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Fenix PD36R Pro Review: Simply My Favorite Flashlight Yet

A powerful flashlight with a long-lasting battery and nearly perfect user interface? Here's why the Fenix PD36R Pro still reigns king of the flashlight mountain.

Fenix PD36 Pro Review(Photo/Sean McCoy)
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I test about two flashlights a week. It’s getting to be a bit of a joke around my house. And out of the dozens of flashlights in my gear test cave, one consistently gets tossed in my pack or truck for outings more than any other, and that’s the Fenix PD36R.

For more than a year, it has sat on top of our list of the best flashlights, and while a few others are nipping at its heels, it’s still, in the immortal words of Tina Turner, simply the best.

Here’s why.

In short: The Fenix PD36R Pro cranks out a maximum of 2,800 lumens in turbo mode, can throw that light 1,247 feet (380m), and has a 5,000mAh battery that can run the light for up to 42 hours on low. Two tail switches provide on, off, momentary on, and six lighting modes. It is intuitive for users and among the best interfaces I’ve tested. Durable, reliable, and USB-C rechargeable, this light checks almost every box.

Shopping for flashlights? Check out our buying guide to the best flashlights.



  • Max lumens 2,800
  • Max beam distance 1,247 ft. (380 m)
  • Max runtime 42 hrs.
  • Lighting modes Five brightness levels and strobe
  • Battery Included 21700 rechargeable li-ion battery
  • Bulb type Luminus SFT70 LED
  • Color temperature Around 6,500K
  • Size Length: 5.74” (145.8mm), head: 1.04” (26.5mm), body: 1.01” (25.7mm)
  • Weight 5.96 oz. (169g) including battery


  • Powerful, uniform 2,800-lumen beam
  • USB-C charging
  • Long battery life
  • Great user interface


  • Cannot tail stand
  • Price could be a factor

Fenix PD36R Pro Review

Fenix PD36 Pro Review showing flashlight and battery
The PD36R Pro and the included 21700 battery; (photo/Sean McCoy)

Before I started typing these words, I had to walk out to my truck in a snowstorm. That’s because, as usual, the PD36R Pro was in the center console. I’d grabbed it before my last trip to the mountains. It’s the flashlight that I reach for most because it’s pretty much perfect.

I pick up the PD36R Pro. It is the right size. It protrudes out of my hand by 2 or 3 inches. Hefty, but not heavy, it weighs a nicely balanced 5.96 ounces. The side has enough texture to keep it from feeling slippery, but not so much that it won’t clip easily into a pocket.

Push the larger of two tail switches, and the light pops on momentarily. Continue to press it deeper, and it locks on with a reassuring click. Want to change the light output? Press the smaller of the two buttons to scroll through output levels.

The small tail switch activates strobe mode when the light is already on. Press the small tail switch when the light is off to momentarily fire the strobe, a useful self-defense feature.

With it on, light pours from the Luminus SFT70 LED focused into a bright hotspot in the center with a moderate spill that lights up a broad area closer to the user. It’s a useful light throw pattern that works well at both close and long ranges.

Fenix PD36 Pro tail switches
The dual tail switches of the PD36R Pro; (photo/Sean McCoy)

While the PD36R Pro is a reasonably small flashlight, it maintains a powerful light for a long time. Turbo mode drops from 2,800 lumens to 1,000 after a few minutes, but then it maintains 1,000 lumens for more than 2 hours before dropping off significantly. At 1,000 lumens, it doesn’t get too hot, which is impressive for an EDC-size light.

Once you do deplete the battery, recharging is fast thanks to the USB-C charging port. I recharged the light from dead to full in just over 1 hour. It even has a simple red or green indicator to communicate battery life.

One very nice option, the PD36R Pro is available in several colors other than black, such as red and patterned orange. Unlike mine, these will be much easier to find in the dark when digging through a pack.

My Time With the PD36R Pro

My dog really likes to poo in the middle of the night. It’s a weird quirk, and one that, even when broken from the habit, she returns to. So there I was at 2 a.m., standing outside my tent in my underwear, generally enjoying the night sky while my pup did her business.

Then she started barking in a deep, defensive growl. Far from the ordinary for her, I fired the light from the PD36R Pro and scanned the woods. With turbo mode activated, I quickly saw — nothing. Then I heard it, far in the distance, the sound of a pack of coyotes. I guess my girl’s nose had picked up a scent she didn’t like. After listening and scanning the landscape with this beam, I knew for a certainty nothing was very near.

Year-round, I spend as much time in the mountains, fields, and forests as I can. The PD36R Pro has accompanied me camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing. It’s bounced around in my center console for 10,000 miles of highways and backroads. And it’s come in handy during a couple of vehicle repairs at home.

It has never let me down, and I’ve never wished I had a more powerful, bigger, or smaller flashlight. It seems to just always be the tool I need to light whatever it is I’m doing — even if that’s picking up after my dog.

PD36R Pro: Who It’s For?

The PD36R Pro has two cons. First, it won’t tail stand. That means it won’t stand upright on a hard surface like a table. If you want to set a light pointed at a ceiling to light a room, for example, this can be a significant downside. It’s not a big deal for me, but worth noting.

The other is cost. The PD36R Pro is currently around $120 (it retails for $156). It’s a decent hit for a flashlight if you don’t use it regularly. But then again, for those who rely on flashlights regularly, it’s worth every penny.

Fenix PD36R Pro: Conclusion

Fenix PD36 Pro Review
The Fenix PD36R Pro; (photo/Sean McCoy)

The Fenix PD36R Pro reviewed here is a fantastic light. It will serve the vast majority of users very well, offering a blend of high power and long reach with excellent lower power modes that can run for many hours on end. The mix of long battery life, easy operation, quick charging, durability, and available long throw make it a very hard light to beat.

For those who use a flashlight for work, hunting, or outdoors regularly, it’s a top choice. Even those who don’t use a light every day will appreciate its premium performance when the lights of the city go dark.

Fenix PD36R, best flashlight turned resting on fabric

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