Key-chain flashlights, yea that's just what they are no fru-fru here. On a serious note, I tend to shy away from key-chain lights for a couple of reasons but still can appreciate where they can be extremely useful and efficient. The biggest reason that I don't carry these types of flashlights is that I try to keep my actual set of keys to a very minimum. I use a Keysmart to organize my keys and attach it to my truck keys using a locking s-biner. Naturally I started off by carrying my keys on a normal key ring which made adding items like this easy but extremely bulky. Then I switched to a key organizer and needed to tone it down. In addition to the added bulk, I rarely carry one of these lights because I tend to carry a small compact flashlight in my pocket anyways so I found myself more commonly pulling it out to check under my desk than whatever light I had on my key ring. Now this isn't to say that I hate key-chain lights, in fact I think that they can be very useful. I like the idea of having something super small so that if I do have a very small task it fits perfectly. I just don't carry them that often and when I do I actually tend to carry them in my coin pocket. I rotate things in and out of that pocket on a day to day basis. About half of the time they are small trinkets or fidgety items, the other half they are micro tools like these lights or utility blades. I really just depends on my preference that day. As I'm writing I actually remembered that I stuck the very first light in for today.
Anyways lets take a look.
PISA LED Mini Flashlight
Brand: Rheea Tech Store
The PISA light was originally a project on Kickstarter (where I backed it) and Indiegogo. Like most lights this small, the operation of the light is dependent on twisting the barrel clockwise to turn it on and counterclockwise to turn it off. I tend to dislike this design because it forces you to leave the barrel at least somewhat loose which means it is susceptible to coming off. What makes this mater worse is that the location for the charging port (one of its greatest features) is located inside the barrel. When you go to loosen it so that you can charge your light you have about a half a turn before you take the light all the way apart. This isn't a huge problem and I understand why they placed the micro-USB port here, I just wish that they had added enough room for a few more threads to keep the light together. Other than this problem, which is pretty common on similar lights, it functions very well. The fact that it is rechargeable is a huge plus, I hate changing batteries and even though I carry an Iphone I can always have a small micro-USB cable near by. Another small thing that I like is the texture, I simply like the vertical grooves.
I carried this little flashlight for several months either in my coin pocket or on my tool key ring. First off, it gets props for the design because of course it does. There is just something about being bullet shaped that makes it feel cool. Ok, we are past that now. So, I have two complaints. First is that the little ring on the back only goes in just far enough to catch the body. For the most part this isn't a huge problem, but in my case it actually detached and I never found the ring so I am left without a way to attach the light to a key ring. I have tried a couple options and never found something that really work. My second complaint is that as with all twist operating flashlights it is possible for the barrel to come off. Due to the size of this light that problem is exacerbated. When that does happen it is almost certain that the very small batteries that power the device will com tumbling out. As long as you are aware of this you can work to mitigate the risk.
Highlights: Cool design, smallest light
I won't go super deep into this light because I covered it here. Of course this is the light I carry on my mini tool key-chain. I really like the design because it fit my needs for that set up. The fact that this is rechargeable is a huge bonus just like the PISA light, and I live that it has a clip which makes it extremely easy to attach. The downsides are that it is a bit thick and you can't quite point it like a normal flashlight but these are pretty minor issues.
Highlights: Cool design, rechargeable, clip
Lumintrail Key-chain Light
This is a little bonus light that came with another small magnetic light I purchased. It is like most other lights this similar shape. It has two modes utilizing the switch. The first mode is a flash on by pressing the switch up. The second mode is true on by pushing the switch down where it locks in place. I will say that the switch can be a little tough to use at first but your fingers will get used to it. Other than that there isn't much to say this is just your standard key-chain LED flashlight.
Highlights: Simple, clip
Stat Gear Pocket Lumen
Brand: Stat Gear
This is a neat little light that I got from a Stat Gear project on Kickstarter. For the most part it functions like any normal key chain flashlight. As I noted it uses a twist mechanism for operating, there is just one difference. Where most flashlights turn on when the barrel is all the way tightened, this light turns on after a couple of turns loosening. This means that you can leave your barrel all the way tightened and secure instead of worrying about anything coming apart. Then when you need to use it just twist a bit counterclockwise and boom you have light. Otherwise, the only other big thing to point out is that this flashlight has a solid built in ring on the back where you attach it which means no messing with an extra key ring that might come off.
Highlights: Unique twist mechanism, Integrated ring
I think that small tools like these mini flashlights can be a great asset to your EDC. It's all about finding the right solution so that you don't have excess bulk while still having something that is actually useful.
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