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With small/mini, compact or pocket tactical flashlights, there are key factors to look for when choosing one as your everyday-carry (EDC) torch. In contrast to regular-sized tactical lights, there is greater emphasis on weight, size, durability/reliability and usability - rather than power and features.

Rather than getting a full-size tactical flashlight, you may need something that is more of a pocket light for:

  • Hiking and Camping
  • Night Walks
  • Emergencies / Power Outage
  • Indoors
  • General outdoor/indoor use

What to look for when buying a compact tactical light?

The best compact tactical flashlight is very light, small, durable, simple-to-use and bright enough for your everyday use. It’s up to you to choose whether you prefer something brighter, more durable, or deciding on one with more features. Depending on your personal use, there will be trade-offs with all of these things.

Weight and Dimensions

When choosing a smaller or compact tactical light, you should search for a flashlight that is light enough to carry with you everday, and small enough to store in your pocket or on a keychain.

A good weight would be between 1 and 4 ounces.

You can find a good balance between a short length and a small body diameter. For example, the Olite S1 is incredibly small with a length of 2.4 inches but has a diameter of 0.83 inches. The Streamlight Stylus Pro is a big longer with a length of 5.3 inches but a tiny diameter of 0.60 inches.

The ideal length for a mini tactical flashlight would be between 2 and 6 inches - while the ideal diameter would be 0.50 to 1 inch.

Durability and Reliability

Considering most mini and pocket flashlights are used for EDC, it’s crucial to pick a torch that can handle the wear and tear of everday use. It’s important that the light you choose does not fail when dropped on ground or in the water.

You should look for compact light that is impact resistant to 1 or 2 meters. It should be waterproof down to 1 or 2 meters and O-ring sealed with an IPX 4-8 rating.

An IPX-4-6 rating is good for every-day water-resistance - while anything higher is good for water submersion.

The body of your potential flashlight should be made of all-metal anodized aluminum.

Usability

The simpler it is to use, the better. We personally prefer a single tail-switch rather than side-switch. If the flashlight can act as a tail-stand for hands-off candlelight, that would be an added plus.

Try to look for flashlights that have built-in memory to remember your last output if you turn it off. Special features like SOS and Strobe are nice but not a must-have for a mini or pocket flashlight.

Our Top 10 List of Pocket, Mini and Compact Flashlights

Olite S1

The S1 is a powerful compact tactical flashlight with a maximum output of 500 lumens. It has 3 modes: low, medium, high and a decent throw of 110 meters (~361 ft). It has a tail-switch button that can act as a hands-free stand. The Olite S1 uses CR123A batteries - and is waterproof and impact resistant.

  • Max Output: 500 lumens
  • Weight: 1.06 ounces
  • Length: 2.4 inches
  • Diamater: 0.82 inches
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 up to 2 meters
  • Impact Resistance: 59.1 inches or 1.5 metres

Fenix E05

The E05 is a great general-outdoors flashlight for hiking, camping, travelling, etc. It is on the lower-end of maximum output of 85 lumens, but powered by a more accessible, single triple AAA battery. The Fenix E05 has 148 ft of throw, and is IPX-8 waterproof for 2 meters and a duration of 30 minutes.

The E05 torch is incredibly light weighing at 0.64 ounces. A good choice if you’re looking for less output, and lighter weight.

  • Max Output: 80 lumens
  • Weight: 0.64 ounces
  • Length: 2.6 inches
  • Diamater: 0.60 inches
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 up to 2 meters
  • Impact Resistance: 39.4 inches or 1 meter

Klarus Mi7

The Klarus Mi7 is a 700 max-lumen mini tactical flashlight that is surprisingly only powered by a single double AA battery. It is priced a bit higher than the two lights above, but it comes with more a bit more features like a lock-out mode - and over-discharge protection to prevent batteries from being fully drained. The Mi7 has a battery capacity indication and is also compatible with 14500 batteries.

  • Max Output: 700 lumens
  • Weight: 0.93 ounces
  • Length: 3.43 inches
  • Diamater: 0.75 inches
  • Waterproof: IPX-8 up to 2 meters
  • Impact Resistance: 39.4 inches or 1 meter

Streamlight MicroStream

The MicroStream is a pocket penlight that is on the more affordable end of the price range. It has a max output of 28 lumens and runs conveniently on one triple AAA battery. This Streamlight flashlight is not waterproof, but it is water resistant with IPX-4 rating.

The Streamlight MicroStream is great EDC for darkness indoors or close distances outside. A great and inexpensive choice for a first-time beginner light.

  • Max Output: 28 lumens
  • Weight: 1.04 ounces
  • Length: 3.5 inches
  • Diamater: 0.6 inches
  • Water-resistant: IPX-4 rating
  • Impact Resistance: 39.4 inches or 1 meter

J5 Hyper V

The Hyper V flashlight is another budget-friendly EDC and tactical pocket flashlight that is likely the most affordable on this list. It has a max output of 400 lumens and runs off 3 triple AAA batteries. The torch is all metal aluminum alloy and “waterproof”. But given the low price, I would still be careful with the J5 Hyper V considering it doesn’t have a listed IPX rating or value of impact resistance.

  • Max Output: 400 lumens
  • Weight: 3.7 ounces
  • Length: 5 inches
  • Diamater: 1.25 inches
  • Water-resistant: N/A
  • Impact Resistance: N/A

Streamlight Stylus Pro

The Stylus Pro from Streamlight is a pen-style pocket light that delivers 90 lumens while running on two triple AAA batteries. It’s made with aluminum construction and uniquely has a push button tail-switch with a momentary feature. Because of its pen shape, it fits nicely in your pocket and comes with a removable pocket clip.

Like the MicroStream and E05, the Stylus Pro is very bright and great for night walks/hiking. We recommend going for flashlights over 100 lumens if you’re looking to light up the entire woods.

  • Max Output: 90 lumens
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Length: 5.3 inches
  • Diamater: 0.6 inches
  • Water-resistant: IPX-4
  • Impact Resistance: 1 meter

SureFire Titan Plus

The Titan Plus by SureFire is a powerful 300 lumen flashlight powered by one triple AAA battery. It’s operated by twisting the bezel - not something we prefer but it depends on the user. The SureFire Titan Plus is one of the smallest brightest tactical flaslights on this list. It is very solid and made with nickel-plated brass instead of aluminum. Unfortunately there isn’t any information on water/impact resistance but it’s very rugged nonetheless.

  • Max Output: 300 lumens
  • Weight: 2.0 ounces with batteries
  • Length: 3.375 inches
  • Diamater: 0.58 inches
  • Water-resistant: N/A
  • Impact Resistance: N/A

ThruNite T10

The ThruNite T10 is a bright 252 lumen flashlight with a convenient firefly/moonlight mode at 0.2 lumens. The T10 offers a lot for its price range like a tail-stand and reverse polarity protection. Similar to the Titan Plus, it functions with a bezel twist. This torch would work great for your pocket, backpack or keychain.

Max Output: 252 lumens Weight: 1.13 ounces Length: 3.54 inches Diamater: 0.73 inches Water-resistant: IPX-8 to 2 meters Impact Resistance: 1 meter

SureFire SideKick

The SureFire SideKick is the ultimate mini keychain light. It is one of the smallest and most compact tactical flashlights on our list - and is perfectly designed for your keychain. The SideKick is unique that it features an integrated battery that is micro-USB rechargeable. Like many of SureFire’s products, torch is very high-quality and robust enough to handle extreme weather conditions.

  • Max Output: 300 lumens
  • Weight: 2.0 ounces
  • Length: 2.5 inches
  • Diamater: 0.58 inches
  • Water-resistant: N/A
  • Impact Resistance: N/A

LUX-PRO LP600

The LP600 is one of the more powerful compact flashlights on our list with a max output of 320 lumens. It runs on 4 triple AAA batteries and is water resistant. This LUX-PRO light is made of an aluminum body and a nice rubber grip handle. The LUX-PRO LP600 is also on the larger side of our mini flashlight list at 5 1/4 inches long.

The flashlight is water-resistant without an IPX rating and sturdy enough for some measure of impact resistance.

  • Max Output: 320 lumens
  • Weight: 0.4 ounces
  • Length: 1.5 inches
  • Diamater: 2.22 inches
  • Water-resistant: N/A
  • Impact Resistance: N/A