Pocket flashlights or are lightweight small flashlights, perfect to carry around with you as a light source throughout the day—the ideal everyday carry. The best pocket flashlight, also called pen flashlights, all include several components, but it is the material and the quality of these elements that separates a good flashlight from a standard one. For a start, the battery life depends on the model. Some use a single AAA battery, while others opt for a Li-ion battery or a rechargeable battery. Depending on the model, some with have an anti-reflective coating, a varied light output, different brightness settings and some are even water resistant. Above all, you end up with a powerful flashlight that offers bright light and is there when you need it.

The Head

The head of a flashlight is where you will find the bezel, lens, and reflector; this is also where the LED is housed. The bezel is the outermost ring that is there to protect the lens, and a higher-quality flashlight’s bezel will be made with stainless steel for better durability and strength.

The lens and reflector are critical when it comes to the beam. The lens protects the bulb, and this is where the light beam passes. The reflector is the component that reflects the light from the LED and turns it into a beam.

The Body

The body of the flashlight is where you will find the batteries, and this is the part that you grip when using the flashlight. It is important to find a flashlight that is easy and comfortable to hold, no matter its size. You want to have a good grip so that the light does not just slip out of your hand.

Materials

Flashlights can be made from several different types of materials; the most common of these materials is aluminum. Aluminum is suitable for a pocket flashlight because it is lightweight but remains strong, and it helps to conduct the heat away from the LED.

Stainless steel material is tougher than aluminum but is also heavier, and brass and copper provide a different aesthetic and have high thermal conduction to manage heat better and help prevent corrosion to keep them looking new.

1. Coast G19 LED Inspection Flashlight

coast g19 led inspection flashlight image

The Coast G19 Flashlight is ultra-compact, lightweight, and comes with a pocket clip. It has a 2.5-hour run time and a 20-meter beam distance. It provides a circular beam of light with a low glare which makes it ideal for up close work. Due to its small size, it is easy to carry around and be accessible for everyday use.

PriceItem DimensionsItem WeightRun TimeBeam DistanceMax. Output (lumens)
Under $15.000.6” x 4.02” x 0.6”0.21 oz2 hours and 30 minutesUp to 65 feet54 lm

Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Lightweight
  • Circular beam
  • Pocket clip
  • Low glare
  • Inspection beam optics

Cons

  • Light can be uneven
  • Too dim
  • Non-adjustable beam

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2. Olight S1 Baton 500 Compact Flashlight

olight s1 baton 500 compact flashlight image

The Olight S1 Baton Flashlight is one of the smallest side-switch LED flashlights that Olight makes. Its small and compact size and clip feature make it ideal for carrying around and daily use. Olight S1 has three different standard modes, and its lens has a 90% light transmittance rate. It has an aluminum alloy body with an anti-scratch hard anodizing coating. It also features a magnet so that the flashlight can be placed upside down and used for hands-free work.

PriceItem DimensionsItem WeightRun TimeBeam DistanceMax. Output (lumens)
Under $50.002.4”1.06 ozUp to 40 hours depending on mode120 yards500 lm

Pros

  • Three different modes
  • Waterproof
  • Magnetic tail clip
  • No-slip pocket clip
  • Built-in timer
  • Single-button side switch

Cons

  • Battery not included
  • Higher price point

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3. Streamlight 66318 MicroStream C4 LED Pen Light

streamlight 66318 microstream c4 led pen light image

The Streamlight Pocket Flashlight is ultra-compact and includes a tail cap switch for one-handed operation. Also features a pocket clip so that it is easily accessible and can be carried on a daily basis with no trouble. It has a bright ½ watt LED with a lifetime of up to 30,000 hours, so you do not have to change the bulb. It is also of waterproof construction and has an unbreakable polycarbonate lens.

PriceItem DimensionsItem WeightRun TimeBeam DistanceMax. Output (lumens)
Under $20.000.6” x 3.5” x 0.6”2 oz2.25 hours52 meters28 lm

Pros

  • Ultra-compact
  • Waterproof
  • Pocket clip
  • O-ring sealed openings
  • Includes battery
  • Durable and lightweight

Cons

  • Clip can snag on clothing
  • Difficult to turn on and off

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4. Docooler Mini AAA LED Flashlight Pocket Torch Light

docooler mini aaa led flashlight pocket torch light image

The Docooler Pocket Torch Light is one of Amazon’s best sellers and is small and compact, like a pen. It can stand up on its own and has a skidproof, waterproof, and abrasion-resistant design. Its size makes it suitable for everyday use, and the clip makes it easy to carry it around without losing it. It also has a simple one switch mode lighting design.

PriceItem DimensionsItem WeightRun TimeBeam DistanceMax. Output (lumens)
Under $10.000.5” x 0.7” x 0.7”1 ozUnknownUnknown120 lm

Pros

  • Pocket clip
  • Small and lightweight
  • Can stand alone for hands-free use
  • Skid-proof
  • Waterproof
  • Abrasion resistant

Cons

  • Unsure of run time and beam distance
  • Not very sturdy

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5. UniqueFire Bright Light Powerful Mini Pocket Flashlight

uniquefire bright light powerful mini pocket flashlight image

The UniqueFire Flashlight has a different design than the other flashlights but still maintains a small and compact size so that it is convenient to carry around. It is constructed from high-quality aerospace-grade aluminum alloy materials with anodic oxidation. It has an adjustable focus and a waterproof design so that liquid cannot flow into the torch and ruin the flashlight. The biggest advantage of this flashlight is the advanced design that makes the light vertical to the torch.

PriceItem DimensionsItem WeightRun TimeBeam DistanceMax. Output (lumens)
Under $20.000.96” x 0.75” x 0.79”1.76 ozMore than 4 hoursUnknown300 lm

Pros

  • Unique vertical design
  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable focus
  • Small and durable
  • Middle button switch
  • Three different modes

Cons

  • Beam distance is unknown

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Conclusion

Though compact and small, these top 5 flashlights reviewed are powerful and can serve as an everyday carry light source. However, the brightness levels and the overall materials are key. The pocket clip included on most of these models adds to the convenience of having a pocket flashlight. It makes it easily accessible when needed but is not a hassle to carry around and use daily.

Ultimately, when purchasing a pocket flashlight, be sure to pay attention to its economic value as well as the size. Don’t just go for the first cheap flashlight you see. Look at the features and overall brightness and light output the flashlight provides. Is it water resistant? Does it have a long battery life and can the batteries be replaced easily? Do you prefer a rechargeable battery like a Li-ion battery or are AAA batteries right for your needs? Consider what you will be using the flashlight for and you will have a better idea of the features you will most need and use. May the light source be with you!

More Guides: Guide to Flashlights Under 50 USD