Pretty much any flashlight can be useful and some are more useful than others. Nitecore makes its fair share of those more useful lights but their Tiny Monster series, the TM12K specifically, reminds us that flashlights can be useful AND FUN… like giggle-inducing, retina-burning, show-it-off-to-your-friends fun.
The TM12K is one of the brighter lights in Nitecore’s Tiny Monster series. This USB-C rechargeable Li-ion light boasts up to 12,000 lumens of floody output from its 6 Cree XHP50 LEDs. It has 4 levels of output in addition to it’s Turbo mode (a total of 5). The 4th level is user programmable which is a task that is made very easy by the included OLED display!
The light has an internal 21700 battery with 4800 mAh capacity for some very impressive runtimes. It can charge at 18W in just 1.5 hours from empty.
You can see details outputs and runtimes in the image below.
Observations from Use
The TM12K feels like a light aimed at flashlight enthusiasts like much of the Tiny Monster line. I think that is where a lot of the fun (and the price) comes in. Most lights don’t need an eye-searing 12,000-lumen wall-of-light output mode that makes the flashlight body so screaming hot that the light has its own LED display with a visible countdown timer and temperature monitoring to prevent the light from melting itself down into an aluminum puddle… but that’s fun.
OLED displays and 12,000 lumens available at the touch of a dedicated button are fun… but Nitecore also managed to make this light very useful. When you aren’t using the turbo mode to turn night into day, that OLED display gives useful information like which level you are on currently, voltage, temperature, battery level, and even estimated remaining runtime! The latter two information points are extremely useful and makes me wish every light had an OLED display.
I have found the levels/modes on the TM12K to be very practical. Level 1 is an ultralow 6 lumens that runs for more than 200 hours and is great for power outages. Level 2 and 3 offer 100 and 300 lumens for respectable runtimes and I use these levels a lot when using the TM12K as a sort of work light which it excels at. For instance, level 3 was all the light I needed to change the sheer bolt on a snow plow in the dark breezeway of a barn recently. Level 4 is programmable from 400 to 2000 lumens in 100-lumen steps but it defaults to 1000. Programming this level is very easy and fast thanks to the two-button interface and display.
The form-factor of this light is somewhat unique. It has a very good pocket clip that actually works but, realistically, you won’t carry it in your pocket. It is boxy but not uncomfortable to hold and some thoughtful machining provides plenty of grip. I love the shape of this light for how I use it. I can set it down or tail-stand it to aim light anywhere without fear of it rolling away. This is very useful for a light that I mostly use as a work light or during power outages.
There are a few things I might change if I had my druthers. The lens, over the 6 LEDs and their reflectors, is understandably large. It might be nice to see a more protective aluminum bezel to protect that large lens. Also, this light features two lockout modes which are necessary considering this will be carried in a bag most of the time. The lockouts are so necessary that it would have been nice to have them directly accessible via a physical switch. I also wouldn’t mind seeing a more water-resistant cover for the charging port but I have used this light in damp, snowy conditions without issue.
The Nitecore TM12K reminds me that useful gear can be fun too. It’s an excellent, floody light with long runtimes that make it suitable for power outages and illuminating work areas. However, it also has “12,000 LUMENS!!”, literally engraved on the side so you know it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This light feels a little like a showcase for what Nitecore can do.
TM12K Product Info: https://flashlight.nitecore.com/product/tm12k