Nitecore MT21C Flashlight Review

Official Specs
Short Review
Long Review
  What's Included
  Manual and Packaging
  Build Quality and Durability
  User Interface and Operation
  LED and beam
  Tint vs...
  Beamshots, Runtime, etc table.
  What I like
  What I don't like
Up Next


Here’s another in Nitecore’s new run of lights.  This one has an interesting feature – an angle(able) head.  Otherwise, it’s a nice iteration of the MT – Multi Task – series of Nitecore lights.

Official Specs and Features


There’s just one version of this light.


Currently $59.95 at

Short Review

The angle head is a neat addition, and the loop holder to make this into a sort of lantern is neat.  I like the magnet strength, but otherwise this is a fairly basic light that fits into a niche that I’m not sure a lot of people would need.

Long Review

What’s Included

  • Nitecore MT21C
  • Lanyard
  • Nylon Pouch
  • Pocket Clip
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Paperwork


Package and Manual

Standard Nitecore black and yellow package.

The manual is similarly good.  Here’s a link to the PDF, which will download automatically.  Nitecore seems to have changed this recently from opening in its own page, to being a download.  I don’t like this change, but I do still like the inclusion of the pdf manual on their site.

Build Quality and Disassembly

Build quality is good, as with most Nitecore lights.  I like the knurling (flat diamond) in particular.


Generally of course, it’s a black tube light.  Pretty standard fare. I also really like that there’s no tailswitch.  I like tailswitch lights (hello: BOSS), but just not in the “this light is so tactical here’s a tailswitch” kind of way.  This light is a great answer to that.

The lantern loop seems attached well, and furthermore, is easily removable.  It’s just a spring fit attachment.


Of course the real draw of this light is the angle head.  It angles in 5 positions, from fully 90 degrees, to fully 180 degrees (that is, straight forward).  There are detents for each of these positions, and the light will reliably stay in any of them.

The angle head does complicate disassembly, since it requires specific torque to get the bezel off (something I didn’t actually achieve).  The body comes apart in the usual way, with the cell tube being it’s own (directional) piece.  Note that the threads on this tube are beefy square cut anodized threads, and I love them.  The tailcap has a very strong magnet that does not seem to be removable.  The driver side has only a brass button, which means any type cell should work fine.


Officially 131 mm x 25.4 mm, and 103.5 g.

Clearly a tried-and-true format for Nitecore, since it’s extremely similar to the MT22C.

Below, with the Convoy S2+.



There’s a standard Nitecore nylon pouch, which has two belt loops, one of which is velcro.  The light will go either direction, and the bezel can be pointed outward, so (on lower modes) the light will be usable in the pouch.

Also included is a pocket clip, which connects at only one point on the body, leaving >1″ out of pocket, but will connect in either direction.  There are also holes in the clip, which could connect a lanyard.  Otherwise the lanyard a lanyard would connect on the loop around the head – there is no hole in the tailcap for a lanyard.  To be honest, even though the clip is friction-fit, it’s probably fine as a lanyard connection point.

And finally, the tailcap magnet.  It’s surprisingly strong, and it’d need to be for the length of the light.



The MT21C is powered by a single 18650, and as I said above, any type will work.  In testing I’ve used a high drain Nitecore 3100 mAh cell, which works well.

I measured the output just above Nitecore’s claim at 30 seconds, but bear in mind a few things.  1) this is my first runtime with “Lumens” not “Relative Output.”  So I’m still dialing things in.  2) My approximate 1100 lumens at 30 seconds is 10% over the claim, which is approximately in line with emitter binning differences.  3) And 1100 from a Cree XP-L HD is reasonable with turbo being 2.8A, according to djozz from BLF.  So while my numbers might not be perfect, they’re reasonable, and for now reasonable is what I’m aiming for.  Note also that I’ve added an inset graph for the first 2 minutes of the runtime, so you can see exactly and more clearly how the driver works right after startup.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 10.28.16 PM.png

Also, a runtime on “High.”  Note when comparing this with the above, that Turbo doesn’t step down to high, it steps down higher than the High mode and maintains it until around an hour.


I actually let this runtime go overnight, and in the morning I found the light still outputting light at approximately the “Ultra-Low” level, and the cell voltage at 2.47V.  The light does not have LVP, but it does have a switch warning.

The manual states CR123a x2 support as well, but I do not usually have this cell setup available and so I did not test output with those cells.

Also regarding power (and transitioning into the UI):  the switch will indicate the power available in the cells being used.  And finally, it’s the “good” kind of power indicator.  When the light is off, click the switch once and it blinks the ones position, then the tenths position.  So 4 blinks pause 1 blink is 4.1V.  So nice vs the “3 blinks =75% power” or whatever.  When using 2-up cells, the light reports the average voltage between the two.

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single switch on the MT21C.  It’s a side indicating e-switch with a metal button and is quite proud.  I like the illumination, which is a clear plastic surrounding the metal switch.  As stated, there’s no tailswitch, so all UI goes through this side switch.


Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
 Off Click Battery Check
 Off Hold Ultra-Low
 On Click Mode cycle (ULMHT)
 Off Long Hold (past Ultra-Low) Momentary Turbo
Any Triple Click Strobe
 Strobe Group Click Strobe Advance
 On Hold Off


Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Mode Measured Lux Tailcap Amps
Turbo 1000 1h 979 2.86
High 400 3h45m 436 0.88
Mid 190 7h30m 200 0.36
Low 50 25h 51 0.08
Ultra-Low 1 700h 1 0.00

LED and Beam

Nitecore’s chosen the Cree XP-L HD for this light.  It’s a good middle ground choice.  The reflector is smooth and shallow, providing a beam with a hotspot that has little spill.


Tint vs BLF-348


Beamshots, Runtime, and Lux Measurements

Nitecore MT21C
Emitter Cree XP-L HD
Emitter Notes V6
Cell 18650
Glamour Shots Beamshots [0.3″, f/8, ISO 100, 5000k]
Runtime Chargetime N/A
LVP? No (Switch Warning)
Claimed Lumens (lm) 1000
Lux (Measured) 305 lux @ 5.679 m
Candela (Calculated) in cd 9836.6
Throw (Calculated) (m) 198.4
Throw (Claimed) (m) 184

Random Comparisons and Competitive Options….

The MT21C has what I’d have described as a fairly common set of features, but there aren’t actually that many competitive lights.  Especially when one considers the angle head, this is a unique package.


What I like

  • Outthrows it’s specs
  • Interesting angled head feature
  • Magnet in tail

What I don’t like

  • Overall the size is too bit for this category light.
  • No proper lanyard attachment point

Up Next

I’ve been tempted lately to try to slow down a bit and clear out a bunch of backlog type items that I just need to start and finish reviewing.  Not flashlights…. and some of them are other type posts.  So I might skip a few flashlight review days here and there, and try to focus on other stuff.


  • This light was provided by Nitecore for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at Please visit there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this light, I do have a bunch of coupons!! Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons. It’s possible to subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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