Best LED Flashlights for Emergencies: What to Look For
We’ve waited for so long and now we can finally say it’s spring (at least those of us in the midwest and west). Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and storms are a-coming. There’s a lot to love about spring, but those spring storms can certainly cause issues. That’s why it’s best to be prepared for them as early as possible and one thing you need for a storm emergency is a flashlight.
Down in Oklahoma where we’re based, we can expect a few storms every spring where the power will go out and so we know what we’re talking about when we say a flashlight is essential. To help you be prepared for what spring has to give we’ve come up with a few of the best flashlight features for emergencies such as a bad storm. We’ll also provide a short list of flashlights that have these features near the bottom of the page. In this blog post will mostly be talking about storms, but these features and flashlights are great for any kind of emergency especially any natural disaster. So without further delay, let’s get into this list!
Best LED Flashlight Features for Emergencies
It's no surprise that power would be our first feature for an emergency flashlight. When it is pitch dark outside from a storm you absolutely want to have enough power to illuminate everything around you so that you and your loved ones can see. Of course, there's quite a range of power that would be great to have. For example, if you are navigating your house in the dark you may not need more than 500 or so lumens. However if you're going outside in the storm then you're probably going to want something more around 100 lumens. On the other hand, if you’re waiting out a storm in a shelter or safe room then a lantern that illuminates even just 150 lumens might be completely adequate. And we'll get into what's more convenient for what situation later. Nevertheless I would recommend having an LED flashlight that is at least 800 lumens because this is a great amount of light to have if you are in the house with the power out or if you have to navigate outside in the storm.
It's also important to check the beam pattern on the flashlight you're considering. If you purchase a flashlight with a long bean throw but not enough spill then you may find yourself with an impractical flashlight during the storm. While there are times in emergencies you definitely need to look far away, it's more important to see your immediate surroundings. So you want to make sure that your flashlight has at least a decent spill so that you are able to see everything around you.
When considering what the best LED flashlight is for an emergency it's also important to look at run times and this includes multiple brightness levels as well as the type of battery the flashlight uses. To start with I'm going to talk about the batteries. We recommend getting a flashlight that can run on multiple types of batteries. If you have an 18650 flashlight that dies on you and you have no extra 18650 batteries lying around then being able to use CR123 batteries is priceless. However, we would recommend that you have backup batteries that are fully charged for just such emergencies.
It's also important to look at the run times on the flashlight. Many flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps will come with multiple outputs. You want to make sure that these run times are adequate. During a power outage you probably won't need to use any flashlight in the turbo mode the entire time, but you might want to use it in the lower or medium modes. This is where run times really shine through. There are some flashlights out there that have run times over 200 hours on the lowest setting. It's important to keep in mind what those run times are as well as the difference brightness levels. If you have a flashlight that can only dish out a single brightness level then you risk draining the battery a lot faster. Flashlights with multiple brightness levels give you the option to conserve your battery for longer.
Another aspect to consider is a USB rechargeable flashlight. If you have a power bank for emergencies many of these power banks require USB cables. So if your flashlight dies on you it's good to know that you can use this power bank to charge the flashlight if you need to. However, I think it's best to have spare batteries just in case. A power bank may be better served to charge someone's phone if necessary.
There are many different LED lights to choose from including handheld flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps. Each one of these has a purpose and will be incredibly useful in an emergency situations such as a storm. However, we would recommend having at least one handheld flashlight because it's a bit more versatile than a headlamp or a lantern. During a power outage lanterns are definitely excellent tools when you are huddled together as a family in one room, but if you need to go outside at all then the lantern is not really going to be as helpful as a handheld light.
On that same note, while a headlamp would be a great tool to go outside with during a storm because it allows you to have two free hands, it's not always practical. A handheld flashlight can be passed from family member to family member as needed with no issues. A headlamp is not so easy to pass around. Headlamps also don't have too much of a beam throw and this could be a problem depending on the emergency situation. So while headlamps and lanterns definitely have a good purpose during an emergency, a handheld light is a little more versatile and therefore is a better option to have.
Last but definitely not least, you want a flashlight that is durable. It’s not the best flashlight for the job if it’s not something that is durable and going to last you a long time. There are many high quality flashlights that are practical, rugged, and reliable. When looking for the best LED flashlight for an emergency look for a sturdy material such as aluminum alloy preferably with an anodized finish, or even titanium because it is resistant to corrosion. If you are looking into a handheld flashlight you want a flashlight that has a knurled pattern design on the body of it. This will prevent the flashlight from slipping from your grasp even in the rain.
You also want to look for a flashlight that is waterproof or water-resistant, impact-resistant, and can withstand a heavy rainstorm and everything that nature brings. Thankfully, there are a lot of different flashlight on the market today that meet these requirements and have excellent features for just such an emergency.
Best LED Flashlights for Emergencies: Top 5
Klarus XT11GT - 2000 Lumens
The XT11GT is tactical, powerful, and reliable. Not only does it feature six total outputs including two flashing modes, it also features of variety of functions that would be useful during an emergency. It features an instant turbo, instant low, a memorized function ability, a battery capacity indicator, and more. It's even USB rechargeable. Not only is this a great emergency flashlights, it's a great flashlight to have around no matter what.
Klarus ST10 - 1100 Lumens
The ST10 is a very compact flashlight. It's not even four and a half inch in length to give you an idea of how compact this flashlight is. Nevertheless it is powerful, delivering 1100 lumens. It features an optical lens that provides a soft and even flood light that is easier on your eyes and allows you to see everything around you. It also features a one touch low, a built-in memory function, a battery capacity indicator, and is USB rechargeable. This is another great flashlight for emergencies as well as just to have around the house.
Fenix HL55 - 900 Lumens
This headlamp is really quite special because of its power. It features four brightness levels plus a 900 Lumen Burst Mode. Any Burst Mode is not meant to be activated for too long at a time. In this instance you can activate the Burst Mode and after 30 seconds the headlamp will return to the previous condition. The highest brightness level is 420 lumens on this flashlight. On the lowest level it has 150 hour runtime which is excellent. You can equip it with an 18650 battery or two CR123 batteries and it is incredibly durable, able to handle the harsh conditions of a storm making it a great headlamp to have for an emergency.
Klarus H1A Titanium - 550 Lumens
The H1A is an excellent headlamp because it is powerful and features three different LEDs. You have a main light that dishes out the 550 lumens, the side light that gives an even flood light, and the red side light that can penetrate through the fog. Each LED comes with at least 2 different outputs giving you a wide variety to choose from. This headlamp is a very versatile tool and excellent for emergencies. It can take different kinds of batteries and is even adjustable so you can angle the headlamp where you need it to be.
Fenix CL25R - 350 Lumens
This camping lantern is also really great for emergencies. It's incredibly small, incredibly convenient, and illuminates an entire room very well. It has both a white LED and a red LED and features 6 total outputs including a flashing red output. It's strong enough that it can endure the toughest winter. Using the lowest brightness level CL25R can last 600 hours using an 18650 battery and 500 hours using a CR123 battery. This is a great lantern to have in case of any emergency where a power outage happens.
So there you have it. You know what features to look for in the best LED flashlights for emergencies. You can also peruse our list of the top five flashlights for emergencies. Whatever you choose, it's always good to be prepared for any emergency situation. When a bad storm hits and you have a power outage for a couple days not having a flashlight can be more detrimental than you might think. So make sure you're prepared for any emergency that may come along during spring.