Wednesday, September 19, 2018

3 Reasons to Pack an LED Lantern for Your Next Camping Trip

As much as we love flashlights, we can be honest that it’s not always the best lighting choice. Many of our flashlights are designed with a bright, focused center which can be great for illuminating objects in the distance but not so much when you get up close. Headlamps can be a good alternative with wider angle and floodier beams, but they’re not the best for sharing your light with others. Lanterns are the perfect compromise for portable, hands-free lighting that illuminates a space evenly for an unlimited number of users. No wonder it's a technology that goes back to man’s very roots!

Not Your Father’s Lantern

Lanterns may be an ancient concept, but today’s lanterns are definitely not! If you’re familiar with traditional fuel burning lanterns, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that LED lanterns offer the same space-illuminating power with some serious benefits you won’t find anywhere else.

Need some more convincing? We put together our top 3 reasons an LED lantern is a must-buy for campers, explorers, preppers and travelers alike.

Reason #3: LED lanterns can be recharged on the go

Without something to power your lantern, it quickly becomes a fancy paperweight. Traditional fuel lanterns rely on some form of gas to produce a flame which is nice … until your fuel runs out. Here an LED lantern offers two distinct advantages:

1. Size: Backup li-ion batteries take up considerably less room in your gear than a fuel canister.
2. Replenishable: If you run out of gas while deep in the back country, you’re out of luck. With a rechargeable battery, you can always add more power via a solar panel or power bank so you’ll never worry about running out.

Top Pick: Many of our lanterns include a USB charging port, but the LA30 bi-fuel lantern is our absolute favorite thanks a built-in rechargeable battery AND support for 2x AAs.

Reason #2: LED lanterns are much more compact and portable than fuel lanterns

If you’re going on a longer trek or want to keep your gear weight down, LED lanterns are the way to go. With some lanterns as small as the size of a tube of lipstick, LED lanterns bring the convenience of bright, 360° lighting without taking up valuable space in your backpack.

All of our lanterns can fit in the palm of you hand and weigh under 5 ounces -- most weigh under 2 oz!

Top Pick: A lantern the size of a tube of lipstick? That’s right! The NITECORE LA10 mini lantern is so, so compact and lightweight you’ll never look at lanterns the same way again.

Reason #1: LED lanterns are safer and kid-friendly

Unlike fuel lanterns which rely on an actual flame to produce light, LED lanterns are a safer and flame-free light source. LED lights produce minimal heat so you won’t have to worry about using these lanterns in your tent or keep an eye on curious little fingers. For families who camp together, this added peace of mind is huge.

Top Pick: What could possibly be more kid-friendly than the NITECORE LR10 Panda Edition? If you’re camping with little ones, consider adding this cute and easy to operate lantern to your gear.

Compare NITECORE Lanterns

This chart breaks down the highlights of all our lanterns so you can quickly compare models.

Model LED Max Brightness Max Runtime Red LED? Battery Built-in Charging? Dimensions Weight
LA10 CREE XP-G2 S3 135 lumens 23 hr No 1x AA No 3.08”x0.89” 1.51 oz
LR10 9x High CRI 250 lumens 38 hr Yes Built-in li-ion Yes 2.58”x1.97”x0.98” 2.08 oz
LR12 CREE XP-L HD V6 1000 lumens 900 hr No 1x 18650 No 4.18”x1.06” 2.77 oz
LA30 8x High CRI 250 lumens 56 hr Yes Built-in li-ion OR 2x AA Yes 2.96”x1.95”x2.12” 4.61 oz
LR30 6x High CRI 205 lumens 62 hr Yes 1x 18650 No 3.62”x1.72”x1.24” 2.18 oz

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

4 Tips for Picking Out the Best Headlamp for Any Situation

Who needs a headlamp?

If you ask us who needs a headlamp, our simple answer is everyone! As much as we love flashlights for their portability and convenience, the same is double for headlamps. Add in the fact that your hands are completely free to work and play, and a headlamp becomes a no-brainer for so many different situations.

Aside from the obvious “no-hands-needed” factor of a headlamp, the other big difference between a flashlight and headlamp is the beam spread. Flashlights tend to be optimized for throw distance and will have a focused hotspot. Headlamps, on the other hand, are designed to create a wide-angle beam that can evenly illuminate your immediate field of view.

Common uses for headlamps & our top headlamp recommendation

Of course this isn't an exhaustive list. Tell us in the comments below how you use your headlamp!

Four tips for buying headlamps

Tip #1: Find the right brightness for your headlamp

Let’s start with the most important feature of your headlamp: the output. It may seem obvious, but it’s vital to make sure your headlamp is capable of doing what you need it to do!

In general, the brighter your headlamp is, the larger battery solution it will require which will cause an increase in overall size and weight. As you shop around, you’ll probably notice that most headlamps come in two major categories: < 500 lumen max output and 1000+ lumen max output.

Lower lumen headlamps like the NITECORE NU20 and NITECORE NU25 are great for everyday use and adding an extra boost of visibility in low light situations like modeling/crafting, cleaning dark corners, running, cycling and outdoor sports.

If you’ll be in total darkness, need to illuminate larger spaces or have poor eyesight, consider a full-size headlamp capable of at least 1000 lumens. Headlamps like the NITECORE HC65 are a staple for industrial workers and back country explorers for their super bright output and long runtimes. For our brightest headlamp, you’ll want to check out the NITECORE HC33 1800 lumen headlamp.

Tip #2: Know your headlamp power options

If brightness is the most important factor, the power solution for your headlamp comes in close second. Batteries account for a large portion of the weight and bulk of a headlamp, after all. Finding the sweet spot between size and battery life can be tricky, so let’s look at your options.

External Battery Headlamps
You’ll find a variety of headlamps that use a removable battery to power the headlamp. These are a great option for extended and heavier users because you can carry a backup set of batteries to swap out and charge as needed.

For single 18650 battery headlamps, you’ll frequently find the battery integrated into the body tube of the lamp like the NITECORE HC33 and NITECORE HC65. For headlamps that use a bulkier power solution like the NITECORE HC70, you’ll often see a battery pack solution that can be clipped to your belt or tucked in a bag. This keeps the headlamp mangeable while maintaining a powerful output with long runtimes.

Built-in Battery Headlamps
Although not a rule, the vast majority of headlamps with built-in batteries do so to keep the overall size and weight of the headlamp to a minimum. Headlamps with a built-in battery like the NITECORE NU20 strike the perfect balance between weight and output. In fact, many customers tell us the NU20 is so comfortable they can’t even tell they’re wearing it!

The other advantage of built-in batteries on headlamp besides weight is the charging capability. All of our headlamps with built-in batteries include a micro-USB charging port for convenient charging at home and on the go.

Tip #3: Keep your headlamp lightweight for comfort

Okay, we’ve hinted at it strongly already, but we’re coming out and saying it now: buy the most compact headlamp that will suit your needs. If you’re going to be wearing your headlamp for any length of time, you’ll want something that’s comfortable.

Tip #4: Consider special outputs & features for your headlamp

Special outputs
To get the most functionality out of your headlamp, consider headlamps with secondary LED options such as red and high CRI LEDs.

  • Red outputs are a staple among hunters for their low detectability to hog, coyote and other varmints as well as photographers and campers for preserving night vision.
  • High CRI outputs are becoming more popular and are a huge help for up close tasks. An LED with a high Color Index Rating (>90) mimics natural sunlight and is capable of rendering colors and details with a high degree of accuracy. The benefits are immediately noticeable and payoff huge for those who suffer from eye strain.

IP rating
If you’re going to be out in rain, sleet and snow, make sure you get a headlamp designed to withstand the elements. Some headlamps like the NU20 are fine for light splashing and rain, but won’t survive a full dunk in the lake. If there’s any chance of full submersion, look for headlamps with an IPX8 waterproof rating. Our favorites include the NITECORE HC65 rechargeable headlamp and NITECORE HC60 rechargeable headlamp.

Don’t settle for just a headlamp or a flashlight when you can have the convenience of both! L-angle headlamps combine the best of both worlds by quickly converting from a headlamp to a small, EDC size torch. Available in the NITECORE HC33 L-angle headlamp and NITECORE HC30 L-angle headlamp.

Compare NITECORE Headlamps

Below is a side-by-side comparison of all our NITECORE headlamps so you can quickly compare models based on several key features.

Model LED Max Brightness Max Throw Battery Type Built-in Charging? Special Outputs Waterproof rating Dimensions Weight
NU10 5x CREE LEDS 160 lm 38 yd Built-in 900mAh li-ion Y Red (13 lm) IP66 2.38”x1.38”x1.15” 2.29 oz
NU20 CREE XP-G2 LED 360 lm 87 yd Built-in 600mAh li-ion Y -- IPX7 2.18”x1.29”x0.82” 1.66 oz
NU25 CREE XP-G2 S3 LED 360 lm 88 yd Built-in 610mAh li-ion Y Red (13 lm);
high CRI (20 lm)
IP66 2.19”x1.36”x0.91” 0.99 oz
NU30 CREE XP-G2 S3 LED 400 lm 132 yd Built-in 1800mAh li-ion Y Red (19 lm);
high CRI (35 lm)
IPX7 2.48”x1.71”x1.24” 2.99 oz
HA20 CREE XP-G2 LED 300 lm 120 yd 2x AA N -- IP67 3.54”x2.18”x1.98” 2.17 oz
(without battery)
HA40 CREE XM-L2 U2 LED 1000 lm 199 yd 4x AA N -- IP66 2.52”x1.42”x2.20” 4.47 oz
(without battery)
HC30* CREE XM-L2 U2 LED 1000 lm 177 yd 1x 18650 or 2x CR123A N -- IPX8 3.86”x0.95” 1.42 oz
(without battery)
HC33 CREE XHP35 HD LED 1800 lm 204 yd 1x 18650 >8A output N -- IP68 4.15”x1” 1.81 oz
(without battery)
HC60* CREE XM-L2 U2 LED 1000 lm 128 yd 1x 18650 or 2x CR123A Y -- IPX7 3.11”x0.73”x1.06” 3.47 oz
(without battery)
HC65 CREE XM-L2 U2 LED 1000 lm 120 yd 1x 18650 or 2x CR123A Y Red (11 lm);
high CRI (26 lm)
IPX8 3.26”x1.31”x1.05” 2.21 oz
(without battery)
HC70 CREE XM-L2 U2 LED 1000 lm 199 yd 2x 18650 or 4x CR123A
(external battery case)
Y -- IP67 2.52”x1.42”x2.20” 3.45 oz
(head unit only)
* Also available in neutral white for a warmer beam than traditional cool white LEDs

Thursday, September 6, 2018

NITECORE TM10K Tiny Monster 10,000 Lumen Burst USB-C Rechargeable Flashlight Review

Get ready to meet the BRIGHTEST flashlight NITECORE has ever made. We're taking you through all the bells and whistles on the new NITECORE TM10K Tiny Monster flashlight in this review.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

NITECORE Store Guide to Buying Li-ion Batteries

Why use li-ion batteries in your flashlight?If you’re new to LED flashlights, you may be wondering why it seems like every flashlight these days uses li-ion cells. Although flashlights, lanterns and headlamps are still made that can run on the more commonly sourced AA or AAA cells, the days of the C and D cell flashlight are rapidly dwindling.

The truth is modern LED flashlights require a more sophisticated power solution to reach the highest lumen outputs. A vast majority of LED flashlights produced today use li-ion batteries not only for their bright potential, but to also keep devices slim and lightweight. When you consider the rechargeable nature of these batteries, it’s easy to understand why li-ion batteries are preferred for high power flashlights.

How to read the names on a li-ion battery

18650, 14500, 21650 … what? These numbers may seem random, but there’s actually a method to the madness. Li-ion batteries are named with a specific convention that tells us the exact dimensions of the battery so we’ll know if it will fit into our flashlight or not.  Li-ion battery names break down into three parts.

The first two numbers represent the diameter of the battery in mm. So an 18650 battery is 18 mm in diameter and a 16340 battery is, you guessed it, 16 mm in diameter.

The next two numbers represent the battery length in millimeters. Going back to the 18650 example, the middle two numbers tell us the battery is 65 mm long and a 16340 battery is 34 mm long.

You’ll notice the last number on all cylindrical batteries is always a zero. This is because the final digit represents the shape of the battery and tells us it’s round!

What about CR123 and RCR123 batteries?

CR123, RCR123 both refer to a 16340 size battery with a few key differences.

A CR123 is the non-rechargeable lithium-manganese version of a 16340 size battery while an RCR123 is the rechargeable lithium-ion counterpart.

You may have also noticed that two 16340 batteries is roughly double the length of an 18650 battery. Many times you’ll see a flashlight support either 1x 18650 battery or 2x CR123/RCR123 batteries. Even though the 16340 batteries are slightly narrower in diameter, the length allows for a proper contact and can be substituted.

Flat-top vs. button-top

Some 18650 batteries come with a protective button on the positive pole. Button-top, or protected cells, use this little cap as an additional protection against short circuits and over discharging. Flat-top, or unprotected cells, do not have this additional safety feature and are often used in flashlights which require a large draw of current to sustain bright outputs.

If your device requires button-top batteries, you’ll want to make sure you purchase only button-top cells for one simple reason: flat-top batteries will often be just a little too short to make proper contact inside your device and not work!

If your device supports flat-top batteries, it’s important to remember that these cells can be depleted and enter a dormant state in which they will not recharge. If your flashlight can no longer sustain the maximum brightness or appears dim, remove the batteries and charge them as soon as possible to avoid this common mistake.

Tip: The vast majority of batteries we carry on our site are button-top. If you're looking for flat-top cells for vaping, we recommend our IMR 18650 3100mAh rechargeable li-ion batteries available in a 2-pack.

Understanding battery specifications

Now that we have the right size battery for our flashlight picked out, let’s look a little closer at some different specifications you might see.

Battery Capacity

Just like li-ion batteries can come in a variety of physical sizes, there is also a range of battery capacities available. A battery capacity, labeled in milliamp hours or mAh, clues us in to how much charge the battery can hold. What this means for you is the larger the capacity of the battery, the longer runtime you’ll get on a single charge.

For the highest capacity, try: NITECORE NL1835 18650 li-ion battery or NITECORE NL1835HP 18650 li-ion battery
For the budget friendly, try: NITECORE NL1823 18650 li-ion battery

Battery Voltage

Voltage lets you know the electronic potential of the battery, or in simpler terms, how strong the electric current is when discharged from the battery. Most li-ion batteries have a low voltage between 3 and 3.7V.

One word of caution: When two batteries are placed in a series, the voltage of each battery is combined to calculate the new total voltage. This means that although many flashlights can swap between 1x 18650 or 2x 16340 batteries, some devices will not be able to handle the extra voltage. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid frying your flashlight with too high a voltage.

Battery Output Current

While voltage tells us the strength of the battery output, we also need to know how much electrical current is flowing at a given time. For this we can look at a battery’s discharge rate which is measured in amps or A.

A standard, button-top 18650 battery will usually have a discharge rate around 5A (or often not list the discharge rate at all!). As advances in LED technology have demanded higher and higher outputs, nowadays you’ll see some flashlights like the EC23, MH23 and HC33 require a high discharge rate to enable the brightest modes. If this is the case for your flashlight, you’ll want to seek out batteries that meet the minimum discharge rate specified by the manufacturer.

IMR batteries: It’s all about chemistry

But what about IMR batteries, you ask? What’s the difference between a li-ion and an IMR battery? Li-ion is a general term referring to any battery that uses lithium ions to create an electrical current.

More specifically, IMR batteries are a type of li-ion battery that uses manganese as the primary cathode material. Usually seen in flat-top cells, this chemistry is preferred and sometimes required for high drain devices.

Specialty li-ion batteries and when you’ll want them

With more advances in battery technology, the more options have become available to consumers. Below we cover two of the most recent advances and when you'll want to pick up a pair.

High performance

NITECORE NL1835HP 18650 8A output li-ion rechargeable battery
As mentioned above, some flashlights need batteries with a high discharge rate in order to reach the brightest outputs. In the past, your only option was often a flat-top IMR battery more commonly used in vaping devices. This is an okay solution, but what if you want a protected cell?

To meet the growing demand, NITECORE has created a line of High Performance (HP) batteries designed to meet high discharge needs in a button-top battery. These batteries such as the NL1835HP feature an 8A discharge rate and are a must for any NITECORE flashlight requiring a high discharge battery.

One final reason not to shy away from High Performance batteries: they’re backwards compatible! If you have an older LED flashlight that runs on regular old 18650s, you can still use HP batteries without worrying about the higher discharge rate affecting your device. We frequently recommend these batteries to anyone who currently owns an older model but thinks they might upgrade in the future to one of our high performance flashlights.

USB Rechargeable

One of the newest advances in li-ion batteries is the introduction of USB rechargeable batteries. That's right, these cells come with a micro-USB port built directly into the battery!

If you're looking to minimize your carry or want to supplement a flashlight that doesn't have a built-in charging port, these batteries are for you. Compatible with common USB power sources such as power banks, solar panels and laptops (and traditional chargers, too!), all you need to do is plug these batteries in to charge. An indicator light underneath the positive pole goes from red to green to indicate charging progress.

For the highest capacity, try: NITECORE NL1834R 3400mAh USB rechargeable li-ion battery
For the budget friendly, try: NITECORE NL1826R 2600mAh USB rechargeable li-ion battery

Low temperature

If you plan on using your flashlight in cold temperatures (think sub-zero), you might want to consider picking up batteries designated for use in low temperatures. Designated as LT in their model names, these batteries are optimized for, you guessed it, low temps.

In the past, CR123A batteries were the preferred power source for anything cold weather due to their chemistry’s superior performance. Now, NITECORE makes the NL1829LTP low temp batteryNL1829LTHP low temp, high performance battery and NL1829RLTP USB recjhargeable, low temp, high performance battery -- all designed to perform in temperatures all the way down to -40 F.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Rain, Sleet, Snow and What Your Flashlight's Waterproof Rating Means

With about 71% of the Earth’s surface covered in water, you’re bound to run into some wet situations in your adventures. It’s important to know what sort of weather (or puddles!) your flashlight can tolerate in order to keep your gear in top working condition.

If you’ve ever puzzled at what the different waterproof ratings on flashlight packaging mean or just want to make sure you’re covered in case of a sudden downpour, this guide is for you. We demystify IP ratings and point out some of our favorite waterproof flashlights along the way!

The Difference Between Water-Resistant, Water-Repellent, and Waterproof

Before we get into IP ratings and what they mean, we should first clear up the difference between the terms water-resistant, water-repellent and waterproof. You’ll sometimes see these words used interchangeably, however, each has its own definition so it’s important to know the difference.

Water-resistant refers to a flashlight that’s able to resist the penetration of water -- but not entirely. These are flashlights that can withstand a certain amount of heavy splashing and rain but should not be submerged completely.

Waterproof flashlights are those that can fully resist water penetration for a certain amount of time at a specified depth. Look for these flashlights for peace of mind if there’s any chance your light will become submerged.

Water-repellent products are those which water cannot easily penetrate and usually offer some sort of water repellent coating on the surface. As you can imagine, water-repellent is a term more reserved for things like backpacks and bags.

The problem with all three terms is that it’s still very subjective, especially when differentiating between water-repellent and water-resistant. To know if your flashlight can be tossed in a puddle without worry, you’ll need to look at the IP rating.

Ingress Protection Standards

A flashlight’s IP rating or Ingress Protection rating is how you’ll know what sort of moisture and particulate exposure your flashlight can handle. All of our flashlight ratings use an international standard as put forth by IEC 60529 (International Electrotechnical Commission) and adopted by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

These internationally agreed upon standards for measuring solid and liquid protection in electrical equipment make it easy for consumers to purchase  products and feel confident in how they will behave when exposed to the elements.

First Number: Protection from Solids

IP ratings break down into two parts. The first number represents the equipment’s protection from solids on a 0 to 6 scale. As numbers on this scale increase, the finer the size of a particulate is protected against. The highest rating is reserved for products that are fully protected from solid ingression.

Rating Protected Against Example
0 Not protected N/A
1 Particulates >50mm Large parts of the body such as the back of the hand, but will not protect deliberate contact with body parts
2 Particulates >12.5mm Fingers and objects of similiar size
3 Particulates >2.5mm Tools and thick cables
4 Particulates >1mm Most screws, wires and small insects
5 Dust Protected Some protection from dust; must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with operation of the equipment
6 Dust Tight Total protection from dust

Second Number: Protection from Liquids

The second number in a flashlight’s IP rating describes the degree of water-resistance it has on a 0 to 8 scale. As the number increases, so too does the protection against water ingression. The highest number is for products rated as totally impervious, although even here there are limits which will be listed by the manufacturer.

Rating Protected Against Test Time
0 No protection --
1 Dripping water; vertically falling when mounted in an upright position 10 minutes (water equivalent to 1mm of rainfall per min)
2 Dripping water; tilted at 15 degrees, all four positions tested 2.5 minutes per tilt (water equivalent to 3mm of rainfall per min)
3 Spraying water; up to 60 degrees from vertical 1 min per square meter (at least 5 minutes)
4 Water splash; from any direction 10 minutes
5 Water jets; from a nozzle of 6.3mm 1 min per square meter with 12.5 liters of water per min, including a pressure of 30kPa from 3 meters
6 Power water jets; from a nozzle of 12.5mm 1 min per square meter with 100 liters of water per min, including a pressure of 100kPa from 3 meters
7 Submersion of up to 1m depth 30 minutes
8 Submersion of depth of 1m or more Test depth should be specified by manufacturer

Putting IP Ratings Together

Putting everything you just learned together, let’s take a look at some NITECORE products and their specific IP ratings.

The NITECORE NU25 is a great example of a water-resistant headlamp. The NU25 has an IP66 rating which from the chart above means that it is totally protected from dust (6) and can withstand heavy jet spraying (6). You could reliably wear this headlamp when running and not worry about it breaking in a rainstorm, but you would want to avoid jumping in the pool with this one on.

Next let’s look at a totally waterproof flashlight like the NITECORE Concept 2. With an IP68 - 2m submersible rating, we can see that the Concept 2 is not only totally protected from dust (6) but can also withstand being fully submerged in liquid up to 2 meters deep (8).

What about IPX8?

As you might have noticed, many waterproof flashlights will have an X instead of a number for solid ingress protection. This means the item has not been given a rating for solid ingress protection, not that there isn't protection. For example, the NITECORE MH12GT is a waterproof flashlight with an IPX8 rating. Here the manufacturer is saying that the flashlight has only specifically been tested for its water ingress protection. The ability to protect against dust has not been tested.

One Final Note for Using Waterproof Flashlights

Waterproof ratings are only good if your flashlight is properly sealed. This means making sure your O-rings are in good condition, all body tubes are tightly secured, and any charging ports are properly plugged.

You should also keep in mind that some flashlights can get hot during operation, and it is never a good idea to submerge a hot flashlight in water to cool it down.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Anatomy of a Flashlight Beam

Perhaps one of the trickiest things about buying a flashlight online is not knowing how the beam will look until it arrives at your door. Fortunately, with a little bit of knowledge, you can get a pretty good idea of the beam pattern your flashlight will produce just by reading the manufacturer specifications.

Keep reading for our beginner’s guide to flashlight beam profiles and learn what makes the difference between flood and throw.

Anatomy of a Flashlight Beam


When you shine a flashlight against a wall or other smooth surface, you’ll quickly notice two major areas of the beam profile. In the center of  the beam is a circle of intensely bright output known as the hotspot.


Surrounding the hotspot, you’ll find a larger area of light known as the spill. This light will be noticeably dimmer than the hotspot and may form in a series of circles or a smooth wash of light depending on the flashlight reflector.

Flood vs. Throw

If you’ve read through different flashlight reviews, you’ve most likely come across these two terms repeatedly. In the flashlight world, flood refers to the area illuminated by the flashlight. When someone describes a flashlight as “floody,” they’re referring to a wide-angle beam that’s able to wash a surface in a smooth “flood” of light. These flashlights are great for up-close reading and general usage for their ability to evenly light up a space.

Want something with a very floody beam? Try one of our popular headlamps which are designed to illuminate a wide area in front of the wearer. Our favorite include:
NITECORE HC65 1000 lumen wide-angle beam headlamp
NITECORE NU25 360 lumen wide-angle beam headlamp

On the flip side, you’ll often hear flashoholics talk about a flashlight that is a “thrower.” Here, throw is referring to the ability of the flashlight to project light at a distance. As you can guess, throw flashlights will have a very intense and focused hotspot that can be seen at greater distances. Some of the best throw flashlights are rated for distances well over 10 football fields long. Throwers are frequently the torch of choice for hunting, tactical, search, and law enforcement for this reason.

Try these NITECORE flashlights for long throw beams:
NITECORE TM28 6000 lumen / 716 yard long throw flashlight
NITECORE MH20GT 1000 lumen / 396 yard long throw flashlight

Now that you have a grasp on the different parts of a flashlight beam and the basic terminology, let’s look at what determines the beam profile in the first place!

Flashlight Reflector Shape

With flashlights, it’s all about the reflector when it comes to beam profile.  A general rule of thumb to follow here is the more elongated and deep a flashlight reflector is, the more throw distance will be possible. For a more floody beam, you’ll want to stick with a flashlight that uses a more shallow and wide reflector.

Flashlight Reflector Texture

Not only does the shape of the reflector matter, but reflector texture also plays a role in determining a flashlight’s throw capability and beam profile: the smoother a reflector’s surface, the more throw distance the flashlight will be capable of. Below are some of the frequent designations given to describe a reflector’s texture:


Otherwise known as Smooth, you’ll see these reflectors on throw flashlights and other flashlights with a very focused center. As you can guess, the surface on these is polished smooth like a mirror.

A vast majority of NITECORE flashlights feature a smooth reflector. Some of our absolute favorites include:
NITECORE MH12GT 1000 lumen USB rechargeable flashlight with SMO reflector
NITECORE EC23 1800 lumen Compact EDC flashlight with SMO reflector


More common on everyday carry, general use and flood lights, OP stands for orange peel because of the texturing given to the reflector and its similarity to an orange peel. OP texture helps to smooth out light artifacts and creates even lighting. Sometimes you’ll see designations such as LOP (light orange peel) and MOP (medium orange peel) which further describe the amount of texturing detail.

Looking for a NITECORE flashlight with an orange peel reflector? Try these models:
NITECORE EC4S 2150 lumen diecast unibody flashlight with OP reflector
NITECORE TM03 Tiny Monster 2800 lumen burst LED flashlight with OP reflector

What about a TIR Lens?

In addition to the reflector, a flashlight’s lens will also have an effect on the beam profile. In fact, some flashlights rely heavily on lens shape to control the beam pattern. You’ll see these flashlights labeled as TIR (total internal reflector) optics or TIR lens and can be identified by the patterning such as a conical focus or textured surface. A TIR lens gives additional control over the light and can create diffused, wide and even oval beam patterns!

Flashlights that rely on the reflector shape to produce the desired beam pattern will feature a flat lens, often including anti-glare coating and ultra clear properties to maximize light output as much as possible.

LED Output & Intensity

This last one might seem obvious, but the LED itself will also have an effect on a flashlight’s beam profile. While some LEDs are designed to maximize the total lumen output, others are engineered to support high intensity applications.

CREE, one of our favorite LED suppliers, designates their brightest LEDs with HD (high density) and the most intense LEDs with HI (high intensity) at the end of the model names. For example, the CREE XHP35 HD is featured on some of our brightest flashlights like the Concept 2, while the CREE XP-L HI V3 has been a perpetual upgrade on our GT (Grand Throw) flashlights.

Coming Soon: NITECORE P12GTS 1800 Lumen Long Throw Tactical Flashlight

Have you heard? The NITECORE P12GTS flashlight is the newest upgrade to one our of best-selling flashlights. Now equipped with a CREE XHP35 HD LED, the P12GTS reaches a blazing 1800 lumen max brightness with 247 yards of throw distance.

The P12GT has been a consistent favorite among mechanics, handymen, DIY, EDC, construction workers, maintenance workers, IT professionals and everyone else who works in the dark. Now that it's brighter than ever, the P12GTS is sure to be an instant hit. 

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