Nitecore NU25 / NU25UL Headtorch Review – How does it perform?

Nitecore head torches are becoming increasingly popular with hikers and runners who want a lightweight torch that still offers good performance in terms of brightness and battery life. Here I look at Nitecore’s latest lightweight offerings, the NU25 and the NU25UL.

The Nitecore NU25 and NU25UL are essentially the same torch with a different headband. The UL shaves around 10g off by just using elastic cord rather than a cord and strap combination on the NU25. Take the headbands off and you’ve got identical torches. The torch body is plastic which combined with the headband design gives a very lightweight torch. I tested the torches on numerous outings whilst trail running and camping in the Peak District.

Nitecore NU25 & NU25UL side by side

Nitecore NU25 & NU25UL


The torch unit comprises of dual lenses, giving floodlight and spotlight, which can be used either on their own or in combination. In dual mode there are three brightness settings; low, medium and high. There is also an ultra low setting, strobe mode and red light mode using  two small red LEDs.

photo of Nitecore NU25 head torch

Nitecore NU25

On the top of the torch are two buttons, a rectangular on / off button and a circular mode button. A long press of the on / off button turns the torch on in dual mode (both spot and floodlights illuminated) on its lowest setting of 60 lumens. Another press increases the brightness to 200 lumens and a third press goes to the brightest setting of 400 lumens. Pressing the mode button allows you to choose either floodlight or spotlight if you don’t want to use them combined and you can choose either 60 or 200 lumens on each. The mode button also takes you to red light mode (you can choose either constant or flashing). An ultra low, 6 lumen white light setting is reached by double pressing the on / off button. Strobe / SOS mode is reached by double pressing the mode button and gives a choice of regular flash or dot dot dash flash pattern. Finally, a single press of the mode button whilst the torch is off gives you the battery power indicator; 4 tiny blue LEDs show how much battery is left according to how many light up.

Nitecore NU25 USB C recharge

USB C recharge and battery indicator

The elasticated cord on the headband is reflective and also glows in the dark. Tension can be easily adjusted, even whilst on the move by pulling the cord through a toggle. The lamp unit can be adjusted to tilt downwards and a rubber cover protects the charging port. The IP66 waterproof rating means you don’t need to worry about the torch failing in the wet – so no excuse not to go out if it’s dark and raining!

Nitecore NU25 and NU25UL side by side

same torch different strap


The NU25 is powered by an internal 650mAh li-ion battery which is charged via an external USB – C port.


NU25 58g, NU25UL 47g (on my scales)


NU25 £49, NU25UL £45

My thoughts:

Does all that selection of setting sound a little complicated?! It took me several uses to figure out how to switch between the different modes and sometimes I actually needed to take the torch off my head and look at it to see which lamps were illuminated! Often it was a case of pressing the buttons at random until I settled on a setting that seemed best. It doesn’t help that I have several different torches, each with different operating functions and admittedly if this was your only torch you’d probably soon get used to its operation.

The buttons are very small and lie quite flush with the body of the torch. This makes using the switches whilst wearing gloves quite difficult and with mittens it is almost impossible. Not a problem if you are using the torch without gloves but something to consider if using it in winter. The on / off button does have little pimples which help to locate it if you are gloveless. I tried both torches to get a feel for the different head bands and found the slightly heavier non UL version to be more comfortable. I would probably forgo a little bit of weight saving and choose the slightly heavier head band if I was choosing between the two torches. The reflective cord is useful if you want to be seen from behind or the side, for example whilst running on unlit roads.

Battery life is claimed to be 2 hrs 40 mins on maximum power. I tested the NU25 by fully charging it then leaving it on Dual Beam full power mode (indoors in a warm room) and it lasted for 2 hrs 27 minutes (I’d expect that it maybe a shorter duration if outdoors on a cold night) It then suddenly switched to a very dim reserve mode, this would be quite a shock if you were running, but at least you aren’t cast from high power to complete darkness all at once! Reserve mode lasted another 50 minutes before the torch switched off altogether. The external USB – C port allows you to easily charge the torch, for example whilst driving or even via a power bank whilst you are carrying it. The fact that there is no compartment to open to access the battery means there is no clip or hinges to break. Recharge from completely drained to fully charged (4 blue lights) took just over 2 hours using the supplied USB-C cable.

chart showing Nitecore battery life figures

claimed battery life is less than in reality!

I found that the medium setting of 200 lumens was sufficient for easy trail running and night walking with the odd burst of 400L in more tricky terrain. The ultra low mode was useful for camping when I wanted the inside of my tent to be gently illuminated. The cord allowed me to easily hang the torch inside my tent and the glow-in-the-dark cord means you can find your torch again for several minutes after you have turned it off.

NU25 floodlight mode

NU25 in floodlight mode


Whilst this is not the the torch that I’d use for serious mountain outings or Bob Graham support etc the Nitecore NU25 is a great torch for shorter runs on less technical terrain where battery life and brightness are less important. It is still powerful enough to cope with a very long run on medium power. The settings can take a little getting used to and it can be tricky to change modes whilst wearing gloves. It is my torch of choice for fast-packing and lightweight camping as at around 50g the weight is barely noticeable yet it packs enough of a punch to get you off the hill in the middle of the night if needs be. It would also make a great back up torch if heading into the mountains.

More detailed video review here:

Available here:
Nitecore Website:

If you found this review useful you can buy me a coffee to show your appreciation!

Nitecore UT27 Headtorch Review

The Nitecore UT27 is a lightweight Dual Beam head torch ideally suited to trail and fell running.

Following on from the UT32, Nitecore have produced another lightweight, dual beam head torch; the UT27, available from November 2021


The UT27 is simple in its design with the battery housed in the same unit as the lenses. Having the battery on the front of the head rather than in a separate rear housing can sometimes make head torches feel “top heavy” and unbalanced but not this one. The UT27 weighs in at a remarkably light 75g including battery. This is one of the lightest head torches that I have come across, at least that can realistically be used for fell running. The main body of the torch is plastic and although lightweight it doesn’t feel flimsy. The torch has two separate lenses mounted side by side; floodlight and spotlight and operation is by two buttons (W and T) on the top of the torch which control each of the beams respectively. I don’t know what W and T stand for, F and S would make more sense! The UT27 has an IP66 rating so should be water tight even in really bad weather! The battery compartment glows in the dark after it has been illuminated – theoretically that could make changing the batteries easier but it would still be a tough challenge without a second light source and not something I’d be wanting to try whilst out on the fells in bad weather! The torch comes supplied with battery, recharging cable and a small carry bag that acts as a diffuser which is useful when in a tent.

photo of Nitecore UT27 Dual Beam headtorch

Nitecore UT27 Dual Beam head torch


The UT27 is versatile in that it uses both a rechargeable Li-ion 1300mAh battery pack (supplied) as well as standard AAA batteries. The pack is recharged via the supplied USB-C cable and can either be removed from the torch or left in place with the battery compartment open during recharging. An LED on the battery pack turns from red to green when fully charged.

Claimed battery life ranges between 6 (Spotlight HIGH) and 13 hours (Floodlight LOW) although I haven’t fully tested this claim yet.

Nitecore UT27battery pack

USB-C rechargeable Li-ion battery or 3 x AAA


Each lens has two settings; simply high or low. Floodlight High gives 200 lumens, Low 55 lumens. Spotlight High gives 400 lumens, Low 100 lumens. There is also a Turbo mode where both lenses are illuminated giving 520 lumens. Two single LEDs also give either constant or flashing red light, useful for emergency signalling or when you only need a very low setting. These red LEDs also indicate how much battery power is remaining. Each button controls each beam i.e. one button (marked W) for the floodlight, one (marked T) for spotlight. A long hold switches that particular lens on after which another press toggles between high and low brightness. To switch to the other lens simply press the other button. A quick double press of either button turns on turbo mode which automatically turns off after 30 seconds to preserve battery life if you forget to turn it off manually. The red LEDs are turned on by double clicking either button from when the torch is off. The torch can also be locked off to prevent it being switched on by accident.

close up photo of Nitecore UT27 head torch

a button for each lens

In Use

I found the Nitecore UT27 easy to operate. The twin buttons on top of the torch are reasonably easy to use whilst wearing gloves and the sequence of presses is fairly intuitive. The two beams are noticeably different, the floodlight giving a white light whilst the spotlight is a much warmer yellow light. This yellow beam is unusual compared to most other head torches that I’ve used and does take a bit of getting used to although I  do find it better for map reading as there is less harsh, reflective glare than with the white beam. In spotlight mode on high power the beam gives an impressive throw of light; 128 metres according to Nitecore’s statistics.

photo of Nitecore UT27 on floodlight setting

floodlight setting, high

photo of Nitecore UT27 on spotlight setting

spotlight setting, high

The torch can be angled down through a number of positions as far as 90 degrees (useful if tying your laces or looking in your bumbag) and the ratchet is firm enough that the chosen position stays fixed, even when running on uneven ground. It is comfortable to wear and the light weight would mean that it would remain so for extended periods, you hardly notice the weight.

photo of Nitecore UT27 head torch

head unit angled to 90 degrees

Overall I’m very impressed with the light weight and ease of use of the Nitecore UT27. It’s a great little torch for fell running and takes up very little room in a pack. It would be a good option for camping as well as running.


Very lightweight, easy to operate, versatile battery options.


Not the cheapest, yellow light takes a while to get used to.


Claimed 74g including battery and headband (75g on my scales)



UK Distributor:

US Distributor:

Full technical details: Nitecore website.

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Nitecore UT32 Headtorch Review

The Nitecore UT32 is a dual-light head torch designed for trail running.

The UT32 is an interesting torch with a unique feature in that it has two lenses; a standard white light and a warmer, yellow coloured light which is designed for use in poor visibility such as fog or drizzle. The theory is that the warm white light is better able to penetrate in poor visibility.


The Nitecore UT32 feels well made; the compact aluminium housing is reassuringly rugged without being heavy and two large buttons turn the torch on and control the settings. You need to press both buttons together to turn it on and the torch can be swiveled to prevent this happening accidentally. The torch is designed to be worn horizontally on the forehead and fits easily into the plastic head strap mount. It also comes supplied with a clip which allows it to be removed from the head mount and fixed elsewhere, for example on a rucksack strap or belt. It can also be used a hand held torch. An additional “over the head” elasticated strap is supplied for additional stability although I didn’t feel the need to attach it. The buttons and lenses are at one end of the torch, to switch between the cool white and warm white lenses you simply rotate the body of the torch 180 degrees and press the relevant button. Twisting the body of the torch allows you to adjust the angle of the beam up or down. The torch itself doesn’t have a recharging port, the batteries need to be charged separately. A battery may or may not be included – check before you buy (mine came with the NL1835R). The UT32 has a waterproof rating of IP68 (2 metres) and is shockproof to one metre and comes with a 5 year warranty. A spare O ring seal and button covers are also supplied.

photo of Nitecore UT32 head torch

Nitecore UT32 head torch


The UT32 uses either one Rechargeable Li-ion 18650 or two CR123 batteries. These are easy to fit by unscrewing the end cap of the torch. The torch might not come supplied with a battery, mine came directly from Nitecore and included an 18650 (3500mAh) Be aware that you can’t use any 18650 battery, I tried one with a flat top but it wouldn’t work, it needs to have a “button” top.

photo of Li-ion battery

No – Yes: flat top batteries don’t work!

The torch itself doesn’t have a USB recharging port so you need to charge the battery independently. I got Nitecore’s own NL1835R battery with USB port; you simply plug a standard micro USB charging cable directly into the battery.

photo of Nitecore NL18345R with USB port

Nitecore NL1835R battery with USB port


The settings on the UT32 are straightforward; there are two buttons, one for each lens and a single press scrolls through Low 70 lumens, Medium 200 lumens and High power 410 lumens. A long press gives a maximum brightness Turbo mode 1100 lumens which automatically drops down to the previous setting after 30 seconds. There are also two strobe settings; SOS and steady flash which are activated by three quick presses. Claimed battery life on high power is 3hr 45mins although I haven’t tested this.

In Use

I’ve used the Nitecore UT32 for several months including wild camping and a 5 hour overnight run supporting a Paddy Buckley round. I found it to be comfortable and stable. Despite all the weight being up front (the torch unit itself weighs 85g) it didn’t bounce around and I didn’t bother with the overhead strap.

runner wearing Nitecore UT32 torch

horizontal mount, single head band

The big buttons are easy to locate and operate even whilst wearing gloves. During the Paddy Buckley run we did find ourselves in cloud on some of the summits and thus reduced visibility. This gave me chance to try out the warm yellow light. To be honest I didn’t really notice much difference other than the colour of the beam which is noticeably orange. In conditions like that I simply take the torch off my head and hold it closer to the ground which gives much better visibility as the water droplets aren’t illuminated directly in front of your eyes.

photo of person holding the Nitecore UT32 torch

in bad visibility I hold the torch low to the ground

The shape of the UT32 does make it easy and comfortable to use as a hand held torch so that is how I used it in the “clag”. The design of the lenses means that the warm light mode gives a slightly further illumination distance as can be seen in the photos:

photo showing Nitecore UT32 fill beam

high power cool light

photo showing Nitecore UT32 fill beam

high power warm light

During the Paddy Buckley run I used the torch on the medium power setting and there was plenty of charge still available when I switched it off (if you unscrew the cap as if to remove the battery then screw it up again the torch flashes, the number of flashes indicating how much charge is left). As stated, the warm light setting is noticeably yellow / orange compared to the usual head torch setting and it takes a bit of getting used to. Having said that I find it preferable for use in a tent and around camp where it is much softer than the harsh, white, standard torch setting.


Easy to operate, comfortable, build quality, versatile, long warranty.


Not convinced of the effectiveness of the warm light setting in bad visibility.


Torch & battery 83g (125g worn weight inc. headband)


£74 (battery costs extra)

Available here
Also here (affiliate link)

Full technical details can be found on the Nitecore website.

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