You can't beat the hands-free lighting convenience of a headlamp while setting up your tent at night, trail running at dusk, or just hunting for something in your attic. LEDs are almost solely used as a light source in today's headlamps. An LED headlamp is a long-lasting, durable, and energy-efficient tool.
So, what distinguishes a good headlamp from others? How do you decide what to purchase? Headlamps are distinguished by a number of key characteristics that are mentioned below.
- Beam Type
Flood (or Wide) Beam Headlamp: For general camp tasks, up-close repair work, and reading. Flood beams do not often cast light over a vast area.
Spot (or Focused or Narrow): This narrow beam allows for the greatest long-range sight. In most cases, navigating a trail in the dark is a better option.
Adjustable flood/spot: These headlamps are the most versatile ones in the market.
- Light Output
Lumens are a unit of measurement for the total amount of light output by a light source in all directions. A light with a high lumens count will often consume more energy than a light with a lower lumens count.
So, the brighter the light, the higher the lumens? Yes, in the majority of cases—but not always. The way those lumens are being used depends on how well a headlamp manufacturer concentrates and directs that light.
- Beam Distance
The primary function of a headlamp is to direct light to a specific area. Headlamps are put to the test to see how far they can project usable light (in meters). While lumens indicate how bright a headlamp is (at its source), beam distance indicates how far it travels (to a surface you want illuminated).
- Run Time
This figure indicates how long your headlamp will last after it has been completely charged. However, the headlamp industry has lately began to change the run time measurement, so you may encounter some misleading results when comparing one headlamp to another.
This is why: Manufacturers used to time how long it took a headlamp to stop producing useable light (the equivalent of a full moon) at 2 meters. The new standard defines the end of run time as 10% of the initial brightness of a light. A 350-lumen headlamp, for example, can have a 40-hour run time according to the previously-mentioned standard.
However, under the new standard, the same headlamp's run time might be as little as 2 hours. (It should still supply 38 hours of illumination, but at a reduced degree of lighting.) So, if you discover two headlamps that appear to be similar but have a large difference in run time, one of them may not have been tested using the new standard yet.
Most headlamps, with batteries, weigh less than 7 ounces and are about the same size. Until you check some very high-powered models, you won't notice significant changes in headlamps size and weight. Some include top straps and additional battery packs, which add to the overall weight. Rather than being used for everyday adventures, such models are designed for specific needs (e.g., climbing).
- Brightness Level/Mode
Most headlamps have at least two modes: high and low. Others may have three or more modes to choose from.
-The Strobe (or Flash) mode serves as a backup blinker. A few models even provide you with the option of choosing between slow and fast flash rates.
-Low is the default mode for most tasks, such as doing camp chores or going for a night walk on a flat trail.
-Some models have a Mid option to provide customers with more choices.
-Only a few models come with Boost (or zoom). This function allows you to produce an extra-intense beam for a short time, perhaps 10-20 seconds. It’s nice to have when you're truly curious about what's causing that rustling sound in the nearby bushes. Just keep in mind that this mode uses a lot of battery power.