We’ve become used to things getting smaller and lighter without any loss of power over the past few decades. We live in an age of miniaturization. If we can shrink it, we will shrink it. We will cram circuits and components into a space so tight only nanometers separate them. That trend applies to the world of high-quality flashlights as well.
Today, mini flashlights – the flashlights that can fit on a keychain ring or in a pocket – are just as powerful as flashlights three times as large were just a decade ago.
So what defines a mini flashlight? And how do we measure which one is best?
How big is a “mini” flashlight?
This is an important consideration. After all, mini means small. A flashlight cannot be considered mini if it’s too large. Typically, mini flashlights are 4 inches in length or smaller – though that is a rough figure. Weight wise, mini flashlights come in at below 4 ounces, less the battery. Now, if you don’t carry a ruler and scale around in your pocket, just think of mini flashlights this way: If it can fit in the palm of your hand, it’s a mini flashlight. Otherwise, it’s not.
What powers a “mini” flashlight?
Mini flashlights are powered just like every other flashlight: They use batteries. Given their size, they are restricted to smaller batteries such as standard AA, AAA and the lithium, rechargeable CR123A. Regardless of the battery of choice, size being a factor, it’s unlikely that your mini flashlight will have the ability to produce as strong a beam for as long as larger flashlights. But many people are willing to make that trade.
Can you get a rechargeable mini?
Of course. There are many rechargeable flashlights on the market. If a battery can be recharged, so can the flashlight it powers. Some mini flashlights can even be recharged via USB.
How bright can a mini flashlight be?
Mini flashlights can be pretty bright. Many of these lights hover around the 50-60 lumen output mark due to size and battery restrictions. This is still plenty of power for most tasks. There are still great options in this category that will do over 100 lumens (models like the Nitecore EC1 (330 lumens) and Olight S10-L2 (400 lumens) pack plenty of power in tiny sized lights.
What materials are a mini flashlight made of?
The same materials larger, high-quality flashlights are made of. Mini flashlights make use of state-of-the-art aero-grade, anodized aluminum and other high-quality, light materials in their construction. They have to, space and weight are at a premium.
Recommended Mini Flashlights
So, what mini flashlights do we recommend? Well, there are many great flashlights on the market, and each person needs to evaluate their options based on need, but if we had to choose just one, we would have to say the Inova. Inova has been in the mini-flashlight game for years, and they produce exceptional products. They even make “micro” flashlights that are even smaller. You can’t beat experience.
To hedge our bets just a little bit, we are also going to recommend the Nitecore T Series Tube. It hasn’t made it to the consumer market yet, but looking at the initial specifications it looks to be a powerful light that you just might want to add to your go-bag.