- Buyer's Guide
19 Best Keychain Flashlights for Everyday Carry (EDC)
Illumination is one of the central pillars of a well-rounded EDC setup. And when it comes to maximizing portability, an EDC keychain flashlight is an excellent choice. Available in a wide variety of designs, with a range of features and price tags to suit different needs and budgets, there’s something to suit everyone. So let’s delve into a few features to consider before checking out some worthy picks for your personal setup.
Putting the ‘Lumen’ in Illumination
You’ll see flashlights refer to the amount of lumens they can produce but what exactly does this mean? In simple terms, lumens are a measurement of how much visible light the flashlight emits. Flashlights can range greatly in the amount of lumens they provide, from less than 10 lumens to well over 1000 lumens or more. So consider what you’ll mostly be using the flashlight for. For instance, if you want to be able to explore outdoors after dark, you’ll want higher lumen output than if you’re using it to search for gear in your car at night or to hunt around in the back of a dark cupboard.
It’s useful to bear in mind that flashlights often offer a selection of lumen outputs so you can use just what you need for different settings. Higher lumen outputs will use up battery life faster, so it’s handy to find a flashlight that offers a choice of lumen outputs and battery runtimes to cover different needs.
A flashlight you’ll be reaching for daily should be easy to use. Common user-friendly designs include twist operation or button operation, though these can get more complex depending on how the flashlight lets you access different modes or features. Ultimately you should pick a flashlight that suits your preferred level of usability, whether you want super-simple functionality or are happy to play around with more complex settings and features.
Built for the Daily Grind
An EDC flashlight should be durable since it’s designed to be used daily. And while some environments may require more robustness than others, a good starting point is the likes of stainless steel, aircraft-grade aluminum, titanium or other durable metals. Ideally, you’ll want a balance of toughness and light weight, since you don’t want a keychain flashlight to be a bulky hindrance weighing you down. There are plenty of material options out there catering to various weight, durability, and aesthetic preferences, so take your time to peruse several options and see which ones suit you best.
An EDC flashlight isn’t much use if the battery dies. So make sure you pick one with a battery life that meets your day-to-day requirements. Some may last for several days with minimal use before requiring a power top-up, while others may run down the battery within several hours (for instance, by using a high-lumen output over an extended period). Also consider what kind of battery you’d prefer. Some flashlights offer rechargeable batteries while others may use readily available options such as AAA batteries. If you’ll be traveling with your flashlight, consider how easy it will be to keep it juiced (hence, try to avoid any options with obscure, hard-to-come-by battery types).
Size and Weight
The key appeal of an EDC keychain flashlight is compact portability. There are many wide-ranging options to choose from that will offer the features you need in a size and weight that works for your setup. Obviously the smaller and lighter a flashlight is, the easier it will be to carry on a keychain. But you should also consider how convenient the shape and size are for everyday usability. You may want to sacrifice some weight savings for certain features or alternatively be willing to spend a little extra for lighter but tough materials such as titanium. Again, it’s important to find a balance that works for you.
What Features Do You Need?
EDC keychain flashlights can offer a host of useful features that provide extra peace of mind in daily use scenarios, such as water resistance and impact resistance. They may offer a range of modes or brightness levels, various portability options (such as a key ring or pocket clip), displays to keep track of different settings such as battery life, and more. In general, the more feature-rich a flashlight is, the more it is likely to cost. But with so many great options available, you can find one that offers a perfect mix of features and price tag accessibility for your needs.
Now that you have some considerations to bear in mind, let’s take a look at some prime picks for the best keychain flashlights for everyday carry.
Simplicity and practicality combine in the Nite Ize Radiant Microlight, a nifty micro LED flashlight that offers a range of handy features at an incredibly wallet-friendly price. The flashlight provides a maximum output of six lumens, a maximum runtime of 22 hours, a range of 50 feet (15.24 meters), and a choice of four modes. It runs on two included 2016 lithium batteries, has a water-resistant and crush-resistant body, and includes a stainless steel universal clip that can secure to keys, zippers, bags, and more.
Coming in at under $10, there’s no reason not to have illumination in your EDC setup thanks to the Nitecore Tube v2. You get respectable EDC functionality for the price, including a maximum 55 lumens of illumination, an IP65 rating, 1-meter impact resistance, and a peak beam distance of 27 yards (around 24 meters). It offers up to 58 hours of runtime, recharges via micro USB, and weighs just 0.34oz. Plus with a bunch of colorways to choose from, it’s easy to add a pop of pizzazz to your setup or keep things stealthy depending on your preferences.
If you’re looking for great value for money, the Lumintop EDC01 should be on your radar. Offering a range of features at a price tag that won’t break the bank, this is a great addition to your EDC setup. The flashlight provides three modes with a maximum output of 120 lumens and a runtime of up to 36 hours. The twisty switch operation makes it easy to access different modes and the flashlight is also self-standing. It uses a widely available single AAA battery, has an IP68 rating, is impact resistant to 1.5 meters, and includes a glow-in-the-dark O-ring.
The Olight i1R 2 Pro Keychain Flashlight is a great budget-friendly option that offers a range of useful features for day-to-day use. It’s easy to recharge through a USB-C port and provides a maximum of 180 lumens and a maximum throw of 48 meters. The flashlight is easy to switch on and off or to switch between lumens with a simple twist of the head and provides a runtime of up to 12 hours (at 5 lumens). Additional features include drop impact resistance up to 1.5 meters and an IPX8 waterproof rating.
The Olight iXV Keychain Flashlight keeps things clean and classy with straightforward usability and useful everyday features. Output ranges from 5 lumens to 180 lumens, accessible through simple twist operation. It has a maximum throw of 48 meters and a maximum runtime of 12 hours. The rechargeable flashlight weighs just 1.08oz (30.7g) including the battery and comes with an IPX8 rating too.
The EAGTAC Teeny DX3E comes in two LED options, with the Luminus SST-20 cool white LED offering 1000 lumens and the neutral white LED offering 930 lumens. A choice of eight brightness levels, a maximum beam distance of 105 meters, and an IPX6 rating make this a versatile flashlight for a range of day-to-day needs. Rechargeable via USB-C, it’s made with hard anodized aerospace-grade aluminum and weighs in at 0.9oz.
The Fenix E03R V2 Keychain Flashlight provides a trusty, compact package of illumination with up to 500 lumens, a range of close to 300 feet (90 meters), and an IP66 splashproof and dustproof rating. It has a CNC machined full metal body available in a choice of colors and provides USB-C recharging with an LED indicator to alert you when charging is required. The single switch operation is easy to use and the 1.06oz weight won’t weigh you down while you’re on the go.
The Lumintop Frog 2.0 provides up to 600 lumens of illumination using a single 10180 cell, though this can be increased to 750 lumens when using an optional 10440 Li-ion and tube. The side switch provides easy usage and the flashlight also comes with an IP68 rating. It’s rechargeable via USB-C and weighs just 11g (0.37oz) without the battery. Compact and lightweight, you’ll barely notice this flashlight when it’s not needed but it’s ready for duty when illumination needs call.
Small but mighty, the Imalent LD10 flashlight offers up to 1200 lumens while weighing just 58g (including the battery). It has an IPX8 waterproof rating, a runtime of up to 18 hours, and a maximum beam distance of 247 meters. Made with aerospace-grade aluminum alloy, the flashlight accommodates USB magnetic charging and also features an OLED display to easily determine settings such as lumens and battery life.
The MecArmy Illumine X3S Copper delivers attractive EDC style, useful functionality, and user-friendly operation, all in a package that weighs a barely noticeable 18g/0.63oz (without the battery). Easily rechargeable through micro USB, it provides twisty one-handed operation with a maximum output of 130 lumens and a maximum beam distance of 59 meters. An IPX-8 rating and 1.5-meter impact resistance come in handy for day-to-day use, and if you prefer a brass option, that’s available too.
Tough and lightweight, the TEC Accessories Pixel Ti Flashlight will please fans of the #AllTitaniumEverything club who are looking for performance and good value in one. Made with grade 5 titanium in a choice of two finishes, it also offers a variety of LED options ranging from cool white to night vision-preserving red. The square design prevents the flashlight from rolling off flat surfaces, while the twist on/off operation is straightforward to use. The flashlight comes with four common LR521/179 watch batteries and weighs just 0.26oz (7.4 grams) including the batteries.
The Maratac Peanut Beast is a pint-sized powerhouse offering 520 lumens and a maximum beam throw of 1020 feet. It has three primary modes along with a turbo mode and moon mode, so you’re covered for a variety of settings and illumination requirements. Made with aircraft-grade aluminum, the flashlight is IP68 rated, uses a rechargeable 10180 lithium battery, and weighs just 0.75oz.
The Angel Eyes E5 Hybrid Keychain Flashlight features a dual LED system that includes both a 6500K Cool White and 4000K Warm White High CRI. The glow-in-the-dark flashlight also includes three LEDs on the front side that are available in either White/UV or White/Red options. Dual buttons control the primary and side LEDs and allow you to access different modes. The flashlight has an IPX6 water-resistant rating and comes with an included reversible pocket clip.
If you like a little customizability in your flashlights, check out the Peak Eiger Keychain Flashlight, which offers a range of options to tailor it to your preferences. The Cree XPG white LED comes in three white tint output options including Cool White, Neutral White, and High CRI. You also have a choice of body styles and body materials including hard anodized aluminum, stainless steel, and brass, as well as options for narrow or medium beam patterns. Made in the USA, the flashlight provides a simple twist on/off operation and timeless, understated aesthetics.
Elegantly tough and functional, the RovyVon Aurora A4 Pro Ti Keychain Flashlight makes a handsome addition to any EDC setup. Made with TC4 titanium alloy, the flashlight is durable and lightweight, coming in at 24g. It has a magnetic tail base and a magnetic pocket clip for easy usability and provides five modes for different lighting needs. Rechargeable via the USB-C port, it can also accommodate optional tritium vials.
Compact but powerful, the Nitecore TUP offers up to 1000 lumens of illumination and 197 yards (180 meters) of throw while being small enough to carry on a keychain or in a pocket using the pocket clip. The flashlight is rechargeable via micro-USB and provides five brightness levels that can be quickly selected through dual side switches. It uses a CREE XP-L HD V6 LED and provides a useful OLED display that shows features such as lumens, runtime, and more in real time.
Labeled the world’s smallest 4000-lumen flashlight, the Nitecore T4K packs a punch in a compact size. While the maximum 4000-lumen brightness runs in a 10-second burst, the flashlight offers a maximum runtime of up to 67 hours at a 1-lumen output. The flashlight has five brightness levels, a dual switch for single-handed use, a handy OLED display, and a 1000mAh USB-C rechargeable battery. It also features a quick-release design and comes with a pocket clip.
The SureFire Titan Plus adapts to a range of needs with three handy illumination levels including 300 lumens, 75 lumens, and 15 lumens. The maximum runtime is seven hours and the maximum beam distance is 66 meters. The simple twist operation keeps things straightforward and the flashlight can be powered either through the included rechargeable AAA NiMH battery or a single, easily available AAA alkaline battery. A removable pocket clip and stainless steel split ring provide flexible carry options, while the nickel-plated brass construction with an IPX7 rating will easily stand up to daily use.
Created as a replacement for the now discontinued Beta QRv2, the Beta QRv3 celebrates the Beta QR’s 10th anniversary in style. Offering a blend of sleek aesthetics and carefully considered performance, the Beta QRv3 features ergonomic upgrades and a new Nichia 519A 9080 LED. The flashlight head features a slightly larger diameter for better grip, easier one-handed operation, and enhanced impact resistance. Additionally, the internal bore has been broached so the light can double as a light-duty bit driver that’s compatible with any 1/4″ driver bit. The flashlight offers a maximum of 90 lumens, a maximum runtime of 50 hours, and operates using a single AAA battery. Titanium Beta releases are currently scheduled to drop once a month and will likely sell out fast, so it’s best to sign up to the wait list if you’re keen to score one.