A phone will never replace a good flashlight, especially when you are out in pitch-black darkness.
And what do you do if you have to answer your phone while trying to find your way?
Fortunately, today’s flashlights are smaller, lighter, and brighter thanks to LED technology. They are not the large, cumbersome flashlights that took D batteries and broke when dropped.
Thanks to advances in LED and battery technology, an essential and durable flashlight is now economical enough to have several. You can now own more than one tactical flashlight under $50.
In the case of this product review, the GearLight LED Tactical flashlight comes in a two-pack for less than $25, making it a valuable addition to your everyday needs.
The GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 [2 PACK] is our top choice tactical flashlight under $50.
It’s tough and lightweight at the same time. Made from military-grade aluminum in a matte black finish, the GearLight is the perfect size to fit comfortably in your hand.
The GearLight is rugged enough to be dropped from over ten feet, and still be just fine.
Just a bit over six inches and about five ounces, it is easy to slip in your pocket or hook to your backpack.
The ultra-bright LED bulb illuminates objects that are up to 1000 feet in front of you. This flashlight is ten times brighter than the old-style incandescent lights.
This GearLight is so much brighter; you will want to dump your older flashlights in the recycle bin!
An adjustable focus and five different modes give you options for shining at night. There are a variety of beams: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS.
It is powered with three AAA batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery.
The wide to narrow beam zoom is great when walking the dog at night or when you are on a camping trip.
If you are on that camping trip or out fishing and happen to drop the GearLight into the water, it will survive a temporary dunking.
Use the GearLight in the rain, snow, or freezing temperatures with no issues.
With over 18,946 reviews on Amazon, 80% of those reviewers gave the GearLight Tactical flashlight a 5 star out of 5-star rating. That is quite impressive!
Located in Southern California, GearLight specializes in quality, dependable, and affordable LED products.
Key Features of the GearLight LED Tactical Flashlight S1000:
- Two flashlights with wrist lanyards included
- Two carrying cases with belt loops
- Illuminates 1000 feet in front of you
- Powered by three AAA batteries or one 18650 rechargeable battery (not included)
- Two battery AAA battery holders
- Two rechargeable battery tubes
- Instruction manual
- One year replacement warranty
How Do LED Flashlights Work?
Here is the fancy definition of LEDs. Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is a semiconductor electronic component that contains two electrodes.
Those electrodes are also called terminals. They generate light when electricity runs through them.
Each of the diodes contains a semiconductor chip along with a reflective cup, and they are housed in a clear or a colored epoxy.
And (hang on, there is just a little bit more) they attach to a socket via two terminals. One terminal is an anode (flowing into), and one is a cathode (flowing out if). That’s it!
Better Than Incandescent
LEDs are so much brighter, smaller, and all-around better than the traditional bulbs that had been used in flashlights previously.
LEDs last much longer than a traditional bulb, are studier, and use less energy. An LED bulb can stand more abuse, like being dropped without breaking.
They operate at a much lower temperature than a traditional bulb and so last much longer.
Although robust, static electricity will damage an LED, and more importantly, you have got to be careful not to stare directly into an LED flashlight.
The bulbs have an intensity that can cause damage to unprotected eyes.
What To Look For In A Flashlight
Light In Weight
A tactical flashlight is usually a tool that you would carry around with you. You are likely to keep it in a pocket, backpack, or glove compartment of your car.
That flashlight should be lightweight and easy to carry; one that would fit comfortably in your hand or in a carry case on your belt.
Beyond a doubt, it needs to be an LED. While useful in the past, incandescent bulbs cannot match the ability of LED to illuminate brightly for long distances.
There is just no match for an LED. And even those bulbs have come a long way since they first appeared.
An LED takes significantly less energy to operate than they used to, and so they will run much longer on the batteries that fuel them.
A strobe mode on a tactical flashlight is useful if needed to temporarily blind someone who is being less than friendly.
You will want the strobe to be effective, so look for a flashlight that has at least 500 lumens.
You will want a tactical flashlight to be easy to operate. On and off should be one-button ease.
The flashlight will be going with you, whether it is navigating city streets or camping in the wild. It needs to be easy to operate one-handed.
Most tactical flashlights have a push button on the handle so that is easy to feel even in the dark.
Some switches are on the tail cap so that no matter how you are holding the flashlight, you know where the switch is at.
Most tactical flashlights will run on batteries, typically AA or AAA. Some will also have the option of using rechargeable batteries.
Being able to recharge the battery makes it nice not to have to purchase replacements.
Either way, the batteries’ size means that the flashlight is much lighter than the flashlights of yesteryear that took a couple of D volt batteries.
If you are going to be carrying the flashlight with you, you want it to be durable. You should not have to worry about it being fragile.
It is not that you will be dropping it deliberately, but you want it to stand up to everyday use. The flashlight should be impact and water-resistant.
You might be needing to use your flashlight in adverse weather conditions, and you will need it to be functional.
You Need To Be Able To See Your Surroundings
There is never a good time to be left in the dark. It can be a dangerous situation not to see where you are going or what is coming at you.
No matter where you live, whether in an urban setting or a rural area, you need to be aware of your surroundings and also be able to SEE your surroundings.
Power Outages Are Frequent
There have been times in your life when power outages have affected the area you live in. The blackout can be momentary, or it can be for several days.
According to an article in Popular Science in August of 2020, The US has more power outages than any other developed country. Here’s why.
To sum it up, our power grids are older and need replacing; demand is increasing, and it is hard for utility companies to keep up with maintaining and creating power structures.
Weather Related Power Outages Affect Millions
In August of 2011, Hurrican Irene knocked out power to 6.69 million customers from South Carolina to Maine.
Hurricane Irma in 2017 caused almost 8 million outages in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The list goes on.
To add to a worsening power grid, the world discovered this year that a pandemic could also play havoc with our power sources.
In August of 2020, when Tropical Storm Isaias Power Outages left over six million homes and businesses without power in the northeast, restoration was slowed by the pandemic.
In Connecticut, the governor had to activate the National Guard to help utilities restore power.
From personal experience, the 2003 blackout from August 14 – 28 affected over 55 million people in the northeastern US and Canada.
It was a major wake-up call about the importance of having a reliable light source.
True story…I had just started a new job at a four-floor, 247 room hotel near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan.
Less than four weeks on the job, I was still not familiar with the layout of the hotel when the 2003 blackout hit when I was on the afternoon shift.
As you can imagine, with no lights, it got dark very quickly in the hallways and hotel rooms.
No Power, No Fuel
Emergency lighting was run by generators that ran out of fuel before power restoration two weeks later.
Emergency lighting was only in hallways at either end. And you might think that you would just go get more fuel, but gas stations had no power to operate and closed down.
The hotel was between a rock and a hard place. It was an airport hotel. A good portion of the guests came in by plane; they had no vehicles and no way to leave.
They could not even get back to the airport because causeways flooded, making them impassable.
The generators that usually kept water out of the causeways were also out of fuel. You are probably already guessing where this is going.
Only A Few Flashlights
The hotel did not have adequate emergency supplies, as in flashlights. There were five total on the property.
The hotel was close to capacity with arrivals, and stranded people kept arriving.
We had to take turns guiding guests up and down flights of stairs with our meager equipment and were unable to leave them with any form of illumination in their rooms.
Cell phones were still relatively new, and not all had a handy flashlight; but even if they did, there was no way to charge the phone itself.
The whole situation just kept going from bad to worse. It would have been so much easier, so much more customer service-oriented, so much safer if the staff had had flashlights.
It Is Better To Be Prepared
Seems like such a simple thing. And the hotel did equip themselves, but it was after the fact.
It took some time as flashlights were a hot commodity and hard to obtain for weeks after the power outage.
That taught me a lesson. You might think that you can make due in a pinch, and you have your phone, and the power never goes out anyway.
But experience has taught me that there is no substitute for the right tool for the job.
Today’s LED Flashlights Are An Indispensable Tool
Flashlights are so much more powerful today with LEDs.
They are smaller, lighter, and to me, a necessity to have. And add to that the fact that you can not just one tactical flashlight under $50, but a few.
I have one in the nightstand, basement, and in the kitchen. Never again will there be a time when I need such an essential, inexpensive, crucial item and not have it.
The bottom line is that you cannot control the weather or repair an antiquated power grid.
But you can both prepare and protect yourself during emergencies by having LED flashlights at the ready.
If you were a betting person, you could bet that I now carry an LED in my car and my backpack at all times. You would be right.
The majority of the time, there is enough light to see. For those times there is not, it can be both difficult and dangerous.
When the power goes out, when you are away from the street lights, when you are in unfamiliar surroundings or low light conditions, nothing beats having your own reliable light source.
A flashlight small enough to fit in your pocket and yet illuminate the area around you.
This tactical flashlight under $50 is an inexpensive and valuable tool to have in your everyday arsenal.
To be effective under any circumstance, you need a flashlight with at least 250 lumens.
Tactical LED flashlights are relatively inexpensive, so you should look for something with 800 lumens or more.
The life expectancy of the bulb in an LED flashlight will range from 50,000 hours to 100,000 hours. That is an incredible amount of time!
Before 1896, if you needed to see using a portable light source, you had the options of a candle or a kerosene lantern. Here is a fascinating look at some early flashlights: Flashlight Museum
Andy is an urban survivor passionate about recycling, clean energy, and micromobility. He loves nature and people and peacefully militates for a balance between the two. When he’s not writing on Noble Urban you’ll find him riding his bike, fishing, or reading a good book.