Nitecore is having a busy year so far! Amidst the products they’ve released already, is yet another addition to the “Explorer” flashlight family. So here today, I’m going to tell you all about the Nitecore EA11.
Imitation is the Sincerest Form…
First of all, (which is always a good place to start)… the EA11 has a few similarities to the EC21 which Lightsngear previously reviewed. What’s different?… keep reading.
First we’ll look at what’s similar…
- A multi functional side-mounted dual-switch design
- Five constant levels of light, (ultra-low, low, medium, high & turbo) plus strobe and SOS
- An additional red LED
- Direct access to both ultra-low and turbo outputs
- Capable of tail-standing on any flat surface
- Rugged pocket clip
- Waterproof and impact resistant
- Toughened, ultra-clear mineral glass with anti-reflective coating
- Voltage indicator accurate to 0.1 volt
- HAIII military grade w/hard-anodized coating
Now, here’s where the EA11 stands apart from the others!
- Uses a CREE XM-L2 (U2) LED
- Powered by either (1) standard AA … OR (1) rechargeable 3.7 volt, 14500 Lithium battery (or IMR equivalent) … OR (1) rechargeable 1.2 volt NiMH
- Only 3.5″ long
- Capable of producing up to 900 lumens*!
*900 lumen output only possible w/14500 Lithium battery
The Two-Switch System
Those two rather innocuous little black buttons on the head, perform a multitude of different functions.
- One quick press turns the light on (memory)
- One HOLDING press turns the light on in ultra-low mode
- While in any constant lighting mode; a HOLDING press activates beacon-location mode in red!
Mode Button: (Here’s where it gets fun!)
- A HOLDING press (from off) activates turbo mode
- One quick press (from off) activates the red LED
- A HOLDING press while in constant red activates “flashing” in red
- A HOLDING press while in a general mode activates STROBE
- A HOLDING press while in strobe, activates LOCATION BEACON (white)
- A HOLDING press while in location beacon, activates SOS mode
- One quick press from any constant lighting mode advances to the next mode
Batteries and Runtime
When you first insert a battery into the light, regardless of its chemistry, the red LED will “blink” the voltage of the battery. For instance if you’ve inserted a 14500, (and it’s fully charged to just above 4 volts) the LED will blink 4 times, followed by another 1 or 2 blinks, indicating either 4.1 or 4.2 volts.
The Nitecore EA11 operates best on 14500 Lithium rechargeable batteries. The power consumed by this flashlight will eat through batteries rather quickly. This is why it’s advisable to use only rechargeable cells… whether they be Lithium-ion, IMR, or NiMH.
There truly is a vast difference in brightness between using a 1.2v battery and a 3.7v. There’s even a noticeable increase when you switch from a LITHIUM 14500 to an IMR 14500! The difference between a standard alkaline (or NiMH) and an IMR, (once you go past medium mode) is like night and day.
Based upon Nitecore’s tests, here are the outputs and associated runtimes.
- Ultra low — 1 lumen — 12 hours
- Low — 70 lumens — 2 hrs 30 mins
- Medium — 160 lumens — 90 minutes
- High — 300 lumens — 45 minutes
- Turbo — 900 lumens — *30 minutes
* To prevent too much heat buildup, the EA11 automatically steps down to high mode after 3 minutes of continuous use on turbo.
AA Alkaline/NiMH rechargeable;
- Ultra low — 1 lumen — 10 hours
- Low — 17 lumens — 3 hrs 45 mins
- Medium — 40 lumens — 2 hrs 45 mins
- High — 90 lumens — 2 hrs 15 mins
- Turbo — 160 lumens — 45 minutes
The Photo Gallery
Pay close attention to the descriptions on the images. Some include comparison shots between using a 14500 battery vs. an NiMH. This illustrates the differences is brightness, especially when in the SAME mode!
Click on each image to view FULL-SIZE
In My Humblest Opinion
The EA11 from Nitecore is a fabulous little light! I’ve never really had any negative comments about Nitecore in general, because they DO produce great products.
The only negative I can come up with, as far as this EA11 is concerned, is the much shorter runtimes. In general use and around the house, this won’t be a problem. However for camping, hiking and other extended use activities, it COULD be an issue. It’s under these circumstances that I’m quicker to recommend a light that uses a 18650 battery…such as Nitecore’s EC21 (which I did the comparisons of above). It’s not quite as bright…but has a farther reaching beam, and will run for hours longer with the aid of the larger battery.
Any minor criticism aside, this EA11 is as compact a light as you’ll find, using a AA size battery. And, it is without a doubt, the brightest light I have ever seen, when using a 14500 rechargeable!! It’s quite incredible!
If your interest in the EA11 is such that you’d like to check it out on Amazon, then click here!
Of course your questions, comments and flashlight experiences are always welcome 🙂
Hi Ben – I found Your article on the Nitecore EA11 Flashlight really useful. I agree with your sentiments on your about me page. Everyone should have a flashlight to hand.
You have covered all the points needeto allow someone to make an informed decision.
Keep up the good work
Thank you Mark. I appreciate that…and I intend to!
I normally use a maglite, but this looks better actually. I like the fact that there are a range of different power settings. That would be really useful I think.
Yes if you’ve been loyal to Maglites, stepping up to the newer generation of LED lights is like seeing the sun for the first time! I know you would find the extra features very useful. Give it a go and let me know what you think.