Gear > Everyday Carry

15 Best Pocket EDC Flashlights

By Andrew Peloquin  |  Updated November 29, 2023

15 Best Pocket EDC Flashlights
Courtesy of NEBO

A flashlight is one of the most critical components of my EDC gear—right next to my pocket knife, metal wallet, phone, and keys.

Where I live, you never know when the electricity will suddenly cut out or when I’ll need to crawl under my car to check for some leak or clanking noise. And I can’t imagine a camping trip without some kind of light to help me see my way to the bathroom or find shoes in the dark.

No, there are far too many times in life when a flashlight isn’t just a “nice to have”, but an absolute “must have”.


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
  • Portable but powerful: Though on the smaller side (sized to fit in your pocket), these little flashlights still pack enough lumens to be useful in any low-light environment.
  • Designed for durability: Thanks to modern LEDs, you no longer have to worry about glass bulbs shattering or filaments breaking. And the flashlight housings are no less tough—typically, they’re made using aerospace-grade aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel.
  • Always within reach: Features like integrated magnets, lanyard rings, and built-in belt clips make it easy to store the flashlight where you can grab it at a moment’s notice.

In the name of safety and convenience, I’ve done a deep dive into EDC flashlights. After thorough testing of as many as I could get my hands on and combing through piles of product reviews, I’ve assembled a list of the best EDC flashlights to carry around with you every day.

From ultra-bright miniature suns to small keychain flashlights, I’ve got plenty of options for you to consider.

Best Overall EDC Flashlight

OLIGHT S2R II

Why did I choose it?

With its 1125-lumen brightness, waterproof and impact-resistant design, lightweight portability, convenient carry options (belt clip and magnetic tail), and up-to-60-day battery life, it’s the best-performing flashlight I have tested to date.


Brightest Small Flashlight
NEBO Redline Torchy 2K

Most Versatile Flashlight
WUBEN H5

Best Keychain Light
Nitecore TIKI LE

Best Inexpensive Flashlight
Streamlight MicroStream

Best Tactical EDC Flashlight
5.11 RESPONSE XR1


Best Overall EDC Flashlight

OLIGHT S2R II


$70
 

What sets this flashlight apart from the rest on our list? Aside from its solid light output (1125 lumens) and convenient design (belt clip + magnetic tail), I’ve fallen in love with the shape and texture of its body.

The perfectly cylindrical flashlight features a textured grip that makes it easy to hang onto even in rainy or muddy conditions. I’ve even used it wearing mud-slicked rubber work gloves, and it never slipped out of my hands once.

The flashlight is also waterproof and impact-resistant up to 1.5 meters. It weighs just under 4 ounces and is sized perfectly to carry in my pocket, fit in a backpack, or clip onto my tool belt.

Best of all, on its lowest setting (moonlight), you get up to 60 days of runtime. Talk about an amazing emergency or survival tool.





Brightest Small Flashlight

NEBO Redline Torchy 2K


$44
 

Get ready for some serious brightness! On its highest setting, this flashlight can generate a beam as bright as 2000 lumens (though only for 30 seconds). Still, you get 90 minutes of 500-lumen light, or 9 hours at 50 lumens.

It comes with a strobe function that I’ve found very handy to scare off animals, and its anodized aircraft grade aluminum body is tough enough that it can take a beating—plus it’s water and impact-resistant.

It’s one light I’ve always been happy to recommend because of how tough and reliable it is. And the price tag is nothing to sniff at, either. 





Most Versatile Flashlight

WUBEN H5


$50
 

This flashlight is purposely designed differently—and in my opinion, different definitely equals better in this case.

The flashlight features a rotating shaft that allows me to adjust the angle of the beam, so I can use it as a headlight, vest light, belt light, and handheld flashlight.

The light tail and back clip come with built-in magnets so it can be clipped onto anything metal (PFD, buckles, vest, the side of your car/RV, etc.).

I’ve taken this light snowshoeing, night skiing, camping, backpacking, mountain climbing, and used it around my house, and the versatile design makes it brilliantly easy to use for anything and everything.

With up to 400 lumens of light output, it’s bright enough to serve me well in any situation. Best of all, I can  can use the built-in lithium ion battery pack for its main power source, but I still keep a few AA batteries on standby and ready to swap in so I never run out of juice.





Best Keychain Light

Nitecore TIKI LE


$20
 

The NiteCore Tiki LE is one of our favorite flashlights for anyone who works in an office. It’s small enough to hang on your keychain and the 300-lumen beam is bright enough for navigating even the darkest corridors or dingiest supply closets.

However, thanks to its built-in battery pack, you can easily recharge it via USB (plugged into your computer or wall charger), and you get up to 40 hours of battery life per charge.

The flashlight lets you switch between white, red, and blue lights, so you can call for help or send a signal in case of emergency. Made of tough aluminum, it’s IP66-rated so you can use it in any wet or dusty environment. For any power outage, you’ll be glad you had this flashlight handy.





Best Inexpensive Flashlight

Streamlight MicroStream


$33
 

Keep it simple, reliable, and affordable with the Streamlight 66608 MicroStream. Sold at a fraction of the cost of some of the higher-end models on our list, this flashlight is a great bargain buy and a backup I keep in the glove compartment of my car, in my tool kit, and in my kitchen drawers.

It’s not the brightest flashlight on our list (50 to 250 lumen output) and doesn’t have the longest run-time (just 1.5 to 3.5 hours), but it’s built wonderfully tough with an Type II Military Spec anodized aluminum housing that makes it capable of withstanding a lot of hardcore daily use.

And the 30,000-hour lifespan of the white LED light bulb ensures it lasts a long, long time.





Best Tactical EDC Flashlight

5.11 RESPONSE XR1


$78
 

5.11’s motto is “Always Be Ready”, and with the Response XR1 among your EDC kit, you definitely will be, no matter what comes your way. It’s one of the larger (5.75 inches) flashlights I tested, making it a great self-defense weapon in case of an emergency situation.

Though the 1031-lumen beam isn’t record-breaking, I like the 97 minutes of run time on the highest setting and beam distance of 770 feet.

I love how it’s designed to run on both disposable and rechargeable batteries, and it’s easy to swap out for a fresh set when the juice runs low.

With a 1-meter impact resistance and waterproof rating of up to 2 meter submersible, it’s a truly rough-and-rugged light I’m glad to carry everywhere I go.






FENIX E18R V2.0


$60
 

For durability and reliability, it’s hard to beat the FENIX E18R V2.0. This light has been upgraded from its original model (hence V2.0), and improved features include a brighter light (now 1200 lumens) with a longer beam distance (479 feet), a single thumb-activated side switch, and six lighting modes.

The battery indicator will let you know when the built-in battery pack is low and in need of recharging, which is a breeze thanks to USB-C charging.

The aluminum case is highly resistant to heat, warping, rust, dust, and water. The magnetic tail allows you to stick it to any metal surface, and the belt clip ensures the flashlight is always close at hand on your belt or in your pocket, ready at a moment’s notice.






LUMINTOP EDC Pimi Copper Flashlight


$40
 

Keychain-sized lights like this one are great for those who want to keep their EDC gear compact and minimalist. The light is just 1.3 inches long and weighs just 0.6 ounces, making it ultra-portable and delightfully lightweight.

The copper body is solid and can stand up to daily use, but it gives the flashlight a truly unique flair that you won’t find on any of our other lights. The simple twist action makes it easy to turn on/off, and the 60-lumen beam, while not the brightest, will more than suffice for everyday situations.

Best of all, it’s rated IP68 (waterproof and dustproof) and can be submerged up to 2 meters in water—so you can take it boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.






SureFire E2D


$224
 

Make no mistake: though this is the most expensive EDC flashlight on our list (by a pretty hefty margin), it’s an investment that you won’t regret.

On its highest setting, it generates a 1000 lumen beam that will light up your surroundings like a boss. On its lowest setting, you get pretty impressive battery life (up to 63 hours of runtime). However, thanks to the Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens, the beam is tightly focused and serves as a spotlight to blind attackers.

The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold even for long hours, and the tough aluminum body can handle a lot of wear and tear. The Type III Mil-Spec hard-anodized coating ensures that it’s able to withstand corrosion, water, and abrasion, making it great for taking hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, urban exploring, and even into active combat zones & tough situations.






Prometheus Preon P1 MKIII


$55
 

The Prometheus Preon P1 MKIII is the only AAA-powered flashlight on our list, but don’t think for a minute that smaller battery size equals less utility. On its lowest setting (1 lumen), you get an impressive 45 hours of runtime, and on its highest setting (100 lumens), you still get an hour of light.

It’s designed to be ultra-sleek and sized to fit in any pocket, pouch, pack, or vest, and last for the rest of your life. The flashlight will actually “save” your last mode used, but it’s easy to revert to a new mode if you want to change up operations.

The integrated “Digital Bump Protection” software will protect against power interruptions so your light will always stay on even if you drop it. Though small, it’s affordable and one of the toughest, longest-lasting flashlights on our list—so well worth the price.






Vosteed Rook


$69
 

The Vosteed Rook is one of the most versatile and user-friendly flashlights I’ve tested to date. In addition to excellent brightness (as high as 1800 lumens on Turbo mode) and solid battery life (1.2 hours on Turbo mode, and up to 7 days in “Moonlight” mode), the flashlight is built tough with a high-strength, oxidation-resistant, abrasion-resistant hard-anodized aerospace aluminum body and IPX7 waterproof rating.

Controlling the flashlight is brilliantly easy—just click the button once to switch it onto your last mode setting, twice to set it to Turbo mode, and eight times to switch to the strobe light.

Thanks to its 4000K neutral light, it’s easy to see details in true-to-life color at night, and it won’t strain your eyes even after hours of use.






Olight Baton 3


$65
 

I’m a big fan of this compact, ultra-portable flashlight.

The Olight Baton 3 is the same size as my thumb (2.48 in x 0.83 in), and it fits into any backpack or pouch so I can take it camping, hiking, kayaking, or on late-night walks. With an IPX8 waterproof rating and knurled aluminum alloy body, it’s served me well in wet, rainy, and muddy conditions, or even if my hands are covered in fish guts.

On Turbo mode, it generates 1,200 lumens for about 90 seconds, then lowers to 300 lumens for another 7.5 minutes. At its lowest setting (“Moon”), the battery can last for up to 20 days.

Thanks to the integrated 550mAh 3.7V IMR16340 Rechargeable Battery, it’s easy to charge via USB-C power literally anywhere, anytime.

Really, its compact size and reliable performance makes it an ideal addition to my EDC loadout.






ACEBEAM Rider RX


$30
 

The ACEBEAM Rider RX is one of my favorite EDC flashlights for the simple reason that it’s built with an ultra-tough and surprisingly lightweight stainless steel case, with a blue aluminum alloy inner core that doubles down on the toughness factor.

It’s impact-resistant from up to 1 meter (I’ve learned this through hard personal experience), water-resistant, and dust-proof (IP68 rating). At 3.7 inches long and just over 3.5 ounces, it’s lightweight and compact enough to fit in my pocket, tool pouch, or in my glove box.

It’s not the brightest of the lights I’ve tested. On its max setting, it can generate a beam of only about 650 lumens. For extra-long run time, turn it down to its lowest setting (7 lumens) and you’ve got around 53 hours of battery life.

I like that it comes with its own built-in battery that is USB-C rechargeable, so it’s easy to keep powered up all day long.






Olight Seeker 4 Mini


$80
 

Despite its small 3.4-inch long body, it’s capable of generating a 1,200 lumen beam up to 120 meters, both in white and 365nm UV light. Thanks to this, you can use it not only for camping, hiking, and mountain climbing in the dark, but it’ll also double as a tool for hotel cleanliness inspection, stain identification, and detection of fluorescent agents.

The aluminum alloy body is tough, and the addition of a metal button (rather than the usual plastic) increases its longevity and keeps it from being compromised by repeated use or exposure to weather or dust.

It’s also IPX8 rated waterproof, so you can take it out into the rain, snow, or sleet worry-free. Charge time is around 90 minutes, with a run time of 25 minutes on Turbo (max brightness) mode, 33.5 hours on low mode (15 lumens), and 12 days on “moon” mode (2 lumens). It’s even got a built-in strobe light so you can use it as a self-defense tool.

Thanks to its built-in belt clip, it’s always close at hand and ready to switch on in an instant.






Nitecore EDC 27


$90
 

This little flashlight is the addition your EDC gear has been missing. The built-in clip makes it easy to secure to your belt, pouch, or backpack, keeping it always within easy reach. Rather than the classic round shape, the EDC 27’s body is rectangular, roughly the same dimensions as your favorite pocket knife.

Don’t let its small size fool you into thinking it’s not powerful. When switched onto high, it can generate up to 3,000 lumens and cast a beam 200 meters.

The integrated battery pack has a truly impressive run-time of 37 hours and is easily charged using the provided USB cable. It’s even impact- and water-resistant, built for use in pretty much any emergency, tactical, survival, or outdoors situation. You’ll never have to worry about the titanium-coated stainless steel body getting scratched, scuffed, dented, or rusted.




Factors to Consider When Buying an EDC Flashlight

Brightness

Since 2019, the official unit of measurement for brightness is “lumens”. The more lumens a flashlight can generate, the brighter the light.

For a compact light, you won’t get a lot of lumens (anywhere between 50 and 200), but there are many brighter lights that can generate a lot of lumens (though at the cost of faster battery drain).

More lumens are needed for darker environments (security, night patrol, camping, etc.), but fewer lumens typically will suffice for your everyday use.

Durability

Durability should always be a factor to consider for your EDC loadout. You’ll want a flashlight that is impact-resistant, water- and dust-resistant, and ideally with a scratch-proof lens. The tougher the light, the longer it will last no matter how rough you are.

Size

Size is another critical factor. If the light is too bulky, it won’t be easily carried around in your pocket or backpack. Typically, EDC flashlights are pocket-sized, even with a clip to keep it easily accessible. Some of the larger options may include a belt sheath, however, which is a bit bulkier but still fully portable.

Weight

Let’s be honest: you don’t want to lug around a heavy flashlight along with a heavy knife, wallet, phone, and key chain. Lighter is always better for EDC items—you can always have a bigger, heavier flashlight in your car, house, or camping gear as a backup when you need serious power. Compact and lightweight is the way to go.

Functionality

EDC lights with multiple brightness settings, strobe settings to disorient attackers, and red lights to preserve your night vision are always better than the flashlights that only have a single setting (on and off).

Battery Type & Life

Some EDC flashlights come with their own rechargeable battery packs, while others use AA or AAA batteries. Typically, built-in battery packs will have a longer lifespan, but will cost more. AA and AAA batteries are cheap and easily replaced, but don’t deliver as much power.

And you always want to consider how long the battery lasts. That way, you know exactly how much run time the flashlight is capable of, and you can prepare accordingly.

Keep these factors in mind as you consider the EDC flashlights below.

For insanely bright light options, view our list of the Brightest Flashlights




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