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5 best flashlights

We shed some light on the best illuminators, for everything from dog-walking to camping.

Sian Lewis
Tuesday 12 February 2019 22:31

A good quality flashlight can be a lifesaver when the long nights of winter draw in. Whether there’s a power cut, you’re working outdoors or you’re planning an autumn camping trip, a decent portable light source will keep you going when darkness falls.

When choosing a flashlight, getting the right size is key – a hefty, heavy flashlight is best left in the garage at home, lighter handheld flashlights are good for keeping in the car or taking camping, a pocket flashlight is brilliant kept on you for emergencies.

We’ve reviewed flashlights with both LED and Xenon bulbs – both give good brightness, although the latter emits a whiter light.

Look for the amount of lumens a flashlight lets out – anything above 150 means a good brightness. Adjustable modes are a big help, too, for different jobs and for saving battery life.

If you’re only investing in one flashlight it’s worth picking one that is waterproof, or at least water resistant, and that either has good battery life (over 10 hours on high beam is a good bet) or is rechargeable.

Maglites are old favorites, used by the forces, by detectives in movies and probably by your dad.

Strong and pleasingly heavy to hold – this water resistant, rechargeable model is one of the best, with a stonking 643 lumens in its strongest setting. Its eco mode still lights up a dark night and means the battery lasts for days on end.

It’s easy to turn the beam from spot to flood by adjusting the torch head and charging is quick and easy. This flashlight should last you forever.

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After a good all-rounder? The P5E gives off an effective 25 lumens of light for hours on end.

It’s tactile to hold and has a long burn time of 20 hours on a single AA battery.

The P5E comes with its own sturdy belt pouch and is small and light enough that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it – great for using at work or keeping in your glove box.

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Super-bright by both name and nature, this excellent pocket flashlight is ideal for use on camping trips and in the wilderness – it’s impact resistant, waterproof and seven times brighter than your average flashlight, at 220 lumens.

It also offers a flashing SOS function if you’re in dire straits. The battery can last for up to 13 hours on its highest beam. Lightweight and slim, this is perfect popped in your case for travelling.

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If you’re after something more practical than a hand-held light, for working outdoors, gardening or use in the garage, Big Larry is your new best friend.

Water and impact resistant, Big Larry feels sturdy and strong and looks rather smart, too. The fully dimmable light is easy to adjust for any job and lights up a room or a workspace effortlessly.

There are only four or so hours of battery charge available when on the high setting, but the light does fully recharge in about the same time. Fantastic quality for the price.

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This clever, flat flashlight works as two different lights – as a lantern, emitting a warmer, softer light, or as a powerful hand-held flashlight, with a 250 lumens bulb.

Its versatility (and its dinky pocket-friendly size) makes it perfect for outdoor adventures and worth its slightly higher price. It’s USB rechargeable but can also charge your devices.

The softer lantern will burn for up to 72 hours, the flashlight for 7. Great for adventurers.

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Verdict: Best flashlight

For sheer quality Maglite really stands out from the crowd, but we also like the LED Lenser P5E and Lifesystems Intensity.

If you’re looking for something to shine a light on outdoor work Nebo’s Big Larry is brilliant (and a bargain, too).

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.