A great deal can be said about having quick access to intensely bright light. Whether you're fending off an attacker in a dark alley by blinding him with a quick burst or searching for survivors of an office building collapse, sometimes only massive levels of illumination can get the job done adequately.

Eye-stinging devices come in all shapes and sizes. A spotlight mounted on a helicopter can definitely provide plenty of light for emergency uses, and even the high-intensity discharge headlamps of a vehicle could be a source of lighting in a pinch — but their lack of portability and their power requirements limit their practicality. Fortunately, there are high-lumen flashlights. These go-anywhere tools can be carried in a pocket, mounted on a belt, or stuffed into a pack to be used virtually anywhere. Plus, they use small disposable or rechargeable batteries that are readily available.

So what does “high lumen” mean? Lumens measure the amount of light produced by a light source. Generally speaking, the higher the lumen number listed for a flashlight, the brighter the light you can expect to see. There are some caveats to this rule, however.

There's currently no uniform method of measuring and listing lumen ratings. Flashlight manufacturers each have their own means of measuring lumens; so don't be surprised if a 700-lumen light seems to outperform one that is rated at 1,000 lumens. This is because, other than the lightbulb or emitter's brightness itself, a flashlight's reflector, delivered power, and lens quality can also affect how its beam of light is projected, perceived, and ultimately rated. For this reason, it's recommended that you do your homework before committing big bucks to one.

Thanks to constantly evolving technologies, there is an ever-flowing parade of flashlights that are or are nearly pocket-sized yet can blast many hundreds (if not thousands) of lumens of light at the push of a button. As daily users and avid enthusiasts of flashlights ourselves, we understand that it's easy to get caught up in the escalating lumen war that manufacturers are participating in. It's a great time to be a flashlight user, isn't it? Join us as we examine six portable flashlights that range in lumen rating from a squint-worthy 600 to a retina-searing 4,000.

High-Lumen Flashlights

  • 5.11 TMT L3X Flashlight

    Make & Model - 5.11 TMT L3X Flashlight
    Max. Lumen Output - 860
    Max. Runtime - 29 hrs
    Overall Length - 7.375 in
    Weight with Batteries - 6.4 oz
    Battery Type - CR123A (3, included)
    Controls - Constant-on/momentary tailcap button switch with rotary lock
    MSRP - $120
    URL - http://www.511tactical.com

    The TMT L3X is both water and impact resistant and features an impressive 860-lumen high mode and an efficient 29-hour, 50-lumen low mode. The aluminum-bodied flashlight is shaped for positive grip, and its rear flats help it resist from rolling off smooth surfaces.

  • Coast A25R

    Make & Model - Coast A25R
    Max. Lumen Output - 725
    Max. Runtime - 19 hrs
    Overall Length - 6.25 in
    Weight with Batteries - 11.5 oz
    Battery Type - Li-ion Rechargeable (2 included), AAA (4, included)
    Controls - Constant-on/momentary tailcap push button
    MSRP - $184
    URL - http://www.coastportland.com

    Not only does the Coast A25R top out at an incredible 4,200 lumens of white light in its Turbo mode, it's also capable of throwing light in various colors, such as red, blue, and green.

  • Fenix LD75C

    Make & Model - Fenix LD75C
    Max. Lumen Output - 4,200
    Max. Runtime - 175 hrs
    Overall Length - 6.3 in
    Weight with Batteries - 1 lb 3.9 oz
    Battery Type - 18650 rechargeable Li-ion (4, not included), CR123A (8, not included)
    Controls - Three-button constant-on and mode-select side switch panel
    MSRP - $284
    URL - http://www.fenixlighting.com

    LED Lenser's M7RX combines the brightness of 600 lumens and the versatility of a focusable beam and powers it all with an environmentally friendly, single rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

  • LED Lenser M7RX

    Make & Model - LED Lenser M7RX
    Max. Lumen Output - 600
    Max. Runtime - 8.5 hrs
    Overall Length - 6.14 in
    Weight with Batteries - 7.5 oz
    Battery Type - 18650 Li-ion (1, included)
    Controls - Constant-on/momentary tailcap push button switch
    MSRP - $250
    URL - http://www.ledlenserusa.com

    The A25R's sleek stainless-steel body is capped with a locking slide focus bezel that allows the user to switch from an all-encompassing diffused light to a piercing focused beam. Its 725-lumen high mode boasts a very respectable six-hour, 45-minute runtime.

  • Streamlight Scorpion HL

    Make & Model - Streamlight Scorpion HL
    Max. Lumen Output - 725
    Max. Runtime - 18 hrs
    Overall Length - 5.43 in
    Weight with Batteries - 4.8 oz
    Battery Type - CR123A (2, included)
    Controls - Constant-on/momentary tailcap push button switch
    MSRP - $120
    URL - http://www.streamlight.com

    The Scorpion HL features Streamlight's TEN-TAP programmable tailcap switch, which allows the user to select between momentary, variable intensity, or strobe modes.

  • SureFire P3X Fury

    Make & Model - SureFire P3X Fury
    Max. Lumen Output - 1,000
    Max. Runtime - 53 hrs
    Overall Length - 6.8 in
    Weight with Batteries - 7.2 oz
    Battery Type - CR123A (3, included)
    Controls - Constant on/momentary tailcap push button switch
    MSRP - $250
    URL - http://www.surefire.com

    The P3X Fury's 1,000-lumen high mode allows the user to use it as an effective search and rescue tool, signal marker, and defensive weapon. Its 15-lumen low mode provides useful work light in close to medium distances.

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