The best headlamp incorporates the newest technology in long battery life, LED features, and lightweight materials. Headlamps are staples for cavers, climbers, hunters, and hikers and for those taking part in nearly any outdoor activity. But campers increasingly use headlamps, even for car camping and glamping, because they up the convenience factor.

How you use your headlamp is what determines how much you want to invest, but the best headlamps today are light-years ahead of even one generation earlier in LED technology. The best headlamps also have some surprising features, and we review the top ten below.

Best Headlamp FAQ

Person wearing a headlamp while looking at the sky

1. What Is a Headlamp?

2. What Does a Headlamp Do That a Flashlight Doesn't?

3. How Have Headlamps Evolved?

4. Where Can You Buy the Best Headlamp Brands?

5. How Reliable Are Headlamps?

6. How Much Should I Pay for an All-Around Headlamp to Replace My Flashlight?

How We Reviewed

people wearing headlamp

We picked ten of the best headlamp options available on the market today and compared price, features, and warranty. 

Overall Price Range of Headlamps

Person wearing a headlamp while on top of a vehicle and looking at the sky

Headlamps run in the range of $40 to $50, but some with a larger array of features will cost up to $100.

COMPARISON TABLE

[amazon box=”B06XQFZCPX,B07P54N8KR,B01AYDU2IW,B077NNNSZ9,B00AFDEJ9A,B07CRVQSS4,B01BD4HE6E,B00IZHKL5Y,B003PQW4LO,B07K5HWV1S,B07BJ6QP8C” template=”table”]

 

What We Reviewed

Person wearing a headlamp while stargazing

[amazon link="B06XQFZCPX" title="Black Diamond Spot Headlamp" /]

[amazon box=”B06XQFZCPX”]

The Spot isn't the most sophisticated but is extremely long lasting and affordable. Most users will get nearly 100 hours of use with a mix of high and low settings.

This nifty little headlamp is minimalist and powerful, with 300 lumens and a waterproof casing. Three AAA batteries are included with purchase and can easily be replaced. With 30 hours of light on high and 175 on low, this little headlamp is far more powerful than it appears.

Pros

  • Fully waterproof 
  • Long-lasting
  • Dimming, strobe, night vision
  • Can be submerged underwater
  • Minimalist look

Cons

  • Small
  • Batteries are not rechargeable

[amazon link="B07P54N8KR" title="LED Lenser MH10" /]

[amazon box=”B07P54N8KR”]

This is a powerful light for seeing far ahead. Because it lasts for ten hours, cavers like it for extra illumination.

This head cannon blasts through the darkness to illuminate 500 feet ahead, so it is great for situations like climbing outdoors or dealing with any obstacle in total darkness with speed involved (skiing or cycling, for example). On high, the batteries only last 10 hours but will keep up for 120 hours on low.

Pros

  • Far-reaching beam
  • Powerful 600 lumens
  • Adjustable lens
  • Rear facing LED
  • Adjustable lens

Cons

  • Relatively heavy at nearly 6 ounces
  • Large battery pack behind head
  • Expensive

[amazon link="B01AYDU2IW" title="VITCHELO V800 Headlamp" /]

[amazon box=”B01AYDU2IW”]

The Vitchelo is one of the best headlamp choices for all-around use. It comes with everything a non-specialized user likes: adjustability, long life, easy replacement of AAA batteries, six modes of lighting, and a durable housing and strap.

This lightweight lamp makes the list because it offers what most users need: a simple, versatile lamp to replace a flashlight and throw in the car for camping. Used on low setting, the batteries last 120 hours.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Lights up to 360 feet on high
  • White and red light
  • Easily adjustable
  • Six lighting modes
  • Great value

Cons

  • Limited features
  • Requires battery replacement
  • Water-resistant only

[amazon link="B077NNNSZ9" title="UCO Air 150" /]

[amazon box=”B077NNNSZ9″]

The AIR is the lightest on our list and feels like you are wearing nothing. It's the anti-flashlight, packs easily and for most trips like camping or day hiking that could devolve into a night trek, it gives plenty of hours of basic illumination. This is the best choice for any hiker's daypack, as insurance against a few hours of unplanned night hiking.

You may forget you are wearing the AIR with its featherweight profile. It makes the best headlamp list because it also functions well and illuminates several hundred feet.

Pros

  • At 1.6 ounces, it barely registers
  • 150 lumens on max setting
  • Red and white light
  • Extremely wearable
  • Durable strap engineering

Cons

  • Batteries last 5 hours on low
  • Batteries last 1 hour on high
  • Not for long trips

[amazon link="B00AFDEJ9A" title="Black Diamond Revolt" /]

[amazon box=”B00AFDEJ9A”]

It recharges but also takes AAA batteries. This means daily use can rely on recharging which costs less, but batteries can be tucked inside or bought last minute if the charge runs out. This ReVolt churns out a bright light, is waterproof, and helps users keep track of battery power remaining.

Recharging batteries means planning ahead, but it's less expensive and better for the planet. The ReVolt brings recharging in a nicely packaged, usable headlamp.

Pros

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • USB port easy to access
  • Can convert to AAA batteries
  • 300 lumens for bright beam
  • Waterproof
  • Meter shows how much light is left

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy
  • Light settings hard to use
  • Only uses Black Diamond batteries
  • Red light doesn't work well

[amazon link="B07CRVQSS4" title="PETZL - ACTIK CORE" /]

[amazon box=”B07CRVQSS4″]

Petzl has been a leader in headlamps and a go-to for several generations of cavers. This versatile light provides a strong, clear view that is one of the brightest on this list with 350 lumens and offers battery or recharge powering. Its lightweight and durable construction are a bonus.

With 160 hours on low and 2 hours on the full light setting, this lightweight rechargeable from one of the best names in headlamps is a good value and reliable choice.

Pros

  • 350 lumens on high
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable settings
  • Red and white light
  • USB for recharge
  • Will us AAA batteries
  • Wide and mixed beams

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No flashing light option

[amazon link="B01BD4HE6E" title="COAST FL75 435" /]

[amazon box=”B01BD4HE6E”]

The COAST offers the best quality light for over 300 feet and is an affordable and highly adjustable headlamp.

High-quality light in a durable package puts this COAST on the list of best headlamp models. On low, users get 15 hours and the high setting will give 2.5 hours of intense, high-quality red or white light.

Pros

  • Great quality of light
  • Easy adjustability
  • Takes AAA batteries
  • White and red light options
  • Over 140 meters in distance
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Somewhat heavy
  • Klunky look
  • Burns through batteries

[amazon link="B00IZHKL5Y" title="Black Diamond Ion" /]

[amazon box=”B00IZHKL5Y”]

Another contender in the featherwieght class, the Ion is bright enough and endures for an incredible 180 hours if used conservatively.

This lightweight headlamp is long-lasting and a surefire hit for long trips in dark conditions.

Pros

  • Very lightweight at 1.9 ounces
  • Lasts 180 hours on low
  • 100 lumens for bright beam
  • Waterproof and submergible
  • Locking mode
  • Good value
  • Red and white lights

Cons

  • Not the brightest beam
  • Strap isn't the most durable
  • Switch isn't user-friendly
  • Not for use with gloved hands

[amazon link="B07K5HWV1S" title="Black Diamond Spot325" /]

[amazon box=”B07K5HWV1S”]

For runners and cyclists who need to be seen, this lamp offers front and rear lights, a bright rear blinker, and recharges with zero batteries needed.

This light is billed as a "sprinter" because it works well to illuminate the wearer and is a favorite of runners and cyclists who need to stand out on dark streets. This best headlamp combines a number of nice features, such as lightweight and adjustable switches, red and white light, and a bright light for a good distance. The Sprinter is expensive, but a good overall value.

Pros

  • Front and rear light
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent luminosity at 200 lumens
  • Rechargeable
  • Rear blinker
  • Durable, adjustable strap
  • Great for runners and cyclists
  • Short re-charge time

Cons

  • Batteries not an option
  • Rear strap adjustment temperamental
  • Expensive

[amazon link="B07BJ6QP8C" title="Shining Buddy" /]

[amazon box=”B07BJ6QP8C”]

The headlamp for kids that holds up, doesn't cost much, and is perfect for hiking or camping.

The Buddy is made for kids and young teens but doesn't skimp on features or brightness. A good value for kids who do not need a super long lasting, specialized headlamp.

Pros

  • Smaller buttons for small hands
  • 110 Lumens for distance and brightness
  • Swivels and adjusts
  • Four light settings
  • Including flashing and red light
  • 90-day guarantee
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Light dims after about 30 uses
  • Less durable

The Verdict

Headlamps offer several options, but we like the brands that include decent battery life or a rechargeable option, at least 100 lumens for distance, and a lightweight package. Beyond that, switches and adjustable light options should be intuitive. The added feature of a rear headlamp is terrific for those who need to be visible. We recommend the Black Diamond Sprinter for runners and cyclists, the Ledlenser MH10 for power, brightness, and decent battery life, and the Petzl ACTIC for all-around use.

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