Now that everyone’s smartphone has a built-in flashlight, carrying one as a part of your everyday carry might seem somewhat extraneous. However, your smartphone flashlight isn’t always convenient — especially if the battery is dead, you don’t actually have your phone on you, or you need both your hands. For this reason, we have to encourage people to include an alternative lighting option as a part of their EDC loadout.
Obviously, not everyone wants to or even can carry a dedicated full-size flashlight as a part of their EDC. But that doesn’t mean you’re without options. In fact, plenty of brands make ones that are compact enough to stash with your keys and keychain tools but still pack a wallop regarding their battery life and lumen output. But, if you’re really looking for the cream of the crop, you’ll find the best keychain flashlights on the following list. They’re all small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, can easily be attached to your carabiner or keychain, and so much more.
Nite Ize Inova Microlight STS Keychain Flashlight
If you’re looking for basic, budget-friendly, and barebones in your keychain flashlight, then the $12 Nite Ize Inova Microlight STS is going to be plenty good enough for your purposes. It’s not going to light up the night, per se, but its 16-lumen maximum output is more than enough to help you search for dropped gear under dark desks, whatever’s clanging around at the bottom of your backpack, and the like. Just make sure you change out the batteries regularly, as you’ll have up to 64 hours per charge, but you can’t plug it in to juice it up once it’s dead.
StatGear Pocket Lumen Keychain LED Flashlight
Shorter than a standard house key and roughly the same weight as one, StatGear’s Pocket Lumen Keychain LED Flashlight is practically the definition of “tiny but mighty” and fits just about any budget. It can output 30 lumens — more than enough for most people’s everyday carry usage — and is also water-resistant to depths of up to a meter. With its simple twist operation and single output mode, it isn’t what we would call groundbreaking. But it will get the job done when you need it every single time.
Slughaus Bull3t Micro Flashlight
With a total length of 1.18″ and a maximum output of 100 lumens, Slughaus is confident enough in their Bull3t to call it the “world’s most powerful micro flashlight, ever.” It should be noted, however, that the output and size are only two of its big highlights. It also comes in either titanium or aluminum, is tough enough to survive being run over by a car and still function, it’s waterproof, and it can even resist fire. If you want a micro-sized light with maximized features elsewhere, go no further.
Material: Aluminum or Titanium
Olight i1R 2 EOS Keychain Flashlight
If you’re even moderately familiar with the EDC and/or flashlight industries, you’ve probably heard the name Olight. If not, it’s time to change that. This brand has one of the best catalogs of portable torches in the world and their i1R 2 EOS is a pretty spectacular example of just how great they are as a company. It’s only 1.61″ in length, can be recharged via micro USB, boasts waterproofing good for depths of 40 meters, can run for up to six hours per charge, and has an output range of 5-150 lumens. Mate that all to Olight’s legendary trustworthiness and this is likely to be one of the bigger hits on this list.
TEC Accessories Pixel Titanium Keychain Flashlight
If you want a useful flashlight, but you have virtually no leftover room on your keychain or carabiner, you can still attach to it a portable flashlight if you pick up the TEC Accessories Pixel. You see, with its 1.875″ length and titanium construction, it takes up very little room and weighs a negligible amount. And you’ll still get that legendary titanium indestructibility, a 25-lumen output (more than enough for most EDC tasks), and you can brag that this exceptional device was made in the USA — because it was.
Keysmart NanoTorch Keychain Flashlight
Keysmart is best known for its key organizers, but that’s not all they do. In fact, they’ve crafted one of the all-time best keychain flashlights in their NanoTorch. It isn’t boastful or fancy, but at 1.8 inches in length and a negligible weight, it doesn’t really have to be. That rings truer once you consider that it works both with standard keychains and carabiners, as well as Keysmart’s suite of organizers. And it is built tough enough that it can take a beating and keeps right on shining.
Material: Stainless Steel
MecArmy Illuminex-4S Keychain Flashlight
At a minuscule 1.61″ in length, MecArmy’s Illuminex-4S was first introduced as the world’s smallest micro USB rechargeable keychain flashlight. While that might not still be true thanks to the category’s expansion, this flashlight is no less an impressive one for its output range (up to 130 lumens), simple twist operation, anodized aluminum construction (which is both durable and available in numerous colorways), impact resistance, and IPX8 waterproofing. Truly this is a micro marvel.
SureFire Sidekick Keychain Flashlight
Truth be told, the SureFire Sidekick isn’t exactly the most beautifully-designed keychain flashlight on the market. In fact, it looks an awful lot like a key fob from a few years ago. However, there’s no denying its handiness and effectiveness. With just a push of a button, this flashlight puts out an impressive 300 lumens, it has a trio of lighting settings, it can run for a maximum of 45 hours per charge, and it’s rechargeable via micro USB. Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss this impressive option just because it’s a touch clunky in its design.
Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Prometheus Lights Beta-QRV2 Flashlight
Unlike the previous entry, Prometheus Lights’ Beta-QRV2 is one of the best-designed flashlights on our entire list. And hopefully, that goes toward allowing you to excuse its length, as at 3.4″ it’s longer than most keys, which could be a fairly severe drawback. Thankfully, its length does not translate to extra weight, as it still only clocks in at 0.75 ounces. It also has a 1-95 lumen output range; comes in aluminum, brass, or copper; and has a quick-release on the tail to make removing it from your keys for simpler, more convenient use a speedy and handy prospect. It even works with multiple battery chemistries, which is a nice inclusion.
Material: Aluminum, Brass, or Copper
Nitecore TUP Flashlight
Admittedly, we’re pushing the limits with the Nitecore TUP Flashlight, as most folks probably aren’t going to be willing to put this clunky rectangle on their keychain. however, if you really understand the value of a flashlight as a part of your everyday carry, it’s 100% worth your consideration. That’s because, for just $65, you get a scalable 1,000-lumen output, five different brightness modes alongside turbo and “ultralow” functionality, a 70-hour rechargeable battery, and even an OLED display that can tell you exactly how much light is being produced and makes keeping an eye on the battery a cinch. Yes, it’s bulky — but it is unmatched in its performance.
MecArmy FL10 Titanium Carabiner Flashlight
This is another one that, perhaps, pushes the reasonable limits of what a keychain flashlight is. But we’re giving it a pass because, as you can see, it actually replaces your keychain altogether and comes with a number of other handy, built-in features. That includes a maximum output of 360 lumens, micro USB rechargeability, a titanium construction, a spring-loaded gate, and a handful of useful built-in tools. This is more multi-tool than flashlight, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still one of the best keychain flashlights around.
Muyshondt Maus Flashlight
EDC enthusiasts everywhere should be intimately familiar with Muyshondt, as this brand makes some of the most beautiful, carry-worthy, heirloom-quality flashlights around. The Maus is actually the brand’s smallest and, as such, also comes with a keychain attachment point. Available in copper, aluminum, or titanium, this flashlight puts out 60 lumens, is smaller than a tube of lip balm, is waterproof, boasts an exceedingly elegant design, and so very much more. It’s expensive, but that’s what you pay for perfection.
Material: Aluminum, Copper, or Titanium
What Are Lumens & Why Do They Matter?
While it might seem like a buzzword, a major part of what determines a flashlight’s value is its lumens — a measure of its light output. But what that means, specifically, is a bit more complicated. Learn everything you need to know on our guide explaining lumens and why they matter.
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