Flashlights come in handy all year round, and even less serious preppers have them at hand. You never know when you’ll need one. On camping trips certainly, but also if you need to look for small items under the furniture, or in case of a power outage.
In most instances, a regular flashlight will do just fine. However this article is about the best pocket flashlights on the market, so we will be looking at flashlights that are compact and lightweight, yet still yield plenty of lumens of brightness, and are long-lasting.
Coming up shortly we have product reviews of our 5 favorite pocket flashlights, and after that, we’ve got a handy buying guide for you that outlines the key things you’ll want to think about before you buy.
Because we get it - with so many different ones around, it can be hard to pick one.
Since the term “pocket” flashlight is quite loose and not strictly defined by size, we have included both regular handheld flashlights and mini flashlights in our top 5 picks.
But if you’re looking for a small Every Day Carry rather than a fair-sized flashlight for your camping backpack, then a mini flashlight is your best option.
So, let’s get straight to it!
OUR TOP PICK
Now, this is a fantastic little pocket flashlight!
Bright, versatile, compact, durable, and rechargeable to boot!
There are two different versions to choose from, a 1000 lumens one, which is really bright, or a 6000-lumens one which is even brighter still.
It has 5 different light modes you can choose from, namely low, medium, high, strobe, and turbo. So versatile.
It comes with a belt clip and is comfortable to wear on your belt, at less than three inches in length, and just over 2 ounces in weight. But if the belt clip starts to get on your nerves, you can simply remove it.
It’s constructed with anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, so is durable enough to take a knock. And it’s water-resistant too.
It comes with a battery included, and it’s completely rechargeable. You simply attach the USB cable to charge it back up again.
We also like that it has a magnetic base, which could come in handy.
Please note this review is for the 1000-lumens version, and not the 6000-lumens.
- 5 different light modes
- Strobe mode for emergencies
- You can wear it on your belt
- Ultra-bright at max 1000 lumens
- Completely rechargeable
- Premium product at a premium price
Now this flashlight really has a lot going for it
It shines an ultra-bright LED light, 3 times brighter than the manufacturer’s 2019 version, and has a maximum brightness output of 1000 lumens, able to light up a range of a whopping 600 feet.
You can adjust the focus, and consequently the brightness, by turning the flashlight’s body. You zoom in for a floodlight effect and zoom out for a spotlight effect.
There are 5 light modes to choose from, SOS mode (perfect for an emergency situation), high, medium, low, and strobe.
In its most compact form, it measures 5.31 inches long, so could fit into a jean’s pocket, which means it could be used as an Every Day Carry.
It’s powered by 3 AA batteries, which are a doddle to get hold of, available everywhere. Just be sure to buy good ones for a longer battery life.
It comes with a wrist strap, which is handy for keeping your hands free, should you need to use your hands for something.
But when you do want to hold it, you can take advantage of the anti-slip grip.
It has a good, durable build, made with aircraft grade alloy, and it has a high water resistance rating, coming in at an impressive IPX6.
It’s available to buy alone, or as a pack of two or three, which is great if you and your partner want to have one each, for example.
- Excellent value for money
- Zoomable brightness
- 5 light modes, inc SOS
- The light is more of a cool white than a neutral white
What we love the most about this pocket flashlight is just how small and compact it is, measuring just 2.4 inches, and weight little more than an ounce. Perfect for an Every Day Carry..
It comes with a belt clip and is comfortable to wear on your belt. Ready when you need it. Or you can take advantage of the lanyard hole if you prefer.
Yet, despite its small size, it throws out some really bright light, at 500 lumens. That’s enough to light up to 120 yards ahead - a whole football field.
You don’t have to keep it at this brightness all the time, however.
If you want to keep your night vision, you can adjust the brightness to 80 lumens on the medium setting, or just 8 lumens on the low setting.
It has a good, solid build, constructed with hard-anodized aluminum. Plus there’s laser etching on the outside to ensure you get a good, firm grip. It’s also both impact and water-resistant.
It comes with a battery included, a CR123A, and the flashlight uses a built-in timer, so the light is on only when you need it, to save the battery.
The timer can be set for 3 minutes or 9 minutes. And when it does eventually run out, you can replace the battery with another CR123A or an RCR123 battery.
We love that the flashlight is covered by Olight’s warranty, which is not just 12 months long, but 5 whole years.
- Very compact, can be worn on your belt
- Adjustable brightness
- Impact and water-resistant
- Comes with battery included
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Some customers complained about the positioning of the on-switch
If you’re looking for an affordable Every Day Carry for emergencies, then this one will do the job.
The maximum light output is not as high as we’d like, but you dont always need a lot in most situations, and this flashlight’s 270 lumens can light up objects over 500 feet away, which is plenty.
There are 3 different light modes you can use, and they are high, low and strobe.
And better yet the light is zoomable too, so you can either cover a wide area, or shed a lot of light in a smaller area. So versatile.
It has a durable construction and is really built to last. And it can handle the rain too, thanks to it’s water-resistance rating of IPX4. We also like the laser etching, to better aid your grip.
It takes 3 AAA batteries, so finding batteries that will work won’t be a problem, you can get them anywhere.
It’s small and compact enough to even fit in a back pocket, which makes it a perfect Every Day Carry.item.
You can buy it on it’s own or as a pack of two, so your partner gets one too.
- High, low & strobe light modes
- It takes 3 AAA batteries
- Small and lightweight
- Impact & water resistance
- Zoomable beam, wide or focused
- Low maximum light output
This flashlight comes as a pack of two, one for you and one for you r partner. And it offers fantastic value for money.
It has a maximum brightness output of 1040 lumens, which is really bright.
But it’s worth noting at this point that the real life brightness depends on what battery you put in. You can put in regular AAA batteries or a rechargeable 18650 battery.
We love that the light is zoomable, and how you can switch from wide mode to focus zoom, as the need arises.
It comes with both a belt clip and a wrist strap, so you’re in no danger of ever losing it.
You can also take the belt clip off for an improved grip. Speaking of grip, it also features laser etching, so it shouldn’t ever slip from your hand.
And it can handle the rain with no problem at all, with a water resistance rating of IPX4.
That, together with it’s impact resistance too, means it can withstand even a drop in a puddle. That’s thanks to it’s tough military grade metal construction.
Sadly although it has different focusing strength, it doesn’t have different light output modes.
But that can be a good thing - no fumbling around and half pressing buttons etc.
In terms of size, it’s not quite as compact as we’d like, but is still less than 6 inches long, making it small enough to fit in your jeans pocket, and therefore small enough to be used as an Every Day Carry.
- Excellent value for money
- Uses AAA or rechargeables
- Impact and water-resistant
- Comes with belt clip & wrist strap
- Zoomable beam, wide or focused
- Doesn’t offer different levels of light output, just different strengths of focus
Best Pocket Flashlight Buying Guide
As promised, here’s your buying guide. You can use it as a quick checklist to make sure you’ve thought of everything.
Brightness is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter the light.
In most occasions you won’t need more than say 100 lumens, but since this articles on the the best pocket flashlights, we included ones with up to a very bright 1000 maximum lumens output.
Sometimes you’ll want your flashlight’s light to cover a large or wide area, and othertimes you may prefer a more focused, seemingly brighter light for nooks and crannies.
All of the pocket flashlights in our top 5 picks have this feature.
If you want your pocket flashlight as an Every Day Carry, then you’ll likely want it to be small enough to fit in your pocket. So, to that end, we’ve tried to include the product dimensions in our product reviews where possible.
If your pocket flashlight is intended for a bug out bag, however, or for a simple camping trip, then the size is less important.
The battery life of a flashlight is important, especially if you expect to use it right throughout the night. But how long it will last depends on the battery type.
Flashlights that take AAA batteries are handy, because you can get those anywhere. Or if you only intend to use the flashlight where you have electricity you can invest in a rechargeable flashlight. Or alternatively, you could buy yourself a kit of rechargeable AAA batteries.
Flashlights tend to be very sturdy and durable devices, but there’s no harm in checking what the flashlight is made from, just to be sure.
Several of the flashlights on our top 5 picks offer impact resistance, so you know they’ll still work after a drop.
Or if you don’t want it to ever drop, you could look into whether it has a non-slip grip or laser etching on the grip.
Light Modes & Emergency Use
A flashlight with different light modes is able to throw out different outputs and brightness of light, usually with a high and low mode, and sometimes with a medium mode too.
In an emergency situation however, you might prefer to have morse code SOS mode, or perhaps simply a strobe mode to help catch someone’s eye if you’re in need of rescue.
If you intend to use your pocket flashlight outdoors, then you’ll want it to be able to stand up to the rain. Luckily, most flashlights these days have some level of water resistance.
An item’s level of water resistance is measured by it’s IP rating. The higher the rating, the better the resistance.
Where the IP rating is given, we recommend that you look out for flashlights with an IP rating of IPX4, IPX5, or IPX6
Small pocket flashlights can be easy to lose, so it’s handy to have one that comes with a wrist strap and/or a belt clip too.