Things That Don’t Suck: Streamlight ProTac HL USB Rechargeable Flashlight


You never know when or where you’ll need to light up the night. And not just to illuminate a potential target in a defensive situation.

Life presents its challenges. You could have a flat tire on a lonely 2-lane road on your way home. You might be assembling one of those annoying IKEA cabinet units and need some extra light in an interior corner. Or maybe you dropped something that rolled under the bed and, well, it’s dark under there.

Streamlight’s ProTac HL USB flashlight is notable because it will run off of three different power sources. It comes with a rechargeable USB battery. But if that runs down, it will also run on an 18650 cell or a couple of CR123A batteries you can find in almost any grocery store or gas station.

I’ve owned this light for years now and it’s lived in my car’s center console for the past five. I keep it tethered to one of the USB ports in there so it’s always with me and always fully charged.

Mine puts out 850 lumens on its high setting for over an hour if I need that much (I rarely do) or about 85 lumens on low beam for 12 hours. The current model cranks out 1000 lumens.

You can switch between those two intensities and a strobe setting with Streamlight’s easy Ten-Tap programming feature. You can also switch it to a low/medium/high configuration.

This flashlight isn’t small (about 6.5 inches in length) and you could use it as a decent bludgeon if you had to (it weighs 7.2 oz). It’s not cheap ($95 online for the current model), but the ProTac HL USB is tough, water-resistant, versatile and always ready. It’s a great option for an emergency preparedness kit or go bag. And it definitely doesn’t suck.

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