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Princeton Tec Apex

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Princeton Tec Apex headlamp

This initial evaluation was performed indoors in a darkened basement and then after nightfall in the backyard, partially surrounded by trees.

This is perhaps the best headlamp i own or have ever used.

What's good:

0. price: lists for a full retail price of $80. even though only just introduced, (was shipped on the first date available), was purchased for only $65 from

1. good balance. batts behind head - perhaps a must in a 4AA headlamp. small front unit - a bit larger than the PT Corona, but not a big "head". speaking of the "head", it has 90 deg. of vertical adjustment from straight ahead to straight down. it has a non-racheted , friction hinge, and so is "infinitely" adjustable. will the nylon insert of the lock-nut securing the hinge screw loosen over time? if so, the phillips head of the hinge screw should be easy to tighten. very little bounce without the removable top "bucket" strap and no movement whatsoever of the head about the hinge point.

2. excellent batt. life is indicated by the mfr and is expected due to the addition of a fourth battery - as cp. to other 3 batt. systems. even taking a 1/2 to 3/4 reduction of the mfr's claims, this leaves a relatively long batt life. more testing is needed to see if these claims hold true.

3. light output - must be seen to be believed! in all modes, the Apex produces a very white light output with little or no "yellow" or perceptible "blue" from light reflected from surfaces ~40' away. this user prefers pure white light; others will undoubtedly prefer some "yellow", making it appear more "incandescent-ish".

the Apex has 5 operating modes: 3W LED-hi, 3W LED-lo, 5mmx4 LED-hi, 5mmx4 LED-lo, 5mmx4-hiFlash.

the 5mm-Hi is surprisingly bright easily illuminating out to 40' - much brighter than a TikkaPlus. on 5mm-hi, it is the brightest 4LED headlamp, i've ever seen, actually rivaling and surpassing any 6 or 7 5mm LED array headlamps i've used. in fact, on 5mm-HI mode, it appears to be nearly as bright out to 40'as some single 1W LEDs.

5mm-LO mode is noticeably dimmer than 5mm-HI mode, but still unusually bright. for example, 5mm-LO mode on the Apex was brighter at ~40' than other 5mmx4 white LEDs headlamps on their highest output compared. i will probably be unable to hike on unfamiliar trails in 5mm-LO mode (i like to see lo-contrast, dull, faded blazes on trees at least 30' ahead so as not to miss a bend in the trail), but younger hikers with average or better than average low light vision, in some cases, may find it possible. even on 5mm-LO mode, however, it is too bright to be used for reading, IMHO.

the 3W LED on LO is very bright (field testing will need to be performed to determine actual throw - at 40' in the basement, objects on the walls were illuminated very well. on 3W LED-Lo the Apex's beam was noticeably brighter than single 1W LED headlamps on their highest output mode and had a larger "spot", providing a much better overall view.

the 3W LED on HI very brightly illuminated small objects 40' away.

outside in the backyard, 5mm-HI illuminated trees ~50' away, though very dimly - very impressive for only 4 5mm LEDs. there is a real difference using it indoors where there are more surfaces to reflect light back to the eye, and outdoors where most light is not reflected back at perceptible levels since there are fewer objects/trees to do so, i.e. more open space.

3W LED-LO illuminated trees moderately bright, ~50'-75' away - about the same, or even a bit brighter than other 1W LuxeonStar-type LEDs - certainly no less bright than other 1W LEDs.

3W LED-HI brightly illuminated those same trees and could distinctly, but not brightly, make out the trees at the very back of my yard at the start of the woods, 150'-200' away.

beam width from the 3W LED was actually excellent at 50'-150, and even at 30'. won't need to be "chicken walking" to pick out blazes (i.e., bobbing and turning the head to see each individual tree trunk in order to locate blazes.

both the 5mm and even the 3W LED have an impressive field of illumination. 3W has a somewhat very nice large spot, nowhere near as tight as some other 1W and 3W headlamps, making it much more useful. for my uses, i.e., nighttime navigation and not SAR, giving up a bit of "throw" for a greater diameter "spot" is to be preferred.

4. removable "over-the-head"/bucket strap. doesn't seem to be really needed due to the relatively light wt. of the "head". however, the "around-the-head" strap can be looser if the the "over-the-head" strap is used. straps are very easy to adjust while wearing using just one hand. despite this, straps don't seem to slip and hold their tension/position well. on mine, the "around-the-head" strap was probably not installed properly. the strap went in front of the front attachment bracket/plate, causing the plastic plate to be in direct contact with the forehead. it was a very simple matter to detach the strap from the bracket and route it to the back of the bracket. the strap is very comfortable in this postion, providing cushioning, and will absorb the inevitable sweat that will be produced during extended wear, especially on warmer summer nights.

5. nice camo color headband with an OD head it's also available in black & orange.

6. no time limit on 3W LED-hi mode as cp. to a 20sec "boost" limitation on the Petzl MyoXP. hopefully, since there is no uniformly "forced" limitation/duration on continuous use of the 3W LED-HI mode, to prevent overheating, should the Al heatsink prove insufficient, the Apex possesses some type of thermal regulation consisting of a current "foldback" scheme should the 3W LED temp. get too high. however, this assumption is naive, since the Al heatsink alone might have been designed to handle conditions that would cause the "user" to fail before the LED fails?

7. 3W LED collimated optics beam pattern is a nice spot. not real large when cp. to some focusable Xenon's, but larger than some other 1W and 3W single LEDs. really very nice. compared to the Petzl MyoXP on BOOST mode, the Apex's 3W-Hi beam does not seem to have as wide field of illumination as the XP on BOOST, but it does appear to have more "throw" than the MyoXP. Also, the MyoXP has a very noticeable "yellow" color to its beam, whereas the Apex is very white.

8. a Petzl Duo-series type of removable battery "carrier" makes changing batteries easy.

9. nice o-ring seal on batt. compartment. mine was not seated properly, as shipped, and came out with the battery carrier. very easy to replace it in the "channel" on the main portion of the battery compartment. repeated removals and insertions of the battery carrier did not cause the o-ring to become unseated.

10. batteries (4AA) are included. but, that's becoming pretty much standard with many mfr's.

11. battery compartment top and attached battery carrier retained/released via a 1/4 turn knob on the bottom of the battery pack housing (similar to the PT Switchback, but a smaller knob). the "around-the-head" strap adjustment buckle is shaped to function as a tool to make turning the 1/4 turn fastener easy. on mine, it required quite a bit of exertion to fasten/unfasten the 1/4 turn fastener without using the buckle, but it's doable. very easy to turn when using the buckle.

12. softer rubber overmolding/cushioning on the battery compartment makes it fairly comfortable - even for short durations laying down & reading. however, for longer durations, it may become uncomfortable. solution was to cut a small piece of sleeping pad foam. it's easily secured under the "around-the-head" strap and greatly increases comfort. foam pad stays in place and doesn't slip. soft overmolding is also on the "outboard" side of the batt compartment which should prevent some breakage/cracking if dropped or from the wt. of the head if used laying down.

13. two button control makes controlling the Apex very easy. reduces the need to cycle through all lighting modes to get to the desired mode.

here's how it works: under the lamp head are two buttons - one on the right which controls the 5mm LEDs, and one on the left which controls the 3W LED. a quick press and release of either button switches the LED(s) controlled by that switch on in HI mode. another quick press and release of the appropriate button cycles illuminated LED(s) to the LO output mode. for the 5mm LEDs, another press of the right button cycles the 5mm LEDs to 5mm-hiFlash mode. additional presses cycle back to HI output mode.

pressing and holding either button for ~1second will turn off whatever LED(s) are currently illuminated. there is no need to turn OFF the illuminated LED(s) in order to turn ON the other LED(s). merely, pressing and releasing the other LED(s) ON/OFF button, switches OFF the LED(s) which are on, and illuminates the LED(s) which were off.

14. tiny flashing "battery health" indicator LED - located on the front of the "head" at the 6 o'clock position beneath the 3W LED.

15. very slightly recessed buttons with 4 "braille"-like nibs on the right side button (controls the four 5mm LEDs) with a nice tactile feedback. (will need to test with gloves on.)

What's not:
1. just under 10oz with alkaline batts, so on the heavy side as compared to a Petzl Myo XP (at this point in time, perhaps its closest popular competitor for backpacking). other than the overmolding, and a generously, but not overly, wide headband, not sure how to reduce wt. of course, using 4 Li AA batts would reduce wt by ~1.2oz vs. 4 AA alk. batts.

2. on 3W LED-hi, very short regulated mfr claimed output time before unregulated output mode occurs. however, according to the manual that came with the Apex, use of Li batts can greatly increase (up to 4x) regulated times before the Apex switches to unregulated o.p.

Suggestions for improvement:
1. the addition of 1 or 2 5mm red LEDs might be appreciated by some users. since, in its present configuration, forget about preserving any "dark adaptation" acquired before turning on the headlamp.

2. could wish for more regulated output time, but this may be beyond the ability of current technologies if only 4AA batts are used to power a headlamp.

3. "Cavers" would appreciate the ability to add a remote 4C-cell battery pack to extend "burn time".

4. though, perhaps, this next suggestion would only be desirable to only a subset of the users (this reviewer being one of them), this subset would prefer that LO modes were activated first and then HI modes, instead of the way it is now - HI modes are activated on the first button press and then an additional button press is required to activate the two LO modes. this headlamp puts out so much light, that, to me, at least, even 5mm-LO mode is sufficient for many tasks that the philosophy of "let's get as much light out there as quickly as possible in an emergency situation" is perhaps unecessary. it's not like you have only one button and have to cycle through a bunch of lo-output modes in order to get some really bright output, especially with two buttons (the left one just for turning on the 3W LED - even on LO this LED is as bright or brighter than 1W LEDs). this reviewer, even though an admitted "light hawg" (sic), would be fine with LO modes being the initial "turn-on" modes.

Price Paid: 60.00

Using it caving.


  • Bright light
  • Semi-waterproof


  • Shorts out
  • Difficult to work with gloves

The Princeton Tec Apex is an adjustable headlamp providing 4 levels of brightness, 150 hours of useable lighting, and a maximum brightness of 200-lumen, reaching 380 feet. It runs off of 4-AA batteries, but can also be powered by Lithium or NiHM rechargeable batteries.

The lighting consists of four 5mm LED bubs (called "Ultrabright" by the manufacturer). Two are placed on each side of the center bulb, which is a 1-watt LED (called "Maxbright")

Princeton Tec provides the following burn times for each setting:

  • Maximum burn times: [5mm Blink] 200hr; [5mm Low] 150hr; [5mm High] 100hr; [Maxbright low] 96hr; [Maxbright high] 60hr
  • Maximum beam range: [5mm Low] more than 23m; [5mm High] 46.4m; [Maxbright low] 69m; [Maxbright high] 116m

In most caving situations, I find the 5mm Low setting to be sufficient. I only use the Maxbright High setting when I want to light up a big room.

The elastic adjustable head strap easily fits over a climbing helmet or directly on the head. [Due to the weight (and range of brightness), I would not recommend this headlamp for backpacking or camping. There are lighter, functional headlamps to throw into your pack.]

A few years ago, this was the best "affordable" light being used by cavers. Today, I'm one of the only in my caving club (called a "Grotto") still using it.


The problem is we've all encountered the light shorting out on us at one time or another. This usually occurs when the battery pack is bumped in some way. It doesn't happen often, nor does it last (a second bump always brings it back on). But it has happened to all of us using this light.

The buttons to adjust brightness are underneath the four 5mm LEDs. These are difficult to press when wearing gloves. I often have to remove my muddy gloves to switch settings.

Still, when everyone else in my Grotto switched over to $200-$500 lights, I stuck with my Apex. I don't cave as much as the other guys, and I hate putting that much money into a lamp.

While a decent headlamp, the Apex is a perfect example of why anyone entering a cave should have a minimum of 3 sources of light. I have a secondary lamp mounted to my helmet and a third one in my cave pack. I also carry a couple of glow sticks in my first aid kit. Should I become stranded, I can conserve battery life and still easily have a full 48 hours of usable light until help arrives.

The Apex is described by Princeton Tec as "Level 2 Waterproofing." Not knowing what that means, I quote from their product description.

The entire unit features Level 2 waterproofing, which means it will handle brief submersions under water but not at depth or for long periods of time

In the following video, you'll note my helmet is off, with the light attached to it. Several times, the light is completely submerged. You can see the glow of the light beneath the surface of the water.

I have submerged my headlamp dozens of times over several years, and I've never experienced any problems. I would note that I have seen condensation in the battery pack after trips like this. Therefore, it is important to remove the batteries and let the battery pack breathe to prevent corrosion.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $70

The mfg chart on the package borders on false advertising. I knew that when I bought it. Luckily I had done much research and knew what I was getting and why. I wanted a headlamp that had the "potential" to generate a lot of light. I didn't need 56 meters of bright light all the time, but I wanted the ability just in case I was caught and needed the extra power. 90% of the time I'll be using this on the lowest setting (4-LEDs / low setting)

The other reviewers are correct. Having the 3 watt LED on the highest level (according to the INSIDE brochure) will last for 1 hour (REI's tests put this at 1.5 hours) NOT 72 hours as the chart on the OUTSIDE suggests. The 72 hours for the 3 watt LED factors in the amount of time it will display ANY light after the REGULATED battery time is over. My unofficial interpretation of REGULATED is the time which the bulb is burning hot enough to require the built-in regulator to keep a lid on the output to keep the 3 watt LED from burning itself up. After this regulated time is up (again unoffically in my opinion) the battery is exhausted enough that the batteries are no longer providing enough power to power the bulb anywhere close to full power. Then the bulb burns for an additonal time roughly at the brightness of a full moon. The total of this regulated (VERY HIGH) output time plus the unregulated (VERY LOW) output time totals 72 hours.

That is how the mfg gets to a total of 72 hours. The 3 watt LED setting is on HIGH for the 72 hours, BUT the 56 meters is reached only during the first 1.5 hours (if you use REI's test results) and the remainder of the time (70.5 hours??) the 3 watt LED (still on the HIGH setting) is only putting out the light equivalent of a full moon.

So here is the INSIDE chart. It gives times for both Alkaline and Lithium batteries, for the 3 WATT LED on High and on Low. It also gives the same statistics for the 4 "Ultrabright" 1-watt LEDs. It's interesting to note for Lithium batteries that the Overall burn time GOES DOWN for Lithium compare to Alkaline, but the Regulated time goes up. So for the higher cost of Lithium you can have more light at the highest level possible, but the overall battery life goes down. I'm not sure that's meaningful. I don't think I'd keep the same batteries when the light drops to the light equivalent of a full moon. To me that's an absolute emergency reserve and nothing I'd CHOOSE to employ.

3 watt LED (called Maxbright)
High setting - Alkaline batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strenght to be useful)
Low setting-Alkaline batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
4-LEDs(called Ultrabright)
High setting - Alkaline batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
Low setting-Alkaline batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
3 watt LED (called Maxbright)
High setting - Lithium batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
Low setting-Lithium batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
4 LEDs(called Ultrabright)
High setting - Lithium batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)
Low setting-Lithium batteries
-Output distance (meters)
-Overall Burn Time (hours)
-Regulated Burn Time (light outpt of sufficient strength to be useful)

Price Paid: $67.99

I did a lot of research on headlamps before deciding on the PT Apex. It seemed to have all of the features that I was looking for in a light such as an extremely bright 3w Luxeon LED w/ high/low settings for the trail and additional 5mm LEDs w/ high/low for area work. The strobe feature for signaling is a nice bonus. I also like the weatherproof design with tiltable head. Even with 4 AA batteries it is comfortable to wear with or without the detachable cross strap.

One of the biggest selling points for me and what sets it apart from other headlamps is the huge heat sink at the back of the light. This assured me that I could run the light on its highest setting for extended periods without risk of heat damaging the light.

The light output is excellent. The spot feature gives you enough fill to allow confident walking on any trail. I generally use the spot on the low setting which is more than enough light for the trail. Still, it is great to have that high setting to blast away the night when necessary. The 4- 5mm LEDs are great for use around camp or reading in the tent and greatly extend the battery life.

Burn time has been good for me but I also practice battery conservation by using the right setting for the right situation. When I did some actually testing, I found I got about 90 minutes on high with alkaline batteries before seeing a noticeable drop in output. Lithium batteries got me over 3 hours on the highest setting. Remember though that even at 50% output, this light is still pretty bright.

I also like that I can use a variety of AA batteries in this light such as alkaline, NiMH, NiCad, or for the longest run time, lithium.

I read just about every review out there on this light and others and I have to admit that I got a number of chuckles when someone would give the light a poor review because they expected to get 72 hours of burn time on the highest setting. Maybe they should carry a car battery around with them if they want that much burn time. I also read about some lights developing cracks. Thankfully I (knocking on wood) have not experienced this in my light even after a lot of hard use and more than a few drops.

In my humble opinion, the PT Apex was everything that I was looking for in a headlamp.

Note: For those looking to save some weight there is the Apex Pro. It runs on 2 CR123 batteries. I have not used it so cannot comment on it but with CR123s coming down in price (esp. in bulk on EBay) I may just pick one up for myself.

Price Paid: $60

This headlamp is a good buy. It works very well for night hiking and navigation. The spot beam is useful for route finding, and the flood is very nice.


  • Smooth flood and Spot beams with reduced power settings
  • Decently balanced on the head as far as weight front and back
  • Ease of finding AA batteries
  • Semi-waterproof
  • Princeton Tec warranty


  • Weight with batteries
  • Cord attachment at the battery box can get pulled out
  • Possible waterproofing issues during prolonged exposure

The spot beam on this headlamp has a really good range, about 300' or so, and is plenty bright enough to navigate at night. It does drain the batteries though, and can use them up in about an hour, so I only use the spot when I need to see something far away.

For the rest of the time, the flood is almost perfect on this light, and does nicely. Usually, you can expect about 8-9 hours of light from it. Normally, I use rechargeable AA nimh batteries in the light.  

This is a very good light for night hiking and navigation. I have used it for cave exploration as well, but there are better lights out there for that. The problems with it are not too much of a problem for cave use as it generally doesn't die completely, but I have had issues with water and especially the battery box cord connection.

Cavers are tough on lights, and without them you cannot see. My advice is if you are thinking of buying these for cave use, buy two so you have one in reserve.  

The Princeton Tec warranty is one of the best in the business, and I've had to use it a couple times over the years. I bought one of these new in fall of 2006 and have been using the lights ever since. I prefer it for night navigation while hiking to and from the caves, off trail in rugged terrain with my GPS.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65

I bought this off of Ebay for $57, I've found several places that sell it for 65 or less so it is definitely in the same price range as all the other headlamps out there.

I've found that it puts out more light from the center 3-watt light than my 1-watt lights, but with almost the same power consumption. However, if I use it on high, although it does put out a lot of light, it blasts through the alkaline batteries.

NiMH batteries last quite a bit longer, about two times as long, and Lithium batteries last even longer. If you plan on using in the cold either keep the battery pack under your cap (to keep the batteries warm) or use lithium batteries b/c as most know the cold will dramatically shorten the run time of alkaline and NiMH batteries.

I have had no problems with waterproofing yet, but it is still very new. This is just something that time will tell.

As a side note:
For camping I use my Aurora, Corona, or APEX (see a trend here? All are Princeton Tec products, and all are LED’s).

Each has its own merit:

Aurora-Small, light, very reliable (I've had it for close to 4 years with no problems at all). Primary use: jogging on city streets (on strobe mode) and car camping.

Corona-Larger but still fairly lightweight since I do not have battery pack on the headband. The battery pack can be placed in a pocket or attached to belt or pack w/the Velcro straps on its nylon case. Primary use: Cold weather hiking, some general hiking, night time outdoor activities like fishing and kayaking, and as a bike-or-helmet mounted light (I just bought the DiNotte Lux V for my helmet). Now it will probably just remain on my bike since I bought the APEX unless I need an additional light for a friend.

APEX--too soon to say but I suspect it will take the place of the other two. Since it combines the best qualities of both of the other lights and adds a third dimension of providing a light with decent throw as needed.

Good Luck, and be safe!

Price Paid: $57

Excellent headlamp: Good bright light, great battery life, versatile battery choices, bomb proof, waterproof and tough.


  • bright light
  • built to last
  • good battery life


  • a bit heavy — not ultra light
  • needs 4 AA batteries — heavy for long haul

I have been using my Princeton Tec Apex headlamp for about 4 years now. I originally got it for bike commuting, but now I use it for that as well as everything else. The only exception is summer backpacking — I have a much lighter one for that purpose.

I have taken the Apex on sub-zero night X-country ski tours, winter backpacking trips, and winter hikes. I also use it as a task light for most jobs around the house. Much easier than hauling lamps around.

It works very well with NIMH rechargeable batteries. I have a couple of sets of Powerex IMEDION 2400mAH batteries (highly recommended).

The operation is very simple — one push button switch for the 3 watt high beam, and one for the lower brightness task lights.

Run Time: Some quick math: 4 batteries, each 1.2 volts, with 2.4 Amp-Hr capacity gives a total energy capacity of 11.52 watt-hours. If the world was perfect, and everything was 100% efficient, then the 3-watt Luxeon high beam should last for 11.52/3 = 3.84 hours. Instead, I have measure about 1.75 hours run time with those batteries. So we are only working at about 45% of best case.

That is actually not too bad for consumer level stuff. The batteries never deliver 100% of their rated capacity, and the regulator circuits in the Apex use energy as well (it gets warm). Of course the 3-watt claim is a poor measuring stick. I don't care about the wattage of the LED, I care about lumens/watt of light output that I get!

All things considered, I recommend this headlamp. I am sure that Princeton Tec is working on a more efficient one, but you can't go wrong with this one.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65

Eight people used the Apex on an expedition to Papua New Guinea to explore remote caves. Upon receipt of the headlamps several of them were damaged but not due to shipping, they had small cracks in the plastic where the screws hold the lens housing together. This was a general manufacturing problem and not a single batch problem because the headlamps were bought at different times by several expedition members in different countries.

Additionally the lamps were not watertight as advertised to 1m. Mine failed in a heavy rain and several others failed when people needed them most. A larger gasket or better seal design could solve the leak problem.

If Princeton Tec would solve these problems they would have perhaps the best commercially available lamp in its catagory because the single spotlight and 4 flood leds are the perfect lighting combination for both hiking and caving.

As a plus, Princeton Tec replaced my failed light with a new one, as advertised. They seem to stand behind their products, while many companies do not.

This is one amazing headlamp. I ordered it from On Rope 1 a few days ago (the model I got was the APX-R, which is 130 lumen).

I'm mainly a caver, so getting to use this underground was my main priority. For the past 3 years I have owned a Petzl MYOLITE 3.

I do a lot of vertical caving, and never have I been able to see all the way down a 150' drop with a light, until the APEX came along. I was totally amazed.

When comparing it to my old Petzl MYO 3, there is no comparison. The 4 LED's on LOW mode is brighter than the Halogen bulb of the MYO, and the 3 LED's of the MYO are not even near as bright as the low setting of the 4 LED's on the APEX. The 3 Watt LED, even on low, esily allows me to see down a 75' passageway with no problems at all. On high, I got to see over 150' (estimated). In caving, that is unheard of.

While I have issues with the "Regulated" time on the 3 Watt High, it does last more than an hour (for me anyway, more like 2.5). Really though, on the 3 Watt LOW it will go regulated for 9 hours, which is wonderful. Nobody really needs the high setting for a long period of time anyway.

Also, I noticed another reviewer here stated that they where not happy about the "False Advertising" on the box, about the length of the brightness. Really, do you expect a 4 AA headlamp to go 72 hours on a single set of batteries at High Power, 3 Watt, 130 lumen output? If you actually fell for that, you should have known that there was some catch. At this point in time, 72 hours on those settings would not be possible with 4 AA's.

Also, on my box, it says right on the back about the regulated vs. total burn time... Maybe you should read the entire box before you make assumptions.

Overall, I'm 100% pleased with this light. It was worth every penny of $75.

Price Paid: $75

I've had four different Apex lamps. Apex, Apex Pro, and replacements for each. Each one has had the same problem (even the replacements): the plastic hinge breaks and the plastic around each top screw cracks. Very bright, very versatile, but the recurring issues are a major dissapointment.

You would think Princeton Tec would have fixed these issues by now being that there are over three different models of Apex lamps, one of which has been around for several years... not to mention these are their top of the line lamps.

Unreliable quality. It's bright and lasts long enough but it seems to break very easily under normal caving or camping conditions. Great return policy, but it gets old constantly returning a product that's supposed to be reliable.


  • Bright
  • Great return policy


  • Unreliable

I've returned the product twice and both times Princeton Tec gave me a new one with no questions asked. My second replacement has broken now and I suspect Princeton Tec will give me a new one with no questions asked this time as well, I'm just not sure it's worth the headache.

I used the headlamp for caving and it's certainly bright enough and lasts long enough on lower settings. The first lamp the connection to the battery housing came loose very easily, the second one had cracks in the housing and stopped working, the one I have now stopped working with no obvious signs as to the root of the problem.

I plan on selling the return lamp and using the money to buy something else—time to cut my losses.  

Source: bought it new

I bought this headlamp for night bicycle commuting. A good portion of my winter commute is on a very dark trail. I found that the single bike-mounted light (a Dinotte 200L) was not bright enough. I figured that a helmet mounted headlamp would be a good addition, so I got a Princeton Tec Apex.

Wow - this headlamp pumps out some serious light. It is at least 25-50% brighter than the Dinotte, and Dinotte claims that they output 200 lumens. The Apex easily outshines it, and it also lasts longer on identical 2600 mA-hr NiMh AA batteries. Has Princeton Tec broken the laws of physics? They must have higher efficiency LEDS.

The only con is that it took a bit of fiddling to get the Apex to sit nicely on my helmet. I had to remove the elastic headband, and fasten the two parts of the headlamp directly to my helmet with some webbing.

I think I might jig up a connector system and an extension cord so that I can stuff the battery pack in my back pocket to keep it warm and get the weight off my helmet. It would be nice if Princeton Tec would offer a model with longer wires, just like Dinotte does.

Price Paid: $65

Best combination of features; adjustable brightness, battery life, and beam angle.


  • Beam angle can be adjusted all the way down
  • Can take all types of batteries
  • Bright


  • Heavier than the BD

I'm on my 3rd Apex; the first one I left on top a car and drove off. Second one I just plain wore out, and this third one PT sent me when I sent the second one to them.

Understand that I use a headlight daily for hobby work. With my eyes getting worse as I get older I use this light all the time. My wife makes fun of me for almost always having a headlight on around the house. This is the headlight I always choose.

I'm sure you can find a forum/website somewhere that has tested this light for battery length, brightness, beam pattern, etc.  

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Bought this lamp on the Princeton Tec website. Fantastic headlamp—my dad is a farmer and said it's the best headlamp on the market.

Headlamp recently stopped working. Sent it back to USA as it has a lifetime guarantee. Got a replacement the last day in the post. What can I say but Princeton Tec has excellent after-sale service.

What a headlamp, what a company!!!!


  • Excellent light
  • Excellent after-sale service


  • None



Source: bought it new

One Bright Light!

I’ve been using headlamps for many, many years and have never been satisfied with the light output and longevity of the batteries – until now!

My primary use these days is for abandoned mine exploration and around camp (with the occasional nighttime geocaching adventure). Underground, it’s very bright. I rarely even use it on the highest setting. It fits well over my head and also over a helmet. Around camp, I have to be sure to not shine the light in someone’s face.

Battery time is exceptional. I go through about one set a year, using Duracell or Costco brand batteries.

Power buttons are easy to reach and use, though might be difficult with heavy gloves.

The Apex is a bit heavy, due mostly to the fact that it needs four AA batteries. But the little extra weight is far worth the ease of use, brightness, and power consumption.

Highly recommended.

I'll make it simple. I used my Apex for about 5 years, for work and play. Spent days, no weeks, working in dark damp crawlspaces where the Apex was my only source of light.  It provided adequate, all day long light for delicate tasks up close. Then took it caving, biking, etc. on weekends.  Then back to work.  

After 5 years it looked like it had been buried under the ocean, plastic was scratched or pulled off in places, construction adhesive and paint were coating half of it, and insulation had been cut in several places on the wire leading from battery to lamp.  Still worked fine.  

Finally it quit -- I think it was a loose connection in the wire. I didn't have a receipt or box, or even remember exactly what year it was purchased, but Princeton Tec replaced it within 1 week with a brand new one, no questions asked.  

You can't beat that.

Price Paid: $85

After reading stuff about cracking around the screws in a couple of other reviews I could hardly wait to get back to the camper and check my light. No cracks. I really haven’t had much time to give this light a real workout in the outback, just around the house or camper, but I have been most impressed with the light output.

The 4 led output is fine to walk by and the 3 watt flame thrower can put a eye out. Well maybe not “out” but it makes the grandkids turn their heads and shout “grandpaaaaaa” when you shine it in their face!

I like the light and when I add a neoprene pad to the underside of the battery case and head piece it will be even better. If Princeton Tec had installed such pads they would get 5 stars instead of 4. I only use NiMH batteries.

Price Paid: 80 bucks - more or less

Just like Mr Harrington here, I was hugely dissapointed with the battery life. I use it for skiing in the dark and expected 72 hours of light on full setting. After 45 minutes skiing in -10 degrees celsius the mainlight started blinking. Boy was I surprised!

I then read the manual and found the chart that said 1 hour of full light. False advertising on the box! I'm not an expert in flashlight or battery tecnology. I did not know how a maxbright led works.

I read around the internet that the Apex gets top reviews, and it might deserve it, but because of the false promises I give it 3 stars. (Many Apex owners also has some problems with cracks in the housing. I actually just noticed this on my lamp. I hear Princeton Tec replaces faulty lamps without an argument, so that's good!)

Price Paid: $134

I bought the light based on the graph on the package which suggested the highest setting could be used for 72 hours on alkaline batteries.

When I opened the package, I found a chart indicating the highest setting would only last for ONE (!!!) hour. The other 71 hours were "regulated" and would not be taking advantage of the 3 watt system I had paid for.

I called Princeton Tec and they informed me the 72 hours was total burn time. The highest output is only for 1 hour "or more."

Decide for yourself if this type of advertising hype is a disservice. The light works, it is bright, but don't plan on skiing for longer than an hour.

Price Paid: $79

I tend to use ultralight gear, but this is one of my "luxury items". It's an absolutely blindingly bright lamp that I can trust to navigate with offtrail in the darkest night. You will be amazed at how far the spot travels into the forest when you peer sleepily out of your tent at the darkest hour when you simply "gotta go." You can also use it for nighttime photography, mountain biking, etc. At 8 oz (with batteries) it's a little heavy but heck it's brighter than anything else, including the Petzl XP.

Price Paid: $79

Excellent lamp and after sales service. Great company!!

I bought a Princeton Apex rechargeable headlamp for my dad 8 years ago as a Christmas gift. My dad was delighted with the headlamp. He said it was the best on the market.

The headlamp has a lifetime guarantee. It stopped working a couple of months ago. I contacted the company and sent back the light. They replaced it with a brand new headlamp. Couldn't recommend this company enough. Excellent after sale service 👏 😊😊😊

Source: bought it new

A great headlamp. Waterproof battery pack a key feature.


  • Basically waterproof, unless submerged
  • Removable top strap


  • A little heavy

A really good product. Got it for under $50 on Sierra Trading.

Store without batteries to prevent leakage. Remember to only use the high setting when absolutely necessary due to battery drain.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50

Absolutely top notch. I have quite a bit of experience w/ luxeons LED flashlights...and this one has all the goodies. Fraen lens, regulation, heat sink. Nice head can't get much better. As for the weenies who whined about battery life, this isn't Star Trek. The luxeon represents the current state-of-the-art -- complain to Duracell if it disappointed you. Better yet, use your Phaser and heat up a rock.

Price Paid: $59 (ebay)

The Apex seems to be designed to run with NiMH Rechargeable batteries. On high they will last over 3.5 hours.

Here is a link where someone was kind enough to do some runtime tests with the light with alkaline and NiMH batteries on the different modes. Don't take my word for it take a look for yourself!

This is the best headlamp available under $100. I know my lights and don't say that for show. For the people that are sad that it doesn't go for 72 hours on high? Well, that sucks, but no light will do that, at least powered by 4 AA batteries. This is the best designed and most versatile headlamp on the market. Buy it and enjoy it.

Price Paid: $99

Awesome light. Wish it had a red light, but if I ever need it that bad, I'll just place a 3" filet mignon in front of the spotlight.

Water-tight, shallow snorkeling to heavy downpour, good to go.

Price Paid: $60

I've used the light for adventure racing. It is simply the best light I've ever used. Waterproof, long battery life, comfortable, bright! I recommend this for all racers (really everyone).

Price Paid: $70

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Price MSRP: $79.99
Current Retail: $79.99
Historic Range: $40.48-$104.99
Reviewers Paid: $50.00-$134.00
Weight 9.8 oz / 279 g
Lumens 650
Lamp 1 Maxbright LED (regulated), (dimmable) / 4 White Ultrabright LEDs (regulated) (dimmable)
Burn Time 12 hours
Water Resistant IPX7
Origin Made in the USA
Product Details from Princeton Tec »

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