Is the NITECORE Flashlight Worth the Money? See What I Found Out When I Put It Through Its Paces
Today’s tactical flashlights meant for the average consumer are built tough and patterned after military models. See how this popular model fared in our hands-on testing.
Consumers can choose from a wide variety of tactical-style flashlights that are designed to offer the same benefits as those used by the military. Most are relatively small and lightweight, making them easy to carry, and they emit very bright LED light beams. Many are made of weapons-grade aluminum, and they may have the ability to withstand being submerged in water for short periods.
We tested one of the currently most popular models, the NITECORE P12, to see if it lived up to the manufacturer’s claims as well as our high standards. Ahead, find out how we put the flashlight through its paces and whether it’s the right fit for your nighttime illumination needs.
NITECORE P12: At a Glance
- Bright, 1,000 lumens
- Waterproof rating is IPX8
- Lightweight and durable
- Small mode button
- No charging function
- Ineffective tactical ring
Get the NITECORE P12 at:
What Is the NITECORE P12 Flashlight?
On first inspection, I found the P12 lighter than I’d imagined it would be—it weighs in at just 3.10 ounces without the battery installed. Though it fits easily in the palm of my hand, at a bit less than 6 inches long, it’s too large to be a keychain flashlight. The body, which is made of anodized black aluminum, features a ribbed and textured surface that allows for a good, solid grip, even when the flashlight is wet.
The NITECORE P12 is rated IPX8, which means it should withstand being submerged in water up to 6 feet deep for at least 30 minutes, so the first test was to determine if this claim was true. I dropped the NITECORE in a bathtub full of water and left it for half an hour, then dried it off to proceed with testing. While the water was only about 1.5 feet deep (not 6 feet), the NITECORE functioned well throughout the testing.
The NITECORE P12 emits 1,000 lumens of LED light—enough to illuminate objects at a distance of 180 yards. The P12 operates on a single 18650 lithium-ion battery (included) or two 3 volt CR123A batteries (not included).
Is the NITECORE P12 Easy to Use?
Like most tactical flashlights, the NITECORE P12 has an on/off button on the rear of the unit. On some flashlights, this button is used to scroll through the various functions; the P12 is slightly different. After turning the flashlight on, I was able to adjust the intensity of the light beam by clicking a small rubber button near the head of the flashlight. The button isn’t easy to see, and I missed it at first. However, once I learned where it was, I could find it by touch in the dark.
The P12 has four light intensities, and in typical outdoor nighttime situations, the brightest intensity wouldn’t always be necessary. In addition to brightness adjustability, the P12 has an impressively bright emergency strobe that would attract attention from quite a distance.
What’s Included With the NITECORE P12?
The flashlight comes with a black canvas holster that attaches to a belt or a purse strap via a Velcro-like tab, plus a carrying strap, a black steel clip, and a tactical ring.
The tactical ring slips over the flashlight head and is intended to prevent it from rolling around, but I didn’t find that feature helpful. The ring also provides a flat surface if the user wants to stand the P12 up, although a slight bump would surely topple it. I wasn’t impressed with the ring and opted not to use it.
I deem the relatively thin carrying strap to be undersized, but the steel clip on the NITECORE P12 is definitely a winner. It’s made from strong black steel, and it snaps firmly around the flashlight’s cylinder, allowing the user to clip the P12 on a belt loop or other strap. The clip seems very secure. The canvas holster is merely shrug-worthy, however: It attaches to a belt via a Velcro-like strap, but I would have preferred a holster with a steel clip.
Is the NITECORE P12 Flashlight Worth the Money?
The NITECORE P12 sells for about $48, and as far as tactical flashlights go, that’s a good price for 1,000 lumens and the ability to adjust the light intensity. I’ve tested tactical flashlights that are over $100, and while the NITECORE P12 comes with a slightly less intense beam, unless the user needs to light up an object at a distance farther than 200 yards, it’s a decent pick.
The canvas holster and the carrying strap are not as good on the P12 as on some pricier models, but the flashlight itself is well made. In my estimation, it has solid value for the money.
Is the NITECORE P12 Flashlight Right for You?
For those who want the benefits of a tactical flashlight—bright, directional beam; small in size; and lightweight—but aren’t prepared to invest over $100, the NITECORE P12 won’t disappoint. It comes with one of the highest waterproof IPX ratings available in tactical flashlights. Its small size makes it well suited for hikers, campers, and hunters who don’t want to carry a heavy flashlight yet want more versatility than a headlamp can provide.
If you’re only looking for an around-the-house flashlight, you can find a less expensive model that may suit your needs better. If you’re in the market for a flashlight as a backup for a power outage, you probably won’t require the intensity of the NITECORE P12, but you may appreciate it.
Where to Buy the NITECORE P12 Flashlight
Get the NITECORE P12 at: