Fenix HP 25 Review

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

Fenix HP 25 Review

Postby Cody JW » Aug 27, 2013 7:11 pm

Some of you may have already seen this as I have posted this on other forums and it was in our local grotto newsletter. This is a review I did on the new Fenix HP 25 headlamp.

Fenix HP 25 Headlamp Review By Jeff Cody

Fenix has recently released its newest headlamp The HP 25 . I was selected to be part of their global testing program for this light. I received this light in late June . I have several Fenix products and have been happy with all of them. I also own a Fenix P3D special edition 220 lumen hand held , a Fenix LD 41 520 lumen 4 AA hand held, and a Fenix HP 10 headlamp. This light like their other headlamps run off 4 AA batteries. Mine came with 4 generic AA s , I set those aside and tested mine with Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries properly charged with my La Crosse BC 1000 smart charger. This light also comes with a head strap and two cable clips. I do not like to use straps to mount so I used a small nut and bolt for the head and a zip tie and industrial Velcro to mount the battery case to my Petzl Ecrin Roc helmet for cave exploring. This light is rated at IPX -6 witch basically means it is designed to be resistant to splashing of water . The Fenix HP 11 has the same rating. My Fenix HP 10 and The HP 20 has a better IPX 8 rating that allows for a submersion in water for 2 meters for 30 minutes. The HP 25 has a cost of about 70 US Dollars , similar in price to The Princeton Tec Apex that seems to be popular with cavers.

The specs on The HP 25 are as follows. Two LEDs , one for flood and one for spot. They can be operated individually or you can run both at one time unlike any other cave worthy light in this price range I am aware of. The Flood has 4 output settings of 4 , 45, 90,180 lumen. The spot has three output settings of 45, 90, 180 lumen. Run times with good rechargeable batteries are listed at 220,24,11, 4.5 hours on flood and 30 , 11, and 4.5 hours on spot mode. If you chose to run both at once run times will be less. The maximum output using both spot and flood on high is 380 lumen, impressive for a light in this price range. This light can also be operated with regular alkaline AA batteries but run times will be slightly less but still impressive . The light is controlled by two switches on top of the head , one for flood and one for spot. Many combinations of light options are possible . The flood also has an SOS mode . This light has reverse polarity protection and is designed to ANSI/ NEMA FL1 standards. The battery case has one thumbscrew that you rotate to release the inner battery case from the outer case. The inner case has the wire attached to it. The head can be tilted down and needs to be tilted down one click to allow for easier reach to the recessed switches because there is a plastic cover that partially covers the switches when the head is in the up position. I assume this is done to help prevent the light from being accidentally turned on , a nice feature.

The same day this light came to me I mounted it to one of my Petzl Ecrin Roc helmets. I loaded a set of Sanyo Eneloops and clicked one of the buttons and nothing happened, I clicked the other button and nothing happened. I thought maybe my batteries were dead so I loaded another set of batteries and had the same result. I looked at the info sheet that came with the light and learned unlike other lights you have to depress the switch and hold it down for between a half second to a full second before it comes on. I assume this was done to prevent accidental operation. I took the light outside after dark and ran through the light options. My initial reaction was positive. The mounted light felt light on my head and has a compact look to it but not quite as compact as The HP 10 . I then compared it to my Fenix HP 10 and my Custom Duo full face 280 lumen unit. The spot on The HP 25 was similar but slightly brighter at close range and a distance to The HP 10, very nice. The flood was not quite as wide spread as the flood on the more expensive Custom Duo but the brightness was similar. The spot on the HP 25 was definitely brighter than the spot on The Custom Duo. I do not own the later version Omni V3 Custom Duo insert so I cannot comment on the comparison with that unit. I did notice outdoors that I had to tilt the head down several clicks to get the preferred amount of light around my feet without having to point the light down at them. My back yard goes out about 100 feet or so from my back porch and the spot easily reached the outer limits of my yard. It reached the back of the house behind me that I estimate is at least 200 feet away . The flood produced a circular type glow around me but needed some tilt on the head to sufficiently light my feet when looking out. I also brought out my El Speleo 2000 headlamp that is 1000 lumen on both flood and spot and costs 480 Dollars, not a fair comparison to a 70 dollar light but I could not help myself. The flood on the El Speleo blew the flood of The HP 25 out of the water but what do you expect from a light that cost about 7 times as much. The spot comparison was similar to the comparison I did with my other lights to The El Speleo , The El Speleo had a wider angle spot but the Fenix HP 10 and HP 25 had a brighter white pin point spot that may appear brighter especially up close. I have to say at this point that El Speleo has caving specific optics and Fenix is more of a multiple purpose sport light . The spot on The El Speleo can light up an entire large room without the tunnel effect you get with sport lights.

I then took the light into a cave along with another person who had a similar priced 200 Lumen Princeton Tec Apex. The Apex cannot match this light in terms of choices of light options. I found the flood on this light is sufficient for all but larger passage and like my findings outdoors I had to tilt the head down some to get the amount of light around my feet I am comfortable with. The flood on the Apex seemed a little brighter but the spot comparisons were similar. The Apex could not run on its high setting as long as The Fenix HP 25 . I have noticed on previous trips in years past with earlier models that Fenix seems to be more efficient on batteries than The Apex. Using the combination of flood and spot in the cave did produce a very nice beam pattern for a light in this price range. I was in the cave for a little over three hours and never changed batteries running at intermediate settings and playing with different beam options. It looks to me like the listed run times are correct or close to correct. When I got home and cleaned everything up I ran the HP 25 under running water to clean it up and that did not seem to bother the light at all. I also dunked it in a bucket of water a few times and so far it has not affected the light. I would highly recommend this light for caving as long as one is not into serious wetsuit swims . It should be fine around misty rappels with its IPX 6 rating . If I were getting into serious water underground , I would likely grab my Duo/ Custom Duo or HP 10 or El Speleo but for most caving situations this light is a nice lower cost option .
It only takes one person to surrender a dog to a kill shelter ,but it takes many to rescue it.
User avatar
Cody JW
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 905
Joined: Oct 24, 2007 10:16 am
Location: Indianapolis In. USA
Name: Jeff Cody
NSS #: 23961

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users