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If you’re looking to buy a compact flashlight, you may have noticed that there is a wide range of classifications and choices on offer. Manufacturers are highly competitive, and you end up having to sift through tons of products. When did purchasing a compact flashlight get so complicated?
We understand your predicament because we went through something similar, not too long ago. Fortunately for you, we’ve already divided compact flashlights into various categories and picked the winner in each class.
According to our research, the Olight S2RII is the best overall compact flashlight. Still, our list also includes winners in specific quality categories, so it’s worth examining the competition.
The best small flashlights reviewed below include:
- Olight S2RII
- Fenix LD02 V2.0 White Penlight
- Fenix FX-PD35TAC
- Acebeam TK18
- Acebeam TK16-AL
- ThruNite Ti3 V2
- Fenix LD15R
- UltraTac K18 V2017
- TrustFire Z2
- Nitecore MT10C
In this section, we offer some useful tips to help you pick up the perfect compact flashlight for your needs.
The quality of the bulb used in a flashlight tends to dictate its overall usability. The bulb is the essence of your torch, so it helps to understand your options here.
Choose a flashlight that utilizes LED bulbs. LED bulbs use at least 75 percent less energy compared to incandescent lighting. They also tend to last up to 25 times longer.
Incandescent bulbs in flashlights are “old technology,” which cannot compete with LED efficiency. All the products on our list feature LED bulbs.
It is also handy to own a device that has the option of switching between light spectrums. Some of the selections on our list, such as the Fenix LD02 V2. and Fenix LD15R, can switch to UV or red light based on your necessity.
Another vital parameter to judge the bulb of your flashlight is to check the CRI rating. This is the Color Rendering Index of light and measures the clarity and quality of the beam. An index score of 70 or higher is best if you want to be able to perceive the true color of objects while using a flashlight.
The lumen count of a flashlight indicates the intensity of the light that it generates. You often need a different level of lumens for varying tasks.
Reading a book, for example, will require no more than 20 lumens, while safely walking through a campsite may need close to 1000 lumens. The Olight S2RII, which is our top pick for the best overall flashlight, has a maximum output of 1150 lumens.
Most modern devices can vary their brightness greatly based on your requirements. It is best to opt for a flashlight that has a wide range of brightness options so that the device has optimal light for an array of uses, and you can manage your battery life accordingly.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
Knowing the battery life of a torch is crucial. It determines the use you will get out of every charge. You don’t want to be carrying a device that needs recharging, or its battery replaced every few hours.
Most flashlights base their battery life on the lumens and mode you are using. At the lowest lumens, you should ideally be able to extract at least 20 hours of use from your flashlight. Some of the more powerful models on our list, such as the Acebeam TK16-AL, can run for up to 12 days on a single charge when operating on its lowest mode of 0.5 lumens.
So, pick a device that has multiple modes of operation, allowing you to maximize your battery life in emergencies.
We recommend opting for a flashlight that uses lithium-ion batteries as they are 95 percent more efficient than hydride batteries and have longer life cycles too.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
A long beam distance is vital when you want a flashlight for outdoor use. If you need a flashlight for indoors, though, you’re better off finding one that has a wider spotlight beam.
Ideally, find a device that can project beams of varying distances based on your needs. Flashlights that can alter their lumens output tend to have this feature often.
Your torch should be able to vary the beam from 0.5 meters to 50 meters, at least. The Fenix FX-PD35TAC, for example, can project a beam up to 200 meters.
Not everyone will require such a powerful beam. Determine your needs and then pick out an appropriate flashlight.
The lens of your device makes a considerable impact on the overall quality of your beam. Standard flashlights tend to have anti-reflection coated flat lenses made out of either plastic, glass or sapphire. A reflector is used under the lens to either focus or disperse the beam.
Flashlights sometimes come with aspheric lenses, where the objective can switch between a wide or focused beam. If you intend to use your purchase in a wide range of circumstances, it is best to opt for a flashlight with an aspheric lens.
Read our Ultimate Guide to Flashlights to learn what to look for when finding the best flashlight for your needs
We’ve looked at the best small flashlights to suit all needs. Let’s delve in:
Best Small Magnetic Flashlight
The top spot on our list belongs to the Olight S2RII, thanks to its overall features and superb build quality.
This device generates a powerful beam with the help of a super bright 1150 lumen output. A newly upgraded TIR lens maximizes the distance of the beam, allowing it to cover 147 yards.
As the S2R model is quite popular, Olight has upgraded the design of the product to the S2RII. The latest version is five percent lighter and smaller than its predecessor despite offering an enhanced beam. This flashlight now weighs only 3.4 ounces and has an overall height of just 3.9 inches.
Using the MCC II magnetic charging system, it is possible to quickly and efficiently charge this device by connecting the magnetic tail cap to the flashlight. You can also monitor the charge levels with the help of a three-color indicator lighting system.
The device is powered by a 3200mAh, 18650 rechargeable lithium battery that can run for a maximum of two months when operating at its lowest mode.
You will receive two pocket clips, a pouch, lanyard, and a LumenTac holster to help you easily carry this flashlight wherever you want.
- Super bright 1150 lumen output.
- Measures only 3.9 inches.
- Weighs only 3.4 ounces.
- Efficient magnetic charging system.
- Power indicator to track charge.
- Overall runtime of 60 days on low mode.
- Small operating switch.
Best Small High CRI Flashlight
CRI or color rendering index measures the quality of a beam of light, and its ability to display an object’s true color. The Fenix LD02 V2.0 White Penlight has a CRI rating of 90, making it our best compact high-CRI flashlight.
This is a compact penlight that measures only 0.8 ounces. and has dimensions of 3.6 x 0.53 x 0.53 inches. Despite its diminutive size, its bulb can produce 70 lumens of output. This makes it a device that’s easy to keep handy at all times.
A brand new feature of this second version of this Fenix penlight is the UV output of 200mW, creating an intense beam of ultraviolet rays to help you conduct various kinds of inspections and currency verification.
With the help of a durable and conveniently located stainless steel switch, you can quickly and easily access the beam on this penlight and switch between its four modes (three brightness settings and one UV mode).
- Upgraded CREE XQ-E LED.
- CRI rating of 90.
- 70 lumens of output.
- 200mW ultraviolet LED.
- Three brightness levels.
- Measures only 3.6 inches in length.
- AAA battery and LumenTac battery organizer included.
- Low luminosity.
Best Budget Small Tactical Flashlight
If you’re in the market for a rugged, compact, and economical device, we suggest that you consider a tactical flashlight. In our opinion, this is the best device in this category.
Fenix constructed this from aircraft-grade aluminum that offers immense durability. A type III, hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish provides an additional layer of protection. An IPX-8 standard rating means that the torch is waterproof for 30 minutes in up to two meters of water.
The manufacturer has opted for an ultra-clear glass, toughened lens, that’s anti-reflective and offers visibility up to 200 meters. The overall weight of just 5.6 ounces means that this device is extremely light to carry.
With dimensions of 6 x 3 x 1 inches, this is also one of the tiniest flashlights around. A luminous flux of 1000 ensures that you will always have excellent visibility when you carry one of these with you.
- Overall weight of just 5.6 ounces.
- Dimensions of 6 x 3 x 1 inches.
- Six output modes up to 1000 lumens.
- IPX-8 Standard rating.
- Maximum visibility of 200 meters.
- Toughened ultra-clear glass lens.
- Torch warms up too quickly.
Best Small EDC Flashlight
EDC or everyday carry flashlights are one of the most popular segments in the market due to the wide-spread demand. This category is also a highly competitive space, but the Acebeam TK18 emerges as our choice.
This flashlight utilizes Samsung LED technology to create maximum impact in terms of brightness, producing a total of 3000 lumens using 6110 candelas to provide visibility up to 156 meters. You can run this torch for a total of 9 days when set at its lowest brightness.
Acebeam has tried their best to minimize the size of this flashlight for maximum mobility, and it now measures only 4.13 x 1 inches with a total weight of 2.04 ounces. Size is one of the top criteria of an EDC flashlight, and Acebeam has aced this feature.
You can charge this device using a micro-USB port, allowing for greater convenience in maintaining the rechargeable battery.
A unique feature of this particular model is that it works in temperatures as low as minus 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Powered by Samsung LED technology.
- Incredible 3000 lumens bulb.
- Maximum visibility of 156 meters.
- Built-in micro-USB charging port.
- Anodized machined aircraft aluminum construction.
- Battery must be removed before each charge.
Best Brightest Small Flashlight
With dimensions measuring only 23 x 66.5 x 22mm, and a weight of 75.8g, this is one of the smallest devices featured on our list. Don’t let its size fool you, though, as three CREE XPG LEDs, that produce a cumulative 1800 lumens, power this tactical masterpiece.
This level of power is capable of meeting all your outdoor needs with ease. The battery is also highly efficient, featuring a customized rechargeable 550mAh unit that can power the device for 12 days at 0.5 lumens.
Fenis is a company that likes to pay attention to particulars, and you can see this in the detail of this flashlight. A knurling and polished finish allow the user to secure a firm grip on the torch, and a highly integrated tail switch allows for easy access whenever required.
A strobe feature is included in the model to act as a distress call in emergencies.
- Turbo mode of 1800 lumens.
- Maximum coverage of 158 meters.
- Compact dimensions of 23 x 66.5 x 22mm.
- Utilizes three CREE XPG LED bulbs.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum body.
- Ergonomic knurling.
- Clip is too tight.
Best Small Twisty Flashlight
Twisty flashlights are easy to use and allow you to access a high-intensity beam in a jiffy. In this category, we have determined that the ThruNite Ti3 V2 is the best product currently around.
This is a class EDC flashlight that features an extremely durable Cree XP-G2 R5 LED, which has a lifespan of over 20 years. The output on the LED ranges from 0.04 lumens to 120 lumens, offering a maximum runtime of 115 hours.
You can easily access this powerful torch thanks to the twist switch design offering smooth one-handed operation.
The manufacturer has applied a lot of handy design features to help you access the torch in a multitude of ways. You can hang this device to a keychain, clip it to your pocket, or use the two-way reverse clip to attach it to your hat.
The device measures only 2.76 x 0.55 inches and weighs 0.42 ounces. It uses AAA batteries for power.
- Features a Cree XP-G2 R5 LED bulb.
- Has a lifespan of 20 plus years.
- Can run up to 115 hours on a single charge.
- Convenient switch design.
- Measures only 2.76 x 0.55 inches.
- Weighs just 0.42 ounces.
- Switches output mode automatically after the device is turned off.
Best Small 90 Degree Flashlight
A 90-degree flashlight can be a useful tool — If you’re on the lookout for one, we would suggest opting for this Fenix LD15R.
A CREE XP-G3 LED produces a maximum output of 500 lumens. With this level of intensity, you will be able to see clearly for 93 yards.
It also incorporates a secondary red LED bulb that has three distinct modes – constant red, signal, and SOS. Using the red bulb helps preserve the battery life of this device substantially.
You can use this device in a multitude of ways. Set it on the ground or place it in your top pocket using the 90-degree angle. You can latch it onto your car hood using the magnetic tail cap, or use the two-way clip to attach it to your headwear. The handsfree option is especially useful while doing repair work of any kind.
It has a 700mAh 16340 battery that charges using a built-in micro-USB port. The device comes with a USB charging cable, a holster, a spare rubber switch boot, a spare O-ring, and a lumen tactical battery organizer.
- 90-degree design allows for versatile use.
- 500 lumen LED bulb.
- Maximum visibility of 93 yards.
- Includes a secondary red LED bulb.
- Magnetic tail cap and two-way reversible clip.
- Built-in micro-USB port.
- 700mAh battery.
- Beam is broad and not focused.
Best Small Keychain Flashlight
The need to carry a flashlight, however compact, can be a bit of a chore, especially if you don’t intend to use it regularly. In such a scenario, owning a keychain flashlight is ideal as it allows you to whip out a torch whenever you need one quickly.
This UltraTac K18 V2017, thanks to its incredibly diminished dimensions of 3.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches, is the best keychain flashlight in our opinion. This device weighs only 0.64 ounces, to top it all off!
Despite being a keychain flashlight, the manufacturers have loaded this with a CREE XP-G2 S4 LED that can produce a maximum of 370 lumens. That is an exceptionally bright light generated by an incredibly small flashlight!
The design has been kept minimalistic for ease of operation. A stainless steel button switch allows for easy one-handed operation. You can switch between one of three levels of brightness, and even place it on strobe mode if required.
This device is IPX-8 waterproof and is compatible with AAA Ni-Mh and 10440 Li-ion batteries.
- Incredibly tiny design with dimensions of 3.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches.
- Weighs only 0.64 ounces.
- Hard anodized finish.
- Sturdy aluminum body.
- Cree XP-G2 S4 LED bulb.
- Maximum output of 340 lumens.
- Supports a low-voltage alert when using Li-ion batteries.
- Activation button can get pressed automatically in your pockets.
Best Cheap Small Flashlight
In the Z2 14500, Trustfire has developed a budget option for those who need nothing more than an economical and effective device. This does come, however, with remarkably impressive features.
You will find a CREE XM-L2 LED bulb on this flashlight that can produce a maximum output of 280 lumens. You can use this bulb to generate five distinct light modes – high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS.
The manufacturer has made some intelligent design choices for this device, offering an EDC module and a 90-degree bending design to maximize mobility and functionality. You can also power this device with either a 14500 rechargeable battery or a single AA battery.
Carrying this device is extremely easy as well, thanks to a magnetic tail cap.
- EDC flashlight with 90-degree bending design.
- Powered by a CREE XM-L2 LED bulb.
- Maximum output of 280 lumens.
- Includes five distinct light modes.
- Magnetic tail cap.
- It is not waterproof.
Best Small Red Light Flashlight
Flashlights that come with a separate red light are incredibly useful as they can help maintain your battery life and can preserve night vision during hunting sessions. They tend to attract far fewer insects too.
We scoured the market for the best compact red light device and determined that this Nitecore MT10C is the top choice in this category.
This is a powerful device that features an LED bulb with a maximum output of 920 lumens, allowing you to view up to a distance of 207 yards easily.
With a compact design of 3.6 inches and a military-grade aluminum body, you can carry this device everywhere you go without having to worry about breaking it. Its tactical tail switch enables you to turn on the device quickly.
Included accessories consist of a holster, lanyard, LumenTac battery organizer, and a rechargeable battery.
- Bright LED bulb with a maximum output of 920 lumens.
- Maximum visibility of 207 yards.
- Powerful red light.
- Compact design of 3.6 inches.
- Military-grade aluminum body.
- Tactical tail switch for easy access.
- Battery has to be removed each time during charging.
They say that it is better always to have a flashlight than to need a flashlight. This is because these versatile devices are capable of assisting us in a wide range of tasks that are sometimes impossible to execute without their vital beam.
Picking the right model for you can be daunting, which is why we narrowed down your selection to ten competent devices. Our top pick – the Olight S2RII is a superb device with 1150 lumens and an incredible range. It is also well-priced and is a reliable brand.
We would also recommend the Fenix LD02 V2.0 if you’re looking for a sleeker, somber device. It is incredibly tiny in terms of design but has a capable bulb and a handy UV mode.
You can use these devices to light your way, hands and hassle-free!