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Fenix TK22 Tac review: tactical flashlight test
Fenix TK22 Tac specifications
|Brand/model||Fenix TK22 TAC|
|Max. Lumens||2800 lm|
|Max. Beam intensity / distance||74,000 cd|
|Onboard charging||No, but battery has USB-C charging|
|Review date||August 2022|
Fenix has a large line-up of tactical flashlights, and each year, they add several new ones. Today, I am reviewing the TK22 Tac, which almost looks like an upgrade of the Fenix Tk22 v2.0 I reviewed back in 2019.
But if you know Fenix, they have several use cases in mind even within a specific lineup. You can see that happening with the PD35, and PD35 Tac, PD36R, and the PD36 Tac. And now we have the TK22, and TK22 Tac. So I don’t see this as a direct successor but as an additional light in the TK22 lineup. And truth needs to be said, this is considered a real tactical flashlight, unlike all the crappy flashlights found on eBay or Amazon, that use the name Tactical to sound fancy.
Fenix is a pretty popular brand, even among non-flashoholics. They can be brought in many countries (if not all) around the world, so you should be able to get one at your local dealer.
The Tk22 Tac arrived in a pretty standard, retail-friendly package, with an orange hangtag. And this is what you can expect to get:
- The flashlight: Fenix TK22 Tac
- Pocket clip (pre-attached)
- 21700 battery with USB-C port
- USB-C charging cable
- Papers: warranty card, manual, flyer
Flashlight in use
Fenix isn’t some kind of static company, adding an upgraded flashlight because there is a new LED on the market. No, they also try out new features, like the toggle/push switch used on the TK22 TAC. I first encountered this type on the TK11 TAC and quite like the idea. You can single-handedly use the flashlight, so that’s a big pro. It’s relatively easy to toggle between Tactical mode, and Duty mode with just a turn on the knob.
The main push-button switch isn’t your average clicky switch, but a 2 stage switch that doesn’t have a click sound. You can feel some resistance about halfway through the push, and if you press through that resistance, the light is turned on constantly.
Fenix calls it a military and duty flashlight, and the user interface fits that exactly.
The body has the typical Fenix reeding (and not the traditional knurling found with other brands), while the head has no texture/knurling except for some small flat parts. These flat parts help to keep the light from rolling off a table. And if these flat parts don’t help, the removable pocket clip will surely do. This makes the light relatively grippy without having any sharp edges or machining.
You can clip the TK22 TAC to your pockets with the attached clip, but you can also use the included holster if that’s more of your thing. Unfortunately, there is no lanyard included, but the pocket clip has a small hole that you can use to attach a lanyard to if you prefer that way of carrying.
Build Quality, and Warranty
Fenix has been in business in business long enough to know that quality matters. And the TK22 TAC is built very well, just like all other tactical Fenix lights we reviewed.
Threads on the tail side came lightly lubricated, and work very smoothly. And that’s the only thing (besides the pocket clip) that is removable because everything is glued. That has its pros and cons, but from a large business’ perspective totally understandable. These are not built for flashlight nerds like us, flashoholics, to open up and play with, but rather for professionals that need to work with them on a daily basis and count on them.
I admit that I’m not a big fan of their anodization, because although made of high quality, doesn’t look as good as other brands (Jetbeam for example).
If you’re on the look for a high quality flashlight that you can count on, I would stop reading Amazon reviews, and eBay listings. Unless you know the brands/flashlights for sale, most of them that are called tactical, aren’t really tactical. And although Fenix flashlights aren’t particularly cheap, you can definitely count on them.
And if they somehow break, you are probably covered by their Warranty policy.
Warranty? If you buy them from Fenix Lighting US:
Fenix Lighting US, guarantees all Fenix products purchased from retailers to be made of first-class materials and therefore provides a lifetime warranty against any defects in material and workmanship. Excluded from warranty coverage is any damage to the exterior deemed reasonable wear and tear such as scratches and/or fading of color. In addition, the warranty does not apply to damage caused by abnormal or unreasonable use of any of the components. This includes use of unapproved batteries in Fenix products.
This warranty is in place of all other warranties, including warranty of fitness for a particular purpose and warranty of merchantability and excludes any liability for incidental or consequential damages. If your Fenix product has a manufacturer’s defect covered by our warranty, we will either repair or replace it, at our option, without charge. Most damaged Fenix products not covered by the warranty can still be repaired. If repair costs and handling charges apply, you will be notified prior to any service. All warranty repairs or replacements are at the sole discretion of the Fenix Lighting US Authorized Repair Center and we reserve the right to refuse a request.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
While some bigger brands ignore sharing the name of type of LED, Fenix doesn’t. They openly admit the type of LED used in this model, namely the Luminus SFT70. This particular one is a cool white version.
The SFT70 is a 6V / 12V LED, so they need to boost the voltage in order to power it up.
The LED sits in a deep and smooth reflector, protected by a glass lens with AR coating. The bezel has some kind of crenulation, but they aren’t sharp or anything.
I used the Opple Light Master III to measure the LED’s characteristics. I measured them in Low and in Turbo. Low mode at a distance of about 70cm, and Turbo from about 2 meters. Remember that these are not exact numbers, and should be taken as an ‘average’.
- CCT: 5651K
- CRI Ra: 64.2
CRI Ra: 70.2
It’s a little strange to see a difference of the Ra measurement, because 64 and 70 is quite a difference, but it’s enough to tell these are not high CRI emitters.
The beam isn’t very pretty to look at, and that’s not the reason for buying this flashlight anyway. Because of the smooth reflector, and the type of LED, you can see some artefects in the beam.
Dimensions and size comparison
|Fenix TK22 TAC dimensions||Millimeters||Inches|
|Head diameter||40.1mm||1.58 “|
|Fenix TK22 TAC weight||Weight in grams||Weight in Oz.|
|Without battery:||155.3 grams||5.49 oz|
|With battery||227.9 grams||8.04 oz.|
Tactical Flashlight comparison
Group 2: from left to right: Armytek Predator PRO, Nitecore MH25S, Fenix TK22, Fenix TK22 TAC, Olight Warrior X3, Olight Warrior 3S, and Fenix PD36R
Group 3: Fenix TK22 v2 vs Fenix TK22 TAC
Driver & User Interface:
The light features a rotary switch and a traditional push button switch. The rotary switch has 3 positions: Tactical Mode, Lockout, and Duty Mode. Duty Mode has 4 modes (plus a hidden Strobe), and Tactical Mode has a single Turbo mode, with the a hidden strobe activated by pressing and holding the button for more than 1 second.
The middle setting on the rotary switch is the lockout. If you lightly tap the switch, it works in momentary mode, but a firmer press activates continuous mode.
- Eco, Low, Medium, High.
- Turbo, Strobe.
From OFF (Duty Mode):
- Press half and hold (1st stage): Momentary On in whatever mode it is
- Half pressing: change modes
- Full press/click (2nd stage): activates Eco, Low, Medium, or High
- Double click: N/A
From OFF (Tactical Mode):
- Press half and hold (1st stage): Momentary on
- Full press/click (2nd stage) short: Turbo
- Full press (2nd stage) long: strobe
From ON (Duty Mode):
- Tapping: change modes: Eco, Low, Medium, and High
- Press and hold for 1 sec+: Activates strobe
From ON (Tactical Mode):
- Press half and hold (1st stage): Momentary Turbo.
- Single full click (short): Turbo
- Single full click (long): Strobe
- Yes, it has mode memory
Low voltage warning:
- Yes. The output will drop to a preset level until it reaches Eco Mode where the light blinks 3 times every 5 minutes until the light turns off. Please note that this only works when using Fenix-branded batteries!
- Yes, both accessible in Tactical and Duty menu
- Turn the rotary selector to Lockout Mode or unscrew the tailcap ⅛ turn to lock out.
- Yes. But not really visible
Batteries & Charging
Fenix included an ARB-L21-5000U battery. This is a 21700 type USB-C rechargeable battery. This means that it’s too long for 99% of the battery chargers on the market, but the good thing is that you don’t need one, because you can use the built-in charger. Fenix added a USB-C charging cable in the package..
It also has protection to prevent short circuits or overcharging / over-discharging.
The nipple on the positive side of the battery has a little hole in the center. You can see a tiny red light inside the hole while charging, which turns blue when it’s fully charged.
The charge speed I measured went up to about 1.4A, but it starts and finishes at a lower charge current.
18650 batteries won’t fit without a proper adapter. They will rattle and not make contact, and unprotected, flat top 21700 batteries do not fit!!!
All output numbers are relative to my homemade Integrating Sphere. It is set up with an Extech SDL400 Lux Meter for measurements including a Kenko PRO1D ND-16 filter. The base measurement is done with a Convoy S2+ that has been tested at 255 lumens.
Tested with a Fenix 21700 ARB-L21-5000U
|Mode||Specs||Lumens at turn on||Lumens @ 30 sec||Lumens @ 10min|
|Turbo (Tactical)||2800||2742 lm||2234 lm||786 lm|
|Turbo at 3.8V||1936 lm|
I also tested to see if the light will run in Turbo mode, when the battery is down to 3.8V, and it worked.
Fenix TK22 TAC Battery life and runtime graphs
The runtime test was done with the 50cm integrating sphere, including the Kenko Pro1D ND-16 filter and Extech SDL400 data logging Lux Meter.
|Mode||Specified runtime||Measured runtime (ANSI FL1)||Time till shut off|
|Eco||49h30min||not tested||not tested|
*I let Turbo run till it turned off. After the ANSI FL1 runtime (at 2h42min, the light dropped to 135 lumens and stayed there for quite some time. At that point it’s wise to change batteries. BTW Turbo mode is only available in the Tactical mode group.
The runtimes don’t really match up with the specs. Turbo and High are running shorter than the offical ANSI FL1 runtime specs, while Medium and especially Low run much longer than specs. But they kept running for many more hours, as you can see in the last column. Very good performance.
ANSI FL1 standards: The runtime is measured until the light drops to 10% of its initial output (30 seconds after turn on). This does not mean that the flashlight is not usable anymore. The last column shows how long the light actually works till it shuts off. If there is a + symbol, it means that the test was stopped at that particular point, but the light kept running. This happens on certain occasions, with certain drivers, firmware, or batteries.
Peak beam intensity and beam distance measurements
Measurements were taken indoors with a Hagner E4-X Lux Meter, at 5 meters, 30 seconds after turn on.
|Mode||Specs||Candela measured||in meters||Distance in yards|
|Turbo||74,000 cd||72,250 cd||538 meters||588 yards|
|Turbo (at turn on)||74,000||89,250||597||653|
My measurements were higher for all modes, except Turbo. Turbo (after 30 seconds) was just below spec.
Extra info: Peak beam distance according to ANSI FL1 standards: The calculated value of distance in meters and yards at which the flashlight produce a light intensity of 0.25 lux. (0.25 lux is about the brightness of a full moon shining on an object).
21700 tactical flashlight comparison
Single 21700 tactical flashlights measured: These numbers are NOT from the specifications but measured by our team.
|Flashlight||Battery||Max Output (lm)||@30sec (lm)||Candela (cd)||Distance (m)|
|Acebeam L18||Acebeam IMR21700NP-510A||1249||1051||215,500||928|
|Acebeam L19||Acebeam IMR21700NP-510A||1378||1242||430,300||1312|
|Acebeam L35||Acebeam 5100 mAh||6189||5609||57,000||477|
|Cyanksy P25||Cyansky 5000||4236||3300||11,275||212|
|Fenix PD36 Tac||Fenix ARB-L21-5000U||2590||2079||18,675||273|
|Fenix TK16 v2||Fenix ARB-L21-5000U||2657||2222||40,900||404|
|Fenix TK22 TAC||Fenix ARB-L21-5000U||2742||2234||72,250||538|
|Fenix TK22 v2||Fenix ARB-L21||1622||1592||53,000||460|
|NEXTORCH TA30C Max||Nextorch 5000mAh||2822||2810||41,750||409|
|Nitecore MH12S||Nitecore NL2150||1770||–||30,400||349|
|Nitecore MH25S||Nitecore NL2150||1979||1850||68,400||523|
|Nitecore P10iX||Nitecore NL2150HPi||4223||566||8,700||187|
|Nitecore P20i||Nitecore NL2140i||1690||–||36,000||379|
|Nitecore P20i UV||Nitecore NL2140i||1785||1699||29,400||343|
|Nitecore P20iX||Nitecore NL2150HPi||4119||1342||16,000||253|
|Olight Warrior 3||Olight ORB-217C50||2598||2428||25,500||319|
|Olight Warrior M2R PRO||Olight ORB-217C50||2088||1985||28,000||335|
|Olight Odin||Olight ORB-217C50||1999||1884||25,750||321|
|Olight Warrior X Pro||Olight ORB-217C50||–||2334||101,000||636|
Interactive runtime graphs
Below are interactive comparison graphs for a selection of these tactical lights. Hover your mouse to see more details. If you use a mobile device, rotate your phone horizontally.
In the following graph, we zoomed in to show the differences better. It shows a better picture of these lights within the first 10 minutes after turn on.
For the following beamshots I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk2 and a 50mm lens. manual settings: ISO1600, 1/4sec , F4, 5000K
The shed is about 65 meters / 71 yards distant, and the reflective fence over 200 meters.
And the following comparisons you can make (these are right after turn on)
- Fenix TK22 TAC vs Olight Warrior 3
- Fenix TK22 TAC vs Olight Warrior X3
- Fenix TK22 TAC vs Nitecore MH25s
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Fenix. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Fenix quality
- Throws quite far for a tactical light
- Easy UI
- Real tactical light
- Ready-to-use package including battery and charging cable
- Runtimes for Low and Medium were longer than specs
- Beam has some artifacts due to the smooth reflector
- Runtimes in Turbo and High were shorter than spec
- Turbo output lower than spec
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4.5 stars: ★★★★⋆
If you’re looking for a great, dedicated tactical light, that can reach several hundred yards without difficulty, the TK22 TAC got you covered. In a ready-to-use package, you can charge your batteries on the fly, with built-in charging. Having a dual switch at the tailcap, makes it easy to use single-handedly.
The runtimes didn’t match for High and Turbo, but Medium, and especially Low ran much longer than specs. All in all, this is a pretty good performer!