9 Best Car Flashlights to Go in With Your Tool Box (2024)

Last Updated on May, 2024

Whether you are looking for a flashlight to fix your car in the garage or a flashlight in your car (in case of emergency), certain flashlights are considered better for cars.

Coupled with bright light, you HAVE to consider all the features that make a flashlight a quality flashlight. 

After researching hundreds of flashlights and testing out over two dozen, we came forward with this list of the BEST 9 flashlights for cars. 

Hence, without further ado, let’s dive into the list of the 9 BEST flashlights for Cars.

Editor’s Choice
FENIX E28R
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

5.0

5.0

4.9

5.0

5.0

Overall Score

5.0

#2nd Best Choice
Nitecore MH12S
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

4.9

4.9

4.9

4.9

4.9

Overall Score

4.9

#3rd Best Choice
Olight S2R Baton II
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

4.8

4.9

4.8

4.8

4.8

Overall Score

4.8

9 Best Flashlights to Store in Your Car

1. FENIX E28R (Editor’s Choice)

The Fenix E28R is a USB rechargeable flashlight (comes with a micro USB cable).

It is a high-performance flashlight that is compact, small, and lightweight; perfect for carrying around or leaving in your car (glove box).

It has a maximum power of 1500 lumens and covers a distance of 656 feet or 200 meters.

Powered by a 18650 lithium-ion battery, the Fenix E28R is designed with an ultra-thin optical lens that creates a soft and balanced beam. 

At only 4.3 inches long, this is a small flashlight. (Tiny but MIGHTY). It only weighs 66 grams!

There are five brightness modes to choose from. It has a strobe function, and you can switch the flashlight to strobe mode for tactical use (tactical flashlight). 

It has no tail switch and is operated by a side switch which activates the lighting modes. A battery level indicator is situated close to the switch, which will tell you when your battery is running low. 

This flashlight will work for 73 hours on Eco mode (30 lumens) and 2 hours and 5 minutes on Turbo mode (1500 lumen). 

The Fenix E28R is rated IP68 waterproof and dustproof. The fact that it is dustproof is really important for a car flashlight. As you hit the dusty road, car flashlights have the tendency to get dusty too. 

This very durable and HARDY little flashlight is perfect for fine-tuning the engine or if you need a light to replace a tire at night. 

Pros

  • Excellent beam profile and modes of operation
  • Exceptional build quality with tough exterior
  • Good maximum runtime; 73 hours on eco mode
  • Waterproof rated IP68

Cons

  • A tail switch would’ve been better

2. Nitecore MH12S (#2nd Best Choice)

This is yet another GREAT car flashlight that has excellent lumen output and throw.

The Nitecore MH12S is an upgrade on the classic MH12 and comes with 1800 lumens of light weight only 5.23 ounces. 

With a maximum throw of 321 yards (294 meters), this flashlight is rechargeable with AMAZING runtime.

In ultra-low mode (1 lumen), this flashlight will work for 1500 HOURS! Though the brightness is low on ultra-low mode, the battery life is something that makes this a great flashlight to keep in your car in case of emergency (emergency flashlight). – Perfect for a power outage in the garage. 

It has 5 modes of operation giving you complete control of the level of lighting. This flashlight also has an SOS feature, beacon and strobe!

It is rated IP68 waterproof, and you could get stranded on the RAINY road at night for hours, and this flashlight will still work and have the charge to stay lit for HOURS

It runs on 21700 lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and is charged using a USB-C cable. This is a reliable flashlight with a good beam distance.

When it comes to flashlights, it isn’t the beam distance that is of the most importance; the fact that it can run for 1500 hours is why this flashlight made our list of the BEST car flashlights. 

Pros

  • Rechargeable for extended use
  • Simple use interface and modes of operation
  • Waterproof rated IP68
  • Beacon, SOS and strobe for further tactical use

Cons

  • The pocket clip is on the lower side

3. Olight S2R Baton II (#3rd Best Choice)

The Olight S2R Baton II is a very VERSATILE flashlight with some impressive features. It has a newly designed TIR lens which works to produce a perfectly balanced beam of light. 

This flashlight runs on a 3200mAh 18650 rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is charged magnetically through the tailcap charging cable.

There is a battery level indicator on the side, which will tell you when you need to recharge your flashlight.

It has five levels of brightness and a strobe mode. This flashlight only weighs 3.47 ounces.

This flashlight will work for 60 DAYS at the lowest level (0.5 lumens) of brightness! That’s right, this little flashlight could work for up to 2 MONTHS on a single charge!

This is one of the more reliable LED flashlights on the market, and it’s AMAZING runtime makes it perfect for use as a car flashlight. The rechargeable battery means you won’t have to keep swapping AA batteries and the brightness lighting modes allow for brighter lights based on need. 

The super bright light (mode) of this flashlight will still work for 230 minutes with a brightness of 1150 lumens! This is a very reliable flashlight and is perfect for both working in the garage and to use in case of emergency on the road. 

Plus, this flashlight has impact resistance (shock resistant) and has proven to survive a 1.5-meter drop test. It is also rated IPX8 waterproof!

Olight is one of the most trusted brands of flashlight! With the amazing features the Olight S2R Baton II brings to the table, you cannot go wrong with picking this flashlight!

Checkout our complete review of Olight S2R Baton II.

Pros

  • Strong and durable design with tough exterior
  • Simple use interface and modes of operation
  • 60 days of maximum runtime
  • Waterproof rated IPX8

Cons

  • Proprietary charging

4. MAGLITE 3-CELL D LED FLASHLIGHT

When choosing a car flashlight, there are certain things to look for. Everything you need is found in the Maglite 3-Cell D LED flashlight. 

Weighing at 30 ounces, this flashlight has a 412-meter throw distance.

Though this flashlight DOES NOT run on a rechargeable battery (one of the non rechargeable models), this is actually a good thing. Let me tell you why. 

You can always keep spare batteries in your car along with your flashlight.

Hence, if you get stuck on the road somewhere at night, replaceable batteries mean so long as you have spare batteries, the light will NEVER run out!

You won’t need to keep looking for a power outlet on the road to charge your flashlight.

The Maglite flashlight runs on D Cell Alkaline batteries which can be purchased at many stores nationwide and online. The battery life is also impressive, with a runtime of 80 hours. 

Though this flashlight doesn’t have many multiple modes, you don’t really NEED many multiple modes to make a flashlight a good car flashlight. The flashlight runs in high mode with a lumen output of 168 lumens. It has 3 modes of operation, high, low and eco.

It is impact resistant, surviving a 1-meter drop test, and is a waterproof flashlight rated IPX4. 

The Maglite flashlight has everything needed to make it a RELIABLE flashlight. Not just that, this is one of the more DURABLE flashlights in the market, ideal for cars. 

Pros

  • 413 meters of beam distance
  • Simple use interface and modes of operation
  • Waterproof rated IPX4
  • Runs on alkaline batteries

Cons

  • Not a rechargeable flashlight

5. Anker LC130

With a beam profile of 1300 lumens, this little flashlight can shoot light to a distance of up to two football fields (250 meters).

It has an adjustable beam consisting of five settings of brightness.

The fully adjustable beam width means you can choose the mode that best suits your requirement, for instance, when fine-tuning your engine. 

The light beam is powered by a rechargeable 5000mAh battery, which has a runtime of up to six hours on high mode. It can be recharged in 8 hours. 

All this is great, but they aren’t the main reasons why this flashlight landed on our list. (The fact that it is a USB rechargeable flashlight is NOT the reason!)

This flashlight has an SOS feature which can be used in case of emergency. If you find yourself stranded on the road and need to signal passing vehicles to stop to help, you can use this SOS feature. (Such a feature is what you need when searching for the best flashlight for car.)

The flashlight also has strobe functionality which is great for tactical use (tactical flashlight). 

Weighing almost a pound, this flashlight has a durable aluminum body and is waterproof, rated IPX7.

When it comes to LED flashlights, this is a feature-packed car flashlight with good battery life. Though it isn’t the brightest flashlight on our list, it is undoubtedly the BEST flashlight for cars. (Which is why it is on our list! – the SOS function)

Pros

  • Durable aluminum body with tough exterior
  • Easy to use interface and mode of operation
  • Strobe functionality for tactical use
  • SOS feature for tactical use
  • Waterproof rated IPX7

Cons

  • Little heavy
  • Takes 8 hours to recharge

6. Lumintop FW1AA

The Lumintop FW1AA has a maximum output of 700 lumens.

Though this isn’t a rechargeable model, it uses a 14500 lithium-ion battery which can be removed from the flashlight and charged separately. 

Weighing 32.5 grams, this flashlight has a flat bottom, which means you can place it upright on a flat surface.

It has a very nice pocket clip, which can be handy when working in the garage, and a set of new batteries (spare) means you can keep the flashlight lit. 

It has 4 modes for you to choose from. On the highest mode Turbo, this flashlight will work for 2 minutes + 1hr 30 minutes.

On the lowest mode, at 0.5 lumens, this flashlight will work for 20 DAYS and 9 hours!

It has an aluminum body, making it STRONG and DURABLE.

When looking for the best car flashlight, you need to look into light output (flashlight brightness). This flashlight has excellent brightness (700 lumens), and the flashlight body is beautifully designed. 

Don’t let the lack of an inbuilt rechargeable battery fool you. This is a POWERFUL LED flashlight which is also a very DURABLE flashlight. (Rated IP68 Waterproof!)

The Lumintop FW1AA is a powerhouse of a flashlight, capable of delivering some exceptional results. If you are looking for both power and durability, then the Lumintop FW1AA should be the flashlight for you!

Pros

  • Powerful LED with 20 days runtime on lowest mode
  • Durable exterior made of tough aluminum
  • Waterproof rated IP68
  • Only weighs 32.5 grams: light and durable

Cons

  • Heat management needs improvement
  • Has a different UI which might put off some

7. Energizer Mini LED Flashlight

This bright little pocket flashlight is PERFECT for use in or with cars (weights on 96 grams).

When it comes to car flashlights, you have to consider brightness, and this is one bright little flashlight. 

This flashlight is battery operated and runs on one AA battery. There are three modes of operation and the highest mode, has a runtime of 3 hours and 30 minutes.

(You can use RECHARGEABLE AA batteries.)

However, you need something EXTRA to make it to this list of the BEST car flashlights, and here’s the low down on the Energizer Mini. 

This is a HANDS-FREE flashlight. An integrated magnet will attach firmly to any metal surface, such as the hood of a car. It can be secured to your belt, bag, or shirt using a removable metal clip. 

This hands-free feature is the PRIMARY reason this flashlight had to be included in the list. We know how annoying it can be to hold a flashlight while you work on the engine.

This flashlight allows you to fine-tune that engine with BOTH hands, not one! An integrated magnet attaches firmly to metal surfaces for use as a hands-free LED light.

This flashlight is so DURABLE! It can withstand a SEVEN METER drop and is rated IPX4 waterproof. You won’t have to worry about dropping this flashlight, throwing it around or getting it wet. 

This is a handy little flashlight to keep in your car and is excellent if you ever need to fix your car on a rainy night.

Pros

  • Durable having been drop tested as 7 meters.
  • Hands-free feature allowing for greater applicability
  • Waterproof rated IPX4
  • Runs on simple AA batteries

Cons

  • No SOS
  • Not rechargeable

8. NPET T09 Solar

This is a solar flashlight! What is a solar flashlight, you may ask? Well, it is a flashlight that is charged using the SUN!

What is excellent about the NPET T09 Solar is that it charges itself. You don’t have to worry about dead batteries with this flashlight.

Sure, you can charge it via a USB cable too, but the fact that it works to charge itself is a particular plus point for car flashlights. 

The best car flashlights NEED to have good runtime. The fact that this flashlight is solar-charged means even when the charge depletes at night, it recharges itself during the day! It has a maximum runtime of 6 hours.

The rechargeable battery can also be used as a power bank. LED flashlights do not usually charge your phone. Having this flashlight in your car means you can charge your electronic devices on the go!

Weighting close to a pound, this flashlight also works as a window breaker, which is excellent if you ever have to break your car window in an accident to get out! It even has a belt cutter, which can be used to cut a seat belt in case of emergency. 

The NPET T09 Solar offers 268 lumens of output and has seven brightness settings to choose from. ***When looking for the best car flashlight, you have to consider EVERYTHING!

This flashlight is shock resistant and waterproof, and what’s great, it also works HANDS-FREE. It has a powerful magnet on the side, which can be used to attach the flashlight to your car or any metallic surface. 

Pros

  • Hand-free feature allowing for use without hands
  • Strong and durable design with tough exterior
  • Different Modes of operations on a simple user interface
  • Solar rechargeable, meaning you can charge it during the day
  • Can be used a power bank to charge phone

Cons

  • Limited runtime and charging
  • Does not always reach the 6 hour runtime

9. WdtPro LED Flashlight

This is a POWERFUL battery operated flashlight. It has a high-power OSRAM P8 LED, providing up to 1600 lumens of light.

Weighting in at 8 ounces, this flashlight has an aluminum body, making it HARDY and STRONG! This is a TOUGH little flashlight and is rated IP67 waterproof. 

The lifespan of the light is 50,000 hours! 

With a runtime of 30 hours in low-light mode, it is powered by four AA batteries, and you can opt to use rechargeable AAs if you prefer. 

This is an excellent light source to keep in your car for in case of emergency.

Though it doesn’t have USB rechargeable capabilities, this simple yet STRONG flashlight serves the purpose just fine. 

It has three modes of lighting for you to choose from!

The WdtPro has a 90-day money-back policy and a two-year replacement guarantee. 

It has both a spotlight and a flood light, which is perfect for both working on cars and being in the car in case of an emergency. 

Pros

  • Easy to use interface and modes of operation
  • Uses simple AA batteries
  • 90 day money back policy
  • Both spotlight and floodlight functionality

Cons

  • The switch gets a tad finicky with use
  • Not a rechargeable flashlight

What to Look for When Buying a Car Flashlight?

When buying a flashlight for your car, there are a handful of things you need to take into consideration. The DURABILITY of the product is a factor that has to be considered. You don’t want a flashlight that will break if dropped.

The battery should be considered. Though a rechargeable flashlight is considered better, both AA and AAA batteries also work well when picking a flashlight for your car. 

The brightness of the light and the RUNTIME are also of great significance. The runtime will dictate how long you can use the flashlight on a single charge. If used for emergency situations, you need a flashlight that won’t run out of juice in 30 minutes. 

Do I Need a Flashlight in My Car?

a flashlight in car

Just so you know, there is, in fact, something called a CAR FLASHLIGHT. The NPET T09 Solar, for instance, is specially designed to be used in cars!

A flashlight for your car can be a great tool to have at your disposal in case of emergencies. You may need to signal help if stuck on the road at night or may need a source of light to fix your car at night. 

Regardless of when you will use your flashlight, a flashlight in your car is a handy tool!

Some flashlights, such as the NPET T09 Solar, have belt cutters and even have the ability to break windows in case of emergency. This just goes to show you how valuable a flashlight in your car can be. 

If not anything, you can use the flashlight that you leave in your car for general work around the garage. It is essential that you have a good light source when tweaking under the hood, and a good car flashlight most certainly will prove to be an asset. 

Why Have One in Your Car?

Maybe your car blows a tire in the middle of nowhere at night, and you need a light to fix the tire. 

Maybe your car breaks down in the middle of the road, and you can’t figure out what is wrong with your car. A flashlight can help you signal moving vehicles to get someone to stop and help you.

Apart from the dozens of reasons why you could need a flashlight on the go (like if you ever need to investigate an abandoned mine shaft), a flashlight in your car can prove to be VERY useful.

Regardless of how you can use a flashlight that you leave in your car (there are so many), a car flashlight could, in fact, SAVE YOUR LIFE!

A flashlight in your car could help you find lost items at night. It could help you find your way if your car breaks down at night. 

The benefits of having a flashlight in your car are many. Not only will it help you fine-tune your engine in your garage, but it could also work to save you in case of an emergency in the dark.

What is the Best Flashlight for a Mechanic? (The Garage)

a human holding flashlight while checking a car

When picking the best flashlight for a mechanic, you have to consider various things. 

It should have a GOOD runtime of at least 3 hours. If it runs on rechargeable batteries it would be better (Flashlights that run on AA and AAA batteries are all good.).

However, it is the EXTRA something offered by such a flashlight that makes it the best pick for a mechanic or general use in the garage. 

This is the HANDS-FREE feature. An integrated magnet that will attach firmly to any metal surface, such as the hood of a car, will make such a flashlight very useful in the garage. If it has a pocket clip, it would be able to be secured to your belt, bag, or shirt using a removable metal clip. 

This hands-free feature is the PRIMARY reason a garage flashlight is considered the best for a mechanic. It can be very unpleasant having to hold a flashlight while you work on your car. What’s great about this flashlight is that it allows you to work with BOTH hands, not one!

These are the main things you need to consider when picking the best flashlight for the garage. Apart from these features, you should also consider general toughness and durability. 

Final Thoughts

Car flashlights can be an essential tool to have in your car in case of emergency. If you ever find yourself stranded at night, a flashlight in your car could prove to be LIFE-SAVING!

While there are many flashlight options on the market, only some are best intended for use in or with cars.

Our list of the best nine considered dozens of potential flashlights. Only the nine listed above had features that made them the BEST fit for cars.

Within those, the FENIX E28R deserves special attention for a lot of reasons, being one of the most reliable brands on this list, the flashlight surely delivers. 

When picking a flashlight for your car, REMEMBER durability, runtime, and added features. These are the most important things you must consider when picking the BEST flashlight for your car!

FAQs

Car flashlights are used for signaling for help and providing illumination when making roadside repairs at night.

When choosing a car flashlight, it is important to consider features such as hands-free operation, durability, and robustness.

A strobe feature is the most important feature for a car flashlight as it can provide visibility and aid in distress situations.

OUR #1 RECOMMENDATION
FENIX E28R
Brightness
Beam distance
Runtime
Durability
Price

5.0

5.0

4.9

5.0

5.0

Overall Score

5.0

visa, master, amex, paypal
Pros
Excellent beam profile and modes of operation
Exceptional build quality with tough exterior
Good maximum runtime; 73 hours on eco mode
Waterproof rated IP68
Get the BEST PRICE until the end of May
Cons
A tail switch would’ve been better

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Author
Dillon Morrison
I have been involved in the flashlight community since 2007. My brother has a flashlight shop from where I have tested and reviewed more than 600+ different types of flashlights. You can find more about me here.

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