Arbitrary List of Popular Lights, Summer Solstic 2021

Happy Solstice!

In honor of Summer Solstice for the northern hemisphere, I've made an updated list of popular lights. Today is the day you're least likely to need a flashlight if you live north of the Equator, but it only increases from now.

Because a definitive buyer's guide is too hard, I've made an arbitrary list of popular lights you should consider if you're shopping for a light. There is no best flashlight, so this is not the last word in what's good, but a list of lights that are often bought or recommended here with a touch of my own opinion thrown in. Exclusion from this list doesn't mean a light isn't good. To search more lights by their attributes, try http://flashlights.parametrek.com/index.html

Where possible, official manufacturer URLs are linked here. Sometimes the manufacturer offers good deals through direct orders, sometimes vendors have the best prices. There are coupon codes available that apply to many of the lights listed. I'm hosting a version of this list on my own site with affiliate links because a few people have asked for a way to give me a kickback.

Shipping/availability may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, items shipped by USPS are taking an usual amount of time to arrive. You may have to be more patient than usual if you want certain flashlights, chargers, and batteries.

For those in a hurry

If you don't want to learn much, just get one of these.

All of the lights in this section come with a rechargeable battery and have a charger built in to the light. The battery will be a standard size you can buy online from third parties, and the charger will use USB as its power source, though some options do use a special cable. Aside from the A4, all have very good color quality compared to the average LED flashlight, improving your ability to see details. In this section, I've linked good places to buy the lights rather than the manufacturer.

  • Wurkkos FC11 - a general-use light for $30. USB-C charging, and it now has proper C-to-C support. There's a strong magnet in the tailcap, and a pocket clip for carry. A 25mm (1 inch) diameter and 120mm (4.7 inches) long is suitable for larger pants pockets. 18650 battery.
  • Skilhunt M150 with high-CRI LH351D LED option - a smaller everyday carry light with many characteristics similar to the FC11, but a smaller (14500 size) battery and magnetic charging connector. This light can also use AA batteries, both rechargeable and disposable, but the built-in charger only works with a 14500. $44 with coupon code "reddit", and sometimes available on Amazon, but not always with the right LED, which is important since the color and beam quality of the other options is poor. 21mm (0.82") at its widest point and 84mm (3.3") long.
  • Skilhunt H04 RC with high-CRI LH351D - a headlamp, right-angle handheld, and magnetic work light all in one. This version has a beaded optic with a somewhat diffused beam, but there's also a reflector version with a little more focus. This version has USB-magnetic charging, but it's available without for a lower price. $58 with the optional bundled 18650 battery and coupon code "reddit".
  • Acebeam EC35 II, Killzone special edition with SST-20. I swear I'm not trying to favor Killzone here, but this one is a dealer exclusive. The T-word is overused in marketing, but many would describe this as a handheld tactical light or duty light. This is a great option for situations where the user might need light quickly in a stressful situation because the tailswitch is high-only with other functions on the sideswitch. If you think you want a single-mode light, you probably want this instead. USB-C charging (A-to-C again), and it's a USB powerbank (C-to-C works for this). $77 with bundled 18650 battery, $67 if you bring your own battery.
  • Sofirn SP36 (Anduril/LH351D version) - a larger high-output light with three 18650 batteries and a $65 price tag. It has USB-C (A-to-C only) charging and a more complex user interface, but basic operation is similar to most of the others in this section. If you need to light up a room for a long time, or light up a field, this is up to the task.
  • Thrunite Catapult V6 SST70 - a long-range light able to provide fairly good visibility at 350m and detect large objects at twice that. This one doesn't have good color quality of the other options in this section. 26650 battery included, and USB-C charging. $64, at the moment, usually $75.

These are at the top of the list not because they're the best in some objective sense, but because they're easy to own and use, and easy to buy. They score well on most measures flashlight nerds care about while also being beginner-friendly.

About specs and considerations

Moved to the wiki due to character limit

Mainstream lights

Everyday Carry Lights

These are selected for pocketability first and performance second, but most of the larger options are perfectly adequate for house/car/camping/etc... uses. This section excludes right-angle designs that double as headlamps, but many people do use those for pocket carry, so see that section as well.

Keychain

  • Nitecore Tube 2.0 - a brighter, variable output, USB-charging replacement for button-cell keychain lights with shortcuts to high and low modes from off. $11
  • Rovyvon Aurora A3x (Nichia 219C version) - neutral tint, 90 CRI, 450 lumens (briefly), USB charging, under 20g weight. Non-removable battery, so this will eventually wear out. Other Nichia Rovyvons are similar, offering different body materials, sizes, and sometimes colored LEDs on the sides. $28
  • Sofirn SC01 - neutral tint, 95 CRI, 330 lumen advertised max, which is sure to drop quickly because this runs on a tiny, but standardized and removable 10180 battery, which can be charged inside the light through a micro-USB port. This seems to be a continuation of the Cooyoo Quantum design that inspired many rebrands and derivatives. $16 from Sofirn's site, shipped from China.

AAA battery

  • Wurkkos WK01 - a 1xAAA light with 95 CRI (in the 4000K version) and a tailswitch. $14
  • Skilhunt E3A - a simple 1xAAA light with a twist switch for $12
  • Lumintop IYP365 Nichia 219C - 2xAAA, 90+ CRI (Nichia version only) and neutral white. This is a longer IYP07. Not as bright as a Ti4, but light quality is often more important for being able to see clearly. $21
  • Thrunite Ti4 - 2xAAA - Neutral white available. High output for this form factor. $24
  • Nitecore MT06MD - 2xAAA, 90+ CRI, neutral white, and still shipping with the Nichia 219B as far as I know. Similar to the IYP365 on paper, but many people prefer the tint of the 219B over the 219C. $26

AA battery

  • Skilhunt M150 with high-CRI LH351D - this is the AA/14500 version of the M200, without the mode customization feature. It's only offered bundled with a 14500. The onboard charging works with any 14500, but won't charge NiMH AA inside the light. There's low-voltage protection for both battery types, so unprotected 14500s are OK. $43
  • Skilhunt E2A with high-CRI 4000K SST-20 LED. This is a basic, inexpensive 3-mode mechanical tailswitch light running on AA or 14500. It has nice mode spacing, low-voltage protection for the 14500, and impressive maximum output for the size and price. $20
  • Zebralight SC53c - 90+ CRI, warm-neutral white, e-switch with shortcuts to low, medium and high with several sub-levels for each. $57
  • Thrunite Archer 1A - a dual-switch 1xAA light that can also use 14500. 200 lumens with AA, about 450 with 14500. $28

CR123A/16340 battery

  • Acebeam TK16 (SST-20 version only) - 95+ CRI, neutral white, tail e-switch with shortcuts to lowest, highest, and last-used, plus two mode groups so you can choose between sensible runtimes and impressing your friends with the 1250 lumen peak output. 0.5 lumen moonlight. Battery included, but you'll need a separate charger. If you were considering the Olight S1 line, get this instead. Also available in copper. $55
  • Wowtac W1 - a basic light using a 16340 (CR123A won't work well, if at all) and USB charging. It only seems to come in cool white at the moment. Why is it here? Because it costs $20 on US Amazon and should have Wowtac's usual solid build quality and accurate specs.

18350 battery

  • Thrunite T1 (neutral white suggested) - 1x18350 (included), MicroUSB charging, magnetic tailcap, 1500 lumen max mode with a ramping UI for medium levels. $40, usually
  • Eagletac DX3B Mk II - for those who might need to use a lot of light under stress, but want a more compact package than the average 18650 light. Mash the proud tailswitch and get 2500 lumens and 257m of throw; it always starts on high unless the sideswitch is also held, in which case it starts on low. An 18350 battery is included and the light has onboard micro-USB charging IlluminationGear has what looks to be a dealer exclusive option with an Osram White Flat LED for over 300m throw. Pricey at $95.

18650 battery

This category is so popular it gets subcategories. If you're looking for a lot of power and runtime that's still possible to carry in most pants pockets, this is your battery.

Dual-switch lights

A tailswitch controls power, a sideswitch changes brightness. The ease of explaning the UI makes these perfect to hand out to others.

  • Sofirn SP31 v2.0 - efficient driver and optional, recommended high-CRI LH351D LED for the very budget price of $28 shipped from China.
  • Acebeam EC35 II (Killzone special edition) This has a bit different UI than the others here. The tailswitch is alawys high, with half-press for momentary. The side switch is an electronic switch with shortcuts from off to low, last-used, and high. This offers versatility in combination with dead-simple reliability under stress. USB-C charging (note: requires A-to-C cable; does not charge from C-to-C), optional battery, and it's a USB powerbank (powerbank function does work with C-to-C). $67 by itself, or $77 with a battery.

E-switch lights

Electronic switches enable shortcuts from off to useful modes - usually lowest, highest, and last-used.

  • Zebralight SC64c LE - the SC6x series has long been an EDC favorite for their compact size, high efficiency, great low modes, and a user interface that was well ahead of the competition when it came out. Now, many would prefer ToyKeeper's Anduril firmware as used on the FW3A and D4v2, but Zebralight has added some configuration options that should keep most users happy. The 828 lumen max output sounds low next to today's hot-rods, but lights this size can't sustain more than that for longer than 5 minutes without burning the user's hand. $80
  • Thrunite TC15 - high output and throw from a 25mm tube light with USB charging, though color quality may not be the best. $56
  • Skilhunt M200 (high-CRI LH351D option recommended) - Were you considering the Olight S2R? Consider this instead. Magnetic charging, but with a standard 18650. Optional high-CRI neutral white LH351D. Magnetic tailcap. The linked version even has configurable mode groups, and you can decide whether to pay extra to get it with a battery. Pending due to lack of reviews, but Skilhunt stuff is usually solid. $43 without a battery, $51 with.
  • Wurkkos FC11 - 18650 EDC light, high-CRI Samsung LH351D, battery included, magnetic tailcap, USB-C charging, e-switch with the option of fixed modes or ramping. Wurkkos is affiliated with Sofirn, and this seems very much like some SP36S parts found their way into an SC31. Early versions had some UI wierdness, but the UI has been revised and is now very good. The tint could stand to be better, but the color rendering is very good, and it's $30. Now there's a choice of color temperatures: 2700K for the incandescent look, 4000K for afternoon sunlight, and 5000K for midday.
  • Acebeam L17 - a compact thrower more suited to a jacket pocket than everyday carry like the rest of these but still quite compact for its 800m throw. This is unconventional in having its e-switch on the end of the tailcap. $60 (without battery)

Other by use case

Right-angle lights and headlamps

If I could have only one portable light, it would be a right-angle light that functions as both an everyday carry light and a headlamp. Some lights in this form factor also offer a magnetic tailcap, allowing them to act as mountable area lights.

Small

  • Manker E02 II - 1xAAA or 1x10440 makes this the smallest on the list in this class. At 21g without battery and headband, I suspect even /r/ultralight will tolerate this, and the 95 CRI SST-20 (only in the neutral white option), users will be able to see detail. A magnetic tailcap expands the utility. $23, but note a headband is not included; that costs an extra $7.
  • Manker E03H II - the above, but AA/14500 and with sliding diffusers, including red, which some people insist on. Again go for the neutral white, high-CRI option. $35
  • Skilhunt H04 Mini RC - 18350 battery and USB-magnetic charging with my favorite headband in the industry and optional high-CRI LH351D. This offers a floody TIR, less floody reflector (R model) or reflector with flippable diffuser (F model) offered for $50.
  • Zebralight H53c - All the Zebralight goodness described above for the SC64c LE, but in a right-angle, 1xAA form factor. The Cree XP-L2 may make a less attractive beam than the Samsung LH351D, but most people report Zebralight's optics smooth it out well. H53Fc for a frosted lens for a very even beam. This one even comes with a pocket clip, and the headband does not have the top strap the 18650 versions do. $59
  • Thrunite TH20 - 1xAA dedicated headlamp available in neutral white with infinite ramping and shortcuts from off to low/high. $30
  • Acebeam H40 with 95 CRI Luminus SST-20. This is a dedicated headlamp very similar to the TH20, but trades having a good sub-lumen low for high CRI. It would be nice to have both in the same light, but for that, you'll need a soldering iron. The high-CRI option may only be available from dealers. $35
  • Nitecore NU25 - the other ultralight option. Sealed Li-ion pouch cell, so no carrying spares, and it's effectively disposable when the battery wears out. The primary emitter is cool white and low-CRI, but there's a high-CRI secondary. Some sacrifices must be made for a weight of 28g. $36
  • Thrunite TH01 - 1x18350 battery dedicated headlamp, 1500 lumens burst (450 stable). This is a USB-charged option without going to the larger 18650 battery. $46
  • Acebeam H17 - right-angle form factor, three emitters, high-CRI, and an 18350 battery. I think most will prefer the Nichia 219C's tint. $60

Medium

All of these use one 18650 battery.

  • Skilhunt H04 - the popular version has a honeycomb TIR optic for a diffuse beam pattern. A reflector for more throw and a version with a reflector and a flip-out diffuser are available. Uses a timed stepdown. Available in neutral white. Magnetic tailcap. These now offer a high-CRI LH351D option, making it considerably more competitive. $44, or $52 for the RC version with magnetic charging. Battery not included by default, but Skilhunt and dealers usually add one for less than $10.
  • Sofirn SP40 (with LH351D) - high CRI, USB charging, a choice of color temperatures and a battery included for the price is pretty compelling. The other options have advantages, but you'll pay for them. $35
  • Zebralight H600Fd IV - very compact, neutral white, great efficiency, well-regarded user interface, boost driver. What's not to love? The pocket clip isn't so good. 90+ CRI, a frosted lens for a more diffuse beam and a slightly cooler neutral tint that's a close match for the midday sun. H600d for non-frosted and a little more throw. $89
  • Zebralight H600Fc IV - the H600Fd, but with warmer tint, like the late afternoon sun. $89
  • YLP Panda 2M CRI - 1x18650 dedicated headlamp, with high-CRI neutral white LH351Ds. Not the most efficient, but the light quality is great and with an 18650 battery, most people won't mind. $38
  • Armytek Wizard C2 Pro Nichia 144A - 1x18650 right-angle light with a beautiful high-CRI neutral white emitter, boost driver for stable output, magnetic tailcap, magnetic charging, and excellent low mode. I pushed for this light's creation, so I'm biased, but I do think it's excellent. The manufacturer, however is not, and I recommend ordering from Killzone in the US to avoid customer service and shipping problems. $90

Large

  • Acebeam H30 - 21700 battery (also compatible with 18650), USB-C charging, powerbank function, 4000 lumen main output with optional neutral white, red secondary, choice between a green secondary, UV secondary, or a high-CRI Nichia 219C secondary. Boost driver for stable output when the battery is low or cold. Many people would consider this too heavy for a headlamp, but it weighs a lot less than a motorcycle helmet. Noncompliant USB-C behavior requires charging with an A-to-C cable. $120
  • Wurkkos HD20 - 21700 battery, two LEDs (one throwy, the other high-CRI), and USB-C in a right-angle form factor.

Duty lights

These are suitable for first responders and possibly members of the military in combat roles. The focus is on simple operation, reliability and a good way to make sure the light starts on high.

  • Acebeam T36 - semi-pocketable, 2100 lumens, 303m FL1 throw, 21700 battery, USB-C charging, and now offered in 4000K neutral white. If this sounds like the alternative to the Olight M2R Pro you've been waiting for... it actually predated that light by about a year, then disappeared from the market. It's back now, and it deserves to sell better this time around. 4000K recommended. $110
  • Acebeam L30 - 4000 lumens from a single 18650 or 21700 (included). Neutral white available and recommended. Not the prettiest light, but there's a lot of it, and enough thermal mass to sustain it for a few minutes. Stable output without overheating is 2000 lumens. Forward-clicky tailswith is always max output, but the side switch has shortcuts to low and last-used. USB charging. $110
  • Acebeam L35 - similar to the L30, but with more output and throw, especially with the LatticePower P70 LED option claiming 570m FL1 throw. No onboard charging on this model, which makes it more waterproof. $90
  • Eagletac GX30L2 Pro - for those who want a better Streamlight Stinger. 2x18650. Neutral white with XHP35 HI recommended for more natural color and throw distance. Onboard charging. Neutral white optional. The included battery pack is just two 18650s in series. It says not to charge standard 18650s, but there's no technical reason for that, and it is reported to work. Protected cells recommended. $155
  • Acebeam L18 - this is the L35, but optimized for throw with 1000m FL1 throw and 1500lm output. This is probably a secondary light for most people for when something is too far for the primary light. $70

High-performance lights

Most lights on the list are easy to carry, with performance constrained by size and thermal mass as a result. After all, the best light is the one you have. Here are lights to bring when you know you'll be using them.

Flooders

Turn night into day, but not necessarily very far away

  • Thrunite TC20 - 1x26650, 1xXHP70.2. This is still small enough for a jacket pocket, but has a bigger battery than most EDC lights, and a spectacular 180 lm/W efficiency on medium. USB charging. Ugly tint, even when neutral. 3800 lumen max, and more efficient than most competitors in all modes. $90
  • Acebeam X45 - 4x18650, not pretty even in neutral white, but it makes 18,000 lumens. $180
  • Sofirn SP36 BLF edition - 3x18650, 4xLH351D, Anduril firmware, USB-C charging. Be careful, there's another version of this light with Cree XP-L2 emitters, which are ugly. Several options for color temperature exist, and batteries are usually bundled now, but not always. 90+ CRI, 5500+ lumens, 350m FL1 throw. $50 from Sofirn's site, more from Amazon.
  • Convoy S11 FC40 - a basic 26650 tube light with a tailswitch, but the big news is the GT-FC40 LED. I think Convoy is the only manufacturer using this large, floody, high-CRI LED. It's pretty, and this is a way to experience it for $35

Throwers

What's that over there? WAY over there? The hotspots of these lights tend to be too focused for comfortable use up close, though using a diffuser is an option. These tend to be most useful for search and rescue, boating, and the like.

FL1 throw is the distance at which large objects can be detected in clear air. At half that distance, there's usually enough illumination to see clearly, though with more extreme throwers, the distances may be so great as to require binoculars to see clearly even during the day. Throwers have visible backscatter from the atmosphere even in clear air, which may obstruct the user's view of the target. Warmer color temperatures tend to have less.

  • Acebeam T27 - 1x21700/18650. This is like a thrower version of the L30 duty light above, though its charging is USB-C, and oddly, it can act as a USB powerbank. Boost driver for full output on a low battery. 5000K recommended. 1180m FL1 throw. Noncompliant USB-C behavior requires charging with an A-to-C cable. $140
  • Acebeam T28 - it's a T27 with a bigger head and even more throw. There's not much more to say about it than that. $160
  • Manker U22 III - 21700 battery, 1km FL1 throw, USB-C, and finally a reasonable user interface. $70
  • Noctigon K1 - choice of LEDs, 21700 battery, USB-C, and an advanced, configurable user interface. Osram W1 for most throw, Osraw W2 for some more output at a cost of heat and battery life, SBT90 for a lot of output, a lot of heat, $50 extra, and not much battery life. This is an enthusiast-oriented light, but it gets a place here because Illumn sells it, so it's easy to buy if you're in the US. $102

Hybrids

Some throw, some flood... probably a lot

  • Acebeam K30GT - a hybrid, but leaning toward the throw side of things with 1km. 5500 lumens, but not for long due to heat. 3x18650. $160
  • Acebeam K65GT - 1.6km and 6500lm, but much bigger than the K30GT with 4x18650 batteries, giving it the ability to say bright longer without overheating. $240
  • Convoy L6 FC40 - a 2x26650 light with a big head in the classic flashlight form-factor. The GT-FC40 LED is the big selling point here with nice tint, high CRI, over 3000 lumens, and over 700m throw. Other LEDs are offered with different characteristics, but they all offer a fair amount of output and throw. $73
  • Imalent MS18 - proprietary battery pack, 18xXHP70.2. Heat pipes. Fan cooling. 100,000 lumens. 1350m FL1 throw. This thing weighs 5 pounds, isn't waterproof, sounds like a jet engine, and I trust Imalent's build quality about as far as I can throw an MS18, not to mention the price. It makes no sense for nearly any practical purpose, but it's the brightest flashlight you can buy, so it goes on the list. $500

Other lights

Stuff that doesn't fit somewhere else goes here.

  • Pelican 3315 CC - 3xAA, 130 lumens, intrinsically safe. The only reason to get this is because an intrinsically safe or explosion proof light is required. This is the least bad option with a warm color temperature and high CRI. $55
  • Viltrox L116T - a 95 CRI, adjustable color temperature LED panel intended to be used as a camera light with adjustable output from about 200 lumens to 1000 lumens. Also works great as fixed lighting with a DC power supply, or a portable area light with a Sony NP-F camera battery. A battery holder and a bit of soldering will allow it to run on 2x18650. $36
  • Viltrox VL200T - The 2500 lumen version of the L116T. DC power supply included. Radio-based remote control. $60
  • Fenix WF30RE - the closest thing to an enthusiast-grade flashlight with an intrinsically-safe rating. This is a low-powered, but relatively normal e-switch tube light running on a field-replaceable 18650-based proprietary battery. In most cases, a proprietary battery results in automatic exclusion from this list, but I'm sure it's the only way they could achieve the hazardous environment ratings. $100

Enthusiast lights

Enthusiast lights can be subject to a bit of a flavor of the month phenomenon, and this section isn't necessarily going to try to include them all. What you'll find here are enthusiast lights with some staying power. There will probably be an Emisar D4 of some description this time next year, but not necessarily the latest new FW variant or whatever's currently trendy from Nightwatch.

Everyday carry

  • Lumintop FW3A - this light was designed by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. It's unusual in having a tail e-switch, while most others position it on the side. It has an open source firmware with continuous brightness adjustment and lots of options. 2800 lumen max (briefly), about 800 lumens relatively sustainable (thermally regulated). There are currently five LED options, and I would recommend most people go with one of the high-CRI options. Luminus SST-20 for more throw and less heat, but the Nichia 219C may have more pleasant tint. Caution: this light requires an unprotected, 10A rated battery and can set things that get too close to its lens on fire. This has fairly inefficient electronics, but the large capacity of the 18650 battery makes that a minor issue for a lot of use cases. There are titanium, copper, etc... versions for more money. Build quality and reliability may be a bit questionable, but these pack in a lot of features for the money. Several larger versions with higher output exist, but the original still makes the most sense to this list's maintainer. $40
  • Lumintop FW1A - an FW3A with fewer emitters (one) and more reflector (again, one, in place of the FW3A's TIR optic). Less output, more throw, less demanding on the battery. $40
  • Lumintop FW3X - a fancy FW3A with a buck/boost circuit for efficiency and stability in lower modes and colored aux LEDs. $70
  • Emisar D4v2 - every flashlight geek's favorite way to burn a hole in their pocket has been upgraded. It now comes with colored aux LEDs that can serve as a decoration, locator, and battery status indicator. Some versions of this light can exceed 4000 output at power-on, though efficiency is not one of its goals, even at lower levels. Not to be outdone by the FW3A, there are eight LED options, from which I'd suggest the 4000K, 95+ CRI SST-20 to most people. Optional extras include a tailcap magnet, steel bezel, pocket clip, 18350 and 18500 battery tubes, and different optics. There are exposed programming headers on the battery side of the driver for those who want to modify the firmware, or just keep it up to date with ToyKeeper's latest revisions. That's right, it's 2021 and you can get software updates for your flashlight. $45
  • Noctigon KR4 - This is almost a tail-e-switch D4, but it uses a variable linear driver that provides a bit better efficiency and more stable output as the battery drains as well as allowing brightness adjustment without PWM and enabling the use of ultra-low-voltage LEDs like the Nichia E21A. If you were thinking about the Lumintop FW4A, this is likely a better option. SST-20 4000K would probably still be my pick here because the E21A doesn't seem to play all that well with the Carclo quad optics. $55
  • Convoy S2+/219C - Popular light for DIY and modification. Many parts are available from the manufacturer and Mountain Electronics. S2+ linked. S3 is similar, but with a removable steel bezel. S6 has a deeper reflector for a narrower spill and longer throw. The high-CRI Samsung LH351D Nichia 219C and Luminus SST-20 LEDs, in order of most output to most throw, are strongly recommended over the prior options. 219C 4000K will probably make the largest number of people happy. "Body color" is actually drive current. More 7135 chips means more power, which means more output, shorter battery life, and more heat. x6 is a reasonable choice that should never get too hot to hold. x3 or x4 for giving to people who will waste the battery. x8 for max output. Convoy will assemble other combinations of compatible parts not listed in their store - just contact them and ask. $15

Jacket pocket, maybe

  • Noctigon KR1 - Do you miss the Emisar D1? This is a jacket pocket light can reach nearly 700m FL1 throw with certain emitter options. It's the only light I've ever seen offer a high-CRI Cree XP-L HI, which in this case is an incandescent-like 2850K. $50
  • Convoy C8 SST-20 - 1x18650. 4000K and 7135x8 will produce the best results for most users. Over 4000K is low-CRI for the SST-20, and yes, CRI still matters in a semi-thrower like the C8. This isn't in the performance class of the other high-output lights, but it's over 500m FL1 throw that fits in a jacket pocket for $20. Note that there are a lot of C8s on the market from different companies, but this C8 is the one most people should get. $20
  • Convoy M21C FC40 - 1x21700, GT-FC40 high-CRI LED. I'd probably go with the "crumpled" reflector and 4000K for the nicest beam. $36
  • Emisar D18 - 3x18650, 18xSST-20 (XP-L HI by request). 4000K recommended for 10,000 lumens of 95+ CRI light (thermally limited). Efficiency is not a goal with this model's FET driver, but the battery capacity will make up for it for a lot of use cases. Uses ToyKeeper's excellent open source Anduril firmware. $100 - again, check the US warehouse
  • Astrolux FT03 SST-40 FET driver, SST-40, big reflector, 26650/21700/18650 and USB-C (probably only A-to-C) charging. 955m throw and 2313 lumens according to zeroair. There's also an XHP50.2 version that trades some of the throw for output. 5000K suggested. $34
  • Noctigon K1 - 1x21700, USB-C charging (including C-to-C!), and probably the most throw of any single-cell LED flashlight (LEPs are impressive, but not quite ready for prime time). 1600m FL1 throw with the Osram White Flat 1, 4500 lumens and nearly as much throw (briefly) from the Luminus SBT-90.2. A balanced beam and stable output from the boost-driver equipped Cree XHP35 HI. Several other emitters are available, though some are not listed and can only be had by request - email and ask if there's a combination you want. $90 and up depending on emitter.
  • Astrolux MF01 Mini - 1x26650/21700/18650, 7 Luminus SST-20s (4000K, 95 CRI available), USB-C, Anduril firmware, FET driver, aux LEDs. Like a bigger D4v2 with more emitters and a USB port. $65, but check for active discounts
  • Convoy L21B SFT40 - 1x21700, 1258m throw, $35. Remember when 1km LED throwers started at 5x that? It wasn't long ago.

Big

  • BLF GT90 - A huge 8x18650 flashlight with a Luminus SBT-90.2 for over 7000 lumens and 2700m throw claimed, but that's going to be limited by heat and power. For sustainable performance, the original may have the advantage. For short bursts, this will be most impressive. 360, but look for discounts