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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Nite Ize INNOVA STS Headlamp > Test Report by Larry Kirschner

NiteIze Inova STS Headlamp


NiteIze Inova Headlamp
(Image Courtesy of NiteIze)

INITIAL REPORT - July 27, 2014


NAME: Larry Kirschner
EMAIL: asklarry98 at hotmail dot com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Columbus, Ohio
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 210 lb (95 kg)

I've been an intermittent camper/paddler since my teens, but when my kids were avid Boy Scouts, I caught the backpacking bug. Now that they have grown up, my wife and I plan to continue our adventures on the trail. I consider myself a mid-weight backpacker because I like comfort, but I can always learn to go lighter and longer.

July 27, 2014


Manufacturer: NiteIze
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Country of Manufacture: designed in USA, manufactured in China
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: USD $34.99

Color: Blue, Charcoal, Orange
Weight: Measured 95 g (3.35 oz), including headband and batteries (non-digital scale)


The NiteIze Inova STS Headlamp is a traditional headlamp with a twist-there are no buttons controlling the light source. Instead, the light is turned controlled using "Swipe to Shine" (STS) technology, which basically involves a small touch pad on the top of the lamp. The light is adjusted by swiping across the pad or holding pressure on the pad, depending on what is the adjustment being made. I will discuss STS more below, but let me first describe the basic features of the headlamp. There is a plastic casing for the lamp, and a 1 inch (2.54cm) wide elastic headband. The headband is threaded through a plastic clip which has arms to hold the lamp casing. The headlamp was not attached to the band when I removed it from the packaging, but it was a snap to put it together. The headlamp can pivot from horizontal to 50 degrees of arc by a ratchet mechanism which holds it at the desired angle. The light is rated waterproof to 1 m (3.3 ft) and impact resistant also to 1 m (3.3 ft). Per the manufacturer's specs, it has a range on the brightest setting of 84 m (276 ft). The other specs are as follows: High Low Lowest (dimmer) Lumens Run time Lumens Run time Lumens Run time White 142 4h 40 min 40 26 h 40 min 3 255 h Red 8 36 h 2 317 h 0.2 602 h

Lowest (dimmer)

Run time
Run time
Run time
4 h 40 min
26h 40 min
255 h
36 h
317 h
602 h

The LED headlamp has the white light located centrally in the case, as well as two small red lights which are located on either side.

front of headlamp

The red lights are used together, so either both are on or both are off. The controls of this lamp are set up so that white and red cannot both be on at the same time, which makes a lot of sense. Both white and red have a high and a low setting, and can also be set to flashing mode. In addition, both lights can be fully adjusted to a level anywhere between the maximum and minimum. There is also a lockout mode, which means that the headlamp can be set so that it does not accidentally get turned on when it is bumped. I think this is an important feature of this headlamp, especially given the control mechanism for the lamps.

The top surface of the headlamp has two arrows, a leftward pointing white arrow, and a rightward pointing red arrow.

inova arrows

If I swipe to the left, the white light goes on. If I swipe to the right, the red light goes on. Simple! The other light modes are also fairly straightforward. When the light is off, one swipe to the left sets the headlamp on its brightest setting, two swipes in a row gives the low setting, and three swipes sets the flashing mode. To make the light level adjustable, I have to swipe once then hold the pad down. The light level cycles smoothly from brightest to dimmest, then back again. If I keep holding, the light level will continue to cycle from bright to dim. However, when I reach the level I like, I just take my finger off the pad and the intensity is fixed. Once the light is on, sweeping once in the other direction turns it off. The function is exactly the same for the red light, except all the swiping is in the opposite direction.

With all this swiping to turn on and off, I would be worried that the headlamp would get jostled and turn on and off a lot in my pack. However, NiteIze has also thought of this, so they have developed a lockout mechanism. To engage the lockout, I can press with two fingers on the top of the pad until the red light blinks. Swiping to one side (either way) will engage the lock. To disengage, I again press with two fingers until the white light blinks once, then swipe right or left depending on if I want the white or red light on.

For power, the Inova STS uses 3 AAA batteries. There is a small metal cam locking mechanism which holds the batteries into the headlamp. The batteries can be changed while the lamp is attached to the headband.

battery gasket


I have described the use of the STS mechanisms and how to change the batteries, which were explained in the instructions that accompanied the headlamp. Instructions are also included in a variety of other languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, and a few others. The instructions also indicate that the STS system may not work if my finger or the headlamp is wet.

The instructions also include the "No worries guarantee", which states "We want you to be happy with your purchase of an INOVA headlamp, and that includes having confidence that we stand behind our product 100%. We use only the highest quality materials and designs, but it doesn't change the fact that some things-LEDs, rechargeable batteries, switches-don't last forever. We'll replace these for the first three years and we got your back on everything else as long as you own the headlamp, no worries." There is also a Warranty which spells things out more clearly, basically stating that NiteIze will warranty against manufacturing defects for the life of the product, and replace the items noted above for 3 years, as stated. They also indicate that the warranty does not apply if the headlamp is damaged by abuse or misuse, or if the product is damaged by faulty batteries.


I was a little uncertain how the STS technology would work, but I have been pleasantly surprised that it all runs quite smoothly in my hands. It is fairly intuitive to get the lights on and off, and adjusting is fine. In terms of the light output, I tried turning the light on and off a few times in my kitchen. 2 or 3 people in the house commented how bright the light was (and asked me to stop shining it in their faces!). I haven't taken it on the trail yet, but I don't think that low light output will be a problem! The headband is comfortable and I like the ability to adjust the angle of the lamp.

EXPECTATIONS for the NiteIze Inova STS headlamp:

I'm intrigued by the STS technology, so I'm anxious to see how this light works on the trail. I'm wondering if I will remember to engage the lockout before I throw it in my pack in the morning, but I will have to see. I'm also intrigued to see how long the batteries last, because the lifetime seems quite long, which is a good thing.

  • Interesting technology that works well
  • Different lights and light modes
  • Comfortable to wear
  • none at the moment
This concludes my Initial Report on the NiteIze Inova STS Headlamp. Please check back in about 2 months for my Field Report on this item.

Thanks to NiteIze for providing this headlamp for testing, and to for giving me the chance to participate in the evaluation process.

-larry kirschner

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