What is the best edc flashlight?

In this post, you will discover the best edc flashlight and its newest challenger. We will compare the batteries, dimensions, and output of the current champion with an excellent, yet cheaper alternative. Having a bright, longlasting flashlight is a vital part of nighttime edc. You really can’t go wrong with either flashlight.


Does it seem like you never have a flashlight around when you need one? Maybe you have one in the car or somewhere in the house, but do you have one in your pockets right now? Are, you ready for an emergency situation, especially at night? In terms of every day carry, or edc, we all carry our keys, wallet, and phone. That is as basic as civilized people get. The next most important item to add to your edc is a flashlight, or as they say in England, a torch.

While you may get by for a bit using your cell phone as a flashlight, you diminish your batteries quickly and, let’s face it, phones don’t make for good lights. Besides, you have more important things to be using your phone precious power.  No, the best solution to overcoming the darkness is a modern flashlight.

But what kind of flashlight do you need? You need something portable, a light that you can carry every day. You need something handy, that you can have in hand without fumbling around in the dark searching for your device. Some people carry a small light that can fit on their key ring. That is better than nothing, and they are OK for a dark room in your house, but they offer insufficient illumination when you are in an unfamiliar or possible hostile space.  Other people, especially hikers favor headlamps. Those are flashlights you can wear on your head to keep your hands free for others tasks, like coal mining. They have their place, but the best flashlights are those that do double duty as a source of illumination and as your first line of self-defense.

While some might argue that a knife or a gun is more important than a flashlight for defensive purposes, their utility is limited if you can’t see what you are doing. Moreover, many urban areas and even entire countries limit the weapons that law abiding citizens can use to defend themselves. London, for example, has long outlawed guns and is in the process of outlawing citizens from carrying knives. Good luck getting your knife, gun, pepper spray, taser or box cutter on an airplane. Back in the good old days, I used to carry my scout knife on air flights. I assume it was legal. No one checked or cared. But in this new world order, you can still take your flashlight everywhere in the world. It truly belongs in your defensive edc matrix.

But you may be wondering how a mere flashlight can deter a bad guy. Well. the first reason is that most people looking for trouble prefer to operate in the dark. Just shining a light on them, lets them know that they are being observed and that you are likely prepared for trouble. Most predators prefer easy prey, so they will probably move on and look for easier targets. Secondly, shining a high powered light in someone’s eyes stuns them for a couple of seconds. Even longer if they are high because most such substances make people’s eyes more sensitive to light. Lights which throw out 1000 lumens are perfect for this duty and are bright enough to work at close range in daylight as well as working from a distance at night.

The proper procedure is to carry a medium-sized light, something that easily fits in your pocket and yet big enough to use as a striking weapon to the head or neck if necessary. To be maximally prepared, carry the light, with your weaker hand. Leave you dominant hand free for more aggressive measures. When you recognize a dangerous foe, aim the flashlight directly into their eyes. Now you have a choice, break contact and run away, strike at close contact with the light or even better with a weapon in your dominant hand. Just remember that lethal force, even when lawfully applied can motivate some people to destroy your life, as in the case of George Zimmerman who lawfully defended his life when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Often, it is better to flash and run.

Now, to the crux of the matter, which medium sized light is the best for your edc? Most “best medium flashlight” lists choose the Fenix PD35 TAC as their favorite. It is a very popular and highly rated light from an established manufacturer. You can’t go wrong with this edc choice. However, recently there has come on the market a new challenger, the Wowtac A1S BSS TAC. It also is highly rated and becoming more and more popular. Let’s us examine and compare these lights to see which is the best light for your every day carry.

The Current Champion: Fenix PD35 TAC

Fenix PD35 TAC

Price: Over $70

Size: 5.4 in. Length x 1.0 in. Diameter

Weight: 3.1 oz. excluding battery; approximately 4.3 oz with batteries

Output: can switch between Tactical mode and Outdoor mode by pressing the side button for 3 seconds

Turbo: 1000 Lumens (1 hr., 10 min.)
Low: 60 Lumens (29 hr., 15 min.)
Strobe: 1000 Lumens

Turbo: 1000 Lumens (1 hr., 10 min.)
High: 500 Lumens (2 hrs., 55 min.)
Mid: 200 Lumens (8 hr. 30 min.)
Low: 60 Lumens (29 hr., 15 min.)
Eco: 8 Lumens (140 hr.)
Strobe: 1000 Lumens

Battery:  two 3V CR123A Lithium batteries  included; also can use one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery

Waterproof: to IPX-8 standard, underwater up to 6 1/2 feet for 30 minutes

The Fenix PD35 TAC is a great flashlight and comes standard with 2xCR123 batteries, which are brighter and lighter than the optional rechargeable 18650 battery. However, the CR123 batteries are not rechargeable, so you will spend a fair amount of money on extra batteries if you use your light with any regularity. The manufacturer does not recommend using rechargeable CR123 batteries as their performance is disappointing in this flashlight.

This light also has two modes: Tactical and Outdoor. The Outdoor mode works like a standard flashlight. The tail button turns the light on and off, remembering your last setting. Then there is a second switch on the side which allows you to adjust the brightness, from low to high. To switch to Tactical mode, hold down the side button for a couple of seconds. In this mode, you can more easily blind an opponent with 1000 lumens of brightness. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find and press the side button in a crisis and you could get caught in the wrong mode. But it does have a strike bezel on the front, so you can hit someone after you try to blind them.

Overall, you can buy this great light at a reasonable price.

The Challenger: Wowtac A1S BSS TAC

Wowtac A1S BSS TAC

Price: around $40

Size: 5.35 in Length x 1 in x 0.94 in

Weight: 3.1 excluding battery, approximately 4.7 oz with battery


Strobe: 1150 lumens
Turbo: 1150 lumens (3 hrs)
High: 460 lumens (5 hrs)
Medium: 140 lumens (18 hrs)
Low: 24 lumens  (6 days)

Battery: Wowtac li-ion 18650 rechargeable battery (3.7V/3400mAh)

Waterproof: to IPX-7 standard, underwater up to 1 meter for 30 minutes

The  Wowtac A1S BSS TAC is also a great light and comes standard with a 18650 rechargeable battery. This battery has a built-in micro USB port, so you charge is directly with any micro USB cable. You can even charge it with a portable power pack while on the go.

The output and function are similar to the Fenix PD35 outdoor mode, but the battery lasts significantly longer for the Wowtac. The Fenix gives you 1000 lumens for 1 hour and 10 minutes, but the Wowtac gives you 1150 lumens for 3 hours. The Wowtac also comes with a removable strike bezel, so you can take it on an airplane, or any public place that takes a dim view of “tactical” flashlights. Furthermore, it comes with a red lens which can preserve your night vision.


You can’t go wrong with either the champion or the challenger in this matchup. The Fenix is more versatile because it can use two different batteries and has two modes. I feel that the much better bargain is the Wowtac because is much cheaper and has better battery runtimes. You can buy one at the link. 

That’s my opinion, what do you think? Please add your comments below.

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2 Responses

  1. Jaime says:

    When I first started reading this post I immediately starting trying to remember where my flashlight is. I don’t think I even have one since I usually use my phone. But I remember during an earthquake as a kid, all the lights in my city were off. Luckily my parents kept a flashlight by the bed – pretty typical for California (pre cell phone). I like the idea of a keychain flashlights, but I agree that they aren’t very strong and the batteries can go fast if you use it constantly. These flashlights are excellent ideas to keep by the bed.

    • Peter Barban says:

      Even though I am a prepper, my wife doesn’t know or care where the flashlights are. We have one next to the bed but she hasn’t noticed it. I even bought her a key-chain style light. I don’t know where it is and she doesn’t either. On the other hand, now that everyone carries a cell phone, they rely completely on that. But as you know, using your phone as a flashlight really drains the batteries. I think that I need to buy some more keychain lights. Of the too of my head, I like the Photon Microlight the best.

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