Learn how to choose the best rechargeable LED torch for you with our bite-size reviews and handy, jargon-free buying guide
Whether you’re heading out on an adventure, need help illuminating a workbench, or just want to see when you’re walking the dog after dark, we’ve got the very finest rechargeable LED torches for you to choose from. Our jargon-free guide and considered reviews will talk you through the buying decisions so your money goes further and you get the LED torch you really need.
You’re packing for a camping trip, but notice your torch’s batteries are dead. Worse yet, you’ve got no spares and no time to buy any more. A rechargeable LED torch is the obvious solution, being practical and eco-friendly, and we have the best options available whatever your budget.
We headed out after dark to test a multitude of rechargeable LED torches including seriously bright but tiny keyring models to head torches and searingly bright handheld floodlights. Each of these torches excels at the job they were designed to do, but if you’re still not sure scroll down the page and you’ll find our buying guide, which will answer all the key questions you might have.
Best torch: At a glance
How to choose the best torch for you
Why do most modern torches use LED technology?
Compared to an old-fashioned filament bulb, LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs are hundreds of times more energy-efficient, can be incredibly bright, last for decades and use very little energy.
To be more precise, the average LED consumes about 12% of the energy used by halogen and filament bulbs to emit the same amount of light, and will go on burning for hours, if not days, on the same set of batteries. An average LED has a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, while a filament bulb will fizzle out at around 2,000 hours. Whichever model of torch you select will likely provide many years of useful service.
What size or type of LED torch should I buy?
LED torches come in a myriad of styles. If you simply need a flashlight for the toolbox or kitchen drawer, a pocket model will probably be ideal. These measure around seven centimetres in length, are generally quite affordable and yet still provide enough light to see where you’re going. Most pocket models come with a variety of beam strengths from ten and 800 lumens and many even have extra features such as strobe (for disorientating assailants) and SOS signalling.
If you plan on being where it’s really dark, consider taking along a larger pocket-sized model (around 12 cm in length) with a higher lumen specification of 1,000+ lumens. Some of these models also provide several focus options, which allows you to narrow or widen the size of the beam. A head torch is also hugely practical for outdoor activities after dark including camping, running, hiking, and potholing… if that’s your thing.
If you need serious power and a light beam that will be seen (and see) for miles, look for a heavyweight floodlight-style model with in excess of 1,500 lumens. These monsters are heavy and large (often more than 20 cm long), but they have the power to turn night into day at the press of a button. They can usually be set to provide either a football stadium-like super-wide beam or one that sharpens to highlight subjects up to a kilometre away.
Finally, don’t underestimate the versatility of the humble keyring torch. These titchy beamers will not only highlight the route ahead but they will illuminate your front door keyhole, provide light when the car has broken down in a country lane and guide you to the fuse box when the lights go out.
Are LED torches waterproof?
The best rechargeable LED torches will be impervious to rain and will come with an IP rating. IP (ingress protection) is an indicator of how well protected an electrical device is from substances such as dust and water. For a torch you plan you use outdoors, a rating of IPX4 is a minimum starting point. IPX4 will cope with drizzle and light moisture. For the best protection, IP67 or IP68 is needed.
Rechargeable vs disposable batteries
Until fairly recently, most LED flashlights used disposable batteries and many still do. Cheaper models invariably draw their power from ordinary alkaline batteries (AA, AAA and so on), while the more expensive models use dearer but much longer-lasting lithiums (usually of the CR variety).
However, disposable batteries are not only costly (especially the lithium variety), but they will end up in landfill, which is bad for the environment. The latest trend, therefore, is towards rechargeable lithium batteries that can be recharged very conveniently using a simple micro-USB or USB-C cable attached to a power source. The torch itself may be more costly but you’ll save a heap of sterling in the long run – and help save the planet too.
How much should I spend on a rechargeable LED torch?
Prices can range from £10 all the way to £300+ but how much you spend will very much depend on what you’re using it for. If all you need is a backup light for the glove box in your car, then there is no point looking for a torch that could be seen from space. However, if you’re looking for a rugged tactical option, then you should look to spend a little more.
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The best rechargeable LED torches you can buy in 2024
1. RovyVon Aurora A3: Best keyring torch for extreme brightness
Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Amazon If you’re looking for one of the smallest and brightest rechargeable LED torches on the market, step this way. The Aurora 3 from RovyVon is about three quarters the length of a pinky finger and about as wide. And yet this titchy pocket titan’s “high” mode is capable of generating a whopping 650 lumens of illumination.
The aluminium-clad Aurora 3 provides three floodlight-style beam strengths: a dim output for reading, the high beam and a mid-strength beam for general use. It also features a strobe function for those in an emergency. It should be pointed out that the full beam is gradually reduced to 65 lumens after about two minutes. This is to protect both the user and the internal components from the high level of heat it generates.
The Aurora A3’s 130mAh lithium polymer battery takes about 45 minutes to charge using the supplied micro-USB cable and provides a running time of up to 38 minutes on the mid-strength beam. This is a staggeringly bright little torch that tucks into the smallest of pockets. Alternatively, attach it to a keyring or wear it around your neck using the supplied chain.
Key specs – Length: 55mm; Width: 14mm; Max lumens: 650; Min lumens: 20; Max beam distance: 80m; Max runtime: 38mins
2. Ledlenser MT10: Best all-round torch under £100
Price when reviewed: £72 | Check price at Amazon This stupendously bright 1,000-lumen pocket model ticks every box and then some. Most LED flashlights come with a variety of flashing modes that get in the way of everyday use. By contrast, this one defaults to the function that matters most: beam strength. Turn it on and each tap of the robust thumb button makes the beam gradually soften from ultra-bright to dim – a classy touch that suggests a lot of thought went into its design.
As the torch is customisable, users can easily reverse the process so it starts on a low beam instead. There’s a strobe function too, but, given that it will hardly ever be used, it’s hidden away under a different custom mode. However, the best thing about this torch is that it comes with a multiple-focus beam that’s easily adjusted by sliding the front barrel forwards or backwards.
The splash-proof MT10 is just 12.8cm in length and uses a single Xtreme LED that burns for a gobsmacking six hours on full beam and an even more impressive 144 hours on low beam. To charge, just plug it into the nearest USB 3 power source and it even comes with a useful battery indicator. Although this torch will easily fit inside a small jacket pocket, Ledlenser has seen fit to include a natty integrated belt clip and even a separate nylon hip case.
Key specs – Length: 125mm; Width: 30mm; Max lumens: 1,000; Min lumens: 10; Max beam distance: 180m; Max runtime: 144hrs
3. Gtech 20V Cordless Task Light Bundle: Best LED task light for DIY use
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Gtech Gtech is a UK-based company that specialises in cordless garden and household tech like lawnmowers, strimmers and vacuum cleaners. It now also includes in its roster a tranche of very good DIY tools – and that’s where this new rechargeable LED work light comes to the fore.
This work lamp has two brightness settings (150 and 300 lumens) and produces a really bright beam that can be adjusted for diffuse or focused light simply by turning the lens cover. In diffuse mode, it will illuminate any DIY task, whether it’s painting a wall, mounting a shelf or fixing a car. It’s also easy to set up because it can be angled 180˚ or hung from its built-in plastic hook (handy for hanging in a tent). It runs for a long time too – nine hours on maximum and 18 hours on minimum.
The Task Light weighs 600g and comes bundled with a charger and 2.5aH 20V battery that can be hot-swapped with the company’s Impact Driver, Combi Drill and Multi-Tool. It’s one of the best task lights we’ve come across, not least because even its brightest setting isn’t too dazzling to work by.
Key specs – Length: 120mm; Width: 68mm; Max lumens: 300; Min lumens: 150; Max beam distance: about 20m; Max run time: 18hrs
4. Olight i1R 2 EOS: Best low-cost keyring torch
Price when reviewed: £18 | Check price at Amazon At a shade over 4cm in length and just 1.5cm wide, the Olight i1R 2 EOS is a great keyring torch for daily use. It’s a doddle to use – just twist the rear barrel for two different beam outputs. This titchy aluminium torch was pitted against a couple of longer pen-shaped models and it blew them out of the darkness. At 150 lumens, it’s capable of illuminating a garden shed from over 20m away and well up to the task of brightening the route ahead.
Expect a runtime of about 15 minutes on high (150 lumens) and almost six hours on low (five lumens) and when it comes to charging time, simply unscrew the top half and it springs open to reveal a micro-USB port for the provided cable.
If you’re in the market for a tiny, keenly-priced rechargeable torch that attaches to any keyring without adding extra clutter, this is the one for you. It’s available in two colours – black and brown – and comes with a fixture loop.
Key specs – Length: 40mm; Width: 15mm; Max lumens: 150; Min lumens: 5; Max beam distance: 40m; Max run time: 6hrs
5. Ledlenser MH5: Best head torch for orienteering
Price when reviewed: £39 | Check price at Amazon A headtorch is a camping, orienteering and caving essential – without one, you’re bound to stumble over your guy ropes, trip over a rock or bang your head on a stalactite. It’s also a very useful item to keep in the car for nighttime emergencies.
This excellent model from Ledlenser features two different outputs – 20 lumens for general low-light use and 400 lumens for brightening up the landscape. Rather ingeniously, it also incorporates a focus system that adjusts from a wide floodlight to a narrow 180m beam simply by turning the front lens dial. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery should provide about four hours of burn time in High mode and up to 35 hours in Low mode.
It can also be used as a hand torch and even attaches to clothing with the provided metal clip. But removing the main plastic housing from the head strap attachment requires quite a bit of force and the rechargeable battery compartment is equally tricky to open for the first time. On the plus side, the rechargeable battery can be replaced with a standard AA alkaline battery, should the need arise.
Key specs – Length: 75mm; Width: 50mm; Max lumens: 400; Min lumens: 20; Max beam distance: 180m; Max runtime: 35hrs
6. MecArmy PT10: Best compact torch
Price when reviewed: £49 | Check price at Heinnie This rechargeable aluminium-clad, 800-lumen pocket model is just 7.7cm long but its three Cree XP-G2 LEDs are easily bright enough to illuminate a tennis court. Its diffuse, ultra-wide white beam is perfect for revealing the route ahead and to both sides. Ingeniously, instead of switching on at full pelt, the first time you press the button, it emits a soft glow so you don’t draw too much attention to yourself.
Hold the button down and the beam strength jumps a notch higher then higher still and then, when you think it can’t possibly get any brighter, it reaches full power and everything looks like it’s in broad daylight. Well, sort of. If you double-tap the button, it skips straight to full beam. Finally, there’s strobe mode for really attracting some attention or disorientating an assailant.
The only issue with this model is that the on/off button is very sensitive, which means it can easily be switched on if the button is resting against another object in your pocket, drawer or a suitcase. But, thankfully, it charges up in about 90 minutes using a standard micro-USB cable (provided). You can safely expect about 18 minutes of use on full beam (not especially great) and up to 17 hours on low. It’s waterproof to 2m, too.
Key specs – Length: 77mm; Width: 22mm; Max lumens: 800; Min lumens: 10; Max beam distance: 126m; Max runtime: 17hrs
7. Petzl Actik Core: Best head torch for campers
Price when reviewed: £48 | Check price at TradeInn Petzl is a market leader in head torches and this model comes with three beam strengths that are assigned very easily by repeatedly pressing the orange rubber power switch. Press once for low beam – which is perfect for reading without disturbing a partner – twice for brighter and three times for a maximum power of 350 lumens (bright enough to illuminate subjects up to 95m away). Full beam has a runtime of around two hours, while low beam keeps going for up to 160 hours.
It also has a softer red LED beam to help preserve night vision and prevent dazzling others. A double-tap of the red beam activates a pulsing strobe that runs for up to 350 hours – a very handy signal if in need of help. To recharge, simply plug the supplied micro-USB cable directly into the enclosed battery and attach it to the mains or a portable USB power bank. And if you don’t have access to a power source, simply replace the removable rechargeable battery with three normal AAA batteries.
The Actik Core can be angled up or down and comes with a comfy reflective head strap replete with an integral emergency whistle that’s surprisingly loud. In the pantheon of wilderness gear, this rechargeable model is a mini triumph. It’s light as a feather, easy to use, not too expensive and extremely versatile.
Key specs – Length: 55mm; Width: 40mm; Max lumens: 350; Min lumens: 5; Max beam distance: 95m; Max runtime: 160hrs
8. Vagocom Superbright COB LED (twin pack): Best budget LED worklight
Price when reviewed: £17 | Check price at Amazon With two lights bundled for a very low price, this rechargeable work light is just the ticket for those unforeseen moments, like when the car suddenly breaks down on a dark road and you’d rather not risk using your phone’s torch function in case you drop it into the engine bay or use up its valuable battery power.
The Vagocom’s narrow beam arm articulates to any angle and comes equipped with a magnetic base and handy hook for hands-free siting. It features five beam modes: high, low, single LED, static red, and a flashing red mode for warnings and emergencies. High mode is the one you’ll likely use most since it provides a broad, bright and diffuse 450-lumen glow that’s perfect for most situations. Charged via USB in 3-4 hours it has an impressive runtime of between three and 8hrs.
Key specs – Length: 148mm; Width: 40mm; Max lumens: 450; Min lumens: N/A; Max beam distance: 5m; Max runtime: 3-8hrs
9. Lifesystems Intensity 545 LED Hand Torch: Best value durable hand torch
Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Cotswold Outdoor Thanks to its aluminium body, this impressively robust hand torch from Lifesystems is ideal for the car, campsite, or just about anywhere. It offers up to 16hrs of battery life, shoots a powerful and adjustable beam (from 45-200m), and its pocketable 113g body is also water resistant and drop proof.
The rechargeable Li-ion battery has five light modes – low, medium, high, turbo and flash settings – and the Nichia LEDs used offer a piercingly good white light in all conditions. It’s not startlingly cheap, but you get what you pay for from a trusted global brand.
Key specs – Length: 130mm; Width: 29mm; Max lumens: 545; Min lumens: N/A; Max beam distance: 45m; Max runtime: 16hrs
10. Maglite ML150LR Rechargeable LED: Best fast charging torch
Price when reviewed: £165 | Check price at Amazon When many of us think of a torch brand, we think of Maglite and its huge, truncheon-like flashlights. This 26cm long tactical design is well balanced and, with a claimed max brightness of 1,082 lumens, capable of seeing almost half a kilometre.
It can manage three hours at full brightness, but keep going for 79 hours nonstop in eco mode, which is beyond impressive. It also charges to 80% capacity in just half an hour, and the well-designed charging cradle can be used at home or in the car.
It’s drop and water (IPX4) resistant, hefty, but not cumbersome and has been certified for use by the USA based National Tactical Officers Association. It’s expensive, but with a replaceable battery and excellent build quality, it will last for years.
Key specs – Length: 260mm; Width: 48mm (widest point); Max lumens: 1082; Min lumens: 138; Max beam distance: 458m; Max runtime: 79hrs
11. Biolite HeadLamp 325: Best head torch for running and hiking
Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at Go Outdoors An antidote to overly complicated head torches, the HeadLamp 325 is the most comfortable we’ve ever worn – at a mere 50g, it’s so light that you can easily forget you’re wearing it.
The soft fabric strap feels more like a headband, and it is also good at wicking away moisture from your head if you’re running or working hard after dark. It is also highly adjustable, so much so that kids can wear them as easily as adults.
At 325 lumens, it isn’t the brightest design available, but with a 10m flood light and 70m sport light mode, it works well for woodland trail runs and gloomy night hikes. The front panel also tilts nicely if you need to adjust the angle of illumination.
Battery life is also more than acceptable for all but the most extreme ultrarunners, offering 40hrs on the lowest and 3hrs on maximum brightness.
Key specs – Length: 42mm (lamp section); Width: 22mm (lamp section); Max lumens: 325; Min lumens: N/A; Max beam distance: 70m; Max runtime: 40hrs