The Best Headlamps Reviewed
No matter what when it gets dark it is quite hard for the human eye to see, in the past, we all had a flashlight handy and would use them to see in the dark. I am here to tell you that handheld flashlights are now a thing of the past. The future is headlamps. With headlamps, you have the same ability to shine a light in a direction to see more clearly, but the added feature is that you do not have to hold the light and can have both hands accessible. Now if you have made the decision that you want to pack up your flashlights and purchase a headlamp, but are getting overwhelmed as there are so many options nowadays when purchasing a high-quality headlamp, you have come to the right place.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Change light distance setting
Long battery life
Top Ten Headlamps
1. Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight
Change light distance setting
Long battery life
Phantom Drain on batteries
A very comfortable product, which fits and stays in position on the head to allow you hands freedom wherever you choose to use it, reading at home or outside, nighttime fishing, hiking, camping, wherever you choose to be this will illuminate the nighttime for you.Read more
Lights up your path for up to 50 meters ahead, this is superb performance when you are out in unfamiliar territory at night.
You can prolong battery life by choosing the setting for lighting up the darkness at up to 35 meters distance. For even more battery setting and saving choose light for up to 15 meters ahead. The red light setting is excellent and creates a gentle light which while not blinding others it still gives you a great illumination for nighttime activities.
Ease of Use
This Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight has an off and on button of the top for you to be able to reach easily if in an emergency or need.
A designed in SOS function for lighting use in emergency situations and this is compact, light to carry and stable when being worn on the head. The LED light system is impressive and reliable, the casing is made from durable materials and the whole light system is resistive to cold, warm or hot weather environments. Uses three E/AAA batteries so energy lifetime is long and reliable.
Plenty of features
3 lighting options
This Cobiz Brightest High 6000 Lumen LED Work Headlight is known for its hands' free use. It is a rechargeable waterproof headlamp that helps with being able to work or explore without having to your hands to hold it. There are four modes of using the lighting options which includes the low setting, the wider and medium setting, the bright emergency setting and the strobe light setting for full range needed.Read more
This Cobiz Brightest High 6000 Lumen LED Work Headlight is a great fit for anyone as it comes with an adjustable headband and can fit many different sizes of heads comfortably. With it being rechargeable it is very cost effective and works great. This headlamp can be used for camping, night jogging, outdoor inspection, night fishing, emergency lumination, and for bicycling.
This Cobiz headlight is known for its durable rechargeable battery that has a long lifespan. The battery lasts up to 10 hours straight and comes with a battery replacement as well as a power outlet in order for you to plug in the headlamp whenever needed.
Ease of Use
There is also a light indicator which helps you know when the battery is getting low and needs to be charged in case you run into emergencies as it turns red when it needs to be charged and turns green when it is fully charged. There is also an on and off button just on top of the headlamp to help you be able to use it in any case of emergencies.
There are wonderful features for this headlamp including the ability to rotate your light by 90 degrees to shine in any direction you are wanting, it is water resistant and comes with waterproof wires and waterproof switch which will help it stay safe in the rain or snowy weather and it is leakage-resistant.
3. Princeton Tec Remix
The Princeton Tec Remix brings you a nice light that’s very easy to use, but it does cost some money. It does offer a lot of brightness, though, in a very lightweight headlamp model.Read more
This headlamp uses one Maxbright LED, and 3 ultrabright LEDs to give you some choices in how bright you want the lamp to get. It’s also very lightweight, so it’s easy to wear anytime you need it.
This headlamp does well in a wide variety of outdoor environments and brings you a lot of versatility. However, it doesn’t have the best battery life, which could be a problem depending on where you plan to travel. This headlamp also comes with batteries. The Run Time High Spot Beam lasts up to 28 hrs and the Low Spot Beam lasts up to 53 hrs.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is known for its ease of use as it comes with a top button which allows you to turn the headlamp on and off at any needed time.
Designed with one asymmetrical arm bracket, the battery door on this headlamp is easy to get to, and the headlamp also features a large push button switch. All of these features add to the simplicity of the product design.
4. Coast HL7 Headlamp
Consumes battery life quickly
The Coast HL7 headlamp is one of the best choices on the market. And with its current cost, the actual price makes it even more tempting for anyone in need of a headlamp.Read more
This type of lightning is very good for camping since it allows you to set up the whole camp in the dark. It is also convenient to use when going to the campsite restroom although you might want to use the dimming option for this one.
The light this headlamp provides is very bright but also consumes the battery very quickly. However, there is a dimming option that is very suitable for when you are saving battery life. You could also use recharging batteries and or alkaline batteries for maximum use. Three alkaline batteries are included in the package and there is a pouch included.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is known for its ease of use and ease of charging features.
The Coast HL7 headlamp is one of the best choices on the market. And with its current cost, the actual price makes it even more tempting for anyone in need of a headlamp. The manufacturer’s claims for the brightness are Focusing 285 lumens with a maximum of 1 hour and 30 minutes of runtime. The low lumens are 4 and the low runtime is 70 hours. The beam distance is 119 meters and the low brightness lights provide you at least 13 meters visibility.
5. Fenix HP25R
Comes with bundle
The Fenix HP25R offers you one of the brightest light choices in headlamps that are available on the market today. If you want a lot of illumination for your outdoor activities, then you’ll love how bright this light can be.Read more
This Fenix HP25R headlamp uses 1000 lumens output and features a spotlight and neutral white light.
It has many different modes including:
High: 350 Lumens
Mid: 130 Lumens
Low: 30 Lumens
Eco: 4 Lumens
Turbo: 1000 Lumens
High: 350 Lumens
Mid: 130 Lumens
Low: 30 Lumens
This headlamp requires one 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery or two CR 123A batteries, and the lamp can last up to two hours. It gives you a maximum output of 100o lumen. The Fenix HP25R comes with a bundle back. With a purchase of this headlamp, you also get a carrying case, a battery, and a rechargeable battery.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is very easy to use and even comes with an overheat protection mode to avoid high temperature of the surface in case you have it on for too long.
This headlamp is rechargeable and very portable. The Fenix HP25R is so bright, it can reach about 160 meters with its light, which is far and above its competition, and the brightest lamp on our list. Plus, its lifespan is about 50,000 hours, and it provides an angle of 90 degrees.
6. Lighting EVER LED Headlamp
Doesn't have SOS mode
The Lighting EVER LED Headlamp brings you an affordable option in headlamps, offering you 4 lighting modes and a lot of versatility. You’ll love the fact it is waterproof and easy to use.Read more
The headlamp is bright enough for working around the camp. The brightest light contains 18 LEDs which is more than enough for every outdoor activity in the night you could think of. The headband is coated with foam padding which is pretty thick and comfortable.
The headband uses alkaline batteries that are included in the package.
Ease of Use
With this headlamp being adjustable, you are able to use it for camping, backpacking, working on your car, biking or even running. The headband can be tightened enough so that it doesn’t fall out even if you wear it while running. In fact, it is the perfect addition to your night run.
This headlamp’s advantage is its 4 lighting modes and it contains 3 white lights with different intensity and a red light convenient for star gazing. The headlamp is very lightweight and the headband is adjustable. It is waterproof with an IP44 rating, which means that it is waterproof guaranteed when it comes to splashing water at it.
7. GRDE Zoomable Super Bright Headlamp
Battery life could last longer
This GRDE headlamp offers the whole package. It comes with rechargeable batteries, regular batteries, a car charger, a USB cable and a user book which is not necessary to use since this headlamp is very easy to use. With all the extra benefits plus the brightness of this headlamp, you’ll most likely fall in love with this headlamp’s simplicity.Read more
The brightness of the lamp is up to 1800 lumens, which is not to be taken as a fact.The headlamp is also multifunctional, meaning you are able to use it as a headlamp as its primary function but also as a waist or a desk lamp. You are able to adjust it for different uses by using the adjustable straps it has. The lamp has three modes a low mode, middle and a strobe mode.
The battery also holds pretty well, comparing to some competitive products. The Ms Force headlamp, for instance, is brighter than this GRDE headlamp, but the battery life of this one is much better. The battery lasts for up to 100, 000 hours when it is turned on a low mode.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is very easy to use and even comes with an on and off button on the top of the light to help you be able to use it hands-free and turn it on whenever needed.
The testing showed that this headlamp is brighter than the average headlamps and it surpasses the brightness features of many headlamps in this price range. Since this is an adjustable headlamp with long straps, you are able to adjust it and use it however you like. You could even attach it over a bike helmet or really, any kind of helmet that you like. When used as a headlamp, the straps are not very tight, and because of the upper strap which serves as an additional safety against falling, there is no chance for it to fall off.
8. Petzl Tikka RXP
If you’re looking for a reactive technology headlamp, then you might want to consider the Petzl Tikka RXP. The reactive technology allows the brightness of the headlamp to adjust automatically, and this headlamp does a great job of detecting the light you’ll need so that you won’t need to use much effort when you use it.Read more
This headlamp allows you to automatically adjust the brightness to the needs of the user or the location and it offers a maximum of 300 lumens.
This headlamp is compatible with a CORE rechargeable battery. It’s also small and lightweight, so it’s easy to wear. The rechargeable battery on this headlamp works on an average scale, and the headlamp can be recharged by putting it on a USB cord. The battery life on this headlamp isn’t anything poor or exceptional, and rates about average. It does work well and provide enough lighting for a wide variety of outdoor activities and gives you enough versatility.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is easy to use and you’re also able to use an on/off button and adjust the brightness on this headlamp as you see fit.
The reactive technology in the RXP headlamp works to give you an automatic light adjustment to save battery life, as claimed by the company. You get both white light and a red light with this headlamp, and you can use it for a variety of things in the outdoors.
9. Petzl NAO
Short battery life
The Petzl NAO headlamp offers you a nice, bright light that includes reactive lighting. While it’s got great light, it does have short battery life and isn’t as lightweight as some of the other products on our list.Read more
The Petzl NAO comes with reactive lighting technology that can adjust itself automatically to fit your lighting needs. You can also use a sensor to adjust the lighting manually if you wish.
The battery life isn’t great on the Petzl NAO, so you might need to plan to recharge it. It all depends on how bright you decide to set the light at, but you’ll want to be prepared. The Petzl NAO uses a Lithium-ion battery and can be recharged with a USB port. It also comes with the ability to use the My Light app, which can allow you to adjust the headlamp with your smartphone.
Ease of Use
This headlamp is very easy to use and even comes with a button on the top of the lamp that helps you to switch the light on and off whenever you are needing to.
The Petzl NAO also offers a constant lighting feature, which can give you a lot of light when you need it. Plus, it features multiple light cones, which help increase visibility greatly each time you use the headlamp.
10. SLONIK 1000
Waterproof and dustproof
Rechargeable battery 2200MAH
This SLONIK 1000 Lumen Rechargeable 2x CREE LED Headlamp offers you an excellent rechargeable headlamp with a great performance all-around. It’s very portable and easy to use, and also simple to bring along with you. It is known for being waterproof and dustproof which helps you in any type of weather condition.Read more
The SLONIK 1000 Lumen has five different levels of white light brightness with one single button. It has a 100,000 hour lifespan
This SLONIK 1000 Lumen headlamp can be charged off just about anything with a USB adapter, which makes this headlamp very easy to use and recharge whenever you are on the go. It’s also very lightweight and 2200MAH battery with 8-hour battery life while in low mode and a 3.5hrs lifespan in high mode.
Ease of Use
This headlamp has great features to help you be able to turn the top button on and off to switch to which lighting brightness you are needing.
The SLONIK 1000 Lumen t is waterproof and dustproof and can handle water coming from just about anywhere. The battery performance on the SLONIK brings you a lot of versatility and is easy to adjust and use. It’s one of the most adjustable and versatile headlamps on our list, and it also comes with a lot of options that make it very portable. Another great feature this headlamp has is it is capable of reflecting a 220-yard beam without distorting the natural colors.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The main purpose of the lamp is finding the trail you are on in the middle of the night. This means that you should be able to look ahead at least a hundred meters. This puts the beam distance at the top of the features that you should consider while looking for a model. However, when it comes to the quality of the lights, this is not the only feature to be considered. It is also important that the lights don’t have any anomalies such as dark spots that would cause you to believe that there is a hole in front of you.
This might inspire you to take another trail and in extreme conditions cause you to get lost in nature. The lights that have lower beam distance or have lower quality can be quite tiring to your eyes and greater attention is required. Nevertheless, the lower quality lights usually have a better battery life which is a great advantage if they are not self-charging. Keep in mind that all of our suggestions have a slight difference in the quality of the lights that you are going to have to put some effort into noticing.
Opposite to the common belief that the brightness makes the headlamp, there are many more features that should be considered. It could even happen that light has a greater brightness, but it also has less light quality. Every manufacturer has stated a certain brightness level which you should always check, but never rely on. It is also important whether the lights provide a long beam or a shorter but wider beam.
Even though manufacturers state the battery life very simply with the hours that a headlamp is able to work without being charged, it is pretty difficult to decide the battery life of a lamp. What makes it hard are the different range of brightness and the different mode options of each light. When you compare this to the manufacturers’ claims you will notice that they are always promoting the best possible combination. The battery that they are promoting is not very likely to be the actual state. With that said it is vital that you know that brighter lights usually require much more power, even when they burn at a lower mode.
Some products come with rechargeable solutions that will compensate for the low battery life. When choosing the battery life of a headlamp it is very important to know how you are going to use it. If you are going to need it for camping purposes only, you will need a good enough light only with long battery life so that you don’t have to recharge it often.
Ease of Use
The ease of use is another feature to look for. If in the middle of the night, you suddenly require a headlamp, it usually means you need it immediately. No one wants to wander around in the night trying to find a way to turn the headlamp on. However, besides turning it on, the ease of use also means switching between modes and the ease of daily operation of the battery. There are some batteries among the suggested ones that are very easy to use and intuitive, while others require that you read the manual in order to master it.
If you are planning on camping for a prolonged weekend, you are probably going to need to recharge your lamp. Most models don’t come with an external battery or a solar charger, so if you believe you are going to need one, make sure you purchase it from the same manufacturer. There are also rechargeable kits that are a bit more spacious, but they also come with extra batteries, so you are able to use all the time.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Headlamps are definitely a piece of gear you want to have on your person for your next adventure or even as part of your toolbox at home. They come in handy anytime it gets dark and you need to see a little more clearly. They are usually a cheap piece of gear and are worth the investment. When looking to invest in a headlamp do not forget to check the lumens, normal indoor light is about 250 lumens, you want your headlamp to be about 30 lumens. This will ensure you get a bright visible light so you can see clearly on your next camping trip.
Other Factors to Consider
The weight of the battery is very important for backpacking, and not at all important in camping. Especially if you are traveling to the destination with a vehicle. However, even the heaviest headlamps are only a few dozen grams heavier than their competition. Although the weight does not differ much, for some backpackers who are keeping the gear to the minimum, even a few dozen grams could make a great difference.
As previously mentioned, the market today is flooded with different types of lights and the type that you are going to use makes a great difference. However, almost every head-lamp today uses LED technology since it provides more brightness and it requires very little energy. The type of light that you are going to choose should depend on the type of outdoor activity you are planning. That said, there are several major varieties you should choose from:
Spotlight mode – the spotlight mode focuses the light beam to the distance, but it also makes narrower than other types. This light beam is recommended for finding trail marks or other objects in the distance. It is also the preferred option for hikers who need to hike on a trail they have no experience on. The lamps that have the spotlight feature also have a close proximity mode that you can switch between. However, if you need a spotlight mode, it is recommended that you pick a headlamp choice that does not contain this option. The ones that do are pretty hard to use and handle and the switching between modes is not as easy as you think.
Close proximity mode – The close proximity mode, disperses the light right away once it escapes the headlamp. This provides you a good look at the close objects around you and a good close proximity lighting. The light beam is very narrow, but seeing something in the distance is nearly impossible. The close proximity light has one very important advantage and that is the battery life of the headlamp. Since the brightness is reduced, the battery life is extended. It is convenient to be used for setting up a campsite in the dark or if you just want to check things out. The close proximity light is also less irritating to your camp friends since you won’t be blinding them every time you accidentally point the headlamp in them.
Red light – A red light is also based on LED technology. The only difference is that because of its color, its brightness is significantly reduced; still, you are able to see everything you need relatively good. Even though this is not the brightest light, in some outdoor sports this is the most preferred option. Hunters, for instance, are using these lights in order to camouflage their existence while allowing themselves to see in the dark. This is done thanks to the fact that animals are not able to see the red lights, so they remain undetected. The battery life is also much better than any other lights on the market. So, if you only need a headlamp for emergencies or just in case situations, this is the choice to go for!
Rechargeable lights – rechargeable lights are the clear choice to go when you are planning on spending more than a few days in nature. Batteries are creating waste that also creates a dead weight that you are going to have to carry home in your backpack. However, with the rechargeable lights, you will only have those one pair of batteries that you are going to use for a long time on many trips to come. Although there might be a return on investment if you buy rechargeable batteries or a year worth of alkaline ones, having to give that sum of money at once is not an easy task. For this reason, many hikers, backpackers, and campers prefer using the regular ones until the rechargeable battery manufacturers don’t lower the price a bit or maybe even more.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should you get a headlamp for your kid as well?
Kids like everything that shines and is bright, there are no surprises here. However, whether your kid would wonder if you give him a lamp is a question many parents ask themselves. The truth is, after discussing the subject with some mothers that decided their kid should have one, they advise you to go for it. They are not likely to wander off since most kids have a natural fear from the dark. Another reason you should approve this “toy” for them is that kids are sloppy. If they aren’t careful enough when the weather is bright outside, why expect them to react well to the darkness.
They too should be given the same opportunity of locating themselves in the dark and facing their fears. However, since there is a great probability that you wouldn’t be able to teach him not to point the light directly in your eyes, maybe a red light would be the more convenient choice for a kid. He will love wearing it. And if there are more than one, be prepared for them to chase around, they will love the red color light. As a bonus feature for you is that no matter how far they are, red light is used in rescue situations because they are most easily detectable. So, you would always know where your kid is!
q: What do I need to know about battery life claims?
As we previously mentioned, the battery life is something that manufacturers always make a “mistake” with. For this reason, we recommend that you ignore the lumen feature stated on every headlamp because is it a poor indicator of its quality and performance. Another reason why you should take lumen as a fixed number is that lumens tend to vary, they don’t stay constant ever. Over the time, the lumens tend to drop and if you have a high lumen number but a low-quality lamp you will end up with a need to buy another product in just a couple of months. Also, the lumen is completely different depending on the batteries you decide to use.
q: What do I need to know about how other components affect brightness?
If you also consider the other components such as lenses, led quality, the arrangement of components, size and shape, lower the quality of the light brightness even more unless every one of these components is top of the notch quality.
q: What do I need to know about the different light colors?
It is also interesting to mention that the human eye is more perceptive to some light colors and less to others. Green lights, for instance, are more likely to seem brighter to the human eye than red light. This makes it harder to compare lights with different colors one to another. Even though comparing the light brightness of two red lights is relatively easy, comparing a green and a red light will be much more difficult. A green light will appear brighter even though the red one is actually the brighter one. For this reason, when testing two lights with different colors, it is never recommended to rely on your naked eye. Technical tests would go better in this case than human interferences.
q: What is a burst mode?
A burst mode is something which is pretty vague to the common person buying a lamp. It is actually the maximum potential that light has. For instance, if a manufacturer claims that in burst mode it has 260 lumens it might be indeed the case. However, what most people are not aware of is that the burst mode could only be applied for one to several seconds. After that, the light is coming back to its natural state. In burst mode also, the battery wasting is enormous, which couldn’t be good for you, especially if you want to use the lamp in the outdoors where there aren’t any chargers. Also, when you purchase batteries, be aware that the alkaline batteries are known to have a brighter effect on the beginning of their using cycle, while afterward their brightness lowers.
q: What else do I need to know about manufacturer’s claims?
Another reason, why these claims are questionable is because the companies self-regulate them. This means they could test a light and have a certificate for the brightness level, but they don’t have to do so. Considering all these reasons, it is far better to read a review than rely on the manufacturers’ claims when it comes to light performances.
Even if you have gone through that trail for thousands of times, at night, it can be tricky to determine whether it is the right path. In order for this not to happen, a headlamp will ensure you are never in doubt again. A product in a way prolongs your day since with it you are able to plan additional activities in the night. A common comparative product to the headlamp is a flashlight that is only convenient if one of you is holding the flashlight and the other one is doing the work. These provide you the liberty of working with your hands while focusing the light on the right place. The above-suggested models will make sure you are never in the dark again and they will provide you the lightness you need in your life!