The Top 9 American Made Headlamps for 2020

By Matt Mullins  updated February 19, 2020

Here you’ll find a lineup of the best headlamps made in the USA for hiking, camping, backpacking, running, biking, hunting, fishing, and all things in the dark. We’ve even included a headlamp made for little kids that won’t blind you everytime they look at you.

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I know how hard it is to find honest recommendations and to narrow down American made gear. This is why I started American Gear Guide. I take my recommendations seriously and only recommend the best of the best. Of course this is my subjective opinion but I’m confident it won’t disappoint. Here are a few reasons to trust me:

  • I make independent recommendations based on personal experience (not paid to endorse a product).
  • As a passionate outdoorsman that reviews gear for a living, I also actually own and use all American made gear.
  • My background includes 10 yrs working with the Forest Service as a Wildland Firefighter, Ranger, Wildlife Crew-leader, and Forest Ecologist. I’ve been certified as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). I’ve backpacked extensively throughout the USA and 34 countries including in Central & South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. See About page for more.
  • I attend industry trade shows like Outdoor Retailer to stay informed on the latest innovative equipment.
  • This guide receives regular updates with the newest gear.
  • I encourage continuous learning & self improvement, so I welcome your criticism. If you think I missed anything then please leave some helpful suggestions.

Princeton Tec Vizz

Princeton Tec’s latest Vizz hits all the right marks. It provides more than enough brightness with 420 lumens on high, good battery life, IPX-7 waterproofing, red LEDs to maintain night vision, a button lockout to prevent accidentally turning it on, and it uses just 3 lightweight and readily available AAA batteries. Thus, as a great all around performer at an affordable price, the Vizz earns our Best Buy Award. Note, older versions with a lower 205 lumen output are still floating around the web, my links go to the latest versions.

Last observed price range: ~ $43 – 50

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Princeton Tec SNAP Modular Headlamp

The clever SNAP is like getting four lights in one. It’s modular design functions as a headlamp, flashlight, lantern, and as a bike light with its included handlebar attachment. The removable 200 lumen head unit snaps into place with a strong magnet to fit the different modules. This headlamp has good battery performance using 3 AAA’s for 40 hrs on high and 130 hrs on low.  If you’re a minimalist looking for one headlamp to do it all then the SNAP is a great choice.

Last observed price range: ~ $35 – 40

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Click for Current Pricing from REI

Princeton Tec Apex

When I need a heavy duty headlamp with lots of lumens (550) and the ability to swap batteries on a long outing, I turn to the Apex. This is a popular headlamp with cave spelunkers and cold weather explorers. It’s exceptionally well made, waterproof, has great spot and flood beams, and can be found with different red/white bulb combinations and different battery configurations such as AA“Pro” CR123A, and the “Extreme” extended cord version for internal winter carry. I prefer the AA, since I like to use eneloop pro rechargeable batteries, and carry Energizer lithiums for lightweight cold weather spares. The compromise… the Apex is heavier than many headlamps. Older 350 and newer 550 lumen versions are floating around the web, my links go to the latest versions.

Last observed price range: ~ $59.99 – 105 (depending on version)

4 AA Version
Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Pro CR123A Version
Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Extreme (extended cord) Version
Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Princeton Tec Axis

The Axis has lots of good features: water resistant, long battery life, lightweight, & its spot/flood/red lights are all completely dimmable. The Axis can be found in either a  3 AAA configuration or with a rechargeable battery. Beware that both 200 and 250 lumen versions exist but my links  depict the newer 250 lumen version.

Last observed price range: ~ $25.99 – 47.76 (AAA  vs rechargeable)

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon (250 lumen rechargeable)

Surefire Maximus
 

Surefire Minimus

Surefire Maximus & Minimus:

Best High Performance Headlamp

The Surefire Maximus is the brightest headlamp here with 1000 blinding lumens and is also the most solidly built with military users in mind. It might be a little overkill and pricy for most campers but it’s certainly impressive and earns our Editor’s Choice Award. The Minimus is less powerful with 300 lumens but still powerful, and it shares the superb waterproof aluminum construction of the Maximus. The Maximus has a long lasting rechargeable battery while the Minimus runs on a single CR123a battery.

Last observed price range: ~ $158 – 239 (depending on model)

Surefire Maximus
Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Surefire Minimus
Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Princeton Tec Remix

The Remix is an all around excellent headlamp that doesn’t break the bank nor add much weight to your pack (3 oz with 3 AAA batts). With features like 300 lumens, 150 hr burn time, and IPX4 water resistance in a small and reliable package, you probably don’t need more headlamp. All remix models have 1 white Maxbright LED and 3 Ultrabright LEDs, however some will have either white, green, blue, or red Ultrabright LEDs. I personally prefer the night vision friendly red LED option.

Last observed price range: ~ $30 – 35

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

Princeton Tec Sync

Princeton Tec’s family series of headlamps offers simple, reliable functionality for a great price. My favorite of this series is the Sync. The water resistant Sync weighs 2.9 oz with 3 AAA batteries, outputs 200 lumens on high, and runs for 150 hrs on the low setting. The Sync provides a spot and a flood beam, as well as a red light option for saving your night vision. The high flood beam and spot light combo are excellent on this inexpensive light. I also like that the Sync’s mode selector is a manually rotated physical switch instead of a button switch; it’s intuitive and can’t drain batteries unintentionally.

Last observed price range: ~ $15 – 35 (depending on 150 to 200 lumens)

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon

​​Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp

The kid friendly Bot is a fun lil’ headlamp in Princeton Tec’s family series. The Bot has an intuitive single button and a secure battery compartment so kids can’t get into the toxic cells. Its 15 lumens provides enough light for the kiddos to see but isn’t so powerful as to blind you every time they look at you.

Last observed price range: ~ $9 – 15

Click for Current Pricing from Amazon
Click for Current Pricing from Backcountry.com

Some of the reviewed headlamps.

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