Best penlights

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Everyone on our reviewing team is a member of multiple flashlight communities with thousands of posts and many years of experience. (Look at our bio). Check out our in-depth reviews to understand the difference between them and the others in Google. We spend many hours bench-testing and measuring each flashlight we review. We don’t lazy copy and paste from Amazon. Cut the crap, and follow 1lumen.com

Marco

Here’s most of the penlights we reviewed:

Some important features we take into consideration are color rendering and UI. You don’t want to accidentally blind a person with 1000 lumens shining in their eyes. So we focus on the following aspects:

  • Shape: does it have a pocket clip, and how easy is it to use: retention on the clip
  • UI: does it have mode memory
  • UI: is it easy to use without useless modes like strobe (dangerous for some people)
  • UI: does it always start in a certain mode: low preferably
  • LED: Color rendering (CRI)
  • LED: beam color (CCT)
  • Beam: pattern: smooth, round, hotspot, etc
  • Battery: rechargeable, replaceable?
  • Build quality: fit and finish
  • Performance: does it run for a long time

The best penlights per category:

Best penlight for nurses (2AAA)

Weltool M6-Dr

Weltool M6 Dr holding
Weltool M6 Dr runtime graph
Specification:Highlights:
Output1 mode: 5 lumens
LED typeHigh-CRI LED for best color rendering
Battery configuration2*AAA
Best for:Medical staff, nurses, doctors, iridology

Oftentimes it’s better to have just 1 tool for the job. And in this case, that’s the Weltool M6-Dr. Why you may ask? Well, there are several reasons.

  1. The M6-Dr has only 1 mode, so you can’t accidentally use a different output mode and blind someone.
  2. It has a warm beam, around 3000K (ours measured 3128K) which is great for iridology of brown colored eyes.
  3. The Output is low and consistent for over 8 hours. You always know that the output is minimal.
  4. It has high CRI, which means that it renders the colors of the eye very well. We measured a CRI Ra between 95.8 and 96.7
  5. The bezel is curved and doesn’t have a glass lens that could break by dropping it.
  6. The beam quality is very unique and round, without a hotspot.

The Weltool M6-Dr might therefore be the best choice for nurses and other medical staff. Not only is this one of the most affordable penlights, but it’s also made by a reputable company, with lots of experience producing high-quality flashlights. Much better than an unknown brand bought on popular e-commerce websites like AliExpress, eBay, or even Amazon.

And for about $20, it’s a bit more expensive than the average non-branded penlights, but built by a company that stands behind its products.

For more details, check out our full review of the Weltool M6-Dr

Best penlight for mechanics (2AAA)

Wurkkos WK02

holding penlight in hand
Wurkkos runtime graph
Specification:Highlights:
Output3 modes: 1.44 lumens, 75 lumens and 189 lumens
LED typeHigh-CRI LED for best color rendering
Battery configuration2*AAA
Best for:Mechanics, construction workers… because it’s cheap

Since there are tons and tons of penlights on the market, it’s difficult to find a good quality penlight for cheap. But fortunately, there are still penlights we tested that are affordable and still perform quite well.

One of them is built by Wurkkos, a budget-oriented flashlight manufacturer.

I’m talking about the Wurkkos WK02, that’s still available, but not for long. Do yourself a favor and grab a bunch of these before they are gone. Wurkkos already told me they are going to stop producing the WK02 in the future. Right now, they are about $10 a pop, and here are some of the reasons why I would recommend it:

  1. Price, price price. The WK02 is available for about $10 or below.
  2. Doesn’t have a USB port, so no grease or other dirt getting into the USB port
  3. 3 modes, so you can have almost 200 lumens at your fingertips, and also a very low mode with only 1.44 lumens (that’s what I measured on mine).
  4. Like all penlights, thin and lightweight enough to get it in those hard to reach places
  5. Because it has a reflector, in High mode it can still reach up to 75 yards
  6. Has no mode-memory, so you always know how many presses you need to do to get to the output you want. 1 click for low mode, tap + click for medium mode of 50 lumens. And tap + tap + click for High mode with almost 200 lumens.

I would not recommend a high-end USB-C rechargeable penlight for mechanics or construction workers. Simply, because dirt and other debris can clog the USB-port and make it unusable. And on top of that, you probably don’t want to wait for a 4-hour charge before you can continue using the penlight.

At $10 you can buy a few and use them as backups.

For more details, check out our full review of the Wurkkos WK02

Best penlight for EDC (2AAA)

Acebeam PT10GT

Acebeam P10-GT in hand
Acebeam PT10-GT runtime
Specification:Highlights:
Output3 modes: 472 lm (lithium) 121lm (NiMH)
LED typeHigh-CRI LED for best color rendering
Battery configuration2*AAA and 10900 lithium battery (included)
Best for:EDC, around the house, daily errands

I’m not saying that you should get the light we recommend, but if you do, you know what you get, if you read our reviews.

The PT10-GT is a little different than the other penlights we recommended so far. And for the simple fact that Acebeam included a rechargeable 10900 lithium-ion battery. It’s a battery with the length of 2 AAA batteries, which makes the flashlight a LOT brighter.

Lithium-ion batteries run between 3V and 4.2V (fully charged) and make the flashlight much, much brighter than NiMH batteries. And that’s clearly noticeable with the PT10 GT. We measured 472 lumens with the lithium battery versus 121 lumens with 2AAA rechargeable batteries.

For EDC, this is probably the best offering, because you get the highest output, but still have the ability to use disposable AAA or rechargeable NiMH AAA batteries. And we’d recommend using Panasonic Eneloop instead of Alkaline batteries, because they can leak and ruin your penlight.

Why I’d recommend the PT10 GT?

  1. One of the brightest 2AAA-sized penlights on the market
  2. Lithium-ion battery has a USB port to charge anywhere and anytime.
  3. It has 3 modes, so you can choose the desired output depending on each unique situation you might find yourself into
  4. Available with High CRI LED for best color rendering
  5. Besides aluminum, also available in copper

For more details, check out our full review of the Acebeam PT10-GT

Best EDC penlight with 2AA

Olight i5T Plus

Olight i5T Plus in hand like a pen
Olight i5T Plus Pebble runtime 4 hours
Specification:Highlights:
Output2 modes: 472 lm (lithium) 121lm (NiMH)
LED typeChoice between CW, NW, and WW
Battery configuration2*AA (no lithium)
Best for:EDC, around the house, daily errands

All the aforementioned penlights run off 2AAA batteries. But to make this list a bit more inclusive, I added this 2AA category. Why? Because they are only just a bit larger, but double or triple the runtime of an average 2AAA flashlight. Plus, they produce so much more lumens, it’s a shame other websites aren’t even considering 2AA penlights.

And to be frank, for EDC, 2AA batteries might be a much better choice. They have, on average, 3 times the capacity of average AAA batteries. This means, for EDC use, you’d have to replace or recharge the batteries much less often. And that’s something important for EDC use…

And another benefit, for EDC, is that rechargeable AA batteries can discharge at a much higher rate, and therefore produce many more lumens. If you are asking what rechargeable batteries to get, there is only 1 answer: Panasonic Eneloop. We do not recommend using Alkaline batteries unless you use the light every day, and never store it for more than a week.

Why I’d recommend the Olight i5T Plus

  1. Available in 3 different beam colors (cool white, neutral white, and warm white)
  2. Double or triple the battery life over AAA batteries
  3. It has a simple UI with 2 well-spaced modes.
  4. Over 500 lumens with all 3 LED choices (nw, ww, cw)
  5. Available in multiple colors, including my favorite blue!

For more details, check out our full review of the Olight i5T Plus

Best pen with flashlight

Olight O-pen pro

pen writing without light
Olight O'pen pro runtime
Specification:Highlights:
Output4 modes: from 3 tot 133 lumens
LED typeN/A with laser
Battery configurationbuilt-in rechargeable battery
Best for:Teachers, tutors, lecturers ….Writing and presentations

When you think of a penlight, you might actually think of a pen, with a light. And that’s exactly what the Olight O’pen Pro is. It’s a pen, with a removable light.

The part with the light can be unscrewed and used to illuminate the thing you are writing on (paper/sticker etc). And the same part has a USB-C port to charge the tiny battery with a capacity of 110mAh.

So in reality, this is the only ‘real’ penlight on this list. A penlight that can actually be used as a pen that is.

And even though its output is relatively low, I still managed to produce 133 lumens at turn on, and 119 lumens after 30 seconds. But with this small battery, the runtimes are very short. Only the lowest output mode (of 3 lumens) can run for 8 hours. The high mode only lasts for 32 minutes, and that’s not surprise.

And on top of this, it also has a tiny green laser pointer built in. That’s a great for teachers, or for anybody who needs to point out things a few feet away. Great for presentations!

Why I’d recommend the Olight O-Pen PRO for the following reasons:

  1. It’s the only real penlight we reviewed, that is made by a reputable manufacturer
  2. Available in aluminum, copper, and titanium
  3. Has a green laser pointer built in as a bonus
  4. You can write with it… lol.

For more details, check out our full review of the Olight Open PRO

FAQ:

What’s the difference between a penlight and a pen with a light?

It’s quite funny, but penlights can’t be used for writing. Penlight have batteries in them, to use as a flashlight. But there are also pens with a light built-in. We also added 1 in the list!

How to use a penlight?

That depends on what you want to use it for. Some penlights are dedicated to a certain task, like medical penlights. And other penlights are better for EDC.

Where to buy penlights?

From all the best penlights on this list, we added some trustworthy sellers where you can buy the penlights. We added Amazon, Nealsgadgets, Weltool, Acebeam and a couple more online stores.

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