The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Petzl Actik Review

A quality light that performs well all-around, but is overpriced for the performance offered
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Price:  $50 List | $33.79 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Better than average performance across the board, easy to use
Cons:  Expensive for what it offers
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 6
  • Close Proximity - 20% 6
  • Battery Life - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Petzl Actik is a very good light with above average performance, and offers a simple, easy-to-use, design. If it sold for under $20, it would be our favorite headlamp. But, at $50 list (street price is typically around $38), the Actik's better than average performance doesn't stack up well against competing lights like the Black Diamond Storm, which sells for about the same street price, and blows the doors off the Actik in most performance categories.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Petzl Actik
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $33.79 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$89.00 at Amazon$39.99 at Amazon$39.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$43.12 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Pros Better than average performance across the board, easy to useBright wide beam, good battery life, durable design, rechargeableExcellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery lifeExcellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most waysExcellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discount
Cons Expensive for what it offersExpensive, 18650 Li-ion battery is not included, heavier than averageMore expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleadingBelow average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofingAverage battery life, heavier and bulkier than most
Bottom Line A quality light that performs well all-around, but is overpriced for the performance offeredAn impressive, powerful light in a small package that won't disappoint if you can get past the priceA durable light that will last for years with a bright high-quality beam, slightly higher in cost and weightA quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claimsPreviously one of our favorites, but hasn't kept pace with competitor's innovations
Rating Categories Petzl Actik Zebralight H600w Mk IV Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Coast HL7
Trail Finding (35%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Close Proximity (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Battery Life (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
5
Weight (15%)
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
4
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Petzl Actik Zebralight H600w... Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Coast HL7
Measured Beam Distance 88 m 121 m 91 m 94 m 112 m
Claimed Distance 90 m Not specified 85 m 80 m 119 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 1.9 hrs 3.1 hrs 5 hrs 2.9 hrs 3.1 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 60 hrs 2.9 hrs 40 hrs 30 hrs 1.5 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 129 hrs 232 hrs 42 hrs 9.7 hrs 25 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 260 hrs 203 hrs 120 hrs 175 hrs 70 hrs
Measured Weight 3.2 oz, 91 g 4.5 oz, 127 g 4 oz, 112 g 3.1 oz, 89 g 4.5 oz, 127 g
Battery Type 3 AAA 18650 rechargeable Li-ion 4 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA
Water Resistance IPX4 splash proof IPX8 waterproof to 2 meters, 30 minutes IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim) water resistant
Manuf Claimed Lumens 300 lumens 1400 lumens 350 lumens 300 lumens 285 lumens
Beam Type flood/spot flood flood/spot flood/spot flood/spot
Red Light yes no yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes yes no
On Switch Lock no yes (tailcap lockout) yes yes no

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.


Likes


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.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Petzl Actik
Beam photo of Black Diamond Storm

Petzl Actik
Black Diamond Storm

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.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Petzl Actik
Beam photo of Black Diamond Spot

Petzl Actik
Black Diamond Spot


Dislikes


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.



Conclusion


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