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Hands-on Gear Review

Princeton Tec Vizz Review

Princeton Tec Vizz
Price:   $50 List | $34.83 at REI
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Pros:  Compact and reliable
Cons:  More expensive than higher-performing competition
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Princeton Tec

Our Verdict

The Princeton Tec Vizz provides solid beam brightness, but for $50 it faces some stout competition from models that deliver more brightness for less money. The most direct competitor is the Black Diamond Spot, which scored higher in most categories and costs $10 less. The Editors' Choice winning Coast HL7 has over twice the beam power for around the same price or less. Finally, our other Editors' Choice winner, the Black Diamond ReVolt, is slightly more expensive but performs better overall and runs on, and charges internally, rechargeable AAA batteries.

Updated - February 2017
Princeton Tec has updated the specs for their Vizz headlamp. Keep reading to find out more!

RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamp

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Score Product Price Measured Max Beam Distance Claimed Distance Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)
Editors' Choice Award
131 m 152 m 3.4 hrs
Editors' Choice Award
56 m 70 m 10.6 hrs
82 m 100 m 9.4 hrs
78 m 70 m 7.8 hrs
71 m 75 m 3.7 hrs
Top Pick Award
157 m 153 m 1.8 hrs
73 m 90 m 4.6 hrs
113 m 135 m 2 hrs
66 m 0.6 hrs
102 m 110 m 1.8 hrs
60 m 50 m 3.1 hrs
49 m 73 m 6.4 hrs
75 m 85 m 2 hrs
Best Buy Award
31 m 30 m 14.7 hrs
Top Pick Award
39 m 30 m 5.1 hrs
42 m 3.5 hrs
41 m 60 m 3 hrs
58 m 90 m 3.2 hrs
30 m 58 m 6.3 hrs
34 m 38 m 7.3 hrs
33 m 10.3 hrs
39 m 30 m 1.9 hrs
Top Pick Award
28 m 29 m 9.4 hrs
40 m 40 m 3.2 hrs
52 m 65 m 3 hrs
29 m 50 m 7.1 hrs
15 m 15 m 2 hrs
27 m 30 m 4.2 hrs

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter
Review Editor

Last Updated:
February 22, 2017


Updated - February 2017

The most recent incarnation of the Princeton Tec Vizz headlamp features some updated specs, but no aesthetic changes.

Here's a summary of the key updates:
  • Beam Distance — The new Vizz has a claimed beam distance of 78m, compared to the claimed distance of 90m in the version we tested.
  • Run Time — Princeton Tec claims that the new version of the Vizz has a high-beam run time of 1hr and a low-beam run time of 104hrs for the flood setting and 150hrs for the red setting. The version we tested had a claimed high-beam run time of 3hrs and a claimed low-beam run time of 120hrs.
  • Increased Lumens — The new Vizz has 205 lumens vs. 165 lumens in the version we tested.

Hands-On Review

Princeton Tec has a long history of making headlamps. Petzl, Black Diamond, and Princeton Tec represent the companies most recognized in the outdoor world for their headlamps. As compared to these other manufacturers, Princeton Tec has fallen behind lately. Generally, they have a great foundation, but the products seem to be overpriced for the performance.

Performance Comparison

The Vizz is a decently bright headlamp at a premium price.
The Vizz is a decently bright headlamp at a premium price.

Trail Finding

The trail finding score of 6 of 10 is good, but not great, especially for a $50 light. For example, see the beam comparison photo with the Coast HL7 (8 of 10 score) below, which is brighter and less expensive.

Beam Distance Photos

Princeton Tec VizzCoast HL7

Close Proximity

The Black Diamond Spot pulls ahead of the Vizz with a 7 of 10 score to the Vizz's 6 of 10. The Spot casts a very even beam immediately around you, whereas the Vizz has a hot spot in the middle which makes it harder to see everything in your nearby wide field of vision.

Close-proximity Beam Pattern

Princeton Tec VizzBlack Diamond Spot

Battery Life

In an earlier OutdoorGearLab review we wrote about the Vizz that:

The claimed 110 hour high mode run-time fell laughably short of our measured high mode ANSI run time of 3 hours. This headlamp is a poster child for why we feel manufacturers need to move back to the ANSI standard, as we describe in detail in the Headlamp Review.

Now, in 2015, Princeton Tec has softened their claims of high-mode run-time while our testing showed the exact same performance. What a refreshing industry move. Thank you, Princeton Tec, for moving marketing materials back in line with industry standards. Our 2015 Vizz model is claimed to run on high mode for 3 hours, and our light coffin test indicated a high mode run time of 3.2 hours. In absolute terms, this is not a spectacular score. But we must commend the company for an attempt at transparent marketing materials.

The Vizz takes three AAA batteries.
The Vizz takes three AAA batteries.


The brightness score of the Vizz is right in the middle of the pack, but behind its closest competition. It cast a beam 58m compared to the Black Diamond ReVolt's 56m and the Coast's 131m.

The Princeton Tec Vizz in use around camp.
The Princeton Tec Vizz in use around camp.


At 94 grams, this is a very standard weight compact headlamp, and is nearly exactly the weight of the ReVolt. It will fit easily in your pocket, but can't be considered an ultralight headlamp like the Petzl e+LITE, which is less than a third of the weight at 30 grams. The heaviest headlamp in our review, and a Top Pick award winner, the Fenix HP25 is a burly brick next to the Vizz. The Fenix throws light almost three times as far as the otherwise bright Vizz.

Best Applications

This is a general purpose headlamp for use in the home, car, or around camp.

Princeton Tec Vizz in use around camp.
Princeton Tec Vizz in use around camp.


At $50, this is a premium priced light. Its main competitors cost about the same while delivering more performance.


At $50, the Vizz faces some tough competition. We recommend the contender for the Editors' Choice award, the Black Diamond Spot, which scored higher is most metrics, costs $10 less and delivers a respectable battery life. The Black Diamond ReVolt is rechargeable, costs just a bit more, has way better battery life and similar brightness. Or, if battery life is not crucial, spend about the same and get the Coast HL7 which delivers a far more powerful beam in high mode for the same (short) battery life as the Vizz.

Other Versions and Accessories

Princeton Tec Byte
Princeton Tec Byte
  • Cost - $20
  • 70 Lumens
  • Super compact headlamp
  • Works well for trail finding

Princeton Tec Sync
Princeton Tec Sync
  • Cost - $30
  • 90 Lumens
  • Consistent, usable long beam
  • Solid and even close light
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

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Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

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