If all the lights shut off, and you needed to find your way to safety through unfamiliar surroundings, what would you do? Many of the everyday-carry (EDC) aficionados among us would whip out full-size flashlights, while those less prepared would fumble with the built-in LED lights on their smartphones. Each of these choices has advantages and disadvantages. A full-size handheld torch is powerful, but also takes up a lot of pocket real estate. A smartphone light is convenient, but weak, and it consumes battery power that could be better used for navigation or communication.

Fortunately, a compromise exists between these two options: mini flashlights. Whether they’re attached to a keychain, clipped to your clothing, or left loose in your pocket, these pint-sized lights give you the illumination you need with minimal weight and bulk. In fact, you can essentially forget they’re there at all — until you’re trying to find a path in the dark.

In years past, keychain flashlights were often disappointingly dim and short-lived. However, small lights have come a long way thanks to recent improvements in LED and battery technology. So, we collected nine miniature flashlights, and tested the everyday practicality and functionality of each.

Miniature Flashlights

  • Coast G5 Mini Flood Light

    Make & Model - Coast G5 Mini Flood Light
    Max Lumen Outpu - 18
    Max Runtime - 45 min.
    Overall Length - 2.5 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 0.5 oz.
    Battery Type - AG5 (four, included)
    Controls - Push-button tail cap with on-off and momentary modes
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - Large split ring, small split ring, swivel
    MSRP - $6
    URL - http://www.coastportland.com

    The G5 combines a grippy cross-hatched aluminum body and a spring-loaded tail cap that's ideal for momentary bursts.

  • Fenix UC01

    Make & Model - Fenix UC01
    Max Lumen Output - 45
    Max Runtime - 50 hrs.
    Overall Length - 2.5 in.
    Weight with Batteries: 0.5 oz.
    Battery Type - Built-in lithium-polymer with micro-USB charging
    Controls - Push-button switch with 0.5-second lockout delay
    Output Modes - Low, medium, high
    Special Features - Carabiner, small split ring, battery indicator LED, micro-USB port with dust cover
    MSRP - $12
    URL - http://www.fenixlight.com

    Fenix's UC01 is a slim rectangular keychain light with a flush-mounted LED on the leading edge.

  • Foursevens Atom AL

    Make & Model - Foursevens Atom AL
    Max Lumen Output - 110
    Max Runtime - 40 hrs.
    Overall Length - 1.8 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 1.6 oz.
    Battery Type - CR123 (one, included)
    Controls - Twist-on bezel
    Output Modes - Low, high
    Special Features - Magnetic tail cap, glow-in-the-dark LED backing, IPX8 waterproof, wrist lanyard
    MSRP - $40
    URL - http://www.foursevens.com

    This is positively tiny, considering its CR123 power source. In fact, it's barely larger than the battery it contains.

  • LEN Lenser K2L

    Make & Model - LED Lenser K2L
    Max Lumen Output - 25
    Max Runtime - 5 hrs.
    Overall Length - 2.4 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 0.6 oz.
    Battery Type - AG13 (four, included)
    Controls - Twist-on bezel
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - Large split ring, small split ring, swivel, clear Magic Light Ring behind bezel
    MSRP - $10
    URL - http://www.ledlenserusa.com

    This small light runs on four AG13 button-cell batteries.

  • Nitecore TIP

    Make & Model - Nitecore TIP
    Max Lumen Output - 360
    Max Runtime - 46 hrs.
    Overall Length - 2.4 in.
    Weight with Batteries: 0.8 oz.
    Battery Type - Built-in lithium-ion with micro-USB charging
    Controls - Push-button power switch with lockout function, push-button mode selector
    Output Modes - Turbo, high, medium, low
    Special Features - Large split ring, battery indicator LED, micro-USB port
    MSRP - $30
    URL - http://www.nitecore.com

    This lightweight aluminum flashlight pumps out an impressive 360 lumens in Turbo mode, with a wide-angle beam.

  • Olight S10R Baton II

    Make & Model - Olight S10R Baton II
    Max Lumen Output - 500
    Max Runtime - 168 hrs.
    Overall Length - 2.9 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 2.2 oz.
    Battery Type - Rechargeable CR123 (one, included) or standard CR123 (not included)
    Controls - Push-button switch
    Output Modes - High, medium, low, moonlight, strobe
    Special Features - Magnetic tail cap, pocket clip, battery indicator LED, magnetic USB charging dock, wrist lanyard
    MSRP - $66
    URL - http://www.olightworld.com

    Olight's S10R Baton II is on the outer limits of what we'd consider a mini light, but it's still smaller than a BIC lighter.

  • Pelican 1810

    Make & Model - Pelican 1810
    Max Lumen Output - 16
    Max Runtime - 8.75 hrs.
    Overall Length - 1.5 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 0.4 oz.
    Battery Type - LR41 (four, included)
    Controls - Twist-on bezel
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - Carabiner, small split ring, metal Pelican logo tag
    MSRP - $13
    URL - http://www.pelican.com

    Are you the type of person who hates having a massive, cluttered keychain? If so, this may be the light for you.

  • Streamlight Key-Mate

    Make & Model - Streamlight Key-Mate
    Max Lumen Output - 10
    Max Runtime - 96 hrs.
    Overall Length - 2.4 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 0.8 oz.
    Battery Type - LR44 (four, included)
    Controls - Twist-on bezel
    Output Modes - N/A
    Special Features - Small split ring, swivel, carabiner, pocket clip, neck lanyard
    MSRP - $17
    URL - http://www.streamlight.com

    The Key-Mate may not produce an overwhelming amount of light, at only 10 lumens, but it will run for an impressive 96 hours.

  • SureFire Sidekick

    Make & Model - SureFire Sidekick
    Max Lumen Output - 300
    Max Runtime - 45 hrs
    Overall Length - 2.5 in.
    Weight with Batteries - 1.4 oz.
    Battery Type - Built-in lithium-ion battery with micro-USB charging
    Controls - Push-button power switch
    Output Modes - High, medium, low
    Special Features - Large split ring, carabiner, micro-USB port
    MSRP - $80
    URL - http://www.surefire.com

    The Sidekick is what you'd expect from a traditional SureFire light, but in a much more compact package.


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