Best Small Torch
Last updated 16 May 2021
The torch you’re most likely to have on you when you actually need a torch, because it’s small, we look at 10 excellent torches from almost weightless to small handheld.
How we judge
All these torches are owned and used (some more than others) by the author. They are judged on the authors own, subjective view, partly based on specification and partly his personal experiences & preferences.
Here we’re looking for torches that, as well as being small, have brightness levels of 100 to 300 lumens or above, and are well suited to our 3 different uses of small torches.
Top 3 small torches
There’s no single, perfect small torch but some are more suitable than others when you consider the different uses we have for small torches:
- keyring torch
- torch to carry in your handbag or commuting backpack/sling
- torch that will live in a static location like a car glovebox or bedside drawer
My approach to comparing these torches is to look first at their suitability for each use in terms of size & weight and then see which has the highest brightness and runtime for each use. If it’s appropriate we’ll also look at any other value-added features or any drawbacks associated with our 3 uses. As always, we might also consider overall design, usability and how it feels in the hand.
Best torch for your keyring
There’s one outstanding torch for your keyring and nothing else comes close. Small and almost unnoticeably light, the Nitecore TINI has an incredible specification for it’s weight and size. If we had to nominate a close 2nd it would be the Olight i3E if you’d prefer a torch based on a normal (not rechargeable) battery. It’s head and shoulders above the other single AAA battery-powered torches we looked at.
Nitecore TINI – 5 stars (see full review)
This tiny, almost weightless torch has the ability to light up a large area. The perfect keyring torch and an essential personal safety accessory.
Replaced by: Nitecore TINI 2
Best torch for your handbag or commuting backpack/sling
Allowing ourselves the luxury of a very slightly larger and heavier torch than on our keyring, we can move up a reasonable amount in specification. I would say that the Olight S1R Baton II (51 grams) and the Nebo Torchy (62 grams) are obvious contenders, but I would go that extra 50 grams for the more significant leap in brightness and runtime of the Olight S30R Baton III. The LED Lenser TT is also a close contender.
Olight S30R III Baton – 5 stars (see full review)
The most useful torch I’ve carried, light and barely bigger than it’s battery, it lived in my laptop backpack. Huge brightness and features for it’s size, it’s worth the extra 50 grams.
Replaced by: Olight Baton Pro
Best small torch for bedside drawer, the car or other static location
For this requirement we’re slightly less constrained in size & weight than for the torch we carry we carry around in a bag all day. But there’s another important contraint that just crept in. This torch might not get used for months at a time, so torches based on rechargeable batteries are out. That leaves our 2 favourite torches in this range, but the LED Lenser TT just beats Mini Maglite Pro in my view.
LED Lenser TT – 5 stars (see full review)
This beautifully finished little 3 x AAA torch competes here better than it should, due to it’s variable beam, simplicity and sheer quality. A personal favourite.
Olight i3E – 4 1/2 stars (see full review)
Simple, powerful, single AA-powered little torch. More impressive than we thought it would be, and more impressive than other single AA torches.
Olight S1R Baton II – 4 1/2stars (see full review)
1,000 lumens turbo and generally impressive specification, this is a strong contender for a place in your handbag/commuting backpack.
Nebo Torchy – 4 stars (see full review)
Like the Olight S1R Baton III, this impressive specification torch could easily have been the winner for a place in your handbag/commuting backpack.
Mini Maglite Pro – 4 stars (see full review)
A timeless design icon, it has one function, on or off and could easily be the torch for your handbag/commute backpack or car glove compartment.
Olight i5T – 4 stars (see full review)
A very nice product in it’s own right it was simply outperformed by very different products of the same weight in this test.
Tank007 E09 – 3 1/2 stars (see full review)
Beaten by the Olight i3E in this test, not an unattractive torch in its own right, it simply didn’t have the fire power in this company.