Petzl Actik Review
Cons: Expensive for what it offers
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|Pros||Better than average performance across the board, easy to use||Excellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery life||Excellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most ways||Super easy to use, inexpensive, solid performance, compact, and reliable||Unmatched for ultralight weight and size, outstanding for close-proximity use, durable|
|Cons||Expensive for what it offers||More expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleading||Below average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofing||Good but not great spot beam for trail finding, slightly below average flood beam optics||Not well suited for distance viewing, expensive|
|Bottom Line||A quality light that performs well all-around, but is overpriced for the performance offered||A durable light that will last for years with a bright high-quality beam, slightly higher in cost and weight||A quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claims||For $20, the Tikkina offers impressive performance at a great price, that will meet most people's needs||For those ultralight-fans who cut their toothbrush in half to save weight and size, this is the perfect light|
|Rating Categories||Petzl Actik||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Petzl Tikkina||Petzl e+LITE|
|Trail Finding (35%)|
|Close Proximity (20%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Petzl Actik||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Petzl Tikkina||Petzl e+LITE|
|Measured Beam Distance||88 m||91 m||94 m||62 m||31 m|
|Claimed Distance||90 m||85 m||80 m||55 m||10 m|
|Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)||1.9 hrs||5 hrs||2.9 hrs||3.5 hrs||9.4 hrs|
|Claimed High Mode Run-time||60 hrs||40 hrs||30 hrs||60 hrs||9 hrs|
|Measured Low Mode Run-time||129 hrs||42 hrs||9.7 hrs||223 hrs||18 hrs|
|Claimed Low Mode Run-time||260 hrs||120 hrs||175 hrs||220 hrs||12 hrs|
|Measured Weight||3.2 oz, 91 g||4 oz, 112 g||3.1 oz, 89 g||2.9 oz, 83 g||1 oz, 27 g|
|Battery Type||3 AAA||4 AAA||3 AAA||3 AAA||2 CR2032 Lithium|
|Water Resistance||IPX4 splash proof||IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof||Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim)||IPX4 splash proof||IPX7 waterproof to one meter|
|Manuf Claimed Lumens||300 lumens||350 lumens||300 lumens||150 lumens||50 lumens|
|Red Light||yes||yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes||yes||no||yes|
|On Switch Lock||no||yes||yes||no||yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Petzl Actik delivers on most of the things we truly value in a quality headlamp: good performance, easy-to-use, quality design, and durability. It is a high-quality light that will offer solid, reliable, performance for years. The drawback isn't so much about the light itself, which we very much like, but about the price. At $50 list, the Actik just doesn't stack up well against competing lights selling in the same price range.
The Actik is one of the easiest to use headlamps. It uses a single button control that has nice tactile feedback, and remains easy to operate even with gloves on. One click gets you low-level lighting that is just right for use in the tent, for reading, or around camp. Two clicks provides medium brightness, that is nice for walking down a trail, and three clicks for high mode, which offers a compelling and bright beam. Press and hold is used to switch to the red LED and back to white lighting.
The high-mode spot beam has good optics and shines an impressive 88 meters down the trail, which is similar in distance to other top performing lights in its price point.
But, beam distance is only part of the game, to offer top trail finding performance the quality of the beam, in terms of width, and even lighting, is key. Below you can see the Actik (left) versus the Black Diamond Storm (right). Both shine about the same distance, but the Storm is much superior for trail finding with its wider and more evenly lit beam.
That Actik is also bested by the BD Spot (below, right) which sells for a lower price, and yet shines a better distance beam that rated much higher for trail finding.
Our biggest issue with the Actik, besides price, is the battery life performance in high mode. In our tests, battery life was only 1.9 hours in high mode, which was disappointing and well below average.
That is somewhat offset by pretty good battery life in low-mode, where we found it lasted an impressive 129 hours.
The Actik impressed us. It offers simplicity, quality, and the reliability of a durable design. If it sold for around $20, we'd be raving about it. But, at the current a street price of $38 we think it doesn't stack up in terms of price vs. performance.
— RJ Spurrier
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