Flashlights is one if the building blocks of a good EDC kit. It is one of the most useful tools to have and the most needed during emergencies. Getting a quality flashlight is important and here we will look at how to choose a good flashlight for EDC.
All of us have owned a cheap flashlight, and while they may be good enough for beginners, know that there are other better ones available.
Everyday carry flashlights have many types and comes in many shapes and sizes. There are different types of flashlights each with their own advantages, features, and build quality. Looking for a flashlight to replace your old one? Read on for some handy tips on getting your next EDC flashlight.
What is an EDC Flashlight
An EDC flashlight is a small or medium sized flashlight that is meant for carrying throughout the day. Their size make these flashlights compact and fits comfortably in your pockets. Always ready and available when needed.
In the old days, you may be familiar with big and heavy flashlights. They are mostly used around the house or for outdoor activities. The light output is not that good due to the use of incandescent bulbs compared to modern flashlights that uses LED.
Modern flashlights are now smaller, brighter, and have good battery life. Their compact size makes it more convenient for carrying them on a regular basis.
Why Carry a Flashlight
How often do you use the flashlight app on your phone when searching for something or walking in the dark? Or even use the flashlight feature on your smartwatch? You may not realize it yet, but a flashlight is a very use tool.
A dedicated flashlight is better to have rather than relying on your mobile device. During emergencies, your phone may be more useful in other ways than being a source of illumination. Better conserve your phone battery rather than using it to see in the dark. The small light that your mobile phone emits also lacks good lighting features. Compared to a smartphone, you can get a good flashlight with better color temperature, good battery life, different brightless levels, and other important features to suit your needs.
A good EDC flashlight is not only useful having it with you around the house, when going outdoors, or walking the dog after dark. It is also vital for survival situations or emergencies so it is an essential tool to have. Flashlights are bright enough for use as a signalling tool. Most flashlights nowadays have an SOS or beacon feature.
It is also possible to use a good flashlight as a self-defense tool. Their sturdy metal construction allows a flashlight to be used to hit someone. A flashlight will also enable you to cause temporarily blindness to an attacker to allow you to get away. Some flashlights will have a strobe feature where a rapidly flashing bright light serves to disorient your attacker.
There are certain types of flashlights which emits light at long distances. This will help you to identify any potential dangers and avoid them.
How to Choose a Flashlight
Choosing a flashlight for EDC may be daunting for some, but it should’nt be that difficult. There are several primary important factors to help you in deciding which flashlight is best for you. You need to consider the size of that you are most comfortable with, the brightness of flashlight, battery, and of course the price.
The first thing to keep in mind is to know what you need, and how you intend to use it. Is a small light good enough, or you need a larger one to keep in the bag? Do you need to have something for home or office use, or need one you can rely on for self-defense, or emergencies?
Since there are different kinds of flashlights with a multitude of features, do note that it is fairly common to end up getting at least two flashlights. With each one having different features, size, and function. I myself have always have two, small one to keep in my pocket, and a larger one in my bag. The small one is handy for basic lighting requirement, but if the need arises, I have a small flashlight in person to help me with finding my bag and getting a larger flashlight to use. It is also good to have two as you have a backup in case one of the flashlights fail.
What to Look for in a Flashlight
There are many features and options to choose from when getting a flashlight. What to look for when buying a flashlight? Since you are getting an everyday carry light, you need to know the basic features and decide what is the best. Here are some things to consider when looking for a new flashlight for EDC.
Size and weight
One of the most important factor when choosing an everyday carry light is its size and weight. You need a flashlight that is comfortable to carry, anything too big will be bulky and heavy. A compact flashlight easily fits in your pocket or easily carried clipped to your belt.
The battery type will relate to how well your flashlight performs. Battery type is also dependent on flashlight size so sometimes you need to balance these two. Most common battery types are alkaline, disposable lithium, and rechargeables. Some flashlights may also have built in batteries that you can recharge via a USB cable.
- Disposable – Easy to find batteries as they are readily available in grocery stores. Alkaline batteries are the most common disposable type. Typical sizes are AAA and AA (C and D size batteries are too big for EDC). While they lack in power and runtime, they are good enough for use in EDC flashlights. There are also disposable lithium batteries that packs more punch compared to alkalines. They are more powerful and last longer, but are more expensive. Popular batteries in this category are CR123A.
- Rechargeable – These type of flashlight batteries are more cost effective compared to disposables. It is also more friendly to the environment. Rechargeable NiMH batteries are readily available and could be found in AAA and AA size. Another popular chemistry used in rechargeable batteries is Lithium-Ion (or Li-Ion). Typical types are 18650 and RCR123A. There are also flashlights with built in rechargeable cells. They are typically custom made, to suit the light and comes in very compact sizes. Flashlights with built in batteries are charged via a USB port accessible from the flashlight body.
The unit of measure for the amount of light coming out of a flashlight is known aa lumen. Higher lumens on a flashlight means the brighter the light is. Most flashlights these days uses LED so choose a flashlight with appropriate lumens according to your needs. Really bright flashlights are not good to have for everyday carry but they are heavier and require larger batteries.
How many lumens do you need for a flashlight? For general EDC use, anything up to 500 lumens is plenty for general household and outdoor activities.
You intend to have the flaslight carried daily so choose the most durable flashlight that is tough enough to withstand the elements and hard drops. There are also IPX rated waterproof flashlights that not only works well under heavy rains, but is also submersible without causing any malfunctions.
Consider your budget when choosing an EDC flashlight. Note that you do not need to spend that much as you can get a good quality flashlight at an affordable price. You can get a reliable flashlight if you stick to the basic features.
How to Carry a Flashlight
You now have a good idea on how to choose the right flashlight, the next question you have in mind is how do you carry a flashlight? The size and type of flashlight will determine the method of carrying. To put it simply, most everyday carry flashlights have a pocket clip. Just slip the flashlight in your pocket or belt and you’re good to go.
Another popular alternative is using a sleeve or leather pouch to keep your flashlight in, along with other tools like a small pen and a small multi-tool.
These methods ensures that your flashlight is easily accessible, which you can easily get when needed. Other methods of carrying a flashlight includes carrying in a keychain, belt holster, neck carry, or keeping in a jeans coin pocket.
You should now have more knowledge on choosing a flashlight for EDC. By now, you may have a rough idea of your needs and as a starting point, check out well known brands with good reputation for quality flashlights like Fenix, Olight, Lumintop, ThruNite, FourSevens, Zebralight, and Streamlight to name a few. High end flashlights are welcome but not necessary to have a good EDC kit. What is more important is to get the most reliable flashlight that is within your budget. Buying a flashlight is not difficult and we hope our guide have given you ideas on how to choose a flashlight for EDC.