Nitecore EC25 Cobra

Recently I purchased a Nitecore EC25 Cobra from WallBuys at a very good price with discount coupon, as I had been wanting one since I first saw the specs. I must say that I am extremely impressed by this light, so I decided to do an overview of my impressions, without going heavily into lumen output and run time measurements (as there have already been excellent reviews of these measurements and features here and elsewhere). In the category of small single 18650 (or two CR123) size lights this strikes a great compromise between size and performance. It will fit in a pocket, yet still deliver great versatility without the inherent problems of smaller lights.

With Cree XM-L U2 LED, rated output is 860 lumens, and I believe this is quite accurate. Even after automatic step-down from Turbo mode at three minutes, the high mode of 540 lumens is very adequate for most purposes, and provides a 2 hour run time. After the step-down, you can still reactivate the Turbo mode at will. The lowest mode provides 60 lumens, with a run time of about one day (nice run time for a reasonable amount of light, especially if you mainly need more than “Moonlight mode” performance). There are a total of five brightness levels, plus three hidden blinky modes (strobe, SOS, and beacon).

The beam pattern is a well executed combination of throw and flood, with more emphasis on throw. It has a nice hotspot in the center, while still retaining a good useable spill. As a general purpose/outdoor light, I am very happy with the performance of the Nitecore EC25 Cobra. It is billed as a “palm-sized searchlight”, and overall is close to the Nitecore EA4 in performance, but in a more compact package. It does give up a little in terms of throw to the EA4, but I prefer the overall package of the EC25 for general use (and I have both).

I found that the EC25 would accept any of my available button top 18650 cells, including the longer protected cells that can be a problem for compact lights. While the EC25 does have a physical reverse polarity protection ring, I found that I was able to use even Redilast 3100 cells that have very little upward protrusion on the positive end.

The EC25 can also use two CR123 cells, or two RCR123 cells. Run times are slightly less with the two CR123 cells than with a single 18650. This does provide a great deal of versatility, especially if you have a supply of CR123 cells, or if you don’t want to use a rechargeable battery. I did not test the RCR123 cells.

From a physical standpoint, the EC25 is very pocket-able at a length of just 128mm, a head diameter of 34mm (38mm at the widest point on the cooling fins), and a tail diameter of 25.4mm. The weight of 122 grams (without battery), and excellent build quality, provide a sturdy feeling in the hand. The side button falls readily under the thumb, and requires no change in the grip to operate. Overall ergonomics are excellent.

The button is surrounded by a blue light that serves in a multifunctional way. When tightening the tail cap, this light flashes to indicate the charge of the battery to an accuracy of .1V. When the tail cap is tight the blue light blinks about every three seconds to serve as a locating beacon. On my EC25 the blue light does not blink when the light is on in normal modes, but does blink when in Turbo mode, serving as a visual confirmation that Turbo is selected. The tail cap can be loosened a quarter turn for manual lockout to prevent any current drain by the blue light and electronics if the EC25 will be stored for a period of time. There is also an electronic lockout mode that turns the blue light off, reducing current drain to a miniscule amount for the electronics only. Additionally, the blue light acts as a low battery indicator by flashing rapidly when the battery charge gets low.

The included holster is a great fit for the EC25, and provides both belt and carabiner attachment options.There is also a clip and wrist strap, as well as two spare O rings included.

All in all, this is an excellently conceived and executed light, and has earned a prominent place as my compact general purpose/outdoor flashlight of choice when I want very good throw with good flood, and good run time. I commend Nitecore on a job well done.


Nice review Jim! I love my EC25W a lot. It is very well built, stylish, reliable and fun to play with. It also has nice mix of flood and throw. The NW tint in mine is just beautiful. I feel this light deserves a lot more attention than it does now!

I also love my EC25. It has become one of my favorite lights and is my favorite 18650 edc light. Very similar to my EA4 in performance but much smaller and easier to carry. The metal button is much better than the poor quality rubber button on the EA4. Nice review.

Thanks guys! I have not “reviewed” a light before, but I just liked this one well enough to give it a try. In no way was it a thorough review, just one user’s impression.


Agreed !

At one time blackout at my neigborhood, my EC25w helped the powerline electrician working on the connection boxes :beer: ~

Thanks for the review Just Jim. Nice effort.