The Best High-Brightness Flashlights to Light Up Your Darkest Nights

No, you don’t need the brightest flashlights to find your way around in the dark. For most everyday lighting tasks, in fact, anything with 150 to 250 lumens will be more than enough to provide you with much-needed illumination. If you have to find your way around the trail at night, you’ll probably do best with flashlights packing around 500 to 1,000 lumens. Anything brighter than that is only really necessary for specialty functions, such as overnight treks, night hunting, search and rescue, and other more tactical applications.

Despite being largely unnecessary, it is absolutely a heck of a lot of fun to have the brightest flashlights in your arsenal. That’s true whether you’re rummaging through a dungeon in a forgotten part of the world in search of a mythical treasure, transporting illicit cargo on a boat in the dead of night, or just searching for a lost key in the parking lot for the third time this month. Heck, they’re fun to use even just to shine a light on the darkest recesses of your closet (we know, your tiny LED strip light can do that well enough).

Are high-brightness flashlights overkill? Of course, they are. We’re talking about handheld torches that can deliver up to 200,000 lumens, which is equivalent to about 100 individual cars all flashing their headlights at the same time. Sure, there’s a time and place where all that brightness may actually be necessary, but, for the most part, we simply appreciate them for the absolute technological marvels they are.

One thing to note about high-brightness flashlights is that they typically aren’t designed to operate continuously at their highest settings. Not only does extremely high brightness guzzle battery life, it can also raise temperatures and even cause the flashlight to overheat when sustained for longer periods. Sure, the high brightness is there when you need it, but for continuous use, you’ll usually have to settle for a fraction of the maximum brightness level. At these levels, of course, a fraction of the max brightness is still an incredibly useful amount of illumination.

These are the best high-brightness flashlights available today.

Imalent MS08

Maximum brightness: 34,000 lumens (45 seconds)
Maximum sustained brightness: 10,000 lumens (up to 60 minutes)

Easily the best value in the list, this flashlight promises 34,000 lumens while coming in at under $250. That’s a ridiculous amount of light per dollar. The light is produced by eight pieces of CREE XHP70.2 LEDs, which are fitted with a custom cooling shell, two built-in fans, and a thermal control module to ensure safe operation at high levels.

The 34,000 lumens is available in Turbo mode, which creates a beam that reaches a whopping 738 meters ahead. This only lasts 45 seconds, after which the light reverts to a more manageable 10,000 lumens, which is the flashlight’s High setting. Powered by three rechargeable 4000mAh batteries, it can run for another 53 minutes at 10,000 lumens, so you get nearly an hour of intense 10,000-lumen brightness, which is downright ridiculous. If you’d rather stretch battery life, there are lower brightness settings, of course, including 5,000 lumens (90 minutes runtime), 2,000 lumens (290 minutes), 700 lumens (19 hours), and 300 lumens (30 hours). Features include IPX8 waterproofing, aerospace-grade hard anodized aluminum shell, and one meter of impact resistance.

Buy Now – $236

ThruNite TN36 Limited (CW)

Maximum brightness: 11,000 lumens
Maximum sustained brightness: 11,000 lumens (a minute or so)

This updated version of the original TN36 from 2017 replaces the XHP70 LEDs for the newer XHP70.2, which fixes the beam gap that some people noticed in the first iteration. Unlike other flashlights that deliver maximum brightness for a few seconds before leveling down, this one actually maintains the 11,000 lumens for a slightly longer period in Turbo mode. Yes, the brightness level does go down a bit over time (you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it specifically, since you eyes tend to settle in to the brightness), but it only does that as the light reaches certain temperatures (thermal management), instead of simply cutting off the max brightness after a certain duration. That means, you get to enjoy the high-level of illumination for a bit longer. We don’t like the brightness settings in this flashlight too much, since it offers Turbo, Infinity High (8,000 lumens), and Strobe (8,000 lumens) as the only high-brightness options, then offering just Infinity Low (96 lumens) and Firefly (three lumens) as alternatives. Would have preferred a middle-of-the-road setting to easily cycle through, such as 2,000 lumens or even 500 lumens for a better balance of brightness and longevity. Do note, the promised 85 minutes for the Turbo will more realistically be much shorter (it’s probably rated in the most optimal conditions), so don’t expect that kind of endurance during your own use.

Nitecore TM20K

Maximum brightness: 20,000 lumens (less than 10 seconds)
Maximum sustained brightness: around 3,000 lumens (10 minutes before cutting down in half)

We love how easy this flashlight is to hold in hand, with the flatter shape of the grip allowing you to comfortably carry it even for longer periods. Do note, they put the buttons at the tail end, so it’s meant to be held with your arm across your chest, which is a pretty tactical posture. It’s actually pretty compact for such a powerful light, so much so that you can squeeze it in your pants pocket if you want to. Granted, it’s not very comfortable, so we prefer carrying it using the bundled holster.

As far as brightness goes, it does manage to produce the promised 20,000 lumens, although it immediately lowers down to around 3,000 lumens after a few seconds (typically anywhere from five to 10), so it’s more of a party trick than anything really useful. The 3,000 lumens does last for close to ten minutes, though, which makes it a lot more usable, before eventually going down to around half to extend the battery life. Other available settings include High (3000 lumens), Medium (1600 lumens), Low (900 lumens), and Ultra-Low (300 lumens), which, let’s be honest, will be the one you’re mostly using, considering how bright 300 lumens already is.

Olight Marauder 2

Maximum brightness: 14,000 lumens
Maximum sustained brightness: 14,000 lumens (up to five minutes)

We love the fact that the advertised 14,000 lumens in this flashlight is actually usable. As in, it can shine at that level for nearly five minutes before dialing down to 3,200 lumens. That’s enough duration to really put the 450-meter throw of the floodlight to good use, making it an excellent high-brightness flashlight for those who want something really usable at those high levels. It also has a spotlight mode that can produce an 800-meter throw bam, albeit at lower brightness (maximum 850 lumens for 20 minutes). A lot of nice design touches are available here, from the spot/flood toggle switch and the rotary knob control for the output levels to the seven different brightness settings for each light mode and the 30W fast charging. It has excellent battery life, as well, allowing you to use it at a consistent 1,600 lumens for over 18 hours straight.

Manker MK38 Satellite SFT40

Maximum brightness: 41,000 lumens (30 seconds or so)
Maximum sustained brightness: 10,000 lumens (?) (40 minutes)

This is offered with three options in LED bulbs, each one with different lumen ratings. The brightest one, which uses eight 6500K Cree XHP70.2 LEDs, offers 41,000 lumens at peak in Turbo mode, although the brightness quickly whittles down and ramps back up for 40 minutes or so. After that, it dials down to a much lower brightness to finish the promised 90-minute Turbo runtime. How long does the 41,000 lumens last? It’s hard to tell, but you can probably get around 30 seconds (maybe a little more) at the max brightness, although it does stay in a plenty bright range, so you still get a heck of a lot of light for whatever task you need to get done.

We like the wide selection of brightness settings, which include Turbo, High (20,000 lumens), three Mid settings (2,200 lumens to 10,000 lumens), Low (1,000 lumens), four Eco modes (40 lumens to 400 lumens), and Strobe (25,000 lumens). At the 400-lumen setting, it’s only rated to last for 20 hours, so this will require will plenty of charging, especially if you like dialing up the brightness. It’s still a good flashlight overall, although we do wish the grip was a little longer just to make easier to handle.

Buy Now – $399

Acebeam X75

Maximum brightness: 80,000 lumens (30 seconds)
Maximum sustained brightness: 23,000 lumens (up to 20 minutes)

There aren’t many flashlights that can deliver over 50,000 lumens, so models like this one from Acebeam feel really special. It’s quite the well-made flashlight, too, with a solid aluminum housing, IP68 waterproofing, and PD 100W fast charging. Of course, we’re talking about the brightness here and this flashlight brings a lot of it, with its 12 CREE XHP70.2 LEDs combining to produce a whopping 80,000-lumen floodlight. In Turbo, it maintains the max brightness for around 30 seconds before dipping down to 23,000 lumens for 20 minutes and, later, going down to 900 lumens for eight minutes until it cuts off. If that feels a bit too short. Alternatively, you can turn on the cooling system, which extends battery life, but doesn’t stay quite as bright. In this mode, the Turbo starts out at 80,000 lumens for 20 seconds, trails off to 6,800 lumens for 70 minutes, and bookends the run with eight minutes of 900 lumens.

Basically, this flashlight gives you option to not run the fan to maximize brightness, which, we’ll be honest, doesn’t feel safe, especially if you’re dealing with this level of power. At any rate, you can switch back to fan mode (they call it Wind mode) at any point for better longevity. Do note, the fan only kicks in when it reaches a certain temperature, so it won’t run continuously (which saves power and allows it to run quieter). By the way, this flashlight uses seemingly stiffer buttons, so you’ll have to actually press down forcefully to switch among the different modes. It’s nice because it helps avoid accidental presses, although it might take some getting used to.

Fenix LR80R

Maximum brightness: 18,000 lumens
Maximum sustained brightness: 18,000 lumens (about 60 to 70 seconds)

We like the fact that this flashlight can sustain very high brightness for a minute or more. The Turbo mode, for instance, maintains the 18,000 lumens for over a minute before starting to taper down. It doesn’t immediately halve the brightness, either, like most other high-brightness flashlights, instead slowly dialing it down over the course of 10 minutes, so you get to enjoy high levels of illumination for a sustained duration. It maintains somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 lumens after that, which it can keep going for around two hours, so you get a lot of brightness for a whole lot of time with this model.

It has 10 settings in total, with more useful ones like the 3,000-lumen mode lasting for over five hours and a 450-lumen mode giving you illumination for a good 39 hours. Basically, this is a flashlight you can use for emergencies that require high brightness, while still remaining highly usable for more traditional uses, especially with its long-lasting battery. Other things we like include a solid build quality, intuitive dual-switch interface, and a 45W USB-C PD charging.

Imalent MS18

Maximum brightness: 100,000 lumens (60 seconds)
Maximum sustained brightness: 25,000 lumens (up to 52 minutes)

The MS18 immediately seized the “brightest flashlight in the world” throne upon its release in 2019 with its previously unprecedented maximum brightness of 100,000 lumens. Of course, Imalent has since wiped out that record with an even more powerful flashlight, but that doesn’t change the fact that the MS18 remains one of the best high-brightness flashlight options available today.

To produce all that light, it uses a whopping 18 CREE XHP70.2 LEDs nestled inside LOP reflectors to produce a smoother light output. In Turbo mode, it delivers that full 100,000 lumens upon switching on, lasting for around a minute before going down to 25,000 lumens, which it maintains for around 50 minutes before cutting off. Aside from Turbo it also gets three High settings (60,000 lumens, 30,000 lumens, and 22,000 lumens), three Middle settings (10,000 lumens, 5,000 lumens, and 2,000 lumens), and a Low setting (700 lumens). Yes, even its low setting is still very bright, which the onboard battery can sustain for just under 15 hours.

As you can imagine with flashlights this powerful, this is on the larger end of the scale, so much so that it comes with a strap you can wear cross-body instead of a holster. Truth be told, you can probably holster this thing (if you can find one large enough), although you may end up knocking the large head of the flashlight onto things while you go about your day.

Imalent MS32

Maximum brightness: 200,000 lumens (45 seconds)
Maximum sustained brightness: 40,000 lumens (up to 40 minutes)

Yes, Imalent is absolutely going crazy pushing flashlight brightness levels to 200,000 lumens, but you have to admit, it is quite impressive. To achieve that, the outfit uses a whopping 32 individual Cree XHP70.2 LEDs, powered by a built-in battery pack made up of 12 21700 cells. All that hardware, of course, to a much bigger size than your typical flashlight, making this awkward to carry even on a holster (the head’s just too big).

It has eight brightness settings, ranging from 80 lumens at moonlight and 2,000 lumens at low to 40,000 lumens at High and, of course, the 200,000-lumen Turbo. In that last mode, it starts off at the promised 200,000 lumens for 45 seconds before dialing the brightness down to 40,000 lumens, which can hold for another 40 minutes. It uses heat pipes and three fans to manage the flashlight’s thermals, allowing it to sustain the high output, although we honestly can’t imagine any scenario where we need a 40,000-lumen light for an extended period. It just sounds absolutely bonkers. Notable features include IP56 waterproofing, a small OLED display, a maximum throw distance of 1,618 meters, and USB-C charging.

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