Regular readers know of my love for the Streamlight ProTac 1AAA flashlight. I’ve carried it daily for about two years now and absolutely love it. I use it just about every single day and the battery lasts me about 4-5 months. On a whim, I picked up this UltraTac K18 light after seeing it among my “Amazon recommends…” products. Honestly, I’m not 100% sold on it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice little light and great for EDC, but I’m just not certain it is perfect for me.
Let’s take a look at the UltraTac K18.
It comes in a few different colors and I went with the blue, as you can see. All of my other flashlights are black so I thought this would be a nice change of pace. The light runs just shy of 3 inches long and a hair more than 0.5 inch thick at the widest point. This makes the K18 the smallest flashlight I own, even smaller than my treasured ProTac 1AAA.
The K18 uses one AAA battery. With a standard alkaline, the CREE XP-G2 S2 LED will put out about 110 lumens. Pop in a lithium AAA, though, and that ramps up to 360 lumens. That’s a ton of light coming from such a small flashlight! The light does come with an alkaline battery, so it is ready to go right out of the box. It also comes with an extra O ring, which is a nice touch.
Even with the 110 lumens with an alkaline battery, it is brighter than the ProTac 1AAA (70 lumens on high). So, I’ll grudgingly admit the K18 wins that round. It has four settings, High, Medium, Low, and Strobe. The first three are cycled through each time you press the On-Off button. Turn the light on (holding the button for 0.5 second) and then double tap it for the strobe. Tap it once to go back to a steady light and hold it down for 0.5 second to turn the light off.
The On/Off is on the side of the light, near the head. This is the main reason why I’m not in love with this light. I prefer the switch to be on the butt end of the light when I’m using something small like this. Typically, I will deploy the light in my fist, with the switch by my thumb and the light coming out the bottom of my closed fist. With the button on the side like this, I first have to turn it on and then adjust the light in my hand. I’m not saying the K18 is a piece of crap because of this, of course. This is just a matter of personal preference.
It comes with a pen clip attached that can be reversed so one could affix the light to the brim of a ball cap. This isn’t something I usually do, personally. If I need a light shining from my head, I’ll get out a headlamp. In my experience, lights attached to hat brims tend to drag the hat down and it just feels awkward to me.
The beam is not adjustable, which isn’t a deal breaker for me. An adjustable beam just means there’s one more moving piece to the light that could malfunction at some point down the road. In a small EDC light like this, an adjustable beam really isn’t all that necessary in the grand scheme of things.
At about $23 right now on Amazon, it is a good deal for a small flashlight that is easy to toss in a pocket or purse. For just a few bucks more, though, you could go with the ProTac 1AAA. The K18 is brighter but I think that’s the only category in which it beats the ProTac.