Best Headlamps for All Your Activities

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 10, 2017
Do you need to light up your trail, find something in your basement or go camping? A headlamp will be useful in any unpredictable situation. Before making a purchase, look at our new best headlamp review. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Maximum Light Output
Lighting Modes
Maximum Beam Distance
Capacity
Maximum Burn Time
Weight
Protection
 
PROS
This model has the Reactive Lighting mode, which estimates the lighting outside and automatically adjusts brightness and beam pattern due to a light sensor. Constant Lighting mode maintains a continuous level of brightness for the specific period of time. No manual control is needed.
CONS

The appliance has no significant drawbacks except for the situation when you go on a long journey you may lack battery life. However, you can use AAA rechargeable batteries which are included.

OUR VERDICT

The Petzl headlamp offers a great combination of innovations and high quality. It's lightweight, ergonomic and it has super powerful light beams (575 Lumens). It will particularly suit people who lead an active lifestyle and who are fond of tourism, climbing or caving.

detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output
575 Lumens
Lighting Modes
2 lighting modes, 2 brightness levels
Maximum Beam Distance
Up to 440 feet
Capacity
Li-Ion 2600 mAh or 2xААА/LR03 rechargeable alkaline or lithium-ion batteries
Maximum Burn Time
Up to 12.5 hours
Weight
6.5 oz
Protection
Protected against splashing from any angle (IPX 4), Battery indicator, Lock function to avoid accidental pressing, Petzl NAO Belt Kit reduces the weight on your head
PROS

You can synchronize this headlamp with an iOS or Android smartphone. After installing a special application the synchronization can be done via Bluetooth.

CONS

The light strap splotches easily. 

OUR VERDICT

The Petzl always boast high quality, reliability, and stable operation. This model features light weight, convenient attachment, bright light, and a powerful battery for 300 charging cycles.

detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output

300 Lumens

Lighting Modes

6 modes for the white LED and 2 modes for the red LED

Maximum Beam Distance

Up to 360 feet

Capacity

Li-Ion 1800 mAh

Ability to run on lithium, alkaline or nickel-metal hydride batteries

Maximum Burn Time

Up to 15 hours 

Weight

4 oz

Protection

Protected against splashing from any angle (IPX 4), Lock function to avoid accidental pressing

PROS
This model has a small weight and a long-lasting and durable design. Besides, it has a reasonable price that fully corresponds to its quality.
CONS
At first glance, this headlamp may seem to be a bit massive though you won't experience any discomfort due to its light weight.
OUR VERDICT
This headlamp is a great solution to meet all your household needs. Despite the maximum beam distance of just 50 feet, this headlamp provides enough light to see nearby objects. It will come in handy to light dark basements and attics. Moreover, you can use it when you are on a nature trip or have a picnic.
detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output
78 Lumens
Lighting Modes
4 lighting modes, 1 brightness level
Maximum Beam Distance
Up to 50 feet
Capacity
3 AAA batteries
Maximum Burn Time
Up to 10 hours
Weight
4 oz
Protection
Protected against sprayed water (IPХ65), Dustproof
PROS

Being a dust and moisture resistant model, this headlamp can withstand immersing in water at the depth of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Thanks to the Brightness Memory function, when you turn on the lamp it will produce the brightness selected previously.

CONS

The operating time is less than the manufacturer claims. However, it depends on the batteries quality. 

OUR VERDICT

The  Black Diamond headlamp features high power, good autonomy, and compact size. It provides stable operation in any weather conditions. This model will become your reliable and faithful assistant for hiking.

detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output

350 Lumens

Lighting Modes

White dipped-beam

Bright high beam

Fading light

Red, green, blue dipped beam

Strobe red, green, blue


Maximum Beam Distance

Up to 280 feet

Capacity

4 AAA batteries

Maximum Burn Time

Up to 22 hours

Weight

3.9 oz

Protection

Protected against dust and temporary immersion in water (IPX67)

PROS

The Foxelli MX20 Headlamp has a good battery life, which is an obvious plus. It is very comfortable to wear thanks to the lightweight design of the model. This is a cost-effective product.

CONS

The strap is somewhat complicated to customize. 

OUR VERDICT

If you need an affordable headlamp for your evening walks with the dog, camping trips, hiking, and tourism, this is your choice. Being pretty functional and light in weight and producing bright light, the lamp will be useful at any place. In addition, it is dust-damp proof.


detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output

165 Lumens

Lighting Modes

Multiple brightness levels

Red emergency light (constant and flashing)

Maximum Beam Distance

Up to 165 feet

Capacity

3 AAA batteries

Maximum Burn Time

Up to 45 hours

Weight

3.2 oz

Protection

Protected against sprayed water (IPХ65), Dustproof

What Is a Headlamp?

If you are fond of adventures and can't imagine your life without such outdoor activities as fishing, hunting, hiking, camping or caving, you will definitely need a powerful headlamp. A primary benefit of a headlamp over flashlights is its portability. In fact, headlamps are becoming increasingly popular among tourists since they provide a constant hands-free lighting in different situations. It can also be helpful if you work at night-time, make repairs or descend into a dark basement. Furthermore, a headlamp can serve you when things go wrong, for instance, in case of a sudden power cut or machinery failure. Nowadays, there is a large selection of lamps of different brands, brightness, power, and beam distance. We recommend you to look through our review of 5 most popular headlamps and choose the one that suits your needs best.

For those who love fishing, we are happy to present our collection of reliable fishing rods for both amateurs and professional fishermen.

What Features to Compare

Before buying a headlamp, find out what you need to know about its features as not any headlamp will suit you.

Initially, you need to decide on how and where you plan to Use it and what options are important for you. If you need a headlamp for domestic use, a short journey or a picnic, such features as beam distance and brightness levels are not actually important. Thus, a device with a light output of 50 Lumens will provide enough light for illuminating close objects. However, if you need a headlamp for tourism, climbing or caving, then you need a high light output of at least 200 Lumens, bigger beam distance, and preferably several brightness levels.

Typically, there are 3 main Brightness Levels: economic, optimum and maximum. Yet, a lamp can have only one or two levels. The same is true for the lighting modes. Normally, there are 2 lighting modes: constant and flashing. Thus, you can select different modes depending on whether you need to light up your trail or signal in the dark.

Other important features to consider when choosing a headlamp are the Capacity and the Maximum Burn Time. Headlamps may have several types of charging. Some headlamps can be charged with alkaline or lithium-ion battery, whereas others run on rechargeable AAA batteries. The maximum burn time depends on the power. Some models have built-in rechargeable batteries and a USB port which makes it possible to charge a headlamp at home, in a car, or from a solar power source. Therefore, you don't have to spend extra money on buying batteries. There are multifunctional devices which include a rechargeable battery and can be replaced with AAA batteries which are desirable to have at hand when you go camping or on vacation.

Finally, the Usability includes such options as a lock function to avoid accidental pressing during transportation, a battery indicator that lets you know when the battery has to be recharged or replaced, and automatic lighting levels which provide energy-efficient lighting. Furthermore, headlamps are water-resistant with the minimum protection against splashing from any angle (IP4). Thus, you won't be afraid of being caught in the rain or if you drop your headlamp into the water by accident. Headlamps with IPX8 protection can provide continuous operation at a depth of 3 feet. The headlamp weight is also important since it might cause discomfort when you carry a heavy device on your head for a long time. In this regard, it's advisable to choose a headlamp with lighter weight or the one with auxiliary battery case, which can be attached to a belt, helmet or under your jacket to reduce the weight on your head. As you can see, headlamp features vary a lot. Therefore, it's essential to select a proper headlamp for your specific needs.

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Petzl NAO 575 Lumens

Use and Brightness Levels

This high power headlamp has 2 LEDs producing the high light output of 575 Lumens and ensuring maximum beam distance of 440 feet. You can adjust beam width of a headlamp to obtain scattered or mixed light depending on the situation. The headlamp has Constant and Reactive lighting modes. The Constant Lighting mode maintains steady brightness during the rated burn time. The Reactive lighting mode has a sensor to detect ambient lighting and automatically adjusts brightness and beam width. When you illuminate close objects the beam is not so bright, but when you illuminate objects at a distance, the beam shines brighter, providing you with excellent visibility. With adaptive technology, you are able to keep both hands free. When the battery is running low, a headlamp goes into standby mode, which extends a battery life to one hour, producing 20 Lumens of light. This is the best headlamp for running, hiking, climbing and other outdoor activities.
Review of Petzl NAO 575 Lumens Power Headlamp

Capacity and the Maximum Burn Time

Petzl headlamp is powered by Li-ion battery with a capacity of 2600 mAh which provides maximal brightness of 575 Lumens. In addition, a headlamp comes with a convenient USB cable for quick charging. The maximum burn time is about 12.5 hours on a single charge. There are situations when the battery is low and you have nowhere to charge it. Then, you can use alkaline or lithium 2 x AAA / LR03 batteries. The battery indicator informs you how much battery power is left so that you can always charge the battery on time.
Petzl NAO 575 Lumens Power Headlamp in the use

Usability

This LED headlamp can be synchronized with a computer via a USB cord. The OS by Petzl software allows you to customize the lighting performance according to your needs. For instance, you can create 4 personal activity profiles with several brightness levels, lighting distance and burn time. Petzl NAO Belt Kit allows you to attach the rechargeable battery to a belt or other gear in harsh weather conditions, hence reducing the weight on your head. Lock function prevents accidental operation of a headlamp during transportation. The headlamp is protected against splashing from any angle (IPX 4). Thus, it is capable of working efficiently even in a heavy rain.
Detailed review of Petzl NAO 575 Lumens Power Headlamp

VIDEO
NAO [EN] Rechargeable headlamp with REACTIVE LIGHTING by Petzl
Petzl NAO 575 Lumens
Petzl NAO 575 Lumens
 

Petzl Reactic+

Stylish and Helpful

The Petzl company offers an ultra new intelligent headlamp for running, hunting, trekking, mountaineering, backpacking, or any other activities you prefer. This multi-beam model can be connected to your mobile device using the MyPetzl Light mobile application. Having installed this app, you will be able to see the battery status of the headlamp on your smartphone or tablet and adjust the settings in accordance with your needs at a particular moment. The principle is simple: you just need to download the given data or create your own personalized files. It also should be mentioned that this lamp can easily be used without the application.

With a luminous flux of 300 Lumens, the Petzl REACTIK headlamp is ideal for dynamic and intensive sports or other active outdoor activities. With the help of the reactive lighting technology, a special sensor analyzes the lighting of the environment and automatically adjusts the proper brightness the lamp produces. Consequently, this optimizes the battery life and reduces manipulations with the headlamp saving you time and effort.

If you enjoy listening to music while running or hiking, you would probably be interested in our review on the wireless headphones.

Review of Petzl Reactic+ Headlamp

Bright LEDs

The Petzl REACTIK has a built-in block of three LEDs (a white LED-focused glow, a white scattered LED, and a red LED). The LED lights of the Petzl headlamp can work in eight brightness modes (6 modes for white LEDs and 2 modes for red ones). Furthermore, the white LEDs can work both simultaneously and separately, reaching the range of up to 30-35 meters and operation time of up to 12-15 hours. Also, there is a possibility to choose the suitable burn time for you (2h 30mins, 5 h, or 10 h). The brightness of the LEDs is adjusted by the aforementioned Reactive Lighting Technology. Talking about the red lighting mode, it serves to preserve night vision and ensure the confidence of your actions and movements even in the darkness. And the Lock function will be really useful in preventing the headlamp from accidentally turning on and losing the battery charge when you least expect it.

Petzl Reactic+ Headlamp in the use

Other Features

The Petzl REACTIK LED headlamp has the weight of about 115 grams (considering the weight of the battery and attachments). That is not too much for such a model and you will not get tired when wearing it. The headlamp is entirely made of plastic and all the output ports are covered with the rubber caps for additional protection. The housing meets the IPX-4 standard which means that bad weather conditions won't be able to harm your appliance.

The device operates from a lithium-ion battery with the capacity of up to 1800 mAh. You can recharge the battery through an external Micro-USB port (the full charge time takes about 4.5 hours). In addition, the lamp can run on lithium, alkaline, or nickel-metal hydride batteries which makes this model more convenient in use. If you are the kind of person that enjoys leading an active lifestyle, this smart appliance will be your perfect solution.

Detailed review of Petzl Reactic+ Headlamp

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Petzl Reactic+
Petzl Reactic+
 

Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight

Use and Brightness Levels

This affordable headlamp can be used for in-home lighting, that is handy in a number of situations. For instance, when you actually need to descent into the basement or go upstairs to the attic in search of something or during repair work in your house. Also, it features 18 LEDs that can provide a maximum light output of 78 Lumens and illuminate the trail of about 50 feet in length. This is the brightest headlamp, which has 4 lighting modes. The first mode includes 2 LEDs, the second - 10 LEDs, the third - all 18 LEDs and the fourth - 2 flashing red LED lights.
Review of Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight

Capacity and the Maximum Burn Time

This headlamp is charged with 3 AAA batteries. If required, you can use disposable or rechargeable batteries. The greater the capacity of a battery, the longer the burn time of the headlamp. Normally, medium-quality batteries with an average price can provide about 8-10 hours of burn time. The same is true for the lighting modes. The LED lighting has a life expectancy of 50.000 hours. That's why it is important to choose the batteries according to the headlamp use.
Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight in the use

Usability

Some people claim that this headlamp may seem a bit massive, though due to its light weight (4 ounces), you will not feel like carrying large loads on your head. So, you will be able to carry it for several hours without any discomfort. This dustproof and water-resistant headlamp is protected against sprayed water. If you are out with friends, you don't have to care about charging the battery when it suddenly runs out. Instead, make sure that you have replaceable batteries at hand.
Detailed review of Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight

VIDEO
Super bright LED Headlamp (18 White/2 Red Led, 4 Brightness Levels) by Lighting Ever
Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight
Lighting EVER LE CREE Headlamp LED Flashlight
 

Black Diamond Storm

Superior Lamp

This Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is the third iteration of its line from this company. And the main feature which makes this model stand out from the previous ones is the power of 350 Lumens (older models offered 250 and 160 Lumens, accordingly). Therefore, it is not a surprise that the given headlamp is the most expensive one among them. The functionality of the Storm provides one quad power LED, one double power white LED, Red, and green and blue single power LEDs. The maximum brightness of the new version is increased to 350 Lumens which guarantees illumination at the distance of up to 80 meters and the operating time of up to 22 hours. And thanks to the redesigned lighting profile, this model ensures perfect peripheral lighting which can be very useful for a variety of close-range applications.

As for the design, the lamp is neither too big nor too heavy and will sit quite comfortably on the user's head. The Storm is the first led headlamp from the entire Black Diamond's line made in accordance with the IPX7 standard which is a great addition when it comes to protection. These new headlamps have a lower-profile hermetic polymer case. Thus, the housing will withstand immersion in water of up to 1m for half of an hour with no ill effects and the device will work in any weather conditions. So you won't have to worry about falling with a lamp from a boat or wading through a river.

Review of Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Ergonomic Design

On the first sight, everything is standard. In the battery compartment, there is a mechanical protection against re-packing of batteries and a sealing rubber band on the back cover. But if you dig a little deeper, you will see that behind the three batteries there is one more hidden. Yes, the Storm led headlamp works on 4 ААА batteries. By the way, the manufacturer includes the batteries in the set, so you will not have to spend money on buying them. Considering its small size, this is one of the few headlamps with such power among its competition. And thanks to the Heatsink technology, the batteries will keep warm for a long burn time. So by purchasing this model, you get more energy without sacrificing compactness.

The operation modes on the panel are switchable with just one finger movement. The button is convenient and large enough, and intuitive adjustments will not cause any inconveniences to you.

The strap is rather elastic and can be inserted and removed without any problems. This kind of structure is useful when you need to wash the model, for instance.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp in the use

Other Pluses

This model features the Brightness Memory function. Therefore, when you turn the lamp on and off, the mode settings will not be disrupted. Also, there is a battery status indicator which contributes to usability. In addition, the Lock function will keep the lamp from needlessly turning on when being stuffed in your backpack. When you hold the button for 6 seconds, the lamp is blocked (the side indicator will flash blue). To unlock the appliance, you should again press the same button for 6 seconds.

Among the compact headlamps of the top segment, this model is one of the most versatile and adaptable to different environments. It will suit bikers, backpackers, campers, thru-hikers, and so on.

Detailed review of Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Black Diamond Storm
Black Diamond Storm
 

Foxelli MX20

Always At Hand

We are happy to present you a headlamp from the Foxelli company. It is an appliance which will become your handy little assistant in whatever you choose to do. Being constructed of high-quality, tough yet lightweight materials, the appliance will be able to serve you for a long time. Since it weighs only 3.2 ounces, this is an excellent lamp for running. It should be mentioned that this is one of the lightest models in this class. The MX20 headlamp offers three different brightness settings offering an immense advantage in terms of versatility and usability. The maximum performance of this model is 165 Lumens. That is more than enough to throw a beam outside the whole area of a football field in absolute darkness. Which isn't particularly bad for such a budget version, wouldn't you agree? In addition to that, the manufacturer equipped the MX20 headlamp with a red light. This option is great for night vision (if you prefer running after dark, for instance). Moreover, the model features SOS modes for your safety.

This lamp is produced in compliance with the IPX5 standard. It means that the appliance is protected from water sprays in any direction for a minimum of three minutes. Low temperatures don't pose any threat to the lamp either. It will illuminate your path regardless of the weather changes. However, keep your headlamp away from alkalinity fluids and salt spray.

Review of Foxelli MX20 Headlamp

Thoughtful Design

The headband was designed with ergonomics in mind. It is pretty elastic and adjustable up to the point you find the most suitable. Thanks to that, you will really love how comfortable it feels worn on your head. With this model, all your vigorous activities will bring nothing but pleasure.

The item is also incredibly lightweight which is a huge plus when it comes to the overall comfort of the user while hiking or engaging in any other type of physical activity. The headlamp's housing features an impact resistant structure, so if you or your children accidentally drop the model, do not start panicking just yet. The lamp will be able to easily withstand this kind of test. You might also notice that the model features the CREE-3W technology that was created to make the batteries last as long as possible.

Foxelli MX20 Headlamp in the use

Stylish Accessory

First and foremost, you will absolutely find this lamp useful for entertainment, sports, hiking, camping, and fixing things. You can use this appliance as the main source of light or the headlamp could suit as a perfect backup unit to your primary choice. Furthermore, some customers find the model to be perfect for children. Indeed, there is nothing to worry about considering the cost. Besides, the manufacturer offers 6 different color solutions to choose from (black, blue, khaki, neon pink, neon yellow, and white). Those who are looking for a bright and unusual headlamp with good features at a more than reasonable price will be especially satisfied with this purchase.

Detailed review of Foxelli MX20 Headlamp

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Foxelli MX20
Foxelli MX20
 

Sources:

1. How to Choose Headlamps, REI.

2. How to care for and maintain a headlamp's headband? Petzl.

3. Matthew Karsten Why I Always Travel With A Headlamp, Expert Vagabond.

4. Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier How to Choose the Best Headlamp, OutdoorGearLab. May 11, 2015.

5. Eve O'Neill The Best Headlamp, Wirecutter. August 7, 2017.

6. Headlamp (outdoor), Wikipedia. August 21, 2017.

7. Jared Downs How to Choose a Headlamp, Backcountry. May 8, 2015.

8. How to Choose Headlamps, EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS.

9. How to Choose the Best Headlamp: A Runner`S Buying Guide, Running Warehouse.

10. Lisa Maloney Headlamp Buying Guide, ConsumerSearch. July 14, 2017.

11. Headlamp Buying Guide, eBay. March 3, 2016.

12. How to Choose a Headlamp, Rock and Ice. October 31, 2013.

13. Headlamps, Gov.uk.

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