What to Look For in a Rechargeable Headlamp
Rechargeable Headlamp is better for the planet than a standard headlamp on alkaline batteries. It also eliminates the need to carry a pack of extra batteries.
Many of the headlamps use micro USBs for charging. Others ditch the port entirely and go with magnetic charging. We like this approach since it increases water resistance and removes potential points of failure for the charge port cover.
The Red Light Mode on a rechargeable headlamp is a useful and sometimes overlooked feature that can provide hands-free illumination in certain situations. Whether you are camping, hiking, stargazing or just need to quickly locate something in your tent, a red light can help prevent eye fatigue while still lighting up your surroundings. This feature is especially useful when engaging in activities that may disturb or spook wildlife or other people.
Almost all modern headlamps use LEDs for their light source because they are rugged, energy efficient and long-lasting. Most models will have multiple brightness settings, which can be accessed with the press of a button or by using the control wheel located on the side or back of the lamp. Some headlamps also include a dimming setting, which can be helpful in conserving battery power.
It is important to remember that not all headlamps are created equal. It is worth researching the features and specs of each model you are considering to make sure they meet your specific needs. Some important things to consider include the number and type of LEDs, beam distance, run time, size and weight. It is also important to consider if you will be using your headlamp for outdoor sports or work, as different models are better suited for one type of activity than another.
When choosing a headlamp for outdoor use, it is also a good idea to look at the capacity of the battery as well. The higher the capacity, the longer it will last between charges. This is particularly helpful if you are planning on taking your headlamp on multi-day trips, as it will save you from having to bring extra batteries or carry a separate power bank for charging.
Many headlamps also come with a variety of accessories and additional features that can enhance your experience. It is a good idea to store these in a safe place where you can easily find them and remember what they do. Keeping a note of these can help you to avoid losing or damaging them while on the trail or during storage. It is also a good idea to read the user manual for each accessory to learn about any special care or maintenance that might be required.
Many rechargeable headlamps feature a USB-C port for charging. This type of connector is becoming increasingly popular in mobile devices and is easy to use, because it can be plugged into power sources that are different from the device’s power source. This can be a useful feature, especially for headlamps that have a limited run time and you want to be able to charge them in the field.
If your chosen headlamp uses disposable batteries, you’ll need to keep a few spares on hand. Be sure to store them in a cool, dry place where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Also, be sure to remove the battery from the headlamp when not in use to avoid overcharging and draining the batteries. Finally, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper storage and maintenance of your headlamp.
The Black Diamond Spot 400-R features a new battery technology that allows it to project a brighter beam for longer than most of the other headlamps in our tests. It can reach a full 750 lumens in short bursts, which is enough to light up a tent or campsite, but not so bright that it’ll blind you. It will then drop to a lower level of brightness that is still enough for most hikers and backpackers to see their environment.
Another plus is that the Spot 400-R displays a three-level battery meter so you know how much charge is left on your light. After a week of heavy use, the light retained about two-thirds of its full charge—enough for most hikers on a long trip.
If you’re buying a rechargeable headlamp for kids, look for one that is designed to be child-proof. This way, they can’t blast their siblings or parents with a blinding light or worse yet, put the batteries in their mouths. The Black Diamond Wiz has a kid-friendly mode that dims the headlamp to a level that is functional, but also fun. It also has a tilting battery compartment and opening tool built into the headband.
Rechargeable headlamps typically run on lithium batteries that last much longer than standard alkaline AA or AAA. However, it’s important to look at the headlamp’s battery capacity to see how much power it can hold on a full charge and what kind of run time you can expect from it in different modes. Some headlamps use larger battery sizes like the Fenix HP30R V2.0, which comes with a 10000 mAh battery pack that charges on-the-go and doubles as a backup power bank for other devices.
Other headlamps use smaller battery sizes like the Black Diamond Spot 400 R, which maintains most of the same specs as the non-rechargeable Spot 400 but uses a micro-USB rechargeable battery instead. This means you can still switch out the rechargeable battery for a fresh set of standard alkaline batteries for emergencies if needed. Lithium batteries also tend to perform better in cold weather and can be more resistant to temperature changes, while some older headlamps use zinc-air batteries that can fail when exposed to extreme temperatures.
Another benefit of using a rechargeable headlamp is that you can reduce the amount of waste you produce when compared to a disposable headlamp. Rechargeable headlamps need to be charged before each use in order to frequently operate them at max brightness. Disposable batteries, on the other hand, need to be thrown away when they are completely depleted.
In addition to the rechargeable headlamps, you can also find a variety of reusable AA or AAA headlamps that can be used with disposable batteries. These are great for people who want the reliability of a rechargeable headlamp but don’t need to constantly swap out batteries.
If you choose a headlamp that uses replaceable batteries, make sure to pick up a few sets of high-quality batteries. You can buy lithium AA or AAA headlamp batteries at most outdoor stores or online retailers. Alternatively, some flashlight manufacturers include a proprietary battery with their headlamps to ensure safety and performance. This is common amongst brands like Nitecore, Olight, and Fenix. These batteries usually have a higher capacity than other brands and are covered by the headlamp’s warranty.
The best rechargeable headlamps will have a flexible design that lets you operate the LEDs in different ways. For example, some will have separate modes for spot and floodlight. This way, you can choose the right mode for your task while preserving your night vision in case you need to navigate through thick brush or move quickly along a ridgeline. Some models also come with an adjustable beam swivel so that you can point the light exactly where you want it. This is great for hiking, mountaineering, and other outdoor activities where you need a hands-free light to guide you.
The amount of power the headlamp puts out is another important factor to consider. The more powerful a headlamp, the brighter it will be. But that doesn’t always mean the beam will cover a greater distance. Other factors play into how far the light reaches, such as the type and size of the LEDs, how big the headlamp is, and how focused the beam is.
In addition to choosing a headlamp with the power you need, consider whether you prefer an alkaline or lithium battery. While most headlamps use traditional AA or AAA batteries, some can be upgraded to lithium for improved performance in cold conditions and longer burn times.
Lastly, the type of connector on a rechargeable headlamp is an important consideration. While the industry is moving towards USB-C, you’ll still find headlamps that use the much older Micro USB. If you prefer to keep your headlamp fully charged, look for a model with USB-C.
Rechargeable headlamps can be a valuable investment, particularly for people who frequently use their headlamp for outdoors activities like camping or backpacking. They provide many advantages over disposable headlamps, such as lower costs and reduced waste. They also offer better run times than traditional disposables, which require frequent replacement and often operate at full power when not in use. With the increased lumen output, advanced features, and durability of rechargeable headlamps, they are well worth the slightly higher upfront cost.