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10 Best Keychain Flashlights in 2022 — Reviews & Top Picks

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What did we do before our smartphone flashlights? Some products, such as Motorola’s Moto app, allow you to shake your phone to control the light. However, that’s not always a practical option, particularly if it’s raining. It used to be that your only choice for a portable light was a Mini-Mag. Sometimes, you need something smaller. That’s where a keychain flashlight can step up to the plate.

The best thing about these flashlights is that they’re lightweight. You’ll probably never notice that you’re carrying a keychain flashlight. We’ll discuss the most important features to consider and detailed reviews of our favorite products on the market today.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Streamlight Key-Mate Keychain Flashlight Streamlight Key-Mate Keychain Flashlight
  • Sealed O-ring for security
  • Compact design
  • Maximum light output
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Photon Micro Light I Keychain Flashlight Photon Micro Light I Keychain Flashlight
  • Incredibly small and lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Third place
    Browning Trak USB Rechargeable Flashlight Browning Trak USB Rechargeable Flashlight
  • Two brightness levels
  • Rechargeable
  • Waterproof
  • Nite Ize Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight Nite Ize Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight
  • Waterproof
  • Two brightness modes
  • Secure attachment
  • Nitecore Tip SE Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight Nitecore Tip SE Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Four brightness modes
  • Battery level indicator
  • The 10 Best Keychain Flashlights

    1. Streamlight Key-Mate Keychain Flashlight – Best Overall

    Streamlight Key-Mate

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 10 lumens
    Battery life: 96 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: Water-resistant

    The Streamlight Key-Mate Keychain Flashlight is a small but mighty light that makes optimal use of its reflector design to maximize its light output. That’s quite a feat for a device that is only 10 lumens strong. It’s one of the many reasons we picked it as the best overall keychain flashlight. The manufacturer must think so, too, given its lifetime warranty.

    You can use the flashlight on your keychain or with the included lanyard. Customers appreciate the rotator switch that makes it hard to turn it on inadvertently. It does an excellent job of balancing durability with its lighter weight.

    Pros
    • Sealed O-ring for security
    • Compact design
    • Maximum light output
    • Lifetime warranty
    Cons
    • Not waterproof

    2. Photon Micro Light I Keychain Flashlight – Best Value

    Material: Polyurethane
    Light output: 10–14 lumens
    Battery life: 18 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IPX-7

    The Photon Micro Light I Keychain Flashlight is a value-priced product that delivers a bright light considering its output and small size. These features put it on the top as the best keychain flashlight for the money. It is handmade in the United States, although it outsources parts. The device is small, about the size of a quarter.  Its polyurethane is durable, and it runs on a lithium battery, which is replaceable.

    This product is an ideal choice to have on hand for tasks where you only need a small amount of light. It uses a squeeze trigger to light up. Surprisingly, it’s waterproof, too.

    Pros
    • Incredibly small and lightweight
    • Waterproof
    • Lifetime guarantee
    Cons
    • Not very bright

    3. Browning Trak USB Rechargeable Flashlight – Premium Choice

    Browning Trak USB Rechargeable

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 101 lumens
    Battery life: 6 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IPX-7

    The Browning Trak USB Rechargeable Flashlight is an excellent choice if you need a brighter light for nightly walks. It uses a lithium-ion battery for power. It is also rechargeable. Its 101 lumens of light means that it won’t last long on a charge. Having an extra battery on hand while using it is essential for uninterrupted operation. However, it has two brightness levels to optimize its battery life.

    Nevertheless, it’s a sturdy product that is both waterproof and shatter-proof from a 6-foot distance. The flashlight has a decent beam distance of 70 yards. It has both an O-ring and a clip to attach it to the brim of a hat as well.

    Pros
    • Two brightness levels
    • Rechargeable
    • Waterproof
    • Shatter-proof up to 6 feet
    Cons
    • Short battery life
    • Expensive

    4. Nite Ize Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 100 lumens
    Battery life: 5 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IPX-7

    The Nite Ize Radiant 100 Keychain Flashlight is a well-made device that is waterproof and built to handle rigorous use. The light output is excellent, although short-lived. It’s not the most environmentally friendly choice since it’s not recyclable. The attachment is secure, which you can use either on a keychain or clipped to a belt loop.

    The flashlight is easy to use. It comes in three color choices. While it isn’t the most affordable option, it certainly won’t break the bank to buy this keychain flashlight.

    Pros
    • Waterproof
    • Two brightness modes
    • Secure attachment
    Cons
    • Short battery life

    5. Nitecore Tip SE Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight

    Material: N/A
    Light output: 700 lumens
    Battery life: 50 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IP54

    The Nitecore Tip SE Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight stands out on several scores. The light output is an astounding 700 lumens or the equivalent of a 60-watt lightbulb. Surprisingly, it also has a long battery life of 50 hours thanks to its four brightness modes. The flashlight has an automatic hibernation mode that can keep it from completely draining the battery for up to 365 days.

    The specs make it a worthwhile investment. On the downside, it isn’t waterproof and is only water-resistant. We’d expect full protection from water given its price.

    Pros
    • Rechargeable battery
    • Four brightness modes
    • Battery level indicator
    • Automatic hibernation
    Cons
    • Not waterproof
    • Expensive

    6. Fenix E03R Keychain Flashlight

    Fenix E03R Keychain

    Material: CNC machined metal
    Light output: 260 lumens
    Battery life: 50,000 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IP66

    The Fenix E03R Keychain Flashlight is an excellent value despite its higher cost. Its light output is impressive, given its compact size. The beam distance makes it a handy device to have on hand. It’s also well-made and durable as a shatter-proof and waterproof flashlight. It has an astonishingly long battery life with its lithium-ion source. You can recharge it using a USB-C charging port.

    You may think that the light output is overkill. However, it has six lighting modes to optimize its already fantastic battery life. It’s compact yet powerful on all fronts.

    Pros
    • 140-foot beam distance
    • Battery level indicator
    • Rechargeable
    • Red and white lights
    Cons
    • Expensive

    7. Streamlight Nano Light LED Flashlight

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 10 lumens
    Battery life: 8 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: Water-resistant

    The Streamlight Nano Light LED Flashlight is a handy device when you just need a small light to find what you need. It’s lightweight, providing a decent 10-lumen output. It comes in three models. It’s easy to use and offers a secure attachment wherever you want to put it. When you buy one, a donation is made to first responders and police officers.

    The manufacturer supports its product line with a limited lifetime warranty. The flashlight is also an LED light powered by a lithium-ion battery for hours of life.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Limited lifetime warranty
    Cons
    • Not waterproof
    • Not very bright

    8. Nitecore TINI Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 500 lumens
    Battery life: 60 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: IP54

    The Nitecore TINI Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight is an example of the heights of this technology. The device itself is made to last. It also has an OLED display that provides the user with valuable information, such as runtime and brightness level. That makes it more of a smart device than the average keychain flashlight. It’s rechargeable with a fast turnaround time.

    The flashlight has two modes that extend its usefulness. If you want to use it for longer stretches, you can put it in daily mode. If you only need a light to find something, you can opt for demo mode. While it’s pricey, you may find it an excellent purchase if you anticipate using it a lot.

    Pros
    • Smart device operation
    • Rechargeable
    • Five brightness levels
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Bulky

    9. Dorcy 1AAA Aluminum Keychain Light

    Dorcy 1AAA Aluminum

    Material: Aluminum
    Light output: 10 lumens
    Battery life: Depends on the battery
    Water-resistance or IP rating: Water-resistant

    The Dorcy 1AAA Aluminum Keychain Light is an old-school product that uses AAA batteries for power. It’s relatively large, given its style. Some users may find it bulky, particularly using it on a keychain. It’s also only water-resistant and not waterproof. However, it has an LED light, which optimizes its battery life. Nevertheless, the price is right if you want to keep a flashlight in your car.

    It has a built-in keyring, which provides a secure attachment, although that’s the only way you can use it unless you put it on a lanyard.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • AAA batteries
    • Relatively large for a keychain

    10. Inova Squeeze LED Keychain Light

    Material: Plastic
    Light output: 2 lumens
    Battery life: 16 hours
    Water-resistance or IP rating: Not water-resistant

    The Inova Squeeze LED Keychain Light is a barebones version of a squeeze light. It only works when you pinch the sides for optimal battery life. It only emits 4.2 lumens, which is often just enough to find things inside your purse. However, it won’t illuminate the walk to your front door. Its value is in its compact size and affordable price. It does what it needs to do when you’re in a pinch.

    Interestingly, the manufacturer designed it for long-term use with the ability to replace its lithium-ion battery easily.

    Pros
    • Very affordable
    • Replaceable lithium-ion battery
    Cons
    • Low-light output
    • Bulky clip

    shutter camera divider 2Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Keychain Flashlights

    Technology hasn’t stopped advancing, even when it comes to something as mundane as a keychain flashlight. LEDs have improved the light output while ramping up the battery life. You’ll see a broad range of products, from simple squeeze lights to high-end, multi-functional models costing three figures. Of course, you needn’t spend that much to get a decent flashlight. Things to consider when purchasing a keychain flashlight include:

    • Material
    • Design
    • Light output
    • Battery life
    • Water-resistance or IP rating.

    Material

    Aluminum is a popular choice for these products because it’s lightweight and provides reasonable durability. It makes these flashlights affordable, too. You’ll also see aluminum alloy models, which can offer an even better value. Plastic rears its ugly head with some inexpensive products. We’ve even seen a titanium flashlight. We suggest considering how you plan to use it to help you narrow down your choices.

    Handheld Spotlight

    Image Credit: FelixMittermeier, Pixabay

    Design

    The battery and light type often dictate the overall design of a flashlight. If it has some extra bells and whistles, it’ll often add to the bulk. However, they’re usually compact by their nature, hence the name. We recommend checking the attachment point. You’ll find some that use a ring, whereas others have a clip. Bear in mind that this part will probably see the most stress from you putting it in and taking it out of your pocket.

    Pay attention to the on-off switch, too. The point of having a flashlight handy is that it’s easy to use. The last thing you need is to waste time fumbling with hard-to-move slides and buttons. We prefer products where the light is somewhat recessed to protect it from debris and damage if you should drop it.

    Light Output

    The light output is what you should probably focus on most. It will determine how useful the flashlight is. You’ll see this figure expressed in lumens. It will range anywhere from under 100–800 lumens or more. The larger the figure, the brighter the light. To put it into perspective, 450 lumens is about the same light as you’d get from a 45-watt bulb. The amount you need depends on what you need the light for.

    If you’re doing search and rescue, you’re probably best off using something with at least 3,000 lumens. If you’re just trying to find a keyhole or light switch, you’ll do fine with 50 lumens or less. Kick it up to 300 lumens or more if you’re taking your dog on a night walk, preferably with a reflective leash.

    Battery Life

    Several factors will determine what to expect with your keychain flashlight. It depends on the type of light and its power source. Many products have one or more brightness settings to allow you to get the most out of a charge or battery. The technology of the device also comes into play with manufacturers making more efficient products.

    We suggest keeping a spare bulb and an extra battery—or a charger—with you, just in case. Inevitably, it always seems like you run out of juice just when you need it most.

    Water-Resistance or IP Rating

    Manufacturers may describe their flashlights as non-water-resistant, water-resistant, or waterproof. The latter is preferable. Water resistance is ambiguous at best. A more definitive measure of this trait is the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This rating quantifies an object’s resistance to solids and liquids.

    You’ll see the rating listed as a two-digit number, defining solids and liquids, respectively. A manufacturer may provide only the figure for liquids or both. They range from 0–6 for the first digit and 0–8 for the second. The higher the number, the better the protection. A liquid designation of 6 will be adequate for most uses. A totally impenetrable device will have an IP rating of 68.shutter camera divider 2

    Conclusion

    After completing our reviews, the Streamlight Key-Mate Keychain Flashlight made it to the head of the class as our best overall pick. It provides a bright light that belies its affordable cost. The Photon Micro Light I Keychain Flashlight is an excellent choice if you need a small but powerful device. Its value is its compact size that delivers a bright glow when you need it. Whichever you choose, all of these small flashlights serve a purpose, and it is up to you to decide which one is best for your needs.


    Featured Image Credit: Didgeman, Pixabay

    About the Author Chris Dinesen Rogers

    Chris has been writing since 2009 on a variety of topics. Her motto with all of her writing is “science-based writing nurtured by education and critical thinking.” Chris specializes in science topics and has a special love for health and environmental topics, and animals of all shapes and sizes.

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