Reviews

The Best Mini Flashlights: Portable and Powerful Devices

Put a little sunshine in your pocket with these conveniently-sized flashlights

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BY Brian Smyth / LAST UPDATED ON November 2, 2020

Mini flashlights are practical and useful tools to have on hand. Small enough to go anywhere, they’re a source of bright light when you need it most. Great for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, power outages, walking at night, or carrying in a purse, bag, or pocket for emergencies or personal safety, mini flashlights are affordable and make great gifts. Thanks to advances in technology, mini flashlights are continuously being improved in terms of size, light output, battery life, and much more. With so many options, it can be tough to know which is best for you and what you need it for. To help you narrow it down, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite mini flashlights.

Best Overall
Maglite Solitaire
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Summary
Summary

This 47-lumen aluminum offering from Maglite sets the bar for all miniature flashlights. It measures under 3.25 inches long with a half-inch diameter and weighs in under a pound.

Pros
Pros
  • Impact-resistant to 6 feet drops 
  • IPX7-rated waterproof to 3 feet 
  • LED bulb only uses a single AAA battery
Cons
Cons
  • Small and lightweight, this flashlight is easy to lose 
Best Overall
Maglite Solitaire
Best Value
 LuxPro LP395
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Summary
Summary

This little light puts out 40 lumens running off of three AAA batteries. It is available in a multitude of colors and includes a convenient lanyard.

Pros
Pros
  • Made of aircraft-grade aluminum 
  • Glows in the dark
  • Lanyard for easy carry and identification
Cons
Cons
  • A bit thick for some users
Best Value
 LuxPro LP395
Honorable Mention
Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA
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Summary
Summary

This flashlight was designed for EDC and tactical applications. It has an aluminum body, removable carrying clip, and protective bezels at both ends. It also has three pre-programmed modes.

Pros
Pros
  • Produces 150 lumens with AAA batteries and 350 with CR123As
  • IPX7-rated waterproof to 3 feet
Cons
Cons
  • A bit on the pricey side
  • Might be a little long at 4.25 inches
Honorable Mention
Streamlight 88061 ProTac 1L-1AA
The Best Mini Flashlights
Amazon

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Mini Flashlights

  • Easy to carry. Miniature flashlights have the distinct advantage of being very conveniently sized. Most will easily slip into a pocket, purse, or gloves compartment, and some will even attach to key rings, making it incredibly easy to keep a light close at hand.
  • Better battery usage. Unlike their larger counterparts, mini flashlights use smaller and fewer batteries while still producing reasonable (and beyond reasonable) beams of light. Replacing emergency flashlight batteries can be expensive with larger lights, but thanks to LED technology, using a small flashlight for emergencies has gotten less costly due to using fewer and smaller batteries.
  • Bright. Gone are the days of tiny lights with tiny power. Today’s miniature flashlights can generate some impressive beams of light with the most powerful topping out at over 1,000 lumens of brightness.

Types of Mini Flashlights

EDC/Tactical

These lights are the toughest of the bunch and provide reliability, portability, and blinding illumination. Tactical and EDC flashlights (everyday carry) usually feature an aluminum or titanium body to provide both strength and durability without adding extra weight. The best tactical flashlights often include high-lumen outputs (at least 100 lumens), tailcap switches, and special bezels around the crown and tailcap.

Keyring Lights

As their name implies, keyring flashlights are ideal for attaching to that convenient metal loop. These lights often use button-style cell batteries or battery packs recharged via a USB phone charger or similar cable. They usually produce low-lumen light, making them perfect for finding a lock in the dark or scouring the bottom of a purse or bag.

Penlights

Penlights are an incredibly helpful flashlight design, especially for tradespeople or others who benefit from a pen-like design. This design is usually thin and somewhat long and often fits well into shirt pockets and screwdriver slots on tool bags. Often, penlights produce low-lumen outputs, although some can max out in the vicinity of 100 lumens, ideal for mechanics, plumbers, and other technicians.

Top Brands

Coast

After moving to Portland, Ore., Henry W. Brands first began selling salmon fillet knives to fishermen in 1919. Since then, Coast has grown, staying in the family and expanding its offerings for tradespeople, outdoorsmen, law enforcement, and military personnel. Today, it specializes in knives, multitools, and lights, such as the Coast G20 flashlight.

Maglite

Maglite was founded by Tony Maglica, a Croatian American pursuing the American Dream. After almost 20 years of manufacturing precision parts for industrial, aerospace, and military applications, Maglica finally incorporated the company in 1974 and introduced the first Maglite flashlight in 1979. Today, the Ontario, Calif.-based company focuses on producing top-quality flashlights for just about any application.

Streamlight

Founded in 1973, Streamlight has been producing lighting solutions for workers, adventurers, first responders, and the military for over 45 years. The company is headquartered in Eagleville, Penn., and prides itself on producing high-quality lights with customer service to match. Products such as the Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA serve as excellent EDC tools for countless individuals.

SureFire

The SureFire name may be the most respected flashlight name in the military and law enforcement communities. In 1979, Dr. John Matthews founded SureFire—then known as the Newport Corporation—to provide military and law enforcement professionals with laser-sighting equipment for greater tactical accuracy. Today, the company produces lasers, weapon lights, and flashlights. 

Mini Flashlight Pricing

  • Under $10: Finding a water-resistant flashlight in this price range is virtually impossible. Light outputs usually will be under 50 lumens.
  • $10 to $25: Good quality lights in this price range usually feature higher lumen outputs. Water-resistant and shock-resistant options also start to appear in this range.
  • $25 and up: Fully waterproof torches are included in this price bracket, and many lights feature programmable light modes. True tactical flashlights are also in this category. 

Key Features

Brightness

Modern flashlights are quite bright compared to their predecessors, but exactly how bright is bright? A light source’s brightness is usually measured in lumens, and manufacturers often take pains to emphasize lumen ratings of their lights. For reference, a candle usually produces around 10 lumens, while the average car headlight puts out about 1,000 lumens, and HID headlights often generate approximately 3,000 lumens.

Environmental Considerations

After determining a particular flashlight’s intended use, buyers should consider how well a miniature light can handle environmental factors. Precedence should be given to torches that resist water, dust, and shock or impacts. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) created the “IP” system, which allows for easy identification of an electronic device’s resistance to water and dust. For example, IPX7-rated lights are waterproof for at least 30 minutes in water up to three feet deep.

Power Source

When purchasing any flashlight, its power source should be of prime consideration. While most modern mini flashlights run on AAA or AA batteries, specialized lights may use different batteries, such as CR123A batteries, or they could be rechargeable

Other Considerations

  • Ease of Carrying. While somewhat subjective, the ease of carrying a miniature flashlight is an important factor to consider when selecting an EDC flashlight. In addition to the light’s overall size, buyers should consider how they plan to carry in and see what features match the intended carry method. For example, tactical lights often have clips that allow for easy attachment to a pocket, while others may rely on a keyring to remain secure.

The Best Mini Flashlight Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Maglite Solitaire LED

This flashlight has been around for decades, delivering reliable performance year after year in tough environments. The Solitaire LED is powered by a single AAA battery (included) and generates a 47-lumen beam capable of running for an hour and 45 minutes. It carries an IPX7 rating, making it waterproof up to a three-foot depth, and can resist impacts equivalent to being dropped from six-feet high. The flashlight turns by twisting the head rather than pushing a button, and it comes with a keyring lanyard. The Maglite Solitaire LED is truly miniature, measuring 3.19-inches long with a half-inch diameter and weighing only 0.85 ounces.


Easily the biggest drawback to this flashlight is its size. As a true mini flashlight, this little guy could be easy to lose without the optional lanyard.

Best Value
LuxPro LP395

This flashlight comes in a wide variety of fun colors that glow in the dark and are perfectly sized for small and large hands. It is constructed from aircraft-grade machined aluminum and covered with a colorful rubber grip, making it both easy to hold and water- and scratch-resistant. Offered at a competitive price, this mini flashlight makes a great gift, stocking stuffer, or party favor and is a fun option for all ages. It is ideal for camping, hiking, sleepovers, emergency power outages, and so much more. This light runs on three AAA batteries and is small enough to go anywhere. It features a large on/off button on the cap and generates 40 lumens.


The only complaint one might have is its relative girth. It has a one-inch diameter that may not be ideal for carrying in a pocket, but this flashlight’s width will be an afterthought for most users.

Premium Pick
Streamlight ProTac 1L-1AA

This flashlight is compact yet packs the perfect punch of light. The anodized aluminum body houses either a single AA battery (either alkaline or lithium) or one CR123A battery, each powering three modes: high, low, and strobe. Under AA battery power, this light puts out a maximum of 150 lumens, but with a CR123A, this LED-powered torch more than doubles that output, reaching 350 lumens. Thanks to its IPX7 rating, this flashlight is waterproof for 30 minutes in depths up to three feet. It is also shock-resistant up to six feet and comes with three different mode programs.


While a little long for a miniature flashlight, the extra length ensures that all users can get a good grasp of it, even those with large hands. Some users might find this flashlight is too pricey, but the extra pennies translate to higher quality and performance.

Most Versatile
NICRON N7 600 Lumens Tactical Flashlight

This flashlight is equipped with many features like a magnetic tail cap for quick attachment to ferrous metal surfaces for hands-free usage. Compact enough to fit in your pocket, this mini aluminum flashlight also has a 90-degree rotating head for customizable light function. It houses an N7 LED light powered either by one AA battery that generates 250 lumens of output or a 14500 rechargeable battery that produces 600 lumens of bright, powerful light with an illumination range of 413 feet. A handy side clip and durable non-slip grip are great bonus features. It is water- and shock-resistant for added durability and practicality.


Easily the biggest complaint with this flashlight is the switch, which requires users to depress it for two seconds before it will power on, switch modes, or power off. This feature makes is just slightly less convenient to use.

Honorable Mention
Milwaukee 2105 Penlight

This 100-lumen flashlight is perfect for tradespeople, contractors, and mechanics thanks to its brilliant design. The light is constructed with 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum for strength, durability, and reduced weight, and it carries an IP67 rating, making it waterproof and dustproof. Additionally, it features a chemical-resistant lens, further adding to the worksite credibility. The light draws power from two AAA batteries and is designed to be used hands-free. In addition to the included metal clip, the Milwaukee 2105 Penlight includes a rubberized tail cap designed to let users get a grip with their teeth to free up both hands.


While very lightweight, this flashlight’s dimensions may be a bit much for some. It is relatively long, stretching almost 5.5 inches, and the 0.65-inch diameter is roughly equivalent to a standard Sharpie cap with clip, making it a little wide.

Honorable Mention
OUDMON Rechargeable LED Flashlight

Among versatile flashlights, the OUDMON Rechargeable LED Flashlight easily stands out. It has a super-strong 1200-lumen light that can last up to 20 hours, thanks to its 2600 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery, which can be recharged via the included USB cord in only four hours. An indicator on the light turns red during charging then switches to green when a full charge is reached. It then remains green until the battery life drops below 50 percent and will begin flashing red when it comes time to recharge the battery. This anodized aluminum flashlight also does double duty as a powerful mini lantern for extra versatility and 360-degree illumination. It is also water-resistant and comes with a focusing lens and a magnetic base.


This light stretches the definition of “mini” to the absolute limits, but the extra size and weight allow for some impressive output and performance on a low budget.

Honorable Mention
Weltool M6-Dr Diagnostic Penlight

A small flashlight like the Weltool M6-Dr Diagnostic Penlight is a must-have tool in the medical and emergency response fields. The M6-Dr runs off of two AAA batteries, generating a 4.5-lumen beam, making it perfect for easy examinations and other diagnostic roles. The warm-colored LED has a color temperature of 3000K and a color rendering index of 85 percent, putting it in competition with traditional incandescent light bulbs. This tough little assistant consists of 6061 aluminum alloy and carries an IP65 waterproof rating. The Weltool M6-Dr Diagnostic Penlight also includes an optical glass lens for the bulb, a steel clip for storage, and reverse polarity protection to prevent damage from batteries installed backward.


At only 0.8 ounces and 0.55 inches, this penlight is lightweight and thin, but it is a little long, measuring 5.25 inches. 

Honorable Mention
Amuoc LED Tactical Flashlight S1000

The Amuoc LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a flashlight capable of illuminating things at long distances. This tiny aluminum light source can light up objects 1000 feet away and comes equipped with an adjustable beam that can be used for focused illumination or zoomed out for a wider, sweeping view. Measuring only 5 inches in length, this mini flashlight can be easily concealed and is powered by either three AAA batteries or one rechargeable 18650 lithium-ion battery. For increased versatility, it has five handy operating modes: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. The Amuoc LED Tactical Flashlight S1000 carries an IPX6 water resistance rating for dependable use in all types of weather.


“Short and stout” describes this flashlight quite well. While it easily fits within the palm of a hand, this light’s wide girth is immediately apparent once that hand closes.

Honorable Mention
Streamlight Nano Keychain Flashlight

Aptly named the Nano, this tiny light measures only 1.47 inches long, making it one of the smallest flashlights on the market. It is a water-resistant, durable light with a 100,000 hour LED bulb that shines strong and bright. It is equipped with a sturdy and substantial non-rotating snap hook that easily attaches to your keyring, backpack, belt loop, or anything else with a loop or key ring. Constructed from aircraft-grade machined aluminum with an anodized finish, this ultra-tough flashlight can last up to eight hours. This flashlight is powered by four included alkaline button cell batteries.


Due to its small size, this light has a few limitations. At only 10 lumens, it will not light up any football fields, although it is plenty bright for most administrative tasks. Users could also be prone to dropping and losing the flashlight due to its portability and size.

Honorable Mention
Olight i1R 2 EOS

This flashlight easily fits anyone’s definition of “miniature” thanks to its minimal weight and dimensions. Measuring in at 1.73 inches long and 0.58 inches in diameter, this little light weighs an impressive 0.46 ounces. The twist-bezel design allows users to activate a five-lumen beam or a high-beam 150-lumen output. The body is constructed of a durable, lightweight aluminum alloy and is engineered to meet IPX8 waterproofing standards, making it immersible down to 6 feet. The lithium-ion battery is fully rechargeable in 75 minutes thanks to a universal micro-USB charging port, making the Olight i1R 2 EOS incredibly easy to maintain.


This light is incredibly small—as such, it's easy to lose if users choose not to take advantage of the included keyring. The 150-lumen high beam has a very short run time of only five minutes on a single charge.

Tips

  • Consider a miniature flashlight’s intended use before purchasing. An emergency preparedness-type light will have different requirements than a keychain light or an EDC flashlight. Factors to consider include storage, battery usage, and many more.

FAQs

What is the best small flashlight?

A: This depends heavily on the light’s intended use. EDC and tactical flashlights must be tougher and more reliable than lights intended for a child’s slumber party. Portability, battery type, and waterproofing are just a few of the factors a potential purchaser must consider.

How do I fix a small flashlight?

A: Often, low-quality aluminum flashlights require shaking to keep working, yet will remain unreliable. This is usually due to a poor connection between the bulb assembly/battery contact and the internal aluminum housing. Lightly sand away the finish on the cap threads to create a better electrical connection.

What is the smallest and brightest flashlight?

A: Micro flashlights tend to lack brightness due to a lack of power. Those that actually do produce intense light tend to have a minimal light “life.” That said, the Olight i1R 2 EOS is worth checking it—it produces a 150-lumen beam that lasts about five minutes before dying.

Final Thoughts

For an excellent all-around mini flashlight, buyers can’t go wrong with the tough, durable Maglite Solitaire. It produces 47 lumens and fits virtually anywhere one might imagine. The LuxPro LP395—though a bit wider—is still an incredibly handy light that is easy on the wallet.