No survival kit is complete without a crank flashlight. There are a few elements you should consider before purchasing your own. Take a look at your rankings to find the best crank flashlight in your price range.
Planning for the unexpected is the only way to make sure you and your family are prepared for every situation. Crank flashlights are one of the most versatile survival tools you can buy and should be in everyone’s survival kit.
To make your choices easier, we compiled a list of the five best crank flashlights you can buy online, as well as a buyer’s guide to assist you in making your selection.
Crank Flashlight Product Comparison Table
Crank Flashlight Reviews
1. Thorfire Hand Crank Solar Powered Rechargeable Flashlight
The Thorfire hand crank flashlight is an affordable, bare-bones essential flashlight that will fit your survival needs. If you want a flashlight that will be there when you need it, this might be the flashlight that interests you the most.
You can charge this flashlight from the crank or natural sunlight, making it easy on those who need immediate light after a sunny day. It’s waterproof as well, so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet.
The negatives on this flashlight are that it doesn’t have any additional features and only one LED bulb. Still, it’s a reliable flashlight option that is perfect for any survival toolkit.
2. PrimalCamp Hand Crank LED Flashlight
The PrimalCamp is another one-bulb LED flashlight that you can charge by cranking or leaving it in sunlight. This flashlight has the added benefit of a clip at the end, which you can attach to your backpack, so light is never far away.
This light doesn’t have any additional features either, but it’s far cheaper than any radio or USB charging crank flashlight you’ll find. PrimalCamp provides a simple, reliable crank flashlight for those who are looking for just that.
3. iRonsnow Solar Emergency Flashlight
The iRonsnow flashlight allows you versatility in your charging. You can charge it by the traditional crank method, charge it with a USB, or leave it in the sun for a while to gather charge.
This flashlight benefits significantly from its list of additional features as well. It includes an AM/FM radio, three LED lights, and a cell phone charger that can give you a brief stint of phone battery life.
The drawback of this crank flashlight is the duration it will last. There’s a 12-month replacement warranty, but two years down the road you might need to buy a new crank flashlight. It will last a couple of years but isn’t as reliable as some of the other crank flashlights we’ve reviewed.
4. Energizer Weatheready 3-LED Flashlight
Another basic option is the Energizer Weatheready flashlight that provides three brightness levels. The small size means it’s extremely portable, with a carabiner hook that will attach you your pants or backpack.
Unfortunately, the small size also means that you can’t charge it in the sun and the small battery only supports a few minutes of charge. It’s still a good flashlight to have by your side if you’re in a pinch.
5. Cynergy Lifelight Emergency Flashlight
If you’re looking for something that will cover a variety of survival needs, the Cynergy Lifelight flashlight is an option you should explore. This product is more than just a flashlight. It can cut seatbelts, break car windows, charge your phone, and navigate through the built-in compass.
While the light works well, the cell phone charger leaves a lot to be desired. You have to crank like crazy to get a bit of charge, but most of these crank flashlights with USB chargers seem to have a similar issue.
How We Chose Our Rankings
We strive for accuracy in all of our reviews and took multiple considerations while crafting the crank flashlight rankings. There were a few factors we ranked above others, which will give you a better idea what you should look for.
Ahead are a few of the elements we took into account when developing our crank flashlight rankings.
Customer feedback is one of the essential characteristics we consider in all of our reviews.
Just because we had a positive experience with a product doesn’t mean it’s standard. Hundreds of negative reviews far outweigh our limited experience with these products.
Online shoppers who have purchased these products can see how they perform over months or even years.
The flashlight might work brilliantly out of the box but degrades quickly after initial use. This is an element that’s difficult for us to test, but user reviews will be able to give us more information.
Reviewing what consumers have to say about a product is one of the best ways we can ensure accuracy.
If one person has a problem with something, it might not be a huge deal. If several people have the same complaint, however, it’s worth knowing before you make your selection.
Multiple vs. Single LEDs
Many of the flashlights you’ll see on this list contain multiple LED lights, which is a fantastic perk. Those that include one LED can be extremely bright, which is great for some situations but poor in others.
A flashlight that has multiple LEDs allows you to set the brightness level to adapt to the situation. Lower light is less of a drain on the battery and can be better than a bright light if you’re trying to read something.
On the other hand, a bright light is better than a dim light if you’re trying to find your way at night. A multi-LED flashlight will give you the chance to switch between lights depending on what you’re trying to do.
There are a lot of companies in the crank flashlight business, and you probably haven’t heard of most of them. It’s a crowded space, and a lot of the companies you’ll see will make sub-par products.
You can likely find one of these brands selling crank flashlights for a few dollars.
While the deal might seem fantastic, they probably won’t last very long or will disappoint you in some other way.If you want a crank flashlight for survival purposes, you need something that will be reliable - not a knockoff.
We valued brands with a strong reputation for making the best products.
We considered a few brands we didn’t recognize when the user reviews were positive enough, but we mostly tried to stick to brands that have a good track record. If you’re in a survival situation, you need the flashlight to work. This is no place to cut corners.
While having a working flashlight for survival is the first and most critical characteristic, Having some additional features didn’t hurt our ranting of these products. After all, there are several other characteristics of survival other than producing light.
Some of these flashlights will give you multiple features on top of producing a strong, long-lasting source of light. If your cell phone runs out of batteries, for instance. Some of these flashlights will allow you to crank-charge the cell phone for enough power to make a call.
A phone call can often be more useful than a light source in some situations. If you’re camping and find yourself stranded in the woods with no cell phone battery, you’ll be happy you chose a crank flashlight with a few additional features.
Most crank flashlights come with some form of warranty, whether it’s limited or for a lifetime. Since most people will be storing these flashlights for emergencies, having one that you can replace as time goes on is a fantastic perk.
Some brands offer a lifetime warranty, which means you can replace the flashlight for free once it stops holding an adequate charge.
We prioritized long warranties over short ones with these flashlights since there’s a high chance you’ll eventually have to replace it down the line.
Now that we’ve covered some of the better crank flashlights you can find. We’ll give you a breakdown of some of the other things to consider before buying.
Here, we cover battery type and additional features.
You’ll almost always find crank flashlights that have either a NiMH or a Lithium-ion battery. These are popular because they can hold a charge for about a half hour after cranking for a couple of minutes.
You might also see rarer cases where the battery is a capacitor. Both battery types have their positives and negatives.
Lithium-ion batteries and NiMH batteries will do best when you first purchase them. They last for about a half hour after a few minutes of cranking and can serve most of your survival needs in a pinch.
The drawback comes in the degradation of these batteries. They’ll last around 500 to 1,000 charges before you need to replace them, which seems like a very long time. Unfortunately, time plays a factor as well.
Those who are storing crank flashlights in case of emergency probably won’t use them very often. They might see usage once a year when the power goes out, or when you find yourself in a precarious situation in the wild.
After a couple of years of moderate use, the battery will start to deteriorate. The charge won’t last as long as it used to until you’re cranking for three minutes to produce a full minute of light.
Capacitors don’t suffer from this problem.
These batteries last far longer than their counterparts and can recharge upwards of 500,000 times before losing effectiveness.
The only negative with capacitors is that they don’t last as long after the initial charges. You’ll only be able to get around 15 minutes of charge from these batteries after a couple of minutes of cranking - even when the batteries are brand new.
You’ll have to decide for yourself which battery you think is best. If you think you’ll use the flashlight a lot, then you’ll get your money’s worth from a NiMH or Lithium-ion battery. IF you’re going to store the flashlight for months or years without using it, a capacitor flashlight is your best option.
Keep in mind, though, that NiMH or Lithium-ion flashlights are far more common. You’ll have to do a bit more research to find a flashlight with a capacitor that performs the way you need it to.
Additional Features to Consider
A few of the flashlights you’ll come across will have additional features. You might not think these are initially necessary. But they can be incredibly helpful and don’t tend to cost much more than regular flashlights.
Here are some of the additional features to look for in your crank flashlight:
Red LED Light
Red LEDs allow you to see better in the dark. And don’t put much of a strain on the battery. If you’re buying a flashlight in case you lose power for an extended period or get lost in the woods. Then a red LED light will be a huge benefit to you.
A USB charger is one of the most useful features in a crank flashlight. Especially in this day in age. If you’re stranded with a dead cell phone battery. Then the flashlight will give you enough juice for a quick phone call. Once you crank it again, you might be able to get another call out of the charge.
If you’re looking for a flashlight with a USB charger, it should also have a built-in voltage regulator. If you over-crank the flashlight with your cell phone plugged in. Then you have a chance of frying the cell phone’s battery.
An FM radio is far from necessary for survival. But it can be a great tool to pass the time when you’re out of power. You might underestimate how boring it is not to have power - especially at night. It’s even a struggle to read with dim light. Which is one of the only things you can do to pass the time.
An FM radio is particularly beneficial if you’re worried about how much you’ll use the crank flashlight.
If you’re buying one for an emergency, there’s a chance you’ll never use all of the features it has.
An FM radio means you can bring it to the beach or on a camping trip for entertainment. And crank the light for a few minutes when the battery dies.
More from PreparednessMama
PreparednessMama provides women with reliable, realistic and practical information about preparedness, self-reliance, gardening, food storage and everyday life – without the hype. Come ask an expert how you can prepare your family for the big and small disasters in life.