7 Best 18650 Flashlights – The Most Powerful Pocket Flashlights

Best 18650 Flashlights

The pocket flashlight is a versatile and very useful tool to have. It can be used in a wide range of places, from hunting, camping, to a night jogging.

When it comes to sheer brightness, the 18650 flashlight is unbeatable and in a league of its own. It is the most powerful of all pocket flashlight types and can even be used as a defensive tool if need be.

If you are interested in such a powerful and small flashlight, we have exactly what you need. We hand-picked some of the best 18650 flashlights on the market and give you our impressions below.

1. Brightness

Of all portable flashlights, models with 18650 batteries are the most powerful and emit the most lumens. This is because a 18650 cell is a lithium-ion battery that is one of the best types of battery that modern day technology has to offer.

One 18650 packs as much power as 3 or 4 quality AA batteries. Moreover, this type of battery has a longer longevity and if you choose to go with rechargeable 18650 batteries, they have longer recharge cycles than smaller batteries like AA.

2. Convenience

18650 batteries are available everywhere and are not very expensive nowadays. During an emergency situation, most electronics shops should have 18650 batteries as they have become as common as AA or AAA batteries.

3. Versatility

There are multiple situations where a 18650 flashlight can come in handy. Firstly, it will prove to be very practical at night like any other flashlights. However, it is brighter as it emits more lumens and can be helpful in other situations than providing clarity.

Consequently, it can even be used as a defense tool to scare away animals mostly because of this strong brightness and long beam throw. Moreover, this is very practical for those who are camping or want to spend some time out in the wilderness at night.

4. Protection

The 18650 battery inside that flashlight has many electrical and circuit protection that makes them safer and protects them against discharges or temperature surges unlike other types of batteries.

5. Portability

Despite the 18650 flashlights being bigger than a regular CR123A or AA battery, it is still portable. The flashlight can easily be slipped in a pocket and it is light enough to be carried anywhere without any discomfort.

After you've choosen the 18650 flashlight, you can also read my other product reviews such as AAA flashlight, rechargeable flashlight, pocket flashlight, keychain flashlight, penlight, tactical flashlight, police flashlight, EDC flashlight, and many more.

7 Best 18650 Flashlights - Reviews

Product Name

Lumen

Weight

Size

Zoomable

Waterproof

Rating

550 lm

3.2 oz

 5.3 x 1.0 x 1.0 in

No

Yes

4.4

1000 lm

3.08 oz

4.13 x 1.00 x
1.25 in

No

Yes

4.3

1000 lm

N/A

5.51 x 1.38
x 1.38 in

Yes

Yes

4.2

950 lm

1.6 oz

4.1 x 0.9 x
4.1 in

No

Yes

4.5

900 lm

6.24 oz

1.57 x 6.22
x 1.57 in

Yes

Yes

4.6

500 lm

3.9 oz

5.1 x 0.9 x
1.1 in

No

Yes

4.5

1000 lm

3.04 oz

1.57 x 1.57
x 5.12 in

Yes

No

4.4

Without further ado, here is our review of some of the best cheap 18650 flashlights on the market.

1. Atactical A1 EDC LED Torch Super Bright LED Flashlight 

Atactical A1 EDC LED Torch Super Bright LED Flashlight
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Size: 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Lumen: 550 lumens
  •  Waterproof: IPX-7

The Atactical A1 EDC is one of the most budget-friendly flashlights we have in this review. However, despite its small price it still has a few good things in its favor.

For starters, it is waterproof which is rare for a flashlight in this price point. You can easily use it in wet condition, no problem.

Furthermore, this unit is equipped with 6 intelligent light modes that make it versatile and useful during outdoor trips. It serves as a good hunting or camping knife.

The 18650 battery is removable and you can use both rechargeable or disposable batteries, whichever suit your preference with this model.

Pros:

  • Very affordable. Value for money
  • IPX-7 waterproof. Can be used in wet areas
  • 6 intelligent light modes
  • Memory save function

Cons:

  • Brightness is okay but not the strongest when compared to other models
  • No zoom function

Note:

The Atactical A1 EDC has a good build quality with decent functionalities for the price. However, the light from this flashlight is a neutral white that is useful to illuminate short distances only. If you need to light at a distance, we recommend other models with a zoom function instead.

2. Nitecore MH20 Rechargeable LED 18650 Flashlight

Nitecore MH20 Rechargeable LED 18650 Flashlight
  • Weight: 3.08 ounces
  • Size: 4.13 x 1.25 inches
  • Lumen: 1000 lumens
  • Waterproof: Yes

The Nitecore MH20 is a small and compact 18650 flashlight that happens to be very bright at 1000 lumens.

Coupled with the fact that this flashlight is also one of the shortest in this review, it is quite impressive that it packs so much power.

To make it more versatile, this unit contains 5 smart brightness function like SOS, strobe, high, low and beacon.

The battery inside this unit is a heavy-duty rechargeable 2300 mAh Nitecore battery that can be replaced with a regular 18650 as spare. Even better, there is a led indicator that shows you the battery and charge level. Neat!

Further, another department where the Nitecore MH20 is unbeatable is its build quality. It has a careful attention to detail and it was built to last.

Pros:

  • High brightness of 1000 lumens
  • Very good build quality. Durable and long-lasting
  • Compact and portable
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • The price. It is a very expensive flashlight

Note:

Note that this model is very bright with an exceptional anodized aluminum build quality. The only problem is the price. We say that if you can afford this flashlight, go for it as it is one of the brightest 18650 flashlights on the market.

3. UltraFire 502B LED Flashlight Tactical 18650 Flashlight 

UltraFire 502B LED Flashlight Tactical 18650 Flashlight
  • Weight: N/A
  • Size: 5.51 x 1.38 inches
  • Lumen: 1000 lumens
  • Waterproof: Yes

For many people, the price is an important consideration when purchasing a flashlight. Especially that it is such a small device and isn’t supposed to cost much.

Rightfully so, the UltraFire 502B is an extremely affordable 18650 flashlight that still has decent features like a waterproof body and a bright light of 1000 lumens. Which is more than expected from a flashlight in this price range especially considering that this model has a zoom function.

Moreover, the build quality isn’t that bad either. It even packs 5 light modes for versatility. You can’t use this flashlight as a tool when camping. We know many people often use their flashlight as a hammer, but as a flashlight, we have to say the UltraFire 502B isn’t that bad for the price.

Pros:

  • Very affordable. Value for money
  • High brightness of 1000 lumens
  • Zoomable light
  • Has water resistance

Cons:

  • May not be the most durable flashlight

Note:

This model (502b) does not have a pen clip so it is made to be carried in the pocket. However, for a few extra dollars you can buy the model WF502B that comes with a handy holster.

4. Olight S2 Baton LED 18650 Flashlight

Olight S2 Baton LED 18650 Flashlight
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Size: 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Lumen:  950 lumens
  • Waterproof: Yes

As its name suggests, the Olight S2 Baton is just like a baton. It is slim and yet weighs only 1.6 ounces, which is the lightest and smallest 18650 flashlight model in this review.

It is also not very big with a length of 4.1-inch, making it very portable. Remarkably for its small size, it is exceptionally bright at 950 lumens. This is more than enough for any type of usage as the beam has a reach of 142 meters.

Sadly, there is no zoom function but the high lumen of this flashlight compensates for this lack. Furthermore, it has a lockout function on the switch that prevents accidental light on.

Best, the tail cap serves as an indicator and lights on during a charge or when the battery is low. To change the light mode, simply double-click on the power button.

Pros:

  • High brightness of 950 lumens
  • Short and compact. Very portable
  • Long beam of 142 meters
  • Versatile. Powered by both 1 x 18650 or 2X CR123A

Cons:

  • No zoom function

Note:

Version S2R of this model comes with more functions like USB charging, a more powerful 1020 lumen light, mini charging dock and more.

5. Anker Bolder LC90 Super Bright Tactical 18650 Flashlight

Anker Bolder LC90 Super Bright Tactical 18650 Flashlight
  • Weight: 6.24 ounces
  • Size: 6.22 x 1.57 inches
  • Lumen: 900 lumens
  • Waterproof: Yes

The Anker Bolder LC90 isn’t a portable flashlight. In fact, it is quite big and long. And also has a weight to it at 6.24 ounces.

However, it wasn’t designed to be a portable model. What this flashlight offers is good battery life, an ergonomic handling, and a bright light.

According to Anker, the battery should be long-lasting up to 6 hours on the medium setting and takes around 6 hours to recharge.

As for the light, the 900 lumens beam of this flashlight has a reach of 600 feet with a maximum of 1000 feet when zoomed. Remarkable!

Pros:

  • Bright light of 900 lumens
  • Zoom function. Beam has a throw of 1000 feet
  • Long battery life
  • Good water resistance

Cons:

  • Not very portable. Big size.
  • Heavier than other models at 6.22 ounces

Note:

The Anker Bolder LC90 is a fairly affordable 18650 flashlight that has a long battery autonomy and bright light. If you can live with the bigger size of this flashlight, it is good value for money.

6. Streamlight 88063 ProTac 2L-X Professional Tactical 18650 Flashlight

Streamlight 88063 ProTac 2L-X Professional Tactical 18650 Flashlight
  • Weight: 3.9 ounces
  • Size: 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Lumen:  500 lumens
  • Waterproof: Yes 

At only 500 lumens, the Streamlight 88063 ProTac 2L-X isn’t the most powerful flashlight in this review. Not by a long shot.

However, it makes up for it with its versatility. This model can accept both a 16850 lithium battery as well as 2 CR123A batteries.

It has an impressive runtime of 30 hours on a low light setting, and 3 hours 15 minutes on high when equipped with the Streamlight rechargeable Li-Ion cell. Which is quite decent.

On the downside, there is no zoom function so you can’t focus the beam. But, it comes with a clip and holster which is always nice to have.

Pros:

  • Versatile. Can use both 18650 and CR123A batteries
  • Good water resistance
  • Clip and holster included

Cons:

  • A little expensive. Not value for money.
  • Weak brightness when compared to other models

Note:

This model has a lower brightness but it has good autonomy and can use 2 different battery types. It also has a solid anodized aircraft aluminum construction which makes it durable. Despite all this, we think that there are better models in this review.

7. Hatori 18650 Zoomable XML T6 LED Flashlight 

Hatori 18650 Zoomable XML T6 LED Flashlight
  • Weight: 3.04 ounces
  • Size: 5.12 x 1.57 inches
  • Lumen: 1000 lumens
  • Waterproof: No

As the most affordable offering in this review, we can’t expect too much from the Hatori 18650 Zoomable XML.

It still performs its job as a flashlight quite well as it has a bright lens of 1000 lumens. It isn’t as efficient as other models you can find here, but it is still plenty enough for most people.

Despite the bottom of the barrel price, it still has a decent body made of anodized aluminum and frankly, it looks more expensive than what it actually is.

Remarkably, there are no less than 7 light modes along with a belt clip. It isn’t waterproof but we can’t ask for more.

Pros:

  • Most affordable model in this review
  • Powerful light of 1000 lumens
  • 7 light modes
  • Belt clip for accessibility

Cons:

  • Not waterproof

Note:

If you are on a tight budget and don’t require fancy features, this model is the best cheap 18650 flashlight money can buy right now.

How to Buy a 18650 Flashlight

18650 Flashlights

When buying 18650 flashlights online, there are some important aspects to take into account. Here are a few of some of those important considerations.

1. Brightness​​​

Since this is a flashlight, the number one factor to look for is the brightness. It is measured in ANSI lumens and generally, the more the better.

However, anything above 500 lumens is good for general purpose use. Above 900 lumens and it will be very bright, enough to scare wild animals making it excellent as a camping, hunting or survival flashlight.

2. Rechargeable or Disposable ​​​

Not all flashlights give you the possibility to remove the battery and a few have them soldered.  We recommend you get a model that allows you to easily replace the battery.

3. Light Modes

A 18650 flashlight is more than a simple illumination tool. To make the flashlight more versatile and tactical, manufacturers equip them with intelligent light modes for different situations.

A flashlight with an SOS strobe light can save your life if you are ever stranded in a forest. Or one with a high or turbo mode can deter wild animals and serve as a defense tool at night.

Moreover, if you plan to use the same light mode on a regular basis, then it is wise to choose a model that has a memory save feature. This way it will always default to the last used light mode whenever you switch the flashlight on.

4. Dimension

To easily fit in a pocket, the flashlight needs to be at a fairly small length and diameter. A length not exceeding 6-inch and a diameter of no more than 1-inch is a good size. It will easily fit a holster and does not get in the way when clipped to the belt or placed in a pocket.

5. Weight

As we’ve seen above, those flashlights are meant to be portable. Therefore, they should not exceed a certain weight which could cause an inconvenience to carry. In general, anything less than 4 ounces is an excellent weight.

This is an ideal weight because it will not get in the way and you can easily forget that the flashlight is in your pocket.

If your chosen model is more than 4 ounces, that is not really a problem as long as it has a belt clip. Ensure that it can be clipped, by either a lanyard or with a clip. A belt clip is really handy as it allows you to quickly and easily use the flashlight for better accessibility.

5. Projection

The projection or zoom of the flashlight is its ability to be able to focus light in a small area. This is handy as a flashlight that is equipped with zoom capability is more versatile and can shine brighter than a model that simply spreads light in every direction, even if it is more powerful.

6. Waterproof

If you are planning to use your flashlight near or in water, then it is always a good idea to purchase a waterproof flashlight. It does not cost extra to have a waterproof model.

Conclusion

Clearly, the 18650 flashlight comes in many sizes and power. They also have different prices depending on the model you want. However, the most important aspect of this pocket light is definitely its high brightness. It will come in handy in many practical or survival situations.

Moreover, it is a versatile tool and everyone should own one. Best, those flashlights contain a lithium battery that can be recharged and re-used for even more convenience.

In case you still haven’t decided on the flashlight model you want to go with, we recommend you skim through our review one more time.

Allen Ethan