In this blog, we list the eight best coast headlamps. Please keep reading and pick the one you prefer.
When they work best, headlamps give you the impression that you have the superhuman vision. The most recent options, which are lightweight and packed with brilliant LEDs, can produce up to 1,000 lumens and illuminate a trail or road sign from hundreds of feet away. Additionally, they free up your hands so you can use them to read a map, put together a tent, or change a tire in the dark.
Quick information on the top headlamps from our tests is provided below; scroll down for buying tips and in-depth reviews. You may also need 11 Best Camping Flashlights.
Best Coast Headlamps
Best Overall: Black Diamond Spot 400
When you’re car camping or even just digging through a closet, the Black Diamond Spot 400, provides exactly what you need: a bright beam, easy-to-navigate buttons, and long-lasting battery life. Since 2012, The Spot has been at the top of our list because it is dependable and bright enough to light the way in the majority of circumstances, whether they are indoors or outdoors.
The same features we have always liked are present in the 400 models. And it has 50 more lumens than the previous Spot (so 400 in all), for a noticeable bump in brightness (although we still think the previous version was plenty bright enough). In comparison to versions older than the 350, the Spot’s top buttons are easier to use.
Best Budget: Vitchelo V800
The Vitchelo V800 is still a sensible, affordable option. We liked the comfortable head strap and how simple it is to switch between the red and white light settings (there are two separate buttons). However, the light is still only 168 lumens, so we wish it were brighter. This headlamp also has fewer features, and it lacks the memory and locking modes we liked in our top pick.
However, this headlamp performed on par with rivals that cost many times as much. This is a good option if you require a cheap headlamp for doing household chores, walking your dog at night, or going outside in the yard.
Best Value: Energizer Vision Ultra HD
Rechargeable technology has become much more affordable over time. But whether it’s an electric car or a headlamp, the initial cost can still be a deterrent. The inexpensive, portable, and surprisingly potent Vision Ultra from Energizer buck that trend.
Even though we mostly stuck to using the white and red lights, having the red and green LEDs added made the lamp feel even more valuable.
Easiest to Use: Petzl Tikka
The Tikka headlamp from Petzl is a versatile tool with 300 lumens and is easy to use. It’s also one of the uncommon models that can actually produce more lumens—310, to be exact—than the manufacturer claims. Lumens do degrade over time with LED headlamps, as is common.
Our measurements were 283 lumens at 30 seconds and 131 at 30 minutes. Because it happened gradually and we didn’t need as much light to see clearly after our eyes got used to the dark in the practical testing, we didn’t really notice this drop. In terms of actual testing, we determined the Tikka’s beam distance to be 125 feet or the distance at which we could recognize a flat, grey silhouette of a person on a moonless night.
Most Comfortable: BioLite 330 HeadLamp
Each GearJunkie staff member has a personal favorite headlamp, so this is a contentious decision. However, a few of us have been using the BioLite 330 for a while, and it continues to be a fantastic headlamp.
The kicker for us with the BioLite 330 ($60) is you don’t wear the battery pack on the front of your head. Instead, the lamp’s headband contains the light, which is wired to the battery pack that is now positioned behind your head. As hunters, we’re often doing weird stuff in the dark, like breaking down an animal, trekking back to the rig, or trying to get to an early-morning hunting spot.
Simply put, we have never worn a headlamp that is more comfortable or more useful. The headlamp and light are prevented from bouncing or becoming out of alignment by the absence of weight on the forehead. You can easily tilt the light down for running or hiking, and the sweat-wicking fabric is fantastic.
Best Ultralight: Petzl Bindi Ultralight Headlamp
For those who are tired of wearing bulky headbands and using heavy lights, this popular and incredibly light headlamp is a great choice. At 1.2 ounces, the Petzl Bindi ($44) is crazy minimal. In comparison to everything else on this list, it still has a respectable runtime and respectable lumens. The simple, adjustable drawstring band fits over your head, hat, or hood with ease. The quick adjustment is a huge plus, and it has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.
Folks love this for search and rescue, running, camping, and anything where a minimal approach is needed. The cord itself is reflective for safety, and the tilt is very adjustable. Really, this is a popular headlamp at a fair price with a use-case scenario that covers the majority of outdoor enthusiasts.
Best for Running: Ledlenser NEO5R
The smart and safety-minded design of the NEO5R ($70) lands it at the top of our list as a running/biking headlamp. It has a reflective headband, a front light, and a rear light that flashes red to make sure that drivers can see you from all sides.
The NEO5R performed admirably in testing, even though safety comes first. It has a fantastic runtime and was only slightly shorter than our premium pick (also a Ledlenser light) in terms of the overall runtime. The headlamp shined a full 24 hours straight while still putting out useable light. Additionally, it has a strong 600-lumen beam that can shine 100 meters into the night.
Although not the best color-rendering headlamp on the list, the light is made for running. For a single light source, it gives you reasonable depth perception, though running on trails definitely benefits from a second source. This light has a red light as well, allowing it to serve two purposes: lighting up the camp or the hiking trail.
Best High-End Headlamp: Ledlenser MH11
If money is no object, the best headlamp we tested this year was the Ledlenser MH11 ($160). Why does it lose in the end? Well, it’s $180 and overkill for a lot of users. With the ability to connect to your smartphone via an app, it’s a little complicated as well. Even though that isn’t a bad thing, most people don’t really need it.
Having said that, the Ledlenser MH11 is amazing. Its 1,000 lumens can illuminate a staggering 320 meters into the night, outshining even the best headlamps by a wide margin. And it accomplishes this with a straightforward user interface with just one button, which we adored during testing. But it accomplishes much more than that.
First, this headlamp employs reactive technology. It also offers a variety of colors, including white, red, green, and blue. And lastly, the zooming bezel is incredibly simple to use. To switch from wide to the spotlight, simply turn it a quarter turn. One of the best solutions we’ve used, it’s fantastic.
Buyer’s Guide on How to Choose a Headlamp
Before you buy a headlamp, you should consider the factors below:
Headlamp Bulbs: LEDs
The era of light bulbs has long since passed. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are almost always used in modern headlamps. These potent, compact light sources use a tiny portion of the energy of conventional light bulbs. Today’s headlamps are incredibly bright and run for many hours on rechargeable batteries because of LEDs.
White is the typical LED color; we’ll discuss some variations in the Color Rendering section below. However, a lot of headlamps also feature a red LED (or other colors) light. We regard a headlamp’s red mode as almost essential. Red light preserves your night vision much more than white light, which is why.
The amount of light a headlamp emits is among its most crucial features. This is quantified in lumens. Most headlamps have a low, medium, high, and sometimes “turbo” brightness setting, which users can manually adjust via buttons on the headlamp.
The battery drains more quickly the higher the setting, so Turbo settings are frequently limited in order to prolong battery life. Additionally, you can gradually change the brightness level with some headlamps’ dimming features.
Beam Distance & Type
Although there isn’t a direct correlation, an increase in lumens typically aids in extending the light’s range. There are typically two types of beams on headlamps. The area nearest to you receives a broadly diffused floodlight. While still reaching your immediate surroundings, this mode saves battery life.
The user can manually adjust the various light settings on headlamps. One of those options is a spotlight, which has the headlamp’s highest light output and illuminates a wider area. Light is focused closer to you at a lower output setting.
Some headlamps have a feature that, in order to conserve battery life, automatically adjusts the high and low outputs in accordance with the objects in front of you. A few of the designs also include a strobe mode, which improves visibility in areas with heavy vehicle traffic.
Battery life is one of the main factors that differentiate headlamps. The best headlamps have a long life between charges, with some able to run for days on end without recharging. But when it comes to extending battery life, a little knowledge goes a long way. Most headlamps can run for many hours if you use the lower power settings and red light.
User Interface and Buttons
A few members of the crew find this to be contentious. One editor desired a headlamp that was simple to operate while wearing gloves. Some headlamps allow the user to independently program buttons and lighting. Few headlamps offer apps for a wide range of options, as we mentioned earlier.
Some headlamps come with a lock button or switch to stop them from turning on while they are in your pack and wasting valuable battery power. Lockability vastly improves dependability if you frequently store your headlamp in a bag or backpack, especially while hiking.
Our priorities are ease of use and a lack of bounce. The kind of band, adjustability, weight and personal preference all affect how comfortable a headlamp is to wear. We’ve found bounce can occur with bulky or cheaply constructed designs that are less streamlined and ergonomic. Our top headlamps have weights that range from 1.2 to 7 ounces. However, heavier headlamps typically require a third strap that crosses over your head to ensure the user’s comfort.
To indicate how resistant to water they are, some headlamps have an IPX or IP rating. Against rain, splashes, or perspiration, IPX0 offers absolutely no protection. The highest level of protection against total submersions, such as when swimming with a headlamp on, is offered by IPX8.
The cost of the headlamps we recommend ranges from $10 to $180. The general attributes of a headlamp, such as a number and varieties of LEDs and batteries, have an impact on the cost. The cost is also influenced by durability, weight, battery capacity, lumen output, and overall power.
Headband & Adaptability
Typically, headlamps rest against the forehead and hair, all around the head. They typically have one front-facing LED that is attached to a wide, stretchy, adjustable, and comfortable strap. The LED can be removed and slid along the band, allowing the band to be washed.
Rechargeable Vs. Single-Use Batteries
It’s important to consider your options even though we didn’t directly test different battery types. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery models are ideal for long-distance travel because they eliminate the need to pack additional power banks or solar chargers on top of the ones you already have in your kit.
Those powered by lithium or alkaline batteries eliminate the downtime associated with charging and may be more affordable upfront. Dual-power models, which are still widely available and provide the most flexibility, are something we really like.
When Should I Use a Headlamp?
For practical tasks like cooking in dim or complete darkness, a headlamp is a perfect tool. It’s also great for nighttime endurance sports like trail running.
In search-and-rescue situations, on lengthy hikes in the mountains, while backpacking, and even when returning home after dark, we have used our headlamp. And of course, headlamps are great for projects around the house like auto repair or electrical wiring in a house.
Conclusion: Best Coast Headlamps
In this blog, we rank the top eight beach headlamps so you can pick the one you like best.
- Best Overall: Black Diamond Spot 400
- Best Budget: Vitchelo V800
- Best Value: Energizer Vision Ultra HD
- Easiest to Use: Petzl Tikka
- Most Comfortable: BioLite 330 HeadLamp
- Best Ultralight: Petzl Bindi Ultralight Headlamp
- Best for Running: Ledlenser NEO5R
- Best High-End Headlamp: Ledlenser MH11
We’ve been testing headlamps since 2012, and after putting them through years of late-night hikes, evening runs, and stargazing excursions, we still believe the Black Diamond Spot—the most recent model being the Spot 400—is the best headlamp. It is simple to use, has a long-lasting battery, and has a bright beam to keep your paths well-lit year after year.
How Many Lumens is a Good Headlamp?
100 to 150 lumens should be adequate for most needs, but for activities like scrambling and route-finding at night, travelers may want a more powerful headlamp — something as bright as 300 lumens.
Are Expensive Headlamps Worth the Cost?
The prices of the headlamps we selected range from $20 to $180. The components, such as the quantity and types of LEDs, have an impact on the price. Price factors also include durability, weight, battery life, lumens, and power.
In our opinion, it would be better to spend more money on a single headlamp that has the features we need. As long as they are not frequently dropped, crushed, or knocked off the side of a boat, headlamps can last for years.