Imalent MS18 review (100,000 lumens flashlight)
Imalent MS18 Introduction:
Imalent is the first flashlight brand that claims a 100000-lumen flashlight. Just a couple of years ago, a flashlight with 10,000 lumens was spectacular, until Imalent announced the Imalent MS12 with 53,000 lumens. (which I also reviewed). And now the Imalent MS18 has almost doubled that output. An with this output, it is currently the #1 world’s brightest flashlight.
Imalent is still a relatively new player on the market, but it has been one of the most innovative brands on the planet. Think about OLED displays and tint mixing capabilities. And now the Imalent MS18 with a whopping 100,000 lumens!
I bought the double kit, including the Imalent R90TS with 36,000 lumens (not a slouch either)
What you’ll get:
- Imalent box
- Storage box
- Shoulder strap
- Spare O-rings
- Charge adapter
Imalent MS18 Specifications:
|Beam intensity||458,000 cd|
|Battery config.||8*21700 pack|
|Modes||8 output modes|
|Reflector||Light orange peel|
|Review date||May 2019|
Handling of the light
The Imalent MS18 is a big boy!
Just above the power switch is a tiny OLED display that indicates the lumen output. The switch remained the same from the MS12. It’s a flat iron button, which by itself is a bit hard to find in the dark. I would like to see them address this (minor) issue. In many cases, this isn’t a problem. But if you’re in the dark, a physical indicator/ led indicator is kind of important. Maybe a protruding switch or a ridge.
Fortunately, there is a shoulder strap in the box. The MS18 is a little too heavy to use for an extended period. As you can see, they upgraded the attachment points for the strap from the MS12. Instead of attaching it directly to the body and bezel, they now have a dedicated ring on the head and an attachment on the tailcap. The MS18 consists of 2 parts: the head and battery tube, aka, the body. The battery tube consists of a built-in charge port and 8 Samsung 40T 21700 cells (which can’t be removed).
Before you use the MS18, make sure you remove the plastic washer between the head and the battery tube.
Tailstanding: Yes, it can, but not very stable! I don’t see any value in doing that… but so that you know, it is possible.
Build Quality and Anodizing
Imalent has always been pretty good with its build quality, and the Imalent MS18 is no exception. It is a very decently built flashlight with good anodization. I couldn’t find any weird spots or missing anodization. They also upgraded the carry strap attachments. The older MS12 has the clips attached to the bezel and tailcap, which can damage the anno. Imalent found a workaround for the MS18 and added a special attachment ring to the head, and to the tailcap. They used a metal charge cover as the new attachment point. Not the best idea, but better than damaging the coating in my opinion.
If the cover gets lost, you won’t be able to attach the strap anymore. And since it’s rather small, losing the cover is very possible.
Have a look at the following pictures to see the machining on the body tube, which looks very good. Although this is not my favorite style of machining, it is certainly done well, as it should for this pricey beast.
The Imalent MS18 is one of the dozen flashlights that have an active cooling system. It has two fans that automatically activate at 22,000 lumens and above. There’s even liquid inside the system to improve its cooling capabilities. Imalent says the following about it: Built-in heat pipe radiator with excellent heat dissipation, and equipped with an inlet and outlet fan.
Well, the fans are NOT quiet! They are very noisy!
And besides that, the Torx screws are filled with a transparent substance, probably silicon or glue, so you can’t easily take off the fan covers.
In the following pictures, you can see some details and the copper fins on the inside of the head.
See the picture of the cooling system here.
Threads and O-rings
This is where it gets a little questionable. I’m not sure if it’s because of the size and weight of the flashlight, or because of the lube, but the threads are damaged. The anodization is missing on parts of the threads. This is a real con in my opinion. A $600 flashlight shouldn’t have this problem! And there is only one O-ring, while the MS12 has two O-rings. So maybe one O-ring was missing. The threads came lubed, though.
Imalent MS 18 LEDs, Lens, Bezel and Reflector
You think 1 XHP70.2 LED is not enough? How about adding 12? Oh no.. how about 18?
The Imalent MS18 uses 18 CREE XHP 70.2 LEDs for its staggering output. The LEDs are centered well in the Orange Peel (LOP) reflectors.
LOP reflector make the beam smooth and less throwy. If you want more throw, then have a look at our Imalent RT90S review.
The bezel is made of stainless steel and not removable by hand, nor can you remove the battery pack from the battery tube without tools.
Dimensions Imalent MS18:
- Length: 265 mm / 10.4″
- Head diameter: 130 mm / 5.1″
- Width body : 58 mm / 2.3″
- Weight: 1878 gr / 66.26 oz.
- Weight Head: 1081 grams / 38.16 oz.
- Weight Body incl battery: 797 grams / 28.10 oz.
Big and bright flashlights
Size compared to some of the brightest flashlights in their category.
The Imalent MS18 uses (almost) the same user interface as the older MS12.
Number of modes: 8
- Low (700 Lumens)
- Middle low (2000 Lumens)
- Middle I (5000 Lumens)
- Middle II (10,000 Lumens)
- High I (22,000 Lumens)
- High II (30,000 Lumens)
- High III (60,000 Lumens)
- Turbo (100,000 Lumens)
User interface from OFF:
- Press and Hold: Activates the mini LED light above the switch (extremely dim)
- Single-click: Last memorized output
- Double-click: Turbo output
- Triple-click: Screen turns on to show Voltage and battery status
- 4 clicks: Activates Fan (even at lower output levels)
- 5 clicks: Lockout
- Press and Hold: Change output from Low to High
- Single-click: Turns Off
- Double-click: Turbo output
- Triple-click: nothing
- 4 clicks: nothing
- 5-10 clicks: Turns Off
I’m not a big fan of press and hold for changing modes. This is just my personal opinion but I’d rather prefer clicks to change modes. The little LED screen shows the lumen setting you are in, and not the mode you are in. It will start at 700, and increases to 60,000 as you press and hold the switch.
The LED display shows the lumen output for about 2 seconds, and then the Voltage for another 2 seconds. I would rather see the Mode setting every time it jumps to the next level instead of voltage first.
Also, any number above 10,000 is difficult to read because there are so many 00000’s.
When you press and hold the switch, it will turn on the indicator LED above the switch. This is extremely dim but could be useful to locate the switch in the dark. I prefer to have a physical switch locator as well.
Low Battery Warning:
The Low Battery warning is also a little lame since you have to watch the OLED display to see if the battery is running low. It will show a battery icon blinking every few seconds. I would have preferred the light to blink, or a clear red indicator light on the side.
You can enter Strobe mode by a double-click from Turbo! There are no other blinky modes like beacon or SOS.
You can enter this mode by clicking 5 times when the light is off. The screen will show a LOCK symbol. When you do another 5 clicks the lock out mode is deactivated, and the display shows an open padlock.
I couldn’t detect any by eye.
Batteries and charging:
You don’t need to buy any batteries for this bad boy. It’s a rechargeable flashlight, after all! It contains 8 Samsung 40T 21700 batteries that have 4000mAh each. The package includes a charging adapter with an output of 19V, 2A. The charge time is 4.5 hours from empty to full. When the battery pack is empty, the display will show a battery symbol, see below.
My Integrating Sphere measures only up to about 4000 lumens, and anything above that is difficult to measure consistently. I used a ND filter to cover the dome of the lux meter. Tests were done with the SkyTronic LX-101 lux meter with integrating sphere that is calibrated with a 136 lumen Convoy S2+.
I don’t know how trustworthy the numbers are above 5000 lumens since the output is just so brutal that the styrofoam ball becomes a lightbulb itself. So It’s very possible that the numbers are skewed at that point. So please take my lumen measurements with a grain of salt!
My R90TS measurements were much closer to the manufacturer’s specs than my MS18 measurements, so I retested the MS18. There was a noticeable difference. Maybe the batteries weren’t fully charged during the first test. Here are the latest (and improved) numbers:
|MFG Lumens||My Measurements|
|Imalent MS18||700||914 Lumens|
Runtime was measured using the Android Ceiling Bounce App that was developed by a BudgetLightForum member. The MS18 was put on a table pointed toward the ceiling to measure the runtime. The stepdown is noticeable in fast incremental steps. The fan was running full power. The funny thing is that Turbo uses so much battery that the fan spins slower than when it steps down. So when the brightness decreases during the step-down, the fan starts spinning faster.
Turbo output is about 1 minute when it drops down to about 25% output. Then it slowly decreases till it’s to about 2 %… I don’t know exactly when the low voltage warning turned on.. Because Im not watching the display all the time!
Since this light is such a beast, I have to be careful measuring the throw in our garden. The neighbors might call the police! Lol no, it’s not a Tactical flashlight by any means, lol. 5 meter measurement was taken indoors. The battery wasn’t fully charged, but it hadn’t been used very much, either.
- Total Throw measured at 5 meters: 350,000 cd / 350 Kcd (1183 meters, 0.74 miles)
- Total Throw measured at 10 meters: 370,000 cd / 370 Kcd (1217 meters, 0,75 miles)
I did another test tonight with a full battery and got some surprising numbers. Keep in mind that the numbers show from startup. So after 30 seconds the output and throw would have decreased. But I am happy to have measured 540,000cd 540 Kcd at startup! Pretty impressive for this kind of light!
For the following beamshots, I dialed down my camera so the brightest lights would just be a bright white picture without any details.
As you can see, the Imalent MS18 is a serious beast!
- Extremely bright (the most powerful torch today)
- One of the few flashlight with active cooling (including fluid)
- Includes a carry case + carry strap
- Improved over the MS12
- Easy UI
- Numbers on OLED screen are a bit hard to read
- Anodization on threads isn’t done very well
- I’m missing an O-ring
- Activating Turbo sometimes happens accidentally.
- Not so much grip/knurling on the body
Overall Rating: Good: 5 stars: ★★★★★
I have been extremely interested in this flashlight from the time I heard about it. Now I have been able to test it and this is one ridiculous lumen monster. You can clearly see the difference between even the MS12 and the MS18. However, there are a few things I didn’t like, as I have written in the Cons section above. This would lead me to give it between 3 and 4 stars. If you are looking for the brightest flashlight in the world, there is nothing out there that can beat this currently. Simply breathtaking output!
Imalent MS18 discount code
Get 10% off at Imalentstore with our special coupon: 1lumen
Or buy at other stores: