Best Headlamps Reviews & Price Comparison
A pitch-black night harbors a lot of dangers, especially for the anyone working outdoors. And when the visibility is limited, a headlamp can mean the difference between injuring yourself or doing the job smoothly. They are also quite versatile and make the perfect companion when out jogging, hiking, biking, camping or fishing.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Black Diamond
- Petzl Tikka
- Petzl Reaktic
Choosing a suitable headlamp is, however, an uphill task, at least for the vast majority of you out there. To help with that, we’ve dutifully put together this buying guide to walk you through the steps, beginning with criteria to keep in mind, then a comprehensive but brief review of the best headlamps on the market, and lastly an assortment of the frequently asked questions.
10 Best Headlamps
3. Black Diamond Spot
The value-conscious user looking for a long-lasting, bright, and affordable headlight will immediately fall for the headlamp. It’s the perfect outdoor companion seeing as it comes with a dust and water resistance rating of IPX8.
You have a choice of three different bulbs: a QUAD power LED, DoublePower LED, and SinglePower Red LED, in the order of their levels of brightness. The first two output a combined 300 lumens of brightness, easily reaching a distance of 80 metres while the lowest brightness setting manages a decent 10 metres on its own. The spotlight is perfect for undertaking close-up tasks while there is also a red light that’s handy for navigating an area without disturbing others with too much bright light.
Even with all three AAA Alkaline batteries installed, it remains lightweight and stays securely in place. It has a single strap that’s immensely comfortable even though adjusting it requires some doing. Also, since it comes with a single button for controlling all the different settings, using it may be a bit cumbersome before you get used to it. Aside from that, the device works like a charm and will enable you to embark on your outdoor activities without the slightest hitch. It's a solid choice.
Exceptionally resistant to water and dust
Hard to use with a single button
2. Petzl - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens
Despite being a budget-friendly, lower end model targeting beginners and greenhorns, the headlamp packs a punch. At 200 lumens, the headlamp still produces enough light to illuminate up to 60 metres in front.
As for power, it uses both disposable and rechargeable battery to provide you with enough runtime. Its compatibility with the CORE USB kit makes it an even more attractive alternative to other models in its price range. It has both floodlight and spotlight capabilities, the former coming in red and white colours. The white floodlight features three different operational modes the minimum of which produces 5 lumens with a length of 10 metres and the maximum that manages 60 metres at 200 lumens.
It is a compact and lightweight option, weighing a paltry 2.88 ounces and with dimensions of 2.5 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.5 inches. The elasticity and adjustability of its headband ensure firm but comfortable fitting, minimizing the possibility of it coming off while undertaking strenuous activities. Couple that with the machine's water resistance and ease of use.
We love how perfectly the Petzl - Tikka balances performance, weight, and affordability to make it one of the best headlamps on the market. It’s easy to use, bright, and portable.
High capacity battery for long runtime
Uses both rechargeable and disposable batteries
Easy to use and lightweight
The absence of battery indicator and lock feature
No spotlight beam
1. Petzl - REACTIK+
It features an innovative reactive lighting mode that you won’t find with other options on the market. The technology works intelligently to provide you with optimal light levels by constantly but not inconveniently adjusting the modes, a process that also saves you tremendous amounts of battery juice. By using a sensor for measuring the ambient light and the proximity of the objects around you, it conveniently varies the beam to provide you with the best experience. As a result, you won’t have to manually adjust the modes when you shift your head from looking down a dark hole to checking your watch.
It uses Lithium-Ion batteries that you can easily recharge with a Micro-USB cable. The battery lasts for between 3 and 30 hours in accordance with the profile, mode, and light setting you decide to use. And it has a comfortable head strap for securing it on the head. The strap has two buckles for easily adjusting it to ensure it fits firmly, with minimal likelihood of slippage while ensuring maximum comfort and increased sweat absorption.
For shift workers and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a powerful and reliable headlamp to use in settings where the lighting conditions are less than ideal, the Petzl - REACTIK+ would be a perfect choice. At 300 lumens, it bright has a long-lasting battery and is surprisingly easy to use. It's worth every buck.
Easy to control through a smartphone app
10. EdisonBright Bundle Fenix HL60R
It features two headbands to ensure it remains firmly and securely but comfortably in place irrespective of the activity you’re undertaking. It also boasts an assuring IPX8 waterproof rating and features durable and heavy-duty metal construction to make last more than a lifetime. And since it features one switch, cycling through the different lighting setting is much quicker and easier than it is with other models.
Lightweight and easy to use
Cost-effective and waterproof
Prone to overheating at full blast
5. Petzl - ACTIK
It is a multi-beam option that boasts an incredible brightness of up to 350 lumens, a performance that easily dwarfs that of other devices in its price tag. In addition to allowing you access to a proximity bulb, it features a floodlight LED and a spotlight red LED that's operational in both solid and strobe modes. In the solid mode, the red LED is perfect for night vision and for preventing you from inadvertently shining bright while light on your companions. In strobe mode, it's perfect for calling for emergency assistance.
While it is an expensive option with a disappointingly low IPX4 rating for water resistance, it has the advantage of offering the user remarkable convenience, sporting a lightweight and compact design and outputting a more-than-decent brightness level of up to 350 lumens. You won't regret choosing it over its competitors.
Has a constant lighting feature
Lights the dark greatly
No impact resistance
6. Black Diamond ReVolt
It comes with an easy-to-locate button on the casing to make it a snap toggling between the different lighting modes, meaning that even the elderly members of the society can operate one without assistance. It has just four lighting modes that are remarkably easy to shift through using the button. There is also a dimming feature that provides for the quick and easy adjusting of the distance and proximity modes. The most powerful mode is the TriplePower LED that boasts 110 lumens and capable of reaching 70 meters followed closely by the Proximity mode that uses two SinglePower LED to produce up to 25 lumens to cover a distance of 9 meters. While the proximity mode boasts an excellent floodlight and boasts a dimming feature, the red LEDs have a useful night vision function that guarantees easy movement around the tent and lacks the bright white light that would otherwise wake up your fellow campers.
In all, this is an easy-to-use, affordable and lightweight headlamp. It fits comfortably and has multiple recharge options. The water resistance rating of IPX4 is however disappointing.
Comes with remarkable convenience and performance features
Beam distance is wanting
Disappointing IPX4 rating
7. Petzl Nao+ Plus
It features an innovative Reactive Lighting Technology (RLT) feature that works by continuously sensing the proximity of objects within your environment, allowing it to automatically adjust the light beam accordingly. For instance, the headlight outputs a bright, wide and distance beam when the user is staring down a cave but quickly scales down the brightness when you look at your watch or match. The continuous and automatic adjustment of the brightness level helps you save a considerable chunk of your battery life, giving it a longer runtime than the cheap, off-brand models lacking the feature.
Additional features include water resistance and a strobe mode for enhancing visibility to vehicles and calling for assistance in case of an emergency. Also, it comes with a strap that’s both comfortable and adjusts easily to sit on the head with minimal likelihood of falling off no matter the activity.
In all, in the Petzl Nao+ Plus, you have a device that's durable and professionally built to last a lifetime. It performs as advertised and is both lightweight and compact and easy to sit on the head. The RLT features make it a worthy contender for the top spot and it's surprisingly versatile.
Easy to use
9. Black Diamond Icon
Every inch and cranny is designed to make it highly customizable for the most gruesome activity. You have to venture outside with it to truly appreciate its features. For instance, it comes with a long-distance and 500 lumens bright beam, which honestly over-qualifies it for most jobs. You can easily and quickly shift through the different beam settings, from a long-distance, spotlight mode to a close-up, floodlight one, all of which are suited for different activities.
Additionally, you get to choose between red, green, and blue night-vision modes so you don't wake your compatriots with the bright light while roaming within the tent.
If you’re looking for a superbly bright, durable, yet cost-effective option, look no further than this device. It has all the features and specs to make any outdoor venture enjoyable and fun.
Several lighting modes for versatility
Easy to use
Accepts both disposable and rechargeable batteries
Uneven weight distribution
4. Nite Ize Inova STS
It outputs a maximum of 142 lumens of brightness to light up the dark, enabling you to continue with your projects in the garage or warehouse or your outdoor expedition wherever you are. You have a choice of five different lighting modes: high, variable dim, medium, strobe, and lockout. The latter feature is a battery-saver that ensures your headlamp does not inadvertently turn on in between uses, for instance, when you keep it in your backpack. Additionally, it features two red LEDs with a similar number of modes as the white light but which you can easily and quickly adjust within 50-degrees.
Like the vast majority of options on the market, it is powered by three AAA batteries that provide for a longer runtime than standard AA batteries. And when it comes to durability, the headlamp packs a few features to extend its shelf life including outstanding impact and water resistance for up to 2 metres. Plus, it’s lightweight and compact and fits securely and comfortably around the head.
For the outdoor enthusiast working on a budget but has their heart set on acquiring the best option on the market, the Nite Ize Inova STS would be a solid choice. It’s bright, lightweight and compact, comfortable and easy to use, and best of all, it’s cost-effective.
Compact and lightweight design
Easy to use
Unlike connection via Bluetooth
Criteria for Choosing the Best Headlamps
It would be risky and reckless venturing on an outdoor adventure with a headlamp with a low capacity and quickly draining battery, wouldn’t it? Do enjoy the great outdoors with peace of mind and confidence, it’s prudent to invest in a headlamp capable of lasting a reasonable amount of time before requiring a recharge or battery replacement.
It would be even better to go for one that’s compatible with both rechargeable and disposable batteries as this guarantees a considerably longer runtime. Note however that the technology your headlamp incorporates has a significant bearing on the battery runtime. While others are constantly and automatically adjusting the beam brightness to match your surroundings or the task at hand, others come with constant lighting technology that drains the battery much faster.
The headlamp you’re enamored of should not only meet your performance expectations but also exceed so it can withstand the toughest outdoor conditions. In this regard, pay attention to the brightness level and beam distance, keeping in mind that there is no correlation between beam distance and level of brightness as other factors such as the optical lens system come into play.
Optical lens system works by concentrating light into a beam meaning the models with a high-end system boast a considerably longer beam distance compared to those that don’t, irrespective of the number of lumens they pack. If you’re planning on working in an environment which requires for you to see all the surrounding, a headlamp that’s at least 300 lumens bright with a beam distance of approximately 80 meters should do the trick. For normal distances, it should have anywhere between 25 and 150 lumens.
Ease of Use
For the best experience, look for a model that balances performance and ease of use. To be truly portable, it should be both lightweight and compact, so that storage into your backpack before starting your activity is a breeze. High-end models, while they are powerful, are notorious for being bulky and heavy because they typically come with additional batteries and feature thick aluminum or plastic casings.
In addition to being lightweight, your choice should also feature uniform weight distribution and have comfortable and easy fitting straps. A second strap running over the head is only necessary if the model is heavy and proper and secure fit is required.
Resistance to Water
It’s not uncommon for the heavens to suddenly open when you’re on the trail, which is why waterproofing is an imperative consideration when shopping for a headlamp. Water resistance rating falls within a range of between IPX1 and IPX8, and the higher the rating the better your headlamp is protected from water.
If you need protection from splashes of water, an IPX4 rating should suffice. An IPX8 rating, on the other hand, gives your device for about 30 minutes when submerged in water up to 1 meter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which features a quality headlamp should have for home improvement jobs?
A: Obviously, not all headlamps are ideal for such extraneous activities such as running. To qualify, a headlamp would have to be lightweight, have a perfect short-distance beam, and the weight needs to be evenly distributed to make it comfortable on the head.
Q: Which is the better option between one using disposable batteries and one using rechargeable batteries?
A: While there is no difference in performance levels, headlamps running on disposable batteries have a considerably longer runtime than their counterparts with rechargeable batteries. If you can, go for a model that uses both.
Once you’re armed with the most pertinent and up-to-date info, choosing a headlamp from a market full to the brim with various models and sizes should be a breeze. Our list features some of the best the market has to offer. They are affordable, high-performance, durable, and easy to use. We guarantee you won’t regret your choice.