Best Handheld EDC Lights

in Authors, Concealed Carry/EDC, Travis Pike

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

I love a good light. I’ve dipped my toes into light nerdism, and it’s a really fascinating scene. I’m not smart enough to spread too much gospel, but I’ve learned enough to figure out how to separate good lights from bad. This includes both weapon lights and handheld options. Weapon lights are a great tool, but I would hesitate to call them mandatory. However, I am a firm believer in the mandatory handheld for prepared persons. The EDC light can be a real lifesaver. 

A good handheld light doesn’t need a rail to attach it to, and it doesn’t need a special holster to carry it. Yet, it’s still a very handy piece of gear for daily use. An EDC light can be used for tactical purposes, like positive identification of a threat. If you get attacked in the dark, then the ability to see your threat can be quite nice. You can also identify threats early and potentially ruin someone’s element of surprise. Early detection means early avoidance, and that’s a lifesaver. 

Beyond the low chance of high-speed use, a handheld is downright handy. An EDC light makes navigation in the dark easy. You can see stairs, work through dark parking garages, and do all the other basic navigational tasks you might have. There are also emergencies that go beyond the tactical application. Car accidents, injuries, and the like happen in the middle of the night as well. Heck, I’ve used my EDC light to change a tire on a country road without a single streetlight in a hundred miles. 

What Makes a Good Handheld EDC Light? 

Obviously, we have to talk about light and power. Depending on what you do for a living, you may need a more powerful beam, a brighter beam, or a beam with a longer effective range. As an average Joe, you don’t want to be stuck carrying a giant light on your belt. Pocket-sized lights don’t always have to have pocket-sized power. 

You typically want a light that can throw a beam at least 25 yards. This often means anywhere from 300 to 600 lumens and anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 candela. That’s enough light for most civilian encounters. At that power point, you aren’t getting a massive light that won’t plop in your pocket. 

It’s likely easy to carry, and it has enough light for the average user. That doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to a weaker light, and we have a few examples on this list that power past the normal size-to-power ratio.  

The Best Handheld EDC Lights 

Surefire Stiletto 

Surefire surprised everyone with the Stiletto. It’s a micro-sized, pocket-friendly light with a rather flat body for easy and convenient carry. The Stiletto makes for a rugged option for pocket carry too. It’s IPX7 rated for water resistance and made mostly from polymer with some aluminum to back it up. 

Best Handheld EDC Lights
The Stiletto defines easy-to-carry

The Stiletto packs up to 650 lumens in its high mode with 1,530 candela. It’s not crazy bright, but it’s a capable option for the average Joe. It’s more than enough light for the most basic of tasks, for navigation, and for positive identification of a threat. The Stiletto also has a medium and low setting that gives you 250 lumens and five lumens, respectively. 

The whole setup weighs 2.8 ounces, and it’s only 4.45 inches long. It uses a rechargeable battery which makes it easy to connect and charge in your car or nightstand. The Stiletto cuts like a knife….through darkness anyway. 

Streamlight Wedge 

The direct competitor to the Stiletto is the Streamlight Wedge. The Wedge is another micro-sized pocket light, but it packs a surprising amount of power. The Wedge is made entirely from aluminum. It weighs 3.3 ounces and is 5.46 inches long. It’s super flat and smooth, smaller than the Stiletto, and clips easily into your pocket. 

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    Best Handheld EDC Lights
    The Wedge is super flat and fairly powerful

    The Wedge packs 300 lumens in its normal mode, with 1,200 candela behind it. There is an optional THRO mode that allows you to propel 1,000 lumens backed by 3,000 candela on demand. This creates a fairly powerful light for 35-second bursts. It’s handy for those problems that need more than 300 lumens. 

    The Wedge is also rechargeable and uses a simple USB charger. You can keep it charged on the go and charge it wherever you can charge your phone. The Wedge is quite pocket-friendly and makes for a handy light for most circumstances. 

    Modlite Handheld PLHv2-18350 

    Modlite certainly isn’t shy to push out as much power as possible. The little PLHv2-18350 uses the smaller 18350 batteries. They push a whole lot of power from a very small package. We get a 4-inch long light that weighs only 4.5 ounces with a battery. Yet, it’s capable of pushing out 1,350 lumens out the front back by 54,000 candela. 

    Best Handheld EDC Lights
    The PLHv2 throws the best balance of range and spill

    That’s a lot more light than you’ll need for 25 meters. At this power level, we are looking at a lot more than a 25-yard effective range. The PLHv2 throws a pile of light into the darkness, and it’s one of the most EDC lights on the market. It’s a powerhouse of a light. 

    The PLHv2 balances throw and flood well and provides a very versatile light. While it packs a ton of power, it’s still fairly small and quite easy to carry in your pocket. The PLHv2-18350 isn’t for everyone, but it will certainly please light nerds. 

    Cloud Defensive MCH EDC 

    One good light deserves another. Alongside Modlite, a company called Cloud Defensive has been burning the midnight oil to produce more and more powerful lights. The MCH-EDC takes the power of Cloud Defensive and shrinks it into an EDC light. This smaller Cloud Defensive light still packs up to 40,000 candela and 1,700 lumens. 

    Best Handheld EDC Lights
    The Cloud Defensive MCH EDC is a lot of power in a little light

    That is the power lever from a single 18650 battery. The MCH EDC also uses a dual fuel design, so the smaller CR123 batteries are welcome. This makes it easy to hot-swap in the field, and you can get 30,000 candela and 550 lumens out of two CR123 batteries. It might also be the right option if you just want less power for your EDC light. 

    There are also various does that allow the user to program the light to function at various power levels as well. In terms of size, it’s 5.175 inches long and weighs 5.71 ounces. The light is a little bigger than most but a lot more powerful. 

    Surefire G2X 

    If you need something powerful and tough but don’t want to spend more than a hundred bucks, then Surefire has you covered with the Surefire G2X series. These are very basic handheld flashlights. They have a base lumens of 600 and a low mode of 15 lumens. The bodies are primarily made from polymer but are still Surefire tough. Behind the 600 lumens is 8,700 candela. 

    Best Handheld EDC Lights
    The G2X is an affordable piece of light power

    That’s a winning combo, especially for a sub-100-dollar light. The battery life is about 90 minutes on high, and lord knows how long on the 15-lumen setting. The little light is tough as nails and certainly tougher than it needs to be for an EDC light. The Surefire G2X is also 5.2 inches long, and it weighs only 4.4 ounces. Overall it’s a great light for the cash. 

    SEE MORE: The What & the Why: Flashlights & Long Guns

    The World of EDC Lights 

    EDC lights are extremely handy tools and sit beside pocket knives in their usefulness. Most people will probably get more use from their EDC light than they ever will from their guns. A good EDC light can be a lifesaver or, at the very least, a machine of total convenience in the dark. These are five of my favorites for EDC. Do you have any I should add to the list? 

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