Better Than a Phone! Nitecore EC11 Review [Bright]

Have you ever found yourself wishing you had a flashlight? Need something with you that is more powerful than your phone? Need a light small enough to fit in your pocket? If you are in the market for a compact, yet powerful EDC type of light you need to look closer at the Nitecore EC11. The Nitecore EC11 measures just under 3 inches and emits a maximum of 900 lumens. To find out what else the Nitecore EC11 has to offer, keep reading.

If you are particularly interested in Nitecore check out our Nitecore Buyers Guide that has the history of the brand and some of their top current lights. We also link out to all of our other Nitecore light reviews from there.

Before You Buy

Purchasing an EDC light can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. One of the most important things to consider with an EDC light is the size. EDC lights range from ultra-compact to long. Most people prefer the ultra-compact light because of their smaller size. The smaller the light the easier it is to take it with you. Power and functionality are two other things you want to consider with an EDC light. Make sure the light provides enough lumens for your needs. You need a light that is going to work for you. Look at the features and benefits the light provides to ensure it meets your requirements.

Nitecore EC11

Nitecore CREE XML2 900 lm LED Flashlight Secondary Red with 18350 Battery, Black, Left/Right

Coming in at just 2.95-inches long with the ability to emit a maximum of 900 lumens the Nitecore EC11 offers the highest performance to size ratio. The Nitecore EC11 is the very first handheld light to use a single IMR 18350. With a longer life cycle, better safety features, and many other improvements the new IMR battery is better than an ordinary Li-ion battery allowing for better performance. The Nitecore EC11 is also compatible with a CR123 battery, but output and runtimes are different. With the CR123 battery, the output is lower, but run times are longer.

In order to emit the 900 lumens, the Nitecore EC11 uses a CREE XM-L2 U2 LD. This LED allows for a longer throw with the brighter output while using less power than other similar lights. Made from a piece of CNC machined aerospace grade aluminum alloy the Nitecore EC11 features an anti-roll to prevent the light from rolling away and getting lost. The Nitecore EC11 is capable of tail standing as it has a flat tail cap design. With an IPX-8 rating and a durable design, the EC11 is suitable for all kinds of weather and conditions

Pros:

  • 2 lockout modes
  • Portable Multimeter
  • Dual switch design

Cons:

  • Bottom belt loop is Velcro
  • Hot to touch on Turbo

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 2.95 inches long with a 1.0-inch diameter
  • Weight: 1.60 oz without batteries
  • Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 12 hours
  • Highest Setting: 900 lumens for 30 minutes

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Nitecore EC11 Features & Benefits

User Interface

NitecoreEC11-lockout-modes

The Nitecore EC11 features a dual switch interface for a user-friendly interface. Both switches are located towards the head of the light and are raised for ease of use. The bottom switch is the On/Off switch and is used to provide direct access to Ultra-Low Output.  To access Ultra-Low Mode press and hold the power switch for a little more than one second while the light is powered off. The top switch is the Mode switch and provides use of three brightness levels, three special concealed modes, and Turbo Mode.  To cycle through the three brightness modes simply press the mode switch with the light powered on. Strobe mode is accessed by quickly pressing the Mode switch with the light powered off.

Independent Red Light

With the Nitecore EC11, users have direct access to an independent red light. The addition of a red light serves several purposes. When using the light at night the sudden brightness of ordinary light destroys night vision. Constant illumination of a red light preserves night vision and provides enough light to allow for map reading. A flashing red light works as a signal light. In standby mode, the red light flashes every three seconds allowing you to easily locate the light.

Two Lockout Modes

NitecoreEC11-UI

To prevent accidental activation and to preserve battery life most people look for a light that features a lockout mode. The Nitecore EC11 offers two lockout modes. The first lockout mode requires you to press and hold both switches for over one second while the light is powered on. This mode prevents accidental activation but doesn’t cut off power completely. If you plan on storing the light for a period of time or simply want to cut off all power to the light just loosen the tail cap.

Social Proof

After spending several hours reading through reviews of the Nitecore EC11 my opinion remains the same. The Nitecore EC11 is one of the smallest, but powerful lights on the market. Many people are in awe of this light. In looking at its ultra-compact size you would never believe that it could emit a maximum of 900 lumens of bright white light. The independent red LED isn’t nearly as powerful but is powerful enough to fulfill its three distinct purposes.

While most of the reviews of the Nitecore EC11 are positive, we know there is no such thing as a perfect light. The EC11 does have some flaws, but nothing that can’t be handled. One flaw we ran across was in regards to the belt case. The bottom loop of the case is secured by Velcro rather than being stitched closed. The Velcro may come undone causing your light to fall from the case. The other flaw is how hot the light gets in Turbo mode, but with 900 lumens it is to be expected.

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Alternatives

Nitecore EA11

Nitecore EA11 900 Lumens Mini Cree XM-L2 U2 LED Flashlight with Two Genuine Nitecore IMR 14500 Rechargeable Batteries, Nitecore UM20 Digital USB charger, Lumen Tactical Keychain Light

Like the Nitecore EC11, the Nitecore EA11 is compatible with two types of batteries. The EA11 can use an IMR14500 or an ordinary AA. With the ordinary AA battery output is drastically reduced, but run times will be a bit longer. The Nitecore EA11 utilizes a CREE XM-L2 U2 LED to emit a maximum of 900 lumens. Like the EC11 the EA11 offers 5 brightness levels and three special concealed modes. The Nitecore EA11 also offers a dual switch interface and independent red LED. The Nitecore EA11 differs from the Nitecore EC11 in size. The EA11 is about ½ inch longer than the EC11.

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Olight S1R

Olight S1R II 1000 Lumen Rechargeable EDC Pocket Flashlight with Olight Rechargeable Battery and LumenTac CR123A Backup Battery

The Olight S1R Turbo Version is an excellent alternative to the Nitecore EC11 if you need something a little different. With the Olight S1R, you will find a CREE XM-L2 LED with the ability to emit a maximum of 900 lumens in short bursts. With the Olight S1R, Turbo will burst 900 lumens for 1.5 minutes before stepping down to around 300 lumens for the remaining run time of 50 minutes. Moonlight Mode offers users 0.5 lumens for 15 days. The Olight S1R offers a magnetic charging port for the custom RCR123A battery. The S1R can also use other batteries, such as the CR123A, but charging is not supported by the magnetic charging port.

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Fenix RC09

EdisonBright Fenix RC09 550 Lumen USB Rechargeable CREE LED Flashlight EDC with Fenix 16340 Li-ion Battery BBX3 Battery Carry case Bundle

If you are looking for a light that isn’t as powerful as the Nitecore EC11 you need to look into the Fenix RC09. The compact light utilizes the same CREE XM-L2 U2 Led that the EC11 does, but only offers a maximum of 550 lumens. The Fenix RC09 is controlled by a single side switch. The magnetic suction bottom allows for hands-free operation. The included 16340 battery is rechargeable via the magnetic suction charging port located in the neck of the light or via the lightweight charging base. Charging cable features a charging indicator light that flashes green while charging and turns solid once charging is complete. Intelligent drive circuit allows a single CR123A battery to be used in emergencies, but they cannot be recharged inside the light.

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Nitecore EC11 Review Final Thoughts

If you are after an ultra-compact EDC light with plenty of power the Nitecore EC11 is the perfect choice for you. Coming in at just under 3 inches with a 1-inch diameter the EC11 emits up to 900 lumens in Turbo mode. With an independent red LED, 5 brightness levels, and three special concealed modes the Nitecore EC11 can be used for a variety of tasks. Now that you know what the Nitecore EC11 has to offer head on out and purchase one today.

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