Nightcore MT-26 Review: The 18650 Flashlight You Gotta Have

nightcore mt-26 review

Nitecore has done it again with its MT-26 Multi-task Flashlight. This one is included in Nitecore’s Multi-task flashlight series that promises to give you convenience, reliability, and durability at times and places where you most need them—in a handy and compact manner. Read the review below to know why the Nitecore MT-26 flashlight is the best 18650 flashlight out there.

Quick Summary

Pros

  • Tough build
  • Plenty of light modes
  • Intuitive UI
Cons

  • Just 750-lumens light output
  • Quite bulky
  • Turbo mode is short-lived
When it comes to usability and build quality, the Nitecore MT-26 is the best 18650 flashlight on the market today. The multiple light modes coupled with an intuitive user interface makes it a handy tool for any outdoor situation.

Build Quality

nightcore mt 26 build quality

Because it falls under the Multi-task series, the MT-26 is built tough and solid. Crafted from high quality aero grade aluminum alloy with a hard anodized Type III military grade material, this flashlight’s body could cater to almost all situations imaginable.

To add up to the light quality this flashlight offers, the torch lens boasts a toughened ultra-clear mineral glass lens that has an anti-reflective coating as well.

Now that the materials used has been specified, it is also worthy to note that the Nitecore MT-26 is impact-resistant for up to 4.9 feet. Since multi-tasking involves a multitude of activities, dropping and damaging this flashlight is one worry thrown out the window.

Again, since this is a multi-task flashlight, it would help if it is water-proof as well. Good thing the Nitecore MT-26 is water-proof according to IPX-8 standards. Submersible for up to 2 meters of water, this flashlight shines through before, during, and after a quick trip to the wetlands. This flashlight also has reverse polarity protection for your safety.

The kind of knurling on this flashlight is also commendable. While the body knurling is designed after the traditional types on most flashlights, that is, diamond-shaped grooves that extend three times throughout the entire body, the rhombic knurling design near the torch is also helpful for a better ergonomic grip. This feature also makes the Nitecore MT-26 a fall-proof flashlight since it adds to the anti-rolling feature on any flat surface.

Light

nightcore light output

Equipped with a CREE XM-L U2 type of LED bulb, this multi-task flashlight can offer a maximum of 800 lumens of light output—perfect for situations that need ultra-bright and clear white light. The Nitecore MT-26 LED bulb boasts a burn time of 50,000 hours in total. Running on a single 18650 Li-on battery, the features offered are compiled into a six-inch long multi-task flashlight—literally ready for anything that may come its way.

Batteries and Charging

This flashlight’s voltage drive circuit can support rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries too. The Nitecore MT-26 Multi-task flashlight can either be powered by two CR123A batteries or a single 18650 rechargeable battery cell. It is advisable to use the 18650 battery cell because it performs better than the former option.

This flashlight features 4 brightness modes, strobe, and SOS. Turbo Mode can give off 800 lumens for up to 2 hours, High Mode gives off 250 lumens for up to 5 long hours, Medium Mode offers 78 lumens for 17 and a half hours, and Low Mode can last up to 45 hours giving off 25 lumens of light output.

Aesthetics and Usability

usability

Button location and mechanisms of the Nitecore MT-26 is part of why it is the best 18650 multi-task flashlight in the market. It features both a twist mechanism for light mode settings and a forward clicky button at the tail end for the basic on/off function.

Separate controls make this multi-task flashlight handy and convenient as the strategic places of the tail end button helps with the grip and overall handling. Also, the tail end button does not interfere with the MT-26’s tail stand function—perfect for tasks requiring both hands.

The MT-26’s user interface is also one of its attractive characteristic. It features both a turbo mode and a user-defined mode that you can easily switch into. Turning the head clock-wise lets you access the user-defined mode to suit your own lighting requirements.

Twisting the head back returns it to Turbo Mode. The on/off mechanism also lets you cycle through the light modes. Allowing a 3-second gap lets the current light mode stay on until you change it again. The user interface is not that hard to master because once you have it programmed, you are basically good to go.

Although the Turbo Mode can run for up to 2 hours, Nitecore says that the Turbo Mode runtime is up to 3 minutes long. After that, there is a noticeable drop in light output, approximately a 250-lumen difference, until you switch it on Turbo Mode again. The turbo mode of 800 lumens is really bright but it does heat up the material after prolonged use, so the three-minute step down can count as a safety feature, so as not to let you accidentally handle a flashlight that would feel like a hot torch.

Being a multi-task flashlight, the Nitecore MT-26 does not kid when it comes to the features it comes with. Also, the 18650 rechargeable battery cell feature adds up to the reliability this flashlight can offer you—and with all those perks combined, the Nitecore MT-26 easily snatches the first place in the best 18650 battery-powered flashlight available in the market.

Pros

  • The Nitecore MT-26 Multi-task flashlight is programmable (including the strobe mode) according to the lighting sequence you most need.
  • This is inclusive of a clip, tactical ring, lanyard, quality holster, spare plastic cap, and spare O-ring for back-up.
  • This does not eat up juice from the 18650 battery that fast, so you get longer run times than usual.
  • The MT-26 is capable of a perfect long-range beam.

Cons

  • It says 800 lumens on the box packaging but the light output is noticeably the same with a 750-lumen light output.
  • This flashlight might not be as storage-friendly since it is quite bulky and long, but you can definitely use the free holster for safe-keeping.
  • This plummets to a 550-lumen light output after only 3 minutes on Turbo Mode, which can be distracting especially if your hands are full to switch it to the same mode again every three minutes.

Our Verdict

When it comes to usability and build quality, the Nitecore MT-26 is the best 18650 flashlight on the market today. The multiple light modes coupled with an intuitive user interface makes it a handy tool for any outdoor situation.

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