What is the best pocket flashlight for me?
Why you need a pocket flashlight?
A good pocket flashlight is a very useful thing to have. Flashlights can be helpful in all sorts of situations and save the day when there is an emergency. Having a flashlight in your pocket at all times means you're never far away from it and can always light up something dark.
A good pocket flashlight is often part of someone's EDC (Every Day Carry): the things that they take with them everywhere you go. For many people, a flashlight can be more useful than a weapon, pen or multi tool. Pocket flashlights might be used indoors, either in dark spaces like under sofas or at night, like going to the bathroom without waking up your family.
Many bright pocket flashlights are also good for outdoor use too. For example walking to your car in the evening or finding a path. They're also a good safety tool, to ensure an area is safe and to signal to others.
What makes a flashlight the best pocket flashlight?
You might think that only having the brightest pocket flashlight is all that matters. Brightness is important but with modern LED technology there are other important factors to consider.
What to look out for:
Size: First off, a pocketable flashlight has to fit in a pocket! If it doesn't then it's not going to be part of your EDC and you'll leave it at home. You can get smaller lights that fit on a keyring and will fit in a small jeans pocket. You can also get medium size pocket flashlights like the IMALENT LD70 that comfortably fit in a larger jeans or trouser pocket and are about 1 inch wide. Finally, you can get larger ones - some of the brightest pocket flashlights like the IMALENT MS03 - that just fit in a jeans pocket but might fit better in a jacket. These can be about 5 inches long between 1 and 1.5 inches wide.
Brightness: Brightness is measured in lumens, with the higher the better. 1200 lumens from the IMALENT LD10 is plenty for indoors but you may benefit from more outdoors. A few years ago 1000 lumens was the most you can get from a pocketable flashlight but now there are small flashlights that are over 4000 or even 10,000 lumens! Most lights will have a turbo mode that will be bright for 30 seconds and then start getting dimmer so they don't get too hot.
Modes: Something often overlooked with flashlights is their different modes. Having 4000 lumens on turbo mode is great but sometimes you want just a little bit of light, such as when moving round your home without turning your house lights on. A mode with less than 200 lumens is essential and a very low mode around 10 lumens is even better. High quality flashlights will normally have at least 4 modes so you can pick your preferred brightness. Some will have strobe too.
Beam distance: Beam distance isn't so important with indoor pocket flashlights but it's something to be aware of. When indoors or when lighting up an area around you, a more floody light is best. When outdoors, a higher beam distance or throw is needed. Some bigger flashlights like the IMALENT R30C have a beam distance of over 500 meters (650 feet). These direct the light a long way so you can see signs, paths or dangers far away.