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Best Computer Speakers

Harman Kardon is one of the major players in consumer electronic speaker systems. Their Soundsticks III is visually stunning with its ultra-modern shape and transparent housing. The centerpiece of the system is a 20-Watt downward-firing subwoofer that delivers precise low frequency and midrange sound.

There are two satellite speaker units with a physically adjustable base that allows you to adjust the profile of the sound their 8 transducer speakers deliver. Combined they deliver a crisp 40 Watts of sound.

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III has a stereo minijack output. This means you can take it away from your computer to play music from an MP3 player, portable CD player, or a similar device.

The RECCAZR MP2000 is a 2.0 channel speaker system that was designed to enhance the sound produced by a computer on a desktop with limited space. Each speaker housing only measures in at just 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches, yet they have a small 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with a 4X diaphragm.

This gives it superior midrange clarity without having to invest in a subwoofer, which will inevitably eat up space under a small desk. The speakers are rated to produce up to 65 DB of sound, which is more than enough for a small office space or dorm room. All at a very friendly price point, with a one-year warranty, included in the purchase.

JBL is another giant in the consumer electronics industry. Their JBL Bar 5.1 was arguably designed to be used with a flat-screen TV just as much as a computer monitor. It’s exactly the sort of thing you want to be mounted on your wall for streaming movies from your computer.

The JBL Bar 5.1 soundbar can be mounted to a wall or positioned under a monitor. This system also comes with a 10-inch downward-firing subwoofer which delivers some powerful low tones with the kind of thump gamers and music enthusiasts prioritize. At each end of the primary soundbar, you will find two detachable wireless speakers that can be placed anywhere you want to replicate surround sound. They are rated to last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

It’s also worth noting that the JBL Bar 5.1 was designed to connect to 4K devices. It also has the ability to wirelessly stream music via a Bluetooth signal.

How We Picked

Like a lot of consumer electronics how you will use them most often will factor into the kind of features you prioritize in a computer speaker system. Still, there are some essential characteristics that always need to be addressed. So, we tried to start with these and then filter through the bells and whistles as needed.

Connectivity

You need to be able to efficiently connect to the computer speakers to use them at all. In the past, this was only in the form of RCA cables, which while they are still in play, are on the way to being outdated. Not to mention the fact that RCA cables inevitably leave you with some potentially ugly wires that might be unsightly, while also having a knack for tangling into other things on your desktop.

Today USB cables, firewire, and even wireless connectivity via Bluetooth are starting to take over. So, whenever possible, we tried to look out these features, or at least computer speaker systems that offered multiple connectivity options.

2.0 versus 2.1 or multi-channel

Once you have your basic connectivity options dialed in, the next step is to determine the number and type of speakers you want to use. With a lot of 2.0 computer speakers, you get a left and a right speaker to replicate some basic stereo sound. Though there are a few multi-channel systems that allow for peripheral speakers that can nearly replicate surround sound, for people who like to use their computer as a veritable small home theater.

When it comes to a 2.1 computer speaker system the .1 is essentially referring to a subwoofer or a woofer. These peripheral speakers need to be plugged into a secondary source of power in order to operate properly. Some of the small driver versions do well in the mid-range frequencies but don’t really have the “Thump” of a powerful subwoofer.

Most of the time you won’t really notice the difference if you are just streaming some soft Spanish guitar music or you are listening remotely during a business meeting. Where that deep, low-range frequency potential really matters is when you are watching movies or gaming.

Size and Power

Not everyone has an expansive desk or a large dedicated office all to themselves. So, while we tried to look for large, powerful systems that can deliver high-performance sound, we also kept an eye out for some smaller high-quality units. Afterall there are a lot of people with limited desk space that also appreciate a rich audio experience.

Added Extras, Bells and Whistles

Let’s be honest, a lot of computer speaker manufacturers know that their most likely customer is going to be a gamer or someone who games enough that they appreciate an immersive audio/visual experience. To that end, they make it a point to infuse special features, and accessories meant to tempt a gaming enthusiast to their product over the competition.

Of course, there is no one size fits all approach to these features. Still, we kept an eye out for bells and whistles that added to the experience without necessarily blowing up the price. This included things like an ergonomically designed wireless mouse, accent lighting, a subwoofer included in the purchase, or wireless satellite speakers to replicate surround sound.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor

Specs:

  • USB, RCA, or Phono line inputs
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity available
  • IR remote included in the purchase
  • 3.5 mm mini-jack line
  • Compression driver
  • Expandable to include a subwoofer

The Klipsch R-15PM offers a wide range of connections. This includes an integrated phono pre-amp, as well as digital optical, analog RCA, USB inputs, and even Bluetooth wireless technology. your R-15PM is the best performing, most versatile monitor on the planet.

It also has individual ultra-low noise amplifiers that are specifically designed to maximize system performance while eliminating the need for additional external amplification. While this Klipsch R-15PM is set up for two-channel operation, this system can be set up to also work in tandem with a secondary subwoofer.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor remote

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor remote

The IR remote is also a handy touch for times when you want to stream some music from your computer, while you work around the house. It also has features like dedicated source selection, and track controls to go along with the standard play-pause function.

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor speaker

Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor speaker

What We Liked

The multiple connection options and Bluetooth wireless connectivity ensures that whether you have an older computer or one that just came out of the box yesterday, that there’s an easy way to connect to these speakers. The fact that you can set it up as a 2.0 or a 2.1 with an expandable subwoofer is also some nice versatility that you don’t always find with some of the 2.0 competitors at this price range.

Overall

This is a great entry-level computer speaker system that still has the expandability to grow with you over time. There aren’t necessarily a lot of bells and whistles with this system, but you see that reflected in the friendly price tag.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Specs:

  • 240 Watts at peak power
  • DTS Ultra replicates the 3D sound
  • 2.1 with downfacing subwoofer
  • Lightsync technology for enhanced gaming effects
  • Comes with a Lightspeed Wireless mouse designed for gaming
  • A mouse that is weight adjustable

It’s no secret that many speaker manufacturers produce computer speakers that are specifically designed to appeal to gamers. The Logitech G560 wireless gaming mouse does just this with a 2.1 channel speaker system capable of producing up to 240 Watts of peak power. It’s also blended with a few special bells and whistles included in the initial purchase.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers

The speakers use DTS Ultra which was specifically designed to worth the downward-firing subwoofer to replicate the 3D sound. It also has Lightsync technology, which uses a Hero 16K resolution sensor to producing light effects that very closely match the displayed image on the screen. This enhances the overall gameplay experience.

G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It’s also worth noting that the Logitech G560 also comes with a Lightspeed wireless gaming mouse. Not only was it designed for ergonomic control, but this wireless mouse also gives you the ability to adjust the weight, for the proper level of responsiveness.

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers with G502 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse

It also has other customizable controls that let you do things like changing the scrolling speed.

What We Liked

The fact that this 2.1 computer speaker system comes with added bells and whistles like the Lightsync technology and the customizable, ergonomic Lightspeed mouse, help maximize it for gamers who truly want an immersive experience.

At the same time, the DTS ultra with downward-firing subwoofer also translates into a great depth of 3D sound.

Overall

The Logitech G560 was certainly designed with features meant to appeal to gamers. If you are a gamer looking for an immersive experience, you should certainly consider putting this computer speaker system near the top of your list.

Still, these computer speakers with their added bells and whistles can appeal to more than just people who love online gaming. The Lightsync technology with the Hero 16K resolution sensor and the DTS Ultra 3D sound can play just as well for times when you want to get wrapped up in an action movie.

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Specs:

  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Decoder
  • Slim 60 mm profile
  • 24-bit high-resolution DAC
  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity available
  • Includes a subwoofer accessory
  • 5 speakers built into the soundbar
  • Aurora reactive RGB programmable lighting

Many gamers have to deal with limited space on their desktop. Which can be a real hassle when you want to add a computer speaker system. The Sound BlasterX Katana attempts to answer this problem with its sleek under-monitor soundbar with accessory subwoofer.

Entertainment Soundbar and remote

Entertainment Soundbar and remote

It offers multiple connectivity options including wireless Bluetooth. A multi-core DSP controls the five speakers inside the soundbar itself. This includes tweeters and mid-bass speakers. There is also a secondary subwoofer that is powered by a 24-bit audio engine.

Sound BlasterX Katana Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Entertainment Soundbar

The Sound BlasterX Katana also comes with a dedicated IR remote. Though you can also control it via an easy-to-install desktop app.

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

Sound BlasterX Katana Multi-Channel Surround Gaming and Entertainment Soundbar

The soundbar also has Aurora Reactive RGB programmable lighting, which helps enhance the natural ambiance, without having to compete with the visual images on the screen.

What We Liked

The sleek size of the Sound BlasterX Katana is perfect for gamers and movie enthusiasts who have limited desk space. It only measures in at 23 inches wide, by 4 inches deep, and less than 3 inches high.

The Aurora Reactive, Programmable RGB lighting is also a nice touch, which makes this soundbar handy for watching movies and gaming.

Overall

If you are looking for computer speakers to heighten your gaming and movie-watching experience, without making too big of a dent in your budget, then the Sound BlasterX Katana probably deserves to be on your radar. Especially if you are dealing with limited real estate on your desktop!

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

Specs:

  • 510 total watts
  • Soundbar with two detachable speakers
  • 10 hours of wireless run time on a single charge
  • 4K HDMI ports
  • Dolby Digital with Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS
  • Downward firing subwoofer
  • Wireless music streaming via a Bluetooth signal

JBL is one of the major players in home electronics and speakers. The JBL Bar 5.1 was designed to be used with a flat-screen TV or a computer monitor.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar

The primary soundbar can be anchored to a wall or positioned under a monitor, with a 10-inch downward-firing subwoofer centered under it. At the ends of the primary soundbar, you will find two small wireless speakers that can be detached and placed to replicate a surround sound effect. The speakers can even last up to 10 hours on a single charge. All told the system is rated for up to 510 watts.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel True Wireless Surround Speakers

This speaker system was designed to easily connect to 4K devices and includes a feature that lets you wirelessly stream music via a Bluetooth connection.

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultra HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar with True Wireless Surround Speakers

When it comes to sound quality the JBL Bar 5.1 has Dolby Digital, with Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS.

What We Liked

The detachable wireless speakers are a nice touch for replicating Dolby surround sound when you want it or simply leaving them put when you don’t.

The fact that you can also stream music through this soundbar is also a nice touch for times when you want to listen to your favorite tunes while you work around the house.

At the same time, you shouldn’t overlook the 4K HDMI input, which lets you connect this soundbar to a flatscreen TV, laptop, or a computer monitor.

Overall

Admittedly the JBL Bar 5.1 is meant just as much to connect to a flatscreen TV as it is a computer speaker system. Yet you get the feeling that JBL designed this to also appeal to gamers and people who stream music through their laptop, who sometimes want to watch it on their TV screen.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

Specs:

  • 2.0 channel
  • A USB connection to the computer
  • 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with 4X diaphragm
  • 65 DB volume
  • Small Body at 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches
  • 1 Year warranty

The RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers 2.0 channel were designed for the kind of person whose laptop or desktop computer lacks sound or has poor sound quality, yet still needs to mind a tight budget.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

These speakers are also very small measuring in at just 5.4 x 3.2 x .3.6-inches, which makes them a great option for a desk with limited space.

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

RECCAZR MP2000 Computer Speakers with Surround Sound

The speakers include a small 2.5-inch built-in subwoofer with a 4X diaphragm. While it will certainly never compete with the boom and thump of a large, down-firing subwoofer, it does non-the-less produce more-rich low tones than most standard computer speakers. They are rated to produce up to 65 DB of sound, which is about as much as you want for computer speakers in a dorm room or small office setting.

What We Liked

These 2.0 channel small speakers come with a 2.5-inch subwoofer and 4X diaphragm, which gives it more sound quality in the 65 DB range than you find with most other small computer speakers in this price range.

The fact that there is a 1-year warranty included in the original purchase is also nice. It speaks to Reccazr’s belief in its quality design and components. If you want more protection, there are some online retailers who offer a very affordable 3-year protection plan.

Overall

These aren’t the kind of computer speakers that are going to blow you away with a thump of resounding bass or stunningly crisp high tones. Instead, they are affordably priced, well designed, and will give you superior audio quality compared to similar size and priced competitors.

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Specs:

  • 2.1 channel soundbar
  • 160 Watts at peak power
  • 40-Watt long-throw subwoofer
  • Wireless Bluetooth, 3. 5mm aux-in, optical audio input
  • USB input for MP3 or thumb drive
  • Wall mount kit included in the purchase
  • Includes a remote control

A soundbar paired with a subwoofer has become increasingly popular in recent years. This gives you the ability to enhance the sound your computer produces through the high and midrange speakers of the soundbar, without taking up a lot of desktop space. While the subwoofer provides a little extra thump and low-frequency sounds while being conveniently tucked away.

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar

The Creative Stage MR 8360 answers this niche with a 2.1 channel soundbar that is rated to a peak of 160 watts. It’s then paired with a long throw 40-watt subwoofer, which tends to project low tones into the room better than a down-firing subwoofer, which brings a little more “Thump.”

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

Creative Stage MR 8360 2.1 Channel Under-Monitor Soundbar with Subwoofer

This computer speaker system offers a wide range of connectivity options including Wireless Bluetooth, 3. 5mm aux-in, optical audio input. There is also a USB port for connecting to your computer or to accommodate an MP3 player or thumb drive. Creative Stage also includes a wall mounting kit and remote control in the initial purchase.

What We Liked

The ability to pair the 160-watt soundbar with a 40-watt long-throw subwoofer both saves space on the desktop without having to sacrifice sound quality. If you really are hurting for square inches on your desk, you can always use the included mounting kit to attach it to a wall or some other type of fixture.

Overall

This is a nice little unit for the price, and it’s tailored to appeal to people who are limited on desktop space, yet don’t want to sacrifice sound quality. Though there are a few minor complaints.

The long-throw subwoofer does handle low-frequency audio nicely and projects it, but if you are looking for “Thump” or “Boom” that you are going to feel in the floor, it’s not there. At the same time, the power cord is annoyingly short. So, you might need to invest in a small extension cord.

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers

Specs:

  • 2.0 channel
  • 40 Watts per speaker total of 80 Watts
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity
  • 3.5mm AUX-in, Optical-in physical connections
  • Proprietary BasXPort for enhanced bass
  • EQ presets for different applications

For a 2.0 channel computer speaker system, the Creative T100 has more than a fair amount of low-frequency bass. This is due in large part to their proprietary BasXPort, which was designed to enhance low-frequency sound in a relatively small speaker housing.

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers inputs

Creative T100 2.0 Compact Hi-Fi Desktop Speakers inputs

It comes with multiple connection options including .5mm AUX-in, Optical-in physical connections as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Each of the two computer speakers included in the purchase produces 40 watts for a combined total of 80 Watts of peak power. This gives the Creative T100 more than enough volume for a private or home office space.

One place where the Creative T100 makes itself distinct is in the EQ with audio presets. This lets you change the dynamics of the sound it produces to optimize it for movies, music, concert, and gaming modes. You can then further tweak the bass and treble to your personal preference.

What We Liked

There’s a lot of sound quality for the small size and price of the Creative T100. Especially for its ability to produce quality low tone bass through their BasXPort, without employing a separate subwoofer.

At the same time, the EQ presets are very handy for those times when you might want to stream some music, but quickly switch over to gaming mode in hopes of beating the next level before you have to run out the door.

Overall

If you are short on desktop space, yet you’re not really enthused by the idea of a soundbar, or you don’t want to bang your knees into a subwoofer under your desk, then the Creative T100 computer speakers might be just right for you.

There’s more than enough volume to let you enjoy your favorite music or immerse yourself in a game, along with a surprising amount of low-frequency audio capability for a system that has no true subwoofer.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Specs:

  • 2.1 channel speaker system
  • 20-Watt Downward firing subwoofer
  • 40-Watt speakers
  • Adjustable base
  • Transparent speaker covers and housing
  • Touch controls
  • Multiple connection options

Harman Kardon is one of the long-standing giants in consumer electronics, with roots going back to their earliest sound systems in 1954. If you think their Soundsticks III looks like a work of art at first glance, you would be right.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker System with Subwoofer

In fact, the Soundsticks II version that it’s based on is featured as a permanent exhibit in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. This is thanks in part to the visually stunning organic shape and transparent housing.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker close-up

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III 2.1 Channel Multimedia Speaker close-up

It has a 20-Watt downward-firing subwoofer that delivers precise low-frequency sound. The two satellite speaker units have an adjustable base that allows you to physically adjust the profile of the sound their 8 transducer speakers deliver.

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III close-up

Harman Kardon Soundsticks III close-up

The Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is compatible with a variety of connections via a stereo minijack output. This allows you to also play music from an MP3 player, or portable CD player as well as your standard computer connection.

What We Liked

Right off the bat, the visual aesthetics of the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III is a conversation starter in-and-of-itself. The fact that you can physically adjust the base of the satellite speakers is also a nice touch for times when you might want to set them on opposing shelves. This way you can direct the sound for optimum effect.

The stereo minijack is also a thoughtful feature that lets you connect just about any device. You could theoretically take the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III away from the computer and plugin in the laundry room. Connect your MP3 player and listen to your favorite tunes while you fold and iron.

Overall

You aren’t going to get a lot of “Thump” out of the 20-Watt down riding subwoofer, but it still put out an impressive amount of bass and mid-range frequencies. Beyond that, this is a high-quality unit for the money. Even if you do happen to blow out a speaker a few years down the line, the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III was designed to easily replace them.

Buyers Guide

There are some computers, like Macs and many modern-day laptops that come with built-in speakers. While the basic quality of these audio devices has improved drastically from where they were just a decade ago, they still tend to leave most people wishing for something with a little better sound quality. Not to mention control over the audio dynamics.

Originally computer speakers were little more than simple audio devices that gave you alert beeps and dings. Maybe they added a little bit of extra reality to the cartoon paperclip tapping at the screen every time you made a blithering typo.

As computer software and hardware evolved, speakers started becoming more important for adding a sense of reality to games or letting you talk to a family member via a rudimentary webcam portal. In time, the demand for on-demand and streaming music started to gain traction. This led to a wide range of audio equipment manufacturers trying to flood the market with inexpensive or even over-priced computer speakers.

It’s gotten to the point now where more and more people are using their PC as a personal entertainment device for gaming, music, and watching movies. Not to mention the staggering number of home-office workers who need to Skype or attend meetings remotely, and simply hate listening to garbled audio coming out of a tiny monitor-mounted speaker.

Finding your way through the available field of options can be more than just a little bit confusing. The last thing you want to do is invest too much in so-called “Premium” PC speakers that leave you underwhelmed. While there are some inexpensive computer speaker packages out there that deliver above their price point, they can also have some frustrating features or a limited lifespan.

Key Features To Look For In Computer Speakers

The features that will top your priority list might vary a little depending on the things you use your PC for the most. If you’re a gamer, or you use your PC as a veritable entertainment system for streaming movies, you might prioritize things like multi-channel speaker systems and surround sound. If you use your PC for joining in on remote meetings the ability to pick up the midrange frequencies of a human voice with clarity might suddenly top the list.

The Benefits Of Multi-Channel Computer Speakers

Right off the bat, two-channel or multi-channel speaker systems tend to be very popular. This allows you to do things like listen to music in stereo or even to connect a subwoofer.

A system that is set up for stereo will is usually noted as being 2.0. It essentially means that there are two speakers, left and right that are directly connected to the computer itself to support two speakers but will not support a subwoofer.

If you see the computer speaker package noted as 2.1 it indicates that it can support the left and right speaker channel as well as a subwoofer or another type of satellite speaker. In a setup like this, the subwoofer usually needs to be plugged into a separate power source.

It’s also worth noting that a 2.1 system usually allows you greater control of how the speaker system is tuned. Subwoofers tend to be very popular with people who want to use their computer speakers to listen to music or watching movies. Of course, placement can also be an issue. You generally want a subwoofer to be centralized to the listener. This often means that it eats up space under your desk.

Studio monitors are also very popular with 2.0 computer speaker systems. They tend to be slightly small speakers that you can tuck into a bookshelf. Depending on how you set it up, they can mimic a surround sound effect. You just won’t have the rich, booming bass that comes with a 2.1 system’s subwoofer.

When assessing the quality of a subwoofer one of the key indicators is to look at the driver size. In general, small drivers simply can’t produce the same depth of low-frequency sound. There are some computer speaker manufacturers who are well aware of this and they will tune a subwoofer with a small driver for superior performance toward the upper range of the bass. This can give you some rich mid-range sound quality, but you won’t really nice the “Thump” or “Boom” that you expect from a powerful subwoofer.

Wattage

The overall wattage of a speaker system will often translate into greater volume output. Some manufacturers will give you a general total wattage requirement. Though if you are looking at a 2.1 computer speaker system with a subwoofer, then you might want to also investigate the separate wattage of the subwoofer.

Even the most powerful computer speaker systems rarely have enough wattage draw to throw a circuit breaker on their own. Still, you might want to take a look at your breaker panel and then take a tally of everything that’s plugged into that breaker.

If you already have a flat-screen TV or some other type of high wattage appliance plugged into the same circuit breaker as the outlet you’re planning on using plugging the speakers into, you should check the amperage rating of that breaker. Most household breakers are either 15 Amp rated or 20 Amp rated. In terms of wattage, this translates into a 1,800 watt capacity for a 15 Amp circuit breaker and 2,400 watts for a 20 Amp circuit breaker.

The Type Of Input

Twenty years ago, RCA In and Out cables were pretty much your only option. They remained popular for years because they were easy to use. You plugged red into red, and white into white. Eventually, they evolved to include yellow for companion video audio signals.

Today different devices prefer alternative inputs. This could include things like USB, VGA, NFC, Firewire and even things like HDMI. Even something like a simple audio jack can be used to connect an MP3 player, iPod or iPhone to the computer or directly to the speaker system. So, before you invest in a premium computer speaker system, make sure you understand the type of connections it supports as well as the connections that are available on your desktop or laptop computer.

Connectivity

There are some computer speaker manufacturers who recognize the hassle of pairing ports with connections. Not to mention that there are simply some people who don’t want to disguise ugly wires. If this sounds like you, then you might want to consider a speaker system that offers wireless connectivity via a Bluetooth signal.

Audio Controls

Early computer speakers gave you little control over the output beyond the ability to adjust the volume. Today there are still some basic, inexpensive computer systems that are still this simplistic. If you are on a tight budget and you just need a little more volume to the audio your computer produces, you might be satisfied with a pair of these.

A step up from these basic speakers you will find systems that let you independently adjust things like bass and treble. Yet another step up from here you will find systems with more fine-tune controls or even settings for different functions. This might include a preset for movies, another for music, and a general-purpose setting.

There are many computer speaker systems that also come with a remote control. This is nice if you want to use it for home audio or to add audio quality to your home theatre. Then you can sit back and listen at a distance, while still having control over your audio experience, without having to sit at your desk.

Overall Appearance

The basic appearance of the speakers and how they match your existing décor can be a factor. Beyond simple things like black, white and organic tones, the shape and even things like an LCD or LED display might influence your choice of one system over another

Price

With a lot of consumer electronics, you see some degree of the old adage “You get what you pay for!” This holds true with the computer speaker market in a broad sense, that you will generally see a smaller price tag with a basic low-end unit, and the price will start to go up as you add things like subwoofers and special features.

Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a more expensive unit is always the best unit. With a careful eye, you might be surprised to find a computer speaker system that meets 90% of your needs at a fraction of the price of a so-called “High End” or “Premium” unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Is A Sound Bar?

A: A soundbar is a type of wide, yet low speaker array that is increasingly popular with flatscreen televisions that might be a little bit underpowered. They’re also handy in homes and apartments that have an in-wall or in-window air conditioner unit that can sometimes compete with the television speakers.

Of course, it didn’t take speaker manufacturers long to figure out that they could position soundbars to accommodate desktop and laptop computers. A lot of times, the easiest way to connect them is via a Bluetooth signal, but there are some that will use more traditional wire connections.

They tend to have a central position, which doesn’t really make them an ideal option if you are looking to create some type of surround sound effect. They also don’t have much of a bass range, and while you might get some midrange frequency, you will never get the “Thump” of a low-range subwoofer.

Q: What Is The Difference Between A Long Throw and Downward Firing Subwoofer?

A: A long throw speaker, or in this case a long-throw subwoofer faces the listener to provide directive sound. It usually carries well beyond the intended range for a seemingly whole-room effect.

When it comes to a down-firing speaker or subwoofer the speaker’s driver coil is pointed downward. The cone then vibrates and sound is imparted as well as refracted. This tends to produce more “Thump” or “Boom” when it comes to low bass tones.

Q: What Are EQ Presets?

A: Some computer speakers give you the ability to fine-tune the treble, bass, and other sound dynamics. If you aren’t experienced with tuning speakers trying to set them up for music rather than a skype conference call, or movie, it can be a bit of a guessing game. A computer speaker system that comes with EQ presets allows you to optimize the audio dynamics for things like movies, music, concerts, and gaming with the single press of a button.

Conclusion

There are some important questions to consider when you first start shopping for a computer speaker system. Like a lot of consumer electronics how you will most often use them, and the physical constraints of your available space will factor into the priorities that raise to the top of your list.

2.0 versus 2.1 debate is often a good place to start. If you have limited space under your desk then you might want to gravitate toward a 2.0 system without a subwoofer. While you won’t have as much thump, there are still many desktop speakers that produce a surprising level of mid-range bass.

By the same token, a small or otherwise crowded desktop is often starving for enough square inched to accommodate a pair of speakers. In a scenario like this, you might want to think about adding a soundbar under the monitor.
Using your available space to narrow down your options lets you turn your attention to other special features. Things like a preset EQ let you quickly switch your audio dynamics to optimize the sound output for gaming, movies, or just listening to some background music while you finish up writing a paper.

Of course, a healthy portion of this niche is focused on catering to the needs of gamers who want immersive sound. This might also include things like enhanced lighting, fine-tune EQ capabilities, and even a special device like a wireless gaming mouse included in the package.

Even if you do fall in love with a computer speaker system that seems to be positioned for gamers doesn’t make it a deal-breaker. Gamers tend to have high-quality demands which means the system has a lot of broad range appeal. Not to mention that sometimes things like enhanced RGB lighting features can also fit nicely when watching a movie, or just jamming to your favorite tunes.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Best Cycling Backpack [2020]

The ArcEnCiel 25L was originally designed to appeal to motorcyclists and mountain bikers who prioritize a tactical backpack that can support a solo rider for a day or longer. The exterior is made from highly durable nylon fabric that has been specially treated to give it superior water resistance. It also features versatile, tactical MOLLE webbing to add accessory packs and items.

The back panel of the ArcEnCiel is padded and breathable, as are the shoulder straps. This pack also has a secure chest strap to firmly secure the 25-liter load and keep it balanced during a long ride. When you get to your intended destination the straps on the exterior back panel can be adjusted to hold a standard cycling or hiking helmet.

The 25-liter interior has versatile tactical pouches. There is also a modest-size bag for quick access to important small items like a phone, wallet, keys or GPS device. There’s also room for a 2.5-liter hydration bladder with a port located at top of the pack which reduces the chances of the hydration tubes accidentally snagging on an errant branch as you ride by. However, this pack does not include the hydration bladder in the original purchase.

Rock Rain puts a great deal of effort into building a loyal customer base by offering quality outdoor products that are also backed by a dedication to customer service. They developed their WindSeeker backpack to cater to the needs of cyclists, hikers, and climbers who need a pack that can support their hydration and gear needs for a full day.

The WindSeeker has an insulated hydration compartment that keeps the 2.5-liter BPA-free, and FDA approved hydration bladder cold for four hours or more. The balance of the 18-liter interior has more than enough storage space to take care of a single rider for a full day or more.

The WindSeeker’s exterior is made from water-resistant nylon fabric. It has adjustable padded shoulder straps along as well as a chest strap and an adjustable waist strap. The padded back has “Air Flow” padding for superior comfort on a long ride. The ergonomic fit also keeps the pack balanced to prevent an accidental fall or mechanical injury.

Nomatic offers several cycling backpacks designed to cater to commuter cyclists. Their Slim 20-liter laptop backpack is compact right out of the box. Yet it’s also expandable for the times when you need to carry a great volume.

The laptop compartment is designed to hold a standard 15-inch laptop as well as other common office items. It has lockable security zippers to secure sensitive, high-value items. It also includes secure pockets, with a retractable key leash, as well as cord pass-thru ports that let you charge devices while keeping them in the back

The exterior is made from water-resistant Kodra 500D Tarpaulin fabric and it tastefully printed with reflective emblems. The adjustable straps can be removed to transform this cycling backpack into a stylish office briefcase. This is a great feature for times when you need to securely move your devices around the office or to a close-by the meeting.

How We Picked

Different cycling backpacks are geared toward different interests. This really keys in on the features as well as the overall size of the pack you need.

With a renewed interest in being “Green” and getting a little exercise, many people are riding their bikes to work and beating the commute. For this niche, we tried to look for things like a laptop compartment, as well as some type of protective space to hold office documents and other important items.

For day-trippers who want to spend a Saturday afternoon taking a long ride, we shied away from laptop compartments and document pouches in favor of hydration bladders. With some of these packs, the hydration bladder is included, which is nice. However, there are somewhere the hydration bladder is not included to let you choose one that best fits your preferred volume.

These packs also need to be able to carry other important items to support a cyclist throughout the day. There needed to be enough room to carry a reasonable size lunch, perhaps an emergency rain poncho, and if possible, an area to hold a helmet when the rider wants to take a little break. We also tried to keep an eye out for things like compartments to hold a smartphone or MP3 player for music along the way.

The next class up from these more modest-sized cycling packs answers the demands of the adventure cyclist or ecotourist who wants to take a mountain bike off the grid for one if not more days at a stretch. With these packs, volume was a key factor we looked for. Ideally, something over 20 to 25 liters.

Though there are some 18-liter cycling packs that had the kind of innovative interior compartments that a master-packer could use it for a solo camping trip. It not a simple overnight stay in the bush. These sorts of “Adventure Packs” also need to be able to accommodate a hydration bladder. If possible, one with an insulated compartment to keep the water cold for more than an hour or two on a hot day.

Safety features were also important. Most cyclists already have some level of reflectivity on their bike or their riding outfit. Still, we tried to also look for additional reflective straps, piping, or perhaps zippers that make it easy to attach accessory LED lights.

Security features were also something to keep an eye on. Especially for cycling commuters who need a pack to carry a laptop, sensitive documents, and other tech items. If you are even slightly concerned about securing the contents of your cycling backpack, then you should prioritize things like locking zippers, secure key leashes, and reinforced ports for charging wires.

Tactical features were also something we kept in mind. MOLLE compatible webbing and hooks or other attachment features allow the rider to bring additional items with them. They also make for customizable storage solutions, which might be helpful for expedition cyclists.

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Specs:

  • Made primarily from canvas fabric
  • A large primary compartment for books and document folders
  • Laptop compartment designed to hold a 15-inch laptop
  • Internal organizer for pens, keys, phone, and small items
  • Pocket for an i-pod or similar device
  • Side pocket for a water bottle
  • Exterior webbing for carabineers
  • A secure zip pocket for valuable items
  • A waterproof rolltop
  • Ventilated back panel

Timbuk2 recently partnered with Apple to create a line of affiliated backpacks. This includes the Spire cycling backpack, which was specifically designed to appeal to commuters who need a pack capable of holding the essential items that need to move between work and home.

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Technically, this pack was designed to fit a Macbook and Apple i-pod. Still, you can get just about any 15-inch laptop and similar size MP3 player to fit. The main compartment is also large enough to hold a book or to as well as things like document folders. The roll-top is waterproof for added peace of mind should a rain cloud decide to strike.

Interior Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

Interior Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

There’s also an internal organizer that is designed to hold lightweight items like pens, keys, and a phone. For more sensitive or high-value items there is a secure zippered compartment. It also includes a small pouch for a water bottle.

What We Liked

The fact that the Timbuk2 Spire has a waterproof roll-top with an internal compartment capable of safely holding a laptop or other sensitive office items is a definite feather in this cycling backpack’s cap.

Overall

This is a straight-up commuter cyclist backpack, that you probably aren’t going to use for a weekend romp of mountain biking. Taken in that light, it has all the features you want for getting items safety back and forth between home or office. They do try to oversell how well Apple products fit in it but don’t let that lure you into thinking it won’t hold any other brand.

 

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

 

Timbuk2 Spire Backpack

  • Waterproof roll-top
  • Designed to carry a 15-inch laptop
  • Designed to appeal to commuter cyclists

Incase Icon Pack

Incase Icon Pack

Incase Icon Pack

Specs:

  • Commuter cyclist pack
  • Lightweight 2.75 pounds
  • 800 denier heavy-duty ballistic nylon material
  • Pocket for a 15-inch laptop
  • Separate pockets for phone and MP3 player
  • Padded, breathable back
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps with sternum strap
  • Side ports for cables, chargers, or earbud wires
  • Stands upright for easy loading

The Icon by InCase is designed with features intended to appeal to the commuter cyclist or those people who simply want to take their essential tech when they travel.

Incase Icon Pack

Incase Icon Pack

It has three key compartments. One for a standard 15-inch laptop, another for a smartphone, and a third for a tablet or similar device.

Incase Icon Pack with open compartments

Incase Icon Pack with open compartments

It’s made from 800 deniers heavy-duty ballistic nylon. Not only does this material give it superior water resistance, but it also provides it with enough structure to stand up on its own when empty. This lets you load in your tech reliably and trust that it’s not going to catastrophically fall over if you step away.

model wearing the Incase Icon Pack

model wearing the Incase Icon Pack

It was designed with side ports that handle most wire leads. This is a handy feature for times when you might need to charge a device, but you don’t necessarily want to take it out of the pack.

What We Liked

When it comes to a backpack meant to reliably hold tech, the Icon has the compartments and the features that you need. The ports on the side for charger wires are also very nice. Still, you shouldn’t look past the fact that it has the structure to stand up on its own for convenient loading.

Overall

This is another high-quality commuter cyclist backpack that is tailored to people who need to take care of their tech. One knock on it is the lack of a dedicated water bottle pouch.

NOMATIC Backpack Slim Black Water-Resistant Anti-Theft 20L Laptop Bag

NOMATIC Backpack Slim Black Water-Resistant Anti-Theft 20L Laptop Bag

NOMATIC Backpack Slim Black Water-Resistant Anti-Theft 20L Laptop Bag

Specs:

  • 20-liter maximum capacity
  • Slim but expandable
  • Versatile strap system
  • Converts to a briefcase
  • Lockable security zippers
  • Cord pass-thru
  • Interchanging interior panels
  • Water-resistant
  • Holds a 15-inch laptop

Nomatic takes the idea of a commuter or office cycling backpack to the next level. Their Slim 20-liter laptop backpack is compact when you need it, yet expandable for the times when you need to carry more than your 15-inch laptop and basic office items.

Someone carrying the NOMATIC Backpack Slim

Someone carrying the NOMATIC Backpack Slim

The adjustable straps are versatile and can be removed to transform this cycling backpack into a sleek looking office briefcase. The exterior is made from Kodra 500D Tarpaulin fabric which is water-resistant. It’s been tastefully printed with a reflective pattern for times when you might be riding in low light. It even has a spot for a water bottle.

NOMATIC Backpack Slim in a cafe

NOMATIC Backpack Slim in a cafe

The interior has ample room to hold a 15-inch laptop, with arguably enough space to perhaps squeeze a 17-inch into place. It also has interchangeable interior panels. The lockable security zippers also mean that your items stay safe and secure on your back and can’t be snatched by a would-be thief or pickpocket.

This cycling backpack was designed with tech in mind. This includes secure pockets, a retractable key leash, and cord pass-thru ports which allow you to charge devices without having to take them out of the pack.

What We Liked

The Nomatic cycling backpack’s ability to transform into a stylish office briefcase certainly helps to set it apart from many other packs that lose their utility the minute you set them down in your office. At the same time, the security zippers and key leash are also nice touches that you give you peace of mind.

Overall

A great deal of thought was put into the design and material selection of the Nomatic cycling backpack. If you need a briefcase to keep all your essential office items as you go from meeting to meeting or place to place, you might just fall in love with this stylish, and secure unit.

Just bear in mind that it’s not really meant to be a weekend adventure pack. If you need a pack that can also take care of you on a long ride, this one will likely fall a little short.

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

Specs:

  • Nylon exterior with waterproofing treatment
  • 25-liter capacity
  • Accommodates a 2.5-liter hydration bladder
  • MOLLE compatible
  • Padded back and shoulder straps with sternum strap
  • Front helmet holder

The ArcEnCiel was designed for motorcyclists and mountain bikers who need a tactical backpack capable of supporting them for a day trip or an overnight camping trip.

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

It’s made from highly durable nylon fabric that’s been treated for superior water resistance and has external MOLLE webbing. This allows you to add accessory items or install hooks to hold a sleeping bag.

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack

The back is padded and breathable, as are the shoulder straps. This pack also has a secure shoulder strap to keep the load secure and balanced during a long ride. The straps on the front of the pack can also expand to hold most standard cycling helmets.

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack with helmet

ArcEnCiel 25L Tactical Motorcycle Cycling Backpack with helmet

The 25-liter interior is thoughtfully designed with tactical pouches. It includes an inner bag to give you quick access to important small items like a phone, wallet, keys or a GPS device.

It was also designed to hold a 2.5-liter hydration bladder. The port comes out near the top of the pack which reduces the chances of the hydration tubes accidentally snagging on an errant branch as you ride by. Just bear in mind that this pack doesn’t come with a 2.5-liter hydration bladder in the initial purchase.

What We Liked

The heavy-duty nylon material with waterproof treatment gives you the confidence to know that a random summer downpour isn’t going to ruin your trip. The helmet holder is also a nice touch that lets you keep your head protection close at hand when you stop somewhere.

Not to mention the versatility of the MOLLE webbing on the exterior. It lets you add accessories for a custom cycling backpack with truly functional tactical features.

Overall

This cycling backpack sits on the other side of the spectrum from commuter cycling packs. It’s not really meant to carry a laptop and other office items. The ArcEnCiel is a truly tactical cycling pack that will take care of you on a long ride and support you if you want to spend a night in the bush.

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

Specs:

  • 18-liter maximum capacity
  • Waterproof nylon material
  • Pouch for up to a 3-liter hydration bladder
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps with chest and waist straps
  • Breathable padded back
  • Versatile mesh pouches
  • Reflective striping
  • Can be set up to hold a cycling helmet

Local Lion is a fast-growing company in the outdoor backpack industry. This includes a range of versatile cycling packs like their 18-liter cycling and hiking backpack.

Local Lion Cycling Backpack and helmet

Local Lion Cycling Backpack and helmet

It was designed with comfort and ergonomic stability in mind. It features adjustable padded shoulder straps with an adjustable chest strap and optional waist strap. It also has a padded breathable back. There are several small external pouches and compartments for essential items that you might want to keep close at hand.

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

The nylon exterior is rated to be waterproof against rain. It also features reflective striping for added safety when riding in low light hours.

Biker wearing the Local Lion Cycling Backpack

Biker wearing the Local Lion Cycling Backpack

The 18-liter interior was also designed with small versatile compartments and optional pouches, which helps to comfortably distribute the load. Another optional mesh can be installed on the back to securely hold your cycling helmet when you aren’t riding.

It was also designed to accommodate a 2 to 3-liter hydration bladder. However, there isn’t a bladder included in the initial purchase. Still, a secondary bladder doesn’t cost that much at all. Check these CHERAINTI Hydration Bladder 2 Liter and LOCALLION Cycling Backpack.

What We Liked

The comfort in strap design and back padding with versatile exterior pockets is one of the things that helps this cycling pack jump off the page. Being able to customize the compartments and mesh pockets is also a nice touch. The helmet net itself is handy for times when you need to make a pit stop.

Overall

This highly versatile cycling backpack is lightweight, stable, and ergonomically comfortable. With some very careful packing, it might be able to support you for a full overnight cycling adventure. Still, it’s primarily meant to be a utility day pack for a long ride that might also turn into a vigorous hike.

One minor complaint to note is that while the nylon exterior is meant to be waterproof, the zippers are not. This means it can endure a modest summer downpour, it’s not going to handle immersion or being left out in a long nimbus rain.

Sale

 

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

 

Local Lion Cycling Backpack

  • 18-liter capacity
  • Can hold a 3-liter hydration bladder
  • Adjustable straps and padded back for ergonomic comfort

Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

Specs:

  • Water-resistant nylon fabric
  • 2-liter hydration bladder included
  • Keeps water cool for 4-hours or more
  • Top-mounted hydration port
  • Tested for durability and comfort
  • Multiple easy-access compartments
  • Padded shoulder straps with waist and chest strap
  • Breathable mesh back panel

The Clarke outdoor insulated hydration backpack was specifically designed for hiking, running and cycling. It’s made from water-resistant nylon material. It has enough interior room to hold a 2-liter hydration bladder as well as other essential items for a long ride or a single day hike.

Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

This backpack includes multiple easy-access pockets and compartments. It was designed and tested with comfort in mind. The shoulder straps are easily adjustable and padded for superior comfort. The back is made from a breathable mesh. It also includes a chest strap and waist strap to help keep the load perfectly stable throughout the day.

Water tank of the Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

Water tank of the Clarke Outdoor Insulated Hydration Backpack

The hydration chamber itself is modestly insulated, which lets it keep the 2-liter hydration bladder pleasantly cool for up to 4 hours or more.

The hydration port is located near the top of the pack, which reduces the chances of the hydration tube snagging on something which can happen sometimes with side-mounted hydration ports. It also includes earbud holes to let you keep your music player or phone safe inside the pack.

What We Liked

It might not sound like a big deal at first, but the fact that this backpack comes with the 2-liter hydration bladder included is nice and not necessarily something you see with the nearest competitors. The insulation in the hydration compartment also helps keep the water cold, without having to load the bladder up with ice cubes.

Overall

This is essentially a hydration backpack with enough convenient features to support you for a long ride. There’s enough space inside to let you bring your lunch and a few other basic items with you. Being able to drink cold water in the middle of your ride is also helpful.

Just keep in mind that there isn’t enough storage space to use it as a camping backpack. This is a day trip bag with a focus on comfort and hydration.

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker With Insulated Hydration Bladder

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker With Insulated Hydration Bladder

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker With Insulated Hydration Bladder

Specs:

  • 18-liter storage capacity
  • 2.5-liter hydration bladder included
  • Insulated compartment keeps cool for at least 4-hours
  • Water-resistant nylon material
  • Flannel pocket for sunglasses
  • Storage space for a helmet
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Waist and chest straps
  • Airflow padded back

Rock Rain is a relatively new manufacturer in the outdoor products marketplace. They endeavor to build a loyal customer base by offering quality products backed by dedicated customer service.

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker with open compartments

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker with open compartments

Their WindSeeker backpack was designed for cyclists, hikers, and climbers who need to stay hydrated while bringing a significant amount of gear with you on a day trip. It has an insulated compartment that keeps the water in the 2.5-liter included hydration bladder cold for four hours or more. It’s also worth noting that the hydration bladder is BPA-free and FDA approved.

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker and helmet

ROCKRAIN WindSeeker and helmet

The 18-liter interior can hold more than enough gear to support you for a day-long ride. With careful packing, you could potentially use it for an overnight expedition. It even has a flannel pocket to safely hold your sunglasses.

The exterior of the WindSeeker is made from water-resistant nylon fabric. It has adjustable padded shoulder straps along with a chest strap, adjustable waist strap, and a special “Air Flow” padded back. All this translates into superior comfort when worn, as well as helping to balance the load to reduce your chances of an accidental fall or wipeout. There’s even a spot to store your cycling or climbing helmet.

What We Liked

The insulated compartment for the BPA-free, FDA approved hydration bladder means you can enjoy a cold drink during a hot ride. The strap configuration with padded airflow back also maximizes ergonomic comfort.

Overall

The Rock Rain WindSeeker is a well-designed backpack with a hydration bladder included in the purchase. It will definitely support you on a long ride, hike, or climb. A master-packer or a companion could bring enough additional gear for an overnight stay.

If there’s a small knock on this backpack it’s that it’s pretty light on reflective material. If you’re going to be riding between dusk to dawn, you might want to consider attaching safety lights to the zippers.

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Specs:

  • 28-liter capacity
  • Tear and water-resistant nylon material
  • Accommodates a hydration bladder with ports for tube
  • Reflective straps with emergency whistle
  • Straps will hold most standard cycle helmets
  • Padded adjustable straps with waist and chest straps
  • Breathable back with “AirSpeed” system
  • Soft latching for tools

The 28-liter cycling backpack rucksack by Isiyiner was designed to appeal to adventure cyclists, outdoor enthusiasts, and hikers who need a rucksack capable of supporting them for a multi-day trip. It’s made from water-resistant nylon with a tear-resistant weave.

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

The interior will accommodate a large hydration bladder, with a hydration port and structure on the straps to secure a hydration tube. However, a bladder is not included in the purchase.

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

It also has copious reflective straps, which can be adjusted to hold most standard cycling and hiking helmets. There is also soft-latching for hanging lightweight hand tools.

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

Cycling Backpack Biking Rucksack By ISIYINER

The shoulder straps are nicely padded and include an emergency whistle. There are also chest and an optional waist strap to help comfortably balance what could be a heavy load. The padded back includes a breathable “AirSpeed” system for maximum comfort.

What We Liked

The 28-liter capacity is large enough to support a solo rider or hiker for more than one night off the grid. The little things like the padded, breathable back and padded strap configuration make it nice and comfortable for long rides or a deep hike into the wild.

You also have to give a little thumbs up to the superior reflective strapping that can also be used to hold your biking helmet.

Overall

This cycling backpack or rucksack is designed to take care of a biker for the long haul of a trip. It’s perhaps a little too large to multi-task as a commuter pack for a simple day ride. If you’re an ecotourist, or you simply love a good trip into the bush, then this is pack needs to be on your consideration list.

Buyers Guide

Cycling is enjoying a vigorous renaissance in the 21st Century for a variety of reasons. What was once a fun way for kids to make it back and forth to school has since evolved into a sensible way for millions of adults to commute as well as adventure.

For some their cycle is a means to get away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday grind. For others, cycling is a conveniently green way to commute to work without the headache of gridlock traffic. Then there are those who see it as a great way to get great exercise without the hard pounding that comes with jogging.

Of course, how you most often use your bike will influence the type of backpack you want. A commuter’s cycling pack might need waterproof pouches for documents and padded compartments for a laptop or other tech items. In contrast to that, a mountain biker might prioritize cargo compartments and hydration features for spending a night off the grid.

When finding the cycling pack that’s right for you, its best to start by breaking them down by type or primary use.

Adventure or Expedition Backpacks tend to have a high cargo capacity of 25-liters or more in volume. This gives the rider enough space to carry items to support them for a day or more. Most include things like padded or compression straps and might also have waistbands or sternum straps to help hold them securely. The compartment configuration can also be a priority, especially for mountain bikers who need the load on their back to remain in a comfortable balance.

Commuter Day Packs are increasingly popular with professionals who prefer to bypass the gridlock while getting a little exercise on the way to the office. These packs often have protective pockets for electronics, with structured compartments for documents and office materials. There are a few that also include other special tech features to let you listen to music.

Hydration Packs typically carry a water bladder or other drinking water compartments. These units are more popular with long-distance riders. They tend to be on the small size when it comes to cargo capacity but carry enough liquid and basic items to support a rider throughout a long day of pedaling without having to stop.

Mid-Size Utility cycling backpacks tend to be more multi-purpose. They have a cargo capacity around 20 to 25-liters and appeal to riders who might commute on a nice day but also need a pack that can support them for a cycling camping trip.

Key Cycling Backpack Features

Storage Capacity

The backpack industry generally notes storage capacity in terms of liters. Yet how the compartments and pouches are configured will also play into just how much “stuff” you can fit into it. Unless you are very experienced at strategically packing, chances are you aren’t going to get every last cubic inch of a 30-liter backpack fully loaded. Still, you can use the liter ratings to give you an idea of how much larger one pack is over another.

In general, 25 to 30-liters or more is enough to support a single rider with enough gear to support you for an overnight camping trip. These large packs tend to be a little too big for commuters and day trip riders who tend to only need around 10 to 15 liters to hold office items and utility items.

Pocket And Compartment Configuration

The general intention of how the backpack will be used will also influence the size and configuration of compartments. If you are looking for a cycling backpack to commute into the office on nice days, then you will likely prioritize a pack that will fit the dimensions of your laptop computer. You might also want to keep an eye out for one that will hold documents and manilla envelopes without having to fold the paper.

Hydration System

If you are just looking for a commuter cycling backpack, then you might need little more than a pack that holds a simple water bottle. If you are looking for an expedition backpack for mountain biking adventures or for marathon rides, then you will likely prioritize a cycling pack with some type of hydration system. This often comes in the form of a 2 or even 3-liter hydration bladder with hydration tube ports built into the structured fabric.

Straps And Padding

The importance of adjustable straps and padding starts with comfort. However, strap configuration and features are also important for safety. Something like a shifting load in a high capacity backpack can significantly increase the chances of suffering an accidental fall or mechanical injury.

Padding in the back and breathability are also very important throughout every cycling niche. If you are commuting to work, you don’t want to walk into the office with a sweat stain on your business casual shirt. The same is true for an adventure cyclist or marathon rider who might spend all day with a somewhat heavy pack pressing on their ribs.

Material And Waterproofing

Keeping the interior of your cycling pack reasonably dry or completely waterproof is a major factor for most cyclists. If you are commuting to work on your bike, you don’t want a rogue summer downpour threatening your laptop or soaking your contract documents. The same is true for an expedition mountain biker, who wants their next change of clothes to still be dry when they reach camp.

Some cycling backpack manufacturers will turn to naturally water-resistant materials like high-density nylon to imbue their packs with a reasonable measure of waterproofing. Yet there are others who will choose a lighter weight material, then add some type of waterproofing treatment.

Safety And Reflective Details

Cyclists often have to share the road with automobiles, which can put them at high risk in low light conditions. Things like reflective patches, piping, and tape on a backpack can help augment the sometimes minimal amount of reflective areas on the cycle or the rider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do Cycling Backpacks Require More Care?

A: All backpacks require some level of care. Even your kid’s school bag can benefit from a wash every now and then. With cycling backpacks, proper care is an important part of maintaining what is a serious investment.

Of course, different materials have different care requirements. Some manufacturers will also apply special exterior fabric treatments to increase water resistance. It’s important to read the manufacturer’s care instructions in advance of washing it or attempting to add your own alterations like a secondary waterproofing spray.

Q: Can I Use An Expedition Pack To Bring My Laptop To Office?

A: There are times when the weather is perfect, the traffic is clogged, and the bike lanes are wide open. This encourages many riders to start taking their bikes to work instead of the car. There are some cycling backpacks that specifically cater to commuter cyclists with a special compartment for laptop, documents, tablets and important tech items.

If you happen to have a larger cycling pack for day rides and mountain bike camping trips, it might be a little too large for a ride to work. However, you might still be able to fill the compartment with enough padding to secure a laptop and other office items. The original box your device came in is an ideal insurance policy to help hold it stable. Then you can pack some other soft items around it to keep it from shifting.

Q: Is There A Way To Make A Water Resistant Backpack Waterproof?

A: Nylon material and various weave patterns can imbue a backpack with superior water resistance. Yet a prolonged rain or an accidental immersion problem can often start to saturate the interior. If the manufacturer hasn’t already treated the exterior fabric with a waterproofing agent, you might want to add an aftermarket spray like Kiwi Water Repellant.

They are relatively inexpensive and can take a cycling backpack’s water resistance up a notch.

While you are at it you might want to also add some additional waterproofing to the zippers. In fact, it’s often the zippers that are the first to let water through the often-thin fabric around the teeth. A thin layer of waterproofing wax is usually sufficient to bring the zippers up to par with the exterior fabric of the backpack.

Conclusion

How you will most likely use your cycling backpack will play a lot in the kind of features you prioritize. Laptop compartments, integrated tech features, and ports for charging cables are likely to be higher on the list for a commuter cyclist. Whereas an expedition cyclist will likely place a higher value on a large volume of storage space, an insulated hydration compartment, and features that keep it balanced.

Somewhere in between these two interests is the cyclist who needs a day pack for a long ride, with enough room for a hydration bladder and a modest lunch.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Instagram test helps you choose people to unfollow

As with many tests, there’s no guarantee this will be ready for widespread use in the near future, if at all. It’s easy to see Instagram rolling this into a future release, though. It’ll help you focus your feed on those people you care about, but it could also help on those days when you’d rather not wade through your regular feed just to find your favorites. That, in turn, could keep users coming back even if their follow lists become overwhelming.

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The Morning After: Bosch’s electric stroller technology helps push


It will affect cameras, flash storage and other common tech items.
Tariffs hit Apple and other tech companies

Some of the tech you like is about to get more expensive. Sticking to its earlier plans, the Trump administration has formally enacted a new round of tariffs against China-made products, which will take effect September 1st. The measures will hit tech companies with 15 percent tariffs on a range of goods, with Apple potentially feeling the pinch harder than most. The hikes will affect AirPods, the Apple Watch, some Beats earphones, the HomePod and iMacs — notably, not iPhones.

Beside ‘core’ consumer tech companies, the tariffs will also affect components including cameras, flash storage, optical discs (like Blu-ray and DVD) and lithium-ion batteries. A further wave of tariffs affecting prices for phones, laptops, consoles and other tech is due on December 15th, unless something suddenly changes.


The Dark Pictures Anthology is off to a rocky start.
Co-op doesn’t change Man of Medan’s horror imperfections

The spiritual sequel to 2015’s Until Dawn, a playable slasher horror flick, has landed across PS4, Xbox and PC. Man of Medan is the first instalment of a proposed series called The Dark Pictures Anthology, which is being released on multiple platforms and published by Bandai Namco, rather than long-time partner Sony. But it’s a shaky start…


You know, the smaller one.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 review: The right size at the wrong price

The Galaxy Note 10 squeezes a 6.3-inch screen into a phone that’s about the same size as an iPhone XS. And it’s much easier to use with one hand than any other entry in the Note line.

The Note 10 is largely the same as the 10+. That means the same powerful performance and basically the same cameras. But, it does make tradeoffs to shave off those millimeters: Most notably it has a lower-res screen, less RAM and Samsung ditched the microSD slot. Sadly, the price didn’t get the same treatment and remains as huge as ever.


It’s connected to your phone, too.
Bosch’s electric stroller tech helps carry your baby uphill

Bosch has unveiled an “e-stroller” system that uses dual electric motors and sensors to not only reduce the effort involved in carting your young one around but prevent the stroller from going in unexpected directions. It’ll automatically study the road surface to help you push uphill, brake on the descent and keep it on track during lateral slopes. The technology will also bring the stroller to a halt if you lose control or battle fierce winds. Bosch won’t sell a model itself, though. Instead, it’ll work with partners who’ll use the platform for their own baby carriers. Swedish firm Emmaljunga will be first, with a stroller due in early 2020, but you can expect more companies to follow suit.

 

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Best Tactical Flashlight [2019]

Best Overall: Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Tactical Flashlight
When you want an easy to hold, strong, durable, bright tactical flashlight, you have to trust the Streamlight 88040 ProTac. With 750 lumens of light, it’s bound to light up whatever is sneaking up on you. It’s three light modes are high (880 feet range), low (190 feet range) and strobe (for self-defense). Adding to this it comes with an IPX7 waterproof rating and its overall build quality is more than enough for what the average user might want to do with it. Bonus: It comes with a nylon holster AND batteries.

Budget Pick: Solaray ZX-2 Super Bright Handheld LED Tactical Flashlight
In case you are on a budget but still want a trustworthy tactical flashlight, you go with Solaray. The ZX-2 is more than bright enough, with the features you want, without the price tag to go with it. The manufacturer claims it has 1200 lumens and a range of 700 feet. Light modes are high, low, self-defense strobe and SOS strobe.

Extreme Brightness: EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight
For someone looking to light up the night sky, the EASTSHINE will easily do it. With 1000 lumens of output, you could probably catch the attention of a few passing by aliens (if they existed). Even though there are flashlights on our list that claim to have more lumens, none of those will beat the up to 1050 feet range the Eastshine offers.

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EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

  • 1000 Lumens Of Output
  • Lighting Range Of Over 1000 Feet
  • Dual Lighting Modes With Tactical Mode And Operational Mode

How We Picked

Honestly, everyone should have a tactical flashlight in their bag, in their vehicle, and/or on their person. Now, if you have been looking at tactical flashlights, then you have inevitably seen the massive amount of products to choose from – it is staggering!

Knowing which tactical flashlight to buy can be extremely difficult when every marketing department is tasked with making sure that you buy their product. That is why you need to know what to look for when buying a tactical flashlight. To help you, we have included a buyer’s guide that goes over all of the important features and/or functions to look for in your flashlight. Equipped with this information, you should easily be able to narrow down your search results. Of course, we have actually put together a list of tactical flashlights that we feel will meet your needs sufficiently.

After looking over hundreds of options, we have narrowed down the list to ten. Each one of these flashlights is more than powerful, blasting out well over 300 lumens of light while being easy to use and carry. The point of a tactical flashlight is to provide extra support in the event of an emergency; every one of these on our list does that.

#1 J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 300 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 600 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x AA

Whether for an emergency at home or while out in the wilderness, the J5 Tactical V1-PRO is the flashlight for you. A high-quality build, exceptional brightness, wonderful features, and usability makes this flashlight a great tool to help you get going. No matter if you are left in the dark or just need to shine a little light on a problem, the J5 Tactical V1-PRO makes sure everything around you is visible.

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight in hand

The flashlight is compact and lightweight, weighing in at a mere 2.88 ounces; you will not get tired of holding this flashlight. While it has a sturdy build, its size is conveniently perfect at 4 inches and 4.25 inches when using the neat zoom feature. It is small enough to carry in your pocket or bag without any hassle. This flashlight is simple to operate having a power button on the bottom which is also used for changing modes. The button is large enough to find in a cinch for those times you are in a pinch. The belt clip adds an extra level of perfection to the package. The belt clip allows you to keep your flashlight handy so you have easy access to it when needed. The super lightweight and portable aspects of the J5 Tactical V1-PRO make it a much better flashlight than traditional flashlights on the market.

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight shining light on a tree

While small, the J5 Tactical V1-PRO can light up distances of up to 600 feet away. It is far brighter than traditional flashlights and the zoom feature allows you to see everything around you easily. You get three light mode options to choose from: high, low, or strobe. To activate this, you simply half-press the button on the bottom to switch between modes.

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight close up

It is built to handle everything from water, falls, freezing temperatures and even drops from up to 9 foot. It can easily withstand what a human or even an animal can throw at it. The battery will last four hours on a single charge and changing the battery takes less than a minute.

J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight size comparison

What We Like

The powerful light and zoom make this flashlight stand out in a crowd. The zoom feature allows you to focus in on what’s in front of you. From a wide beam to a narrow spot in the trees, you’ll always be able to find what you want.

Overall

The J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight may be small, but that doesn’t mean it’s powerful. Brighter than other flashlights in its class, it can also handle brutal elements such as torrents of water and freezing temperatures.

#2 Solaray ZX-2 Super Bright Handheld LED Tactical Flashlight

Solaray ZX-2 Super Bright Handheld LED Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 1200 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 700 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x 18650 Lithium-Ion or 1 x AAA

The Solaray ZX-2 is one of the most trusted, durable, and high-quality flashlights on the market today. Police departments, fire departments, military divisions all trust Solaray to light up the night. And for the price, who can argue with it.

It looks a little odd in design because the handle is so small when compared to the size of the flashlight itself. But honestly, this makes it a little easier to hold. It is 5.2 inches in length, but small enough to fit into a pocket. It does not weigh much, coming in at only 5.6 ounces. And yet, it puts out a lot of light for such a small tactical flashlight.

It is built to last, with a strong and durable body made from aircraft-grade aluminum. No matter what happens, it might end up with a few scratches but it will not break. It has five lighting modes they give you plenty of options to work with; they are: high, medium, low, tactical intruder strobe, and SOS emergency strobe. With a maximum output of 1200 lumens, you can literally turn night into day.

Solaray ZX-2 close up of lens

What We Like

One feature that really separates the ZX-2 apart is its built-in memory mode. Most flashlights have to be cycled through to the previously selected lighting mode. That is not the case with this one as it will remember the last option selected and will revert back to that when turned on. This means that you could leave it in strobe mode for those moments when an attacker could be threatening you – that is convenient.

Overall

If you want one of the brightest and most trusted tactical flashlights on the market today, then you cannot ignore the Solaray ZX-2. Even though it is shaped odd in comparison to some other tactical flashlights, it far exceeds the abilities of those in the same price range.

#3 Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Tactical Flashlight

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 750 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 885 Feet
  • Power Source: 2 x 3V CR123A Lithium

For a top of the line survival flashlight, it is hard to do much better than the Streamlight 88040 ProTac. It is simple, durable, and straight to the point. It has everything you need in a flashlight. With three lighting modes, a high-quality and durable design, and a reach that makes everything around you visible, this flashlight will make it easier to see what goes “bump in the night”.

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 side

The solid black, traditional appearance of the Streamlight 88040 ProTac gives it a very sleek look. It is slim and small, coming in at only 5.40 inches, so it fits perfectly in your hand, pocket, or bag; you can take it with you anywhere. Using this flashlight is a breeze thanks to the button on the bottom, which allows you to switch through all the modes and/or turning it on and off.

The three lighting modes are high, low, and strobe.

  1. High: 18,300 candela peak beam intensity; 880 feet beam distance; runs 1.25 hours
  2. Low: 35 lumens; 900 candela peak beam intensity; 190 feet beam distance; runs 18 hours
  3. Strobe: for disorienting or signaling: runs 2.5 hours

To change the mode, simply press the button on the button quickly and it will switch from one mode to the next.

Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 in hand

Three modes are available, high, low, and strobe. Switch between each mode using the button on the bottom. Programming options will give you greater control over this. The LED technology in the ProTac puts out a blistering 750 lumens of light that is sure to blind anyone. Not only will you see what is around you, but it’ll almost look like daylight. The frame is built to absorb all types of bumps and drops, so it’ll be alright if you let it slip on a hiking trip.

What We Like

With 750 lumens, you can change the night into day. The light is absolutely blinding, which is perfect for keeping attackers at bay. With the included strobing option, you could easily disorient anyone with nefarious intentions. Another great feature is the durability of the frame. It is built to be submerged, frozen, beaten, and more without losing light. The IPX7 rating should allow it to be waterproof down to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Overall

If you want to be sure of what’s around you, then you need the Streamlight 88040 ProTac. With 750 lumens of light, you won’t be guessing at what’s in front of you. For those moments when you need to stop a bear or a person, hit the strobe and watch them wince in pain (or run away; preferred). For someone looking for a true EDC flashlight, this is the best option around.

#4 Helotex G2 CREE LED EDC Tactical Flashlight

Helotex G2 CREE LED EDC Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 130 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 100 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x AA or 1 x CR123

Bigger is not always better, and the Helotex G2 CREE proves that. Being tiny in size, but big in usability, this flashlight can make life/navigation easier. While not as high powered as many other flashlights on the market, it is sufficiently strong for the nighttime and it is extremely portable – now you don’t have a reason to leave without a flashlight.

Helotex G2 side

Again, the Helotex G2 CREE is tiny. In fact, with the included CR123 battery, it comes in at 3.6 inches. If you decide to use a traditional AA battery, that goes up to 4.2 inches. Either way, it is so small you can keep it in a pocket or hold it in your hand with little to no discomfort. Design-wise, the body looks like a traditional flashlight, just minified. To make it even easier to carry, it also comes with a clip on the side for attaching to pockets, belts, or other items. And you’ll hardly even notice it with a weight of 2.4 ounces.

Parts of the Helotex G2 Tactical Flashlight

This flashlight has a maximum output of 130 lumens when using a CR123 battery and 120 lumens when using an AA battery. While it’s not as bright as most of the others on our list, it can still blind an attacker during a night situation. It comes with three lighting modes: low, high, and strobe. The durable build can withstand plenty of abuse from drops, bumps, and even the weather.

Helotex G2 Logo

What We Like

This is one of the smallest tactical flashlights we have seen yet. If you need something that can hide anywhere, without weighing you down, the Helotex G2 is perfect. The built-in clip makes it a perfect accessory no matter what you are wearing.

Overall

Do not let the size full you, this is a powerful tactical flashlight. Even though the Helotex G2 seems underpowered, it really is not. For night navigation, anything over 100 lm is more than acceptable. With a light range of up to 100 feet, you will never get caught off guard by something jumping out of the woods.

#5 Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight

Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 600 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 600 Feet
  • Power Source: Lithium-Ion or 3 “AAA”

See the world around you easier than ever before with the Outlite A100. With five modes of lighting, exceptional brightness, multiple power options, and more features than comparable flashlights, it’s an EDC dream. Whether at home, in the car, or on an adventure, you’ll have plenty of lighting to lead you.

Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight unboxed

With a simple, sleek, black design, the Outlite A100 is easy to appreciate. The top half is smooth and rounded while the bottom is designed with high-grip knurling. It is easy to hold being only 5.35 inches in length (retracted) and 6.22 inches in length (zoomed out). The knurling makes it easy to keep it in your hands, no matter what the situation (wet hands, using it as a weapon, etc). It will easily fit in your pocket, a purse, or a travel bag without weighing you down as it is only 5.3 ounces.

Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight measurements

And even though it is so compact, it comes loaded. Of course, it comes equipped with a 600 lumen LED for extreme visibility. But, it also comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with an included charger. If you are in a pinch for power, you could throw in 3 “AAA” batteries and be on your way. To make sure you see everything, the adjustable zoom allows you to reach all the way up to 600 feet away, making everything in range visible.

Outlite A100 Tactical Flashlight box

What We Like

Everyone likes to be able to press buttons. Well, with the Outlite A100, you’ll get to press the buttons as many times as you want with five lighting modes: high, medium, low, spotlight, and circle floodlight.

Overall

While the Outlite A100 does not offer a strobing feature, the 600-lumen output should easily stop anyone advancing on you. Of course, it’s also built to fit into just about any container so you should never leave home without it. The dual-power option really makes this a good all-in-one flashlight that should not be overlooked.

#6 ThruNite Ti4 CW Compact LED Penlight

ThruNite Ti4 CW Compact LED Penlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 252 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 25 Feet
  • Power Source: 2 x AAA

Whether on an adventure or in a work field that requires high-quality, portable lighting, the ThruNite Ti4 CW is going to be your new best friend. It is compact, powerful, and blends in well in any environment. The pen-shaded design makes it easy to carry in any environment from the outdoors to a business presentation; you can truly use this as an EDC flashlight.

ThruNite Ti4 CW Compact LED Penlight unboxed

Obviously, this is not your standard flashlight. Instead, the pen-designed flashlight is built for portability/compactness. You can hold it like a pen, clip it on your clothing or hold it in your purse. It is built using aircraft-grade aluminum and feels good in your hand. It weighs almost nothing at 2.4 ounces so you might forget you have it on you.

ThruNite Ti4 CW Compact LED Penlight and packaging

It has four lighting modes to choose from; they are: firefly, low, high, and strobe. It’s also IPX8 waterproof so you can drop it in the pool or lake and it will be fine. Since it is so small, it can take the occasional bump/drop with any problems either.

What We Like

For those who want something portable, bright, and unobtrusive, this is the perfect tactical flashlight for them – because it doesn’t look like one. The pen design is perfect for hiding what you truly have with you. The fact that it can output 252 lumens is astounding as it is so small.

Overall

If you want to be different, be different! The Ti4 from ThruNite can definitely keep through the night (or day). With 252 lumens of output, you’ll be able to use it anywhere at any time.

#7 SureFire G2X Series Tactical Flashlight

SureFire G2X Series Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 600 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 300 Feet
  • Power Source: 2 x CR123A

If you want a tactical flashlight that is sturdy, reliable, and dependable, then the SureFire G2X should be next on your list – it’s on ours! It’s great for everyday activities from camping, hiking, traveling, and more; it can even be mounted on a hunting rifle if you wanted to. It has multiple lighting options, making it perfect for any situation.

SureFire G2X Series Tactical Flashlight side

This is one of the simplest designs we’ve seen yet. It is small, compact, durable, and bright. The body is built from Nitrolon and the bezel is made from anodized aluminum; it can take a beating. The outside has a slight texture to it, although it could be a little more coarse. It has multiple lighting modes, all of which can be adjusted by clicking the power button quickly. It’s extremely light at only 6.4 ounces and it can fit almost anywhere with a full length of 5.2 inches.

SureFire G2X Series Tactical Flashlight in the outdoors

By design, it can easily handle rain, dust, dirt, drops, bumps (lions, tigers, and bears) without failing. The light is projected forward using a specialized reflector that helps to remove lighting hotspots; instead, you simply get a full-visibility lighting pattern. The dual-output option makes it great for day/night and indoors/outdoors.

SureFire G2X lens

What We Like

With the SureFire G2X, you can switch between 600 lumens of blinding light or 15 lumens of usable light. In the dark, the 15 lumens is more than enough to see what you are working on while the 600 lumens can stop a predator in their path. Plus, it can help to preserve your battery when you need it for navigational purposes.

Overall

The Surefire G2X Series Tactical Flashlight is compact and yet sturdy and is equally suitable for your home for everyday use as well as it is for hiking or camping in the great outdoors.

#8 Refun E6 High-Powered Tactical Flashlight

Refun E6 High-Powered Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 400 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 20 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x 18650 3.6v/3.7v or 3 x AAA

Sticking with a traditional design, the Refun E6 is built for comfort. It is designed to be held for long periods of time, even including a strap to make it easier to keep on you. It’s only 5.4 inches in length (fairly standard) and fits almost anywhere. It doesn’t weight much, coming in at 5.6 ounces.

Refun E6 On-Off Button

It comes with five lighting modes: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. Switching between modes is simple using the power button located at the base of the flashlight. It is built from durable, high-quality metals designed to withstand the normal abuse that a flashlight encounters (i.e. drops, falls, swims).

What We Like

This is an extremely energy-efficient flashlight. One bulb will last more than 100,000 hours! Literally, you will replace the batteries more times than you remember before the bulb goes out.

Overall

For those who need an up close and personal tactical flashlight, the Refun E6 is just right. It is not going to spread a lighting pattern across a football field, but it is going to keep it right in front of you. It looks stylish yet aggressive, and it easily falls in the budget-friendly category.

#9 EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 1000 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 1050 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x 18650, 2 x CR123

Popular amongst police and military and those who need a trusted flashlight, the EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight is going to offer everything you need from a tactical flashlight. It has several lighting modes, it comes with extra accessories, it is easy to use, and it works well.

Lens of the EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

The EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight does not have many curves to it. Instead, it is a sleek, black, simple cylinder with a light at the end.

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight measurements

It has two different gripping sections covered in a rubberized knurling designed to stay in your hand no matter how much you are sweating. It is 5.6 inches in length, weighing in at 8 ounces; this is one of the heavier models on our list.

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight close ups

It also comes with plenty of accessories like an included holster and clip. The holster attaches to your belt and gives you almost-instant access in the event of an emergency. And if you accidentally drop it, you’ll be fine; it’s built to withstand normal abuse. It comes with multiple lighting modes include a nasty strobing feature. With over 1000 lumens of lighting abuse, no one will keep their eyes open, even if they have sunglasses on.

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight accessories

What We Like

The EASTSHINE Tactical has two lighting modes/grips: a tactical mode and an outdoor mode. The mode chosen depends on which button you use. Using the bottom button, you are in tactical mode. Using the side button, you are in outdoors mode. The buttons are easily accessible, with the side button even telling you how much battery you have left.

Overall

If the police and military trust it, it must work. This is absolutely one of the brightest tactical flashlights on the market with 1000 lumens of light. The fact that it can shine up to 1050 feet away is astounding (that’s almost 1/5 of a mile). If you want to see everything, including ghosts (not really), then you cannot walk away from the EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight.

Sale

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

EASTSHINE Tactical Flashlight

  • 1000 Lumens Of Output
  • Lighting Range Of Over 1000 Feet
  • Dual Lighting Modes With Tactical Mode And Operational Mode

#10 Hausbell 7W Mini LED Tactical Flashlight

Hausbell 7W Mini LED Tactical Flashlight

Specs:

  • Lumen Output: 300 Lumens
  • Light Range: Up To 600 Feet
  • Power Source: 1 x 14500 or 1 x AA

Hausbell has quickly become a trusted name in the lighting market, even though they’ve only been around since 2012. Their 7W mini tactical flashlights are exceptionally powerful, pumping out 300 lumens of light that can shine over 600 feet. The flashlight is extremely small, with a length of 3.7 inches. Plus, it literally only weighs 2.24 ounces.

Hausbell 7W Mini LED Tactical Flashlight and battery

It comes with a built-in clip to keep it close by at all times. If you lose it in the dark, it has a special “glow ring” that helps you locate it quickly. It has three lighting modes: low, high, or strobe. It is extremely durable, with weather-resistance, shock-resistance, and water-resistance built-in.

Hausbell 7W Mini LED Tactical Flashlight on a camping trip

What We Like

For the size, this mini-sized tactical light can put up a fight. It’s extremely strong with features found on higher-priced competitors.

Overall

Even though the brand is still “new”, they’ve built up a quality reputation for some of the brightest and most durable tactical flashlights on the market. If you want a super-compact, ultra-bright tactical flashlight that won’t break the bank, here it is.

Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Tactical Flashlight

Budget

With as many options as there are for tactical flashlights today, you will want to find the perfect fit for you. Whether your budget is around $20 or $100 there is a perfect one for you. Take a moment to consider what you are looking for in your flashlight and what you are willing to pay.

Needs

Everyone has specific needs, and there are plenty of options to work with. Research all of your options to find what fits you best. If you need a flashlight that can be used underwater, make sure to find one that can handle this as some flashlights are waterproof and some are only water-resistant.

Lumens

The amount of brightness the light that your tactical flashlight will put out will depend upon how many lumens it has. Buying the right flashlight for you will depend on how bright you need your flashlight to be. Know and understand your limits. You may not need the brightest flashlight on the market and can settle for a less powerful one that will still meet your needs.

Size

When considering what size flashlight you would want will depend on your need and possibly your desire. Do you plan to carry the flashlight on your person? If so, you may want a smaller sized tactical flashlight to fit comfortably in your pocket. Think about what size would fit your needs the best.

Power Source

Tactical flashlights are typically powered by lithium-ion batteries but can use alkaline batteries as a backup. If you find yourself with a drained lithium-ion, you can use an alkaline battery in its place.

Zoom or Not

Though the zoom feature is a very popular one, it is not always needed. It does come in handy at times, but may not be something you need. The zoom feature allows you to zoom in and out causing a beam from a wide-angle spread to a focused beam to really narrow in on something in the distance.

Battery Life

There are multiple types of battery sources for tactical flashlights. The most common is lithium-ion, but other batteries can be used including CR123 batteries and even standard AA and/or AAA batteries too. The primary difference is the length of life that each provides. Lithium-Ion batteries tend to last the longest and produce the brightest output.

Water-Resistant vs Waterproof

Water-resistant is where the device can be subjected to water for a moment without damage. Waterproof is where the device can be submerged underwater without damage. This is important for those who work and/or play around water.

Tactical Flashlight for Military Use

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a tactical flashlight?

A: A tactical flashlight is a flashlight that is designed for skillful or tactical use. Tactical flashlights will include useful features such as being a durable yet lightweight, capable of staying charged for hours, extended beam distance, as well as zoom focus, and more. These flashlights make great survival tools and generally can withstand all types of elements, such as being submerged in water. The durability of a tactical flashlight surpasses any traditional flashlight. Tactical flashlights are high-quality which makes them a favorite with the military and outdoorsy type people, but any person can make good use of them.

Q: Why should I buy a tactical flashlight?

A: There are many reasons tactical flashlights are perfect for many people. One reason people would choose to buy a tactical flashlight over a regular flashlight is simply for emergencies. No matter the emergency a tactical flashlight will outshine any traditional one. Visibility will be much better with a tactical flashlight. Many times you will be able to see 600 feet away if not further. Many of these flashlights have different modes that can be used as a flasher in the chance you need to draw attention to yourself. Since it is lightweight it is easy and comfortable to carry and can be used as a self-defense weapon. It can help you find your way if you get lost in the woods or can scare off dogs or other animals. The long charge allows these flashlights to not only stay bright but last a long time which is always useful in any emergency.

Q: Are tactical flashlights legal?

A: These flashlights are legal. Tactical flashlights have all the makeup of a traditional flashlight. They are made more durable and with better quality. Most of the time they are light-weight and easy to carry, making them handy if ever needed for self-defense. These flashlights are not created to be a weapon, but in an emergency a person will use whatever they have nearby to use as a weapon. Just because these flashlights are used by the military and law enforcement does not make them banned from personal use. Tactical flashlights are perfectly legal, just as any traditional flashlight is.

Q: How do I use a tactical flashlight?

A: Using a tactical flashlight is similar to using a traditional flashlight. There is generally a power button to turn it on and off. The difference between using a tactical flashlight and a traditional one is the tactical flashlight may offer a few different modes, whereas, the traditional flashlight may not. There should be instructions you can review when you buy your tactical flashlight. Different models will have different ways to operate, but the instructions will explain this.

Using a tactical flashlight in emergency situations will depend on the situation. For example, if you are being attacked you could quickly shine the bright light in the attacker’s eyes to disorient the attacker while you get away. Or, if you need to flag down help, the bright light or maybe the flashing mode could help you get the attention of help that may be nearby. There many other ways to use this flashlight in emergency situations.

Q: How bright should my tactical flashlight be?

A: A flashlight’s light output is measured in lumens. Knowing this will help you understand how bright your flashlight should be. There is a little difference in what your minimum brightness should be when using your tactical flashlight during the day versus using it at night. During the day your tactical flashlight should run at a minimum of 300 lumens. When using a tactical flashlight at night you should run the flashlight at a minimum brightness of 100 lumens.

Q: Can tactical flashlights get wet?

A: Many tactical flashlights are made to be submerged in water, but this may not be the case for all tactical flashlights. Some flashlights can handle a little water while others are built to work 80 feet underwater. It is important to know what product you are buying. Check with the manufacturer to make sure the tactical flashlight you want can withstand what you need as not all flashlights are built to be waterproof.

Q: Will tactical flashlights work underwater?

A: There are numerous tactical flashlights that are built to be used underwater. You will need to check your tactical flashlight’s ratings to see what its limitations are. Some flashlights may be able to withstand 80 feet water immersion while others may not. Not all tactical flashlights will work underwater. This is what it is important to know your flashlight. Read the buyers guide for your tactical flashlight before submerging it in water. For the flashlights that are made to work underwater, make sure to know what depths of immersion the flashlight will work. Do not take it deeper than the recommended depths.

Q: Can I use a tactical flashlight as a weapon if needed?

A: A tactical flashlight can be used for self-defense but it is not a weapon. Before you decide to use this tool as a weapon make sure to know your state’s law. In many cases, in an emergency, a person will use whatever is handy to protect themselves from an attacker making just about anything a weapon. The tactical flashlight can be used in self-defense in various ways. Since it is small, you can easily carry it on your person. You could use the bright light to temporarily disorient your attacker while you escape. Since the flashlight is bright, it can help you feel safe as it illuminates questionable areas enabling you to see what is around you. By narrowing the beam you will be able to see a very good distance. It can also be used to signal for help.

Q: Are tactical flashlights allowed on planes?

A: The TSA website will allow flashlights under 7 inches; however, this is meant for traditional flashlights. If it is over 7 inches it will have to be checked. If your tactical flashlight appears weapon-like, it will not be allowed or it could possibly be confiscated. If the flashlight looks harmful, TSA reserves the right to take the item.

Q: What is the purpose of the strobe function on a tactical flashlight?

A: The strobe function of the tactical flashlight is used for defending yourself from a treat. It is common with the law enforcement to use the strobe function to disorient a person who they do not feel is a lethal suspect. The strobe light causes the person to become disoriented and possibly cause vertigo and even nausea. It makes the threat vulnerable as their brain waves are affected by the flashes of light.

Q: Can a tactical flashlight start a fire?

A: In order to start a fire with a tactical flashlight, your flashlight will need to produce 2300 lumens of light. At 2300 lumens you could possibly start a fire with your flashlight and a high-efficiency reflector. You will need the reflector in order to start a fire though. You will not be able to start a fire with the tactical flashlight itself.

Q: Can a tactical flashlight blind a person?

A: It takes less output to sufficiently blind a person in a dark environment than in a bright environment which is why the number of lumens will vary from day to night. In order to blind an attacker during the day, you will need 300 lumens, but at night your flashlight will need to produce 100 lumens. This does not mean you will permanently blind the person; it will be a temporary blindness.

Conclusion

So there you have it, our list of the ten best tactical flashlights for 2019!

We have covered a lot of information to help you make the best decision possible regarding tactical flashlights. Hopefully, you are able to find one that meets all of your needs while staying in your budget. We tried to break out all the features and functions so that you would know which one is perfect for you. If you did not find one that met your needs perfectly, you can still use our buyer’s guide to help you identify and narrow down your search. If you did have any questions, hopefully our frequently asked questions section helped you out. If not, let us know what we missed so that we can help you and others in the future.

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Two more unannounced iPads turn up in Apple filings

There appear to be three families in the mix: one A2000-series iPad (A2068), two A2100-series variants (A2197 and A2198) and four A2200 editions (A2200, A2228, A2230 and A2232). This doesn’t mean Apple will announce three completely different iPads, but it does suggest there will be some distinctions. At present, the most likely candidates may be a revamp of the base iPad (possibly due for a larger 10.2-inch screen) as well as refreshes of the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros.

Such an overhaul wouldn’t be surprising. Apple has been aggressively updating its iPads in 2019, with new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini as well as plans for more powerful iPadOS software. More hardware could both keep buyers coming and serve as a showcase for what iPadOS can do.

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Toyota’s 2020 Olympics robots will include a javelin-carrying cart

Most of the other bots were already known, such as the Human Support Robot (for guiding people to their seats), the Delivery Support Robot (drinks and other orders) and the T-HR3 humanoid robot (remote interactions with athletes).

However, there will be one more Olympics-specific bot. The Mascot Robot in Miraitowa and Someity variants (you’re looking at Someity below) will welcome people to venues through object detection and remote-controlled limbs. Toyota is also “considering” a way to enhance the games for Japanese kids through the mascot machines.

The robots serve as marketing material for Toyota and Japan’s technology industry as a whole. Like other Japanese worker robots, though, they’re also an acknowledgment of the country’s labor shortages. With a declining population and a reluctance to invite foreign workers, the country can’t always count on having enough people to fill jobs. The Field Support Robot and its peers could ensure that Tokyo 2020 proceeds without a hitch, even if there aren’t as many human staffers as the organizers would like.

Toyota's Mascot Robot Someity

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The Morning After: That’s what quantum entanglement looks like


Yeah, we don’t understand it either.Scientists unveil image of quantum entanglement for the first time ever

In a paper published in the journal of Scientific Advances, scientists from the University of Glasglow shared the first known image of a Bell entanglement. The photo depicts two photons interacting and sharing physical states for a brief instant — an event that occurs regardless of the actual distance between the particles.


And you can win an Xbox One.Microsoft’s Windows 1.0 announcement was about ‘Stranger Things’

To celebrate the return of the show — set in 1985, Microsoft’s banner year — the company is launching the Windows 1.11 app. It features classic Paint and Terminal programs, as well as Stranger Things­-themed puzzles and exclusive content. No floppy disk required.


Competition with AMD’s new Radeon hardware is good for gamers.NVIDIA RTX 2060 Super and 2070 Super review

NVIDIA’s RTX 2060 Super is pretty much the ideal mid-range GPU, while its 2070 Super offers a similar amount of performance as last year’s RTX 2080 for hundreds less. Of course, these cards aren’t really for people who made upgrades last year — they’re more like a reward for those who waited.


Here’s your next retro game system.TurboGrafx-16 mini arrives next March with nearly 50 games

Konami has revealed that the TurboGrafx-16 mini will be available exclusively through Amazon on March 19th, 2020, with pre-orders starting July 15th. The US lineup includes already-teased games like R-Type and Ys Book I & II, not to mention other top titles like Bonk’s Revenge and Space Harrier.


If it only does one thing, then why is it still called a Switch? Nintendo’s Switch Lite is a $200 handheld-only console

The Switch Lite is a slightly different console that’s intended purely for handheld play, and it will arrive September 20th in three colors, priced at $200. The lower price comes with a smaller screen 720p screen, non-removable Joy-Con controls, no TV-out support and no HD Rumble.

While it justifies its name by weighing less than the original, it also should have better battery life by about a half-hour, and it has swapped the four-button D-pad for an old-school Nintendo cross.


The Starhopper will go up about 20m and sideways.SpaceX’s Starship test vehicle will attempt a ‘hover test’ next week

The Starhopper has already undergone two previous hop tests and shown that it can lift a few inches off a launchpad. Now the Raptor engine has been mounted to the Starhopper again so the next stage of testing can begin, with a hover test scheduled for Tuesday, July 16th.