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Get Outdoors! Nitecore EC20 Review [Bright]

Are you looking for a light you can use outdoors? Are you wanting something that will hold up well in the elements? Need a light that is compact enough to fit in your palm, but bright enough to light up camp? If this sounds like the style of light you are after you need to look into the Nitecore EC20. Coming in at just 5 inches long with the ability to emit up to 960 lumens on its highest setting, the Nitecore EC20 is the perfect outdoor companion. To discover everything else the Nitecore EC20 has to offer, continue 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

The hardest part about buying a flashlight is all of the choices you have. With the hundreds of lights to choose from, how do you know you are picking the right light for the task at hand. Before you purchase any flashlight you need to compare that light to others to understand what you are getting to ensure you are making the best choice. One of the most important features to look at is how bright the light is. You want to ensure the light will provide enough lumens for you. Many lights offer a variety of brightness levels allowing you to pick the amount of light you need at the time. Something else to consider is the runtime and battery used to power the light. More batteries don’t always mean a longer runtime, so be on the lookout. Other things to consider when purchasing a flashlight are the size and weight of the light, the IPX rating, how durable it is, and how easy it is to use.

Nitecore EC20

Nitecore EC20 960 Lumen CREE XM-L2 T6 LED Flashlight NL183 Rechargeable 18650 Battery, Charger and 2 X EdisonBright CR123A Lithium Batteries Bundle

The Nitecore EC20 belongs to the Explorer series of lights. The EC20 is a highly portable light with a sleek tubular body that offers users powerful performance. Designed for the outdoor enthusiast the Nitecore Ec20 offers an ergonomically design for easy one-handed operation. The light measures 5 inches long and weighs a little more than 2 ounces making it perfect for an every-day-carry kind of light.

The Nitecore EC20 utilizes a CREE XM-L2 (T6) LED to emit a maximum of 960 lumens for a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes. The light can be powered by a single 18650 battery or two CR123 batteries. The Nitecore EC20 is operated via a single side switch. Users have the ability to choose between four brightness levels: ultra-low, low, medium, and turbo. The Nitecore EC20 also offers three special modes for emergency situations: strobe, location beacon, and S.O.S modes.


  • Intelligent memory
  • Tail Stand


  • Timed step downs
  • Hot to touch


  • Dimensions: 5 inches long with a 1-inch diameter
  • Weight: 2.68 oz without batteries
  • Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 520 hours
  • Highest Setting: 960 lumens for 1 hour and 15 minutes

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Nitecore EC20 Features & Benefits

User Interface

Nitecore EC20 switch

If you are looking for a light that offers a user-friendly interface, it doesn’t get much better than the Nitecore Ec20. The entire light was designed for one-handed operation. The Nitecore Ec20 features an all-in-one control switch. This one switch is used to control the entire light from powering it on or off to cycling between brightness levels and special modes.  Turning the Nitecore EC20 on or off requires you to simply press the switch until you hear a click. Cycling through the four brightness levels offered requires users to press and hold the switch for 0.5 seconds. Once your brightness level is displayed release the switch. The Nitecore Ec20 offers an intelligent memory function, so the light will recall the last brightness level used when powered back on.

Built-In Indicator

The Nitecore EC20 features a built-in indicator light to alert users to current battery power. The indicator light starts working the minute the light is turned on. The blue light will blink once every two seconds to alert you when battery life has reached 50%. Once battery life drops to critical levels the blue light will rapidly blink. Every time you insert new batteries the power indicator light will blink specific sequences based on battery voltage. This technology is accurate plus or minus 0.1 volts.

Battery Options


Like other Nitecore lights, the EC20 is compatible with two styles of batteries. The Nitecore EC20 can be powered by a single 18650 Li-ion battery or two CR123 Li-ion batteries. Output and run times will vary based on the users choice of battery. The single 18650 offers a brighter light with longer run times, while the two CR123 batteries make the light appear dimmer and runtime is drastically reduced. No matter what battery is used Nitecore utilizes reverse polarity protection to prevent any damage from occurring due to improperly installing batteries.

Social Proof

After spending hours reading through several online reviews of the Nitecore EC20 I am happy to report that several others share my same good opinion. The Nitecore EC20 is an excellent every-day-carry style of light. On its highest setting, it offers enough lumens to temporarily blind any potential attackers. The lowest setting is ideal for those situations where you don’t want to ruin your night vision. With the addition of the three special modes, the light can be quite useful in emergency situations. The Nitecore EC20 is something that I would definitely buy to carry with me at all times.

Now even though the Nitecore EC20 is an excellent light, it isn’t perfect. The Nitecore Ec20 like other lights out there it has some room for improvements. One of the biggest issues I noticed with the Nitecore EC20 was the timed step downs from Hi mode. These timed step downs are a minor annoyance and are done to prevent the light from overheating. The other issue I found is the light lacks a Medium-High mode. Many users enjoy this extra mode between Hi and Low.


Nitecore EC20 Review Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a light that you can carry with you the Nitecore EC20 is an excellent choice. The various brightness levels offered by the Nitecore EC20 allow the light to be used for a large variety of tasks. Coming in at just 5 inches long and 1-inch diameter, the Nitecore EC20 fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and its tubular body is comfortable to hold. Now that you have seen what the Nitecore EC20 has to offer, go out and purchase on today.

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