Everyday Carry

The 10 Best Keychain Flashlights for EDC

Authored by:
Mikey Bautista
The 10 Best Keychain Flashlights for EDC

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Update: We've published a newer guide with more recent product recommendations for 2020 here.

Your keychain is one of the most convenient places to keep your tools. You carry your keys every day anyway, so adding extra gear to them—like a flashlight—ensures you always stay prepared.

You might think to get a flashlight that's powerful enough to be worth carrying would take up way too much pocket space. But thanks to LED and battery tech, even smaller modern lights are more than powerful enough for everyday use. The best part is that many of them can live right on your keychain, always within reach.

A good part of our days is spent in the dark, so carrying a light is always a bright idea. Here are 10 of the best flashlights that can go on your keychain to round out your EDC.

TEC Accessories Pixel

If you have no more space to spare in your pockets but still want to stay prepared with a light, then it doesn't get smaller than the TEC Accessories Pixel. The fact that a 1.69”, 0.45 ounce light can still produce up to 25 lumens is impressive in its own right, but the stainless steel construction and water-resistant seal makes it a strong (and resilient) candidate for an EDC light.

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Olight S Mini Baton

Olight's taken one of our favorite CR123A lights, the S1 Baton, and made it even smaller with the S Mini Baton. But don't let the smaller size and lighter weight fool you—it's got even more lumens and runtime than its predecessor, with a maximum of 550 lumens and 30 days of runtime. While perfectly suited to clip to your pocket thanks to its smaller profile, metallic body, and a clip that allows for split ring carry, it's also right at home on a keychain.

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Nitecore TIP CRI

The original Nitecore TUBE made waves because of its power and features for its size, and the TIP builds on each of those strengths for an even better keychain light. The TIP CRI comes with 240 lumens in an eye-pleasing high CRI tint, metallic construction, and a size and weight perfect for keychain carry at 2.39” and 0.75 ounces. A micro USB port also lets you charge the TIP CRI as you would your phone, with a built-in 500 mAh battery giving you a runtime of up to 46 hours.

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Olight i3E EOS

AAA is one of the most smallest and most common batteries out there, making it a convenient power source for a compact flashlight. Olight makes good use of it with the i3E EOS, a 120-lumen, IPX8-rated twisty keychain light. It's available in a number of colors to match your EDC, comes built from lightweight (only 0.4 ounces!) aluminum alloy, and even has a handy split ring so it's ready to go on your keychain.

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SureFire Sidekick

SureFire makes some of the most rugged flashlights in the world, so when they make a light designed to withstand bumping and jangling with the rest of your keys in your pocket, you can bet it's a tough one. The Sidekick is 2.5” of 300-lumen portable power, unprecedented for a light of this size. With a weather-resistant polymer body and convenient micro USB charging, it's a no-brainer addition to any EDC, whether in your pocket or clipped to a lanyard or bag.

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MecArmy Illuminex-4

Sometimes the tradeoff for an uncommon battery is better size and voltage, which is exactly the case with MecArmy's use of a rechargeable 10180 battery in the Illuminex-4. It lets the light push out 130 lumens despite the whole thing being smaller than an AAA battery by itself, making it an almost invisible addition to any keychain. And no need to worry about having to charge an irregular battery—the Illuminex-4 comes with a micro USB port embedded right in its threads.

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Fenix UC02SS

Fenix puts its own spin on the rechargeable 10180 flashlight, this time wrapping a rugged, IP68-rated stainless steel shell around the compact battery. At 1.7”, 0.65 ounces, and with a tail ready to go on a lanyard or keychain, the UC02SS is ideal for EDC, especially given the powerful 130 lumens for its size. Charging is also no problem for the light, with a built-in micro USB port ready to top it up when its maximum runtime of almost 4 hours just isn't enough.

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ThruNite T01

Simplicity is key. Sometimes you just need a solid light that gets the job done with no fuss. And that's exactly what you get from the ThruNite T01. It's inexpensive, uses a common AAA battery, and twists to turn on to its single 125-lumen mode. A hard-anodized aluminum exterior with plenty of knurling gives you easy operation without sacrificing toughness. It even comes with a built-in lanyard hole so it's ready to clip on to your keychain to use the moment you need it.

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Maratac AAA Titanium Flashlight

Browse our site and you'll inevitably find some of County Comm's creations; after all, they make some of the most durable EDC gear on the market. They've taken their popular AAA flashlight and given it the titanium treatment. It's the same form factor as their regular AAA light, but now comes with some helpful new features along with its polished new exterior. The light now pushes out 145 lumens on high for up to 70 minutes, comes with glow in the dark o-rings and diffuser, and now uses an orange peel reflector to match its 3 brightness levels. It's also smaller than previous versions at 2.6”, and with the included clip and lanyard hole makes it a great addition to your EDC, whether on a keychain or clipped to your pocket.



If you've seen those plastic button flashlights at the checkout counter, this is the light whose design they were probably emulating. It's a good one for a reason. It's tiny, comes with a quick-release ring that clips to your keychain, and gives off enough light for everyday use (visible up to a mile, in the case of the PII PRO). 5 lumens for up to 12 hours is a lot of light from something this small, making it perfect for EDC.

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Do you carry a light on your keychain? If you have a one that you think is worthy of the title “best,” make sure to let us know in the comments below!

Mikey Bautista

Director of Everyday Carry Operations

About the Author
Mikey Bautista is an everyday carry (EDC) expert who has been working with the EverydayCarry.com team for nearly a decade, starting with an interest in EDC as a hobby and ending up as a writer for the site in 2014. Through the years, he’s led the site in editorial content and writing about products across every category, from knives to bags to flashlights and everything in between, as well as discovering, bringing exposure, and building bridges with many brands in the industry. Today, he is the site's Director of Everyday Carry Operations, leading the editorial team and managing day-to-day operations.

He has lived through many personal and professional lives, spending nearly a decade in the workforce management industry, a minor career in gaming, and has lent a hand with entrepreneurial efforts back home in the Philippines. He has also been an active participant and helped build a number of significant social communities online, both for EDC and his other hobbies.

Mikey has been at the cusp of gaming, technology, and the internet since the ‘90s and continues to lend his experience, expertise, and authority to all his pursuits. When not online, in a game, or watching movies, you'll find him in the gym, speedrunning his next hobby, or talking at length about EDC with anyone willing to listen.

Discussion (34 total)

Scott Johnson ·
Wow, no Olight i3s eos?
Nick H ·
In the picture of the Fenix UC02SS, what knife is it leaning up against? It's a swiss army style knife with a clip.
Billy ·
Thanks for share Mikey! Have been using the Streamlight Nano, think its time for an upgrade!
Arcturus ·
I've had a photon light for years now, and have replaced the battery a few times. It still works like a champ whenever I need it.
Daniel G ·
no Astrolux AO1? :-) My wife ditched her Led Lenser P5 for an Olight i3eos then the Astrolux AO1 especially that it comes in purple..
Jared Campbell ·
I use the Mecarmy SGN3, It is a great key chain light.
John Wong ·
Rather than olight, i think foursevens atom A0 and AL worth a place here better.
I own both Nitecore Tube and Tip, I believe Tube should be on the list still compare to some of it. It size is small, friendly to the keychain and pocket, able to provide maximum 45 lumens, stepless lumens adjustment and 48hours battery life with 1 lumen. Also, it is rechargeable! Although Tip is brighter, it's not on my keychain cause of the size still consider large for me. It's my jean's coin pocket light.
Mikey Bautista ·
That's a fair point. I did think about picking the Tube over the Tip, but if I were to only have one light (and not a backup) I would probably choose the more powerful and neutral tint option. That said, the Tube is fantastic in its own right like you said.
Lilith Mckenzie Nightinga ·
did people forget about the nova microlight ??
Admittedly I'm a Surefire guy and was surprised to not see Titan Plus and/or the Titan. I have both and haven't been disappointed with either one. I also have the Sidekick. The downside with the Sidekick is there's no way to replace a battery if you run out if juice in the field. I use mine strictly at home , where it can be recharged, on a neck lanyard .
Mikey Bautista ·
I went with their actual keychain product this time and am saving the Titan Plus for another article coming soon!
Fenix UC02SS is my #1 favorite. This thing is tiny, stainless steel, and has two modes: normal and insane 130 lumens. Rechargeable via USB and the battery is replaceable. It has TWO o-rings at the twist point to turn it on and off. It is also deeply threaded together which surprised me. I've lost a good number of keychain flashlights due to the top or bottom twisting off and getting lost. You will not have to worry about that with the Fenix. Also, it twists on to low power, THEN to higher power if you twist it further. I hate it when lights go to full power first and you have to lower th brightness if it is too much. It is a good way to conserve power unless you really need it. I used to carry a Streamlight nano but the batteries can be pricey if buying retail. I also own the Olight i3 EOS in brass. It is also an amazing flashlight. It takes a common AAA battery, and is keychain-able, but it is kind of on th big side compared to the Fenix. The Fenix UC02SS has the best size-to-power ratio out of the lot at an affordable price in my opinion.
Marty Loftus ·
The olight S1 mini does not belong on this list.
I second that! It's small but would be a brick hanging off a keychain.
I own Olight S1 Baton, little bit bigger than S1 Mini. It is a great light but ya, it is definitely too large for a keychain light.
I love the Maratac AAA. The copper version is my EDC and it's been going strong for a couple years now. I bought a couple of the titaniums thinking it would be a nice change of pace from my copper EDC every once in a while, but I was not happy with the Ti. Both of them have the same great performance as the copper, but the threading is sooo gritty on both of mine. I tried to lube them up a little but it really didn't help. They 'feel' improperly machined as a result.
Douglas Quiad ·
i have one and its quite smooth after you pick the tiny shavings out of the threads of the head and body with a needle and of coarse putting some wax on after every cleaning
How about Tank007 E09? It is small, lightweight, has three modes up to 100 lumens and it is cheap.
Nate X ·
I picked up the Maratac AAA Ti recently. Really a solid little light, and I got it on sale, so it was a great deal. I would recommend signing up for their email list, they have crazy good deals on some of their gear from time to time.
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