Imalent MS18W Flashlight
Here’s the Imalent MS18W, a warm emitter version of the brightest handheld flashlight in the world! This light boasts 100,000-lumen output!!
Official Specs and Features
Here’s a link to the Imalent MS18W flashlight product page.
Only one version of the Imalent MS18W flashlight exists. That’s the one you’ll read about in this text. Also available is the Imalent MS18, which is the cool white option.
Imalent MS18W: 5000K
Imalent MS18: 6500K
The Imalent MS18W flashlight lists for $669.95, but lately there’s been a coupon that brings the price down by around 15%. That’s a fair bit on a $670 flashlight!
Well, the Imalent MS18W flashlight certainly blisters out the lumens. Output is simply astounding. The ratings for both versions are listed as the same, but we know a warmer emitter will be less efficient and have a lower total output. So we’d expect that this light might not be quite “up to the specifications” because the specs are for the 6500K version. We can accept that right up front. At around 70,000 lumens, this thing just boggles the mind. Let me tell you though, this thing gets hot. Not just hot on Turbo. But hot all the way down to even the lower modes. Hot. Red letters hot.
The Big Table
|Imalent MS18W Flashlight|
|Emitter:||Cree XHP70.2 (5000K)|
|Price in USD at publication time:||$699.95|
|Turbo Runtime Graph||High III Runtime Graph|
|Quiescent Current (mA):||?|
|Claimed Lumens (lm)||100000|
|Measured Lumens (at 30s)||63734 (63.7% of claim)^|
|Candela per Lumen||6|
|Claimed Throw (m)||1350|
|Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s)||7800lux @ 7.074m = 390324cd|
|Throw (Calculated) (m)||1249.5 (92.6% of claim)^|
|Item provided for review by:||Imalent|
|All my Imalent reviews!|
^ Measurement disclaimer: I am an amateur flashlight reviewer. I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment. I test output and such in PVC tubes!! Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).
- Imalent MS18W flashlight
- Shoulder strap
- Charge cable (wall wart to barrel plug)
- Spare o-rings (2)
Package and Manual
This light ships in a box, but inside the box is this case. It’s a nice case, and will make for great storage and protection of the Imalent MS18W flashlight.
The carrying handle makes it great for travel, too!
Here’s the full manual.
Build Quality and Disassembly
I’m trying to remember any other flashlight I’ve ever owned or tested that has a built-in fan. Or even a fandle (handle with a fan). I don’t think I have ever owned one. So this is my first experience with an active cooling flashlight!
It’s quite fantastic to view. The fan seems to suck air in one side and over what’s essentially a radiator (which you can sort of see above) and blow the hot air out the other side.
Here’s a better look at that small fan. More on the fan later! I didn’t measure this fan, but it’s quite small.
There’s not a ton of disassembly to happen here… Just the battery pack has been taken off the head.
These threads are good – they may look fine or small but they’re square cut, anodized, and of good quality. And they’re long. Many revolutions are required to remove the battery pack from the head.
I didn’t disassemble anything further. Not the head, not the battery pack…. the parts do not seem interested in being disassembled whatsoever.
Size and Comps
265mm (length) x 129mm (head diameter) x 59mm (body diameter)
WEIGHT: 1900g (battery included)
If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo). If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).
This no small light.
Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+. Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple. A very nice 18650 light.
And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light. I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.
I have… “a few” flashlights. Some are not inexpensive. Some are singularly impressive for throw, or whatever. But if you asked me months ago what’s my “singularly most impressive flashlight,” I would unequivocally reply “the Imalent DX80.” The Imalent MS18W flashlight is essentially twice the light the DX80 is. More than twice! So obviously I have a new answer to that question. There are a few tiny little asterisks to that though, which I’ll talk about later.
Retention and Carry
Only one means for carrying the Imalent MS18W flashlight is intended. That’s the shoulder strap, which attaches to two specific points on the light. First is this loop in the head.
The other loop is in this removable tailcap. The tailcap must be removed for charging, too, which is important.
Note that first loop – the one in the head. It looks like that one would unscrew to reveal a tripod hole. I can’t make it come out. It does twist around (not very freely) but does not seem to unscrew. So maybe it would, but I didn’t push things. For what it’s worth that would not be a great point for a tripod mount – the balance point is well behind that little loop anyway.
I really, really need a handle on this light.
Power and Runtime
A battery pack powers the Imalent MS18W flashlight. This is included with the purchase, and available separately as well. It’s an 8×21700 3.6v 92.2Wh battery pack. It even has a specific name: The MRB217B. It’s used in other Imalent flashlights! The “3.6V” there does not indicate the battery pack voltage. I think that just means that the 8 individual 21700 cells are 3.6V (duh, right?). I believe this is a 4s2p setup, which accounts for the charged voltage of around 16V.
This battery pack is big and sturdy and packs a ton of energy.
Runtimes are below. Let’s talk about this! Whew, I have to tell you, turning this light on to 100,000 lumens (claimed) for the first time really put the fear in me. The fan kicks on immediately (for the higher modes!) and it’s not quiet and certainly not quiet if you’re not expecting it. Any mode above 30,000 lumens will have the fan kick on immediately. Any mode above 10,000 lumens will have the fan available. It does not seem like the fan is used for modes 10,000 and under. This seems to be a strange conundrum, because if fan use is temperature-based, then it should just be available for all modes, whenever the temperature gets high enough. That does not seem to be the case (as you’ll see below).
As you can expect, the light has some stepdowns when hitting those massive output levels. And really don’t be coy – all the modes here are fairly massive output levels! So in some regard, we’re lucky that the lower levels are somewhat flat.
One more thing about the fan before I go on. This looks to be a “32mm” fan (I don’t know if that’s a standard size.) The smallest Noctua fan I see is 40mm, and this is definitely smaller. If it’s possible to swap this for a quieter fan, I think you’d probably like to do that. The fan is held in place by two Hex screws.
One more thing about the runtimes before I go on. As I said above, this light gets hot. Not trivial hot. Hot like “I’m not sure I can actually hold this anymore” and “are these gloves made out of coals” hot. Despite my initial trepidation on testing this light, it did manage everything just fine. Nothing melted. The light didn’t [whatever]. So wear gloves. Plan for some disquiet. But enjoy this madness of lumen output that is the Imalent MS18W.
I had to adjust the temperature scale from my usual 70 degrees up to 90 degrees to accommodate the MS18W. It was really hard to find “a good” or “the right” place to measure temperature. I ended up just going with where the probe would stay put. This might not have been the best place, but I can say that the temperature recorded here is probably not unlike what you’d experience around the head of the MS18W. So it’s helpful data.
In the runtime graph below, I left the timescale a bit long to demonstrate something about the temperature. When the light (output) shuts off, the fan also shuts off immediately. As you can see, the temperature of (wherever my probe was) bumps up (not insignificantly). With the fan off, that’s gonna happen! The temperature settles fairly quickly, though. There isn’t a way to turn on the fan manually while the light is on. (However, you can turn the fan on when the light is off. Four clicks while the light is off will turn on the fan.)
Something about these runtimes ends up perplexing me, though. Consider the Acebeam X50 for a moment if you will. This is a light that also uses Cree XHP70.2 emitters, and is also 5000K. It touches over 30,000 lumens briefly. But after it steps down it’s hitting 4000 lumens for an hour and a half. Even in one mode that doesn’t step down to 4000 lumens, the 6000-lumen output is nearly perfectly flat for over an hour. I would like to see that kind of regulation from the MS18W. I’d like to see, say, 10,000 lumens for much longer, and without setting my hands on fire. (Notably, even at the 6000-lumen output level, the X50 stayed under 50 degrees C.)
The point is that there’s much more mass in the MS18W than the X50, so what’s the problem with the MS18W holding steady at whatever output, for however long? I’d be interested to know more.
A charge port is built into the battery pack. The charge port is covered by this screw-down metal ring.
This ring also attaches to the shoulder strap, so you’ll probably have to detach the shoulder strap to charge this flashlight.
The connector is a standard barrel plug.
A wall wart is included. The voltage from this wall wart is 19V, which makes it exactly the same as what is used in the Imalent DX80.
Because it’s a barrel plug, I was unable to log a charging cycle. My estimate is that the charge cycle requires around 4 hours to complete. The manual states 4h 25m is required, and I’d say that is about accurate.
When charging, there’s a red emitter around the charge port lit. At the completion of charging, this red switches to green.
Modes and Currents
|Mode||Mode Claimed Output (lm)||Claimed Runtime||Measured Lumens||Tailcap Amps|
Pulse Width Modulation
Surprisingly, we see PWM on every single mode all the way up to and including Turbo. The PWM is fast and I can’t even notice it, so it’s nothing to worry about.
For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor. Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find. I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light. Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us). 10ms. 5ms. 2ms. 1ms. 0.5ms. 0.2ms. In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line. I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.
User Interface and Operation
Just one switch is used for the operation of the Imalent MS18W flashlight. It’s an e-switch at the bottom of the head. The switch is flat and has a nice positive clicky action.
It also follows Imalent’s great usage of metal-covered e-switches. It’s a good switch!
Just above the switch, and very useful for operation is this little OLED screen. This displays the output level, lock state, and battery voltage at different times.
Here you can see the display showing all the output levels.
And here’s a closer view of the “unlock” indicator.
Near the switch are two LEDs, too. These don’t really serve a ton of purpose that I can see, except to help locate the button in dark conditions.
Here’s a UI table!
|Off||Click||On (Mode Memory (excluding Turbo/Strobe)|
|On||Hold||Mode cycle (700/2000/5000/10000/22000/30000/60000 order)|
|Off||Triple Click||Battery voltage is displayed on OLED|
|Off||Hold||Iterate the indicator above the switch (on or off)|
|Off||Click 4x||Turns fan on|
|Off||Click 5x||Iterate Lock (indicated by lock icon on oLED)|
This user interface is generally like the Imalent MS06 and MS03, which share the style of the RT90.
LED and Beam
Eighteen of the same emitters are used in the Imalent MS18W flashlight. These 18 are Cree XHP70.2 emitters in 5000K CCT. Each has a little reflector
The math that goes into planning a reflector like this has to be quite interesting!
The big lens has an AR coating.
What looks to be a stainless steel bezel also has some shape, so that if the light is headstanding, the light will escape. I have to say though, on any but maybe the lowest couple of modes, you won’t want to have this light headstanding – there’s a fair bit of heat just shot straight out the front!
LED Color Report (CRI and CCT)
We can safely say that Imalent is being accurate to say this is a 5000K emitter group. I measured directly in the center of the beam. The edges would likely measure warmer (and more positive Duv).
These beamshots are always with the following settings: f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.
Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)
I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.
I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!
What I like
- Just massive output
- “100,000” lumens might be a neat gimmick but actually modes like the 22,000 output level do seem to perform quite well
- Great build quality
- Good user interface
- Use of 5000K emitters
- Fantastic throw
- Plenty of modes to pick through
- Neat LEDs over the switch for finding the switch in the dark
What I don’t like
- Short runtimes
- So much heat!
- Specifications are not written for the “W” variant, so can be confusing
- Fan is loud
- The fan doesn’t seem to come on when the light gets very hot (under 22,000-lumen mode)
- Lowest mode of 700 lumens is actually well above 700 lumens; I’d like the lowest to actually be well under 700!
- This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. Please visit there for the best experience!
- For flashlight-related patches, stickers, and gear, head over to PhotonPhreaks.com!
- Use my amazon.com referral link if you’re willing to help support making more reviews like this one!
- Please support me on Patreon! Feeding flashlights is expensive! And funding Fun Fund Friday even more so. I deeply appreciate your support!
2 thoughts on “Imalent MS18W Flashlight Review”
I’m glad to see Imalent has updated the design to have easily accessible fans in a push pull configuration. If they should get dirty, noisy or malfunction at any point, they can be easily replaced by the user. This is much better than the older design.
Wow the tint is actually amazing on this 5000k. No green or yellow!