I’ve created this article to assist you in finding the best headlamp for your specific application. There are dozens of different headlamps and headlamp manufacturers to choose from. My hope is that this guide will help you in your search for the best headlamp. While headlamps are traditionally used in outside activities they can useful around the home as well. Anytime you need focused lighting and two free hands to complete a task is when you need a headlamp.
When looking for the best headlamp for your specific application, you will want to consider some specific features:
Obviously, overall headlamp brightness (measured in lumens) and the capability to adjust the brightness level is important. Some headlamps have more than one LED for various brightness levels, or the capacity to control the light output of a single LED light.
2. Battery/Battery Life
You also want to consider battery life ratings and the types of batteries used as well. Does the light use a battery that is readily available anywhere? Can it use rechargeables? Will the battery type for the headlamp yield enough lighting time for your task?
3. Durability/Weather Resistance
The overall durability and construction is another factor to consider. Heavier headlamps with wider straps and separate battery packs make sense for mountaineering, while extremely lightweight headlamps are more applicable to activities such as running. If you are in a very wet climate, you’ll need to make sure it can withstand rain.
4. Strap Configuration
Even if you have the best headlamp in the world, if it isn’t stable when it’s on your head it’s effectively worthless. So consider the type of strap configuration. The addition of the front to back strap to the head strap adds a great deal of stability.
To recap – brightness (lumens), light adjustability, battery type and lifespan, durability and weight and the are all features you should examine to determine the best headlamp for you.
The best headlamp for activities like hiking, camping or fishing needs to be durable, rain-proof, and sufficiently bright enough so you can safely and easily carry out the tasks you need to accomplish. If you’ve ever had to try and quickly tie a tiny fly on a whisper thin tippet at dusk while fish are rising all around you, you’ll quickly understand why a headlamp comes in so handy. The real key is that a headlamp gives you the capability to have your hands free when reading maps, gathering firewood, tying knots, etc. Since the primary task for the headlamp is task lighting, you don’t necessarily need a super high lumens light. It just needs to be easy to use and to preserve battery life, varied power settings. Here are a few headlamps that meet this qualifications.
Check out the 14 Best Headlamps on the market right now:
1. Petzl – TIKKA RXP Headlamp 215 Lumens
- REACTIVE LIGHTING technology now upgrades the TIKKA, the standard in compact headlamps
- Output and beam pattern instantly adjust to the environment
- Light output is optimized to ensure the chosen burn time
- The wide, mixed or focused beam gives lighting that can be adapted to any situation, from close-range to distance vision (from 7 to 215 lumens, from 2 to 110 meters)
- The rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery with USB connection is suitable for frequent use
- Two independent switches simplify usage: One for lighting mode (REACTIVE LIGHTING or CONSTANT LIGHTING), the other to choose between the three lighting levels; Lock function to avoid accidentally turning it on during transit or storage
- Comfortable headband is easy to adjust
- Two-part construction at the back of the head for excellent support during dynamic activities
- Battery compatibility: alkaline, lithium and Ni-MH, with the battery case (not included)
2. Magnus Innovation 570 Lumen USB Headlamp
- ULTRA BRIGHT 570 LUMEN LED – 440 feet lighting beam will instantly light up everything in front of you. 5 light modes + 180° tiltable body + SOS mode. A must have for Emergencies!
- COMPLETELY RECHARGEABLE, NEVER BUY BATTERIES AGAIN – Built in Li-on rechargeable battery, one charge will last 55 hrs of continuous use. Bonus, extra replacement battery Included.
- LIGHT AND COMFORTABLE – You won’t even notice wearing it. Weighing only 5 Oz with easily adjustable, elastic band will guarantee a perfect fit. Can be use over construction hard hat or bike helmet.
- WATERPROOF AND INDESTRUCTIBLE – This headlamp is built to last. Heavy rain, cold or heat, dropping it on the ground or into the water is not a problem. Atlas is rated IPX7 – protected against water immersion down to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
3. Coast HL7 Focusing 285 Lumen LED Headlamp
- The HL7 Focusing Headlamp boasts both adjustable focus and light dimming functions
- With Coast’s new beam shaping technologies such as our Pure Beam Focusing Optic system, you get more usable light
- From spot to flood, their new optics produce superior light output and beam quality
- The Bulls Eye spot beam pattern gives you a great focused spot with a maximum beam distance of 109 meters (357 feet), while producing an outer ring of flood light which allows you to see a broader area for added side vision
- A larger power switch and easier-to-grip focusing bezel ensure no fumbling in the dark to get your light turned on and adjusted; even while wearing gloves
- A handy dimming function allows you to adjust your light output to just the right level for your application
- For added durability, an expandable Z-Cord provides power to the LED from the battery pack and is built in to the headband to reduce the possibility of snagging
- Tested and rated to ANSI/FL1 standards, the HL6 features an unbreakable LED and is impact and water resistant
- Backed by Coast’s lifetime guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship
4. Bushnell Rubicon H250L AD 250 Lumens 3AA LED Headlamp with Auto Dimming
- The innovative Total Internal Reflective (TIR) optic collimates light for better visibility, while the Cree LEDs provide bright, consistent illumination throughout the beam
- With utility and affordability at the forefront of design, Bushnell has combined energy-efficient Cree LEDs with a regulated circuit to deliver consistent brightness throughout the battery lifecycle
- Providing 250 lumens of output, plus 312 lumens with the boost feature, the RUBICON H250L AD Headlamp serves as a dual output light with a spot for long range and a flood for wide proximity lighting
- The rear mounted, external battery extends the runtime of the lamp, while the battery saving lock-out prevents accidental power on
- The top strap keeps the lamp secure on your head
- An advanced auto dimming feature automatically adjusts from long distance brightness to dim light for close viewing
- Featuring a Red Halo low-lumen mode, the H150L Headlamp is designed to enhance sight without compromising natural night vision
- Certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), each RUBICON headlamp has been tested for light output, beam distance, impact resistance (at one meter), protection against water penetration and run time
5. Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
- One Triple Power LED, one Single Power white LED and a Single Power red LED emit 200 lumens (max setting)
- Power Tap Technology allows fast and simple transitioning between full and dimmed power
- Red night-vision mode has proximity and strobe settings, and activates without cycling through the white mode
- Sleek, low profile design uses three AAA batteries and three-level power meter shows remaining battery life
- Water proof; Protected against water immersion down to >1m (3.3 ft) for 30 minutes (IPX 8)
6. Explortek Brightest LED Headlamp Flashlight with Best Red Lights and Headlight Case
- Powerful 168 lumen spotlight shines up to 110 meters
- Steady and flashing modes for both the red and white lights
- 2 separated easy to use “smart” press buttons for white and red lights
- Highest quality materials for a durable, light, sleek and compact design
- IPX6 waterproof rated and sealed for wet conditions + simple to open battery case
- Long battery life up to: 30 hours at high, 55 hours at med, 120 hours at low
- Elastic headband is adjustable, comfortable, steadfast and strong
- 6 levels of variable lighting to meet your needs including emergency SOS
- Smart auto off buttons turn off lights without having to cycle through all modes
- Beam tilt angle is 70° adjustable for oriented lighting
- Custom travel case cradles headlamp and extra set of batteries
- CE and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) certified
7. Xtreme Bright® Pro Series X55 LED Headlamp
- Powerful waterproof, impact-resistant, 350 Lumen camping headlamp provides the brightest light!!
- Headlamp’s adjustable nylon strap fits comfortably on your head, leaving your hands free to work
- Unique design allows you to convert the headlamp into a handy bike light for safer cycling at night
- LED flashlight’s digitally-regulated output provides 25 hours of consistent, brilliant light!
- Use as a Headlamp or flashlight – perfect for fishing, boating, camping, cycling, hiking, or jogging
8. Mifine Waterproof LED Headlamp Headlight
- Rechargeable Headlamp: XM-L T6 Headlamp
- Output bright can come to max 3500 lumens [lm]
- Internal wiring applies the high efficient booster circuit, working voltage is wide and can utilize the batteries in the largest extent
- Waterproofing design(can be used in outdoor weather,but can’t put into water,it is not for diving)
- Adjustable base is provided for each head lamp, with back and forth inclination
- Switch Mode: Low (The middle light is on)/Middle (The two side small lights are on)/High (All three lights are on)/Strobe (All three lights are flashing)
- Model of Battery required: 2x 18650 3.7v
9. Petzl – TIKKA Headlamp 100 Lumens
- STANDARD LIGHTING technology ensures maximum brightness that gradually decreases as the battery drains.
- Two lighting modes: a mode favoring burn time and a mode favoring brightness
- Compact and simple to use: push-button for easy, quick lighting mode selection, washable headband
- 3 AAA/LR03 batteries (included), compatible with rechargeable Ni-MH and lithium. Watertightness: IP X4, weather resistant.
- Weight: 85g. CE certified.
10. Caloics® Headlamp 5800 Lumens
- 100% ORIGINAL CREE LAMP – Super brightness will make your night travel more bright & safe, 4 Modes : Low ; Mid ; High & Strobe
- HANDSFREE, EASY&CONVENIENT- How much easier would tasks, walks at night with two free hands
- VERY SAFE-The red indicator light on the battery holder plays a good warning role in night walking
- HIGH QUALITY – Durable aluminum alloy crust, abrasion resistance, waterproof, 100% Money Back & Satisfaction Guarantee
- FINE WORKMANSHIP-Superb in workmanship, according to the structure of human brain science&design
11. Streamlight 61052 Septor LED Headlamp with Strap
- The light weight Septor headlamp with elastic adjustable head strap features (7) ultra bright 100,000 hour life white LEDs for wide task lighting and three power modes
- It is also equipped with a low battery warning indicator
- Ultra-bright LED headlamp with three different settings
- 90-degree tilt mechanism reduces neck strain and focuses the light where you need it
- Elastic head strap fits comfortably and securely to any head size
- Includes rubber head strap for hard hats
- Lifetime limited warranty
12. GRDE® 5000 Lumens Max Headlamp
- Super bright: Max 5000Lumens Rechargeable Headlamp,powered by 1 or 2 pcs 18650 rechargeable batteries, 90 degree rotation
- 3 Led and 4 working modes: low (1 LED ), middle(2 LED), high(3 LED), strobe(3 LED)
- Power bank:It can be used as a power bank, you may use it to charge your mobile phone
- Comfortable and Waterproof,elastic head band, made of aluminum alloy and rubber
- Suitable for traveling, climbing,camping,hunting,etc
13. InnoGear® 5000 Lumen Bright Headlight Headlamp
- XM-L2 T6 LED light, 5000 lumen, powered by 2 pieces of rechargable batteries(3.7v, 4400 mAh).
- 4 working mode: high/ middle/ low/ flashing.Package comes with a wall charger and USB charging cable
- 90°rotatable, waterproof and heatproof.Up to 4-6 hours working time under full charge
- Comfortable, light and stable in use, made of aluminum alloy and rubber.
- Great for someone who likes hiking, fishing, camping, running.
14. Vitchelo Brightest & Headlamp Flashlight with Red LED Light
- This allows you to see details at a distance up to 110 meters
- Having 2 separated buttons for either Red LED or White light makes choosing the right mode pretty easy and very convenient
- Each Vitchelo Waterproof IPX6 headlamps have been tested, work great and include 3 AAA Duracell batteries that provide up to 120 hours of lighting
- This head light is best for running, jogging, camping, fishing, hunting & shooting, reading, hiking, caving, climbing, biking, kayaking, housing, construction work, auto repair, walking your dog at night hands-free, etc.