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From law enforcement to plumbers, mechanics, and medical professionals, many people need a small carry-on flashlight in their work. They’re also great if you walk your dog in the dark or just want to keep an emergency light with you for safety.
A good flashlight just might be a lifesaver if you need to change a tire on a dark road. It’s always with you, even when you’re getting home from a long day and your cell phone battery is running low.
We’ve listed and reviewed the best keychain flashlights for every need. Check out the list below to find the highest quality and best value products out on the market. We’ll also walk you through all the features you need to pay attention to before buying.
Our top picks for the Best Keychain Flashlight:
- COAST 7839 Nano Tac LED Flashlight
- Fenix E12 Flashlight
- FENIX UC02 SS
- Lumintop EDC01
- Maglite Solitaire
- Nitecore TIKI LE
- Olight 1R 2 Eos
- Streamlight 72003 KeyMate
- SureFire Sidekick
- SureFire Titan
- ThruNite Ti3 EDC Cree XP-G2 R5
Features to Look for in Keychain Flashlights
Let’s go through all the specifics you’ll want to pay attention to when making your buying decision.
Lumens refers to light’s unit of measurement and is used to measure the brightness of artificial light. The higher the number, the brighter the beam.
Most keychain flashlights nowadays have LED bulbs, and it’s easy to understand why. LED is simply the most energy-efficient and durable option, and it’s especially great for packing big power into a small size flashlight.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
Beam Distance and Width
A really long, bright beam is important if you’re going to be using the flashlight outdoors. Some keychain flashlight beams can make it to 50 feet and permit you to illuminate an entire alley or country road. If you’re only going to be looking for things in your purse in the dark, this might not be the most important feature.
Some flashlights include a wide beam that illuminates your complete field of vision. If you want to see your entire back yard with the push of a button, these are a great option.
The battery is an important thing to consider before buying. A rare or expensive battery might become a pain later on. AA and AAA are the most common size, but they do tend to weigh a little more.
There are also options that use CR123 batteries. These are super slim and lightweight but generate more power than an AA battery.
Some flashlights are rechargeable. If you’re one of those people who hate having to buy batteries, choose a rechargeable model.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
Another thing to consider is the mechanism and if the flashlight includes a button or twist switch. This is largely a matter of personal preference. You’ll normally access the different beam settings with the same mechanism.
Some people prefer a fast click, while others find the twist mechanism more trustworthy in the long run. You don’t want the mechanism to be too loose so it turns on on its own in your pocket. It also shouldn’t be difficult to turn on.
Size and Weight
For a keychain flashlight, this is a really important feature. You’ll never use a light that’s too heavy or big to carry around with you, and it’ll end up unused in your kitchen drawer. The flashlights reviewed here all range from less than one ounce to around three ounces, so you have options for all tastes.
Think about where you’ll be carrying the light: on your dog’s leash, your pocket or your purse?
The choice of material affects the feel, durability, and weight of your flashlight. Aluminum is a common choice, but different brands also offer steel, copper, brass, and plastic. Some are treated to have an anti-scratch surface to keep your flashlight looking good for longer.
Some of the cheaper models out on the market have just one set output level. Others have many options ranging from super bright to dim.
If you intend to use your light outdoors, having more than one output option is might a good idea. You can go from super bright to illuminate an entire path, to reading in a tent without bothering others.
For basic use at home, you might not need to change the settings much and you might find one output level sufficient.
A keychain flashlight can be hard to keep from breaking. It’s small but might face a lot of wear and tear in your pocket or purse.
How durable is it? What does IPX6 mean? Read our Ultimate Guide to the ANSI/PLATO FL1 Standard symbols!
Some of the best models are treated for extra durability. The brands we’ve covered here all also top-notch, so you’ll know your money is going to a solid product.
Best Keychain Flashlights on the Market
We’ve looked through dozens of products and found the top options for every pocket and specific need. These are the best keychain flashlights available right now.
Best Budget Keychain Flashlight
- MINI-FLOOD BEAM OPTIC: Fit it in your pocket for almost any need. The Mini-Flood Beam downsizes the Utility Beam for smaller product formats, such as pocket lights, key change lights, and LED knives and multi-tools. The beam shines several individual, overlapping beams to create a broad, multi-bright field of light with a concentrated center and radiant edges.
- KEY CHAIN INCLUDED: Fit it in your pocket for almost any need. The Mini-Flood Beam downsizes the Utility Beam for smaller product formats, such as pocket lights, key change lights, and LED knives and multi-tools. The beam shines several individual, overlapping beams to create a broad, multi-bright field of light with a concentrated center and radiant edges.
- SPECS: 18 Lumens, 23 meter (75 ft.) Beam distance and 1 hour runtime. Tested and rated to ANSI/FL1 standards.
- TOUGH & RELIABLE: Backed by the COAST Lifetime Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. IP54 rated design for water resistance and durable body for 1-meter drop protection.
- INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: 4 x AG5 Batteries and Key Chain
This flashlight is a really good choice if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money. The tactical aluminum casing is lightweight and relatively small at 2.5 inches. Its 18 lumens of light will be enough for normal, everyday use.
The beam lights up a 75-foot distance, so you’ll be able to feel safe when walking the dog at night. However, there’s no possibility to dim the light if needed.
Switching the flashlight on and off is with a button mechanism, and the 4 AG5 batteries will give you 45 minutes of runtime.
- Very powerful light for the 18 lumens
- The metal casing feels sturdy and of good quality
- The button is hard to reach, so it doesn’t turn on in your pocket
- Good quality for a very affordable price
- The batteries are hard to change
- Only on/off settings, no possibility to dim or brighten the light
Read our Ultimate Guide to Flashlights to learn what to look for when finding the best flashlight for your needs
Best CR123 Keychain Flashlight
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If you need a lot of power out of your flashlight, you might be interested in one with a CR123 battery. They offer a higher voltage while still being relatively lightweight.
This flashlight offers an incredible 453-lumen maximum light output, with a reach of 344 feet. It has four different settings to lower the lumens to 296, 33 or 1. The runtime is affected according to the power used, with a maximum of over 150 hours on the lowest setting.
This model is really lightweight, at one ounce, and 2.9 inches in length. It’s also IPX-8 standard waterproof, which means it’s protected against shallow submersion.
You can switch between strobe mode, SOS mode or beam mode with one click. Thanks to the amazing brightness of the light, the battery does drain quickly if it’s on at the highest setting. Still, this is a very good option if you’re looking for serious power in a compact size.
- Really bright
- The mechanism is intuitive and easy to use
- Waterproofed against submersion
- Versatile lumen settings for different situations
- The pocket clip is not as sturdy as the rest of the flashlight and might fall off
- Higher price point
Best ‘AA’ Keychain Flashlight
An easy option when considering batteries is an AA flashlight. You’ll have no hassle finding the replacement in any store, and they won’t cost you more than your original purchase. They do tend to be a little heavier, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when weighing your options.
This model offers up to 130 lumens of light, which means you’ll have enough illumination for outdoors. The medium setting of 50 and low setting of 8 give the flashlight enough versatility for different uses.
The mechanism works with a push button. It turns on the lowest setting on the first click, then the medium and high settings. The medium beam will give you over 6 hours and the low setting up to 40 hours of light on one AA battery.
The material is an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, so it’s extra strong and can handle everyday wear and tear nicely. It weighs less than two ounces and is waterproof up to 6.5 feet for 30 minutes.
- Strong, scratch-resistant material
- The very attractive price point
- Waterproof and well-sealed
- Solid and trusted brand
- The pocket clip is not reversible
- At four inches of length, it won’t fit all pockets
Best USB Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight
If you don’t want the hassle of replacing and getting rid of used batteries, this is a very good option.
It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that’s powerful enough to give you 130 lumens of light. The micro USB charging port is standard and will probably adapt to most of your existing chargers. You’ll get up to two weeks of battery life.
The twist switch on this model works well and has two different output settings. However, it can be hard to screw on tight enough so you won’t lose it.
At 2.4 ounces and 1.7 inches, this model is pretty compact in size but not as lightweight as other options.
- A good compact option that fits in your pocket
- You won’t have to buy batteries
- The battery lasts long
- Fenix offers strong and durable designs
- The cap is hard to tighten enough, so it might turn on in your pocket
- It could use more than two different output levels
Best Waterproof Keychain Flashlight
This flashlight is a great option if you’re looking for a product that will live through the toughest conditions. Lumintop’s pocket flashlight is IPX-8 standard waterproofed for submersion of up to 6.5 feet. It’s also impact proof up to 5 feet, so you won’t have to worry about dropping it.
The model is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum and works with a twist switch mechanism. It offers a 120-lumen maximum output with a beam distance of 130 feet. Additional output settings are for 5 or 32 lumens.
The high setting will only give you a half-hour runtime, while the medium will last up to four. With the low setting, the maximum battery life is 36 hours.
An important feature of this model is that it’s super lightweight, at only 0.42 ounces without the necessary AAA battery. It’s also pretty compact at 2.6 inches of length. It also comes with a glow-in-the-dark diffuser, a nice extra that makes this flashlight more versatile.
- Affordable price point
- Lightweight and small
- The diffuser is a nice extra feature
- Waterproof and impact-proof
- At the highest setting, the flashlight has a really short runtime
Best ‘AAA’ Keychain Flashlight
Another good option for those who don’t want to hunt down rare batteries is the Maglite Solitaire. It’s a durable, affordable basic light that gives you a 37-lumen output, enough for most uses.
This model is very lightweight at 0.8 ounces with the battery included. However, it’s 3.2 inches long, quite big for a small purse or tight pocket.
The mechanism works with a twist switch and the beam is adjustable, from a wide floodlight setting to a narrow spot.
- One of the lightest flashlights out on the market
- Very affordable
- Sealed to be weather-resistant and durable
- Adjustable beam settings
- 37 lumens is far from the output of higher-end, more expensive lights
- At over three inches, it’s among the longest keychain flashlights
Best Red/Blue Keychain Flashlight
Some flashlights include great extra features for increased security. Nitecore’s model includes an option for flashing blue and red warning lights, which makes it a great choice to keep with your car keys.
If you give the button a triple press you get to the flashing lights. You can use them as an emergency or warning signal if your car’s stuck on a dark road, for example.
This model has an amazing bulb that illuminates 300 lumens up to 77 yards. It also has a medium setting of 60 and a low setting of 15 lumens.
Another important feature with this model is that it’s incredibly lightweight at only 0.37 ounces. It has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and the casing is plastic.
- Impressively bright
- The blue and red auxiliary lights are great for emergency situations
- Small and light to carry around with you
- Rechargeable, so you won’t have to spend on batteries after your purchase
- Fast battery drain can be an issue on the higher settings
- The casing is plastic, which means it might not be as durable as other models
Best Twisty Keychain Flashlight
Among the twist-mechanism models, this one’s a real winner. It’s also rechargeable, so you won’t need to worry about buying those batteries. The aluminum alloy casing feels robust even though the light is tiny.
The twist mechanism on this model works to turn the light on or off. You can also adjust the output from 5 to 150 lumens with a beam that reaches a maximum of 177 feet.
Recharging is really fast, and you can complete the charge in a little over an hour. This model is also waterproof up to 6.5 feet.
- Among the smallest lights, at 1½ inch
- Fast-charging lithium-ion battery
- IPX-8 standard waterproofing
- Adjustable brightness
- Charging requires screwing off of the lens
- So compact some people might have a problem managing it
Best Watch Battery Keychain Flashlight
Some manufacturers use watch batteries, given that they are so reliable and long-lasting. This flashlight offers you an impressive 96-hour runtime with 4 batteries and a 10-lumen output. The same model is also available in green for better nighttime vision with a 2.6-lumen output.
The material is anodized aircraft-grade aluminum, which helps bring down the weight to less than one ounce even at 2.36 inches of length. The light comes with a keychain and a clip to attach it to your pocket.
- Long battery life
- The flashlight comes with a keychain and a pocket clip
- It uses four watch batteries, which can be harder to find
- Only ten lumens of output
Best High-Lumen Keychain Light
The SureFire Sidekick is one of the few models available that doesn’t come in the standard pencil shape. Actually, the shape resembles a car key, which is a nice change.
Rechargeable and cast with polymer, it’s a solid middle-priced option to keep with you. However, it offers an impressive 300-lumen maximum output, capable of illuminating a distance of over 200 feet. It has a wide MaxVision beam, and the output is adjustable to 5, 60, or 300 lumens.
The three different output levels are easily reachable by clicking, and the sequence is programmable so you can have the option you use frequently turn on first. Even the high setting offers a runtime of nearly an hour and a half, which makes for the top choice if you need a lot of light.
- Incredibly bright light
- Wide beam
- A lightweight option at 0.3 ounces
- Great battery life
- Recharging is slow, as it can take about three hours to reach full charge
Most Stylish Keychain Flashlight
SureFire’s Titan is a true beauty and you’ve got two options depending on your taste and needs. One is the 125-lumen flashlight, with high-strength aluminum on the outside. The other is the Plus version that comes with 300 lumens and an indestructible, super stylish nickel-plated brass casing.
The different output levels go from 15 to 75 and up to 300 lumens. The highest setting will offer you one hour of effective runtime.
The MaxVision beam is broad and will help you illuminate any dark alley or path, and the mechanism is an easy-to-reach twist switch. Weighing 2 ounces and measuring 3.4 inches, it’s on the larger side.
- Wide, bright and smooth 300-lumen beam
- Incredible quality
- Sleek and strong design
- It comes with a pocket clip
- Not as wallet-friendly as other options we reviewed
- At over three inches, it could be too big for some people
Best Value Keychain Flashlight
If you’re looking for a flashlight that is not super cheap but will offer good value for your investment, the ThruNite Ti3 might be the right choice. It offers a 120-lumen output covering a maximum distance of 164 feet. The 2.76 inches are packed into only 0.43 ounces.
This model has three brightness settings and the mechanism works with a twist switch. The low Firefly mode means you can read in a tent without waking up others, but 120 lumens is enough to cover even a large distance.
The flashlight comes with a reversible pocket clip so you’ll be able to attach it to your cap for hands-free work. It’s both IPX-8 waterproof up to 6.5 feet and impact-resistant, so it’s an ideal choice in any environment.
- Bright, 120-lumen maximum output
- Waterproof and impact resistant
- The low-light Firefly mode adds versatility
- Weighing less than half an ounce, it’s easy to carry around
- Perfect for camping and the outdoors
- The flashlight might change modes when turned off
Keychain flashlights have really evolved with LED technology. Now you can get an incredibly strong beam in the size of a chapstick, with many models weighing less than an ounce.
Carry-on flashlights are also getting incredibly versatile, with options ranging from 10 lumens to an amazing 300. You might be looking for something to walk your dog at night or an emergency light. There’s certainly an option for your taste, and you’ll be able to manage a flat tire on a dark road.
If you want to have a convenient flashlight to keep with you at all times, give one the options above a try. Remember, the flashlight is only useful if it’s the right one for you, so make sure it’s a comfortable product. Whether you need a click switch or a reversible pocket clip, there’s one for every need.