The benefit of carrying a quality penlight versus a flashlight is two-fold. Not only do the best penlights offer at or near the same light-emitting capabilities as many mid-shelf flashlights, their small, pen-like silhouette renders them suitable for everyday carry in your pocket or clipped onto your shirt. For those with enough room in their pockets for one more piece of everyday carry, here is our list of the 7 best penlights on the market, in no particular order.
5.11 TMT PLX Penlight
The 5.11 TMT PLX Penlight features a rugged, tactical design in a pocket-sized package. It’s the penlight of choice for police officers and other civil servants thanks to a water and impact resistance rating up to ANSI FL1 standards along with a 40 meter light cone in low-light conditions, a momentary-on switch, a stamped metal pocket clip, and a continuous run time of four hours on a single charge. CHECK IT OUT
Streamlight Stylus Pro USB Penlight
With over 15 years in the firefighting industry, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time living in a firehouse. The one penlight we’ve seen carried recently by the most firefighters and paramedics alike is the Streamlight Stylus Pro Penlight, and for good reason. Along with an IPX4 water and impact resistant machined aluminum alloy construction with a Type II MIL-Spec anodized finish, this rugged penlight outputs a super bright, consistently regulated 70 lumens and 630 candela of LED light.
Additional features include a USB rechargeable battery, integrated pocket clip, and a push button tail switch for either momentary of constant light operation. CHECK IT OUT
Pelican 1920 LED Penlight
A worthy alternative to the Streamlight Stylus Pro Penlight is the Pelican 1920 LED Penlight. Its aerospace-grade aluminum construction renders it up to the rigors of daily use while a high output 120 lumens LED light can run continuously for 2 hours and 45 minutes on high and almost 10 hours on the low setting. CHECK IT OUT
Streamlight Protac Tactical LED Flashlight
Another capable penlight in Streamlight’s arsenal is the Protac Tactical LED Flashlight. Utilizing C4 LED technology, the Streamlight Protac delivers an incredibly-bright stream of light in three different modes: High beam, low beam, and strobe depending on your needs, while, much like the other penlights on this list, features and IPX7 rated anodized aluminum construction that renders it waterproof up to one meter for half an hour and impact resistant up to a fall of 2 meters.
Additional features include a rubber push-button tail switch for easily switching between momentary, variable intensity, and strobe modes, an unique head design that won’t roll on flat surfaces, and an unbreakable pocket clip. CHECK IT OUT
Fenix LD22 LED Flashlight
Depending on how you personally choose to define the difference between a flashlight and a penlight, the Fenix LD22 LED Flashlight could go either way. But that’s what makes it so versatile of a tool. Available with six different outputs, the Fenix LD22 delivers 215 lumens of light for 2 1/2 hours in its highest turbo setting, while its lowest setting offers up a modest 3 lumens for up to 150 hours. Additional features include an easy on/off tail cap for switching between all six operating modes, a rugged, IPX-8 waterproof, anti-slip anodized aluminum body, and an integrated pocket clip. CHECK IT OUT
Nite Ize Inova XP LED Penlight
Although not as tough or as powerful as the five previously-mentioned penlights on this list, the Inova XP LED Penlight by Nite Ize is a capable penlight compared to those priced below it nonetheless. Highlights include a 40,000 hour LED light good for an hour of 144 lumens in high output mode, and up to 34 hours of 30 lumens in low output mode, an effective range up to 249 feet, and a patented optical system that delivers a uniform focused spot with flood beam pattern. Additional features include a water-resistant, aerospace-grade aluminum construction with a sleek black anodized finish, a replaceable stainless steel clip, and a 3-position end cap switch for easy one-handed operation. CHECK IT OUT
Streamlight Stylus LED Penlight
Weighing in at only 1.1 ounces, the slimmest, lightest penlight on this list is the Stylus LED Penlight by Microstream. It’s lightweight, truly pen-like design coupled with a 100,000 hour high intensity LED light makes it it the penlight of choice for medical professionals. While it may not stand up to the same rigorous outdoor use that the previously mentioned tactical penlights will, this penlight’s waterproof aluminum housing, anodized finish with anti-slip grip, integrated pocket clip, and momentary and constant-on switches renders it tough enough and functional enough for daily professional use. CHECK IT OUT
Need more candle power? Check out our list of The 5 Best Tactical Flashlights.