Imalent MS18 review (100,000 lumens flashlight)
Imalent MS18 Introduction:
Okay, so you’re saying you want to beat your friend with his new Maglite? Better pay attention and tell him to buy a few hundred more!
Just a couple of years ago, a flashlight with 10,000 lumens was spectacular until Imalent introduced the Imalent MS12 with 53,000 lumens. (of course, we also reviewed it at 1lumen.com). But… the Imalent MS18 is doubling output, and is now indeed a 100,000-lumen flashlight.. and … 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 at the same time. Think about OLED displays and color temperature mixing capabilities. And now the Imalent MS18 with a whopping 100,000 lumens!
Instead of just buying the MS18, I bought the double kit, that includes the Imalent R90TS with 36,000 lumens (not a slouch either).
And this is what I received:
- Imalent MS18 (head)
- Imalent R90TS (head)
- Imalent battery pack (to use with either the R90TS head, or MS18)
- 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
Oh yeah, the Imalent MS18 isn’t your next EDC light!
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 of time. As you can see, they upgraded the attachment points for the strap from the MS12 as well. And instead of attaching the clip directly to the body and bezel, they now have a dedicated attachment ring at the head and one on the tailcap. The MS18 consists of only 2 parts: the head and battery tube, aka, the body. The battery tube has a built-in charge port and 8 Samsung 40T 21700 cells (which can’t be removed).
Note: 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 usually 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 any more. 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 lubrication they used, but the threads are damaged. The anodization is missing (chips) on several parts of the threads. A $600 flashlight shouldn’t have this problem! And there is only one O-ring for the MS18, while the MS12 has two O-rings for more safety.
Imalent MS 18 LEDs, Lens, Bezel and Reflector
Okay, okay, you think 1 XHP70.2 LED is not enough? How about adding 12? Oh wait, 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 R90TS 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″
- Total 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:
Nope, you don’t need to buy any batteries for this bad boy. It’s a rechargeable flashlight after all, and contains 8 Samsung 40T 21700 batteries with a capacity of 4000mAh each. The package includes a charging adapter with an output of 19V, 2A, and charges the battery pack within 4.5 hours.
There’s a battery symbol visible in the display when the battery is empty. For reference, see the following images.
Edit: I retested the MS18 in October 2021. For the 6 lowest output measurements I didn’t need to change the setup. It was set up with a Convoy S2+ as the calibration light with 255 lumens, an Extech SDL400 Lux meter, with an ND16 52mm camera filter. The 2 highest modes (High III and Turbo) gave an error with this setup. I added another ND8 filter in order to measure these 2 modes. This setup with 2 filters was then again tested/calibrated at the lowest 4 modes to get the proper calculation for the highest 2 outputs.
|Mode||Specifications||@ start||@ 30 seconds|
|Turbo||100,000 lumens||101,626 lumens||69,879 lumens|
These numbers are much different from my earlier testing almost 2 years ago.
Edit: updated October 2021. I installed a 100ND grey filter instead of the ND8 filter. I then ran the top 5 output modes.
And then a closer look at the first 10 minutes of the runtime
During the 5th runtime test, I heard something and started smelling something strange. Unfortunately, the fans didn’t turn on, while the flashlight got extremely hot. It was up to 120 degrees celsius. This is a major flaw in my opinion. It’s also not possible to activate the fan during the use of the 10,000-lumen setting.
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 measurements were 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 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 have decreased. But I am happy to have measured 540,000 cd / 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
- 10,000 lumen output (High 1) doesn’t activate Fan by itself, so the flashlight can get extremely hot.
Overall Rating: 4.5 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: