Interested in buying a functional flashlight?
Perhaps you don’t need a flashlight with a dazzling lumen output and various levels of brightness. Nor a tactical flashlight that has high-end functionality.
This is where a humble penlight can be an ideal choice. Not only are penlights an important diagnostic tool, but they are also portable and convenient light sources.
But, with so many available choices choosing the best penlight can be a challenging task.
In this article, we take a closer look at the 7 best pen flashlights to help you make the right choice.
Let’s get going.
Summary of Contents
- 0.1 1. Fenix LD22 v2.0 AA Flashlight
- 0.2 2. Streamlight 66120 Stylus Pro Pen Light
- 0.3 3. Weltool M6-Dr Pen Light
- 0.4 4. Olight O’Pen Pro Pen Light
- 0.5 5. Acebeam Pokelit 2AA Pen Light
- 0.6 6. Coast HP3R Rechargeable LED Pen Light
- 0.7 7. Wuben E19 Pen Light
- 1 How to Choose the Best Pen Light
- 2 Benefits of a Pen-Style Flashlight
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
1. Fenix LD22 v2.0 AA Flashlight
- Excellent build quality
- Intelligent overheat protection
- Reversible pocket clip
- Reverse polarity protection
- Turbo mode is not functional with AA batteries
In this upgraded version of the Fenix LD22, Fenix raises the output to 800 lumens and the beam throw to 702 feet. There are 5 brightness levels, along with strobe and SOS modes. Fenix includes a Li-ion USB rechargeable battery pack but the flashlight is compatible with AA batteries too.
The length of 5.83 inches doesn’t make the LD22 the best EDC option, but it’s slim enough for pocket carry. The operation is through a tactical tail switch and a functional side switch.
To be honest, I didn’t find the one-handed operation to be the easiest. But since it weighs just 3.39 oz, changing the grip is easy.
The durability is assured with the A6061-T6 aluminum body and an IP68 rating. The fit and finish are just what you expect from Fenix — top-notch. There is a digitally regulated circuit that delivers a stable output.
Combining a solid performance with a user-friendly UI, the LD22 V2.0 is a versatile pen flashlight that ticks the right boxes.
- A sturdy construction
- Compact and lightweight
- Fits easily in the pocket
- Good battery runtime
- Only a single mode
- Some users found the tail switch to be stiff
The Stylus Pro isn’t the brightest pen-light flashlight, but it’s one of the most functional EDC pocket flashlights that you can pick. It lacks multiple brightness modes, but the simplicity of the design makes it a great tool for daily use and as a backup light.
To start with, the max output of 100 lumens is good enough for daily tasks and the beam distance of 203 feet is respectable too. In fact, that makes it more powerful than the Streamlight Microstream. Next, it has a length of 5.3 inches and is super lightweight at 1.64 oz.
On top of that, you get an anodized aluminum body and an IPX4 water-resistant rating. The operation is super simple through the tactical tail switch. It runs on 2 AAA alkaline batteries and you get 8 hours of runtime.
Overall, the Streamlight Stylus Pro is great for close-range tasks and the compact design makes it easy to carry. If you prefer a simple but practical pen-style flashlight, go for it.
- Great durability
- Even light with no glare
- Reverse polarity protection
- Well-designed pocket clip
- Can only be used as a medical tool
The M6-Dr is one of the best pen torches for medical professionals in terms of performance and design. That said, it’s not the best choice when you are looking for a versatile EDC tool.
It is powered by 2 x AAA alkaline or NiMH batteries and the runtime is close to 10 hours. Frankly, I think the battery life could have been better. The output of 4.5 lumens and an evenly distributed beam is good enough for optometrists and nursing students. In fact, the low lumen output will not dazzle the eyes and make the examination easier.
With an anodized aluminum alloy body and an IP65 rating, the durability is great. The operation is through a single tail-switch and with one single mode, the UI couldn’t be simpler.
The Weltool M6-Dr penlight is a great medical penlight. However, it’s not the right choice for everyday carry.
- Comes with a laser pointer
- Aluminum alloy body
- Includes USB cable and a spare refill
- It is pricey
The Open Pro is a multi-tool device. To be more specific, it combines a penlight with a pen. If you want to write in the dark, this is the best pen torch you can pick. In addition, the tail can also be used as a green laser pointer.
There are 4 brightness levels with a peak output of 120 lumens which is good enough for everyday tasks. The maximum runtime is 8 hours at the lowest output level of 5 lumens. Olight has packed a 110mAh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery that can be charged through the built-in USB port.
The operation is through a unique L-type bolt-action switch. You can also detach the flashlight from the pen and use it separately- a practical feature that I love. There’s a separate e-switch to turn on the light and laser.
The Open Pro is a well-designed rechargeable penlight combined with multiple functions. While it’s not for everyone, it stands apart from the other penlights on the market.
- Accepts all types of AA batteries
- Anti-slip design
- Excellent beam profile
- Two-way body clip
- The output drops with alkaline or Ni-MH batteries
The Pokelit comes with a solid build quality and an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to handle. The maximum output is 600 lumens and the beam throw is around 280 feet.
Even though it’s a high-lumen pen light, it’s only 3.73 inches long and weighs 1.92 oz. In other words, the Pokelit simply vanishes in your pocket.
Despite the small size, the in-hand feel is great, thanks to the robust aluminum alloy body and the IP68 rating. Acebeam has included a 14500 USB-C Li-ion battery with a built-in charging port. There are four light modes and the operation is through a tail-cap switch that has a tactile feel.
Admittedly, the Pokelit is one of the best rechargeable pen lights on the market in terms of value. If you need a versatile pocket light, it is a solid option.
- Storm-proof design
- Twist focus for two beam types
- Can be used with standard alkaline batteries
- A removable bite cap
- A pricey option
At first glance, the HP3R looks like any other high-quality LED flashlight. What makes it stand out is Coast’s Twist Focus optic mechanism that allows you to change the beam from flood to spot.
The flashlight has a maximum output of 385 lumens and a beam distance of 360 feet. Supported by an aluminum body, the build quality is top-grade.
Coast packs a rechargeable battery and a USB-C charging cord. However, you can use standard alkaline batteries as well. Apart from the high output, the HP3R has a low mode of 28 lumens. Still, I wish it had a medium mode of somewhere around 150 lumens.
Lastly, you get Coast’s lifetime warranty on the HP3R and top-grade quality that meets the ANSI/PLATO FL 1 standards. That said, the HP3R comes with a high price tag. If you are on a budget, look elsewhere.
- A compact and bright penlight
- Top-notch ergonomics
- Gold-plated spring for durability
- A value-for-money choice
- Lacks a reversible pocket clip
Not many pen-style flashlights have an LED that delivers a high CRI output. Wuben has used the Nichia 219C LED emitter that has a high CRI value along with a smooth reflector. That ensures accurate color representation and makes it great for medical use and photography.
With a military-grade finish and diamond knurling, the build quality is great. The operation is through a clicky tail switch that makes it perfect for one-handed use.
The E19 uses dual AAA batteries as the power source. There are 4 lighting modes that are well-spaced. With the eco mode, you can stretch the battery life to 80 hours.
If you don’t mind being limited to only alkaline batteries, the E19 is an affordable pocket pen light that delivers the right performance. Overall, a good pick if you prefer something that is close to a tactical penlight.
How to Choose the Best Pen Light
For first-time buyers, here are a few points to keep in mind before picking a pen light.
While everyone prefers a bright light output, the amount of lumen power you need will depend on how you will use the flashlight. For indoor use, an output of 80-100 lumens should be good enough. In case you are heading outdoors for camping or hiking trips, something stronger will be a good option.
Weight and Dimensions
Usually, heavier EDC flashlights are more robust and have batteries with higher capacity. However, when it comes to penlights, most users prefer a small and lightweight option. If you plan to carry the penlight with you, choosing a lightweight design makes sense.
The good news is, top-grade penlights are designed to be lightweight, but durable as well. So, features like an impact-resistant aluminum alloy frame, scratch-resistant coating, and IPX8 waterproofing are common. These are some must-have features for a penlight to tackle daily wear and tear.
For any flashlight, including the best pen flashlights, the choice is between rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries. If you prefer to use batteries that are cheaper and can be picked anywhere, non-rechargeable batteries are a good option. But keep in mind, that alkaline batteries are prone to leaks if they sit too long inside the flashlight.
On the other hand, rechargeable flashlights are a better investment for frequent users. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery not only has more shelf life but is also environment-friendly.
Benefits of a Pen-Style Flashlight
Most of us are aware of the reasons to carry an EDC flashlight. But frankly, many users underestimate the usefulness of penlights. Not only do penlights offer excellent convenience, but they have a few other advantages too. Take a look.
- They are lightweight and easy to fit in a pocket
- A more concentrated beam makes them better suited for tasks like medical examinations
- They use less energy and last longer than traditional flashlights
- Operation of penlights is simple by using a single push button switch
- They may have multiple light modes including laser pointers
Is a pen light the same thing as a tactical flashlight?
No, pen lights are not designed for tactical use. Top brands like Fenix, Nitecore, and Thrunite design tactical flashlights specifically for tasks related to law enforcement teams or the military.
How long does a typical pen light last?
The best pen lights can easily last for five to eight years.
How many lumens are penlights?
Depending on the design of the penlight, the lumen output can vary between 5 to 800 lumens or more
These are some of the best pen lights you can pick on Amazon. If you are someone who frequently needs to move around in the dark, carrying a penlight as well as an EDC flashlight is a wise choice.
While an EDC or a tactical flashlight with a complex UI may not be ideal for every situation, a simple penlight is a more discreet choice. Personally, I found penlights perfect for filling the gap between too little and too much.
It’s down to you.