Whether there’s a power cut, you’re working outdoors or you’re planning an autumn camping trip, a decent portable light source will keep you going when darkness falls.

When choosing a torch, getting the right size is key – a hefty, heavy torch is best left in the garage at home, lighter handheld torches are good for keeping in the car or taking camping, a pocket torch is brilliant kept on you for emergencies.

If you only want a torch for occasional use, there’s no need to spend more than around £20 for something functional.

We’ve reviewed torches with both LED and Xenon bulbs – both give good brightness, although the latter emits a whiter light.

If you’re only investing in one torch it’s worth picking one that is waterproof, or at least water resistant, and that either has good battery life (over 10 hours on high beam is a good bet) or is rechargeable.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent. 

Strong and pleasingly heavy to hold – this water resistant, rechargeable model is one of the best, with a stonking 643 lumens in its strongest setting. Its eco mode still lights up a dark night and means the battery lasts for days on end.

It’s easy to turn the beam from spot to flood by adjusting the torch head and charging is quick and easy. This torch should last you forever.

Ambertech claims its large lens can illuminate the night up to 1000m away – we’re not sure it’s that bright, but in its stronger setting it’s certainly pretty blinding and will last up to 24 hours.

We like how quick and easy it is to charge with a USB cable, too. Great for working outdoors, although the shoulder strap is on the flimsy side.

After a good all-rounder for under £20? The P5E gives off an effective 25 lumens of light for hours on end.

The P5E comes with its own sturdy belt pouch and is small and light enough that it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it – great for using at work or keeping in your glove box.

Teeny tiny but surprisingly useful, a keyring or pocket torch is always worth having on you – plus, Lighthouse’s version costs less than a coffee, so you can’t really go wrong.

The slim aluminium casing is easy to carry on you and the small torch (a whole three lumens) seems to last for ages and takes LR44 button cell batteries.

Super-bright by both name and nature, this excellent pocket torch is ideal for use on camping trips and in the wilderness – it’s impact resistant, waterproof and seven times brighter than your average torch, at 220 lumens.

It also offers a flashing SOS function if you’re in dire straits. The battery can last for up to 13 hours on its highest beam. Lightweight and slim, this is perfect popped in your case for travelling.

We do like the name of the Carabeamer, which is a bright little torch with a carabiner on one end so you can hang it just about anywhere, making it great for camping and hands-free activities.

Battery powered and with a blueish Xenon bulb, it’s a hardworking, great value little torch powered by AA batteries, with a bulb life of 7 hours.

If you’re after something more practical than a hand-held torch, for working outdoors, gardening or use in the garage, Big Larry is your new best friend. 

Water and impact resistant, Big Larry feels sturdy and strong and looks rather smart, too. The fully dimmable light is easy to adjust for any job and lights up a room or a workspace effortlessly.

There are only four or so hours of battery charge available when on the high setting, but the light does fully recharge in about the same time. Fantastic quality for the price.

This clever, flat torch works as two different lights – as a lantern, emitting a warmer, softer light, or as a powerful hand-held torch, with a 250 lumens bulb. 

Its versatility (and its dinky pocket-friendly size) makes it perfect for outdoor adventures and worth its slightly higher price. It’s USB rechargeable but can also charge your devices.

For sheer quality Maglite really stands out from the crowd, but there are some great budget-friendly options here, too – we also rate the LED Lenser P5E and Lifesystems Intensity.

If you’re looking for something to shine a light on outdoor work Nebo’s Big Larry is brilliant (and a bargain, too).

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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