So you are considering getting a flashlight for yourself, but wondering, “what kind of flashlight do I need?”, “what features should my flashlight have?”, “what even is an EDC?” We get it. When you begin research for a new gadget, especially one as necessary as a flashlight, the details can get overwhelming.
To help you get the information you need, we put together this ultimate guide to EDC flashlights that we hope will answer your questions.
WHAT IS EDC?
EDC stands for “everyday carry.” It refers to everything a person carries with them each day because they find those things useful to have on hand. EDC gear is not limited by activity or destination but rather defined by lifestyle. Different people may consider different items, or tools necessary. EDC items have a purpose. Most of us carry our unique EDC kits to feel prepared for situations we expect to encounter.
While common objects such as wallets, watches, and cell phones are considered EDC, so are specific items such as pocket knives, cameras, headphones, multi-tools, and flashlights. EDC can envelop anything you find helpful to have with you every day.
WHAT IS AN EDC FLASHLIGHT?
An EDC flashlight is a flashlight that is designed to be carried every day. These flashlights are usually small, but most importantly they must be convenient to use and easy to carry. Features such as brightness, number of lighting modes, and beam distance can vary, but all EDC flashlights are designed with maximum portability in mind. The innumerable occasions you can use them in, (think roadside emergency, a dark hallway, power outage, even nightly strolls) combined with their convenience have made flashlights extremely popular to “everyday carry.”
TYPES OF EDC FLASHLIGHTS
EDC flashlights are designed to fit every carry style. Whether you want a compact flashlight to attach to your keychain or a flashlight that securely clips to a pocket, there is an EDC flashlight to fit your needs. Attach the compact Fenix E05R to a keyring using the tail ring for secure on-demand lighting. For hands free lighting, secure the Fenix E-Lite Mini to a pocket or the bill of a cap. However you prefer to carry your flashlight, there is an EDC flashlight for you that provides convenient lighting when you need it.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF AN EDC FLASHLIGHT?
EDC flashlights can vary greatly in cost. Lighting features, materials, and the battery can all affect a flashlight’s price. An EDC flashlight that uses a single replaceable battery, for example, is less expensive than a rechargeable EDC flashlight. However, if you use your flashlight often, a rechargeable battery may be more cost-effective in the long run. In the same vein, an EDC flashlight made from lower-quality materials will be less expensive and may not be a bad choice if you don’t see yourself using it too often. However, considering that an EDC flashlight is meant to be used often and carried everywhere, you may want to consider a high-quality EDC. If it can’t stand up to your everyday use needs, it could end up costing you more money to replace it than simply investing in a more durable EDC.
Fenix’s high-quality, high-performance EDC flashlights range in price from below $20 to over $100. Not only are they made from high-quality, durable materials, they are also tested extensively using ANSI Rating standards that guarantee reliable performance and customer satisfaction.
WHAT IS THE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF AN EDC?
If you choose a high-quality EDC flashlight, it should last you quite a while. EDC flashlights are meant to withstand the wear and tear of everyday carry, even for people who use their flashlights in tough conditions. While Fenix fans often use their EDC flashlights for many years, Fenix also offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers replacements or repairs to address manufacturing defects. If, like Fenix, a company offers a lifetime warranty on its product, that’s a good sign that the company stands by its product and is committed to building flashlights that last.
WHAT ARE EDC FLASHLIGHTS MADE OF?
There are plenty of EDC flashlights on the market made from easily breakable plastic and low-quality lens material. These flashlights are designed to be inexpensive, but also easily succumb to wear and tear. High-quality EDC flashlights are made from materials that help increase impact resistance, provide water and dust proofing, and are durable in the face of adverse conditions.
Fenix flashlights, for example, are made from materials like aircraft-grade aluminum and are proven to withstand the roughest treatment and the worst conditions. A high-quality EDC flashlight may be more of an investment upfront, but they’ll last much longer, saving you money you might otherwise have spent replacing it and keeping you confident that your flashlight will work when you need it to.
HOW DURABLE ARE EDC FLASHLIGHTS?
As with most things, it’s all about the quality of the craftsmanship and the materials used. There is no industry-wide testing standard covering impact resistance, waterproofing, and dirt resistance that flashlight manufacturers are mandated to follow. However, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established standards of testing that some of the best flashlight manufacturers including Fenix voluntarily follow. This allows consumers to have a clear picture of the durability of their flashlights.
Here is a brief breakdown of what an ANSI rating means to the durability of your flashlight.
IP Rating, or Ingress Protection Rating, is a pair of numbers that represents the level of protection an object has against the intrusion of solid objects or liquid. The first number describes how good the item is at keeping small solids from getting inside, such as dust or dirt. The highest possible rating here is 6 which is totally dustproof. The second number indicates the object’s water or liquid resistance, with the highest number being 8. This means it is suitable for continuous immersion in water beyond 1 meter in depth. The best IP rating possible is IP68.
Since EDC flashlights are frequently in contact with small particles in purses or pockets and may often be subjected to natural elements, it is important that you choose an EDC flashlight with a high IP rating. So whether you have to take your dog for a walk on a rainy day, or go out hunting through a swampy forest, you can be confident that your EDC flashlight won’t let you down.
Accidents happen, and it’s likely you’ll drop your flashlight from time to time. To be ANSI-certified impact resistant for a certain height, a flashlight must be dropped from that height six times and continue to function normally. This height is measured in meters, so an impact resistance of 2 meters is about 6 feet. While dropping things is completely normal, keep in mind the design of your flashlight as you shop. Some of the best flashlights feature body designs that prevent rolling when placed on a surface, as well as ergonomic grips for more secure carry.
HOW LONG DO THE RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES OF AN EDC FLASHLIGHT LAST?
Despite their small size, EDC flashlights are equipped with batteries that can power some impressively long run times. Even the smallest EDC flashlights have batteries that will run for days. The Fenix E09R, for example, is only 3.1” long, can be charged via USB-Type C, and has a maximum runtime of 70 hours. Many of Fenix’s rechargeable flashlights come equipped with 18650 lithium-ion batteries. These batteries can be recharged anywhere between up to 500 times before they begin to see a decrease in battery performance. Fenix batteries are rated for 500 cycles though improper charging practices, such as charging in extreme hot or cold temperatures can decrease a battery’s lifespan.
The increased lifespan of rechargeable batteries has made it easier for manufacturers to include features that would previously not have been feasible to include on a flashlight using AA or AAA replaceable batteries. Different brightness settings and external battery level indicators can now be found on even some of the most compact EDC flashlights.
HOW BRIGHT ARE EDC FLASHLIGHTS?
With the advancements made in LED and battery technology, EDC flashlights can blast some incredibly impressive lumens despite their small size. Cost-conscious flashlight manufacturers prioritized battery life over brightness, so many EDC flashlights of the past were dim with long run times.
Rechargeable batteries now provide the power and flexibility of blasting thousands of lumens over a short period of time without forcing users to stock up on replacement batteries. These days, EDC flashlights sport a number of different brightness levels ranging from only a handful of lumens to thousands. Blast up to 3000lumens with the Fenix E35 V3.0 EDC flashlight, or go for more features with the compact 2” Fenix E-Lite Mini that offers multiple lighting modes including a maximum 150 lumens of white light, red light, blue light and a signal flash for each.
HOW FAR DO EDC FLASHLIGHT BEAMS TRAVEL?
EDC flashlights are capable of some impressive runtimes and lumen output numbers, and the same is true for beam distance. Whether you need to light up your immediate surroundings or want to throw light hundreds of feet down a path, there is an EDC flashlight that will meet your beam needs. If you choose a flashlight with the ability to switch lighting modes, you’ll have a flashlight that can adjust beam distance as well. Light up the night with the Fenix E28R’s beam that shines a maximum of 656 ft (200 m) on its highest lighting mode and 92 ft (28 m) on its lowest.
ISN’T ANY FLASHLIGHT YOU CARRY EVERY DAY AUTOMATICALLY AN EDC FLASHLIGHT?
If you carry a flashlight every day, it’s certainly a part of your everyday carry gear, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an EDC flashlight. EDC flashlights are compact, convenient sources of light you can take with you just about anywhere. Many people choose to carry tactical flashlights as part of their EDC gear. Tactical flashlights are built with certain features that differentiate them from EDC flashlights. The strike bezel surrounding the lens that tactical flashlights are built with is great for self-defense, but this raised edge means it’s considered a weapon and cannot be checked onto a flight. This feature also makes the tactical flashlight slightly heavier to carry in comparison with an EDC flashlight. EDC flashlights can be taken just about anywhere and are often a great backup tool to have even for those who carry full-size tactical flashlights.
WHY SHOULD I CARRY AN EDC FLASHLIGHT?
With most cell phones equipped with built-in flashlights, many people wonder if they really need to carry an EDC flashlight with them. Phone flashlights are great in a pinch, but a dedicated flashlight provides lighting benefits that simple, low-lumen cell phone flashlights can’t compete with.
What if you need to make an emergency call while also illuminating an area or trying to signal for help? An EDC flashlight is a powerful tool. Unlike a phone, it has one job and it does it very well. Many people who begin carrying EDC flashlights are amazed at how often they actually use them. Cell phones, while great for many things, are often unwieldy when it comes to lighting. As a result, users will often make do without a light in the dark to avoid the inconvenience of using the cell phone flashlight. With an EDC flashlight, you’ll have a convenient tool to solve your lighting needs.
Don’t wait until you are in need of a light. Be prepared for any lighting situation with a Fenix EDC flashlight you can rely on.
“ANSI FL1 Standard – Led-Resource.” LED, https://www.led-resource.com/ansi-fl1-standard/.
Pocket-lint. “Water and Dust Ip Ratings: What Does IP68 Actually Mean?” Pocket, 14 Sept. 2021, https://www.pocket-lint.com/phones/news/138727-ip-ratings-what-do-they-
“What’s the Difference between a Tactical Flashlight and an EDC Flashlight?” 1lumen.Com, 9 Dec. 2021, https://1lumen.com/difference-between-edc-flashlight-and-tactical-flashlight/.