September 24, 2022

News Health and Tech

The Greatest Headlamps of 2022

The headlamp is among the basic outside instruments. We mixed intensive testing with many years of expertise to search out the perfect headlamps you should buy now.

Headlamps are a hotly contested merchandise right here within the GearJunkie workplace. We every have our favorites, and the arguments get scorching over crucial headlamp options, specs, and consumer interfaces.

So this yr, we took them to the sector and put them to the take a look at head-to-head. We in contrast their modes and lit up distant rock partitions. And we tried their match one after one other to find out about consolation. And we wore them across the campfire, studying which was most intuitive, which buttons labored with gloves, and so forth.

However we didn’t cease there. We additionally took the headlamps residence and put them into some measurable testing. We charged them up, then allow them to run on “excessive” mode to learn how they measured up with their claimed run instances. And we in contrast the colour rendering, throw distance, and different qualities the sunshine the lamps produce.

A number of greater than 20 headlamps that we examined for this assessment; (picture/Eric Phillips)

So past our years of expertise — our testers ranged from former YOSAR personnel to ultramarathoners and rock climbers — we crunched the numbers on these headlamps.

Don’t have time to learn this entire article and simply need an amazing, serviceable headlamp at an affordable worth? Simply get the Black Diamond Spot 400-R. Up to date for spring 2022, it’s probably the most well-rounded headlamp we examined and may operate nicely in virtually any use case, from mountaineering to searching to mountaineering.

The place the Spot 400-R thrives kinds the bottom of our suggestions. We judged the lights by a number of standards: battery run time, highlight vary, floodlight high quality, consumer interface, dimension and weight, lighting modes, and worth.

Scroll by means of to see all of our really useful buys or leap to the class you’re on the lookout for. On the finish of our checklist, remember to try our complete purchaser’s information.

The Greatest Headlamps of 2022

Greatest General Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot 400-R

Black Diamond Spot 400 R headlamp
The Black Diamond Spot 400-R headlamp is the perfect for most individuals; (picture/Sean McCoy)

The Spot 400-R ($65) has been round for years and has gone by means of good and unhealthy iterations. However with the 2022 refresh, Black Diamond gave us a small, highly effective, and efficient headlamp that make it the perfect all-around headlamp.

At 400 lumens max output, the highlight clearly lights objects out to 100 m. Whereas there are rather more highly effective headlamps available on the market (and some listed right here), that is loads of energy for the overwhelming majority of makes use of.

And for many customers, the medium and low settings, which offer phenomenal runtimes of as much as 225 hours on low (4 hours on excessive), give loads of mild for mountaineering or doing camp chores.

The consumer interface of this mild is splendidly easy and intuitive. It has two buttons. One turns it on and off. The opposite scrolls by means of settings of spot, proximity, purple, and strobe. Maintain the button to dim or brighten. It’s a easy, easy-to-learn methodology that works even with skinny gloves.

Black Diamond Spot 400 R review
The Black Diamond Spot 400-R; (picture/Sean McCoy)

The sunshine is splendidly small, weighing simply 2.6 ounces. This makes it an amazing alternative for those who stow it in a backpack. Lastly, it recharges by means of a typical micro-USB charging port. So there’s no have to pack a particular twine to recharge this lamp within the area or in your automobile.

Whereas all these specs are nice, real-world testing proved the Spot 400-R is as much as loads of jobs. I used it on a Nebraska turkey hunt throughout which I camped for every week, and the sunshine shined brilliant for the whole time. And it was the best-performing small headlamp of greater than 20 examined in our longevity take a look at!

Turned on initially on excessive, it ran for greater than 24 hours earlier than going right into a dim however useable “limp mode.” In doing so, it competed with a lot bigger, dearer headlamps and left its weight class opponents within the mud.

  • Lumen output: 400 lumens; highlight to 100 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure, micro-USB
  • Burn time: 225 hrs. on low; 4 hrs. on excessive
  • Weight: 2.6 oz.
  • Purple mild: Sure
  • Waterproof score: IP67 (submersible)

Examine Value at REI

Runner-Up Greatest Headlamp: Coast FL85R

Coast FL85R

If considered one of our editors had their choose for the perfect headlamp, it might be the Coast FL85R ($70). What do they love about this huge, burly beast of a lamp?

First, it’s received large buttons for larger fingers which have hassle with smaller buttons. And this makes it a lot simpler to function whereas carrying gloves.

You should use these to simply flip from white to purple mild in addition to change the ability of your mild. Second, you may both use the rechargeable battery pack or swap batteries out for alkaline.

coast headlamp in use
The creator exams out the Coast FL85R; (picture/Kirk Warner)

It is a good function, particularly for those who neglect to recharge issues on the common. It’s additionally straightforward to maneuver from floodlight to highlight with a easy flip of the dial on the lamp.

However what actually blew us away in testing is the lengthy throw of this considerably modest headlamp. Due to the zooming lens of the highlight, it simply outshined all of the headlamps in our take a look at, particularly at lengthy distances. Positive, the sunshine high quality was not as good because the Fenix (extra on this later), however to obviously see far-away objects, the Coast was a winner.

There are a number of cons to this headlamp. First, the runtime, even on the low-light setting, is extraordinarily quick at below 9 hours. So, you’ll prob wish to pack these further alkaline batteries.

Second, it’s a bit bulkier than among the lights on this checklist. Some customers famous it bounces slightly and may drag down in your brow.

However so far as easy, sturdy, and brilliant go, the Coast FL85R is a winner.

  • Lumen output: 700 lumens max; floodlight to 70 m, highlight to 200 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure, rechargeable battery pack through USB
  • Burn time: 8.5 hrs. on low; 1 hr. 45 min. on excessive
  • Weight: 4.5 oz.
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at AmazonCheck Value at Coast

Most Comfy Headlight: BioLite 330 HeadLamp

BioLite HeadLamp Camping

It is a hotly contested alternative, as every member of the GearJunkie crew has their private favourite headlamp. However a few of us have put the BioLite 330 to the take a look at for years now, and it’s as nice of a headlamp right now because it was once we first received it.

The kicker for us with the BioLite 330 ($60) is you don’t put on the battery pack on the entrance of your head. As a substitute, the sunshine is constructed into the scarf of the lamp, and it connects to the battery pack that now sits behind your head.

As hunters, we’re typically doing bizarre stuff at nighttime, like breaking down an animal, trekking again to the rig, or attempting to get to an early morning searching spot.

That is merely probably the most snug and efficient headlamp we’ve worn. The dearth of weight on the brow retains the headlamp and lightweight from bouncing or getting off-kilter. The sweat-wicking materials is superior, and you’ll simply tilt the sunshine down for mountaineering or working.

A lot of our testers don’t discover any huge cons with this lamp, however a few GearJunkies have weighed in that they’ve hassle with the small buttons and adjusting the scarf because of the twine within the again.

However once you don’t share headlamps or use a helmet off-and-on, that’s not a lot of a problem. Our resolution to the twine subject is the Oprah methodology: You get a BioLite 330! And also you get a BioLite 330!

We’ll word it’s a tad dearer than your common headlamp, however belief us — it’s value it for those who’re bumbling round within the woods like we’re.

  • Lumen output: 330 lumens; floodlight to 16 m, highlight to 75 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure, micro-USB
  • Burn time: 40 hrs. on low; 3.5 hrs. on excessive
  • Weight: 2.4 oz.
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Greatest Ultralight Headlamp: Petzl Bindi Ultralight Headlamp

petzl bindi ultralight headlamp

This well-loved and super-light headlamp is a stable choice for these sick of cumbersome headbands and heavy lights. At 1.2 ounces, the Petzl Bindi ($45) is loopy minimal. And it nonetheless boasts truthful runtime and first rate lumens compared to the whole lot else on this checklist.

The adjustable drawstring band is minimalistic, and it might probably simply go over your head, hat, or hood. It boasts a 4.7-star score on Amazon, and the quick adjustment is a large bonus.

People love this for search and rescue, working, tenting, and something the place a minimal strategy is required. The lean is extremely adjustable, and the twine itself is reflective for security.

Actually, this can be a well-loved headlamp at an honest worth with a use case situation that covers most open air folks.

  • Lumen output: 6-200 lumens
  • Rechargeable: Sure, micro-USB
  • Weight: 1.2 oz.
  • Burn time: 50 hrs. on low; 2 hrs. max energy
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at BackcountryCheck Value at Amazon

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Greatest Multi-Energy Headlamp: Petzl Actik Core

Petzl Actik Core
Petzl Actik Core; (picture/Sean McCoy)

Once you need a headlamp that simply works merely with loads of energy for the overwhelming majority of out of doors makes use of, the Petzl Actik Core ($70) is tough to beat. And whereas it performs in addition to many of the lights on this checklist, it splendidly can use a number of battery varieties — AAA batteries or the included Petzl Core rechargeable battery.

Let’s begin out with the factor you’ll discover — the consumer interface. It has a single button on prime. Press it as soon as to show it on. Push it once more to extend to full brightness. Press and maintain for a purple mild. It couldn’t be a lot less complicated.

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We examined the ability and lightweight high quality of the Actik Core whereas tenting within the Colorado Rocky Mountains this spring. It affords a pleasant, even mild at shut vary. Its long-range energy is middle-of-the-pack (a number of different fashions have higher vary). And different lights (notably the Fenix fashions) have a lot better shade rendering, which means you see shade higher below their mild.

However what we love is the Actik Core makes use of each the included rechargeable Core battery and AAA batteries. It requires no adapter, so you may swap between them within the area and even carry AAAs as a backup on longer journeys.

After all, it has a purple beam. We are going to barely think about using a headlamp with out one because it’s important in sustaining night time imaginative and prescient, not blinding pals round camp, and conserving battery life.

At about $70, the Actik Core is nice. The scarf is snug, and it’s straightforward to make use of. Except you want loads of energy or longer vary, this headlamp is a superb alternative.

  • Lumen output: 450 lumens max (90 m throw) for two hours
  • Rechargeable: Sure, additionally appropriate with AAA batteries
  • Burn time: 2 hours on excessive, 130 hours on low (8 lumens)
  • Weight: 75 g
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Greatest Headlamp for Working: Ledlenser NEO5R

Ledlenser NEO 5R
Ledlenser NEO 5R; (picture/Sean McCoy)

The sensible and safety-minded design of the NEO5R ($100) lands it on the prime of our checklist as a working/biking headlamp. Why? It has each a entrance mild and rear flashing purple mild in addition to a reflective headband to make sure motorists see you from all instructions.

Whereas that is safety-first, the NEO5R proved to be no slouch when it comes to efficiency in testing. It has an extremely good runtime and got here in simply behind our premium choice (additionally a Ledlenser mild) when it comes to the general runtime.

The headlamp shined a full 24 hours straight whereas nonetheless placing out useable mild. It additionally has a strong beam of 600 lumens that reaches 100 m into the night time.

Whereas not the perfect color-rending headlamp on the checklist, the sunshine is optimized for working. It provides you first rate depth notion for a single mild supply, though a second supply undoubtedly improves depth notion whereas working on trails. This mild has a purple mild additionally, so it might probably do double-duty round camp or on the mountaineering path.

Our solely draw back is it requires you to make use of Ledlenser’s magnetic USB-C charging cable. Whereas an efficient system, it’s not appropriate with the rest. So you’ll have to pack and retailer a cable particular to this headlamp, which we rely as a detrimental on any lighting product.

  • Lumen output: 600 lumens, 100 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure
  • Weight: 3.7 oz.
  • Burn time: 4 hrs. excessive energy; 35 hours on low
  • Purple mild: Sure; each back and front

Examine Value at Ledlenser

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Greatest Price range Headlamp: Petzl Tikkina Headlamp

petzl tikkina headlamp

The Petzl Tikkina headlamp ($20) is simply that — a headlamp. It’s not intensely brilliant, nor does it have a purple mild. However for $20, you get an honest headlamp that runs on batteries.

It’s also possible to buy 1,250 mAh CORE rechargeable batteries for this lamp for those who’re seeking to be extra eco-conscious.

The Tikkina is pretty light-weight, and it has a excessive runtime in low mild mode. It affords a low, medium, and brilliant sort of sunshine that simply adjusts through one button.

This headlamp simply matches into our KISS mannequin of effectivity whereas managing to be below $20. The one draw back is it doesn’t include a chargeable battery.

As with most finances lights, you’ll wind up spending more cash over time as you purchase increasingly batteries. However for these seeking to keep away from an enormous hit to the pockets, it’ll get the job performed on a $20 invoice.

  • Lumen output: 250 lumens, 10-60 m
  • Rechargeable: No; 3 AAA batteries wanted
  • Weight: 3 oz.
  • Burn time: 120 hrs. on low; 2 hrs. max energy
  • Purple mild: No

Examine Value at REI

Greatest Coloration Rendering in a Headlamp: Fenix HM 50R V2

Fenix HM 50R V2
Fenix HM 50R V2; (picture/Sean McCoy)

This headlamp makes a robust case for greatest total. And whereas we gave the nod to Black Diamond on this case, it is best to undoubtedly take into account the Fenix HM 50R V2 ($60), particularly for those who care about shade rendering.

What’s shade rendering? Briefly, it’s the power of a headlamp to disclose a broad spectrum of colours to the wearer. And it’s the place most cheap headlamps low cost out.

It’s a lot simpler to create loads of lumens of bluish-white mild than of a broad spectrum starting from reds to blues. And that’s the place high-quality, high-cost CREE LEDs outshine the competitors. And that’s what kinds the core of Fenix headlamps.

Color Rendering
Even when captured by a digital digicam, the colour rendering distinction between two headlamps is outstanding; (picture/Sean McCoy)

The HM 50R V2 is a loopy highly effective headlamp for its dimension. It weighs simply 2.75 ounces but punches out a whopping 700 lumens on turbo mode (400 on excessive). And it might probably run a very long time even with its tiny battery (3 hours on excessive, or 48 on low).

The consumer expertise is splendidly easy. There’s a single button on the aspect. It’s straightforward to search out. Push it as soon as to show it on. Push once more to extend energy. Repeat for extra. Push and maintain for purple. Push and lengthy maintain to lock. Simple peasy.

Due to the diminutive nature, our testers barely observed this headlamp whereas testing. It matches nice and is extraordinarily snug.

The one detrimental, in contrast with the Black Diamond Spot 400-R, is the Fenix died early throughout our runtime take a look at, turning off after about 7 hours after being began on “excessive” mode. However in equity, it shined brilliant through the take a look at till it shut down. We’ve skilled nice longevity in real-world functions to date.

Fenix provides us one distinctive headlamp within the HM 50R V2. For many individuals, particularly those that need good shade rendering, it must be excessive on the checklist.

  • Lumen output: 700 lumens
  • Rechargeable: Sure
  • Weight: 2.5 oz.
  • Burn time: 42 hrs. (claimed) on low, 3 hrs. on excessive
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Greatest Excessive-Finish Headlamp: Ledlenser MH11

Ledlenser MH11 headlamp
Ledlenser MH11 headlamp; (picture/Sean McCoy)

If cash is not any object, the perfect headlamp we examined this yr was the Ledlenser MH11 ($180). Why doesn’t it win total? Nicely, it prices $180 and is just overkill for a lot of customers.

It’s additionally slightly sophisticated, with the power to hyperlink to your smartphone through an app. Whereas that isn’t a detrimental, it’s a bit pointless for most individuals.

So with these caveats out of the best way, wow — the Ledlenser MH11 is superb. It far outpowers the remainder of the perfect headlamps with 1,000 lumens reaching an unbelievable 320 m into the darkness. And it does this with a easy, single-button consumer interface we cherished in testing. But it surely does a complete lot extra.

First, this headlamp makes use of reactive know-how. Meaning it turns itself manner down for those who’re close to objects and don’t want the complete blast of the 1,000-lumen canon. You’ll be able to watch it work as you progress round, offering the just-right quantity of sunshine for the scenario.

Subsequent, it affords a variety of colours — white, purple, inexperienced, and blue. Learn extra about why all these colours have their capabilities beneath.

Lastly, like our runner-up choice from Coast, it has a brilliant easy-to-use zooming bezel. Simply twist it a quarter-turn to go from huge to highlight. It’s an amazing resolution and among the finest we’ve used.

Past the worth, there are solely two cons to this headlamp. At 6.3 ounces, it’s among the many heaviest in our testing. However given a whopping run-time of a claimed 100 hours (it gained our runtime take a look at handily), it might be well worth the heft and value for a lot of customers.

Second, it makes use of Ledlenser’s proprietary magnetic charging twine. Your different cords gained’t work, so don’t neglect to pack the headlamp-specific twine on your journey.

  • Lumen output: 1,000 lumens, 320 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure
  • Weight: 6.3 oz.
  • Burn time: 100 hrs. on low
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Better of the Relaxation

Foxelli MX20 Headlamp

foxelli mx20 headlamp

The Foxelli MX20 is a $13 headlamp with one thing like 10,200 evaluations on Amazon. It affords loads of what the dearer headlamps on this checklist supply at a mere fraction of the worth.

It has completely different mild settings from 40 to 165 lumens, it runs for a formidable period of time on batteries, and it has a purple mild operate. So, for a minimum of half the worth of each different headlamp on this checklist, you get loads of performance. And it’s fairly darned light-weight.

Reviewers do say there’s a little bit of spillover of sunshine in your eyes, however that occurs. It’s additionally a $13 headlamp, so for those who’re anticipating one thing good, you’re most likely anticipating an excessive amount of.

However for almost all of headlamp wants — or for a battery-operated backup — this can be a freakin’ nice purchase for most people.

  • Lumen output: 165 lumens, 15-50 m
  • Rechargeable: No; 3 AAA batteries wanted
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Burn time: 45 hrs.
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at AmazonCheck Value at Walmart

Ledlenser MH5

Ledlenser MH5

A top-rated headlamp, the Ledlenser MH5 ($70) has greater than 400 5-star evaluations and almost 200 4-star evaluations through REI Co-op. General, people discovered this beefy headlamp straightforward and intuitive for dwelling off-grid, and the brightness — within the highest and lowest settings — hit the mark.

Albeit not the lightest design, the interface affords numerous mild modes (however no strobe choice). And customers love the rechargeable choice however are docked factors for the devoted charging twine (versus a micro-USB).

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The sunshine can also be removable from the scarf and may clip onto a hat or pocket for versatile use. (That mentioned, the clip felt flimsy for some customers, so watch out.)

  • Lumen output: 400 lumens, 40-180 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure; with a lithium-ion or AA battery whereas touring with out a energy supply
  • Weight: 3.3 oz.
  • Burn time: 35 hrs. on low; 4 hrs. max energy
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Black Diamond Revolt 350

black diamond revolt 350

One among our GearJunkie editors completely loves the Black Diamond Revolt 350 ($65). And loads of people do, too. When you’re on the lookout for the next lumen output with the choice to each recharge and use regular batteries, this can be a nice alternative.

Black Diamond put this on a slimmer profile, making it lighter and simpler to make use of than a few of its lower-end fashions. However the interface is usually a bit sophisticated to study.

Some people have mentioned the tab breaks off the battery compartment — and a minimum of considered one of our editors had this occur with a Black Diamond headlamp in tough circumstances. For others, there’s been no signal of wear and tear and tear.

  • Lumen output: 350 lumens, 8-82 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure, with included lithium batteries; or use AAA if readily available
  • Weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Burn time: 200 hrs. on low; 4 hrs. max energy
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at BackcountryCheck Value at evo

Third Eye TE14 Headlamp

third eye te14 headlamp

By far probably the most fashionable headlamp on the checklist, the Third Eye Headlamp ($50) is a bit more off the map than many of the better-known names on this checklist.

The model affords some actually enjoyable headbands with a plethora of choices from “serape blanket” to “cacti” to bandana patterns and extra. And the headbands are interchangeable in case you wish to up the enjoyable issue.

In testing, our editors cherished the two-button consumer interface for purple and white mild, and every has various ranges of sunshine. This headlamp additionally sports activities one of many greater hours of utility on a battery cost.

Reviewers state it’s extremely adjustable and an amazing headlamp for youths in addition to adults.

  • Lumen output: 168 lumens, 8-120 m
  • Rechargeable: No; makes use of 3 AAA batteries
  • Weight: 2.9 oz.
  • Burn time: 120 hrs. on low; 30 hrs. max energy
  • Purple mild: Sure, two modes of purple

Examine Value at AmazonCheck Value at CampSaver


Black Diamond Storm 500-R

Black Diamond Storm 500-R

For these of you not intimidated by a extra technical instrument, we are able to’t miss the Black Diamond Storm 500 ($75). This lamp options not solely white and purple lights that may alter up and down in depth, but in addition blue and inexperienced mild choices. Plus, there are 5 strobe choices and a blinking SOS sign.

Purple mild is nice for nighttime when our eyes are extra delicate to white mild, whereas blue mild is helpful for studying maps at nighttime, night time fishing, and for hunters who want to identify an animal’s blood. Inexperienced lights are additionally a useful instrument for searching at night time, because it gained’t startle animals.

The headlamp can also be licensed to operate as much as 1 m beneath the water for as much as half-hour. Rating for snorkelers!

Bonus for eco-friendly buyers: The elastic headband is recycled, because of Repreve fiber.

  • Lumen output: 500 lumens, 12-120 m
  • Rechargeable: Sure, lithium-ion with micro-USB
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Burn time: 350 hrs. on low; 7 hrs. on excessive
  • Purple mild: Sure

Examine Value at REI

Purchaser’s Information: Easy methods to Select a Headlamp

Headlamp Bulbs: LEDs

Lengthy gone are the times of sunshine bulbs. Fashionable headlamps virtually universally use LEDs (light-emitting diodes). These small, highly effective mild sources use a tiny fraction of the power of bulbs. At present, because of LEDs, headlamps produce extremely brilliant mild and run for a lot of hours on rechargeable batteries.

However do you know that each one LEDs aren’t created equal? Yep, LEDs are a quickly evolving know-how. And once you get headlamp, one part that makes an enormous distinction is which LED the model makes use of.

A number of the best headlamps use CREE LEDs. Utilizing premium parts, producers can improve headlamp energy and lightweight qualities like shade rendering and heat. So once you spend slightly extra on a high quality headlamp, that is simply one of many causes.

Coloration Choices

The usual LED shade is white (we’ll go into some variations on this within the Coloration Rendering part beneath). However many headlamps even have a purple LED (or different colours) mild.

We take into account the purple mode on a headlamp to be virtually necessary. That’s as a result of purple mild preserves your night time imaginative and prescient rather more than white mild.

So through the use of a purple mild whereas cooking, across the campsite, and even whereas strolling on a path, you’ll nonetheless have the ability to see rather more of the encompassing panorama, particularly below a full moon. Purple mild additionally gained’t get up your tentmate as simply if you must learn or dress at nighttime. And it’s the perfect shade when hanging out with a bunch because it gained’t blind your folks.

Headlamp testing red light setting
The GearJunkie crew testing purple mild settings; (picture/Eric Phillips)

Some headlamps even have inexperienced and blue LED lights. Blue mild is helpful for night time fishing and for hunters who want to identify an animal’s blood. Blue mild additionally is an efficient alternative for studying maps at nighttime, as a result of the tone picks up purple traces on the web page.

Inexperienced lights are a useful instrument for searching at night time. The colour is brighter than purple, supplies higher distinction, and gained’t startle animals.

Whatever the shade choices, remember to take some time to study your headlamps consumer interface so you may swap between them as wanted.

Lumens (Brightness)

One of the necessary parts of a headlamp is how a lot mild it produces. We measure this in lumens. Most headlamps have a low, medium, excessive, and typically “turbo” brightness setting, which customers can manually alter through buttons on the headlamp.

The upper the setting, the sooner the battery depletes, so Turbo settings are sometimes short-lived and controlled to protect battery life. Some headlamps even have a dimming choice that permits you to progressively alter the brightness stage.

Our favourite headlamps vary from about 200 to 1,000 lumens at their highest output. For nighttime adventures like path working or uphill snowboarding, go for a headlamp with a max output of a minimum of 250 to 300 lumens, which might highlight obstacles and wildlife.

LEDs with greater lumens are higher for sooner actions or recognizing far-off objects. However whereas greater lumens imply extra power consumption, you may all the time run your battery in low mode, which we suggest if in case you have a very long time afield between recharges.

Man testing a headlamp at rocky cliffs
A GearJunkie headlamp tester casts a beam with the Fenix HM60R throughout testing; (picture/Eric Phillips)

Beam Distance & Sort

A rise in lumens normally helps increase the space the sunshine travels, however there’s not a direct correlation. As an example, the Ledlenser NEO6R supplies 240 lumens and a max output of 30 m.

The Foxelli MX20 has 165 lumens however the next max output of fifty m. Different elements affect how far the illumination travels, such because the LED placement, diameter, and beam sort.

Most headlamps have two varieties of beams. The floodlight is broadly subtle to the world closest to you. This mode conserves battery energy whereas reaching your speedy periphery.

Man in Fenix headlamp works under hood of truck
One among our testers makes use of a Fenix headlamp whereas serving to a stranded motorist close to our camp take a look at location; (picture/Eric Phillips)

The highlight is a good, concentrated beam of sunshine that exposes the setting farther away and with a narrower visual view. This setting typically requires extra battery energy, and sometimes folks manually click on between the floodlight and highlight.

Some headlamps robotically alter between the 2 primarily based on the objects in entrance of you. The automated mode swap additionally preserves the battery. Others might use reactive know-how to sense how a lot mild to venture, once more, preserving battery life.

The gap between every headlamp’s floodlight and the highlight is exclusive. For instance, the BioLite 330 has an LED mild of 330 lumens that reaches 16-75 m. The Coast FL85R is 750 lumens and extends 70-200 m — greater than the size of two soccer fields.

Mild Settings

Headlamps sometimes have a number of mild settings that the consumer controls manually. These choices embody a highlight, which is the headlamp’s most mild output and illuminates the setting farther away. A decrease output setting concentrates mild nearer to you.

Some headlamps have a know-how that robotically adjusts the low and max output primarily based on the objects in entrance of you, which saves battery energy. A handful of designs even have a strobe mode, which is useful for visibility in areas with excessive automobile site visitors.

Battery Life

One of many largest differentiators between headlamps is battery life. The very best headlamps have a protracted life between costs, with some capable of run for days on finish with out recharging.

However slightly training goes a great distance in terms of extending battery life. Through the use of the decrease energy settings and purple mild, most headlamps will run for a lot of hours.

A number of the greatest on this checklist will run for greater than 200 hours on low in between costs! However utilizing excessive will suck battery quick. For instance, the Petzl Bindi Ultralight Headlamp battery lasts 2 hours in high-output mode and 50 hours in low-output mode.

Earlier than you head out, ensure you perceive find out how to toggle between the modes with a view to handle the headlamp’s battery energy.

Rechargeable vs. Standard Battery Headlamps

Most headlamps nowadays supply a chargeable part, however some nonetheless depend on common batteries. Each choices could be nice relying on how you utilize your headlamp.

First, word that rechargeable batteries price slightly extra on the outset. However given they final for a lot of, many costs, they are going to be less expensive over time than shopping for new batteries time and again.

Subsequent, word that trendy rechargeable batteries have gotten actually good. You’ll see in our runtime that many of those will run for days with out a recharge. And in our testing, all of them managed to run for 7 to 24 hours or extra. When you want a recharge within the area, simply convey a small battery financial institution to recharge your unit.

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There are circumstances the place replaceable AAA  or AA batteries take advantage of sense. For instance, these working in a single day ultramarathons might wish to carry an additional set of batteries to allow them to shortly swap them with out having to attend for a headlamp to recharge.

However for many customers, a chargeable battery is dependable, purposeful, and rather more environment friendly and environmentally pleasant. Not solely do you produce much less waste, however rechargeable batteries require a lot much less power to provide than disposable batteries and may run for as much as 3,000 cycles with out shedding effectiveness.

You’ll see some headlamps supply each rechargeable batteries and the choice for AAA battery capabilities. These are an amazing choice for folk who wish to be sustainable but in addition may have to depend on the velocity of a traditional battery each from time to time.

Person Interface and Buttons

It is a sticking level for a number of people on the crew. One editor needed a headlamp that might simply be used with gloves.

Some headlamps supply the power for the consumer to program buttons and lighting on their very own. As we mentioned earlier, a number of headlamps supply apps for a plethora of choices.

However, for the nice majority of headlamp customers, that’s actually pointless and a time-consuming step. Our editors and testers all cherished headlamps that have been easy to make use of and didn’t require a steep studying curve.

It’s straightforward sufficient to take a couple of minutes to learn the directions and determine find out how to use your headlamp. However for many headlamps, they’re intuitive sufficient to determine proper out of the field. These are the headlamps that made our checklist this yr — just because they provide the least hassle.


Some headlamps supply a lock button or swap that forestalls them from turning on in your pack and wasting your battery life. When you plan to often retailer your headlamp in a bag or backpack, particularly whereas mountaineering, lockability tremendously improves reliability.

On this checklist, the Black Diamond Revolt 350 is a high-end headlamp with a well-made lock button.

Headband & Adaptability

Headlamps normally sit across the head in opposition to the brow and hair. They sometimes embody one front-facing LED hooked up to a stretchy elastic strap that’s huge, moisture-wicking, adjustable, and cozy. The LED slides alongside the band and is detachable, permitting the band to be washed.

There are unusual headlamp designs, too. As an example, the LED mild could be built-in into the band, like on the BioLite 330. Generally, a second strap crosses excessive of the pinnacle to help a heavier headlamp.

The Ledlenser NEO6R, for instance, could be worn on the chest with included further straps. For minimalists, the Petzl Bindi Ultralight Headlamp is constructed with a skinny, adjustable drawstring twine.

And different headlamps have a second mild or the battery pack on the again of the strap. If you must put on a hat or helmet, the headlamp might want to match round that layer.

Headlamp Tilt

Some LED items are adjustable and click on up and all the way down to angle the sunshine in an applicable course. This function could be very nice in social settings once you’re attempting to not blind one other particular person or when studying a ebook.

woman reading outside in sleeping bag while wearing headlamp


For us, consolation and a scarcity of bounce are key. Headlamp consolation is influenced by the kind of band, adjustability, total weight, and private choice.

We’ve discovered bounce can happen with cumbersome or cheaply constructed designs which might be much less streamlined and ergonomic. The weights of our favourite headlamps vary from 1.2 to 7 ounces. However heavier headlamps normally want a 3rd strap that goes excessive of your head to make sure consolation for the consumer.

Water Resistance

Some headlamps have an IPX or IP score to point out how resistant they’re to water. IPX0 affords no barrier in any respect in opposition to precipitation, splashes, or sweat. IPX8 supplies the best quantity of safety in opposition to full submersion, like for those who’re swimming with a headlamp on.

As an example, the Coast FL85R has an IPX4-rated development, which is sweatproof however not absolutely waterproof. The Foxelli MX20 is IPX5-rated, which means it’s resilient when hit by water however not a full dunk.


The worth of our alternative headlamps ranges from $10 to $180. A headlamp’s total options, like the amount and varieties of LEDs and batteries, have an effect on the worth. The durability, weight, battery functionality, lumen power, and total energy play a job in the price, too.

Why You Ought to Belief Us

The GearJunkie crew has examined an enormous number of headlamps for numerous miles within the woods and at campsites, from searching to climbing peaks. We polled our crew to find out their absolute favourite headlamps and why.

We’ve used these headlamps for spelunking, backcountry snowboarding, mountain biking, and working ultramarathons. We’ve additionally used these headlamps at residence — pulling gear out of the crawlspace, unloading the rig submit highway journey, and shoveling snow. The utility of a reliable headlamp is prolific.

Red light headlamp inside tent
Testing the purple mild of a headlamp in a tent; (picture/Eric Phillips)

A few of our editors have used their alternative headlamp throughout each season for a few years with no signal of degradation or a need to modify. Past our crew’s expertise, we additionally thought of the preferred, most sturdy, and bestselling headlamps available on the market in addition to a broad vary of worth factors and options.


When Ought to I Use a Headlamp?

A headlamp is a perfect instrument for hands-on actions reminiscent of cooking in low mild or pitch black. It’s additionally nice for nighttime endurance sports activities like path working. We’ve used our headlamp for search-and-rescue situations, alpine begins for lengthy hikes, backpacking, and even strolling residence at nighttime. And naturally, headlamps are nice for tasks round the home like auto restore or electrical wiring in a home.

How Do I Select a Headlamp?

First, determine what you’ll use your headlamp to perform. If you must transfer by means of terrain with obstacles or wildlife, you’ll want extra lumens — a minimum of 250. When you’re a hunter or angler, you may want blue and inexperienced LED choices.

You’ll wish to select a design with a band that’s snug on your private wants, together with your head, pores and skin, and hair. When you’re bouncing round, you may want a headlamp with a prime strap.

You’ll additionally want to think about whether or not the battery length is a match on your area hours. If not, you’ll have to determine if you wish to carry further batteries or a transportable energy financial institution to recharge the headlamp.

How Shiny Is the Brightest Headlamp?

The brightest headlamp in our information is the Ledlenser MH11 with 750 lumens. Different headlamps are even stronger. The Sirius Survival Rechargeable Tactical LED Headlamp delivers as much as 6,000 lumens.

That mentioned, headlamps with big-time lumens can require you to hold a separate battery case. They will also be clunky and fewer snug to put on on the pinnacle, particularly throughout high-movement actions.

What Is the Brightest, Longest-Lasting Headlamp?

If we’re speaking about lumens, our favourite brilliant headlamp is the Ledlenser MH11. The design boasts 1,000 lumens, and the battery lasts 100 hours on its low setting and 4 hours in high-output mode.

Finally, you’ll have to sacrifice battery life for extra brightness. As compared, the Black Diamond Revolt 350 has 350 lumens, a 200-hour battery life in its eco-setting, and a 4-hour battery life within the excessive setting.

How Many Lumens Do I Want in My Headlamp?

The quantity of lumens you want in your headlamp is determined by the use. We’ve discovered 200 lumens or much less work high quality for home duties like pulling gear out of the storage space, loading the truck mattress, or organising on the campground.

If we have to journey by means of technical terrain, like path working at night time, we go for a minimum of 250-300 lumens. For recognizing distant objects, search for a minimum of 400 lumens with a highlight mode.

Are Costly Headlamps Well worth the Price?

The tags on our alternative headlamps vary from $20 to $180. The associated fee is expounded to the parts like the amount and varieties of LEDs. The durability, weight, battery, lumens, and energy are all worth variables, too.

Personally, we’d fairly spend money on one headlamp with the options we would like, even when it’s a bit dearer. Headlamps can final for years, so long as they’re not repeatedly dropped, crushed, or knocked off the aspect of a ship.

Do I Want a Headlamp With a Purple Mild Setting?

Sure, we use the purple mild setting of our headlamps on a regular basis! Most trendy headlamps include a purple mild setting. Whereas purple mild settings can not generate the brightness of the first white mild setting, they’re extraordinarily helpful.

In social settings, purple lights supply visibility with out blinding your folks with overly intense brightness. Plus, they show you how to keep your night time imaginative and prescient whereas illuminating close by objects.

When sharing a tent with different folks, a purple mild is nice for studying with out lighting up the entire inside whereas others are attempting to sleep. Moreover, purple lights are much less more likely to appeal to mosquitos and different bugs.

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