What is the best pocket flashlight for me?

Why do you need a pocket flashlight?

A good pocket flashlight is a very useful thing. A flashlight can help in a variety of situations and save the day in the event of an emergency. Carrying a flashlight with you means you're never far from it, and you can always illuminate something dark.

A good pocket flashlight is usually part of someone's EDC (every day carry): something they carry with them wherever you go. For many people, a flashlight may be more useful than a weapon, pen or multi-tool. Pocket torches can be used indoors, whether in dark spaces such as under the sofa, or at night, such as when going to the bathroom without waking up the family.

Many bright pocket torches are also suitable for outdoor use. For example, walking to your car at night or finding a path. They are also a great safety tool for securing an area and signaling others.

What makes a flashlight the best pocket torch?

You might think that 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.

User interface.: The way a switch controls a flashlight is called the user interface or UI. The UI may not seem important but it can actually be the difference between a flashlight that you love using and one that is really annoying to use. Cheap flashlights will either force you to go through all the brightness levels just to turn it off or will force you to activate strobe when all you want to do is change the brightness. Most people prefer a flashlight that is single click to turn on or off and hold to change brightness. Some flashlight UIs have shortcuts too, like double click for turbo.

The best small pocket flashlights

IMALENT has 2 smaller pocket flashlights, the LD10 and LD70. These both easily fit in a pocket and have a handy magnetic USB charging. They also come with a built-in OLED display that shows the brightness mode and battery level.

The LD10 is the smallest of the 2 yet still outputs 1200 lumens. At 72mm long and 22.5 diameter it's about the size of a car key fob. It weighs 57g including the built in battery, so is barely noticeable in your pocket. The LD10 is also the best budget option, though it's often worth getting the next option up.

The LD70 is IMALENT's slightly larger light. At 81mm long by 25mm wide it will still easily fit in any pocket. Even though it only weighs 87g, this light will output up to 4000 lumens on turbo! This brightness is similar to a car headlight but in a tiny flashlight!

The best large pocket flashlights

If you want the brightest pocket flashlight then you'll need something a bit larger. Both the MS03 and R30C put out an incredible amount of light but are still classed as pocket flashlights or EDC flashlights. Both lights are around 4 inches long and just over an inch wide at the head. You might find these a tight fit in skinny jeans but larger ones should be fine.

The MS03 and R30C are so bright because they use a very powerful, removable 21700 cell with USB-C charging. They also use 3 LEDs instead of just 1.

The IMALENT MS03 is the brightest of the two at 13,000 lumens. 10 years ago lights 5 times the size we're only just hitting 4000 lumens, so this is an incredible feat. The MS03 has a beam distance of 324m. This is a long distance but the light is very spread out and floody.

The IMALENT R30C is still very bright at 9000 lumens but has a more focused beam. This throws the light and impressive 560m.

The best pocket flashlight overall

It's hard to pick the best pocket flashlight overall as it depends on what you need.

If you want something small and powerful then the IMALENT LD70 would be perfect. 4000 lumens is enough for most use cases and the lower modes are good for indoors.

If you're after something more powerful but still a pocket flashlight then you can't go wrong with either the MS03 (brighter) or R30C (further beam distance). Either option is sure to astound you.

If you can't decide on which pocket flashlight then go for the IMALENT MS03 as there are no other flashlights in the world that are that small and powerful.