Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (2024)

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (1)

Tritium vials contain a radioactive substance and are glowing in the dark! Tritium is one of the rarest substances on Earth and is worth over $30,000 per gram. Find out more about tritium and the best tritium vials, keychains, rings, and watches!

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What is tritium?

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. In fact, it is also referred to as hydrogen-3 or 3H. Hydrogen molecules are typically composed of a single proton, whereas tritium contains one proton and two neutrons.

Traces of tritium can be found naturally and they are caused by cosmic radiations interacting with gasses in the upper atmosphere. The overall mass of tritium naturally produced on the earth is estimated to be less than 16 lbs (7.3 kg) (1).

Nuclear reactors also produce tritium as a by-product of the fission reaction. Water-cooled reactors generate hard water, which can then be treated and processed. For example, treating 1,000 tons of hard water can produce as little as 2.2 lbs of tritium (1 kg) (2). Furthermore, a study from the American Department of Energy estimated in 1996 that the total tritium production in the USA since 1955 was less than 500 lbs (225 kg), out of which only 165 lbs (75 kg) remained due to constant decay (3).

The rarity of natural tritium and its difficult production make it one of the most expensive substances on earth. Tritium price per gram is $30,000 and it is roughly 450x more expensive than gold! (4)

Is tritium dangerous?

Tritium is a radioactive substance that emits low-energy beta radiation that is unable to penetrate the skin. Therefore, tritium is a safe substance. However, ingestion or inhalation of large amounts of tritium can still pose a health risk, even though it has a short biological half-life and does not bio-accumulate.

Is tritium illegal?

It is legal to own tritium pretty much everywhere. However, some countries including the USA require a special license to sell and produce tritium-containing products. It may therefore be hard to find a supplier for tritium in the USA. It can still be purchased easily online from various sellers. Let’s now see a review of the best tritium vials, keychains, and rings that can be found on the market!

Where to buy tritium vials?

The easiest way to buy tritium vials is via international sellers. As mentioned before, it is legal to buy tritium vials in most countries, but selling them is more regulated. This is the reason why it is hard to find tritium vials on Amazon for example.

On the other hand, it is easy to find tritium vials on eBay or Aliexpress, such as the one shown below. Furthermore, these tritium vials are made in Switzerland and are available in 8 different colors, the most popular being green and blue. In addition, there are 3 different sizes you can choose from: 1.5x6mm, 2x12mm, or 3x11mm. These tritium vials are sold for about 20$ and are ranked 4.7 stars with over 30 ratings on Aliexpress.

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (2)

Check these Multi-Color Tritium Vials on AliExpress

You should also keep in mind that these vials are quite small. Even though small tritium vials produce light, they are not meant to be used as a light source such as a glow stick. In fact, the light produced by these small tritium vials can only illuminate objects that are a few inches away. Nevertheless, these tiny tritium vials are among the brightest you could find on the market.

For a more spectacular glowing effect, there is also a bigger size of tritium vials available on AliExpress. These bright tritium vials measure 6mm x 100 mm (0.24 inches x 3.94 inches). These are the biggest and the brightest tritium vials you could find! Their brightness is more similar to a glow stick. These tritium vials will produce more light and will be highly visible in the dark. Even though they cost more, remember that they will last for about 25 years!

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (3)

Find the Biggest and Brightest Tritium Vials (6mm x 100mm) on AliExpress

These tritium vials are a cool scientific gadget on their own and are a good demonstration of radioluminescence! Tritium vials can also be useful to mark objects that you want to be able to spot easily in the dark. For instance, you can put one on a flashlight or tool using a clear holder or keychain.

Tritium vials are usually made of thin glass which can be relatively fragile to handle. This is the reason why people will usually display these tritium vials in a protecting holder such as a fob or keychain holder.

Best fob keychain holder for tritium vials

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (4)

Check this S323 Fob keychain to hold tritium vials

A keychain holder or protective fob is one of the best ways to protect your tritium vial and put it on display. There are many models available that can accommodate a single tritium vial or more.

I really like the S-323 tritium vial holder from TEC-Accessories. This is an American company selling various models of a protective holder for tritium vials with neat designs! The S-323 is made of stainless steel and is compatible with 3×22.5 mm tritium vials. This product cost about 20$ and is rated 4.4/5 on Amazon with over 125 ratings.

Best tritium keychains

Nite GlowRing tritium vial keychain fob

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Check this Nite Tritium Glowring Keychain on AliExpress

The Nite GlowRing is an all-in-one tritium vial keychain. This model is manufactured in the UK and is available on AliExpress. It also has very good ratings and reviews.

This product is one of my favorite since it combines all the best features of tritium vial keychains. Surprisingly, the amazing brightness of this model can be seen up to 30 feet away in the dark. This tritium vial keychain is perfect for camping and can be used to easily locate your flashlight, tent zipper, or backpack.

Furthermore, the Nite GlowRing contains tritium in a borosilicate glass vial enclosed in an unbreakable polycarbonate case. These tritium keychains are available in 9 different colors: green, yellow, white, orange, light blue, blue, purple, pink, and red. In addition to the classical clear polycarbonate keychain holder, you can select 3 other “tinted” colors including cool ice blue, vibrant green, and neon pink.

Another cool feature of the Nite GlowRing tritium keychain is that it is water-resistant and can be submerged up to 30m deep. This tritium keychain is thus perfect for divers who want to mark their diving gear and make it easily visible underwater.

Best tritium rings for sale!

Tungsten titanium alloy tritium ring – 2 vials

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Check this Titanium Alloy Finger Ring with Tungsten Steel and Tritium gas tubes on AliExpress

This tungsten titanium alloy tritium ring has an amazing design! This ring can hold two 1.5x6mm tritium vials. The ring is available with or without the vials and you can choose 8 different colors. The blue and green combination looks fantastic!

This ring weighs 7.6g and is available in 2 different sizes (20 and 22mm). In addition, this tritium ring can be used as a pendant and is provided with a chain. This tritium ring also comes with a protective pocket, which makes it a nice gift idea.

Titanium alloy tritium ring – 3 vials

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (7)

Check this Titanium Alloy Ring With Tritium vials on AliExpress

This tritium ring simply looks amazing! It is made of titanium alloy that can hold three 1.5x6mm tritium vials. You can buy the ring alone or supply it with 6 different colors of tritium vials. In addition, this tritium ring is available in 4 different sizes: 16, 18, 20, and 22mm.

This tritium ring is slightly more expensive than the previous model, but I really like its design. For a few more dollars, there is also a similar model holding 4 tritium vials that looks very nice.

Best tritium watches

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (8)

Check this tritium watch! Carnival T25 waterproof

Nowadays, we use tritium instead of radium to make glow paint. It is used in the fabrication of various products including watches such as the one displayed here. This glow-in-the-dark paint doesn’t need power or sunlight exposure to reveal its splendor. This paint is now used for luxury watches and diver watches.

How long do tritium vials last?

The half-life of tritium is 12.32 years. By that time, it means that 50% of the tritium will decay. Therefore, tritium vials will last for years. Actually, you have more chance to lose your keys and your tritium keychain before it fades away!

How does tritium glow?

Tritium is not luminescent on its own. Indeed, the beta particles generated by tritium are invisible to the human eye. The light emitted by tritium vials is instead produced by adding phosphors. This substance will react to the beta particles to generate visible light. This reaction is called radioluminescence or phosphorescence. Different types of phosphors can be used, each of them having a specific wavelength resulting in a different color. Therefore, tritium vials don’t require any power or battery and will last for years.

Which tritium vials color gives maximal glowing effect?

Tritium vials can be found in different colors ranging from purple to blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Green tritium vials will generally look like they produce a brighter light. This is not due to the amount of light emitted but instead, relies on a particularity of the human eye. For instance, the human eye possesses 3 different types of cones that can detect light. Since green is right in the middle of the visible spectra, it will yield a maximal response from two of the main types of cones present in the eye. As a result, it will give the impression that the green light is brighter.

What is tritium also used for?

Tritium is used as a chemical tracer to study oceanic currents. It is also a key component of nuclear weapons used to prime and boosts nuclear explosions. This substance is also a replacement for radium to make glow paint. Of course, there are other interesting uses and also more frivolous applications such as tritium keychains, bracelets, or necklaces.


Tritium rings, vials, and keychains are really cool science gadgets! They will definitely catch other people’s attention, and if you are not shy of your scientific geek side, tell them about what you just learned here!

What do you think about these tritium vials, keychains, and rings? Feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions down below!

Please have a look at my previous post to find the best rock hammers and geologist’s tools for rock hounding.


1- M.I. Ojovan, W.E. Lee, Chapter 11 – Long-Lived Waste Radionuclides,
Editor(s): M.I. Ojovan, W.E. Lee, An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation, Elsevier, 2005, Pages 115-123, ISBN 9780080444628

2- Canadian Nuclear FAQ by Jeremy Whitlock

3- Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Tritium: The environmental, health, budgetary, and strategic effects of the Department of Energy’s decision to produce tritium, Hisham Zerriffi, 1996

4- Wikipedia page – Tritium

Best Tritium Vials & Keychains: Glow In The Dark Radioactivity! | Science Improved (2024)


What is the brightest tritium vial? ›

Colour Available: Green, Yellow, White, Ice Blue & Orange. These are the five colours of tritium that appear brightest to the eye with green being the brightest, then yellow followed by white, ice blue and orange.

Are tritium keychains illegal in the US? ›

Legislation. Because tritium is used in boosted fission weapons and thermonuclear weapons (though in quantities several thousand times larger than that in a keychain), consumer and safety devices containing tritium for use in the United States are subject to certain possession, resale, disposal, and use restrictions.

Are tritium vials legal in the US? ›


How long will tritium vials glow? ›

This energy (ionizing radiation) excites the phosphorus and causes it to glow. This creates a constant and steady glow for years. The rated half life of tritium is approximately 12 years.

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