Imalent MS18 Review & Buying Guide
One of the questions I hear a lot is, “What is the brightest spotlight?” It is the Imalent MS18. And it’s also a great spotlight, not just for the raw power, it is excellent for a variety of reasons. Let me explain.
First of all, the obvious thing, Imalent MS18 (and MS18W) is the brightest spotlight available in the market, as of writing this. This spotlight is capable of generating 100,000 lumens of brightness in turbo mode. It also packs a massive battery pack with a capacity of 32,000mAh.
LEDs are well-known for generating a negligible amount of heat. Despite that, this spotlight is so powerful that even the “negligible heat” adds up and reaches a level that ensues an active cooling system. For the four highest brightness levels, passive cooling is no longer an option.
This spotlight is exceptional for several reasons. You will get a glimpse of its quality as soon as you receive the box. The box itself is a quality box for a spotlight. It is designed to carry the spotlight and its dependencies safely and securely.
The Box of Imalent MS18:
The box is made of hard cardboard with an artificial leather outer layer. It’s a fairly large box, with a dimension of 13.11inch x 9.37inch x 6.46inch. The hard outer shell houses a custom-shaped hard foam insert that holds all the parts in place. It’s not just a cool marketing trick to get an impressive first impression, it’s also a great practical solution to keep everything organized all the time and ready to roll at a moment’s notice.
The case of the box is held closed with two brass clasps and has a carrying handle on the top. This is the third iteration of the box design, as of writing this.
But what’s in the box?
The package comes with the complete set necessary for the full functionality of the light, and the foam insert also houses all the parts appropriately. In the box, you will find –
- Imalent ms18 Flashlight
- Two spare O-rings
- Shoulder straps
- User Manual
And the foam insert has housing space curved for all of them, including the shoulder strap.
First installation of Imalent ms18
The light consists of two main parts, the head of the light and the body. The body is essentially the battery pack of the light. And the head consists of all the functional elements and circuits. The two parts screw together snugly, and the joint is sealed with rubber O-rings.
After unboxing, you will find the light pre-installed, but the light won’t function as is. You will need to unscrew the battery pack first. Then remove the safety plastic washer from between the two parts and attach the two parts back together again. And make sure to install the O-ring if it’s already not installed. With that, the spotlight is ready for use.
Now, it is on the heavy side for a handheld spotlight. It weighs about 4.2lbs or 1.9 kilos when fully assembled. So, carrying it by hand can be problematic for extended use. Fortunately, it comes with a shoulder strap to aid in carrying it. All you need to do is aim it where you need it.
Specifications of Imalent ms18
Imalent ms18 is a powerhouse. Compared to the nearest competitor, this spotlight can generate almost 67% more luminous flux. Besides the light output, it is also unparalleled for its battery capacity.
|Beam intensity||458,000 candelas|
|Beam distance||1350 meters or 4430 feet|
|Light mode||8 settings + strobe mode|
|Bulb||18 x CREE XHP70.2|
|Battery||8 * 21700 Li-ion cells (4,000mAh each)|
|material||Aluminum alloy *|
|Charging time||4 hours 25 minutes|
|Dimension||Length: 10.4inch / 26.5cm|
Diameter (Head): 5inch / 12.9cm
Diamiere (Body): 2.3inch / 5.9cm
* = Aerospace-grade Aluminum alloy body with Type lll hard anodizing finish.
As I mentioned above, this spotlight is exceptional for several reasons. Here are some of the main features of the light, and why it’s worth the mention.
On the turbo mode, the Imalent ms18 is capable of generating 100,00 lumens of brightness. For comparison, an average car headlight generates 2,000 – 4,000 lumens. So, when you turn on the turbo mode, it will generate 25 to 50 times more brightness than a regular pair of car headlights. Although during the course of the next 1 minute, the brightness will drop and eventually settle down at 25,000 lumens, that’s still 6 to 12 times more than a headlight.
Now, brightness is a different measurement than total light output. A standard car headlight generates about 50,000 candelas in high light mode. In comparison, the Imalent MS18 generates about half a million, or ten times the number.
The nearest competitor to Imalent ms18 is the AceBeam x70 (Link:https://www.acebeam.com/x70). This spotlight is also a powerhouse, capable of generating up to 60,000 lumens. But still, Imalent MS18 is still miles ahead of it.
It is a wide beam or flood beam spotlight, meaning it spreads the light evenly at a wider angle. Despite that, it has more range than most other narrow beam spotlights.
The battery capacity:
The enormous output of its powerful LED array is powered by 8x MRB-217P40 Li-ion rechargeable batteries with a capacity of 4,000mAh each, totaling at 32,000mAh. Each of the batteries is almost, if not more powerful than many full-fledged portable spotlights.
The MRB-217P40 battery is a specialized form of the standard 21700 Li-ion battery, designed by Imalent for high drain consumption. The battery pack is sealed inside the body of the light.
The same battery pack powers the light and the cooling system of the light. The battery level is indicated in the OLED display. The charging port is located at the back of the body/battery pack, along with a “Halo” shaped charge indicator light.
The Cooling system:
Imalent MS18 is one of the few powerful handheld LED spotlights with an active cooling system. The spotlight has an internal temperature sensor that senses the internal temperature and automatically turns on the cooling system when needed. Typically, the 4 highest brightness modes automatically turn on cooling. The copper pipe radiator with its coolant provides sufficient heat dissipation for the lower 4 brightness mode.
But for the top 4 modes, Turbo, High lll, High ll, and High l, the air intake and outlet fans will turn on, accelerating the heat dispersion respectably. And thanks to this cooling system, the MS18 can sustain immense brightness for as long as it can.
You can also turn on the cooling system manually if you have been using the light long enough and would like to cool it down quickly. Additionally, the light can sense temperature and the cooling fans will automatically turn on in any mode if the temperature reached 158°F/70°C.
The fans are loud. There’s no denying it or sugarcoating it. They are not head-scratchingly loud, but when the fans are on, they are obvious.
The MS18 uses American CREE XHP70 second-generation LED bulbs for producing the light. Imalent names their M-Series lights by the number of LED beads used. Thus, the MS18 uses 18 CREE LEDs.
Many spotlights only use one of those LEDs, and can still be considered powerful.
So, it’s easy to understand why the MS18 is the most powerful spotlight available in the market. The LED beads are precisely placed at the center of their respective reflective cones.The inside of the reflective cones is textured with tiny dips that help spread the light while maintaining a smooth flood thorough and thorough.
CREE LEDs generate significantly more heat, especially on higher brightness levels. Thus, the LED panel is connected to the heat sensor and the cooling system. The heat sensor can sense the temperature and can automatically turn on the cooling fans.
The beam throw:
The beam throw of MS18 is another impressive aspect of the spotlight. This spotlight has 8 distinct brightness modes and a strobe mode. The run time on different modes are as follow:
|Brightness mode||Lumen||Run time|
|Low||700 lumens||14 hours 52 minutes|
|Middle Low||2,000 lumens||9 hours 15 minutes|
|Middle 1||5,000 lumens||6 hours 50 minutes|
|Middle 2||10,000 lumens||3 hour 40 minutes|
|High 1||22,000 lumens||67 minutes|
|High 2||30,000 - 25,000 lumens||3.8 minutes + 60 minutes|
|High 3||60,000 - 25,000 lumens||70 seconds + 55 minutes|
|Turbo||100,000 - 25,000 lumens||60 seconds + 52 minutes|
I need to mention here that the actual value of lumen and runtime may (and most likely will) vary slightly. And one thing you will need to understand and be prepared to accept is that the practical reading will vary up to a maximum of ±20% compared to the theoretical value. It’s quite normal with electrical devices, especially for high-performing devices.
These devices tend to generate a lot of heat that needs to be dissipated fast, which might not always be possible. Thus, the internal electronic controller will throttle the current to prevent a broken device or a burnt hand. It is also the reason why High ll, High lll, and Turbo mode start at a higher output and settles down at a lower 25,000 lumens after a short time.
The maximum range of this spotlight is about 4430 feet. Thus, you can use the light in high modes to pinpoint even the smallest details from about a mile away. Besides, it is a wide beam spotlight, meaning it spreads the light quite effectively and uniformly.
Build of Imalent MS18:
The Imalent MS18 is built of two main parts, the head, and the body. The body is just a tube containing the battery pack and charging module. However, everything else is in the head of the light. Thus, the head is massive. Although considering what it is capable of, it still seems quite compact.
Both the head and the body of the spotlight are covered with a Type lll anodizing finish. It helps protect the Aluminum from the environment and gives it a smooth matte finish.
As briefly mentioned above, the Imalent MS18 is made of aerospace-grade Aluminum, which is expected from a premium spotlight. High-quality Aluminum is more durable than steel and lighter than steel. And weight is surely a factor to consider for a spotlight of this size, which is meant to be handheld.
Despite the weight reduction from the aluminum, the light is still quite heavy, weighing around 4lbs. Most of which is from the battery pack. And since the battery pack will be resting inside your palm, the weight distribution of the light is quite balanced. And to aid with the total weight, it comes with a handy shoulder strap with padding.
The body of the spotlight is textured with thicker grooves going parallel to the body, and thinner grooves going across it. This sure helps with the grip, but still, the grip needs more work. Because the light isn’t very ‘grippy’.
At the back, there is the charging port and charge indicator light. Additionally, a metal plate screws to the body and covers the charging port and the charge indicator light. It also acts as an attachment point for the shoulder strap.
The front of the body screws to the head of the light and the battery connects to the light’s driving circuit via a sturdy spring. Additionally, a rubber O–ring seals the seam between in the thread to strengthen water resistance.
The body/battery pack is about 7 inches tall and 2.3 inches in diameter, just about the size of a medium-size hand when wrapping around it.
The head of the spotlight contains the majority of the essential components starting from the LED panel, power distribution module, cooling system, OLED display, power button, all the essential circuits, etc. It’s amazing how much Imalent fit in the limited space, and still managed to keep it in a reasonable size.
The head is also made of the same material and in the same design. However, from the outside, unlike the body, it is filled with features. On the head, you can find-
The Bezel of the MS18 is thin, silver in color, and made of stainless steel. However, it is permanent, and it can not be removed easily without damaging the device. It does not look much, but on the aluminum base, it is strong and can easily be used as an emergency hammer. On a previous model Imalent M-Series spotlight, MS12, the bezel was used as an attachment point for the shoulder strap. But on MS18, they changed it, and I’d say it’s for the better.
The Attachment ring:
The next thing from the top is the attachment ring for the shoulder strap. It is also metal and attached on a swivel to prevent the shoulder strap from twisting and to easily fix that if it does.
All in all, it is a great upgrade from the previous model.
Air intake and outlet:
Below the attachment ring, you can find the air intake and outlet window on the opposite sides. They help in air circulation to cool down the light. But the windows are closed shut with vents and aren’t easily accessible.
Additionally, the vents are locked in place with a set of Torx screws, and the screw heads are sealed with silicone to prevent rust.
But you can remove the protection and remove the vents for maintenance.
The intake and outlet windows are the biggest vulnerability to the total water resistance of the device. But they are mandatory for the proper functioning of the spotlight on high-end modes.
The OLED display:
You can find the OLED display right above the switch. It displays much crucial information about the light like the mode it is on, the battery status, safety lock, fan, etc. But frankly speaking, the display seems a bit too small for the task it handles. But the biggest problem in my opinion is that it doesn’t show a comma ( , ) between the digits on the lumen mode. Thus, it may seem a bit tedious to identify the mode at a short glimpse.
When the light is on, it switches between lumen output and battery voltage displaying each for 2 seconds. But the downer is that when you switch between different light modes, the first information it displays is the battery voltage. And then after a couple of seconds, it shows the brightness level. But it’d be much better to have it the other way around.
The display also shows when the light has the fan manually turned on when the safety lock is enabled, The voltage level when the light is being charged, and other relevant information like when the light is in strobe mode.
The Switch indicator:
The switch indicator LED of the MS18 is another upgrade from the previous model of spotlights. For example, MS12 didn’t have this feature.
It’s a small LED placed above the switch and hidden under a notch. So, normally, it is not an eyesore, but when it is active, it creates a dim smooth glow indicating the position of the switch. Thus, it is very handy in dark and helps to locate the switch. You can turn it on by pressing and holding the power button for 2 seconds.
Although, it’s very dim and consumes a negligible amount of power, and it automatically turns off after about 3 hours of inactivity.
The switch (User Interface):
Imalent used a metal cover for the switch and it is almost flush with the body of the light. The one switch controls almost the whole operation of the spotlight. Although it may seem overwhelming, Imalent managed to program it brilliantly.
The switch recognizes multiple consecutive presses as well as long presses and you can use it to navigate to different modes and stuff.
Here’s a list of all the functionalities of the button –
|Number of clicks||When the light is ON||When the light is OFF|
|Single click||Saves current mode and turns off (ex Turbo & Strobe)||Turns on in the last saved mode|
|Press and Hold 2 seconds||Cycle between different modes from low to high||Turn on/off the switch indicator light|
|Double click||Switch to Turbo from any mode & to Strobe from Turbo (single click to exit)||Turns on in Turbo|
|Triple click||OLED display shows battery status||OLED display turns on and displays battery status|
|Four clicks||Manually turn on/off the fan||Not specified|
|Five clicks||Save mode and turn off||Enables/disables safety lock|
The charger of the Imalent MS18 is also equally powerful. It’s a 19V 2.0A charger. In other words, it can supply up to 38watts of power to the giant battery set of the spotlight. It is leagues ahead of the charger of most handheld LED spotlights.
It takes about 4 hours and 25 minutes to charge up the light from zero to full. The change level is indicated in the OLED display. To clarify, 16.54V on the OLED screen indicates a full charge state, and 11.6V means it’s depleted too much to power the light. You can also look at the halo light around the charging port for a quick inspection. Red light means it’s charging and green means it’s full.
The Imalent MS18 is rated IP56. As strong as the spotlight is, water resistance is surely one of its weaknesses. But it is as sealed as it can be. Nonetheless, it can withstand rainfall, and snow like a champ. Additionally, it can resist pressure water jets from any direction. But it can not survive being submerged in standing water.
Two of the biggest openings for water to sip in are the cooling vents and the backplate. The cooling fan is understandable though since it is crucial to have the openings for the spotlight to function. The backplate, however, is a different story. Imalent could surely improve the protection there. But I think they didn’t bother since it wouldn’t improve the overall protection anyway.
But the spotlight is fairly dustproof, save for the cooling vent area. And it is also surprisingly impact-resistant for a tool of this size and weight. It can shrug off a fall from 1.5 meters or 4.9 feet without a dent.
Special features of MS18:
Smart power control circuit:The Imalent MS18 drains a large amount of power when it is active, especially in higher brightness modes. As a result, the voltage level changes drastically throughout a use cycle. This can result in inconsistent lighting within a short period. It also has a higher chance of damaging the LEDs. To combat this, the MS18 has a smart power control circuit that ensures a smooth and uniform output despite the current battery level. This ensures that the LEDs always work at the level they are intended to, and you get a consistent brightness for as long as the light is on.
Smart temperature sensor:The MS18 has an internal temperature sensor that can sense the temperature on the PCB and the LEDs. When the light is on over 22,000 lumens, the Cooling system automatically kicks in and starts pumping air. But the light also has a temperature threshold of 158°F or 70°C. Whenever the light is on and the internal temperature surpasses the level, the cooling system kicks in, even when the light is operating at a lower mode. Manual override is also available. If you’ve been using the light for an extended period, you can turn on the cooling system manually to cool it off before it reaches the threshold. And you should take advantage of it because built-up heat is the silent killer of the performance of any electronic device. Simply press the power button 4 times when the light is on to toggle on or off the fan manually.
Smart LED switch indicator:The indicator is a new edition to MS18 from previous models. While it’s convenient and feels super good when you use it, it’s also very dim and quite easy to forget to turn it off. Although it doesn’t consume a large amount of power, over time, it’ll add up. To counteract, Imalent installed a timer for it. After about 3 hours of inactivity, the light turns off automatically.
Smart voltage display:The OLED display shows the precise voltage of the battery both when it is charging and when it is being used. This is super handy and super cool. Most handheld spotlights use 3/4 LEDs to display battery level, but that usually provides a very limited amount of detail. The Smart battery status of the MS18 displays the precise battery level, how it’s changing, and how fast it’s changing, all in real-time. So, when you are using the light, you can get a very good idea of the remaining battery and how much more you can expect just within a few seconds. The same applies when the light is charging. Note: 11.6V is the lowest working voltage of the spotlight and 16.5V is the maximum voltage when the light is at 100%.
Safety Lock:The MS18 features a safety lock. You can press the power button 5 times when the light is off to engage and disengage the safety lock. When the safety lock is engaged, the light won’t take any other input from the power button until the lock is disarmed. It helps prevent children from accidentally turning it on and cause to harm to themselves or others. It also prevents accidental turn-ons and battery depletion. The Imalent MS18 is a real powerhouse, it’s not a toy, and it has the capability of causing some serious damage. So, take advantage of the safety feature.
Battery health inspection:The battery pack is equipped with a battery health inspection system, that keeps track of the charging process when the charger is connected. It can detect anomalies in the charging pattern and identifies irregularities as a potentially damaged battery. If it detects a potentially damaged battery, it automatically shuts off charging. This can prevent a large number of hazards. The danger of overcharging a damaged battery is beyond the scope of this article, but know that this system is crucial for a battery pack of this size and capacity.
Final thoughts about Imalent MS18
All in all. The Imalent MS18 is a great Spotlight. As of now, it is the king of the spotlights. It not only generates the most powerful light but also packs the most powerful battery pack for a handheld LED spotlight. the spotlight lives up to the motto of Imalent, tame the sun, it sure does.
The Imalent MS18 is undoubtedly a strong device with great potential. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Weirdly enough, that applies to this spotlight. The power of the Imalent MS18 is no joke. the brightest modes of the spotlight are capable of hurting someone. So it must be used with caution.
Nonetheless, it is a great spotlight and if used properly can be a great asset.