What Is The Best Compact Flashlight Of 2016?

Best Compact Flashlight

What To Look For In The Best Compact Flashlight?

If you are looking for the best compact flashlight, you need to bear in mind that there are some very specific things you will want to look for. Just like with any other flashlight, the last thing you want to do is just pick the most powerful compact flashlight on the shelf.  In order to purchase the best compact LED flashlight you will need to pay attention to the fine details because that is what is going to allow one to stand out from the rest.

Not Much Time? Here Is The Bullet List

**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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When looking for the best compact flashlight one of the things you will want to look for is what style of switch they offer. Having one switch over the other doesn’t mean one is better than the other; switch type is all based on personal preference. For those looking for the best compact tactical flashlight tailcap switches are often preferred over side switches or a twisting head. Some other things to look for are a sturdy pocket clip, a thin profile, and its overall size, as these will both aid in carrying the flashlight around. Looking for keychain holes is also recommended as it ensures you always have the flashlight with you when needed. 

When it comes to compact lights people often think that the best ones are not going to be the brightest compact lights because of their small size. Many people mistakenly assume that if the light can fit into your pocket or be carried around on a key ring then there is no chance for it to be a bright compact flashlight. However, that is not the case at all; some of the best compact flashlights can reach 1000 Lumens for a short amount of time. So, what you want to look for in compact flashlights is how much power they have to ensure they will be bright enough for what you intend to use them for. The style of batteries used should also be taken into consideration. Like many other flashlight styles compact lights use primary and rechargeable batteries, what kind you opt for will depend on what option fits your current lifestyle. 

Top 10 Compact Flashlight Comparison Guide

Price: $ = <$40,  $$ = $40-$80,  $$$ = $80-$120,  $$$$ = $120-$160,  $$$$$ = $160-$200, etc…

FlashlightMax LumensLow LumensBattery Life (Max)Battery Life (Low)BatteryLED BulbLengthBezel Dia.WeightPriceRatingKeychainStrobeWeapon Mount
FlashlightMax LumensLow LumensBattery Life (Max)Battery Life (Low)BatteryLED BulbLengthBezel Dia.WeightPriceRatingKeychainStrobeWeapon Mount
Olight i3S EOS

800.50.6 hr.60 hr.AAAXP-G22.76 In.0.55 In.0.39 Oz.$4.7YYN
Photon Freedom Micro LED

4.5N/A12 hr.N/AButton Cell*1.57 In.0.95 In.0.29 Oz.$4.4YNN
FourSevens Atom AL

11063.5 hr.40 hr.CR123AXP-G21.84 In.0.77 In.1.03 Oz.$4YNN
SureFire EB1 Backup

20051.3 hr.40 hr.CR123A*4.4 In.1.1 In.3.3 Oz.$$$$4.8NNN
EagleTac D25C

3170.50.9 hr.150 hr.CR123AXM-L22.9 In.0.78 In.1 Oz. w/o Bat.$$4.9YYN
Zebralight SC52

3000.010.9 hr.2160 hr.AAXM-L23.08 In.0.93 In.1.4 Oz. w/o Bat.$$4.9NYN
Zebralight SC62

10003.72 hr.384 hr.18650XM-L23.8 In.0.96 In.1.4 Oz$$$5NYN
Nitecore MT1C

280201.25 hr.23 hr.1 x CR123XP-G R53.46 In.0.89 In.1.48 Oz w/o bat.$4.4YYN
EagleTac D25LC2

85071 hr.100+ hr.2 x CR123AXM-L2 U24.5 In.0.9 In.1.7 Oz$$4.5NYN
Nitecore Tube

4511 hr.48 hr.RechargeableLED2.22 In.0.83 In.0.34 Oz with bat.$4.8YNN
Pick it up now! Don't go any further with out your checklist to keep track. DOWNLOAD the FREE Tactical Flashlight Buyers Guide Checklist PDF. It will help you learn about and decide what flashlight you want!

Best Compact Flashlights

Best Compact Flashlight (Button Cell):

LRI Photon Freedom

LRI Photon FreedomIf you are looking for the best compact LED flashlight that you can carry with you wherever you go the LRI Photon Freedom is the best choice. One of the greatest things about the Photon Freedom Micro Light is its quick release keychain that gives you easy access. The Photon Freedom also comes with a hands free clip and a necklace clip that makes using the flashlight even easier. Using this powerful compact flashlight requires the use of just a single button. However, this one button will provide you with access to everything that the flashlight has to offer, including its various modes and brightness control. One thing that the Photon Freedom has to offer that makes it stand out from so many other lights is its Morse code and signaling mode. Now don’t let this flashlight’s small size fool you, as it is still one of the toughest ones on the market. In fact, the Photon Freedom Micro Light was built to withstand plenty of use. The LED bulb is unbreakable, while the body of the light is glass-filled polyurethane, plus the battery and switch contacts are plated in 24K gold to ensure reliability. Even with how durable the flashlight is it is also backed by the Photon Lifetime Guarantee. This light is so small you might as well buy a few and attach them to zippers, then if you are a hunter, survivalist, or just somebody that likes EDC you will always have a light with you.

  •         Weight: .34 oz with Keyring
  •         Dimensions: 1.57 inch length and .95 diameter
  •         Lowest Setting:
  •         Highest Setting: 4.5 lumens for 12+ hours
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Best Budget Compact Flashlight (Under 3 Inches):

Olight i3S

Olight I3SThe Olight i3S may not be the brightest compact flashlight, but thanks to CREE XP-G2 LED it provides plenty of light. This surprises many users because of how small the light actually is being just barley larger than the AAA battery that powers it. One great feature that the Olight i3S offers users is three brightness levels, in addition to a strobe mode. Cycling through the modes of the Olight i3S is done by simply twisting the head. The Olight i3S is one of the best compact flashlights because of how portable it is. Using either a keychain or a pocket clip you can easily keep the Olight i3S nearby, you won’t ever find yourself wishing you had a flashlight when you own one of these. The Olight i3S features a flat tail cap, which allows for you to stand the flashlight on end on any flat surface. It is made from aircraft grade aluminum making it quite durable. For those of you who are tired of the ordinary grey or black flashlights, the Olight i3S comes in five different colors, red, blue, gold, purple, and black. And for those that are looking to give this flashlight as a gift or who want to protect it when not in use, the hard shell case makes the perfect addition.

  •         Weight: .39 oz. without batteries
  •         Dimensions: 2.76 inch length and .55 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 0.5 lumens for 60 hours
  •         Highest Setting: 80 lumens for 0.5 hours
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Best Compact Flashlight (Under 3 Inches):

EagleTac D25C

Eagletac D25CThe Eagletac D25C with its gorgeous knurling is perhaps the brightest compact Led flashlight for its size and one of the smallest single CR123A flashlights. Users have the choice between a CREE XM-L2 U2, XP-G2 S2, and a Nichia 219 CRI-92 B11 LED to provide users with the maximum output. The impact resistant lens is a waterwhite glass lens that contains an anti-reflective coating on both sides. The D25C features turbo boost, which is activated every time a user uses the turbo setting. Turbo boost provides the LED a 20% power boost for the first 200 seconds of run time when in turbo mode. Something else about this powerful compact flashlight is its rich interface, which is so simple to use. A clicky switch button is used to turn the Eagletac D25C on and off, as well as adjust the output of the flashlight. Upon first glance at the D25C users assume there are only three output modes, but there are actually some hidden auxiliary modes available for use. The Eagletac D25C also features programmable settings, as well as mode memory. The Eagletac D25C can be carried in a variety of ways, including with a paracord lanyard or a stainless steel pocket clip. The D25C also comes with a rigid nylon holster that can also be used for carrying the flashlight. The tail-stand ability is an added bonus for users who need to set the flashlight down while still providing light.

  •         Weight: 1 ounce
  •         Dimensions: 2.9 inch length and 0.78 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 150+ hours
  •         Highest Setting: 453 lumens for 0.9 hours
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Best Budget Compact Flashlight (Under 4 Inches):

Nitecore MT1C

Nitecore MT1CThe Nitecore MT1C makes one of the best compact flashlights for everyday use it is small and powerful due to its CR123A battery. Whether you plan to use it inside your home or out on the job the Nitecore MT1C is durable enough to stand up to the job. The flashlight itself is made from aero grade aluminum alloy and features an anti-roll design. The Nitecore MT1C comes with a two-way anti-rolling clip that is also detachable and the rhombic knurling makes the light easier to grip. The lens is made from a toughened mineral glass that comes with an anti-reflective coating. The aluminum reflector helps provide a smooth and powerful beam of light. The MT1C offers customizable user defined modes, which means users have control over the brightness level of each of these modes, as well as other functions. To help meet every users needs the MT1C features two rapid switching modes, as well as intelligent memory functions. When you turn the MT1C off it will save the last mode used, so next time you turn it on it will use the last mode saved. And to prevent any damage to perhaps the best compact tactical flashlight on the market the MT1C features reverse polarity protection.

  •         Weight: 1.48 oz without batteries
  •         Dimensions: 3.46 inch length and 0.92 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 20 lumens for 23 hours
  •         Highest Setting: 280 lumens for 1.25 hours
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Best Compact Flashlight (Under 4 Inches):

Zebralight SC62

Zebralight SC62For those of you who are looking for perhaps the brightest compact flashlight in the world the Zebralight SC62 surely fits that bill this 18650 battery flashlight is super efficient and super  bright. One worry many users have with the highest lumen compact flashlight is the batteries dying without notice or the battery putting out to much power. The Zebralight SC62 handles both of these concerns quite well. To deal with batteries dying the flashlight features a battery capacity indicator, which requires 4 short clicks from the off position to start. The battery indicator light uses the main LED to show how much battery life is left by flashing anywhere from 1 to 4 times. And all of this is controlled by a durable electronic soft touch switch. To help conserve battery life the highest lumen compact flashlight automatically switches from high to medium or medium to low. To deal with the power issue the SC62 Zebralight uses PID thermal regulated outputs, features a built-in over discharging protection, and sealed and potted LED driver circuitry. To prevent damage from the batteries being incorrectly installed the SC62 Zebralight comes with battery reverse polarity protection. The Zebralight SC62 casing is made from premium grade aluminum bar stocks and has a hard anodized finish. The optical glass is tempered to help prevent shattering upon impacts.

  •         Weight: 1.4 oz
  •         Dimensions: 3.8 inch length and 0.96 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 3.7 lumens for 384 hours
  •         Highest Setting: 1000 lumens for 2 hours
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Best Budget Compact Flashlight (Under 5 Inches):

EagleTac D25LC2

EagleTac D25LC2If you are looking for the brightest compact LED flashlight on the market, the Eagletac D25LC2 with its gorgeous knurling is one of the best choices. Powered by 2 x CR123A or a single 18650 battery this is a powerful and tiny light. One of the greatest things about the Eagletac D25LC2 is its rich user interface, which makes it one of the easiest compact flashlights to use. Turning the flashlight is as simple as tightening the flashlight head, while loosening the head turns the flashlight off. If you wish to power through all of the different output modes all you need to do is repeat the on/off sequence in one second.  The D25LC2 features turbo boost technology, as well as reverse polarity protection to protect against incorrect installation of the batteries. Carrying this compact light can be done with its stainless steel pocket clip, the rigid nylon holster that comes with a retention device and flip, or you can use a paracord lanyard along with a stainless steel split ring. Along with the normal high and low modes, the D25LC2 also comes with five hidden modes. To help resist damage from unforeseen impacts the lens is a waterwhite impact resistant glass, along with a sapphire coating (anti-scratch) on the outside and an anti-reflective coating on the inside.

  •         Weight: 1.7 oz
  •         Dimensions: 4.5 inch length and 0.9 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 7 lumens for 100+ hours
  •         Highest Setting: 850 lumens for 1 hour
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Best Compact Flashlight (Under 5 Inches):

Surefire EB1 backup

Surefire eb1 backupThe SureFire EB1 Backup comes in three different models, which allows you to choose the one that works best for you. The difference between all three models of the SureFire EB1 backup is the combination of tail cap switch and the switch type. Users can choose between a click-type switch that comes with a tailcap shroud on one model and without a tailcap shroud on the second model. The third model offers users the choice of a tactical switch without a tailcap shroud, which is perfect for those who are looking for a compact tactical light. All three models of the SureFire EB1 come with an LED emitter that is practically indestructible. The Led emitter is regulated to maximize runtime and output of the SureFire EB1. The two output levels make this compact light a great choice for those who are looking for maximum output or extended run time. A TIR lens provides users with a tight beam, but also provides enough surround light to allow your peripheral vision to still work. The SureFire EB1 has a high strength aerospace aluminum body that is mil-spec hard-anodized for extreme durability. Plus the coated tempered window is built to resist shattering upon impacts and maximizes light. The two way clip allows for this light to be carried bezel up or down, depending upon user choice. A little larger than most single CR123A flashlights this SureFire makes up for size with durability and quality. This is a great backup flashlight for police officers.

  •         Weight: 3.3 oz with battery
  •         Dimensions: 4.4 inch length and 1.125 inch diameter
  •         Lowest Setting: 5 lumens for 40 hours
  •         Highest Setting: 200 lumens for 1.3 hours
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Final Thoughts On The Best Compact Flashlight

As you can tell from this article, when it comes to choosing the best compact flashlight you have several choices. Each of the compact lights that we have listed in this article is the best in their class. For example, for compact lights under 3 inches we gave you the overall general flashlight, as well as the best budget light. Having the different choices allows you to find the best compact flashlight that is going to work for your lifestyle. Like all other flashlights on the market, compact flashlights come with several different features. As a consumer when looking for the best you have to consider all of the different features each light comes with in order to choose the best one. Some of us need a bright compact flashlight, while others need a compact tactical flashlight. The good news is there really is something out there for everyone; you just need to know what you are looking for.

Now you are ready to decide, DOWNLOAD the FREE Tactical Flashlight Buyers Guide Checklist PDF. It will help you sort through all the info to find the flashlight you want!

As always we want to thank you for taking the time to read our “Best Compact Flashlight” article. If you have time please check out all of our best flashlight articles here. For those of you that are new to the world of flashlights, we know that the terms used in these articles can be a bit confusing. If you have any questions about the terms used in this article, we ask you to briefly check out our tactical flashlights buyer guide, where you will find all of their definitions. Buying a flashlight is not something that should be taken lightly, especially if you want to buy one of the best. So, to help you out we have provided a Flashlight Comparison Guide that we hope you will find useful. The guide allows you to compare flashlights based on specific specifications, such as lumens, battery type, battery life, and so much more. If you like one of the flashlights that you read about in this article, please follow one of our links to Amazon to buy the best compact flashlight.

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