Choosing an EDC Flashlight

Posted on: January 21, 2014

When we talk about items for every day carry, or EDC, a flashlight of some sort is generally near the top of the list. A good quality torch, as my UK friends call them, will not only light up the darkness so you can see what you’re doing but can also serve as a way to signal for help if you’re lost or trapped.

One of the first considerations when choosing an EDC flashlight is power. The brighter the light, the more useful it may be to you. Light is measured in lumens. I have yet to find a definition of lumen that doesn’t require a degree in physics to fully understand. However, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. By means of comparison, 450 lumens is roughly equal to a 40-watt household light bulb, 800 lumens is equivalent to a 60-watt bulb.

Personally, when I’m shopping for a new flashlight, I look for something in the 400-600 lumen range. If you get much higher than, say, 1,200 lumens, the unit itself starts to increase beyond the convenient carrying size.

Next, you need to figure out the number and type of batteries the light requires. I tend to shy away from any light that uses an obscure type of battery, rechargeable or not. I don’t want to have to visit ten different stores in a search for some oddball battery. Instead, I want to be able to use standard AA or AAA Duracells or Energizers.

Look at the features of the light, too. Being able to choose different modes is a great option. Some lights, for example, have a high beam, low beam, as well as a strobe. The latter, in particular, would be useful as a signaling device. The low beam allows you to conserve battery power when you don’t really need an intense beam of light.

Finally, there is the size of the unit. If this is something you plan on keeping in a pocket or on your belt, it will need to be relatively compact. While full-size Maglites work wonderfully as expedient batons, they are just too damn big for most of us to carry comfortably.

Personally, I carry a Streamlight ProTac 1AAA in my pocket every single day. It is small enough to be comfortable in my pocket and yet powerful enough to handle most daily chores. At under $30, it might not be dollar store cheap but it is certainly made to last. My wife liked it so much she asked me to pick one up for her, too.

5 thoughts on “Choosing an EDC Flashlight

  1. Same here. I also carry streamlight although mine is not protac. I bought little bit higher lumens. It is 2000 lumens. Actually i love camping and sometimes hunting too. So, i think i need much more lumen then normal. Yes, i am using it for edc purpose too.

  2. I hear that the NiteCore P-12 is 1,000 lumens and very compact. It’s amazing how bright and smaller flashlights have become, although I still have my 3-D cell MagLite in my car. Now, that one is a club-flashlight!

  3. Excellent point, Curt. Many of the flashlights sold today, particularly the smaller ones, have a scalloped edge around the lens or butt end, sometimes both, for that very reason.

  4. Great tool for self defense too. Flash your attacker to temporarily blind them, Bash them, use the light as a impact weapon and then Dash, escape to safety.

  5. Great post. I agree that there is value in flashlights that work off of standard batteries, especially for an EDC flashlight. You could just replace the batteries on the go. I mentioned my favorite EDC flashlights here.

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