LED Torches and Camping Lamps

The latest and best torches tested and reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 19th February 2024

 

LED torch technology is racing ahead and here at Fredshed I have been testing the best since 1999.

The latest developments are Chip on Board (COB) Led panels and super powerful mini torches with rechargeable batteries.

Prices have fallen as a result of technological improvements but many of the "bargain torches" are VERY low quality.

I will attempt to show you the best of the best and some acceptable cheaper quality alternatives.

 

On This Page

Hand Size and Zoomable LED Torches

Best Small Torch

New Tactical/Police Torch

Best Key Ring Torch

Ultra Violet Forensics Torch

Head Torches

Best Camping Lantern

 

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Best LED Torch Reviews

Hand Size and Zoomable LED Torches

Also Known as Tactical Torches

Years ago my metal bodied Maglite was my favorite torch because it was solid, reliable and didn't fall apart just when you needed it like many plastic torches. The other attractive thing about the Maglite was its "geek appeal". It felt hi-tech and cutting edge.

Sadly Maglite didn't move with the times and other companies developed the new technology bulbs and reflectors that enable torches to be significantly brighter AND last longer!

German company LED Lenser introduced the LED Police Tech Torch. It was only 5 inches long and 148g but is bright enough to dazzle any mugger. It gave out 115 Lumens which was quite a lot back then for a small torch.

Led lenser torches never come top in the highest lumens claims but you can be sure that the lumens they produce are perfectly focused and maximised.

I have used my Police tech torch for more than 10 years and it has been 100% reliable. It has been replaced with the more powerful P7 model, that I also have and totally love.

Led Lenser torches make fantastic gifts and you never see one in a charity shop along with the foot spas, electric steamers and other unwanted gifts.

If you register your torch with Led Lenser you will get a 7 year guarantee, (from a company likely to still be around in 7 years).

Other premium brands may cost less but often are not zoomable which to work well requires complex optics and electronics.

The image above shows the Led Lenser P7 tactical torch and the Police tech model that preceded it.

The P7 is only slightly larger but twice as bright!

This classic torch uses 4 AAA batteries to give a genuine 450 Lumens .

 It comes with a sturdy case and presentation box if you want to give it as a present. A rechargeable version with a fancy magnetic charger is also available but around 40% more expensive. Use the links below to buy this tried and tested LED torch and also help my work testing products.

The battery cartridges use gold connectors that will not rust and cannot corrode.

  

Ledlenser P7 Professional LED Torch

Led lenser P7R - rechargeable P7 Torch

 

Cheaper Alternatives.

You can buy a similar sized, as bright, cheaper torch if you want to take a risk with no proper warranty

The one below has multiple functions, comes with rechargeable batteries and accessories.

 

There are all made in China and boast ridiculously high brightness levels up to 30,000 Lumens.

This is obvious nonsense and these torches appear and disappear with many names so if they fail after a month or two you will be unlikely to be able to contact the manufacturer.

The claims for water resistance and battery life can also be taken with a pinch of salt but they are generally pretty bright and reasonably well put together.  

I have bought 6 of these torches and 4 have lasted 2 years with no issues.

They can be good torches for children, someone who loses things, or anyone not wanting to spend a fortune.

The one on the link below looks good but is not the one shown above which is currently not available.

Multi function rechargeable LED torch

 

Would You like to Support Fredshed?

If you found this page useful and decide to buy a torch please use my links when you do as this helps keep my site going, thanks, Fred

All of the links on my site are affiliate links that pay a small commission from the retailer on completed sales

 

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Latest and Best Small Torches - With Rechargeable Batteries

This is the superb Olight S1R Baton 11 .

This is one of my favourite and most used torches due to its handy size and high spec.

The on/off switch also lights up to show you the level of battery power.

This torch is waterproof at 2 metres and only weights 51g!

It is top quality and has a 5 year warranty.

 

 

My Orange coloured torch shown is a limited edition model which may not always be available.

The standard model is black, and equally beautiful.

Black Olight S1R Baton 11

This superb Olight S1R Baton II is a 3 inch Torch powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery.

The IMR16340 battery is charged using a magnetic clip and USB port for extra convenience.

The 2nd generation of this amazing torch is IXP 8 rated waterproof and throws its light up to 145m.

I am so impressed with this torch that I am happy to call it SIR Baton!

The S1R has 4 levels of power and the brightest (turbo mode) gives 1000 Lumens and lights my garden and houses in the next street as if they were in daylight!

I compared my S1R to the slightly larger,  top quality Fenix E12 but it was no-where near as bright or easy to operate.

Fenix make great torches and the 30 (appro), E12 is probably the best torch powered by just one AA battery.

It has 3 light levels, operated from the end switch or by twisting and retruning the torch head.

It also stands on its end and light an average sized room for several hours depending on which of the 3 settings you chose.

AA Powered Fenix E12 Mini Torch (8cm long and 160 Lumens)

If you want the same size torch with even more Lumens and extended run times the Baton 3 is 1200 Lumens and the premium version comes with a box that is also a charger that can charge the torch 3 times before it needs charging itself.

Black Olight S1R Baton 11

OLIGHT Baton 3 Premium Edition Pocket Torch 1200 Lumen

Buy Olight Baton 3 direct from manufacturer

 

Best Olight, Police and Military Tactical Torches Compared

Olight Seeker 3 Pro and Warrior X3 Tactical Torches tested and reviewed

Olight Warrior X3 - Single LED, 2500 Lumens and 560m range.

Olight Seeker 3 Pro - Four LEDS,   4200 Lumens and 250m range

 

These two excellent torches use the same 3.6v 5000ma rechargeable battery but function in very different ways.

The Warrior has an end switch (useful with rifles) and 2 light levels.

The Olight Seeker 3 Pro has a clever top switch and 5 light levels.

 

Both of these Olight models have the superb magnetic USB charging system as shown above with the S1R baton model.

 

The Warrior has the beam range but the Seeker has the floodlight effect.

Olight Warrior X3 Police and Military Tactical Torch

The Warrior has a maximum throw of 560m which I can confirm from my use on this beach.

The Warrior will vibrate to let you know when the battery is getting low.

Accessories included are a superb holster with a magnetic catch and an o ring for improved grip.

The Warrior X3 is IPX8 waterproof and drop proof to 3 metres.

I am not keen on end switches and find it hard to use the correct force on this one.

If you want a rugged torch with the best range then the Warrior X3 is worth a look.

There are a couple of variants of the Warrior X so please check carefully for the features you want.

The Warrior X3 shown has 3 Zirconium balls on the bevel for breaking glass and an extra 60m throw of the beam.

The Warrior X Pro has no balls and its range is slightly less.

Buy the Warrior X3 - (buying via this link will provide a small commission for this site)

The Warrior X does not have 3 Zirconium balls and "only" a 500m beam.

Buy the Warrior X Pro

 

 

Olight Seeker 3 Pro, Police and Military Tactical Torch

If you prefer a similar size, simpler torch with a wider beam the new Olight Seeker 3 Pro has a max 250m throw but 4800 Lumens!

This means it will light up the area in front of you like a soccer pitch when the floodlights come on!

 

It has 4 LED's and a side button with small green lights that tell you the battery level and power settings.

The body has a rubber grip and on the turbo setting the torch will automatically dim if you come close to an object.

The Beam angle is wider than the Warrior which is why it produces more lumens.

The Warrior and Seeker 3 Pro both have 3.6v 5000ma batteries with magnetic chargers

Buy Olight Seeker 3 Pro direct from manufacturer

 

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Best Key Ring Torch

 Olight EOS Keychain Torch

Having a little torch on your key ring is so useful but most of them will only just about light up a keyhole and often fall apart after a few knocks.

I used a LED Lenser K3 for over 3 years but found it a little bit large at 7cm.

I have now moved on to the much smaller and brighter new Olight 1R2 EOS.

The new model is 4cms long, weighs only 12gms, and has a rechargeable Li-ion battery.

The battery is charged in the torch by a USB cable so no need to fiddle about with those little button batteries.

Another great mini torch is the Coast model powered by 1 AAA battery and its clear beam is shown below.

Coast G19 54 Lumens/3.25 Hours Run Time Pen Torch, Black

Coast G19 54 Lumens/3.25 Hours Run Time Pen Torch

Olight i1R 2 EOS Rechargeable LED Keychain Torch 150 Lumens

 Ledlenser K3 Key-Ring LED Torch (Black) - Gift Box

 

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Coming Soon - Headlamp with hand wave on/off function!

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Best Ultra Violet Forensics Torch

Ultra Violet Forensics Torch

This clever torch shows up all hidden organic substances and some artificial ones too.

I showed this to a real forensic scientist who was amazed at it's performance and low price.

It's 51 LEDS powered by 3 AAA's  makes this torch is powerful enough to show everything!

It is scary to use this on your kitchen and even more so when staying in hotel rooms.

 UV Torch, ,51 LED Ultraviolet Blacklight Detector for Dog Urine, Pet Stains,3 x AA Batteries Included)

 

Now available - mixed function LED torch with UV option!

This superb rechargeable torch has 7 functions all controlled by a top switch that illuminates green.

It has a zoomable head and the side of the torch has a bank of COB LEDs that will light a room.

The end of the torch is magnetic so ideal for sticking to broken down cars.

The 4th click of the switch activates the Purple UV bulb which is very good for detecting organic matter.

USB Rechargeable Torches,  3 in 1 UV  Torch with 7 Modes  [2 Pack]

 

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Head Torches

Being a keen gardener, DIYer and a wheelchair user I use a head torch a lot as it keeps my hands free to push the wheelchair, use my tools and crucially - hunt snails at night!

For so many jobs a head torch is more useful than a normal hand torch and you don't have to worry about dropping it.

Petzl is one of the leading brands and its Pixa model was designed to survive explosions!

Over the years I have tried many makes head torch, which thanks to LED bulbs are now much brighter.

 The latest development is hand wave control for the different brightness levels

I am currently testing the new Olight Array 2S. It has 3 LED bulbs for spot, flood and also red light.

The battery is recharged by USB C cable and is housed in watertight box at the back of the headband.

The whole lot weights only 131g and the build quality is exceptional

It has a simple, easy to access on/off switch and the lamp can be tilted up or down to throw the light beam exactly where you need it.

Once the lamp is on you can change the brightness by waving your hand up for bright and down for dimmer.

 Buy the Array 2S headtorch

Petzl Tikkina HeadLamp

 

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Best Lantern Torch - Great For Cars, Camping and Worklight

This moderately priced lantern torch is ideal to keep in your car, toolbox or bedside table.

It has a standard end beam from an LED bulb and a separate lantern beam on the side from a COB LED panel.

The torch is 6 1/2 inches long and made from tough plastic.

It runs off 3 AAA batteries and has a pocket clip and a magnetic base to hold it to your car.

I bought a couple of these in March 2019 and still use them frequently.

Although no longer available but even better is this all metal model from long established torch maker Nebo.

Nebo Big Larry 2 - Torch, Work light, Warning Lamp

The Nebo big Larry has 4 functions.

Torch, white lantern, red lantern and flashing red lantern.

Big Larry 2 runs off 3 AA batteries, has a magnetic base and pocket clip.

For the money this is the most practical all round torch and very well made.

 

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LATEST LED CAMPING LANTERN - WITH FLICKERING FLAME OPTION

If you would like a camping lantern with the option of flickering flames, then the Olantern from Olight is superb.

 OLIGHT Olantern  Rechargeable (Moss Green)

It charges by magnetic USB like most Olight torches and is robust and waterproof.

It can be uses in warm white tone flickering flame mode or you can switch the bulb to cold white for brighter modes.

The flickering flame is fantastic in a room or tent but not bright enough outside to do much apart from look pretty.

If you switch to the other bulb you have 3 brightness settings for 30, 120 and 360 lumens!

The 360 lumen setting is bright enough to light my medium size garden.

I also really like the motion sensor that illuminates the on/off switch as soon as you touch the lamp.

The Olantern is solid and has a heavy base and hanging hook and is available in 3 colours.

I like the flickering flame effect so much I use it in my bedroom as a night light!

 

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 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

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