When it comes to choosing the right lights for your needs, there are certain factors you need to carefully consider. With a few pointers on what to look for, along with our tactical lights comparison chart, this purchase doesn’t have to be a hassle. Here are the important areas to consider.

1. Battery life and type

The battery life will determine how long the flashlight will operate before you need to replace the batteries. This will be greatly impacted by the battery type since certain batteries naturally last longer than others.

2. Max lumen

The lumen is essentially how bright the light is to the human eye. When you want a brighter light, you should opt for a higher lumen output. It is also important to note that select models will offer different lumen output operations or settings which can help conserve the battery life as well.

3. Run time

This is how long the light will run on average. While this figure will vary greatly from model to model, you should never choose an option offering less than an hour of continuous run time.

4. Weight

The weight is important because if you are carrying the light with you in your pocket, belt, or bag, it will inevitably add weight to your carrying load. Weight is also a factor in how the flashlight will feel in your hands with most people preferring a heavier or lighter one based on their personal preferences.

5. Weather resistance and waterproof

The matter of weather resistance is directly related to the O ring on the flashlight. This ring determines if the light is weather resistant meaning water, dirt, and other debris can’t penetrate the seal. The mater of waterproofing is done by the IPX scale which measures how many meters a flashlight can be submerged to a given depth and time before it is compromised. When looking at this factor, you should consider your intended uses for the light as well as the option for a higher IPX rating to be safe.

6. Strobe

Not all flashlights offer strobe capability in their operation. While strobe may not be as important for some individuals, it can be crucial for others. Make sure you determine if a strobe feature is a make or break feature for you.

7. LED

There are LED lights and there are incandescent lights in the world of flashlights. LED is usually the preferred choice because the bulbs are long-lasting, the light is a higher quality of white, and is more powerful in terms of lumen outputs. If you are looking for a light for camping or just EDC, you may be fine with incandescent. If you are looking for an option for extreme outdoor adventures or tactical work, LED is your best bet.

Tactical Lights Comparison Chart

Surefire G2 Nitrolon

SureFire G2X LE

PolyTac LED

Gerber Cortex

Insight L-3 HX200

Surefire Sidekick Ultra-Compact

Surefire 6-P Original Compact

SureFire E2D LED Defender

Streamlight Stinger

Battery Life

10 years

Up to 45 hours

Up to 56 hours

10 years

10 years

Rechargeable

10 years

10 years

Rechargeable

Battery Type

123A

CR123A

CR123A

Lithium CR123 or AA

Lithium CR123

Li-ion

123A

123A

3.6 Volt sub-C Nickel cadmium

Max Lumen

120

400

130

675

200

300

120

600

180

Run Time

1 hour

2 hours

3 hours

15-40 hours (depending on setting)

2-300 hours (depending on setting)

1.25 hours- 45 hours (depending on setting)

1 hour

2 hours

7 hours

Weight

4.1 oz

4.4 oz

4.1 oz

4.8 oz

8.oz

1.2 oz

5.2 oz

4.2 oz

12.4 oz

Weather Resistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Waterproof

No

IPX-7

IPX7

IPX7

IPX8

No

IPX8

IPX8

IPX4

Strobe Mode

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

LED

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

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