You simply never know when you might need a flashlight and don’t have a battery handy. What are the best hand crank flashlights?
What’s Important In A Flashlight?
Whether the power has gone out in your home and you want to avoid stumbling around or if you are adventuring on mountain trails and camping in the great outdoors, you should have a reliable flashlight close at hand.
While there are many different options available on the market today, most of these require battery power. This is somewhat inefficient and if it can be avoided then so much the better.
Hand cranking flashlights represent a solid option for those who do not want to worry about whether the batteries in your emergency/safety flashlight are fresh.
With the ability to recharge the battery with a little physical effort, hand crank flashlights are reliable and easy to use.
Not only that, but they are also environmentally friendly and do not produce a constant stream of battery waste. As such, they should be a part of everyone’s home emergency or outdoor survival kit.
When choosing a hand-crank flashlight, one should keep a number of things in mind. Be on the lookout for extra added accessories that come with the flashlight which may be handy. Many good offers come with sturdy cases to keep the flashlight safe when not in use.
Also, consider the strength and durability of not only the flashlight itself but also the hand crank mechanism. You do not want to buy a cheap piece of plastic that will fall apart in your hands when you need it most!
Additionally, consider other recharging features such as a miniature solar panel.
This can save you some effort when you grow weary of turning the dial. It is also important to consider how long the battery is capable of holding a charge. One should not have to constantly turn the mechanism to produce light (ideally).
Finally, it is also crucial to consider the function or intended use of the flashlight when looking at its overall brightness capacity.
Depending on whether you will be in the woods or in your living room, you might consider a brighter or dimmer option.
The Best Hand Crank Flashlights
In no special order, here are the best solar and hand crank-powered flashlights on the market.
This offer from MECO is at the top of this list for good reasons.Check Price On Amazon
Not only is it hand crank-able like all of the other options on this list, but it also comes complete with a small solar panel to help you recharge the battery (and yours) when hand cranking becomes too much.
The battery is capable of holding a decent charge and the mechanism has a high conversion efficiency. This means that approximately six minutes of cranking is all that is required to generate an hour of battery life!
The classic military design is sleek and the build of the body is highly sturdy and durable (yet only weighs three ounces!). It has a carabiner clip just in case you want to attach it to a backpack which makes it ideal for camping and hiking. All of this is available for a very reasonable price.
- High conversion efficiency.
- Aesthetic rugged design.
- The carabiner clip can be difficult to open and close.
- “On” switch can easily be triggered by brushing against objects.
This flashy red hand crank flashlight is sure to serve you well in case of an emergency.Check Price On Amazon
With three powerful LED bulbs, the illumination provided by this reliable option is impressive.
It comes with a carabiner clip built into the unit for easy clipping onto backpacks or clothing. You will never need to buy batteries and the “lifetime” LED light never needs replacing.
The low conversion rate can be forgiven for the amount of light this flashlight actually produces: it is estimated that one minute of cranking time provides three minutes of light though consumer reviews suggest that the actual illumination time is much longer.
This option stands out, is from a highly recognizable brand, and is good for working in low light environments.
- Highly durable.
- Small size and lightweight.
- The crank conversion rate is low.
- The crank piece itself is somewhat flimsy.
This compact flashlight from Thorfire makes Amazon’s Choice list and it is easy to see why.Check Price On Amazon
Beyond the hand crank – which makes it easily rechargeable for emergencies – it also has a built-in solar panel to keep it fully loaded when your hands are tired.
This unit also has an excellent conversion capability. One minute of cranking provides up to one-hour illumination! Incredibly, it is also submersible to up to 45 feet making it one of the most durable options on this list.
The dynamo device is well constructed and feels sturdy. The Thorfire would be ideal for outdoor activities where you might encounter a variety of obstacles that might jostle the light around or if you expect uncertainty with the weather.
- Excellent crank to power conversion rate.
- Waterproof and submersible.
- Slightly difficult to wind up.
- Light power is somewhat on the dim side.
If you like to take other electronic devices with you on a hike – or if you might need to do an emergency recharge – take a look at this offer from Kaito.Check Price On Amazon
With a built-in cell phone charger port, you can hand-crank your way to a fully loaded phone! For outdoor adventures, it also includes an AM/FM radio and NOAA weather radio.
The built-in speaker and telescopic antenna provide decent sound and surprising reception. Remember that this is a flashlight too! The light it generates is respectable and the battery is fully rechargeable with the hand crank. In sum, given all of the features included here, this option would be perfect to have in an emergency survival kit.
- The curved build makes it ergonomic for your hand.
- Many additional features (including charger and radio).
- Cell phone charger works only with certain phones.
- The recharge feature takes some significant physical effort.
This offer from Chromo Inc. actually comes with four flashlights (for the price of one)! It lands on Amazon’s Choice list and is a highly popular product.Check Price On Amazon
One flashlight weighs only 2.4 ounces making it highly lightweight and easy to carry. Each piece comes with three LED lights for reliable illumination and a wrist strap to help you avoid dropping it.
They are also available in a variety of colors to avoid misplacing them.
If you are eco-minded, you will be interested to know that these flashlights are made entirely out of recycled materials and generated no carbon footprint in their production. Overall, they are simple, easy to use, and available for a reasonable price.
- Easy to crank.
- Flashy colors.
- Potential issues with recharging after initial battery life drains (with some units).
- Made of plastic.
This is a noteworthy offer from the American Red Cross.
Besides being a powerful LED flashlight (with three LED bulbs) that is fully rechargeable with the built-in hand crank, it also functions as a crank-powered USB cell phone charger.Check Price On Amazon
Attached to the base is a handy carabiner clip to take it with you on any hiking or camping adventures. The overall build of this unit is somewhat sturdy and the hand crank does take a bit of effort to turn. The weight comes in at 6.4 ounces (per flashlight) which is reasonable.
Using it as a flashlight (at the end of the day, that is what it is) works well and the strength of the light is high.
They are sold either individually or (at a discount) as a pack of two. Consider grabbing a couple to put into emergency preparedness kits in your car or home.
- USB phone charger powered by a hand crank.
- Strong flashlight beam.
- Not compatible with all cell phones.
- Charging function may take significant physical effort.
This attractive option packs serious power: the aptly named Torch 250 does, in fact, provide up to 250 lumens of output.Check Price On Amazon
It also offers several light modes (flashlight, floodlight, or red emergency light) to balance the trade-off between battery drain and illumination power.
Beyond the included hand crank which can fully recharge the battery, this device also has a solar panel that can recharge the unit on brighter days.
Like some of the other choices on this list, the Torch 250 has a cell phone charging port as well.
Usefully, this USB port can also be used to charge the flashlight. This will allow you to stay connected in the event of a power outage or outdoor emergency. It is reliable and durable (and even water-resistant).
At a more expensive price point, you definitely get what you pay for and this option is no exception.
- Solar panel for alternative charging options.
- Built-in USB charging port for phones (and the light itself).
- The conversion rate is somewhat low (1 minute of cranking generates 2 minutes of light) as the charge is more of an emergency feature.
- Expensive price point (but a quality product).
For those who intend to do some proper camping and require something that is best used while stationary, this SUAOKI lantern might be ideal.Check Price On Amazon
The lantern is collapsible which allows for easy packing into a backpack and folds out when you reach your destination.
It has both a hand crank and a USB port to allow for multiple sources of recharging.
Two light modes – high and low brightness LED – are perfect for nighttime way-finding or reading in a tent, respectively.
When compacted, the lantern can actually be used as a handheld flashlight as well.
The fully charged battery lasts for about four hours and the conversion rate of the hand crank is decent (one minute of cranking provides 4/11 minutes of high/low light (respectively). Amazingly, this unit weighs only 5.9 ounces. It even looks good too!
- Highly flexible use options.
- Collapsible and easy to pack.
- The crank handle can break with vigorous use.
- Not highly water resistant.
This sturdy and rugged unit looks and feels like a quality product – and at a reasonable price. It is not hard to see why this flashlight is also on Amazon’s Choice list.Check Price On Amazon
The bright LED bulb is capable of being recharged by both the hand crank and the built-in miniature solar panel.
The conversion rate is reliably efficient: with about six minutes of cranking, you can power the light for up to an hour!
The internal battery is also quite good at holding the stored power over time. The body of the unit is affixed with a carabiner clip for easy transportation.
As such, it makes a great addition to your backpacking survival kit. It also comes with a satisfaction guarantee – you can return the product at any time if you find it does not meet your expectations!
- Solar panel for recharging flexibility.
- Multiple settings.
- Difficult to find any negatives here – a true quality product.
- Brightness might be slightly low – functionally, it is a survival flashlight.
Finally, this full-on camping lantern is for those who are not worried about weight or space requirements. Perhaps you are taking the car to camp for a few nights?Check Price On Amazon
Or perhaps the power has gone out and you want to play cards to pass the time? This device is perfect.
It features several charging options: beyond the hand crank, it can be refilled via USB or through an optional wall adapter.
There are two brightness settings to conserve battery life and an SOS strobe light feature with a siren for real emergencies. Usefully, it has a built-in radio and a solid battery which can also charge mobile devices.
It is highly popular – Amazon’s Choice list can’t be wrong!
- The lantern provides excellent illumination.
- Built-in radio and mobile charger.
- Radio reception can be poor.
- Recommended for outdoor use only.
The best hand crank flashlights?
The flexibility of hand cranking flashlights makes them must-have devices for emergency kits and backcountry expeditions.
Research some of the options on this list and find one that suits your needs and your budget.
Don’t let the need for batteries or cord-based charging slow you down!
If you are backpacking, you may like our review of the best backpacking flashlights.