The 10 Best Penlights For Everyday Carry

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The benefit of carrying a quality penlight versus a bulky 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 10 best penlights on the market, in no particular order.

Streamlight Stylus Pro USB Rechargeable LED Penlight

Streamlight Stylus Pro USB Penlight

With over 16 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.

  • Price: $52+
  • Lumens: 350
  • Dimensions: 6.15 x 0.74 x 0.74 inches
Coast HP3R Rechargeable LED Penlight

Coast HP3R Rechargeable LED Penlight

This is the perfect compact penlight to take camping, hiking, or even to use around your house. You can even carry it around in a shirt or pants pocket, thanks to its built-in clip. It’s designed to be incredibly easy to use, with a twist focus optic that allows you to switch between the various settings (from floodlight to spotlight) in a second.

Though it’s small, it’s surprisingly bright, capable of generating up to 385 lumens. It runs off either the built-in USB-rechargeable battery pack or standard AA batteries (which come included in the package) and deliver months of regular use. It’s even IP54 rated to ensure both reliable dust and water-proofing. Best of all, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.

  • Price: $52+
  • Lumens: 385
  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 3.7 x 2.4 inches
Streamlight Stylus LED Penlight

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.

  • Price: $13+
  • Lumens: 11
  • Dimensions: 6.21 x 0.375 x 0.375 inches
Nebo Inspector 500+ Rechargeable Penlight

Nebo Inspector 500+ Rechargeable Penlight

Get ready for maximum brightness. The Nebo Inspector 500+ Rechargeable Penlight can generate a whopping 500 lumens, making it far brighter than most of its competitors. Granted, it can only run at full output for thirty-second bursts before switching to a lower setting (250 lumens), but while it’s shining, you’ve got amazing visibility even in the darkest nights.

With a battery life of up to eight hours (on the lowest twenty-five lumen setting), it’s incredibly reliable and easy to charge the built-in battery again and again or switch to AAA batteries. The durable aircraft-grade aluminum body won’t crack, bend, or dent, and it’s both impact-resistant and IPX7 waterproof. Thanks to its magnetic base, you can stick it on any metallic surface for hands-free operation. 

  • Price: $44+
  • Lumens: 500
  • Dimensions: ‎6.13 x 0.67 x 0.76 inches
Nitecore MT06MD Medical Penlight

Nitecore MT06MD Medical Penlight

Keep this penlight in your coat pocket, and you’ll always be glad you carried it. It’s set to turn on into low-light mode (just 4 lumens) so the light doesn’t hurt patients’ eyes, but it can be turned all the way up to 180 lumens—bright enough to use as a flashlight for work, camping, or security. The diffused beam and high CRI rating makes this ideal for medical applications, perfect for injury diagnosis and pupil exams.

With a runtime of up to 35 hours on just two AAA batteries, it’s a user-friendly little light that will be great for quite literally any application where you need a compact, portable penlight. It’s also IPX8 waterproof and submersible up to 2 meters. For the price, you won’t find many better options on the market.  

  • Price: $30+
  • Lumens: 180
  • Dimensions: 5.04 x 0.55 inches
Infray LED Penlight

Infray LED Penlight

If you want max brightness in an extremely small size for a budget-bargain price, this is the penlight for you. The Infray LED Penlight can generate up to 300 lumens for up to seven hours, and it runs on the AAA batteries you’ll find anywhere around your home or office.

At barely over five inches long and weighing less than fifty grams, it’s the right size to fit in any pouch, backpack, or briefcase so you can carry it anywhere you go. It’s also IPX5 waterproof and finished with MIL-SPEC corrosion and abrasion-resistant anodized aircraft-grade aluminum that is tough as nails and incredibly resistant to damage from drops, falls, or impact.  Even the polycarbonate lens is unbreakable (and scratch-resistant). Take it cycling, hiking, camping, or traveling, you’ll find it can keep up with even the most hardcore adventure.  

  • Price: $14+
  • Lumens: 300 
  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.71 x 0.71 inches
Pelican 1920 LED Penlight

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.

  • Price: $33+
  • Lumens: 120
  • Dimensions: ‎5.3 x 4 x 0.8 inches
Nite Ize Inova XP LED Penlight

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.

  • Price: $29+
  • Lumens: 144
  • Dimensions: 4.64 x 0.78 x 0.78 inches
Streamlight Protac Tactical LED Penlight

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, a unique head design that won’t roll on flat surfaces, and an unbreakable pocket clip.

  • Price: $38
  • Lumens: 250
  • Dimensions: 6.14 x 5 x 2 inches
Fenix LD22 LED Flashlight-Penlight

Fenix LD22 LED Flashlight-Penlight

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.

  • Price: $59+
  • Lumens: 215
  • Dimensions: 6.1 x ‎1 x 1 inches

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