BTU PK26 Flashlight Review

Preface

I didn’t know much about this light, but I figured, I have a few 26650’s so might as well give it a shot! Kathy at GearBest sent it out for review.


BTU PK26 Official Specs:

The BTU PK26 – Tiny Thrower

Utilizing Cree XHP35 HD LED, this powerful illuminator is able to generate up to 2000Lm of illumination, as well as 5 constant brightness outputs, which provides a wide variety of lighting options. While its impressive output is what makes the PK26 stand out, it’s the max 500 meters monstrous throw that sets it apart.

Main Features:

  • Pocket size with extension tube, flexible battery compatibility
  • Utilizes Cree XHP35 HD LED delivering up to 2000Lm output
  • Multiple outputs: turbo 100pct – high 75pct – mid 35pct – low 10pct – moonlight 1pct
  • Optimized lens and reflector for 200 – 500m throw distance
  • Rugged design with efficient fins to prevent overheating
  • IPX-6 waterproof standard, even for heavy rain
  • Digital current regulation design, no PWM
  • 6061 T6 aero-grade aluminum alloy in military-grade hard anodized finish
  • When running on 26650 battery, turbo 40 – 50min, high 1.5h, mid 3h, low 10 – 12h, moonlight 105h
  • Luminous Flux: 2000LM
  • Color Temperature: 6500K / 4500K
  • Battery Quantity: 1 x 26650 / 26350 / 18650 / 18350 battery (not included)
  • Reflector: Aluminum Textured Orange Peel Reflector

Caution: high drain batteries that can withstand more than 15A current (not included) are recommended.


BTU PK26 Short Review:

The BTU PK26 is in fact quite the little pocket rocket. It’s a little big for pocket carry, but it’s great for it’s intended purpose.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • BTU PK26
  • 26350×1
  • Extension tube for 26650
  • Lanyard
  • Pocket clip
  • Spare o-rings (4!)
  • Mesh bag

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Pictures

Body shots, and beam shots.

Package and Manual

Simple package: Cardboard box containing the light in a mesh bag.

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The accessories come in zip top bags. Surprisingly the light comes with the extension tube installed, and the 26350 ‘installed’ (it’s just loose in the twice-too-big compartment. This isn’t a problem – the cell doesn’t get damaged – and I’m sure it’s done this way so that the light can ship from [wherever] (in my case, China) without worrying about the restriction of shipping Li-ions (typically if the cell is an ‘integral part’ of a device, it’ll ship just fine).

There’s no manual so to speak, but the specifics of the UI etc, are printed on the back of the box.

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Here is where I’ll note that it seems this light was developed with (or “for”) BudgetLightForum, and one of those threads can be seen here.

Build Quality, Durability, and Disassembly

I want to lead with this embarrassing story relating to the build quality of this light. When I received this thing, it had the 26350 installed. Quite frankly I’d never even seen a 26350. I was all ‘what is this thing’? Furthermore, the extension tube for 26650 was installed. So I had this 26350 in the light, filling half of the battery compartment, and I was shaking my head.

The thing is, the seam that connects the extension tube to the regular tube is so clean I could not even see it. That should be a good window into the build quality of this light. It’s not perfect but it’s is well built. It’s visible now after some use, but not in a bad way.

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The anodizing feels a little thin, but has held up to my usage of the light. The threads are also unanodized, and also unlubed. So they felt a little grippy, but they are square cut and once they’re threaded on sufficiently, connecting the parts is very smooth.

The button is quite prominent and very clicky. The pocket clip holds very snugly to the light and to a belt, etc. The tailcap has great grip for unscrewing, and there’s a big hole for a lanyard. There are also slots for tritium vials all around the head, which I really like.

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There’s even a glow-o-ring under the ARC-coated lens!

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Disassembly is easy – the bezel screws right off. The reflector falls right out. The mcpcb does look to rest on an integrated shelf, so I’m not sure how easy it’d be to get out for a swap, but probably possible.

And here’s a blow up so you can see all the body parts including the 26650 extension, and the included 26350.

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The head and tail cap don’t actually have springs, but have rubber/foam pads to cushion the cells.

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Size

As far as 26650 lights go, this is probably my shortest. The head is quite large, but as a pocket thrower, you expect that. It’s not unusually large, but I will say that the ergonomics of the size/shape of this light make it a little… odd. It’s all edges. The head truncating in a corner and not smoothly to the body – unusual! But that actually probably gives more room for full diameter fins, and so this light can probably be expected to handle heat better than if it was ‘normally’ shaped.

I measure it at 83mm tall with the 26350, and 40mm across at the head.

Here are some lights you might know, for size comparison.

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Klarus XT11GT, Convoy C8, PK26, Manker E14.

Retention

There’s a lanyard hole in the tail cap, and a pocket clip, and a mesh bag. The pocket clip only works with the 26650 setup – with the shorter cell, the pocket clip hangs over the end of the light by about 1″. The clip also forces a “lens up” orientation. The mesh bag doesn’t offer any connecting/hanging options, so it’ll have to go in a pocket or bag if that’s the carry method.

If I carried this light much, it’d definitely go in a bag. I think it’d be a great light for that!

Power

A surprising four cell options for this light: 26650, 26350, 18650, 18350. Note it will not work with 26350×2 or 18350×2 – working voltage only goes up to 4.2V, so you’ll harm the light if you try any of those shenanigans.

On a runtime test with the provided cell there’s what I call “soft termination” – the light flickers (almost like a candle) to let you know the cell is below the light’s voltage threshold. In my case, I stopped the test and pulled the cell and it was at 2.9V.

User Interface and Operation

There’s one pronounced rubber clicky on the side of this light. All input is from that switch. The light has an interesting UI; not hard to master, but still I don’t know any other lights like it. Double clicking this button is difficult for some reason…. the reset isn’t quite right for a quick second-click.

Noteworthy that there’s no manual – but the UI and other specifics are listed on the back of the box.

You know I like UI Tables. Here is one.

State Action Result
Off Click No Action
Off Hold Low*
Off Double Click Turbo
Turbo Click Off
Turbo Hold Low
On Hold off
On Click Mode Cycle
On Double Click Turbo

* There is a marked pre-flash of high or turbo when turning the light on to low. The preflash is an absolute killer!
** Turbo stepdown is 120 seconds. Stepdown is to High.

There’s an electronic lockout, too – in Low mode, wait 5 seconds for the light to flash. If you turn the light off directly after the flash, the light will be electronically locked out. Hold the switch for 3 seconds to unlock. And of course, the tailcap can be loosened for mechanical lockout.

One interesting sidenote – the back of box manual states that the switch is an indicating switch, with a blue/red led.

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I finally got my side switch to indicate, but it is very faint. So faint I’m not sure I’d have noticed it if I wasn’t looking for it. But it does seem to work, so that’s good.

LED and Beam

The PK26 has a Cree XHP35 HD.

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The “HD” part of that indicates this one has a dome – there is a HI version of the emitter, which doesn’t have a dome. The reflector,

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though shallow, does throw quite well – there’s a distinct spot with little spill. I may be green-sensitive, but as with some other lights I’ve seen lately, I find the tint to be on the green side. There is a CW and NW version of this light, and of course I opted for NW. I have at least one other XHP35, and I found it on the green side as well.

The beam is very useful and maybe a little unexpected from a light this size. Quite throwy.

Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

My runtime

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on the provided 26350 cell, which I believe is 2000mAh. (Unfortunately I did not have a >15A 26650 to test with this light.)

When 1/5 power energy left, the flashlight will flash some times ; Then the flashlight will step down to Low Low mode to extend the runtime.

BTU PK26
Emitter Cree XHP35 HD
Emitter Notes
Cell 26650
Runtime 26650
Chargetime 26650
Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k] 26650
Claimed Lumens (lm) 2000
Lux (Measured) 4030
At (m) 2.11
Candela (Calculated) in cd 17907.97
Throw (Calculated) (m) 267.64
Throw (Claimed) (m) 200-500

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

I’ll be honest, I don’t know of a single other 26350 light, so if that’s your thing, then the BTU PK26 is the light for you. On the other hand, there are a bunch of other 26650 lights. Lights with bigger heads like the Shadow JM30, for example. But this light seems to fill a niche that is otherwise unmet – the capability to switch cells, and be a much shorter light. So I wouldn’t really compare this to much else on the market.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Size
  • Tint options
  • Tritium slots!!!
  • No mode memory (always starts on low)
  • Great hand warmer

What I don’t like

  • Sharp corners
  • UI is a bit finicky
  • Preflash!
  • Indicating switch is very faint

Final Thoughts

Great light for pocket throw – if you have big pockets. It delivers it’s promise, and there are few (if any?) lights like it. It took me a little while to really like the light, but I do like it now, and I recommend it if it fits the needs you have!


Parting Shot

Oh glow you didn’t.

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Notes:

This light was provided by GearBest for review, and the links herein are affiliate links.

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