The Best Handheld Spotlight

Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS 10W Lithium Ion LED Rechargeable Spotlight

Our Top Pick for 2016: Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS 10W Lithium Ion LED Rechargeable Spotlight
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $56.29*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

The first evidence of man-made lighting has been traced back as far as 70,000 years ago, and it’s safe to say that we’ve come a very long way since then. From the time that humans depended entirely the sun, to the crude animal fat-fueled stone vessels used for lighting by the Romans, to crude 18th century lamps, to our instant light switches today, the technology to harness light has evolved dramatically. The first US patent for a handheld flashlight was issued in 1903, and today, the average consumer has access to high-powered handheld spotlights that completely outshine their 20th century predecessors by a thousandfold. Instead of animal fat and improvised wicks, we now have the power of circuity, filaments, and light-emitting diodes (LED). The following products have been reviewed as some of the best handheld spotlights on the market for their power, longevity, and technological sophistication.

Table of contents

500/30 Lumens
2200 Lumens
18 Million Candle Power
Ergonomically Designed
1 Hour Of Runtime On High
Rubberized Grip
7 Hours Of 700 Lumen Runtime
Philips 130 H4 Watt Halogen Bulb
Trigger Pulse Switch
Constant Light Output
12V 7AH Sealed Lead Acid Battery
Dual Recharge, AC/DC Adapter
AC and DC Chargers
Stand Is Adjustable And Swivels

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS 10W Lithium Ion LED Rechargeable Spotlight

Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS 10W Lithium Ion LED Rechargeable Spotlight Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $56.29*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe Stanley Fatmax SL10LEDS 10W LED rechargeable spotlight is capable of holding its charge for up to 12 months at a time. The spotlight can be switched between two brightness settings of high power and low power. The spotlight’s runtime on high power, at approximately 2200 lumens, can last for up to 1 hour. The maximum runtime for low power, at 700 lumens, is 7 hours.

Overall, the SL10LEDS is a highly dependable spotlight that serves owners with powerful and consistent light output. The spotlight requires just one rechargeable Lithium ion battery in order to operate.

If necessary, the spotlight can run with the 12V cord alone. As the spotlight uses Lithium-ion batteries, regular charging is strongly advised; however, owners should refrain from keeping the batteries in a constant state of charge when they are already at full capacity, as this could potentially lead to overheating and create a fire hazard. Customers should be advised that the battery cannot be replaced, and there are no user-serviceable parts.

The spotlight comes with a 12V cord, 9W charger, and a car charger included. The inside clear lens has a diameter of 3″, and the outer ring’s diameter is 3.5″. There is an integral stand on the light’s top, which does not lock but can still be used for holding the light stable at any specific angle that the owner wants.

The stand does not swivel, but the light itself can simply be moved towards any area that the user wants to. The spotlights beam is manually activated with a trigger, but it also features a trigger lock that allows users to let go of it with the light remaining active.

Owners have testified that the SL10LEDS spotlight produces a beam of light that is narrow and yet still provides a wide area of coverage. Certain customers prefer to use the low beam over the high beam, due to the fact that is saves energy without sacrificing too much visibility. One owner estimated the field of view for both the high beams and low beams to be approximately 50 yards by 25 yards wide, with the high beam being about twice as bright as the low beam.

In one testimony, an owner of the spotlight began their testimony by noting that they owned a 5-acre lot. The owner needed a spotlight in order to get a good look at their yard during the low visibility of the night. The owner had been using a rechargeable Makita flashlight that had been included with either screwdriver and drill set, but it wasn’t bright enough to locate their dog at a 300-foot distance.

The owner decided to purchase the SL10LEDS light about seven hours before sunset. The initial charge time was about 6 hours long, but the owner found that it was very much worth the wait regardless. The owner reported that the light was bright enough to illuminate trees as far away as 850 feet away, though they preferred to use the dim light setting for viewing objects up close.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Sirius 500 Lumen Handheld 6 LED Spotlight

Sirius 500 Lumen Handheld 6 LED Spotlight

View it on Amazon for $54.89*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Sirius 500 Lumen handheld spotlight has a voltage of 12.0. The spotlight has 3 Cree Hi-Power LED’s for long range, and six LED’s that can be used to view the immediate area. The spotlight’s illumination has improved by about 20% compared to the older models.

The burn time of the 3 Cree High-Power LED’s is 3 hours, and the burn time for the six LED’s is about 12 hours. The spotlight is powered by a 6V 2.5h SLA battery that comes included with every purchase by default.

To make the spotlight easier to carry, the light features an ergonomic rubberized grip with a trigger pulse switch. If the owner wishes, they can keep the light activated with a lock switch to maintain a consistent beam of light without manually triggering it. The spotlight features dual recharge capability with an AC/DC adapter, and a 12V DC car adapter as well.

The rubberized housing of the frame is water resistant, which gives the light an extra layer of protection against the possibility of an unexpected rainfall. Included with the spotlight is a detachable red lens. The light also has a hole on the bottom of the grip that can be used for leashing.

One testifying owner mentioned that they had previously owned the less powerful version of the spotlight before deciding to try out the newer model. The owner found that the spotlight operated just as a flawlessly, with a comfortable feeling in the hand and even more power to offer.

The owner was particularly pleased with the spotlight’s ability to be toggled between hi/low power settings. They found that when the spotlight was in its high mode, the 3 LEDs gave off a large halo that illuminated their entire immediate area. The owner found that the lower light settings still gave off enough light to let them see what they were doing without blinding them.

In another testimony, a customer in Central Oregon testified that the Cyclops 500 Lumen spotlight helped them get a much better degree of visibility at night in the desert. The customer appreciated how the spotlight was lightweight and felt comfortable to hold at all times. Because of all of the wild animals in the area at night, the customer felt that the light made them far safer than they would be without it.

The customer also found the spotlight to be highly durable, which was a valuable quality to have on their expeditions through the wilderness. The only potential drawback that the owner found for the product was the lack of a threaded hole at the bottom for a tripod. If it’s not necessary for owners to use the light in a hands-free manner, then the quality of the light should leave very little to be desired.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Cyclops C18MIL Thor X Colossus Rechargable Halogen Spotlight

Cyclops C18MIL Thor X Colossus Rechargable Halogen Spotlight

View it on Amazon for $69.89*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardThe Cyclops C18MIL Thor X Colossus rechargeable halogen spotlight has a voltage of 12.0 and a wattage of 130. The spotlight can be used at the same time that it’s plugged into the DC charger, but it can’t be used while it’s plugged into the AC charger with two different power levels.

For enhanced durability, the spotlight’s construction is rubberized. With dual recharge capability, the spotlight can be charged with either an AC/DC adapter or a 12v DC adapter, which are both included with the spotlight by default.

The runtime of the spotlight on its full power setting is 20 minutes, and the runtime of the spotlight when running on its dim power setting is 33 minutes. The spotlight features a Philips 130 H4 watt halogen bulb and a rechargeable 12V 7Ah sealed lead acid battery.

Customers should be advised that this particular spotlight is not resistant to water exposure or the weather, so customers should make an effort to refrain from unnecessarily exposing the spotlight to the elements if possible.

The overall reception to the spotlight has been resoundingly positive. One of the owners testified that it’s the best spot flash light that they’ve owned. The owner appreciated the spotlight’s high level of light concentration and focus. The one drawback that the customer noted was the fact that there weren’t very clear instructions for the recharging process.

Another customer testified that that before getting the Cyclops C18MIL Thor X Colossus, they had been using the Cyclops C15MIL. While the customer found that the C15MIL and C18MIL both technically fell short of the manufacturer’s claims of 15 and 18 million Candle Power, they got a much better impression when measuring the luminosity in terms of Lumen Units.

When measuring the luminosity of the C18MIL in terms of Lumen Units, the owner found a luminosity rating of 1417. The user opted to modify the spotlight by removing the Phillips 130-watt quartz halogen lamp and replacing it with a Seoul H4 55-watt 6000K Xenon HID bulb from an auto light replacement kit.

The owner tucked the ballast under the reflector because of the ample volume before resealing it. After fully charging the batteries after resealing the spotlight, the owner reported that they were able to make the dead of night appear to be nearly as bright as day.

Overall, customers find that the spotlight to be quite powerful for its value. The spotlight is capable of shooting a diagonal beam across 20 acres. The only notable downsides mentioned were that the leak battery makes the spotlight particularly heavy, the charging time demands some patience, and the battery life can drop relatively quickly.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Black & Decker SL3WAKB LED Alkaline Spotlight

Black & Decker SL3WAKB LED Alkaline Spotlight

View it on Amazon for $16.86*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickThe Black & Decker 3 Watt cordless, alkaline spotlight is ultra-bright and is capable of reaching up to 195 lumens. The spotlight runs on 4 AA batteries, and its runtime on 195 lumens is about 13 hours. The spotlight features a durable bezel made of rubber and a trigger lock with 3 positions.

The spotlight has a compact and lightweight design for easy, strain-free use. With the power saver setting, the spotlight can conserve its energy to extend the runtime beyond its default lifespan. When the alkaline batteries are running low, there is an LED indicator to give the user a warning that they are close to using the last of their power. With the Brightness Trigger Switch & Lock, it’s possible for the user to toggle the brightness settings between “On”, “Off”, and “Variable”.

An owner of the Black & Decker spotlight testified that customers who are searching for a rechargeable handheld light ought to buy rechargeable AA batters, due to the fact that this spotlight doesn’t feature a sealed battery like a good amount of other handheld spotlights often do.

The owner found the light output to be exceedingly impressive for the spotlight’s price. They reported that the white beam of light was luminous enough to reveal objects as far as 200 yards away with surprisingly sharp detail. The only real downside that the customer found was that the beam of light projected by the spotlight wasn’t very wide, so users who necessarily need a wide-spreading light might want to think twice before committing to the purchase.

Pre-purchase considerations

Lens and Lock Switches

The most convenient handheld spotlights will oftentimes be made with a lens design that can be freely detached and reattached to meet your specifications. The environment that you’ll be using the spotlight in may or may not be best-navigated with the default lens that is included with your purchases, and so if it’s detachable, you should be able to equip a lens that’s tailor-made for your needs.

Certain handheld spotlights will feature a lock switch, allowing you to keep it constantly activated on the go. A lock switch spares you the need to constantly keep a finger on the trigger, which can potentially be very convenient for any time that you need to use the spotlight for longer than you usually do.

Grip Comfort

As with all handheld tools, an ergonomic grip is essential for ensuring that you can use it comfortably for as long as you need. High-end handheld spotlights will generally be designed with a handle that’s been made for the user’s comfort. The implements used for a comfortable grip might include things like a rubberized coating, or soft padding.

The weight of a handheld spotlight, combined with the need to keep it held upright as you travel, can very quickly create a certain level of stress in your forearm. You want to ensure that you don’t accidentally drop the spotlight from a sudden cramp and break it when you need it the most, so ensuring that your choice in spotlight has an ergonomic grip can prove to be highly prudent.

Light Output

Naturally, the strength of the light emitted by the spotlight will be one of the most vital features to consider while you’re going over all of the possible choices. Light power will be tied to the spotlight’s voltage, through depending on exactly where and when you plan on using the spotlight, more voltage may not always immediately mean that it’s the best choice for your personal needs.

The best choices in spotlights will generally allow you to shift between varying levels of light output. Being able to shift from high, to medium, to low light levels can help you save battery life and have a more appropriate source of illumination at all times.

A model that shines brighter than necessary might be less convenient than a slightly dimmer spotlight that lasts longer overall, so make sure to understand exactly how your spotlight needs coincide with the light output of each choice.


The runtime is slightly correlated with the spotlight’s overall light output. Essentially, runtime will determine just how long a spotlight can hold a certain intensity of light with undiminished consistency. Spotlights that seem very similar in almost all respects can still differ in the amount of time that they can consistently operate at 2200 lumens, so make sure that you don’t neglect to ascertain just what the runtime is for each spotlight choice’s highest brightness setting.

Charge Longevity

The charge life of a handheld spotlight shouldn’t be confused for the runtime. While the runtime determines how long a light can consistently maintain a certain intensity of light without dwindling, the charge that a spotlight can maintain determines just how long it can hold the maximum amount of power it needs to remain active at any setting. Certain high end spotlights might be able to hold their charge for several months on end, while less technologically advanced spotlights might only be able to hold a charge for a couple of weeks.

Even if an option with higher charge holding capacity is more expensive, you might find that these spotlights can make up for their price in the time that’s saved from not having to recharge the spotlight quite as often.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Spotlights can be an extremely convenient resource for all kinds of purposes, but no matter what they’re needed for, certain attributes are necessary for any spotlight to be reliable. Many less savvy shoppers assume that the most important quality of a handheld spotlight is its brightness, but it’s vital not to ignore the additional, equally important but easily overlooked elements. Make sure that the spotlight’s runtime and light output are properly aligned with your needs, as this will save you from needing to make an expensive replacement. The proper ergonomics and charge capacity will ensure that you can easily and comfortably use the handheld spotlight for as long as you need to.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Flashlight History – Who Invented Flashlight?,, May 10, 2013
  2. Hunting SpotLight Myths and Facts,, November 8, 2013
  3. eHow contributors, How Does a Spotlight Work?,, August 11, 2009
  4. A Brief History of Lighting,, July 1, 2002

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