Why A Medical Penlight Instead of a Flashlight?
The Look: For most of the tests that a doctor, a nurse, or an EMT would perform, any flashlight would work. Since doctors and nurses are in a professional setting and usually want to have something that does not look like the typical tactical flashlight, medical penlights are a top choice. The best medical penlights look professional rather than rugged and are usually available in colors other than black. For those looking for pediatric penlights you can find penlights in many colors and some of the disposable penlight packs even come in a rainbow pack. There are also pens with lights available, but they do not usually have as good of a flashlight.
Not Much Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Best Penlight Overall: Nitecore MT06MD
- Best Medical Penlight: Welch Allyn 76600 Halogen Professional PenLite
- Best EMT Penlight: Klarus P20
- Best Disposable Penlights: Primacare Disposable Penlight With Pupil Gauge
- Best Nursing Penlight With Pupil Gauge: Opoway
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The Size: Penlights are a good size for the medical professional since they are easy to fit in a pocket or have attached to a clip board.
The Low Lumen Setting: Many non-medical flashlights do not have a setting low enough for the everyday checkup. It is nice to have a very low lumen setting so patients do not feel like they are being blinded. With that said, the downfall of most of the cheaper medical diagnostic penlights is that they only have a low setting, so they are almost useless in most other circumstances. If you do not care about a low lumen setting, check out our best penlight article.
The Pupil Gauge: Many doctors, nurses, or EMTs probably do not need a pupil gauge, but it might be nice to have. Many lights that are dedicated medical penlights have a pupil gauge printed on the side of them. For those of you that are not sure what this is for, I will explain a little later.
Uses For A Medical Penlight
The Pupil Test: The reason why doctors, nurses, and EMTs carry flashlights is to do a pupil test. So, what can the pupil test tell us? First, doctors look to see if your eyes constrict if a light is shown in the them. The doctors or nurses will keep track of how much constriction you have with a pupil chart. Second, does the swinging flashlight test, moving the flashlight from eye to eye every few seconds to check that both eyes, have the same response and that your eyes both react regardless of which eye has the flashlight in it. This is called the consensual constriction test. A light test can also be used to diagnose and discern the severity of a concussion and is often used with patients that are passed out to check reflex and brain function.
Looking through drawers/cabinets/closets: Doctors and nurses have to keep track of so much stuff that they are often looking through drawers, cabinets, and closets to find what they need. It is important to have a small flashlight handy for these small tasks.
Going into patients rooms without turning on the lights: Doctors and nurses are constantly going through patients rooms in the middle of the night while patients are sleeping. A nice respectful doctor or nurse would use a flashlight to get around instead of turning on the lights at 3 a.m. A little bit of courtesy goes a long way with patients that are already having a bad day.
The Best Medical Penlights on the Market
Best Penlight Overall:
The Nitecore MT06MD is the upgraded version of the MT06. The upgraded version offers several new features that allow it to really stand out. One of the newest features of the MT06Md is the replacement of the LED to a warmer beam with lower peak intensity. This change to the Nichia 219B LED provides the user with a high CRI rating and makes this penlight the best choice for up close work that uses colors and details as an important factor. Many doctors, nurses, and EMTs find this penlight the ideal choice for injury diagnosis and pupil examination.
Powered by two AAA batteries the Nitecore MT06MD can emit a maximum of 180 lumens of light. The MT05Md offers three brightness levels to choose from, but will always start up in “low” mode as not to blind anybody with its bright light. The penlight is one of the lightest ones on the market and is easy to use one-handed. The reverse click tail switch controls the entire light. A stainless steel pocket clip allows the light to be easily stored in pockets. The Nitecore MT06MD is photobiologically safe and eliminates the blue-light hazard.
- Turns on in low mode
- Multiple brightness levels
- Easy one-handed operation
- Needs a stronger clip
- Weight: 0.78 oz. without battery
- Dimensions: 5.04 inches long and 0.55-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 4 lumens for 35 hours
- Highest Setting: 180 lumens for 45 minutes
Best Medical Penlight:
If you are looking for a medical penlight that isn’t an LED look no further than the Welch Allyn 76600 Halogen PenLite. The halogen bulb provides a white light that is excellent for bringing out the true colors of any skin tone like other incandescets. The bulb found inside the light is a Tungsten-Halogen ~3200K. With this light the further you move away from the bigger the light beam’s radius.
The Welch Allyn 76600 Halogen Professional PenLite is powered by two AAA batteries. The durable light only produces one brightness level, so you won’t have to worry about figuring out how to use the light. The 76600 is heavier than other penlights on the market thanks to its durable solid brass construction. The black finish is not a gloss finish, but a matte finish. The on and off switch is perfect as it requires users to pull the switch to turn the light on, no worrying about accidental activation.
- Pocket clip
- One handed operation
- On the heavy side
- Weight: 3.17 oz without batteries
- Dimensions: 6.14 inches long and 1.61-inch diameter
Best EMT Penlight:
EMTs are sometimes put into situations that require a tactical light if you are in the market for a penlight that can double as a tactical penlight look no further than the Klarus P20. The streamlined design of the light offers an easy to carry light that is comfortable to grip. With the Klarus P20 users will notice a soft and even spot beam with no dark spots. The body of the Klarus P20 is made from aerospace aluminum alloy with a Mil-Spec hard anodized finish. The P20 is impact resistance up to 1.5 meters and offers an IPX-8 rating.
Using ordinary AAA batteries to power the light the P20 features reverse polarity protection in case the batteries are ever inserted incorrectly. Using a NICHIA 219C LED that Klarus P20 offers 92% light transmission with its PMMA optical lens. The P20 can emit a maximum of 230 lumens and a minimum of 4 lumens with three brightness levels to choose from. Users will be happy to discover that the P20 offers a mode memory to ensure the light starts up in the last mode used. The single tail switch design allows users to switch between brightness modes as well as power the light.
- Mode memory
- Multiple brightness levels
- Stainless steel pocket clip
- No lock out feature
- Weight: 0.92 oz without batteries
- Dimensions: 5.23 inches long by 0.5 inches wide
- Lowest Setting: 4 lumens for 193 hours
- Highest Setting: 230 lumens for 34 minutes
Best Disposable Penlights (Bulk):
With the Primacare Disposable Penlight With Pupil Gauge, you will be receiving 6 high-quality penlights that are considered to be long-lasting. The penlights come in a variety of different colors, so you can choose the one that best suits you. With a lightweight molded plastic body these penlights are activated by simply pressing the pocket clip. On the body of each light, you will find an imprinted pupil gauge chart to help you get accurate readings upon first glance. The chart goes from 3 mm up to 9 mm.
One of the greatest things about the Primacare lights is how affordable they are. The disposable lights are also long lasting; many users report them working for months and sometimes years after they were first purchased. The penlight uses an energy efficient bulb to provide a nice warm light that is almost white. The non-standard LED bulb offers a sealed concentric beam with a pre-focused pinpoint lens that doesn’t burn retinas or cause patient complaints.
- Pupil Gauge
- Pinpoint beam
- No lock out mode
- Weight: 3.6 oz. entire package
- Dimensions: 5.00 inches long and 0.50-inch diameter
Best Nursing Penlight With Pupil Gauge:
The easy to use light offers one-handed use as the light is controlled through a button on the top. A built-in metal pocket clip allows you to securely attach the light to easily carry it around all day. One side of the light’s body offers a pupil gauge chart, while the other side offers a ruler chart. The small, yet versatile penlight is powered by two AAA batteries that come included with your purchase. The light produces a white light that is bright enough for up-close work, but not so bright as it hurts the eyes.
- Slim design
- Easy to use
- No lock out mode
- Weight: 2.1 oz. with battery
- Dimensions: 5.3 inches long and 0.51-inch diameter
- Highest Output: 54 9 lumens
Medical Penlight Conclusion
The best medical penlight is definitely something that will be up for discussion since there are so many different scenarios and some people would prefer something that they don’t mind losing or throwing away if it gets contaminated. I really hope that we were able to help you in your search for the best penlight for doctors, nurses, or EMTs. These professionals work in a different type of tactical environment than most but just as critical for survival.
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