In this Klarus XT12S review I’ll share my impressions of this mid-size tactical flashlight that boasts 1600 lumens of output. I also share a gallery of detailed photos including beamshots.
First a few words about Klarus in general. Klarus flashlights have been in my everyday carry rotation for quite some time now and based on my experience I find the fit, finish and usability on par with Fenix and Olight. I personally like them a bit better than similar offerings from Nitecore. In other words, Klarus may not be as widely known as some other brands, but I just really like what they are doing with their tactical flashlight designs.
Note: This flashlight was supplied to me by flashlightz.com for review. This is not a paid review… so I’ll tell you the pros and cons of this flashlight. You can check out flashlightz.com socially @ instagram, facebook, and twitter.
Where does the XT12S fit in the Klarus line-up?
The Klarus XT12S is a more compact version of their XT12GT. In other words, it has the same 1600 lumens of output in a slightly smaller form factor. This flashlight definitely falls into the “do it all” category. It’s very bright, pocketable, excellent finctionality (including the capability to mount it on your AR platform with a pressure switch). So when people ask me “if I were to buy just one higher end flashlight, what would you suggest” this is one that I point folks to.
My favorite feature (on all of the Klarus XT series flashlights) is the split tailcap switch. I prefer to operate any flashlight via the tailcap switch vs. a side switch. With the split tailcap switch on the XT12S I can use one half of the tailcap switch to cycle throught the lighting modes or use the other half of the tailcap switch to get immediate access to the strobe at a full 1600 lumens of output. If you look at your flashlight as both a lighting tool and a self-defense tool you’ll love this tailcap switch configuration.
Klarus XT12S beamshots
You can talk specs, you can talk features, but in the end it’s all about the money shots. All of these are straight out of my camera with no editing except cropping. The XT12S has great throw. If you were to weight flood vs. throw, it’s probably 25/75. According to Klarus the XT12S is rated at 402 meters (1318 feet).
In the photo below the top of the tree is about 100 feet away. The reflector design on the XT12S is narrow, deep, and smooth silver. This attributes to the really great throw of the flashlight.
In the image below you’ll note that you have quite a bit of light fall off on the sides. If you are looking for a flashlight with more flood, I’d consider one of the Klarus XT series flashlights with an orange peel reflector.
Another beam shot reflecting the narrow throw of this flashlight.
In the shot below the focus of the flashlight is about 20 feet away.
In the shot below the top of the tree is about 150 feet away.
Charging the battery
I’ll just start out by saying I have a love/hate relationship with the way you charge the battery on this flashlight. I definitely like the fact that I can charge the battery while it’s in the XT12S. That’s a big plus. What I don’t like is the magnetic charging port. Not because it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. I just hate the idea of a proprietary battery charging cord. If you lose it you’ll need to recharge in a conventional charger or order a new one.
Klarus makes other XT series lights that charge via a USB to micro USB connector. That’s a cord you can find easily on Amazon, Target, WalMart etc. etc. It doesn’t mean that this magnetic charging feature doesn’t have an upside.
If you look in the photo gallery you’ll see the magnetic charging port is bedded in some type of resin. This means your flashlight is definitely more water and dust resistant compared to one with a micro USB port.
The models with the micro USB port use a small rubber flap that sort of “snaps” into place. I just think that if your flashlight suffers a long term dunking the magnetic port is more waterproof. It’s not a deal killer, but if you are the type of person who loses charging cords (like me) it’s something to consider.
Other notable specifications
I’m not going to regurgitate every spec that Klarus has available because you can go to their website and get that info. I will share some that are worthy of note:
ITS (intelligent temperature protection system) keeps you from frying the flashlight if you do something like leave it in Turbo mode (1600 lumens) and walk away. It will ramp down the output to try and avoid damaging the flashlight. Trust me. Turbo mode is meant to be used for short periods of time. If you’ve never used a high output flashlight before you’ll note that even the design of the flashlight body is meant to shed heat. They can get pretty warm if you leave them in Turbo for long periods of time (even with a temperature control feature).
Nicely spaced output modes
I really like the nicely spaced output modes on this flashlight. From highest to lowest the output in lumens is as follows:
- (plus SOS and strobe @ 1600 lumens
Klarus XT12S review conclusion
If you need a really bright tactical flashlight that can be used in a variety of ways (everyday carry or on your AR or security shotgun) I think the Klarus XT12S is an excellent choice. It’s definitely one to consider if you are making your first purchase of a higher end light or you need a new light for you EDC rotation that easily fits in a pocket. Study the beamshots to determine if you like the quality of the light and if you are OK with a proprietary charging cable.