5 Best Hand Crank Flashlights for Emergencies

A hand-crank flashlight is a perfect tool for anyone who wants to be able to see in the dark without the use of electricity or disposable batteries. 

Instead, a hand crank flashlight is powered by rechargeable NiMH batteries. This type of battery is commonly found in electronic devices. 

To recharge the battery on a hand crank flashlight, simply rotate the hand crank until the NiMH battery is charged enough for use. It may only take a few seconds of hand-cranking for the LED lights to turn on, but you’ll have to rotate the hand crank continuously for at least a few minutes until you can use the flashlight for an extended period of time.

Some hand-crank flashlights even come with a USB output or a solar panel as an extra way to charge the battery. 

Top 5 Hand Crank Flashlights

I scoured the internet for the best hand crank flashlights available and these were the 5 that I wound up choosing. The reason I chose these 5 flashlights is because they are the most popular and had the best reviews.

I also tried to avoid any flashlights that were similar in design to make sure you had a varied selection to choose from. Let’s start this review with the smallest flashlight on the list and end with the largest.

Coghlan’s Dynamo Flashlight

Coghlans Dynamo Flashlight

The first hand-crank flashlight on the list is none other than Dynamo Hand-Powered Flashlight from Coghlan’s.

This tiny little flashlight uses no batteries and contains two bright LED lights. These two small LED’s only produce up to 10 lumens of light (5 lumens each) but it’s powerful enough to help you see in the dark.

All you have to do is turn the hand crank for 1 minute and you can produce up to 7 minutes of light. The reason this little device is so efficient is due to its small size. When compared to the largest flashlight on this list, it requires a lot less hand-cranking to turn on the light and keep it going. Plus it can easily fit in your pocket or be attached to your keychain. 

Finally an advantage for the little guy!

PrimalCamp Solar Powered Flashlight

PrimalCamp Hand Crank Flashlight

This Dynamo flashlight from PrimalCamp uses both a hand crank and a solar panel to recharge and power the rechargeable NiMH battery.

Now, I will admit this isn’t the brightest flashlight ever made, but the cool thing about hand-crank flashlights is that they’re going to work when you need them to. The solar panel is simply there to help recharge the battery even faster. Or to use as a backup method to recharge the battery in case the hand crank breaks.

Included with this PrimalCamp flashlight is a carabiner clip to allow you to easily attach it to something such as a belt loop, backpack, or bug-out bag. It can also be attached to MOLLE webbing if you have some on your gear somewhere.

My favorite feature of this solar-powered flashlight is that it only takes one minute of hand cranking (2 cranks per second) to produce eight minutes of light. Seven minutes of hand cranking will produce an entire hour of light. 

You can even fully recharge the battery if you place the flashlight (solar panel facing up) in direct sunlight for 10 hours. It can recharge in artificial light as well.

PrimalCamp Solar Powered Flashlight

PrimalCamp Solar Powered Flashlight

I know what you’re thinking.

Wasn’t the last flashlight made from PrimalCamp? Why would a company build two solar-powered flashlights at a similar price range? 

It’s simple really.

PrimalCamp is a brand (company, person, etc.) that orders pre-made flashlights from another company overseas (typically from a listing on Alibaba.com) that will then put their brand name on the pre-made flashlights.

So does this mean that flashlights made from PrimalCamp are not any good? 

Not at all. But you could find the same flashlight on Amazon.com from a variety of different suppliers. 

And while this hand crank flashlight isn’t much more expensive than the last model, it’s effectively better in basically every way. Not only is this flashlight bigger, brighter, and more robust, but it also comes with 3 light mode settings (low, high, and strobe), whereas the previous model only comes with an on/off button. You also save yourself a minute of hand-cranking (6 minutes instead of 7) to produce an hour of light.

The only disadvantage of this particular model is that it doesn’t come with a carabiner, although it does come with a small opening on the bottom for attachment purposes. 

Life Gear StormProof Flashlight

Life Gear StormProof Flashlight

This StormProof flashlight from Life Gear is the best hand crank flashlight for campers, backpackers, or survivalists on a budget. 

What makes this hand crank flashlight so useful for emergency situations is the addition of the built-in USB cable. The USB outlet has two major functions. The first is the ability to recharge the flashlight in only two hours. The second benefit is the ability to charge your phone on the go without the use of electricity. Just hand-crank away until your battery is charged and ready to go! 

When fully charged this flashlight can produce 30 lumens of light for 4 hours at a time. Or you can turn on the low light setting and produce 6 lumens of light for an extended period of time. 

This hand crank flashlight even comes with both a siren and a built-in FM radio that you can use to listen to music or talk shows. You can even turn it on to find out what the weather is in your area. This can be especially helpful if you think a storm could be heading your way.

And if you do find yourself in the middle of a storm, this hand crank flashlight is made with a water-resistant construction so you shouldn’t have to worry about any water damage. A safety siren is also included in case you get lost and need an audible signal to alert someone of your presence. 

For every one minute of hand cranking, you’ll be able to produce ten minutes of light or radio. 

LUXON 7-in-1 Flashlight

LUXON 7 in 1 Flashlight

If you want the brightest hand crank flashlight available then you can’t go wrong with the 7-in-1 Hand Crank Flashlight from LUXON. This flashlight comes with all seven tools listed below.

  1. Magnet
  2. Hand crank
  3. SOS lighting
  4. USB charger 
  5. LED flashlight 
  6. Seat belt cutter
  7. Car safety hammer

With this multifunctional safety tool, not only can you see in the dark without the use of batteries or electricity, but you can also charge your phone or electronic device, break a window, cut a seatbelt, and even signal for help!

The LED flashlight has three light mode settings (bright, dim, and flashlight) and the emergency SOS light has a strobing effect that could be used to help alert someone of your presence. You can even use the magnet on the front of the flashlight to attach it to something metal such as the side of your vehicle. 

The window breaker (also referred to as a safety hammer) on the bottom side of the flashlight is fairly large and made out of high-strength material. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation where you need to break a car window, make sure to apply force to the window breaker on all four corners. This is where the window is the weakest.

The seatbelt cutter is my favorite feature of the LUXON flashlight as it’s highly effective and safe to use. You can even allow children to use this hand crank flashlight as the razer blade is strategically embedded to where even a child with small fingers couldn’t reach it. 

Both the window breaker and the seatbelt cutter make this hand crank flashlight a great addition to any vehicle. Although, if you don’t mind the extra size and weight, then it would certainly make a great addition to a backpack or bug-out bag as well. 

You can expect about 3-8 minutes of talking on the phone for every 3 minutes of hand cranking.