Penlights might not be flashlights that people think a lot about, but maybe they should be. After all, these lights are portable, so they can be used anywhere from the home to the car, and they produce a powerful light that can illuminate even the darkest of spaces. And because they’re small enough to be slipped into a backpack, bug out bag or even a pocket, they can be taken virtually anywhere. That’s why every household should have at least one of them in their homes. To show just how powerful and convenient these flashlights are, and to help our readers buy the best penlights, we’ve decided to do this article. Hopefully, all of our readers will find it illuminating—if you’ll excuse the pun.
Quick Summary of the Best Penlights
- Best Overall: Weltool M6 Diagnostic Medical Penlight (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended: Gear Light LED Pocket Flashlight (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider: Streamlight Stylus-Pro LED Penlight (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Weltool M6 Diagnostic Medical Penlight
One of the best penlights we’ve ever seen is this one from Weltool. This model, called the M6, is a penlight that’s designed to be used for inspecting a person’s throat during medical exams but is, in fact, good for a variety of other purposes. This light features a warm white LED that delivers a 3,000K color temperature and an 85% color-rendering index. What does all of that mean? That means that this light equals the brightness and power of some of the best incandescent flashlights available. It produces a beam of light that’s devoid of that dark spot in the middle and is also glare-free.
Another thing we liked quite a bit about this penlight is that it’s quite small and easy to carry with us. It’s only 5.24-inches in size and weighs just 0.8-ounces. That makes it the ideal size for placing into medical bags, first aid kits, bug out bags, or throwing it into a glove box. It can even be placed into a notebook or a shirt pocket thanks to its steel clip. However, as convenient as its steel clip is to keep the light around, its clip is this penlight’s weak spot. That’s because it tends to slip off of the light, and because of its small size, it ends up getting lost. Not a big deal overall, but still worth mentioning.
It’s also worth mentioning that the light is designed to be waterproof, and it has a waterproof rating of IP65. It’s also equipped with reverse polarity protection, so consumers can rest assured that this light is going to hold up quite well. The last thing that we’d like to discuss is the flashlight’s body. It’s made out of an anodized 6061 aluminum that’s usually used for aerospace applications but has been re-purposed for making this exceptional light. It’s a light that can take jostling around in a pocket or bag quite well, and should provide the consumer with years of use.
- This light is well built.
- It provides a nice bright light.
Also Recommended: Gear Light LED Pocket Flashlight
Even though we imagine that this penlight might slip under the radar of some consumers, we wanted to bring it back into the proverbial light so that all of our readers can see what a quality flashlight looks like. This model is just the right size for it to be both portable and practical, but still powerful enough to deliver the light the user needs. It’s equipped with a simple tail switch that can be used to turn it on or off, is made to be small and portable, and is powered by two AAA batteries. Each package comes with two Gearlight S100 pocket flashlights and with a user’s manual as well.
This penlight is made out of a durable aluminum body that’s made to hold up quite well to a variety of conditions. It can handle being accidentally dropped, being used in dusty or dirty environments, and is resistant to water. It’s also equipped with a handy removable belt clip that allows it to be placed into a notebook or attached to a shirt pocket. The best thing about this penlight, however, isn’t just its portability and its durability, but it’s also the fact that it produces a powerful beam of light. Although the beam width isn’t adjustable, it is strong enough for this flashlight to be used for just about any job where the dark has to be replaced with light.
Regardless of whether the consumer wants to use this light for doing inspections around the home, for reading menus or strictly for emergency use, this penlight is ready to do its job day-in and day-out. We imagine that quite a few people are going to want to keep one of these lights in their glovebox and another one in an emergency preparedness kit. All things considered, we feel that these penlights are an exceptional product that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money but comes in handy in an emergency.
- Made with a durable aluminum body.
- Delivers a very bright light.
Also Consider: Streamlight Stylus-Pro LED Penlight
Although this isn’t the cheapest or the most durable penlight we’ve seen, we do feel that it’s one of the best. Some people might look at these little flashlights and simply consider them to be novelty products that are available in a variety of different colors, but we look at them a little differently. We feel that these lights work extremely well, produce a good amount of light and should hold up quite well to frequent use. Even though the tail switch can be somewhat difficult to operate under some situations, once a person gets the hang of using this flashlight it really shouldn’t be a big problem.
Now, let’s talk about how these penlights are constructed and what features they have so all of our readers know what’s good about them. The first thing we’d like to mention is the size and build of these flashlights. They are approximately 5.3-inches in size, weigh only about 1.64-ounces, and are made out of anodized aluminum. This aluminum is special because it’s a machined metal that’s usually used in aircraft construction, so it’s designed to hold up under stress. These flashlights are also water-resistant up to IPX4, which allows the flashlight to be used in heavy rain, but doesn’t provide it with much protection if it were to be completely submerged in water.
The most important thing about this flashlight, however, is the powerful beam it delivers. This penlight’s LED light produces a whopping 100 lumens or 950 candelas of light that can be used for approximately 8-hours before it needs its batteries to be changed. And speaking of batteries, this penlight uses two AAA batteries that are easy to change when needed. And finally, before we go, we’d like to state that this flashlight is also drop-resistant up to 2-meters, so consumers can use it without worrying about whether they’re going to break it or not.
- It’s an impact-resistant light.
- It produces a good quality light.
A Guide To Buying The Best Penlights
Although it would be quite easy for most people to just buy one of the penlights that we’ve listed, we know that some people might want to find a flashlight on their own, so we’ve decided to write this guide. This guide should give all of our readers the information they need to make a good choice when shopping for the best penlight.
Think About The Penlight’s Construction
The first thing that consumers might want to think about before purchasing a new penlight is the metal they use to make the flashlight. Although cheaper penlights use a low-quality rolled steel in their design, the better-made models use anodized aluminum. Anodized aluminum is one of the materials used in the aerospace industry, so it’s known for its strength and durability. That makes it the natural choice for any penlight.
Keep In Mind The Penlight’s Battery Usage
The next thing that consumers might want to consider is how hard the penlight is on batteries. Some of the best penlights available are the ones that can go anywhere from 6 to 8-hours on a few AAA batteries. Although some penlights can last even longer than that, we feel that 6-8 hours is pretty standard for most of the premium flashlights available.
Think About The Penlight’s Beam Quality
It’s also extremely important for the consumer to think about how the brightness of the light being projected by the penlight. The intensity of the penlight is rated in lumens, with most penlights casting a light that’s anywhere from 50 to 180-lumens, although there are models that are even brighter than that. To give our readers an idea of just how bright that is, we have listed some common types of lights and how many lumens of light they give off.
Lumens of Standard Lights:
- 40-Watt Bulb=450 Lumens
- 75-Watt Bulb=1,100 Lumens
- 150-Watt Bulb=2,800 Lumens
Considering The Penlight’s Water Resistance
Another important thing to think about is whether it’s waterproof or water-resistant. If you’re unfamiliar with the difference between the two categorizations, then think about the following. Water-proof flashlights can resist are not affected by water whatsoever, while water-resistant models can resist water but some amount of water can still damage it.
How can you determine if a penlight is water-proof or water-resistant? The best way to determine whether it’s water-proof or resistant is to look at its IPX score. The IPX score lets the consumer know just how much water a particular device can take without being damaged. Using the following IPX scores will enable consumers to buy the best penlight for their needs.
Common IPX Ratings:
- IPX0: No water protection at all.
- IPX1: The device has protection against water drops for up to 10-minutes.
- IPX2: The device can stand being rotated while having water drip on it for 10-minutes.
- IPX3: The device can stand having water sprayed on it for approximately 5-minutes.
- IPX4: The device can withstand splashing water from any direction for 5-minutes or longer.
- IPX5: The device can withstand a 6.3mm water spray in any direction for 3-minutes or longer.
- IPX6: The device can withstand 12.5mm water spray from any direction for 3-minutes of longer.
- IPX7: The device can withstand being submerged 3-feet for at least 30-minutes.
- IPX8: The device can withstand more than what’s provided in the IPX7 guidelines.
It’s pretty easy to see that IPX0 penlights have no water-resistance at all, penlights conforming to the IPX1 through IPX6 standards are water-resistant to various degrees, and penlights that meet the IPX7 or IPX8 standards are waterproof.
Consider The Penlight’s Size & Weight
The next thing worth giving some serious thought to is how big and heavy the penlight is. Anything longer than 6-inches is not a penlight but is a flashlight, so consumers are going to want to think about what size would be easiest for them to carry. We like the penlights that are anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5-inches in size and weigh under an ounce. We feel that those types of penlights have the best combination of portability and power.
Some Final Considerations To Keep In Mind
As this guide comes to its logical conclusion, we would like to spend a few moments talking about some of the other features that consumers might want to consider before they purchase their next penlight. Even though not all consumers will need their penlights to have all of the following features, it is a good list that will help consumers keep in mind some of the features they might like their penlight to contain.
- A clip for attaching it to a pocket.
- A lens that can be narrowed or widened.
- Easy-to-push tail switches.
- A strobe light function.
- USB rechargeable battery.
- Impact resistance.
- Replaceable lenses.