best headlamps

5 Best Headlamps To Buy In 2021

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There once was a time when the only way you could use a flashlight and keep both your hands-free was to cram it into the crook of your neck.

While there is no evidence to suggest that this caused untold neck and spine injuries, it certainly was not OSHA approved.

Thankfully those days are behind us, and now all you need to go into the dark and still use both your opposable thumbs is a great headlamp.

The common misconception is that any decent headlamp will work for any purpose, but this is patently untrue.

Spelunkers need a narrower beam for exploring caves, while survivalists need a sturdier model that can stand up to adverse weather conditions.

Runners need something that will stay in place through every bump in the road, while trackers need something that won’t ruin their night vision.

Make sure you choose the right lamp for your needs.

LED LENSER H14

Ledlenser, H14R.2 Rechargeable Headlamp, Black
  • SPECS: 60-1000 lumens, 70-300 meter range, and up to 35 hours of run time. Weighs 340 g and has adjustable head strap. Water resistance level IPX4.
  • EFFORTLESS FOCUSING: The Advanced Focus System allows you to easily transition from a close-up wide beam to a long-distance focused beam using the one-handed Rapid Focus mechanism.
  • SMART LIGHT TECHNOLOGY: Allows you to program your individual range of functions with different touch and switch combinations so you always have the perfect light mode at hand.
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The light unit, head straps and battery box have been redesigned with a specially formed battery case and more comfortable foam to conform to the natural curve of the user's head. This ensures maximum comfort during extended use.
  • 5 YEAR WARRANTY: We take extraordinary measures so your Ledlenser will give you many years of dependable service. If the product has a defect in material or workmanship or fails to work under normal use, we'll repair or replace it.

Jack of All Trades: The H14 is much more than just a headlamp.

It is a lighting system that can go almost anywhere and serve a multitude of purposes.

Unsurprisingly they are made by the Leatherman Tool Group, the biggest name in multi-purpose since the Swiss Army.

The beam is adjustable, so you can get a broad range for night biking or a narrow beam for cave diving. It has three output modes that range from the modest 25 lumens to nearly 200.

The mounting bracket attached to the light can easily fit on bike handlebars or clamp-on almost anywhere, so it can switch from headlamp to work light with the turn of a screw.

More: The Best Home Tool Kits

PETZL NAO

PETZL - NAO+ Headlamp, 750 Lumens, Bluetooth Enabled
  • Constant Lighting Technology - Emits light over a sustained amount of time.
  • Multi-Beam Lighting - Combines a flood beam for close proximity and a focused beam for longer distances.
  • Reactive Lighting Technology - Allows the light sensor to automatically adjust brightness and optimise battery use.
  • Self-Regulating - Brightness self regulates depending on the selected burn time.
  • Adjustable Headband - Fits comfortably on your head and can be adjusted.

Runnin’ Down a Dream: You know what’s more expensive than the Petzl NAO?

A twisted or broken ankle. If you like the peacefulness and tranquility of doing a little jogging at night, the Petzl NAO should be your only choice.

The cost is a little steeper than some, but if you’ve ever done a little roadwork with a cheaper alternative, the difference will be apparent immediately.

The NAO headlamp uses reactive lighting that uses a sensor to automatically detect ambient light and adjust accordingly.

If a cloud suddenly blocks the moon or twilight gives way to pitch blackness, your light won’t fail you, and you won’t miss a stride.

If you prefer more control, you can even customize your settings to help you avoid night runner’s tunnel vision.

The lightweight is easy to adjust to, and it won’t hop out of place as you move. Output ranges from 25 to approximately 150 lumens.

More: The Best Wire Strippers

PRINCETON TEC APEX

Princeton Tec Apex LED Headlamp
  • Power: 550 Lumens
  • Lamp: 1 Maxbright LED (regulated), (dimmable)4 White Ultrabright LEDs (regulated), (dimmable)
  • Burn Time: 150 hours
  • Batteries: 4 AA Alkaline or Lithium
  • Weight: 9.8oz / 279g

Thunder Underground: Caving adventures are not for the faint of heart, and these sturdy people need an equally sturdy light to ensure their exploration into the tunnels of the world don’t leave them stranded in the dark.

The Apex line is a little heavier than most, so hopefully, you don’t need to run from any Morlocks during your subterranean excursions.

The reason for the additional heft is the 5 light system that the Apex uses.

It has a single primary LED light surrounded by 4 secondary lights to help give you a panoramic view, as well as a redundant lighting system that will ensure that even if one light breaks, you will still be able to reach the surface safely—a maximum of 200 lumens.

More: Best Camping Gear

BLACK DIAMOND SPOT

Black Diamond Equipment - Spot 350 Headlamp - Aluminum
  • Emits up to 350 lumens on max setting
  • PowerTap Technology allows instant transitioning between full and dimmed power
  • Six-Setting 3 LED battery meter
  • Compact, low-profile design uses three AAA batteries, included
  • Brightness Memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full or mid-power

Apocalyptic: When the dead rise and you’re trying to get your ragtag group of survivors across town to the mall, this is the headlamp that will make the difference between living to fight another day and becoming zombie chow.

It comes with three power settings that can be changed with just a tap to the side of the lamp and includes red LEDs for illumination that won’t hurt your night vision so you can remain battle-ready.

The Spot can take a severe beating without breaking, though this makes it one of the heaviest choices out there.

It illuminates nearly 250 feet in front of you with 130 lumens so you can see a threat or trouble from a distance.

The tap technology is ideal for operation with gloves, so it works well in any kind of extreme conditions. The low output gives it the longest battery life of any option.

More: Best Hiking Backpacks

COAST HL8

Industrial Light: If you’ve ever asked yourself what Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell wears on the weekends, this is the answer.

It looks like the headgear you would want if you were about to do some serious wet work against an entrenched terrorist camp, but really it is better suited to doing any heavy or detailed labor.

The head strap is one of the best and won’t budge while you are under a car or rappelling down the side of a building.

It maxes out at 344 lumens, making it bright enough that you can easily clean and reassemble your AR-15 without missing a single grease spot.

The simple twist focus on the side can narrow your beam so you can see for nearly 700 feet or broaden it so you can watch for mines at your feet.

ZEBRALIGHT H600F MKIV

Zebralight H600F Mk IV 18650 XHP35 Floody Cool White Headlamp
  • Smart user interface provides fast and easy access to all brightness levels and beacon-strobes.
  • Precision machined unibody casing from premium grade aluminum bar stocks
  • Proprietary heat sinking design bonds the LED board directly to the unibody aluminum casing
  • Durable natural hard anodized finish (Type III Class I)
  • Waterproof to IPX8 (2 meters, 30 minutes)

Hunter’s Helper: We first looked at Zebralight for their H600 model during our LED flashlight roundup.

The H600F model is slightly different from that one because it is geared much more toward hunters, while the other was for the average home user.

It is light enough for hunting down prey if you prefer doing your killing at night while also simple enough to operate that it won’t interfere with your hands whether you prefer a gun or a bow.

The beam gives enough distance to make your shot while also offering sufficient flood capacity for skinning and cleaning.

It is also removable for work that requires a standing or hand-held light. The LED is much warmer than most other headlamp options, so it makes following a blood trail significantly simpler.

Ranges from less than 1 lumen up to more than 1000 if you choose the right model.

Last update on 2021-09-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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