Nitecore EDC33 Tactical EDC Flashlight Review scaled

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I have previously reviewed some excellent flashlights from Nitecore, including the Nitecore MH12 Pro and EDC27 Slim, plus the NU25 UL headlamp.

They have recently launched a new everyday carry (EDC) flashlight called the EDC33.

Specification

  • Max Output: 4,000 Lumens
  • Max Beam Distance: 450 Meters
  • Max Beam Intensity: 54,500 cd
  • Max Runtime: 63 h 0 m / 2.62 d
  • Brightness Levels: 4 + SEARCH & LUMIN SHIELD
  • LED: NiteLab UHi 20 LED MAX
  • Reflector: OP
  • Battery: 4000mAh 18650 Li-ion Battery
  • Special Modes: LUMIN SHIELD
  • Impact Resistance: 2 Meters
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Length: 115.6 mm / 4.55 in
  • Head Size: 25.4 mm / 1.00 in
  • Weight: 121 g / 4.27 oz
  • Feature: Rechargeable, Tail Stand
  • Activity: Gear, Outdoor/Camping, EDC

Features

Nitecore EDC33 Features
  • 4000 Lumens LUMIN SHIELD Mode
    • A brilliant floodlight resembling a protective wall, created by nine small light sources. Perfect for self-defense, it disorients potential threats with just one click.
  • 450 Meters SPEAR Mode
    • Emitting a long-range beam covering 450 meters. This is an 18.5% increase in beam distance compared to similar competitors, making it an ideal searchlight with unparalleled reach. 
  • Powered by 9-Core NiteLab UHi 20 MAX LED
    • Peak Performance offers ultra high light density with ultra long throw and able to change the shape of beam.
  • User-friendly Rapid Lock
    • For seamless control and avoid misactivation.
  • 4000mAh High Capacity 18650 Li-ion Battery
    • It is crafted in partnership with the industry partner, offering a 14.4Wh high capacity.
  • Advanced Power Cut-Off (APC) technology for an ultralow standby power consumption
  • Highly efficient constant current circuit provides a stable output
  • Incorporated Advanced Temperature Regulation (ATR) module (Patent No. ZL201510534543.6)
  • Optical lenses with double-sided scratch-resistant coating
  • Constructed from military grade aluminium alloy 7075-T6
  • HA III military grade hard-anodized finish
  • Tail stand capability

Nitecore EDC33 Brightness level, beam distance, runtime

EDC33LUMIN SHIELD FloodlightSEARCH (Spotlight)HIGHMIDLOWULTRALOW
Brightness4,000 Lumens1,700 Lumens1,200 Lumens300 Lumens70 Lumens5 Lumens
Runtime2h 31min6h 58min31h63h
Beam Distance400m450m208m182m93m25m
Peak Beam Intensity40,505cd54,500cd10,500cd8,305cd1,903cd163cd

LED, Lens and Reflector

Nitecore EDC33 vs ED27 Slim LED

The Nitecore EDC33 uses the NiteLab UHi 20 LED MAX. It is not clear if the MAX is different to the UHi 20 LED that was announced in July, but that LED claims to have a light emitting surface (LES) of only 2.26mm² and a light density of 876 Lumens / mm2. Compared with LEDs of the same power, the light emitting surface (LES) is 41% smaller, and the light density is increased by 43%, achieving a stronger power in a smaller light emitting surface (LES).

The main LED is then circled by 8 smaller LEDs which I guess is what makes this the UHi 20 LED MAX.

You can easily see the differences with the LEDs when pointing the light at a wall. You have an intense bright spot in the centre with a softer light circling it. This design gives you a good combination of light spread and throw distance.

Design and Build Quality

Nitecore EDC33 vs ED27 Slim Height

I was a fan of the flat design of the EDC27 Slim and, therefore, didn’t think I would like the tubular design of this flashlight as much.

The ED28 is 14.2mm thick at the flashlight end but on the control end, it is quite a bit thicker with only a few mm difference between the two lights.

Nitecore EDC33 vs ED27 Slim Thickness

I am not sure if there is enough of a difference in thickness that I would notice it that much. Admittedly, I probably need to carry the EDC33 with me for longer to get a better idea if the tubular shape is more annoying than the flat design.

Nitecore EDC33 vs ED27 Slim Rear Pocket Clips

Apart from the difference in thickness, the EDC33 is quite a bit shorter at 116mm vs 136mm.

Just like the previous Nitecore, the overall build quality feels exceptional; it uses a durable aluminium alloy with a hard anodised finish and a ribbed design down the body, providing some extra grip.

The light also has a pocket clip, and within the packaging is a lanyard and carabiner-style clip.

Nitecore EDC33 vs ED27 Slim Side by Side

Integrated Battery

Reddit users are not keen on lights with integrated batteries as it means that the lights will have a limited usable life. This could be an issue if you use the light a lot, as batteries degrade over time.

It might be possible to dismantle the light if/when the battery life becomes too short to be usable, but this will likely not be very easy and almost certainly stop it from being waterproof.

Nitecore justifies this design decision as a necessity to keep the flashlight smaller.

Functions, Performance and Run Time

The rear pushbutton controls all the lighting functions, and while it is easy enough to use, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to switch between the brightness levels and functions.

  • The button can be fully pressed for on/off. With the light on, you can then half-press to switch between brightness modes.
  • To access the two special functions, it doesn’t matter if the light is on or off.
  • For LUMIN SHIELD, you fully press the button down and hold it.
  • For SEARCH, you half press the button and hold it.

At first, this didn’t seem like the most user-friendly way to control the flashlight, but once I got used to it, it felt much more natural.

Lock Out

The EDC33 has two lockout modes (Half Lockout Mode and Full Lockout Mode).

With the half lockout mode, you still have access to SEARCH and LUMIN shield but can’t switch the normal flashlight mode on. With full lockout, none of the functions work, which can be useful for avoiding accidentally switching on the light when not in use.

  • Half Lockout Mode:
    • When the light is on, slide the Lockout Switch up while half / full pressing and holding the Tail Button to access Half Lockout Mode. The lock icon can be seen below the Lockout Switch.
    • In Half Lockout Mode, half press and hold the Tail Button to access SEARCH; full press and hold the Tail Button to access LUMIN SHIELD
  • Full Lockout Mode (Default Setting)
    • When the light is on / off, slide the Lockout Switch up to access Full Lockout Mode. The lock icon can be seen below the Lockout Switch, indicating that the Tail Button is unavailable to activate the flashlight.
  • Unlock:
    • In either Lockout Mode, slide

The lockout function of this light is much easier to use than the lockout function of the ED27.

LUMIN SHIELD Mode

With LUMIN SHIELD, you hold down the tail button fully, and this will turn on all 9 LED cores at maximum brightness to create a 4000-lumen broad light wall, which Nitcore describe as being akin to a shield for personal defence, offering an unparalleled experience in self-protection.

With this mode, the light intensity is undeniably impressive for such a small light. You get the intense central beam which should allow it to achieve a throw distance of 400m then the eight other LEDs are at full brightness giving you a wide spread of light.

Nitecore don’t seem to list the run time of LUMIN SHIELD but I timed it at around 20 seconds. With this mode, I found that the head of light starts to get very hot.

SEARCH / SPEAR Mode

Nitecore seem to switch between calling this mode SEARCH and SPEAR, but this is enabled by half-pressing the tail button (it will have a slight click but not the full click of a full press).

The light from this mode has a longer range of 450m, and from my testing, the most noticeable difference is the beam is more concentrated with the surrounding LED brightness dialled down (or possibly off).

With this mode, the runtime was also 20 seconds before the light intensity dipped.

Power Levels

You get four power levels going from 5 lumens at ultralow which only has limited use all the way up to 1200 lumens at high.

For high, Nitecore states that this has a 2h 31 minute run time and 208m beam distance. That makes this light quite a bit brighter than the ED27, with a longer beam distance and superior run time.

However, there is quite a bit of difference in the spread of light between the two. As previously stated, the ED33 has a mixed spread of light with an intense central beam but the widespread beam is quite poor unless using the LUMIN SHIELD mode.

With the ED2, it is less bright and has a shorter throw distance but the dual Lumius SST40 LEDs create a consistent wide spread of light.

For the battery, the claimed run times are listed in the earlier table with an impressive 2h 31 minute run time for high and up to 63 hours on ultra-low.

As this doesn’t have swappable batteries, you will want to consider the charge times. This charges at 10W (5V/2A) and takes two hours.

Price and Alternative Options

The Nitecore EDC33 is listed on nigtcore.co.uk at £71.95.

It wasn’t listed as being available at the time of writing, but the store wasn’t taking any orders due to some flooding.

The Nitecore EDC27 is listed at £96.95 but was available on Amazon for £85.75 via Amazon EU when I wrote this (16th December 2023).

I am not really sure why the EDC33 is cheaper, on paper it is technically a better light being brighter, with a longer run time, and also has a better 2m impact resistance and IP68 rating.

The EDC27 does have a different lighting pattern though, the light spread is consistent, so it is perhaps a better option for illuminating the area around you at close range. The flat design is also a bit more appealing for an EDC flashlight.

The larger Nitecore MH12 Pro is available for around £90 which can do 3,300 lumens for 30 mins with an impressive beam distance of 505 meters. It is small enough to pull off as an EDC flashlight, but definitely more inconvenient to carry than the ED models.

Overall

The EDC33 is another excellent pocket-friendly flashlight from Nitecore.

I’d say it fits in nicely between the EDC27 and MH12 Pro I have previously reviewed. You have the intense beam of the UHi 20 LED giving you an impressive beam distance similar to the MH12 Pro, but you also get the benefit of the wide beam spread from the additional LEDs, giving you a wide area of illumination like the EDC27.

This makes it a more versatile flashlight, but it is less good at each function.

When I realised the EDC33 wasn’t much thicker than the EDC27, I assumed I would prefer it to the EDC27 because, on paper, the specs look more impressive.

However, based on my personal needs, I’d say that I prefer the EDC27. Most of my flashlight needs are generally walking in the dark or trying to find things in close proximity. Therefore, I prefer the wider spread and consistent illumination of the ED27.

Apart from the light itself, the ED33 has some advantages over the EDC27. The locking mechanism is certainly much more user-friendly.

Of course, each person’s requirements are different, and the ED33 is an excellent option for someone wanting a versatile EDC flashlight.  

Nitecore EDC33 Tactical EDC Flashlight Review

Summary

The EDC33 is another excellent pocket-friendly flashlight from Nitecore that benefits from a nine-LED design with a powerful central UHi 20 LED for a long beam distance and eight supplementary LEDs for a wider beam spread.

Overall
80%
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  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Versatile flashlight with a powerful UHi 20 LED for a long beam distance & good light spread with supplementary LEDs

Cons

  • Integrated battery

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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