Biolite Headlamp 425 | Review - Outdoors Magic

Outdoors Gear, Equipment, News, Reviews, Forums, Walking Routes and More at


Walking Equipment and Accessories

Biolite Headlamp 425 | Review

A good value head torch with, we found, unrivalled comfort and convenience

The main USP with Biolite’s headlamps is their clean and comfortable design. The U.S. brand has cleverly incorporated the torch’s wires within the strap, keeping it fuss-free and tangle-proof. 

I’ve used a lot of the brand’s models of the years and can vouch for their comfort. In fact, I’d say they’re the most comfortable headtorches on the market. And they’re very stable too, even when you’re moving at pace on bumpy trails. This is a total shoo-in for our round up of the best head torches for running

Will demonstrating the Biolite Headlamp 425 in use. Photos: Dave Macfarlane

This particular model, the Biolite Headlamp 425 offers, you guessed it, a max of 425 lumens which I’ve found adequate for the night hikes and trail runs I’ve used it on, including on a late night photoshoot on the Pembrokeshire coast and on a wild camping trip taking in the Brecon Beacons Horseshoe. I also carried it in my bag on the Ultra Trail Snowdonia 50K as it met the race requirements, though I didn’t need to call upon it. 

Battery Life and Brightness

This has a front and back light and lots of modes that can be cycled through very easily via just a single button on the front and a single button on the back. Quick presses move through the different lighting modes and long presses alter the brightness. An 8-second press will lock it and another 8-second press will unlock it. This, I found, is important to use as the Headlamp 425 will easily end up turning itself on while bumping around in your backpack

It has a spot beam on the front and a flood beam – and you can activate strobe lighting too. On the back, there’s a red light that can strobe or flood. If you’re looking for a headtorch for running with on roads in the dark then having a rear red light is absolutely essential. It’s also a requirement for many trail races these days.

I found that the flood mode, which has a distance of 15m, was perfect for night trail running. All obstacles felt well illuminated, I had good depth perception and didn’t ever feel claustrophobic. I found the spot beam useful for using at brief moments when needing to sight things in the distance, particularly when navigating. It’s not something I’d hike or run with for long spells though.

I conducted some tests to assess the battery life. First, I fully charged the headtorch, which takes 2 hours from empty, then I triggered my stop watch, set it to its max 425 lumen setting with the red flood light on at the back too and then placed the headtorch in a cupboard. Checking in on it at intervals, I found the brightness started to fade after about three and a half hours, but it continued to put out a pretty good beam. After 7 hours, the head torch battery was completely flat.

For the next test, I let the Biolite Headlamp 425 run on its LO mode to test Biolite’s claim that it will run for 60 hours on this setting. After 50 hours, the bulb looked weak but I’d say it was still bright enough to use in a tent at night. After 60 hours it was kaput. It’s worth bearing in mind that I hadn’t used the headtorch much prior to these tests and, from what I’ve heard, the battery does start to lose its punch over time.

Handily, a set of little lights on the casing on the rear of the headtorch provides an indication of the charge. The bulb will actually dim to 100 lumens and flash every 10 minutes as a warning when the battery is reaching critically low levels.

As the charging port is at the base of the unit on the rear of the headtorch, you can feasibly charge this while wearing it by using a long USB cable linked up with a powerpack in the top of a backpack. That, I think, is a very useful touch that can really come in handy on long ultra marathons. I tried it out with a couple of different cables and found that they all stayed plugged in while I was on the move.

Other Details

The head torch isn’t waterproof but it’s IPX 4 rated and that makes it fine for use in rain. You do, however, need to ensure that the little silicone port cover is on properly if you are using this in wet conditions.

The buttons on the front and back are both quite large and I found they’re fine to use with gloves. The main bulb can be pivoted downwards. It doesn’t pivot towards the sky but you can always flip the whole headtorch upside if you do want to use it in this way.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that glasses wearers tend to have problems with the Biolite Headlamp 425. That’s because the low profile casing doesn’t extend beyond the rim of a pair of glasses, causing the light to glare back off the lenses.

Biolite Headlamp 425 Verdict

This is currently available for around £64 which I think is good value. It’s not as high spec as some headtorches out there – like the Black Diamond Distance 1500 or the Petzl Nao RL – but it still punches above its weight. So, if you’re a potholer or special forces op, this is probably a little low spec for you but if you’re a weekend wild camping warrior or an every-now-and-then ultra runner like me, then it’s a useful option that won’t break the bank.

At 78g this head torch is also pretty light. It’s lighter than a few similarly performing head torches, including the Petzl Actik Core. It’s not as light as the Petzl Bindi, however. That’s an excellent head torch though it doesn’t have the same mix of functionality and stability that this option from Biolite has.

Biolite Headlamp 425

Selected for the Outdoor 100 Sping/Summer 2024 guide
Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.