The best small flashlight has a compact but durable frame that you can conveniently carry in a pocket or a bag. Extra features like a belt clip, carabiner, or water-resistant casing may be necessary additions to a quality flashlight if you plan to use it for physically challenging activities, like hiking, boating, climbing, or camping.
These flashlights can create very bright light, only falling behind the noble gas incandescent bulbs (xenon, halogen, and krypton) in terms of maximum lumen output. Tungsten electrodes sit inside an arc tube, which can be made of fused quartz or alumina.
A noble gas fills this tube and enables the initial electric arc between the electrodes. However, HID bulbs are expensive and hard to find, narrowing your product selection and the range of possible features available to you.
Incandescent bulbs waste a lot of energy producing heat, which means that the light they give off is not as bright as other flashlight types. They have a short lifespan, requiring frequent replacement, which can cost more in the long run than just paying a bit more upfront for an LED flashlight.
These flashlights produce several hours of LED light by shaking internal magnets for a few minutes. Before choosing a small flashlight, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the most important shopping considerations to keep in mind.
Rechargeable batteries are more cost-effective for small flashlights that get a lot of use because you won’t be paying to replace them every time the power runs out. You can plug specific flashlight models into a USB port on your computer, a designated charger, or directly into the wall for a quick recharge.
Disposable batteries cost less initially but will require frequent replacements if you use the flashlight regularly. Therefore, only use lithium batteries for your small flashlight if you plan to store it for an extended time, such as with a survival kit.
A helpful night light won’t need an extended battery life because you don’t use it for a long time. However, a flashlight for illuminating your path or campsite while you are hiking, camping, or climbing should have a long life so that you don’t run out of light when you need it most.
General-purpose flashlights for light use around the home don’t need a high lumen output or extremely long life because they will only be infrequently used in enclosed areas. Features of small flashlights for hiking and camping should prioritize durability, battery life, and on the lumens produced.
You may need a waterproof and floating small flashlight if it’s used for boating or fishing to keep it from breaking or sinking if you drop it in the water. Every day carry (EDC) small flashlights frequently come with a keychain, a carabiner, a belt clip, or other attachments that make it easy to bring with you without having to occupy one of your hands.
You can set the lumen output of the flashlight in varying levels of brightness for poor-lighting situations so that you are not using a blinding flash in a dim room, or trying to light the campsite with a candle glow. Strobe lights can serve as a self-defense option to stun and deter attackers, and you can also use them to signal for help in emergencies.
A carabiner or clip attached to a flashlight lets you fasten it to a bag or belt for easy hands-free carrying. The top-rated products below were chosen for quality, price, and customer satisfaction to help you find the best small flashlight for your next road trip.
This powerful LED small flashlight is an ideal addition to any fishing or camping trip because it has an anodized aluminum body that is impact- and water-resistant, so you can use it in moderate to heavy rain without issue. The Anger Rechargeable Bolder LC90 LED Flashlight has five light settings: high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS.
The small flashlight can be recharged in 6 hours with the included USB charging cable, and it is just 6.2 ounces in weight and 6.2 inches long, allowing you to easily slip it in your pocket for carrying. Keep the KAIFENG XML T6 Tactical Ultra Bright LED Flashlight in your pocket or your bag without discomfort, thanks to the short 6.1-inch length and light 5.6-ounce weight.
The small flashlight is made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, making it resistant to scratches, dents, and other impact damage. The flashlight comes with multiple settings for personalized and situational control, including smooth ramping, stepped ramping, turbo mode, momentary, muggle, or electronic lockout (for safely carrying the light in your pocket without accidentally turning it on).
The small flashlight has five different light settings that can be adjusted to your preference or purpose, including firefly, low, medium, high, and strobe. At the high setting, the flashlight can create an impressive 500 lumens, but will only run for 96 minutes before needing to replace the batteries.
The Darcy 55 Lumen Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight is 8.8 inches long and just 6.4 ounces in weight, making it perfect for carrying in your pocket or for attaching it to a life jacket. The tail cap has both a magnet and a carabiner clip allowing for hands-free mounting or carrying, while the rubber around the plastic head and body protect the flashlight from impact damage.
The lantern measures only 9.8 inches long but weighs more than other flashlights on this list at 30 ounces or 1.9 pounds. The right side of the lantern also opens, giving off a flashing red glow that can signal help or alert others to your presence in the dark.
The flashlight is just 5.75 inches in length and weighs only 3.8 ounces, making it perfect for carrying in your pocket or bag. However, this is the perfect brightness for navigating a tent or walking to the bathroom when your eyes have to adjust at night.
The waterproof LIGHT S1 Baton 500 Lumen Compact EDC LED Flashlight is designed to be carried around to work, the store, home, or even school, at just 1.06 ounces in weight and 2.4 inches in length. It comes with a lanyard strap and a clip you can secure to your bag, belt, or wrist when you are using it to prevent it from falling if you drop it.
This EDC flashlight comes with five light settings, including moonlight, low, medium, high, and strobe modes. The most obvious advantage of owning a small flashlight is that this compact, but powerful device can fit in your pocket, bag, or purse so that you always have a light when you need one.
A bright, compact flashlight with a strobe setting is an excellent way to stun and deter attackers, giving you an emergency self-defense option. You can also use a flashlight to signal to anyone nearby that you need help if you find yourself lost in the forest or your boat is adrift on the water.
It also won’t drain the battery that you may need to call for help in an emergency, and you don’t have to flick through your apps to use it. Owning a small flashlight gives you a readily available source of light without taking up too much space.
The light on a typical flashlight is brighter and easier to use than trying to fight with an app on your phone that will just consume battery. Also, LED bulbs are currently the easiest to find, has a very high lumen output, and are relatively inexpensive, making them the best option for general home purposes.
We've shortlisted the best flashlights available today to help you combat the darkness and put the odds of survival back in your favor. Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
Stream light 66121 Stylus Pro Pen Light with White LED and Holster 7. BYB Super Bright 9 LED Mini Aluminum Flashlight with Lanyard (4-pack) 6.
Show months Darcy Floating Waterproof LED Flashlight is impact resistant, extremely long-lasting, inexpensive, and durable. The flashlight comes with 3 AA batteries and a built-in clip to accompany you on your outdoor adventures.
Expert Ratings This flashlight is perfect for water and outdoor adventures. It's not extremely bright but will provide enough light to keep you going during your nighttime camping trip or boating adventure.
With its 55 lumens of light, beam distance of 31 meters, and battery life of over 8 hours, this flashlight is perfect for night strolls or water activities. This is the cheapest flashlight on our list, and it's exceptionally durable and impact resistant.
Compact design fits easily in a purse, backpack, or back pocket. Also, it takes a long time to charge via solar power if you live in an area that isn’t very sunny.
Expert Ratings The Goal Zero Torch 250 works well in emergency situations where you can’t access an electrical outlet or a set of batteries. It’s nice to have this flashlight on hand if your car breaks down or your battery-powered lantern dies during a camping trip.
It’s also an eco-friendly option for people who prefer to utilize the earth’s natural energy sources when possible. Use this 250-lumen flashlight to illuminate your vehicle, living room, or garage for anywhere from 7 to 48 hours when fully charged.
However, it’s worth noting that it takes a while to charge it completely if you live in a cloudy area or don’t have much strength in your hands. If you connect it to a USB port or set it in the sun, expect to wait at least 7 hours before it’s ready for use.
In addition to functioning as a regular flashlight, it has an emergency setting where the light shines red instead of white. Expert Ratings Designed for underwater photographers and divers, but can also be used during beach vacations, cave explorations, and fishing excursions.
A lanyard and an adjustable wrist strap make hands-free use a cinch as you swim through murky areas. The flashlight’s fluorescent exterior glows in dark areas, making it difficult to lose it during deep-sea dives.
Choose from two brightness levels and a strobe light as you photograph vibrant fish, search for hidden treasure, or examine colorful coral. Reviewers praise the durable exterior, which effectively withstands drops and bumps during underwater adventures.
Three waterproof O-rings prevent water from damaging the batteries or inner workings of this resilient flashlight, which shine brightly for up to 50,000 hours. For optimum performance, remember to replace or recharge the batteries every few hours, plus rinse the flashlight in clean water after each use.
Expert Ratings Mag lite flashlights are popular with military members, police officers, and emergency responders, but they’re also great for regular folks who need a reliable light source. If you fall into the second category, keep this flashlight on hand for power outages, household tasks (like that leaky pipe you’ve been meaning to fix), and late-night poop pickup when the dogs go outside.
We love that the bright light shines up to 80 hours before it needs new batteries. That gives you plenty of time to stay safe during a power outage or find your way back to camp after a wrong turn in the woods.
You’ll shell out around $30 to $35 for this heavy-duty Mag lite, which reportedly lasts longer than many pricier models. Show months flashlight’s 1000-lumen count rivals the output of higher-priced models.
This Stanley spotlight includes a pivoting stand for hands-free use, so you can prop it under your vehicle or on a desk as you work. This is a good starter flashlight if you’re learning how to do home repairs or have a job that requires you to provide your own supplies for essential maintenance or repair-related tasks.
With 920 lumens, it’s not surprising that some reviewers refer to the beam as blindingly bright. However, it’s not bright enough to fully illuminate a dark warehouse, but it is brighter than many of the other budget-friendly flashlights on our list.
Shine this spotlight-style flashlight on dark areas and let the 10-watt, 920-lumen beam instantly brighten your surroundings. You receive AC and DC charging adapters with this Stanley flashlight, so you can easily recharge it at home or in your vehicle.
Show Moreno anyone who’s ever struggled while trying to get more light into their workspace (think of any time you’ve worked in the garage or basement), this is the LED flashlight for you. The magnetic bottom allows you to place it wherever you need it, and then focus on working with a hands-free beam of light.
Occasional reports of light shutting off and on at random times but rare. Expert Ratings While this can be used as a regular flashlight (especially if you want to use the emergency red “flare” setting on the road), this is the best flashlight to use as a forklift.
The anodized aluminum body makes it super durable, and the recessed LED housing will protect the bulk from damage or impact. There are a variety of settings on this one, so play around with the different low and high beams to see which one works best for you.
And don’t forget about the magnetic bottom, which keeps it stable and upright on metallic surfaces. The COB LED technology generates up to 400 lumens, with a secondary 160-lumen low light.
Show moreExcellent brightness, concentrated beam, long battery life, lightweight, easy to take hiking or traveling, water and dustproof, red LED to preserve night vision, dimmable beam, switch lock, battery indicator light, and great price tag. Expert Ratings This headlamp is the best flashlight for hikers or campers who want light without carrying a flashlight.
The fact that it’s integrated into a headband means it will sit comfortably on your forehead and give you light wherever you’re looking. The single-button controls can be a bit tricky to use, but once you get the hang of them, you’ll love all the settings options you can cycle through: full strength proximity and distance mode, dimming setting, strobe light, and red night vision mode.
There’s even a lock mode to ensure the headlamp stays on while you’re using it or off while you’re traveling with it packed. The headlamp is IPX8-rated for waterproofing, so it’s more than capable of remaining functional in heavy rains.
This is waterproof, super durable, and throws a consistent and strong beam. Some people complain about how hard this is to switch on and off because of the heavy press button.
On flip side, button is meant to prevent accidentally leaving it on and burning out the batteries. Expert Ratings For anyone looking for a super handy flashlight with a good amount of light, this is a great pick.
Stream light, in general, provides some really high-quality tactical and safety flashlights, but this is the pick of the litter based on reviews. Doctors and EMTs will find it handy for use on the job, but anyone can use it thanks to its compact size.
It’s super durable too (made from similar aluminum alloy material Stream light uses on all their flashlights), so you shouldn’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it. There's even a lifetime warranty to ensure your pen flashlight is always in good condition and working well.
Show moreInexpensive and bright LED flashlights can be hard to come by, but not in the case of this BYB four-pack. Expert Ratings This is the best flashlight for situations where you want something small and powerful, you can really use them for anything: hiking, camping trips with the kids, fishing, late-night barbecues, walking the dog, etc.
Their aluminum body can handle impact, water, dust, and damage like a boss, making them one of the most durable choices despite their small size. The simple operation makes them easy to use, they don’t require uncommon or expensive batteries, and they provide a strong beam whenever you need it.
They may be small, but their 9 built-in LED bulbs put out 30 lumens--more than enough for use at home, while camping, in cases of power outage, or emergencies. The base price is a total steal, and you'll find they're one of the best -valued flashlights on our list.
Show foretold battery life, 500-lumen output, reliable, compact, 118-yard beam, super easy to use, great value, lightweight, five settings, durable body, and water-resistant. The flashlight has an output of 500 lumens and a beam distance of 118 meters, making it great for use at home and outdoors.
The flashlight's body is made with aircraft-grade aluminum, and it's fully resistant to water, dust, and dirt. Sadly, though a fall or drop won't damage the exterior, users have reported that the flashlight stops working reliably after a hard impact.
It’s the perfect size to carry or tuck beneath your arm, so there’s really nothing to hold you back from using this. Thanks to its durable yet lightweight design, you'll have no trouble using it all day long.
If you’re looking for a dependable, portable, rechargeable, and super bright LED flashlight, you’ve found it. It’s also easy to cycle through all its settings (unlike with some other flashlights), which makes this pretty user-friendly.
The C4 LEDs get up to 50,000 hours of use before needing to be changed, and you'll find the battery life per charge is also surprisingly good: 90 minutes on the highest setting or 5 hours on the lowest setting, with a beam between 155 and 310 meters in length. Charge time is just 7.5 hours, and the three included batteries ensures you're always ready to go.
22.214.171.124 Fits in the palm of your hand Super bright LED with focus and wide angle adjustability Well made It fits in the palm of your hand, comes with a pocket clip, and is one of the handiest tactical flashlights you'll find.
The heavy-duty design makes it resistant to damage, water, dust, and impact, and you'll find it's compact enough to carry on any trip. Typically, when you want a well-built flashlight with a variety of features (high, low, and strobes) as well as a strong light beam, you’re looking at some heft.
It's lightweight and wonderfully compact, yet still has a beautifully powerful light--300 lumens, producing a beam up to 600-feet long. Expect a VERY long battery life and excellent durability with this bad boy.
9.09.59.0 Powerful flashlight with a long battery life Waterproof, impact-resistant, and incredibly well-built Excellent light output and beam length Show more7300 lumen output, produces 200 lumens per watt, durable LED light bulb, 96.5% energy-efficient, protected from overheating, long battery lifespan, waterproof, impact-resistant, lightweight, comes with a holster and O-ring, six output modes to choose from, and includes a “memory” function and low voltage indicator.
Expert Ratings This is definitely a flashlight intended for use in large enclosed spaces (like a warehouse). With up to 7300 lumens produced and a beam nearly 300 meters long, it makes sweeping large spaces easy.
The six flashlight modes give you a lot of light options, perfect for both conserving battery life and user-friendly operation. Additionally, the low voltage indicator will let you know when the batteries need recharging.
Show months Felix Flashlight is incredibly bright and perfect for outdoor nighttime use. In other words, the tail end is not flat and will not enable the flashlight to stand up right.
Expert Ratings This flashlight is pocket-sized and primarily for outdoor use, security use, or law enforcement. It provides robust and reliable lighting for a wide variety of situations.
Because this super bright flashlight comes with five different settings (low, medium, high, strobe, and SOS) and has a zoomable feature that allows you to take the beam from wide to narrow, you can really use this for anything. The aluminum housing is super tough, and the sealed construction ensures that it's fully dust and water-resistant.
These are usually used by security guards, law enforcement, and the military, but they are always not built with a “tactical” design (see features above). LED bulbs have a VERY long lifespan (around 10,000 hours) and are highly durable, thanks to their lack of filament or glass.
They use a glass and filament light bulb, so they're prone to breakage and have a shorter lifespan. They are the brightest flashlights on the market but don't last as long as LED bulbs.
The term “lumen” actually refers to a unit of light or brightness. Higher candelas mean a more intense, brighter beam that can penetrate fog and gloom.
Tightly focused LED flashlights emit a beam upwards of 25,000 candelas. • Nickel Cadmium (Nice) bulbs last for around 1,000 recharge cycles.
• Nickel-Metal Hybrid (Nigh) bulbs last for more than 1,000 recharge cycles and are more energy-dense than basic Nickel Cadmium batteries. • Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries will usually last for around 500 recharge cycles and tend to lose power if unused.
Standard rechargeable batteries (Nigh or Nice) will take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to charge fully. Anti-reflective coated glass produces a very bright beam but is easily scratched.
Body Material -- Polymer is lightweight, durable, and cheap, and is usually used for basic flashlights. In contrast, polymer flashlights tend to use aluminum LED housings for heat sinking (drawing the head away from the bulb to extend lifespan).
IPX7 means waterproof so that it can be submerged underwater (1 meter) for 30 minutes without permanent damage. IPX8 means submersible (to a specific depth, as determined by the manufacturer) for continuous use.
A six-year marketing veteran and a writer since the womb, Suzanne Scarce now specializes in writing content for a variety of audiences. She has been published on Inc.com, Examiner, SEJ, Elegant Themes, and other marketing, tech, hospitality, and business blogs.
When not writing about the latest news and trends, Suzanne can be found hanging out with her dog, eating way too much dessert, and watching horror movies.