additionally features a very useful band over the top of the head, which means it’s much more secure if you’re looking to take it running or climbing at night, for example. If you’re in the need of a torch to accompany your autumn and winter after work exercise, this is what we’d recommend.

  1. £34 from Alpkit.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

Princeton Tec helix backcountry

Princeton Tec helix backcountry.jpg

Best: For camping flood lighting

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 155g
  • Lumens: 300
  • Waterproof rating: IPX6
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 100 hours

It may be an intriguing looking device, but this lantern has swifty become a go-to in our camping setup and may be one of the most versatile and interesting torches on the market at the moment. It’s a compact device, folding away neatly when not in use, but once unfolded its innovative options for hanging or grabbing to nearby poles and trees make it an excellent camping accessory. We like its bright, soft light too, which is easy on the eyes when out in the wild.

  1. £64 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
Back to top

Maglite ML150LRX rechargeable torch

Maglite ML150LRX rechargeable torch.jpg

Best: Premium option

Rating: 6/10

  • Weight: 794g
  • Lumens: 1082
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4
  • Beam range: 458m
  • Runtime: 3 hours 5 mins on high setting

If you’re in the market to splash the cash and get one of the most premium torch options on the market, we’d highly recommend this from Maglite. With decades of experience and a wide range of products to suit all torch needs, this brand is very much a trusted manufacturer. The ML150LRX is a premium, sturdy option which offers more than 1,000 lumens of power and advanced battery technology to reach full charge from empty in only a couple of hours. Its maximum reach is also 458m too – amazingly, nearly half a kilometre.

Back to top

Alpkit soundbite

Alpkit soundbite.jpg

Best: For outdoor parties

Rating: 6/10

  • Weight: 201g
  • Lumens: 180
  • Waterproof rating: IP64
  • Beam range: N/A
  • Runtime: 15 hours on medium

A rechargeable Bluetooth speaker and a light in one may be just what you need when out and about with friends, and luckily this option (among many on the market) from Alpkit is worth investing in. For a small device the sound is more than passable, and we especially liked the magnet/hook that attaches not only to camping poles and trees but to the sides of cars and other metal objects.

  1. £34 from Alpkit.com
Prices may vary
Back to top

Nebo newton 1000

Nebo newton 1000.jpg

Best: Daily option

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 450g
  • Lumens: 1000
  • Waterproof rating: P67 water resistant
  • Beam range: 155m
  • Runtime: 5 hours on medium

An affordable 1,000 lumens option, we liked the look and the design of the Nebo newton 1000, which is made of anodized aluminium and is smooth to the touch. The light can reach up to 155m too, which is impressive given its size. It runs on four double-A batteries, so the only criticism we can see is that we’d like to have seen a rechargeable option.

Back to top

The verdict: Torches

We were especially impressed with the Olight S2R baton II, which manages to pack a 1,000+ lumen torch into a sub £100 product, alongside an impressive waterproof rating and a long 60-hour runtime. This is why it’s the best in test.

The Nebo newton 1000 only misses out on the top spot due to its lack of rechargeable batteries. And if you’re looking for something a bit more active, we’d highly recommend the Petzl actik core head torch – it’s one of the most reliable head torches we’ve used in a long time.

Voucher codes

For more outdoor and sporting deals, try the links below:

Equipment, tools, tents and more – these are all the camping essentials you need for your next trip

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in