Best Headlamps for All Your Activities

Review & Comparison, Last Update February 4, 2020
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 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Maximum Light Output
Lighting Modes
Maximum Beam Distance
Capacity
Maximum Burn Time
Weight
Protection
Warranty
 
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 (IPx4), Battery indicator, Lock function to avoid accidental pressing, Petzl NAO Belt Kit reduces the weight on your head

Warranty

Lamp: 3 years, rechargeable battery: 1 year (or 300 charging cycles)

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)

Warranty

3 years

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 (IPx65), Dustproof

Warranty

1 year

PROS

In the Max autonomy mode, the luminescence of the lamp after a full charge can last up to 160 hours. The brightness of the light stands at 5 lumens, which is enough for illuminating 7 meters (23 feet) of the road ahead of you. 

CONS

The length of the USB charging cable is a bit short.

OUR VERDICT

If you love exploring uncharted territories, this headlight is a must-have: it is fitted with a loud whistle that will allow you to indicate your position, plus it features a unique signal mode in case of emergencies.

detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output

350 lumens

Lighting Modes

5 lighting modes (white - max autonomy, standard, max power, red - proximity, strobe)

Maximum Beam Distance

Up to 310 feet

Capacity

Li-ion 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable battery, compatible with 3 x AAA batteries

Maximum Burn Time

Max power: up to 2 hours
Max autonomy: up to 160 hours

Weight

2.9 oz

Protection

Protected against splashing from any angle (IPx4)

Warranty

Lamp: 5 years, CORE rechargeable battery: 1 year (or 300 charging cycles)

PROS

The device has a pivoting head that allows you to direct the beam wherever you need. The lamp is very robust since it comes with a protective shatterproof lense. It will be safe even if you accidentally stumble into/onto something.

CONS

The on/off button is very sensitive.

OUR VERDICT

The Energizer Headlamp will become your reliable assistant in the hike for a few days. It is suitable for diving and swimming, riding a bike, reading, and so on. It will light your way perfectly in any conditions.

detailed parameters
Maximum Light Output

200 lumens

Lighting Modes

4 lighting modes (high, low, spot, and flood)

Maximum Beam Distance

Up to 165 feet

Capacity

3 AAA batteries

Maximum Burn Time

Up to 50 hours

Weight

~ 3 oz

Protection

Protected against splashing from any angle (IPx4), Shatterproof lens construction

Warranty

3 years limited

Petzl NAO

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

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.

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 heavy rain.

Petzl NAO 575 Lumens in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


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

What customers say about this product

Size & Weight

Fit on every helmet we tried.

Features

The adaptive lighting works well and is uber-useful. the programmable aspect is great too.

Key Specs

The Reactive lighting can be turned off and the light set to constant (at a desired strength) if fogging is an issue.
 

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

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.

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.

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.

Review of Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Ergonomic Design

On the first sight, everything is standard. In the battery compartment, there is 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 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.

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.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp in the use

What customers say about this product

Key Specs

WOW this thing is bright....I mean bright...i'm not completely convinced its not somehow nuclear powered. This thing is so bright if you look at it you not only go blind you go deaf as well.

Features

If you’re looking for a reliable headlamp that gives you control over its features then I recommend you give the Black Diamond Storm a shot.

Size & Weight

This light is great for what I use it for, I might have it one for 30 minutes or even an hour, it's comfortable, small in size, and throws a lot of light. I really like it and so far it's served me well.
 

Foxelli MX20

Always At Hand

The next product on this list is a headlamp from Foxelli, the kind of lamp which can 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.

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.

Foxelli MX20 Headlamp in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Petzl ACTIK CORE

Impressive Autonomy

The Petzl ACTIC CORE is a rechargeable headlight that is perfectly suitable for various outdoor activities. With it, you'll be able to enjoy hiking, backpacking, or simply your average late evening jog without worrying about the lighting conditions.

The device is extremely convenient and well-thought-out. This headlamp can be powered by a Li-ion battery that comes in a set. It can be easily charged with a micro USB cable. However, if your headlamp is discharged and you don’t have any access to electricity, it doesn't mean that you will be left to your own devices.

This headlight is also able to work on three AAA batteries without an adaptor. Thus, you can choose a power source which is the most suitable for you thanks to the HYBRID technology. This convenient technology will allow you to explore the nearby wilderness since you won't have to worry about being left with no source of light. Another thing that makes this model stand out from the crowd is the burn time. When fully charged, this device is able to work for up to 160 hours in the Max Autonomy mode.

This headlamp is a great option for energetic people who don’t like to sit still in one place. If you enjoy active rest, purchase this headlight and let the Petzl ACTIC CORE illuminate your way while you explore the world.
Review of Petzl ACTIK CORE Rechargeable Headlamp

Choose the Right Mode

If you are eager to stretch your legs and set off for a walk even when it is dark outside, then a Petzl headlamp is your must-have. This model is fitted with a loud 100-decibel whistle for indicating your position as an extra safety measure. Plus, it features a unique signal mode in case of emergencies, so you shouldn’t be afraid of getting lost.

The headlight allows you to choose between five illumination modes and two colors. Max autonomy, Standard, and Max power options are available for white light. You can make the beam wider or more precise to light the surrounding area or a specific object. Proximity and Strobe modes are available for red color. They are recommended for use at night so you won’t blind anyone while walking in the company of other people. The blinking red Strobe can act as a safety signal. Furthermore, this model comes with a reflective headband, which helps increase the vision even more. The headlamp can also act as a lantern with additional Petzl Nochtilight case. With the latter, this portable lamp can be placed in a tent or at the campsite.

The Petzl ACTIC CORE headlight will light the way of all active camping enthusiasts. This simple device boasts great functionality and impressive time of autonomous work. This is one of the high-end models, but it is fully in line with the price.
Petzl ACTIK CORE Rechargeable Headlamp in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

The light worked great on my trip, and never had to be recharged or replace with AAA batteries I had along for spare.

Size & Weight

The headband was easily adjustable, super comfortable, and the headlamp could virtually go unnoticed when wearing a cap.

Features

I was really looking forward to the rechargeable batterie feature. Unfortunately very disappointed with how quickly it drains.
 

Energizer LED Flashlight

Durable Headlamp

If you are looking for an inexpensive light that will accompany you through the dark, the Energizer LED Flashlight Headlamp will be a very smart choice. It will become handy not only during hikes but also at home.

To begin with, this flashlight is pretty bright and boasts state-of-the-art LED tech. The maximum brightness output is about 200 lumens. It may not be the brightest lamp on the market, but it still can reach the distance up to 165 feet, and that is definitely a good result for this money. This tool also has 4 modes: high, low, spot, and flood.

We also like that this lamp comes with a pivoting head. You can direct the light to a particular spot to get a clear view. This head is attached to a comfortable red band. It is washable, so you can easily clean it after intense hikes or evening runs.

The light itself is waterproof as well. It comes with IPx4 protection, so it is protected against splashing from any angle. The other safety addition is shatterproof lenses. Even if you accidentally stumble onto something while wearing this headlamp, it won’t break easily. The 3-year limited warranty also ensures the decent lifespan of this headlamp.

Review of Energizer LED Flashlight Headlamp

Long Burn Time

As for the power source, this headlamp from Energizer works on 3 AAA batteries. They are included in a set, so the device is ready for work straight out of the box. It is enough for about 50 hours of work. But do note that the high mode is sustainable only for about 8.5 hours.

The weight of the device is not too high - about 3 ounces. You can comfortably wear it for a long time without feeling any fatigue. It suits for hiking, early morning, and late evening runs or even for reading a book at home. It is also a good replacement for your average light. In case the power goes off, you can wear it at home and have your hands free to do other stuff.

The power button is placed on top of the light. Unfortunately, a lot of users point out that it is very sensitive. It can be easily pressed and the device will turn on, especially if it lies in your bag. But if you carry it carefully, it shouldn’t be a problem for you, so we would call it a con and not a dealbreaker.

To sum up, the Energizer LED Flashlight Headlamp is a decent device that will light your way even in the darkest night. It is light and comfortable to wear, and suits for use at home and in the wild.

Energizer LED Flashlight Headlamp in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

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 would recommend taking a look at our picks of fishing rods, among which you'll find models suitable both for amateurs and for 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.

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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