I’ve you’ve seriously injured a deer, elk, or any other wild game, it’s your obligation to track that animal down and harvest it, even if it’s dark out. That’s why we’re here to tell you about the best hunting flashlights of 2023. We want you to get your hands on the exact gear you need for a successful hunt.
Whether you’re tracking animals through the night, performing search and rescue after dark, scaring away bears from camp, or poking around your hunting tent, a proper flashlight is an essential piece of the hunting puzzle.
To help you choose the right option, we scoured hundreds of products in search of the brightest, most powerful, and highest-rated LED torches available today. As a result, we’ve whittled down the industry’s best hunting flashlights to the following ten best options from Fenix, Nitecore, SureFire, Streamlight, and more.
We’ve also taken a deep dive into the critical factors that go into choosing a proper light, like luminosity, throw, run time, and weather resistance. And, to help maximize your purchase, we recommended a few add-on accessories that’ll bring out the best in your light.
Ready to brighten up the night with one of 2023’s best hunting flashlights around?
Let’s get started.
Best Hunting Flashlight for the Money
Max Lumens: 1,600
Max Run Time: 115 hours at 30 lumens
Batteries: USB-C rechargeable
Weight: 5.6 oz
Pros: Ergonomic, USB-C rechargeable, incredibly bright for its size, excellent run time, extremely durable and weather resistant, rail mount accessory add-on for guns
Cons: Can get hot on turbo mode
The Fenix PD36R is the flashlight I’ll use for the 2023 elk and deer hunting seasons, and I bet it’ll be my go-to torch for many years to come. For my money, it doesn’t get better than this little beast. It does everything I could ask of it.
Straight out of the box, this flashlight feels sturdy and maneuverable in your hand. It’s big enough to get a good grip on and compact enough to clip to your belt unnoticed. It pumps out a powerful beam, has five different brightness settings, and boasts incredible run times thanks to its 5,000 mAh USB-C rechargeable battery.
Because this bad boy has high-end IPX8 water and IPX68 dust resistance, there’s no need to stress if the weather gets nasty or if it falls into the mud. To help out during rifle season, Fenix sells a mounting accessory that allows you to attach and detach the PD36R to your gun’s rail while hunting at dusk.
Thanks to its power, durability, weather resistance, and ergonomic feel, we confidently recommend the Fenix PD36R to hunters of all stripes. It’s highly versatile, too, and would make for a great everyday carry in the offseason.
PRO TIP: Order the PD36R through Fenix’s official website, and they’ll laser-engrave your flashlight with a design and/or custom text for free!
USB-Rechargeable Runner Up
Max Lumens: 1,800
Max Run Time: 1,500 hours at 1 lumen
Batteries: USB-C rechargeable NL2150
Weight: 5.4 oz
Pros: Bright and powerful light with a long throw, USB-C rechargeable, very durable and weather resistant
Cons: Could be more ergonomic, turbo mode kills battery life
Nobody loves fumbling around with batteries when their light is losing juice, so we included another powerful USB-C rechargeable option, the Nitecore MH25S. This torch is pretty similar spec-wise to our top overall recommendation, the Fenix PD36R, so you can rest assured it’s good to go.
This bad boy is well-engineered and full of clever features. With 1, 50, 300, 1,050, and 1,800 lumen settings, it packs the brightness to thrive in any environment and has an impressive throw that reaches nearly a third of a mile on its turbo setting. It also has a handy battery indicator, automatic temperature regulation, and can clip to a gun’s rail with a tactical ring accessory.
So, why don’t I recommend the Nitecore MH25S over the Fenix PD36R? For starters, the battery life on the Fenix is slightly better, and it also has a sleeker, more ergonomic design. The Fenix also rings in 30 bucks cheaper than the Nitecore and comes with a free customized engraving.
But don’t overlook the MH25S just yet. It does pack 200 more lumens than the DP36R and has a significantly longer throw. It’s a mighty torch in a compact package and a well-deserved runner-up.
Hunter’s Favorite Do-it-All Flashlight
SureFire G2X Pro
Max Lumens: 600
Max Run Time: 52 hours at 15 lumens
Batteries: CR123A (2)
Weight: 4.4 oz
Pros: Comes in four different colors, compact, ergonomic, weapon mountable, very durable
Cons: Not as many lumens as we’d like, only two different brightness settings, not USB-rechargeable
This list would be incomplete if I left out the SureFire G2X Pro. It’s a top option among hunters and outdoorsmen and is one of the most widely-used flashlights in the hunting industry. It’s a great all-around torch at an approachable price.
For starters, it’s available in four colors, giving hunters the option to choose a light that’ll match their specific kit. Like the first two lights I mentioned, it’s tough as nails, compact, ergonomic, and weapon mountable. It’s a versatile light that’ll serve you well in the field or as an everyday carry.
But I prefer my Fenix PD36R torch over this one for several reasons. For one, this flashlight uses replaceable CR123A batteries and isn’t USB-rechargeable. It puts out 600 lumens (as opposed to the PD36R‘s 1,600) and only offers two brightness levels (as opposed to five for the Fenix). Specs-wise, it just doesn’t match up.
Overall, the SureFire G2X Pro is a solid little light widely used in the field. Hunters swear by it, and its popularity is something we can’t ignore. No, I won’t swap out my Fenix for this anytime soon, but I imagine it would still get the job done if I did.
Durable, Functional, Available as Rail Mount
Streamlight ProTac HL-X | Rail Mount HL-X
Max Lumens: 1,000
Max Run Time: 20 hours at 65 lumens
Batteries: Rechargeable 18650 (1)
Weight: 6.2 oz
Pros: Ergonomic, weather resistant, USB-rechargeable batteries, highly rated for its durability, available as a rail mount for long guns
Cons: Battery life isn’t great
Streamlight’s ProTac HL-X is another extremely popular flashlight among hunters and outdoorsmen, and for good reason. It’s powerful, durable, versatile, and also available in a modded version that’ll mount to the rail of your gun.
If you scour through its thousands of five-star reviews, you’ll see why hunters and outdoorsmen love the HL-X: it’s bright, reliable, and serves multiple uses. At 5.5 inches in length and with a max brightness of 1,000 lumens, we think it’s the perfect size and strength to guide you through the dark of the backcountry.
As we mentioned, Streamlight offers a version of the ProTac HL-X that can mount to your gun’s rail. For about $30 extra, this version comes with a built-in mount, retaining clips, and remote switch. Sure, this version would be more practical for tactical and self-defense situations than for hunting big game, but we wanted to highlight it nonetheless.
The ProTac HL-X checks all the boxes for hunters and backcountry explorers alike. We’re not huge fans of its below-average battery life, but other than that, we’re having a hard time finding flaws. Though we still recommend the Fenix PD36R and its optional rail mounting accessory as our top overall option, this light is a no-brainer if you’re a Streamlight fanboy (or girl).
Best Red-Green-Blue-UV Hunting Light
Max Lumens: 1,000
Max Run Time: 240 hours at .1 lumens
Batteries: 18650 (1) or CR123A (2)
Weight: 6.1 oz
Pros: Red, green, blue, and UV lights help with blood tracking, preserving night vision, and stealthiness, powerful 1,000-lumen output, very weather resistant
Cons: .1, 3, 13, and 1,000-lumen settings leave a significant gap in brightness, not as compact or ergonomic as other options
Nitecore produces some of the market’s most technologically advanced flashlights and flashlights. Don’t believe me? Just check out their SRT7GT. It’s packed with loads of easy-to-access features, most notably its twisting dial that allows you to switch between red, green, blue, and UV lights.
So, how are all these different colored lights useful for hunters?
- Red lights work well for stealthiness and preserving night vision
- Green lights work well for blood tracking and night fishing
- Blue lights also work well for blood tracking but don’t preserve night vision
- UV lights are used for blood tracking but only when used with luminol
This feature-rich light could come through in the clutch for hunters, especially those who go after deer, elk, and big game at dusk and want a capable blood tracking solution.
Since I already rock a powerful headlamp with red, green, and blue lenses, I don’t need the SRT7GT. I do, however, think this torch would be an excellent option for hunters with headlamps that don’t feature multiple colored lenses. Blood tracking and privacy lights are pretty important in the deer and elk hunting world, and this versatile light has all the features to get it done.
Very Bright Option for Challenging Environments
Ledlenser P18R Signature
Max Lumens: 4,500
Max Run Time: 70 hours at 30 lumens
Batteries: 3 x 18650 battery pack
Weight: 1.4 lb
Pros: Extremely bright and powerful, slick magnetic charging system, compatible with RGB color filters, loads of high-tech features
Cons: Heavy, bulky, expensive, lacks a mid-brightness setting
For most hunters, the Ledlenser P18R Signature would be overkill. But for those who get tags in ultra-challenging environments and push themselves to the limit, this hulk of a flashlight might be the ticket.
This bad boy operates at four different brightness settings — Low: 30 lumens, Mid Power: 1,000 lumens, Power: 2,600 lumens, and Boost: 4,500 lumens — that help it thrive in the darkest and most relentless terrain. Its twisting dial at its head allows for fluid adjustment between tight spot beams and wide flood lights, allowing hunters to dial in their beam diameter to fit the surroundings.
It also rocks an impressive set of ‘smart light’ features that combine to make it highly customizable and responsive. This is a high-end flashlight for which gear nerds will fall head over heels.
A flashlight this bright and powerful would be useful for hunters who traverse remote areas with few obstructions. If search and rescue is a real possibility, the Ledlenser P18R will provide you with the power you need to look for lost or injured hunters, send SOS signals, or track animals in wide-open environments.
PRO TIP: Order the P18R Signature through Ledlenser’s website, and they’ll laser-engrave your flashlight with custom text for an extra $10.
Ultralight Hat Brim Clip-On Flashlight
Max Lumens: 750
Max Run Time: 70 hours at 5 lumens
Batteries: USB-rechargeable Fenix 16430UP
Weight: 1.7 oz
Pros: Very lightweight and compact, USB-rechargeable, durable and weatherproof, can clip to a hat brim, would work great as an EDC light
Cons: Small – could get lost, easy to burn through the battery at high and turbo settings
Ultralight backcountry hunters will take any opportunity to reduce their pack weight, and that’s why I’m seriously considering trying out this tiny little Fenix E18R torch for the 2023 season. It’ll give me the lumens I need, and it barely weighs a thing.
It’s a compact little bugger, too, and could stash away easily in my pocket, bino harness, or clip to my hat’s brim to work as a headlamp. It can recharge magnetically via USB, is IP68 rated to stand up against the elements, and cranks out a good amount of brightness for how compact it is. It won’t break the bank, either.
The problem is, I’m great at losing smaller gadgets like this in the heat of the moment, so I’d probably end up securing it to a lanyard to keep it from disappearing. There’s something to be said for an ergonomic flashlight, and this isn’t it.
The Fenix E18R would make a great addition to any hunter’s arsenal whose style gravitates towards lightweight and compact gear. At 750 lumens, it’ll provide plenty of light to navigate through the woods at dark as you follow a blood trail.
Best Value Buy Flashlight for Hunters
Max Lumens: 450
Max Run Time: 40 hours at 25 lumens
Batteries: AAA (4)
Weight: 6.2 oz
Pros: Approachable price, reliable, Advanced Focus System lets you control your beam diameter, seven-year guarantee
Cons: Not super powerful, weather protection isn’t great (IPX4), four AAA batteries aren’t ideal
Some hunters don’t want to drop 100 bucks on a flashlight, and we get that. For those who are after a torch that won’t break the bank, check out the Ledlenser P7. It’s a solid all-around light with plenty of great reviews.
There’s nothing mind-blowing about the P7, but we dig it anyway. Its 450 lumens are on the lower end of torches we recommend, but hunters still report a bright and powerful beam that gets the job done in the backcountry. We also appreciate its Advanced Focus System feature, which puts out tight, focused beams that can transition between spotlights and floodlights with one hand.
Its IPX4 rating is on the lower end of the water-resistance spectrum, meaning it should be able to handle splashes and light precipitation fine, but might not hold up during a prolonged downpour. Weather resistance aside, this sturdy aluminum light should be able to survive drops and falls just fine.
If you’re looking for a sturdy, reliable light from one of the industry’s most trusted brands, consider the P7. Just don’t forget to register it with Ledlenser, so it’ll be eligible for its seven-year warranty.
PRO TIP: Order the P7 through Ledlenser’s website, and they’ll laser-engrave your flashlight with custom text for an extra $10.
Brightest Torch for Search & Rescue, Distance Tracking
Max Lumens: 5,200
Max Run Time: 36 hours at 200 lumens
Batteries: Rechargeable internal NPB68HD
Weight: 3.0 lb
Pros: Incredibly bright and powerful, crazy-long throw, massive battery life, durable, reliable
Cons: Very bulky and heavy, impractical for most hunting applications, very expensive
Let’s get this out of the way immediately: the ultra-high-end Nitecore TM39 is as large and powerful of a hunting flashlight as I’m comfortable recommending. It’ll excel in rescue situations or while tracking animals in environments with few obstructions, but it would be overkill for anything else.
This absolute unit is as burly and bright as you could ever ask for. With an insane throw of 1,500 meters, it’ll shine powerful beams as far as the eye can see, whether you’re scanning for humans, animals, or anything else. Nitecore markets it as a searchlight, and that’s precisely how hunters should use it.
At three pounds, the TM39 weighs far more than anything else on this list. It’s not going to stash away unnoticed in your pack, nor will it be effortless to lug around the woods. If I were using it, I’d leave it behind at camp to use in case of emergency and clip my Fenix PD36R to my belt as my more practical hunting carry.
Much like the Ledlenser P18R Signature I wrote about earlier, I only recommend the Nitecore TM39 for those who hunt in remote areas with few obstructions and low visibility. In threatening environments where search and rescue or tracking from a distance is possible, this “tiny monster” is the high-performance torch you need.
Best Blood Tracking Light for Deer & Elk
Primos Bloodhunter HD
Max Lumens: 600
Max Run Time: Not listed
Batteries: CR123A (4)
Weight: 1.1 lb
Pros: Best option on this list for blood tracking by far, durable and water resistant, solid run time
Cons: A bit bulky, serves a very specific use, will need to be paired with a traditional flashlight or headlamp
The Primos Bloodhunter HD is our favorite overall blood tracking light on the market, and it’s not even close. It’s the go-to option for deer, elk, and big game hunters worldwide and could be the difference between tracking down your kill and losing it to the darkness.
We big game hunters love to think that we’ll nail perfect double lung shots every time, but we also know that hunting rarely goes as planned. If you seriously injure an animal but don’t stop it dead in its tracks, the Primos Bloodhunter HD will help you illuminate its blood trail against leaves, sticks, and the earth.
Remember that this light serves a particular purpose: blood tracking in the dark. It isn’t your traditional hunting torch with a powerful white LED beam that can shine for hundreds of yards, so you’ll need to pair it up with a capable flashlight or headlamp if you want a well-rounded setup.
Once you get your hands on a proper light for the upcoming hunting season, you’d better make sure it doesn’t die on you when you need it the most. Here are the batteries, power bank, and backup light that I recommend to cover your bases.
Nobody wants to get left in the dark as they’re following a blood trail at dusk, so bring more than enough backup batteries for your light. The most common batteries used in this post are CR123As, though AAAs and 18650s are also used. If you want to grab some rechargeable CR123As, click here.
USB-rechargeable flashlights need power too, and a high-capacity battery bank will allow you to charge your torch several times in the backcountry. It’ll also charge cell phones, headlamps, lanterns, and other gadgets when you’re out of range from electricity. Anker is our favorite brand above all others.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll break or lose your precious flashlight in the woods, stranger things have happened. Grab a little keychain pocket torch as an emergency solution, just in case. These will also work well for use inside your tent, rooting around your car, and during other low-light situations.
The torches on this list are intricate little gadgets, so we made sure to analyze the inner workings of each device before they could make this list. Getting the exact light you need to match your hunting style is essential, so keep a close eye on the following seven considerations as you make your decision.
Simply put, lumens are a measurement of brightness. If you’d like a more technical definition of lumens, click here.
Products on this list can shine anywhere between .5 lumens in low mode and 5,200 in turbo mode. Check out our chart below to help you visualize the brightness along this range.
Approximate Brightness in Lumens
- 1 – 10: Best for up-close uses like cooking, going through gear, and reading
- 11 – 50: Low brightness, will illuminate immediate surroundings but not much else
- 50 – 200: Low-to-medium brightness for hiking and use around camp
- 200 – 500: Medium brightness, suitable for following blood trails
- 500 – 1,000: Medium-to-high brightness, good for tracking animals from a distance
- 1,000 – 2,000: High brightness, used in military and during search and rescue missions
- 2,000 – 4,000: Extreme brightness, the strength of most cars’ headlights
- 4,000+: ‘Probably overkill’ level brightness, meant for incredibly challenging situations
A flashlight’s throw measures the longest distance its beam can reach, and is typically measured in meters.
For example, if you have a flashlight with a rated throw of 500 meters and you shine it towards a barn 400 meters away, the beam should be visible on the barn. If you shine the same flashlight towards a barn 600 meters away, the beam should weaken and disappear before it hits the barn.
Throw distance depends mainly on how concentrated your flashlight’s beam is. Spotlights, or more focused beams, will have larger throws, whereas floodlights with wider beams will have shorter throws. Many flashlights on this list allow users to switch back and forth between spotlights and floodlights.
Run time, or how long you can expect your light’s battery to run, is measured in hours and minutes. The higher amount of lumens your light is emitting, the lower its run time will be (and vice versa). A light with multiple brightness settings will have multiple different run time ratings.
As I mentioned, know exactly which type of battery your light requires, and bring extras along if you need them. Nobody wants to struggle through the woods at night as the beam on their flashlight keeps fading and fading.
The most common battery on this list is the CR123A, though we’ve also included a few lights that use AAAs and 18650s.
You’ll also see a couple of lights with internal batteries that you can recharge via USB, AC (wall charger), or 12-volt (car charger). If you’re hunting with one of these lights, be sure you bring along a battery bank or an inverter so you can charge it.
Durability & Weatherproofing
Hunting is tough on your gear; that’s no secret. While making this list, we did our best to include products known for their durability and weather resistance. Nobody’s got time for a light that’ll flicker and shut off after a few minutes in the rain.
Nor do you want a light that’ll break if you drop it on a rock or back over it with your car.
All the products on this list were built for the outdoors and should thrive in dicey conditions.
Click here for a detailed explanation of IPX ratings, which determine how weather-resistant your flashlight is. If you’re hunting in a dry climate, you could get away with bringing an IPX4-rated light, whereas if you’re hunting in a wet and humid climate, you’ll want to bring along something rated IPX6 or better.
As an ultralight backpacker and backcountry hunter, I keep the weight of my pack down as low as possible while remaining comfortable. Heavy kits can lead to sore knees, rolled ankles, and drained energy. We hunters need all the help we can get, so why would we want to drag a heavy pack around all day?
That’s why it’s important to consider a flashlight’s weight before committing to it. Search for a light with enough lumens for your hunt and zero in on models within a reasonable weight range.
A few ounces here and there may not seem like a big deal, but they do add up. Don’t buy a heavier light than you need, especially if you’re covering big miles in the backcountry.
Whether you need a hunting flashlight to track wounded animals through the night, light the way as you search for firewood, scare away predators from camp, or go searching for a lost hunter, you’re here for a reason.
When night falls on your hunting trip, you want to be prepared for anything.
That’s why we analyzed, reviewed, and recommended the industry’s ten brightest and best torches of 2023. From rechargeable LED lights to options with red and green settings to lights explicitly made for blood tracking, we wanted to provide our readers with various options that suit all different hunting styles.
So, what’s it going to be? Are you going to grab our top overall recommendation, the Fenix PD36R? How about the red, green, and blue capable Nitecore SRT7GT? Do you prefer the ultra-bright and powerful Ledlenser P18R Signature?
No matter the luminosity, throw, run time, or weather resistance of your future light, we hope we have simplified the buying process and helped you make up your mind. Night or day, we hope whichever product you choose gets its job done during a safe and successful harvest.
Now, grab that flashlight, pack up your gear, and get ready to brighten up the 2023 hunting season.
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Last Updated on August 15, 2023