Best torch 2020: light up the night with these top LED flashlights and mini torches

Our pick of the best torches for camping, hiking, festivals, walking after dark, and for general everyday use too

Best torch 2020: rugged, waterproof torches and LED flashlights
(Image credit: Future)

The best torches are versatile enough to be used in multiple scenarios, whether you're trying to navigate a campsite at night, walk your dog on a dark winter's evening, or if there’s a power cut at home and you need a form of emergency lighting. Keyring torches are also handy for illuminating your car door or front door if you can’t see clearly enough to insert your keys.

Camping lanterns are better for creating wide arcs of light in your tent, but a handheld flashlight can be very useful for directing precise beams of light if you’re looking for something in your tent or car.

Mini torches with a narrow beam can also be used for spotlight reading once everyone else is asleep in the tent and the lantern has been switched off. So it pays to keep a compact torch or a keyring torch in your backpack when you’re out hiking, and one in your car or campervan when holidaying in the wilds.

Best torch: our expert pick

  • If you’re just looking to invest in one flashlight, ensure it’s waterproof so that you can use it outdoors in all types of weather. Ideally you’ll choose one that isn’t too heavy, helping to avoid wrist strain during use, and that has a rechargeable power source and a variety of different lighting modes.
  • Neatly wrapping up all of those features is the Olight SR30II Rechargeable LED Flashlight. This versatile torch is fully weatherproof and feels reassuring but not too heavy in the hand. It pumps out a whopping 1,050 lumens on Turbo Mode, and comes with a desktop charging mount so that you can easily keep it powered.

Choosing the best torch for you

What will suit your lighting needs depends on you and your demands, but there’s plenty of choice for those that want to upgrade from their smartphone’s weak and weedy flashlight. 

For example, a keyring flashlight is ideal for stashing in a bag so that you always have a half-decent source of emergency light to hand. For those willing to travel with a little more bulk, compact torches are small enough for stashing in camping kit bags and hiking backpacks. What’s more, they can pump out a lot of brightness.

For those who work outdoors and need to create an intense beam of light quickly to locate someone or something, look for a portable floodlight or a tactical torch, both of which will have a super-high lumens count for maximum brightness. The latter will be easy to attach to your clothing or bag too.

The rechargeable flashlights in our best torches list cost more than battery-operated models, but this higher cost will pay handsomely in the long run. Not only will they prevent you from constantly having to shell-out for new batteries, but you will contribute less to landfill. 

Torches come in a variety of sizes, from chunky handheld floodlights to dinky keyring lights. Beam strength ranges from 10 to 7,000+ lumens, depending on the type of torch you buy, though anything over 150 lumens offers a decent level of brightness. 

For outdoor adventures where you need to clearly see where you’re stepping in the dark, especially on trails and in remote rural areas, pack a torch that has 800+ lumens and ideally a range of modes including SOS or Strobe. Security guards and other outdoors workers would do well with tactical torches dishing out 1,500+ lumens, which quickly light up even the darkest areas. 

Ready to find the best torch for your needs? Let’s shed some light on the best torches to buy now.

The best torches to buy now

Best torch 2019: Olight S30R III Rechargeable LED Torch Light

(Image credit: Olight)

1. Olight S30R III Rechargeable LED Torch Light

The best torch for walking in the dark and general outdoors use

Weight: 110g (including battery)
Material: aluminium alloy
Max lumens: 1,050
Waterproof: yes, IPX8 (2 m)
Operating mode: Turbo, High, Mid, Low, Moonlight, Strobe (10 Hz)
Beam range: 188 meters
Power: rechargeable
Runtime: 2 minutes (Turbo mode) to 100 days (Moonlight mode)
Reasons to buy
+1,050 lumen Turbo mode+USB charging dock+Lower power indicator+Multiple lighting modes

Olight is a serious name in the world of flashlights, and the S30R Baton III is its best torch for all-round outdoors use. It’s compact in the hand and easy to grip; is fully rechargeable and comes with a USB desktop charging dock.

The S30R Baton III has a maximum lumens rating of 1,050, which is plenty bright enough for illuminating your path outside at night and for shining a light on specific areas. The beam range is 188 meters, and the torch will run for two minutes in full-pelt Turbo Mode before dropping down to a 500-lumen High Mode.

There are five lighting modes in total: Turbo (1,050 lumens; 2 minutes runtime), High (500 lumens; 3.5 hours runtime), Mid (120 lumens; 15 hours runtime), Low (12 lumens; 130 hours runtime) and Moonlight (0.5 lumens; 100 days runtime). The lower power indicator under the side switch enables you to see at a glance how much power you’re working with; the indicator dial also glows red when the torch is low on juice.

You might think a 1,050-lumen torch would be too hot to handle, but Olight has sorted that by building in a ‘thermal management’ system. This basically protects your hands from any heat generated by the torch.

The SR0R Baton III automatically returns the last brightness level, while a handy lockout function stops you from accidentally switching it on. We also like the magnetic tail cap, which means you can stick the torch to a magnetic surface to work hands-free.

Best torch: Olight SR1 Baton II Mini Torch

(Image credit: Olight)

2. Olight SR1 Baton II Mini Torch

The best torch for festivals, camping and hiking

Weight: 51g
Material: aluminium alloy
Max lumens: 1,000
Waterproof: yes, IPX8 (2 m)
Beam range: 145 meters
Power: rechargeable
Runtime: 37 minutes (Level 1 mode) to 8 days (Level 5)
Reasons to buy
+Super-dinky+Ultra-bright for its size+Easy grip body

When you first hold this mini flashlight in your hand, you’ll have a hard time believing it can throw out as much light as it does. Well, we’ve used the S1R II Baton when camping and walking at night and can testify as to how bright it is – 1,000 lumens at full whack.

The light beam is precise too, stretching out to a maximum distance of 145 meters, which is ample when you’re traipsing to the toilet block at night or coming down from the trail after dark. It’s very lightweight too, and is easy to grip, thanks to a texturised ‘milled’ body, even if you’ve built up an admirable sweat adventuring. 

Olight’s rechargeable mini light is the perfect pocket torch for when you need to keep pack weight down yet still require a powerful light source for a variety of scenarios. It comes with a removable stainless steel clip, so you could attach it to belt, jacket or the outside of your backpack for fast retrieval

Best torch 2019: Alflash Rechargeable LED Floodlight Torch

(Image credit: Alflash)

3. Alflash Rechargeable LED Floodlight Torch

A 7,000 lumen beast for when you need to turn darkness into daylight

Weight: 699g
Material: aluminium alloy, ABS
Max lumens: 7,000
Waterproof: yes, IPX4 (splash-proof)
Beam range: 800 meters
Power: rechargeable
Runtime: 8 (High mode) to 16 hours (Low mode)
Reasons to buy
+Insanely bright in High Mode+Rain-proof (splash-proof)+Shock-proof

 those times when only the widest, brightest source of light will do, draft in this affordable yet heavy duty portable floodlight torch. It generates up to 7,000 lumens, which pretty much turns darkness into daylight at the flick of a switch. So if you’re searching for something outdoors at night, this is the torch to help you find it.

The Alflash Rechargeable LED Floodlight Torch has a beam range of up to 800 meters, so not much will escape its bright glare. And it’s splash-proof, so you’ll be able to use it in the rain. Because it’s made of an aluminium alloy, it’s also shock-proof and able to withstand being thrown in the back of a truck or van.

You won’t always need to use its super-bright flashlight mode, of course, which is why there are four other lighting modes to explore too. Keep it juiced via the including USB rechargeable power bank, which can also power up your phone in an emergency. Torch shoulder strap included.

Best torch 2019: Shadowhawk Tactical 18650 Rechargeable LED Torch

(Image credit: Shadowhawk)

4. Shadowhawk Tactical 18650 Rechargeable LED Torch

A powerful 1,300-lumen flashlight for people who work outdoors

Weight: 68g
Material: aircraft grade aluminium alloy
Max lumens: 1,300
Waterproof: yes, IPX8
Beam range: 350 meters
Power: rechargeable battery
Runtime: 6 hours
Reasons to buy
+Strobe light mode+Fully waterproof+Low temperature resistance

If there was a marine in our best torch round-up, this would be it. Shadowhawk’s waterproof tactical flashlight has been created from an aircraft grade aluminium alloy and works in temperatures as low as -20℃, making it suitable for year-round, all conditions use.

The Strobe lighting mode is essential in any survival situation where you need to draw attention to yourself and your location, such as if you’re waiting for a search and rescue team. It can also be used to scare off wild animals who are getting a tad too close. As befitting a tactical torch, there’s also a five-tooth attack head strong enough to break glass in an emergency.

The super-bright beam – up to 1,300 lumens on the highest mode – cuts through any type of weather and darkness, ensuring you can see what’s around you at all times, even if you’re out in driving rain or fog. Adjust the focus to achieve a close or long-range light, or use the Spotlight mode to throw out a beam of light up to 350 meters ahead.

Put is this way: if you could only take one torch to help you survive a zombie invasion, this Shadowhawk beast would be the one. On a more realistic note, it comes with a bike mount so you could use it as a powerful cycle light if needed.

Best torch 2019: Maglite RL4019 Mag Charger LED Torch

(Image credit: Maglite)

5. Maglite RL4019 Mag Charger LED Torch

The best flashlight for stashing in your campervan or garage

Weight: 454g
Material: aluminium
Max lumens: 643
Waterproof: yes, IPX4
Beam range: 178 meters
Power: rechargeable
Runtime: 4 hours (High mode) to 37 hours (Eco)
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable beam+Power saving Eco mode+Drop- and water-resistant

If you’re looking for an affordable, do-all flashlight to keep in your campervan, trailer or even around the house when you’re back from your latest camping trip, look to this heritage torch brand and its classic Mag Charger LED Torch.

Using the Quick-Click settings system you can easily ‘click’ (cycle) between modes: Full Power (643 lumens; 4 hours), Low Power (148 lumens; 17 hours) or Eco Mode (66 lumens; 37 hours). The latter boosts the torch’s runtime to 37 hours per charge.

This Maglite classic has a generous beam range of 407 meters, enabling you to see a greater distance in front of you, and with its rugged hard anodised finish, doesn’t care about being out in the rain or snow, either

Best torch 2019: LED Lenser P4X Pen Torch

(Image credit: LED Lenser)

6. LED Lenser P4X Pen Torch

The best torch for pretending you’re James Bond

Weight: 54.4g
Material: aluminium
Max lumens: 120
Waterproof: yes, IPX4
Beam range: 80 meters
Power: 3 x AAA batteries
Runtime: 20 hours
Reasons to buy
+Wearable torch+20-hour battery life

LED Lenser, like Olight, has a raft of great flashlights for a range of outdoors and everyday use, but none are more fun or usable on the regular as this one. The PX4 Pen Torch is sheer genius. Clip it onto your belt or shirt pocket, or stick it in your backpack, and you will have an immediate source of light should the power cut out.

Ok so it doesn’t actually double as a pen like you know James Bond’s would, but it’s just the ticket for using as a nifty little inspection light. Also break it out for nighttime reading when camping. Use it on the lowest setting (10 lumens) and it will run for up to 20 hours. 

The PX4 Pen Torch isn’t rechargeable, sadly, so it does require batteries, but it is splash-resistant so – like many of the other models in our best torches buyer’s guide – can be used in the rain without issue. Buying it as a gift? That’s handy, because it comes in a presentation box.

Best torch 2019: Morpilot Keyring Torch

(Image credit: Morpilot)

7. Morpilot Keyring Torch (four pack)

A handy keyring flashlight for festivals and finding your keys at night

Weight: 18g
Material: aluminium alloy
Max lumens: 15
Waterproof: yes, IPX4
Power: 4 LR41 Button Cell Batteries (included)
Runtime: 10 hours
Reasons to buy

Don’t dismiss the humble keyring torch as nothing more than a Christmas cracker toy – they’re handy to keep on you when fishing and you need to see your bait more clearly, for helping your tent zipped / unzipped quickly at night, and for illuminating keyholes in the dark.

Buy the Morpilot Keyring Torch and you’ll get not one but four of them, so you can keep one in your backpack as well as fixing one to your keyring, before dishing some out to your loved ones (especially the kids) on a camping or outdoors trip.

At 15 lumens the light isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s enough for close-quarters work. This dinky keyring flashlight is also rain-proof, like the others above, and comes with clip hooks so that you can fasten it to other items aside from your keys if you wish.

(Image credit: Ambertech)

8. Ambertech 10000 torch

A big, bright torch ideal for storing in the car

Weight: 771g (including battery)
Material: plastic
Max lumens: 10,000
Waterproof: yes, IPX4
Power: rechargeable
Runtime: 24 hours (Strong mode) to 60 hours days (SOS flash mode)
Reasons to buy
+Bright, focused beam+USB charging

If only a big, reliable light will do, check out the Ambertech 10000 flashlight. It’s chunky, for sure, but that’s because inside is a mighty 15,000mAh battery that works for 24 hours straight in ‘strong’ light mode. Take that down a notch to ‘weak’ mode and it goes for up to 50 hours, while in SOS flash-light mode it still reaches 60 hours.

However, there’s more to the Ambertech 10000 than those three brightness levels. It’s rated at IPX4 waterproof, it comes with a handy shoulder strap, and its six built-in rechargeable batteries can be easily topped-up via a USB cable.

All of those are a bonus, however, to its core capability of illuminating from long distance. It claims that it can light-up something 1,000m away are likely fantasy, but it certainly uses its lumens well in a bright, focused beam.

(Image credit: Lifesystems)

9. Life Systems Intensity 370 Hand Torch

Versatile all-rounder with five light modes

Weight: 168g (including battery)
Material: plastic
Max lumens: 370
Waterproof: IPX6
Power: 2x AA batteries
Runtime: 60 hours
Reasons to buy
+Long runtime+Water resistant design

If you’re after something pocket-sized and easy to travel with – and you have no use for industrial-level illumination – the Life Systems Intensity 370 Hand Torch could light up your life.

It’s armed with a 370 lumens LED bulb, but it’s what it does with it that’s impressive. Able to be adjusted according to what you’re using it for, the beam can be narrowed and widened, which isn’t something normally found on flashlights.

Very bright when concentrated and able to light-up subjects from well over 100ft., the Intensity 370 has five handy brightness modes, including a flashing SOS mode for safety.

It’s also easy to travel with, not because of its compact size, but because it uses two AA batteries. The 60-hour battery life is reassuring, though if you intend to use it on full brightness it would be wise to travel with a couple of spare batteries at all times.