Best Handheld Spotlight in 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

best-handheld-spotlightI hope you agree with me if I say:

When the lights go out, a handheld spotlight will be your best friend.

These powerful lights are more versatile than your average pocket sized flashlights. In this article we will review a list of Top 10 best handheld spotlights available.

If you are on the lookout for an efficient and reliable handheld spotlight that can do more than just illuminating a nook or corner in your bedroom or car, these 10 products might interest you. These reviews are arranged in no particular order of preference.

Best Handheld Spotlight 2017

Handheld SpotlightsWeight 
Stanley SL10LEDS (Best Rechargeable LED Spotlight)2.4 lbs.
Stanley LEDLIS 10 Watt (Most Powerful)1.5 lbs.
Streamlight 44900 Waypoint Spotlight1.8 lbs.
Cyclop Sirius 500 Lumen Handheld Spotlight1.5 lbs.
Rayovac Sportsman 500 Lumen Spotlight1.6 lbs.
Cyclops Sirius 300 Lumen Handheld Spotlight2.0 lbs.
Stanley SL5W09 (Long Run-time)1.3 lbs.
Black & Decker LEDLIB Spotlight1.5 lbs.
Stanley FL5W10 (Waterproof LED Rechargeable Spotlight)1.0 lbs.
DEWALT DCL043 20v Max Jobsite LED Spotlight1.9 lbs.

1. Stanley SL10LEDS (Best Rechargeable LED Spotlight)

stanley-sl10leds-10-watt-lithium-ion-led-spotlightWith a professional looking yellow and black design, this compact spotlight from Stanley is a real all round performer. The LED device has the 3 modes that can be set by the trigger like button on the grip.

The low light mode is ideal for regular use. If you are outdoors and want the beam to go up to a 100 yards of more, the high light mode can beam the light at almost a 1000 lumens, which is more than enough to light up things within the vision range of the normal human eye. The run-time is around 7 hours in low light mode while the high beam will leave you high and dry in the darkness after 1 hour of continuous use.

The rechargeable lithium ion battery can hold its charge for almost a year if left unused. You have the option to use either an AC charging, or even a DC source if it is available. And even more conveniently, the durable design includes a heavy duty bezel to protect the spotlight in case of accidental drops.

The spotlight also has a collapsible stand with an easy locking pivot, which is very useful if you want to keep it shining at a particular spot while freeing both your hands to do other stuff. The LED light offers a stable white light with a continuous light output.

Pros
  • Availability of AC and DC charging options
  • Reasonable run-time on low beam setting
  • Availability of stand for hands free use
  • High light mode can go up to a 1000 lumens
Cons
  • A bit heavier at 2.4lbs
  • No always on switch
  • The battery run-time is not the highest

2. Stanley LEDLIS (Most Powerful)

stanley-ledlis-10-watt-rechargeable-spotlightAnother great model from Stanley, this time for those who need extra performance from their spotlights.

It is one of the most powerful handheld spotlight from Stanley. This one has all the regular design features seen in the other Stanley spotlights with a pistol grip, yellow and black finish, a collapsible pivoting stand and a very convenient trigger lock as well. What sets it apart though, is its massive 2000 lumen output.

The lithium ion battery pack can last a whole year without recharging, while the included AC and DC chargers mean that you can charge this spotlight either at home or while driving. The spotlight has a run-time of 1.5 hours on high beam which is quite good considering the output. At low beam, it extends that by another 6 hours or so.

Pros
  • One of the brightest at 2000 lumens
  • It has a collapsible stand for hands-free use
  • Trigger lock offers always on feature
Cons
  • The high power reduces the run-time quite a bit
  • The AC adapter is reported to be a bit fragile and prone to malfunction after a while
  • A tad overpowered for the average user

3. Streamlight 44900 Waypoint Spotlight

streamlight-44900-waypoint-spotlightThe Streamlight is clearly designed for usage on boats and similar crafts, since it offers IPX4 water resistance and an ability to float if dropped in water.

As far as power is concerned, this is a slightly different option when compared to the other more common lithium battery powered options. This rugged black and yellow colored spotlight is powered by alkaline batteries, the “C” size ones. You need four of them to keep light running for up to 8.5 hours. There is also an option of using a 12V DC power cord. The batteries are not included with the package.

As for the LED in use, it emits 210 lumens at high beam and 20 at low beam. That should be more than enough in a nautical setting, especially when you take into account the highly effective, long range parabolic reflector on this spotlight. The rugger device has a tough polycarbonate body and lens designed to withstand severe impacts and shocks.

Pros
  • Ideal for use in boats and yachts, with its water resistance
  • Great if you want a spotlight to take on your fishing trips
  • The high beam has a long throw, up to 2000 feet
  • Extremely rugged design
Cons
  • There is a huge difference between the high beam and low beam, they probably should have added another “medium” level setting as well
  • It uses batteries, not rechargeable lithium battery packs

4. Cyclop Sirius 500 Lumen Handheld Spotlight

sirius-500-lumen-handheld-spotlightWith a matte all-black finish and a pistol-grip replete with a trigger guard, this spotlight looks very close to a handgun if not for the unduly fat barrel that makes up the LED lights. And there are a lot of them too, with separate LEDs for different ranges.

As its name suggests the Cyclops has 3 high power Cree LEDs taking care of the long range lighting while leaving 6 weaker LEDs to handle the illumination when looking at nearer objects.That obviously implies that this spotlight has 3 modes, off, long distance and short range lighting. The rechargeable battery offers 3 hours of run-time on the more powerful Cree LEDs while the dimmer LEDs can last for around 12 hours max on a full charge.

The battery is a 6V lithium polymer SLA with 2.5Ah. For more subtle usage, you even get a detachable red lens. And at 1.5lbs, this is a very lightweight and compact spotlight that is very easy on your hands.

Pros
  • The longer range Cree LEDs can hold charge for 3 hours of usage, excellent run-time on low light as well
  • One of the lightest spotlights in the list
  • Red lens offers a more discreet option when lesser light is required
Cons
  • No option for hands free use
  • The all black finish may be hard to spot in the darkness
  • Less lumen output than some other models

5. Rayovac Sportsman 500 Lumen Spotlight (Waterproof)

rayovac-sportsman-500-lumen-spotlightThough the name is rather improbable, this is still a very sturdy spotlight ideal for those who are prone to dropping things in their hands! These have been tested to withstand drops up to 15 feet and this not something you will find commonly in spotlights. It has an over-mold rubber head and water proofing as well.

The lens and internals have also been hardened to withstand drops and shocks. So if you plan to rough it out in the wild woods or go rafting over rapids, this could be an ideal rugged companion. From the looks of it, they have been designed for people who prefer those kinds of activities.

The LED light can throw a beam up to 360 meters in the high beam setting and around 130 meters in the lower setting. This is a battery powered device, so if you want to go camping, all you need to do is carry a couple of spare AA batteries. If you prefer, you can even use those Ni-MH rechargeable AA batteries, if you can live with the slightly lower power output (though run-times will be longer).

Pros
  • A rugged device, shock proof and waterproof, ideal for camping, rafting, trekking trips
  • The package does come with AA batteries included
  • Will last 10 hours on batteries, even in the high beam setting, that is exceptional
  • Has 3 beam settings, not the usual 2
Cons
  • No hands free stand or tripod functionality
  • The use of AA batteries may put off some people

6. Sirius Cyclops CYC 9WS Thor 9 Watt LED Spotlight

sirius-cyclops-cyc-9ws-thor-9-watt-led-spotlightSirius spotlights tend to have a separate LEDs for high and low beam and this model is no different. It has Luxeon high power LEDs, three of them, for the high beam.

The weaker low beam functionality is handled six Nichia LEDs of a standard configuration. The high beams throws 300 lumens, which is a bit on the lower side when compared to the competition. But the 3 high power LEDs are capable of producing adequate lighting for all but the most demanding users. The spotlight uses rechargeable batteries, and you get a home charging option as well as a car charging option, making this a fantastic choice for a flashlight to keep in your car, especially if going on long trips.

The grip is rubberized and easy to hold, and the gun-like trigger has an always on feature. The spotlight uses up all the battery in 3 hours if used in high beam setting. There is also a discreet detachable red lens.

Pros
  • Has an always on lock, which is very useful
  • Decent distance on the high beam
  • Very rugged design with a compact matte black finish
  • The addition of car charging feature makes it ideal to keep in your car
Cons
  • The beam is a bit weak compared to other spotlights
  • Full charging takes 10 hours
  • The battery is not the best when it comes to longevity
  • No hands free system

7. Stanley SL5W09 (Long Run-time)

stanley-sl5w09-5-watt-led-spotlightNot everyone needs a high powered spotlight with a 1000 lumens of output.

Having the best spotlight is not necessarily about having the brightest light, there is more to it than that. Stanley has several options for those who have want a stronger beam, but this compact spotlight is for those who can live with a device that delivers 190 lumens. If you want a spotlight that can deliver over 10 hours of run-time on high beam, this is the device for you. The lower beam will extend the run by another 4 hours.

At 1.3lbs, this is one of the lightest spotlights in our review series. The rubber bezel adds to its sturdiness while the rechargeable Ni-MH batteries will reach full charge in 2 hours. The addition of AC and DC charging cords make this a very handy and portable device that can go pretty much anywhere with you.

Pros
  • Ideal for home use
  • Very light and compact design
  • Extremely fast charging with the rechargeable Ni-MH battery
  • Has an easy to use dimmer control
Cons
  • Very weak output when compared to other options
  • No always on switch
  • No hands-free stand
  • Requires AA batteries

8. Black & Decker LEDLIB Spotlight

black-decker-ledlib-spotlightWith almost 750 lumens at high beam, this is one of the more powerful units we have reviewed.

But despite all that power, it weighs in at a measly 1.5lbs. The pistol grip has comfortable grooves that offer extra grip, and there is an excellent trigger lock for always on function. For power saving, you also get a dimmer light switch which reduces the light to 400 lumens.

This spotlight uses an in-built lithium ion battery pack capable of reaching full charge in 2 hours. It will give you close to 1 hour of run-time on high beam, and around 7 hours on the lower setting. It can hold charge for up to 12 months and can be charged using either AC or DC power sources.

Pros
  • One of the brightest spotlights tested, even the low beam rates at around 400 lumens
  • Extremely lightweight at 1.5 lbs
  • The trigger lock is excellent
  • The battery pack is one of the quickest at reaching full charge
Cons
  • All that extra power means reduced run-times, even on low beam
  • No hands free setting

9. Stanley FL5W10

stanley-fl5w10-waterproof-led-rechargeable-spotlightA more affordable waterproof spotlight option from Stanley, the FL5W10 can handle depths of up to 6 feet. It is designed to float to the surface and point the light upwards, meaning that even if you do drop it in the water, you will still be able to spot it quickly.

This bright yellow spotlight has a pistol-handle grip, like the best handheld spotlight designs here. And it is also one of the more petite spotlight designs around. If space is at a premium, you might want to look at this spotlight.

The light has the usual high and low beam settings, and use a trigger function. The nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery will last you a good ten hours of run-time on a single charge. The maximum brightness on offer is 520 lumens on high beam, which is par for the course, and quite when you consider the size of the spotlight.

Pros
  • Waterproof design, can withstand 6 feet depths
  • Very compact design
  • Has always on functionality on the trigger
  • Decent power considering the size
Cons
  • Has magnetic switches due to the waterproof design, they are prone to malfunctioning
  • The Ni-Cad batteries are not the most stable ones around

10. DEWALT DCL043 20v Max Jobsite LED Spotlight

dewalt-dcl043-20v-max-jobsite-led-spotlightIf the brand name itself isn’t a dead giveaway, this is a very professional grade spotlight from the brand famous for its power tools and hand tools. And if that is not enough, the spotlight itself is named a Jobsite LED spotlight.

With a pivoting head, belt hook and a modified pistol grip handle that allows for hands-free use, this is a well designed and rugged piece of equipment. You could make full use of this spotlight either at a work-site or at home if you are into DIY and stuff.

It has 3 bright LEDs to illuminate an entire job site. The added feature of a red LED helps maintain night-vision equipments. The low brightness setting can last you for a good 12 hours or more on a full charge. If you want a professional grade spotlight for your work-spaces or job-sites, this is simply one of the best you can get.

Pros
  • An excellent work light with durable design and well thought out features
  • The pivoting head and hands free setting offers excellent illumination to both work-spaces as well as job-sites
  • The added red LED for use with night-vision is an added plus
Cons
  • It needs at least one more brightness setting, as the LEDs are too bright especially at close quarters
  • It doesn’t come with batteries or chargers

Handheld Spotlight Buyers Guide

The best handheld spotlights offer a decent compromise between portability and luminosity. Giving off more light than a smaller flashlight while being compact enough to be carried around by hand. There are a few factors to be considered while choosing the best handheld spotlight for your requirements.

LEDs over CFLs and Incandescent Bulbs: lets get one fact settled right away: incandescent bulbs are going the way of the dinosaurs. They are big, ponderous, highly energy inefficient and don’t last as long as the newer bulb technologies. They will probably be banned completely by 2020. LEDs are better than CFLs, especially for handheld lights, for a couple of reasons. You need instant illumination with a spotlight, at the moment you flip the switch. You don’t get that with CFLs. They also contain trace amounts of mercury, so having them in highly mobile flashlights and spotlights prone to rough use and breakage is a bad idea. This is why LEDs are the choice for manufacturers, and our review list of the best handheld spotlights is populated entirely by LED lights.

Lumens vs Watts: Older bulb and lighting technologies were almost entirely measured in terms of watts, or the energy consumed. Modern bulbs like LEDs and CFLs are more energy efficient. They provide more light and brightness at lesser watts. So when you buy a flashlight these days, you don’t look at the wattage, you look at lumens. A lumen is basically to lights what gallons are to water and pounds are to solids, a unit of measurement. 1 lumen is roughly equal to the light provided by 1 small candle at a distance of a few feet. Your lumen requirements with handheld spotlights depend entirely upon what you plan to use them for. Typical usage can be handled with anywhere between a couple of 100 to a 1000 lumens depending on how far you want the beam to be effective. For more focused lighting for professional or industrial use, you might need to go beyond 1000 lumens. Just remember that the power requirements rise dramatically the higher you go beyond 1000 lumens.

Power Sources: this is a big deal for portable lighting devices. Flashlights traditionally used batteries of different sizes and in different numbers, based on the wattage of the bulb used. You can still buy flashlights that work with your average AA or AAA batteries. But the best handheld spotlights offer more versatility with rechargeable batteries, with the ultra-portable Lithium ion batteries offering the best performance. Like the battery packs found in most portable electronic devices like mobiles and laptops, these will also last you over hundreds of charge cycles. You also have the option to carry a few extra battery packs if planning to spend extended time outdoors. For added versatility, you can also pick up spotlights with direct power cords, either of the AC or DC variety. These are especially useful if you have boats or other vehicles around to hook them up to.

Build quality and materials: it goes without saying that if you intend to rough it out in the woods or anything like that, you need a tough device that can survive that kind of exposure to the elements. The best handheld spotlights should be made of durable materials, like extra durable plastic or lightweight metals like aluminum alloys. If you plan to use it anywhere near water bodies like lakes and streams for fishing, or if you plant to keep it on your boat, you should be able to find a seaworthy spotlight as well.

Weight and size: The best handheld spotlights doesn’t necessarily have to be the brightest in the business. The extra brightness always comes at a cost. To sustain that kind of performance you either need to add heavy batteries or have smaller batteries put up with decreased duration of life on a single charge. Unless you really need all that extra lumens, go for a relatively compact and lightweight spotlight with decent range of lumen and extra battery packs for increased duration of use. It is all about finding the sweet spot in terms of brightness, size and power backup.

Ergonomics: Unlike flashlights, the best handheld spotlights tend to have a comfortable grip, much like a handgun with the power button where the trigger would be. This kind of design allows for easy wielding and handling with a single hand, freeing your other hand. This is the ideal design factor for a handheld spotlight, and pretty much all the models reviewed here sport this same design.

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