In the world of modern flashlights, big lumens and epic runtimes tend to earn the headlines. And why not? Flashlights have become incredible tools over the last decade and the consistent improvements have made the best flashlights downright stunning.
But there’s also a case for small, simple, and affordable. And when those attributes start packing performance that rivals the top tier of lights from just a few years ago, my ears perk up a little.
This is the case of the Nitecore MT2A Pro. It’s a small light — so small it qualifies as a pen light designation. It’s just 5.62 inches long, with a tube diameter of about three-quarters of an inch. But don’t misjudge its diminutive size. It punches into the night with an impressive 1,000 lumens and a throw distance of 279 yards.
In short: The Nitecore MT2A Pro packs a lot of light in a little package. It comes with a quality USB-C-rechargeable Nitecore NL1416R battery. And at just $44 and the ability to also run off AA batteries, it makes a strong case as the best penlight you can buy.
- Max lumens 1,000
- Max beam distance 279 yards
- Max runtime 50 hours
- Lighting modes 3
- Battery included Nitecore NL1416R battery
- Bulb type UHi 20 LED
- Color temperature NA
- Size length 5.62”, head: 0.78” (26.5 mm), body: 0.68” (25.7 mm)
- Weight 1.41 oz. without battery
- Small, light
- AA and rechargeable-compatible
- Few modes
- Failed 6-foot drop test
Nitecore MT2A Pro Review
In testing the Nitecore MT2A Pro, I used it as I expected most people would use a small flashlight. I took my dog for walks around my neighborhood in the early evening darkness, which has now fallen thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time.
I poked around my basement and changed my furnace filter. I packed it in a pack as a backup light at elk hunting camp.
And as much as I adore my high-end flashlights with big lumen numbers and lots of features, I must admit this little powerhouse is legit. The center spotlight and halo make for easy viewing. The low power mode is plenty of juice for most situations, and the light will run a remarkable 20 hours while churning out those 50 lumens.
But what’s really outstanding is the combination of size, long-lasting battery, and power output. Nitecore here found a sweet spot unthinkable just a few years ago, which is largely thanks to the new NiteLab ultra high-intensity (UHi) 20 LED.
This new LED (first used here in the MT2A Pro) is both smaller and capable of producing more light than most LEDs. And thus, this wild package is possible.
So we know it creates good, useful light. Maybe more importantly, the user interface is very easy and intuitive. Just push the tail switch once to turn it on or off. Push it halfway to scroll through low, medium, and high settings. It can’t be much simpler.
Nitecore MT2A Pro: Durability Test
The MT2A Pro has some solid durability specs. It’s IP68 rated, meaning it has “Ingress Protection” against dust and solids, or is “dustproof,” and is waterproof for submersion, technically to 1 meter for at least 30 minutes. It’s also drop-resistant to 1 meter.
While I don’t have a 1-meter deep pool at my disposal, I do have a Home Depot bucket. So I started by filling it up with water and then turned on the flashlight and tossed it in. A half-hour later, it was still working perfectly.
Then, the drop test. The MT2A Pro had no problem with a 1-meter drop test, so it held up fine as promised. But this is an outdoor product, and I feel that a meter is a pretty gentle test of something you might drop off a cliff. I upped the test to 6 feet and dropped the light. It survived a fall to the side. A second drop onto the front though was too much, and the light did not function after hitting concrete the second time.
That’s a pretty harsh, yet realistic test. So I’m bummed it didn’t pass a 6-foot drop on more time. But if I didn’t have a dozen flashlights in testing, I’d probably go right out and buy another MT2A Pro. And heck, the light has a lanyard loop so you can secure it against just such an accident. And, as noted, it also sports a pocket clip — so such a fall ought to be preventable.
For those looking for a small, affordable pen-light with an excellent, quick-recharging battery, this should be high on the list. The fact that it is compatible with AA batteries should further cement its spot among high-end lights, with the only ding coming from a genuinely tough drop test.
Because when it comes down to performance, value, and size, this flashlight is really hard to beat.