Some people (myself included) consider having a light on you at all times essential, if your car breaks down and you need to investigate, or simply find something you dropped in a dark space a small light could be your hero. A light on your keychain only needs to save your butt once to pay for its self (depending which light you get of course) – and also it adds to that massive keychain of yours that you’re trying to grow.
In this best keychain flashlight review article I’ll do my best to provide a variety of options that cover many lighting power ranges, price ranges, sizes, and utility functions.
Best Keychain Flashlights for EDC
Before I get into the longer individual reviews of each light, here are my quick picks for three categories: best overall keychain flashlight priced ignored, best budget keychain flashlight, and best tiny keychain flashlight that won’t annoy you by being too big. Drum roll!
- Best overall: Olight S Mini TURBO Baton – this thing is nuts, 900 lumen burst mode? 6 Modes? SIDE SWITCH? EDC keychain light dreams come true. Price isn’t too insane either at around 60 buckeroos.
- Budget pick: ThruNite T01 or TI3 – Simple, robust lights that are pumping out around 130 lumens on a AAA battery (easy to find and replace). Costs around 10 bucks how can you beat that on price and functionality? Super nice size and construction as well.
- Best tiny guy: Matarac peanut – reasonable output and super tiny design. Price is middle of the road around $30.
- Honorable mention: NiteCore TIP CRI really great price for a powerful light. USB Rechargable and a very nice metallic wide body feel to it.
NiteCore TIP CRI
- Lumens: 240
- Beam Distance: 61 yards / 56m 810cd (beam intensity)
- Light: Nichia 2198 LED >90 (with CRI – color rendering index above 90)
- Output/Runtime: 240 lumens / 30 mins, 95 lumens / 1hr30 mins, 22 lumens / 6h30 mins, 1 lumens / 46 hours
- Weight: 23.5g
- Colors available: Black, grey, red, blue, green, white, yellow/gold
- Accessories: Multi-purpose clip switch & pocket button guard, key ring, charging cable
- Modes: Four modes
- Battery type: 500mAh rechargable via USB l-ion battery
- Features: Constant use or daily use mode (shuts off after not using for 30 seconds)
- Water/fall proof: IP54, 1.5m impact
- Price: 34.99
Looking at the NiteCore TIP it’s not crushing it in any category, but it is overall a really solid flashlight ticking all of the boxes for me. It’s not the brightest, cheapest, but it does have a side switch, and a lot of nice features that I think make it a really nice light pick. 240 lumens is not a joke, and the multi-purpose clip on this thing is genius – it protects the button from being pressed in your pocket, protects dust from getting in the charging port, and also you can clip it on stuff with it. Bing bang boom. Another really nice feature for not draining your battery is the daily use mode where it shuts off after 30 seconds of no buttons being pressed. Also featuring 4 modes, and did I mention the side button?! USB rechargeable as well for you hippies who don’t like wasting batteries.
- Beam Distance: 66m
- Light type: LED
- Output/Runtime: 300 lumens/1.25h, 60 lumens/4h, 5 lumens/45h
- Weight: 2oz, lightweight polymer body
- Length: 2.5″
- Colors available: Black
- Accessories: Split ring & carabiner for easy attachment
- Modes: Programmable 3 modes
- Battery type: L-ion rechragable
- Features: Programmable output features
- Water/fall proof: No statement
- Price: 69.99
I’m not SUPER enthusted to be adding this to the list due to the price, I think it’s a bit high for what it offers but it does have an edge over output and runtime over the NiteCore TIP so it’s here on the list. I do like the programmable side button that makes getting into the mode you want, simple. Run of the mill rechargeable keychain light that’s a bit overpriced. The only polymer body light on this list if that concerns you.
- Lumens: 145 lumens/25mins, 12 lumens/6hours
- Switch type: Twist
- Light: LED
- Weight: 10g
- Length: 1.29″
- Material/description: Solid billet
- Colors available: Metallic color options, gold, silver, copper etc.
- Accessories: Charging cable and charging head, 5x o-rings
- Modes: Two modes
- Battery type: 10180 L-ion rechargable
- Water/fall proof: IPX-7
- Price: $38
Look at this cute little peanut! A true keychain flashlight – it’s tiny sitting at just over an inch and weights 10g. It even has two modes, with a twisty switch that you can twist just a bit for 12 lumens and 6 HOURS!!! or twist it a bit more and get 145 lumens for 25 minutes. Not bad, even beating out the T01 on output. Uses a 10180 rechargeable battery and is pretty competitive on price. Really nice pick if you want a tiny, and true to the word keychain flashlight that isn’t bigger than the rest of the items on your key ring.
ThruNite T01 And TI3
- Lumens: 125, 40 min runtime
- Switch: Twist
- Beam Distance/Intensity: 57m, 780cd
- Light: Cree xp-g2 R5
- Weight: 9g without battery
- Length: 66mm
- Material/description: Hard-anodized
- Colors available: Anodized black, titanium alloy
- Accessories: Keyring clip, o-rings, TI3 has reversible clip
- Modes: T01 has 1 mode, TI3 has two modes
- Battery type: AAA
- Water/fall proof: IPX-81m impact
- Price: 12.99+
Here I’ll talk about the T01 and TI3, two very similar lights putting out 125 lumens on a AAA battery. Not the greatest runtime but these are super robust lights for a super budget price. With the TI3 you’re paying a few extra bucks for additional light modes, and a clip. So weigh those options and decide what you want out of a keychain light. Not much to say here except comment on the budget-ness of this solid ThruNite light that I really like using the AAA battery because you can just carry around a few extra and never run out of light.
- Lumens: 230/25mins, 10/3h50mins
- Switch: Twist
- Beam Distance/Intensity: 48m/570cd, 14m/50cd
- Light: Cree XP-G2 S2 White LED
- Weight: 18.4g
- Length: 43mm
- Colors available: Stainless steel blue or gold
- Accessories: Lanyard, spare o-ring
- Modes: 2 Modes
- Battery type: 10180 L-ion rechargable via USB
- Water/fall proof: IP68, 1m
- Price: 29.95
Another really nice light for a very reasonable price. Surely a competitor to the NiteCore TIP – in this comparison it’s a choice between the more traditional body-type of the Fenix UC02SS and twist switch vs the fat-body and side switch of the NiteCore TIP. Here we have another 10180 rechargeable light that you juice up with a USB. No special features just a solid light with two modes.
Olight TURBO S Mini S1R Baton
- Lumens: 900 fade to 300/ 1.5min+50min, 600 fade to 300/ 1.5min+55min, 300/1hr, 60/4h30, 12/33hr, 0.5/15days
- Max Beam Distance/Intensity: 145m, 5250cd
- Switch: SIDE :O
- Light: Cree XM-L2
- Weight: 54g
- Length: 64mm
- Material/description: Aluminum
- Accessories: Magnetic charging cable, 550mAh 5C RCR123A battery, lanyard, pouch
- Modes: 4 regular modes and 2 turbo modes
- Battery type: RCR123A custom battery
- Features: SIDE SWITCH, lockout switch, two high-discharge turbo modes, magnetic tail cap
- Waterproof: IPX8
- Price: $65
The biggest, the BADDEST, also the maybe a bit priciest light on this list but for good reason I tell you. This thing packs a punch they made a custom light for this bad boy to get the discharge rate high enough to put out 900 lumens for a minute and a half. That’s insane for a 64mm light sitting on your chain. Other than that, how about 300 lumens for an hour? It crushes the T01’s 125 lumens for 40 minutes on a non-reusable battery. How about 60 lumens for 4h30??!? HOW ABOUT 12 LUMENS FOR 33HRS? OK HOW ABOUT A CANDLE LIGHT 0.5 LUMENS FOR 15 DAYS?!?!?!?!?! Insane light with 6 insane options and a cool magnetic cable charging system. It’s not even ridiculously priced at $65. I happily have purchased this light for those specs, it almost makes carrying a regular-mid sized light unnecessary. If you could carry around a spare RCR123A battery you would be set. The price is high, but you are certainly getting your money’s worth. Get this light if you’re serious about EDCing a keychain flashlight.
Keychain Flashlight Review Wrap UP
Wrapping it up real quick, I hope I’ve provided for you:
- A good time reading my writing
- Flashlight recommendations matching every budget and need
- An insight into the different styles and options when it comes to keychain lights
If you think any light should have made this list, you don’t like my writing, or you want to send me a flashlight to review please comment below!