7 Best Penlights for Nurses & Doctors

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More compact than a flashlight and lighter than an average pen, penlights for nurses are one of the most important pieces of gear for medical professionals.

Being a doctor, EMT or a nurse is an extremely hard job but luckily there are some tools that make the day to day a bit easier.  A penlight is one of these tools and most medical professionals will find themselves using their penlight multiple times a day to do everything from examining patients to assisting their coworkers.  

7 Best Penlights for Nurses

In a hurry? Here are our top 3 picks:

RISEMART Medical Diagnostic Penlight

This nursing penlight comes in two colors and it is made from aluminum alloy with a size of 12.7cm length x 1.2 diameters. It is a super lightweight option making it easy to carry around in your pocket and it is a perfect match for any hand. It comes with four batteries, and it is simple to use.

What we like:

  • LED bulb lifetime is approximately 100,000 hours
  • Elastic Rubber Switch – it is hard to push it which prevents it from turning on by mistake in your pocket
  • Concave heads which will prevent breakage due to dropping
  • Lower wattage with an extended battery life of 220 hours
  • Two lights – white light is for checking the throat, nose, and ears while the warm glow is for testing the eyes
  • Pupil gauge measurement

What we don’t like:

  • The light can be too bright for some patients

RISEMART Nurse Led Medical Penlight with Pupil Gauge RISEMART Nurse Led Medical Penlight with Pupil Gauge
$13.98 ($6.99 / Count)

Best for nurses who like something simple and elegant.

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01/30/2023 08:07 pm GMT

Related: Best Shoes for Nurses

CAVN Medical Penlight

The CAVN is available in two colors (rose and purple) and is made of anodized aluminum alloy which gives the pen a longer life. While one of the cheaper penlights on this list, it’s reliable, sturdy, and easy to replace if lost

What we like:

  • The pocket clip makes it easier to carry around
  • Pupil gauge measurement
  • LED bulb

What we don’t like:

  • Not the best for checking pupils

CAVN (2 PCS) Reusable LED Medical Penlight with Pupil Gauge CAVN (2 PCS) Reusable LED Medical Penlight with Pupil Gauge
$7.99 ($4.00 / count)

Best for nurses who want a reliable penlight that won’t break the bank.

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01/30/2023 08:13 pm GMT

Opoway Nurse Penlight

With professional design and a super bright light, the Opoway Nurse Penlight might be the best choice on this list. It’s made from an aluminum alloy, comes in black and white colors and 4 AAA batteries are included in the package.

What we like:

  • Easy to use button
  • Metal pocket clip makes the penlight easy to carry around
  • Pupil gauge measurement is easy to read
  • LED bulb
  • Aluminum alloy body
  • Small and compact

What we don’t like:

  • Not very durable

Opoway Nurse Penlight with Pupil Gauge LED Medical Pen Light Opoway Nurse Penlight with Pupil Gauge LED Medical Pen Light

Best for nurses who like simple and elegant designs.

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Primacare DL-9325 Penlight

The Primacare penlight has one of the brighter bulbs which makes it useful for almost any medical situation.  It also has excellent battery consumption because of its LED bulb and feels solid in your hand.

What we like:

  • Replaceable batteries
  • Sealed beam
  • Pre-focused pinpoint lens
  • Pupil gauge measurement
  • LED bulb
  • White light

What we don’t like:

  • Made from plastic

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01/30/2023 09:32 pm GMT

Related: Shop these 9 Best Nurse Fanny Packs for 2023

Primacare DL-9224 Penlight

If you want an energy saving and long lasting penlight then this Primacare model is your best choice. Its best feature is the warm light which doesn’t burn patients’ eyes and the fact that they are disposable makes them affordable and easy to replace without having to hunt for batteries.

What we like:

  • Sealed beam
  • Pocket clip
  • Pupil gauge measurement
  • Pack of six lights

What we don’t like:

  • Less-bright light

Primacare DL-9224 Disposable Diagnostic Penlight (Pack of Six) - Batteries Included Primacare DL-9224 Disposable Diagnostic Penlight (Pack of Six) - Batteries Included
$8.45 ($1.41 / Count)

Best for nurses who need their pen light to work and be easily replaceable.


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01/30/2023 09:39 pm GMT

MDF LUMINIX Medical Penlight

Some of the previously mentioned nurse penlights only have a white light which can be harmful to some patients’ eyes, but the Luminix has a warm light making your job a bit easier.

Made from copper, the MDF also has one of the most solid shells on this list.

What we like:

  • Warm LED light
  • Copper built

What we don’t like:

  • Dim light
  • Batteries not included

MDF LUMiNiX ILLUMINATOR Medical Professional Diagnostic Penlight (MDF611-29) MDF LUMiNiX ILLUMINATOR Medical Professional Diagnostic Penlight (MDF611-29)

Best for nurses who want a professional looking penlight.

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Related: Our Favorite Compression Socks for Nurses

EdisonBright Nitecore Penlight

One of the most expensive lights on our list, the Nitecore has an anodized aluminum body which can be easily sterilized. It’s waterproof and submersible up to two meters, and you can set the brightness to three stages: 180 lumens for 45 minutes, 45 lumens for 5 hours and 15 minutes, 4 lumens for 35 hours.

What we like:

  • Anodized aluminum body
  • Waterproof and submersible
  • Three brightness outputs
  • Stainless Steel Clip

What we don’t like:

  • Quite expensive for a nursing penlight
  • Some buyers have complained that the batteries run out pretty fast
  • It can be turned on by mistake while in your pocket
EdisonBright Nitecore MT06MD 180 Lumen Pen-Type LED Flashlight with 2 X AAA Batteries Bundle EdisonBright Nitecore MT06MD 180 Lumen Pen-Type LED Flashlight with 2 X AAA Batteries Bundle
$25.95

Best for nurses who who expect the best out of their equipment.

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01/30/2023 09:49 pm GMT

Buying Tips for Nursing Penlights

There are a few things to consider before purchasing your first penlight:

  • Shell material – if you work in the ER or labor and delivery you’re likely going to want a penlight that is easy to clean and sterilize – it’s not worth going cheap here as you’ll end up replacing the ones you can’t clean over time.
  • Battery life – no surprise here but it can be incredibly frustrating (and borderline unprofessional) to have your penlight go out in the middle of an exam.  Make sure you get a model that will keep up with your schedule and check to make sure you have replacement batteries (or a replacement penlight) when needed.
  • Brightness – a light is no good to anyone if it can’t be seen – take the time to understand your working conditions and patients to know whether you need something bright, soft, or adjustable.

Best Penlights FAQ

What do nurses use penlights for?

Assessing pupil response – The main purpose of a penlight for nurses is to see how quickly the pupil constricts when a bright light is shone into it.

Do nurses need to have a penlight?

Nurses need to use the penlight to gauge the length of pupils as well as check for the pupil response time.

What’s the best penlight for nursing students?

The best penlight for nursing students is affordable and convenient for on-the-go lifestyle. We suggest the Primacare DL-9224 Penlight for nursing students due to its price point.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you work for an OBGYN, pediatrician or in the ER, a medical penlight is an invaluable investment.  If your office doesn’t already provide you with one (or a pharmaceutical rep doesn’t hand them out like candy) then take a bit of time and find one that meets your needs.

The good thing is that none of these nursing penlights is going to break the bank so try a few and stick with the one that performs the best.

Still considering becoming a nurse?  Check out our list of free NCLEX prep resources!

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