Prior to root canal treatment at least one undistorted radiograph is required to assess canal morphology. The apical extent of instrumentation and the final root filling have a role in treatment success, and are primarily determined radiographically. Electronic apex locators reduce the number of radiographs required and assist where radiographic methods create difficulty. They may also indicate cases where the apical foramen is some distance from the radiographic apex. Other roles include the detection of root canal perforation. A review of the literature focussed first on the subject of electronic apex location. A second review used the names of apex location devices. From the combined searches, 113 pertinent articles in English were found. This paper reviews the development, action, use and types of electronic apex locators.