A non-tactical flashlight is designed provide illumination (contrast with tactical flashlights). When selecting a non-tactical flashlight consider these features:
- Rugged Construction: The flashlight should be durable and able to withstand shocks and water. I prefer waterproof flashlights but water resistant ones (IPX4 rating) can be acceptable. Remember that when you use the flashlight you may be in an emergency situation and you may drop the flashlight. You want one that is durable enough to withstand some abuse.
- Light Output: Your light should generate enough light to illuminate at least 50′ in front of you (see Lumens & Candelas article). You do not need a blinding beam but you need enough light to easily see when walking in the dark. Find a flashlight that generates at least 50 lumens but 90 lumens or more is better.
- Runtime: Select a flashlight with a long runtime and always have replacement batteries available. Select a flashlight that will run on high power for at least 4 hours. When using the flashlight try to use the low setting as much as possible to preserve battery life.
- Switch: The switch should be easy to find and activate.
- Size: The flashlight should be easy to carry and hold. I do NOT like lights that are so small that they could get lost easily or lights that are large and difficult to carry.
- Batteries: The batteries should be easy to obtain and replace. I do NOT like flashlights that exclusively use rechargeable batteries. If the batteries drain then I want a way to quickly install disposable batteries to get the flashlight operating again. Always have replacement batteries available. If you are also using a headlamp then look for a flashlight that uses the same batteries.
One day while shopping at Costco I found a package of four Energizer aluminum flashlights. These 300 lumen flashlights cost $20 for four and use three AAA batteries. I bought a package and put two in my car, one in the house, and one in my son’s car. These will not replace my tactical flashlights but they are good backup lights that generate a lot of light.If you are looking for a basic, non-tactical flashlight I was impressed with the Energizer TUF2AAPE (review). This light is bright (250 lumens), durable (high impact plastic case), very affordable (about $16), and it uses 2 AA batteries. It is a good, basic, bright, inexpensive light. If you need a smaller non-tactical flashlight then consider the StreamLight Stylus Pro. These are small, have decent light output (90 lumens), use two AAA batteries, have a 6.5 hour runtime, and they are about the size of a highlighter pen. They have two modes (ON and OFF) and sell for about $20 (full review).