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Tested: The Best Keychain Flashlights To Carry Every Day

Best Keychain Flashlights 01 Hero

 Other than modern must-haves like wallets and smartphones, flashlights are easily one of the most commonly-used everyday carry staples, which by itself is already a decent reason to carry one, however when you consider the immensely pocketable form of today’s most potent yet compact EDC torches and the incredibly accessible prices these items are sold at, and it’s pretty hard to justify not having an EDC light be one of the items amongst your daily loadout. And while there are some incredibly small, rugged, and powerhouse EDC-specific flashlights on the market, for those interested in the tiniest options available, nothing beats a quality keychain torch — the latest and greatest of which we’ll be counting down today in this guide to the best keychain flashlights for everyday carry, in which we’ll be breaking down our tops picks for the finest flashlights on the market, while also delving into why you should carry one and what to look for when shopping. 

The Best Keychain Flashlights For EDC

An Argument For Investing

Why Carry A Keychain Flashlight?

With most of us now carrying smartphones with built-in onboard flashlights, some may ask why it’s even necessary to carry a keychain flashlight — which is admittedly a fair question. For starters, most smartphone flashlights are actually designed as camera flash systems rather than regular flashlights, and as such are only designed to work in very close-range applications. Whats more, smartphone flashlights aren’t very powerful, with your average iPhone’s flashlight being rated at around 40-50 lumens. Despite the low output, smartphone flashlights also tend to quickly drain a phone’s battery, making it even easier to justify carrying a dedicated EDC torch. 

A great many of the keychain flashlights on the market are also priced at affordable MSRPs, making them pretty widely accessible to almost anyone, no matter your budget. Most importantly, the increased lumen output and beam distance of most premium keychain flashlights affords these EDC items far more utility than a smartphone light. Plus, not only can these items be attached to the keychain or carabiner that you’re probably already carrying, but the fact they mount to your keychain means these lights are always easily available and at the ready whenever needed, often being even quicker to deploy than a smartphone light. When you add all of this up, it starts to become increasingly and abundantly clear why keychain lights are such a worthwhile investment — and why they’re carried by so many EDC enthusiasts. 

Keychain Torches 101

What Should I Look For When Buying An EDC Keychain Flashlight?

As fairly unique items, the process of shopping for EDC keychain lights is also a fairly unique one, with a myriad of factors that one should consider — some of which are exclusive to torches of the keychain variety. Below, we’ll briefly touch on half a dozen of the most crucial areas to consider when shopping around for an everyday carry keychain flashlight. 

Video Guide: The Best Keychain Flashlights For EDC

Want to take an even deeper dive into the latest and greatest keychain torches? Then be sure to head over to our 4K video guide to the best keychain flashlights for everyday carry for a more in-depth look at these pocketable yet potent EDC torch options.

Materials: Just like with a regular EDC torch or a modern tac-light, the primary material used to make the body or housing of a keychain flashlight will ultimately play an enormous role in the item’s overall quality and durability. How a keychain light is pieced together is also of major importance as a torch’s weatherproofing largely boils down to this factor, as well as how it’s sealed (such as using O-rings or other small gaskets). What’s more, in addition to the keychain flashlight’s body material, it’s also worth looking into secondary constructions such as what the keychain, end-cap, bezel, or (if it has one) quick-release mechanism is crafted from. 

Lumen Output: Though there are some factors like a flashlight’s beam distance that are crucial to note, a torch’s lumen output is undoubtedly one of the two most important things to consider when buying a keychain light. These figures can pretty hugely vary from model to model, though it is worth pointing out that some company’s equip their keychain lights with special lenses and reflectors that can sometimes direct and amplify lumen output — meaning some of these models are more powerful than their lumen alone output would lead you to believe. 

Operation & Attachment: Most keychain flashlights are small enough that they can comfortably be used while still attached to the keychain (assuming you aren’t carrying the keyring of a prison warden or janitor). With that said, some companies have nonetheless opted to bestow their respective keychain lights with clever and easy-to-use quick-release mechanisms that allow for ultra-easy, rapid deployment whenever the light is needed. Additionally, you’ll also want to investigate how a keychain light is turned on, as there’s a myriad of different ways these tiny torches can be activated, from simple push-button setups to twisting devices to sliding switches and so on. 

Battery: While not quite as important as lumen output, the amount of time that you’re able to run a keychain flashlight before needing to charge it is definitely of major importance in its own right. For this area, you’ll want to review what type of battery a keychain flashlight is using, the battery’s size (a figure typically measured in milliampere hours), if that battery can be recharged, how it’s recharged, how much life it offers, and how quickly it can be recharged. Additionally, some flashlights can utilize built-in rechargeable batteries as well as basic store-bought batteries like AA and AAAs. 

Size & Weight: Because they are designed to be carried on a keyring, pretty much all keychain lights are rather diminutive in size, with most measuring no more than an inch or two in length or diameter. With that said, keychain flashlights can nonetheless hugely vary in size, however, it is also worth pointing out that (as obvious as this may sound), the larger keychain flashlights often are more powerful and boast higher lumen outputs — though this isn’t always the case as you’ll see below.

Extra Features: While keychain flashlights seldom possess a laundry list of features —  obviously due to their ultra-compact size — there are actually a few high-end keychain torches that come loaded with several amenities that go above and beyond providing light at multiple levels. On top of aforementioned quick-release systems, some EDC keychain lights also boast magnetic charging systems, lockout modes, LED battery level indicator lights, and even mini digital displays, just to name a few. 

Selection & Testing Process

How & Why We Got Hands-On With These Particular Work Backpacks

Best Keychain Flashlights Tested 1

Small flashlights that you can carry on your keyring have existed for decades, though as the EDC space has grown more popular and more competitive, we’ve started seeing an even greater number of keychain torches. In a bid to discover the best options on the market, we began our search by first creating a list of criteria that we used to judge each light, examining characteristics such as its material selection, lumen output, durability, features and modes, battery type, battery life, and both overall size, and size relative to lumen output. These factors allowed us to weed out the majority of the available keychain lights, resulting in a shortlist of modes that we suspected may represent the best of the best. 

Even the most detailed spec sheet only tells part of the story, however, which is why the second portion of our process saw us actually get our hands-on each and every keychain light from our short list. This phase enabled us to ultimately glean a real-world sense of each light’s performance and battery life, as well as testing each model’s functionality, modes, and ease of use. Our hands-on testing also revealed each light’s build quality and craftsmanship — an area that can massively differ between mass-produced lights and boutique-made keychain torches.

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Photo: Testing flashlight lumen output & throw at ~25 feet | HICONSUMPTION

We also performed our own dark-room testing to get a better sense of each model’s actual lumen output and throw — an experience we’ve documented via a photo for each light (collective side-by-side photo above) in our write-ups below. The environment was exactly the same for each flashlight, and we stood about 25 feet from the wall. We also cycled through each different mode to measure every flashlight’s full capabilities (check out our review video for those details). After an extended hands-on testing period where each light spent several days on our keyring, we then narrowed down our original shortlist to a final concrete list of what we found to be the very best keychain flashlights for everyday carry

Nite Ize Radiant Microlight

Nite Ize Radiant Microlight
Photo: Nite Ize
  • Super tiny size
  • Water & impact-resistant polymer body
  • Minimal lumen output

Best Budget Pick: Spanning just 1.85” in length and weighing in at only 0.35oz, the Nite Ize Radiant MicroLight is a tiny keychain light that features a water and impact-resistant full polycarbonate frame and a maximum 12-lumen output with an approximately 50’ throw. Mated to its carrier’s keychain via an included stainless steel carabiner clip, the MicroLight also boasts a two-lumen low-power mode, a flashing mode, and a Micro-USB-rechargeable internal battery.


This torch also boasts a single push button that allows its user to easily cycle through its trio of modes. While it admittedly isn’t the brightest EDC light (or anything even close to that), Nite Ize’s Radiant MicroLight is wildly compact and incredibly rugged, plus it offers just enough lumens to afford some actual utility (when used in darkness) — factors made all the more attractive by this keychain light’s super-affordable $10 MSRP. 


Length: 1.85”
Body Material: Polycarbonate
Max Lumen Output: 12

Olight I1R 2 Pro EOS

OLIGHT I1R 2 Pro Eos
Photo: Olight
  • Very potent lumen output for its size
  • Features a memory function
  • Rugged IPX8-rated construction
  • Very few modes

Best Micro Light Pick: Bigger than its predecessor, though still wildly compact at just 2.02” in length and 0.64” in diameter, the Olight I1R 2 Pro Eos is a surprisingly capable keychain light that features an anodized aluminum body with a machined grip pattern and a simple twisting-head operation. Tipping the scales at less than an ounce, the light sports a high-performance CSP LED emitter focused through a rugged TIR optic lens — a setup that ultimately affords an impressive 180-lumen output and a 164’ throw.


Offered in a wide variety of different finishes, Olight’s I1R 2 Pro Eos is powered by a USB-C-rechargeable 130-mAh Lithium-ion battery that offers more than 20 minutes of burn-time on its highest setting — or a whopping 12 hours of life on the torch’s low-power setting. Despite its incredibly compact size, the I1R 2 Pro Eos also features a convenient memory function that recalls the last mode used after a power cycle. What’s more, with an IPX8 rating, this keychain light can also survive dust, dirt, sand, mud, and being fully submerged in up to 2 meters of water for up to half an hour without any issues. With its tiny size, ample durability, and ultra-potent output, the I1R 2 Pro Eos is a fantastic keychain torch that can elevate just about any everyday carry loadout.


Length: 2.02”
Body Material: Aluminum
Max Lumen Output: 180

Fenix E03R V2

Fenix E03R Keychain Flashlight
Photo: Fenix Lights

Best Value Pick: Similar in size, shape, and appearance to a car’s key fob with a rectangular-shaped 1.85” L x 0.94” W x 0.47” H precision-machined HAIII hard-anodized all-metal housing, the Fenix E03R Keychain Flashlight is a thoroughly impressive EDC keychain torch that’s as small and potent as it is feature-laden. Rated to withstand one-meter drops, this IP66-rated light sports a 260-lumen maximum output with a nearly 140’ throw, as well as four brightness levels, a night vision-friendly auxiliary red light mode, and a flashing red light mode.


It doesn’t end there, however, as the E03R also comes loaded with intelligent overheating protection, low-voltage warning, battery level indication, a lockout function, and a recessed push-button control switch. Weighing just 0.78oz, the light draws from a built-in USB-C-rechargeable 200-mAh Li-polymer battery that affords up to 18 hours of burn time per charge. Rather than merely being a small flashlight with a keyring attachment, Fenix’s E03R was actually designed from the ground up as a keychain light, resulting in an incredibly sleek and user-friendly item that’s unsurprisingly highly conducive to EDC.


Length: 1.85”
Body Material: All-Metal
Max Lumen Output: 260

MecArmy X3S Copper

MecArmy X3S Copper
Photo: MecArmy
  • Super rugged construction
  • Also great as a regular EDC light
  • Beautiful machined copper body
  • Lumen output is a bit lacking for its size

Most Rugged Light: Touted by the brand as being the “world’s smallest USB-rechargeable flashlight,” the MecArmy X3S Copper is a tiny 1.83” L x 0.58” D keychain light that, in typical MecArmy fashion, takes inspiration from tactical military gear, with impressive performance backed by mil-spec durability and construction standards. Impact resistant from 1.5 meters and IPX8-rated, this flashlight’s body has been machined from solid copper before being fitted with a CREE XP-G2 emitter that affords a nearly 200’ throw and a maximum output of 130 lumens.


The emitter also draws from a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery with reverse polarity protection that affords half an hour of burn time on a single charge when used in its highest setting. Tipping the scales at only 0.63oz, the X3S is also activated using a one-handed-operable twist switch function. With this flashlight’s body also having its bottom-end capped off with an integrated lanyard loop-style item, this torch can easily be mated to a keychain, though its size and shape also make it perfect for tossing in your pocket and using as a regular EDC torch, too. 


Length: 1.83”
Body Material: Copper
Max Lumen Output: 130

EagTac Teeny DX3E

EagTac Teeny DX3E
Photo: EagTac
  • Enormous 1,000-lumen maximum output
  • Features 8 programmable power modes
  • Rugged anodized aluminum body
  • Top-shelf finish with brushed buttons & bezel
  • Massive lumen output reduces battery life

Most Powerful Pick: On the surface, the EagTac Teeny DX3E may look like your fairly run-of-the-mill small EDC light — albeit of the premium variety, with its brushed stainless steel buttons and matching head bezel — though the reality is if you scratch under the surface this 2.60” L x 0.60” D torch conceals a host of innovative systems and features. Weighing in at less than an ounce, the flashlight is crafted around an HAIII hard-anodized aerospace-grade aluminum body with an integrated lanyard-style keychain loop that allows it to be connected to its included removable stainless steel attachment split ring and lobster claw clip.


Boasting eight programmable power modes, the Teeny DX3E packs a single Luminus SST20 LED emitter affording a whopping 1,000 lumens — a wildly impressive maximum output that’s made possible through the use of the torch’s solid brass heat sink that separates its main body and bezel. Rounding out this light is a battery-level indicator, a TIR optic lens, and a protected 400-mAh Li-Po battery that’s accessed via an IPX6-rated USB-C charging port. With a 1,000-lumen output, the DX3E can also easily go toe-to-toe with full-sized EDC flashlights that are several times larger and more expensive. 


Length: 2.60”
Body Material: Aluminum
Max Lumen Output: 1,000


  • Custom-designed as a keychain-specific EDC light
  • Features an OLED display
  • Has a healthy 500-lumen output
  • Boasts a sleek key fob-inspired shape
  • Could offer better impact & weather resistance

Best High-Tech Pick: Made by one of the must trusted brands in the EDC flashlight space, the NITECORE TINI 2 is the result of the company setting out to deliver the ultimate everyday carry keychain light, and then returning to the drawing board to produce an even more capable second-gen version. Not actually made from titanium, this lengthy R&D process has culminated in a key fob-style torch that features an anodized aluminum alloy body that accommodates two physical buttons, a digital OLED display, and a pair of OSRAM P8 LED emitters that collectively afford a maximum output of 500 lumens. This is a major jump over the first-generation version of this light — which featured a single emitter with a 380-lumen output.


Equipped with an advanced power cut-off technology feature, this torch also boasts a battery that can afford up to 15 minutes of use in the light’s highest setting (or 8 hours in its 15-lumen mode). While not quite as rugged as some of the other IPX8-rated offerings on this list, the TINI 2’s IP54 status still allows it to stand up to occasional splashes, sweat, or light rain. With a size that’s roughly half the size of a regular car key fob, a more than healthy lumen output, and a high-tech OLED display, the TINI 2 really is just an incredible piece of everyday carry gear — and one that shows how far the flashlight space has come over the last few years alone.


Length: 1.8”
Body Material: Aluminum
Max Lumen Output: 500

Maratac Peanut Beast

Maratac Peanut Beast
Photo: Maratac
  • Unique mini flashlight design
  • Extremely potent relative to its size
  • Has LED color-coded charging system
  • Boasts great battery life
  • So small that it can be awkward to use

Best Overall Pick: Looking like a tiny, scaled-down 2.10” version of a full-sized flashlight, the aptly-named Maratac Peanut Beast may be a playful take on a keychain light, however, it doesn’t skimp on performance or durability — quite the opposite, in fact. Weighing in at only 0.75oz, the Peanut Beast features an emitter with a 520-lumen maximum output and a more than 1,000 throw, along with an 80-mAh Lithium battery that can be recharged in as little as half an hour — all housed in an aircraft-grade aluminum body that’s equipped with an aluminum alloy reflector and capped off with an AR-coated lens.


Making this keychain light all the more impressive is the fact that the entire torch runs off of Maratac’s own proprietary circuit design that includes built-in reverse polarity protection. What’s more, this tiny torch also features a trio of primary modes, a simple push-button operation, and a color-coded LED charging system that goes from red to green once its battery is done juicing up. 


Length: 2.10”
Body Material: Aluminum
Max Lumen Output: 520

RovyVon Aurora A4

RovyVon Aurora A4
Photo: RovyVon
  • Built around a top-shelf TC4 titanium alloy body
  • Boasts a solid 650-lumen output
  • Has a magnetic base
  • Offered w/ optional tritium vials
  • On the larger side for a keychain light

Best Titanium Pick: Building on the already-capable foundation laid out by its trio of predecessors, the RovyVon Aurora A4 is a premium — yet surprisingly affordable — keychain light that features just about every trait and amenity that one could hope for on an EDC torch, just in a smaller package. This includes a hardwearing IPX6 rating, a 360’ throw, a maximum output of 650 lumens, a myriad of different power modes, a potent USB-C-rechargeable (330-mAh) Lithium-polymer battery that can be fully replenished in an hour.


Other highlights include a magnetic base, and a top-shelf TC4 titanium alloy body construction that’s incredibly durable and corrosion resistant yet allows the light to weigh in at only 0.85oz (despite measuring almost 2.50” in length). This fourth-generation model also comes equipped with a lockout mode and an integrated lanyard loop for keychain or bag attachment. Making this item all the more appealing for EDC enthusiasts is the fact that it’s available straight from the manufacturer with a pair of optional blue or green tritium vials. 


Length: 2.38”
Body Material: Titanium
Max Lumen Output: 650

Prometheus Lights Beta-QRV2 Magnetic

Prometheus Lights Beta QRV2 Magnetic
Photo: Prometheus Lights
  • Has a fantastic magnetic quick-release mechanism
  • Automatically turns on when removed from keychain
  • Features great craftsmanship, materials, & finish
  • Low iPhone-comparable lumen count

Best Quick-Release Pick: Utilizing the same stellar quick-release mechanism as Prometheus Light’s Kappa quick-release keychain — the brand’s best-selling and most popular offering — the Prometheus Lights Beta-QRV2 Magnetic is a rugged, well-crafted, and cleverly-designed keychain light. Spanning 2.70” (or 3.20” with the QR element attached), this IPX8-rated light features an HAIII hard-anodized 6061 aluminum body capped off with an optical-grade lens with an anti-reflective coating on both sides. Weighing in at 1.20oz, this flashlight offer a 40-lumen output and a 33’ throw. Inside, the flashlight’s internal elements are no less impressive, with a 4,000K Yuji BC3030 G04 LED emitter and proprietary canted coil springs that were custom-developed and manufactured specifically for the Beta-QRv2 torch.


What really sets this flashlight apart, however, is its magnetic quick-release mechanism, which is secure and must be deliberately removed, but once deployed automatically turns on. Further distinguishing this torch from other models on the market is its beautiful craftsmanship and an equally top-notch fit and finish — details that can only be achieved via small-batch production from a boutique EDC outfit with ultra-exacting quality-control standards like Prometheus Lights. While it may only boast a lumen count that’s on par with an iPhone, this flashlight delivers a rich, super wide, and super even floodlight-style glow — along with some internal elements to amplify its lumen output. 


Length: 2.70″
Body Material: Aluminum
Max Lumen Output: 40

Muyshondt Maus Titanium

Muyshondt Maus
Photo: Muyshondt
  • Made from top-shelf materials
  • Has an ultra-scratch-resistant sapphire crystal lens
  • Stellar craftsmanship & fit and finish
  • Uses super-high-end internal components
  • Accepts store-bought AAA batteries
  • Expensive price

Best Top-Shelf Pick: One could feasibly argue that what the Chris Reeve Sebenza 31 is to everyday carry knives, the Muyshondt Maus is to keychain flashlights, with this highly-sought-after EDC item unequivocally standing as a grail product in its space. Constructed around a precision-machined O-ring-sealed 6AL4V titanium body with a recessed stowaway tail, decorative CNC’d cutouts, and a knurled grip pattern, this flashlight is smaller than a tube of lip balm and was designed using a spare-no-expense approach, utilizing high-end components like a microprocessor-controlled light engine and gold-plated electrical contacts.

Spanning just a tad over 2.0”, the Maus only puts out 60 lumens max, however, it makes the most of all 60, amplifying this figure through the use of a parabolic reflector and a luxury watch-style sapphire crystal lens that’s extremely scratch-resistant — being rated at nine on the Mohs scale (just 1 below diamonds) — and further fortified via anti-reflective coatings inside and out. Muyshondt’s Maus is also just a beautifully-crafted piece of gear that’s even easier to appreciate in person. 

Length: 2.09”
Body Material: Titanium
Max Lumen Output: 60

The Best Full-Sized Flashlights To Carry

Best Flashlights For Everyday Carry 0 Hero
Photo: Shutterstock

Want something with a bit more power that’s still fully pocketable and daily-carry-ready? Then be sure to check out our guide to the best everyday carry flashlights for a curated selection of the best EDC torches that money can currently buy.