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The Ultimate 2019 EDC Flashlight Buyer's Guide

Updated on August 22th, 2019

What is an EDC Flashlight?

EDC or “Every Day Carry” is the classification of gear for day-to-day use. This can include a phone, wallet, writing utensil(s), notebook, multitool, and a flashlight. EDC flashlights should be pocket-sized, lightweight, and have enough functionality to accomplish day-to-day tasks. Walking your dog at night, taking out the trash, and keeping the lights on for a few hours in a blackout are all examples of what you should expect from a decent everyday flashlight.

EDCs are picked carefully to balance aesthetic and function. While this guide focuses on buying EDC flashlights based on functionality, you can browse our wide selection of lights by color and material.

How Did We Choose Our Lights?

We aren't the first EDC flashlight guide out there, and we certainly won't be the last. Our choices are hand-picked by industry experts that work with flashlights every single day. No affiliate programs, no paid promotions, and no agenda.

We looked at over 295 EDC flashlights from 31 brands, then narrowed our focus based on criteria such as weight, length, brightness outputs, charging convenience, and carry functionality. We also limited our selection to models released within the past year to keep this guide fresh.

Weight & Length

Dimensions are perhaps the most important factor when choosing an EDC. A good flashlight balances a lightweight construction without sacrificing wall thickness to prevent dents from wear and tear. It should be slim and short enough to fit in your pocket, but not as small as a keychain light. While there are no hard limits, we gravitate towards lights under 6” in length and under 8oz (.5lbs) in weight.

3+ Brightness Modes

Today’s flashlights are able to pack a lot in small package. Strobes, lockouts, and tactical modes are all nice but not as important as multiple brightness outputs for versatile illumination. Different tasks require varying amounts of brightness, such as walking your dog as night versus searching your bag for car keys. Aim for 3+ brightness modes, or six with a 1000+ lumen turbo and .5 lumen moonlight mode.

Built-In USB Port

It’s important that your EDC is ready to go when you are, fully charged and pre-assembled. A built-in USB port means no removing batteries, no need to buy a specialized charger, and convenient charging from your laptop, car, or home USB stations. Bonus points if it’s USB Type-C compatible for faster charging speeds.

Pocket Clip

While optional, pocket clips are a secure way to comfortably carry your flashlight. Retain quick access to your EDC light without bulking up your pockets. We prefer removable, titanium clips for their durability. Lanyard or paracord loops are also an option depending on your preference.

Bonus Features

While always nice to have, some features are not crucial for a day-to-day flashlight. For instance, runtime is a low-priority spec for an EDC light that you use in short bursts, but would be a bonus in a blackout situation. Other bonus features include IPX7/8 waterproof rating, magnetic tailcaps, strobe or UV (ultraviolet) outputs, and dual-switch mode selection.

Top 5 EDC Flashlight Picks

1. Jetbeam KO-02

With a pocket-sized 5” length, feather-light 3oz weight, and 5 brightness levels, the KO-02 checks all the boxes. Factor in the 885ft throw, IPX8 waterproof rating, and four-tiered battery level indicator, and we think this may be the best new EDC release of 2019.

  • Built-in USB-C port for universal charging cables
  • Compatible with 2 x CR123A, 18650, and 21700 batteries
  • Five brightness outputs ranging from 1800 to 12 lumens
  • Only available in matte black
Product Details
JETBeam KO-02 EDC Flashlight

2. Olight S1R II Baton

This 2018 light is still going strong in the EDC world due to its compact 2.5” size and virtually weightless 1.8oz. The five brightness modes range from a 1000 lumen turbo to a .5 lumen ultralow, and the dual-direction pocket clip allows for flexible, hands-free carrying.

  • Magnetic MCCII USB cable offers convenient charging
  • Tri-color power level indicator for accurate monitoring
  • TIR lens focuses lens for a 450+ ft beam throw
  • Unique magnetic charging cord, non-universal
Product Details
Olight S1R II Baton EDC Flashlight

3. Acebeam TK16-AL

Lightweight, compact, and features dual power/eco run modes. The TK16-AL is a customizable flashlight, available with three different tri-LED configurations: CREE for brighter lumens, OSRAM for farther throw, or LUMINOUS for 95+ CRI (color rendering).

  • Customizable LEDs caters to your beam preference
  • Six brightness modes; 1800 to .5 lumens and strobe
  • Ultra-compact design of 2.6” length and 2.7oz weight
  • IP66 is just rain/dust resistant, not fully waterproof
Product Details
Acebeam TK16 AL EDC Flashlight

4. Nitecore EC30

As part of Nitecore’s Explorer Series, this EDC comes with outdoor and search functions such as a 721ft throw, IPX8 waterproofing, 310 hours of runtime, and 1800 lumen strobe, beacon, and SOS modes. The magnetic tail-cap and battery indicator score some bonus points.

  • Eight beam outputs squeezed into a 4.4” long body
  • 721ft throw range is nearly 2.5 football fields
  • Multiple ways to carry: pocket-clip, holster, lanyard
  • Only one button to cycle through eight different modes
Product Details
Nitecore EC30 EDC Flashlight

5. RovyVon 'Angel Eyes' E300S

The Rovyvon E300S is one of the more unique designs on this list, featuring a rectangular construction just 4” in length. We’re big fans of the infinitely-variable lightness function for complete lumen control, as well as the dual-switch design with well-mapped mode selection.

  • Infinitely-variable brightness ranging from 2000 to 5 lumens
  • Well-mapped dual-switch design for fast mode selection
  • Fast-charges within 90 minutes using the micro-USB port
  • Thicker than your standard flashlight diameter
Product Details
RovyVon E300S Angel Eyes EDC Flashlight

Best Budget EDC

Folomov 18650S

This new release from Folomov is lightweight and compact, but fits a ton of features into its 3.9” body. Dual illumination and tactical modes, six brightness outputs, a 3 to 30 min timer, and lockout functions are just the beginning of what the 18650S has to offer.

  • Ultra-bright 960 lumen turbo has 4 hours of runtime
  • Lightweight 1.8oz construction for easy carry
  • Memeory mode offers quick access to preferred brightness
  • Only the battery has a built-in USB port, needs to be removed to charge
Product Details
Folomov 18650S Budget EDC Flashlight

Best Keychain EDC

Nitecore TUP

This 2.7” keychain light soars above the rest with unique features such as an intelligent OLED display, a dual-button interface with smart mapping and shortcuts, and lockout modes to prevent accidental activation. 1000 to 1 lumens; sleek exterior available in black or gray.

  • Weighs less than a large egg at only 1.88oz (53g)
  • Light still works whilst charging via built-in USB port
  • Separate mode and power button for easy selection
  • IP54 rating is just splash-proof, not submersible
Product Details
Nitecore TUP Keychain EDC Flashlight