At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
A penlight is a small device that houses a bulb or some other type of light-emitting source in a barrel about the size of a pen. Choosing the best penlight is often a function of determining its primary use, and the conditions it may be exposed to. Common choices for penlights include the type of bulb, the power source, casing, and style choices such as color, length and width.
The type of bulb used can be a very important choice when considering the best penlight, also known as a mini light. In the past, a Krypton bulb was often used because of its size and ability to produce a very bright light. More recently, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have become more popular simply because these lights do not use as much energy as other types of lights, and the LEDs themselves last longer than more traditional bulbs on the market.
The power source may also need to be taken into account when choosing the best penlight. Generally, a battery powers the light. In some cases, it may be a standard battery that you can purchase almost anywhere. Others use smaller batteries like those used in watches. Some penlights have a battery that cannot be replaced. Once that battery is fully discharged, the only option is to throw it away, and buy a new light.
In some cases, durability may need to be considered. If you are hard on equipment, the best penlight may be one that has a steel barrel instead of a plastic one. If you only plan on using it occasionally or in light duty, you may be able to get away with using a light with a plastic barrel. The cost of a plastic penlight will often be less than those that have steel barrels.
Some penlights may also offer extra features. For example, some may offer different levels of brightness so that you use only the brightness you need. This helps to conserve power and extends the battery and bulb life. Others may have a way of adjusting the light from a broader beam to one that is more focused on a smaller area.
Though it may be a minor issue in your decision-making process, the best penlight for you may ultimately come down to a choice of style. Penlights generally come in a range of sizes and colors. Some may even have additional features such as an actual pen tip on the other end. At this point, the decision on penlights comes down to a matter of personal preference, rather than practical considerations.