When you’re out in the wild, you want the brightest handheld spotlight possible. They’re invaluable tools to have on hand in the case of emergencies like power emergencies or road troubles. But also out in the wild!
I’m going to cover the brightest spotlights available and break down each one. If you want my top pick without going through each one, it would have to be the Streamlight Waypoint – It may not top the charts on lumen count, but it has outstanding durability and build quality. Basically everything you’re looking for from a brand known for its quality.
The 4 Brightest Handheld LED Spotlights
One of my favorite things about the Stanley FATMAX is just how well-built it is. You can tell just looking at it, that it has better build quality than most other spotlights. I’m also a big fan of it using lithium-ion batteries because of their storage. These batteries can hold a charge for up to a year and provide 7 hours of light on a low setting.
At a whopping 2200 lumens, it’s very bright and has a focused beam. It has different brightness settings that you’d expect from a spotlight and even an SOS mode. Even though it’s not the lightest thing to carry around, it’s definitely worth it.
The Streamlight Waypoint is a solid spotlight. I’ve had the pleasure of using Streamlight flashlights in the past and have never been disappointed with anything about them. It may not be as high of a lumen count as the FATMAX (a maximum of 1000), but it offers some impressive C4 LED technology that makes it stand out all the same.
The mount that it comes with is surprisingly nice for keeping it by the door ready to go. However, in addition to fewer lumens than the Fatmax, it also comes at a higher price point. That’s the only con to it though that I could find. It’s a reliable rechargeable led spotlight that I’m sure will last for years if you decide to pick one up. It’s worth a look.
This GOODSMANN spotlight didn’t make it easy to give a title since the name is just a serial number, but wow does it pack a punch. At 4500 lumens, it’s by far the brightest led spotlight on this list and is even waterproof. The battery life is comparable to other spotlights, getting around three hours on the high setting, and around six on the low power mode. Safe to say, enough for a boating trip or getting to camp at night time.
I try to highlight lights with rugged designs, and this one fits the bill. Especially since it’s marketed as being submersible, which is a bold claim. I dig the EVA carrying case that it comes with because I’m a sucker for easy to store cases. All in all, it’s a solid light if you’re looking for something waterproof – however, a little on the high side of pricing in my opinion. Even more than the Streamlight Waypoint, which is putting it in a whole other class.
Perhaps the dark horse of the list, the Eornmor spotlight is an incredibly affordable led spotlight that makes smart compromises. It has a max brightness of 6000 lumens which is pretty incredible, but it comes at a lower battery life rating of about an hour at that. It lasts for a day on the lower power setting that still comes in at 2500 lumens.
The only obvious downside is that the construction isn’t as rugged as the other spotlights on this list. That doesn’t really come as a surprise though when it is a fraction of their prices. I like the classic flashlight design of it, it reminds me of the ones I used when I was a kid.
Another small nitpick is that it doesn’t come with a proper charger, only a USB cable. This means you’ll have to plug it into your computer to charge or buy a wall to USB converter. Not the biggest deal in the world, but not my favorite when my computer has enough plugged into it already.
Factors to consider before buying an LED spotlight
Spotlights can be a little confusing to figure out what is appropriate for your needs. After all, beyond just the brightness, you have to consider the reliability, battery life, and more. Let’s break down the factors and show you how I evaluated the above spotlights.
While high lumen count is nice, it’s not the most important factor to look for in a spotlight. Some spotlights like the Streamline in particular have technologies that make the most of smaller lumen counts. Even the LED quality can be a factor in overall brightness and longevity.
Reliability / Durability
As with anything portable, you need to be able to count on it when you’re out and about. That means if you drop it, you can pick it up and keep going where you left off. I’m confident that the spotlights I’ve shown you here are well built, but not all of them are.
The cheaper spotlights on the market are often very poorly made with thin plastic shells that won’t stand up to much.
Most of these spotlights offered similar top of the line battery life that you would expect. However, battery life is affected by several factors:
- The battery type
- The spotlight’s brightness
- The battery age
For type, you’ll want to look for lithium-ion batteries. These are the highest capacity and most rechargeable out there. Anything less will leave you disappointed! Also, it may seem like common sense, but brighter lights (higher lumen counts) will drain a battery faster than lower ones. This is why most lights have varying power settings.
Lastly, all batteries “age” with use and will gradually lose their capacity over time. There’s not much you can do about that, other than storing them inside and not overcharging.
When it comes to the price of a spotlight, it’s important to consider how often you’ll be using it. If you plan on taking it out weekly or more, don’t hesitate to spend a little more. However, if you don’t know how often you’ll need it, you can easily get away with a light like the Eornmor spotlight.
Past the $100 mark, you probably won’t get that much more bang for your buck.
It would be hard to go wrong with any of these handheld LED spotlights. They all have their strong points and the right one for you depends on your needs. As long as you follow the factors I listed above, that should help you narrow it down.
And remember, just because the Streamlight was my pick, they all have merit to them. The GOODSMAN was very impressive in its submersible qualities, making it an ideal pick for boat outings and hunting. And if you’re on a budget and just need a spotlight for the odd trip out, the Eornmor is no slouch either.
Do you have a personal favorite rechargeable spotlight? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.