Why A Penlight?
The best penlight could come in handy for many reasons. The people that need a penlight the most are probably doctors and nurses because they use them to check people’s pupils during physicals. Some penlights have very high lumens, so doctors and nurses will need to use low brightness to avoid blinding the patients. Another reason to have a penlight is that it can be great for self-defense and having a flashlight is always a good idea if you are walking around a night. Most of the manufacturers of quality penlights are also manufacture tactical flashlights. Many penlights are really durable and tough, so they can be use as a weapon (kobutan) similar to a tactical pen – but with the added benefit of a blinding light.
Not Much Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Best Penlight for Professionals: Fenix LD05 V2
- Best Penlight for Professionals (Runner Up): Thrunite Ti4T
- Best Penlight for Tactical Use: Klarus P20
- Best Penlight for Budget Minded: Lumintop IYP365
- Best Penlight for Slim Fit: Coast A9R
- Best Penlight for Unique Design: Streamlight Stylus Pro COB
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
A tactical flashlight pen will not be as bright as many of the other tactical flashlights on this site, but they have the added benefit of being easy to conceal since they are as small and look like pens. Penlights are great options as EDC flashlights since they will easily fit in shirt, pants, or even suit pockets. Most penlights use AAA batteries because of the thickness and they will not be able to have the same lumens or battery life as larger, more specialized batteries or even AA battery flashlights. If you are looking for AAA batteries we like the rechargeable Eneloop AAA Ni-MH with the La Crosse BC-700 Charger. For non-rechargeable batteries the Energizer L92 Lithium batteries are the best.
What Do Nurses Use A Penlight For?
There are a few things that doctors and nurses check for when they shine a penlight in your eye. The first thing that they check for is if the pupils react to the light. If they do not react to the light, it could mean that there has been some sort of brain injury. The second thing they check for is to see if the pupils act as one, that is if both eyes react the same way even if the light is in only one eye. Your eyes should act as one, if not then the nurse needs to do more tests. Lastly nurses look at the color of the whites of the eye and the condition of the blood vessels. There are penlights here that can be used in the medical profession, but we have another article on the best medical penlight if you specifically want a light for the medical field.
The Best Penlight
Best Penlight for Professionals:
Powered by two ordinary AAA alkaline batteries or a single Ni-MH battery the Fenix LD05 V2 is an excellent choice for all professionals. Take note that brightness levels will remain the same with either battery, but run times will be affected based on the battery choice. Using a 90 CRI CREE XQ-E HI LED with a 50,000-hour lifespan the Fenix LD05 V2 provides a soft smooth beam of warm white light. The UV light is provided using a 365nm UV LED.
One of the great things about the Fenix LD05 V2 is how simple it is to use. The penlight offers a stainless steel tail switch that allows users to switch between all three brightness levels, as well as UV mode. The LD05 V2 offers a maximum of 100 lumens of light but will go as low as 5 lumens of light. With a premium HAII hard-anodized body with an anti-abrasive finish, the Fenix LD05 V2 is submersible up to 6.5 feet for a period of 30 minutes earning it an IP68 rating.
- Two battery options
- UV light
- Stainless steel head and switch
- No lock out mode
- Weight: 1.04 oz. without battery
- Dimensions: 5.3 inches long and 0.53-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 5 lumens for 70 hours
- Highest Setting: 100 lumens for 1 hour and 40 minutes
Best Penlight for Professionals (Runner Up):
If you are after an affordable penlight that is professional looking rather than tactical, look no further than the Thrunite Ti4T. This penlight provides a professional look with a highly polished finish on a titanium alloy body. Made from top quality materials the Ti4T is extremely durable and comes with an IPX-8 rating. With a user-friendly interface, the Thrunite Ti4T is powered on and off via the tail switch. The Thrunite Ti4T offers 4 brightness levels, including a strobe mode.
Using a CREE XP-L V6 LED with a 20-year lifespan the Ti4T comes in cool or neutral white light. The LED is paired with an OP reflector to provide users with the perfect flood beam for a variety of tasks. The Thrunite Ti4T can emit a maximum of 300 lumens using 2 alkaline AAA batteries. Unlike other penlights, the Ti4T doesn’t start up in high mode. Manufacturers have designed the light to always start in Firefly mode, so users will only experience 0.4 lumens of light to prevent any kind of accidental blinding and is perfect for a variety of medical tasks.
- Can be hooked to keychain
- IPX-8 rating
- No lock out mode
- Weight: 1.09 oz without batteries
- Dimensions: 5.23 inches long and 0.55-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 0.4 lumens for 137 hours
- Highest Setting: 300 lumens for 51 minutes
Best Penlight for Tactical Use:
If you are looking for a penlight that can be used in tactical situations, look no further than the Klarus P20. The P20 offers a streamlined pen design that is easy to carry and provides a comfortable grip. The aluminum flashlight offers a stainless steel clip in a lightweight design. With the ability to be used in both professional and tactical situations the Klarus P20 offers a soft and even spot with no dark spots to worry about. The aerospace aluminum alloy body offers a Mil-Spec hard-anodizing finish to make it help protect it from abrasions. With an IPX-8 rating and an impact resistance of 1.5 meters, the Klarus P20 is built to last.
Powered by AAA batteries the Klarus P20 is easy to power and offers reverse polarity protection to help protect the light in case of the batteries being inserted wrong. The Klarus P20 features a NICHIA 219C LED and offers 92% light transmission thanks to the PMMA optical lens. The Klarus P20 has the ability to emit up to 230 lumens or as few as 4 lumens. Switching between the three brightness levels is done via the tail switch. Unlike other penlights, the P20 also offers mode memory, so the light always starts up in the last mode used. Switching between modes is quick and easy thanks to the single tail switch design. Not the best throw but great for lighting up the area around you. Check here if you are looking for a top throwing 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 Penlight for Budget Minded:
Available for an affordable price the Lumintop IYP365 is a great choice for those looking for an excellent penlight without spending a lot of money. The IYP365 uses a high CRI NICHIA 219CT to produce a light that produces as close to natural colors as possible in a variety of settings. The Lumintop IYP365 offers a constant current circuit so the light produces the same level of brightness despite the battery power level. Made from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and a hard-anodized HAIII military grade finish the lightweight penlight offers an IPX-8 rating along with a 1.5-meter impact resistance.
The high CRI LED is paired with a precision aluminum alloy orange-peel reflector to provide a smooth and balanced beam. The Lumintop IYP365 offers a one-handed design with its single tail switch design. The tail switch powers the light on and off and allows users to quickly switch between 3 brightness levels. The Lumintop IYP365 can emit a maximum of 125 lumens on its highest setting and a low of 1.5 lumens.
- Three output modes
- One-handed operation
- Fully submersible for sterilization
- Clip makes it hard to take out
- Weight: 0.81 oz. without battery
- Dimensions: 5.03 inches long and 0.57-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 1.5 lumens for 50 hours
- Highest Setting: 125 lumens for 35 minutes
Best Penlight for Slim Fit:
With the Coast A9R only measuring 0.37 inches in diameter it is one of the slimmest penlights in the industry. Despite its ultra-slim design, the Coast A9R penlight doesn’t sacrifice beam quality. The LED and reflector used in the Coast A9R offer the perfect inspection beam. The beam provides a bright light with no dark spots that are capable of lighting up an area of 9 meters. The beam has the ability to reach up to 20 meters, but the further out you go the more you lose the edge-to-edge brightness. The light only offers one setting of 54 lumens.
Rather than relying on disposable batteries, the Coast A9R offers users the chance to have a rechargeable penlight. The A9R comes with a lithium polymer rechargeable battery that can be recharged using different power sources. Recharging the battery is done via the Pro-Flex charging cap that fits over the head of the light. The recharging can be done using USB, Ac, or Dc power. The stainless steel penlight offers a touch and durable design. The light offers an IPX-4 rating and can withstand 1-meter drops.
- Slim design
- Easy to use
- Neck point of light is weak
- Weight: 2.1 oz. with battery
- Dimensions: 6.2 inches long and 0.37-inch diameter
- Highest Output: 54 lumens for 3 hours
Best Penlight for Unique Design:
Featuring a lithium-ion battery that is USB rechargeable the Streamlight Stylus Pro COB offers a sleek and compact design that can be used in a variety of settings. One of the great things about the Stylus Pro COB is the convenient pocket clip and top switch design. The top switch allows for quick and easy switching between the brightness modes. An aluminum alloy body offers a Type II Military Spec anodizing to improve the durability of the light and protect it from abrasions.
Many professionals enjoy the Streamlight Stylus Pro COB as it produces a bright light that is evenly diffused allowing it to be an ideal choice for up-close tasks. The light offers three different modes: high, low, and flash. High power mode emits 160 lumens for up to 23 meters, while low emits 40 lumens up to 11 meters. The push-button tail switch offers a charging indicator light, as well as a tail-end magnet for hands-free use. The Streamlight Stylus Pro COB has an IPX-4 rating and is impact resistant tested up to 1 meter.
- Charge indicator light
- Tail-end magnet
- Charger sold separately
- Weight: 2.2 oz. with batteries
- Dimensions: 6.64 inches long and 1-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 40 lumens for 8.5 hours
- Highest Setting: 160 lumens for 3 hours
Best Penlight Conclusion
There are many different uses for penlights. If you are looking for a flashlight to carry with you everywhere or use in a professional situation, penlights are a very nice choice. As you can see there are flashlights that use batteries aside from the standard AAA but unless you are specifically trying to find something super slim, we recommend the AAA lights.
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