How to choose headlights in equipment classroom?

How do you choose the right one for your headlight? After a careful evaluation of 37 top headlamps over a period of 6 months, we have a clear view of the characteristics of the competitive headlights and which headlights perform best under a variety of circumstances. In this article, we will share our experience gained from extensive testing.

Why buy a headlight?

The key points of headlights than flashlights on camp lights, camp lights or mobile phones are:

1. Releasing your hands: Releasing your hands is a key advantage of having a headlight stronger than a flashlight. For certain sports such as rock climbing, releasing your hands is crucial. Around the camp, although the camp lights can also provide light to release both hands, but just turn your head to shine a light in the place you want to see, is the advantage of the headlights.

2. Beam distance: Most headlamps over $30 (180 renminbi) provide a spotlight pattern that can illuminate an impressive long-distance beam. This is very useful for finding things in the dark, or marking the way back to your car or camp.

3. Lightweight: The headlights can be easily put into your backpack. The lightest weight is less than one ounce (28 grams).

4. Durable: Many high-quality headlamps are very durable, water resistantce (IPX-4) makes it possible to use in continuous heavy rain, and some headlamps provide stronger waterproof function, can be under water for a meter Deep use (IPX-7). This strengthens the headlamp's appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who will be unpredictable.

(Note: IPX, Japanese electronic equipment waterproof standard, a total of 10 levels from 0-9)

When headlights are a big helper

In order to pick a headlight that suits you, we suggest that you consider what functions you will need when outdoors. If your needs are just a light for inspection of the camp, then all the headlights can accomplish this task. The Energizer 3 LED headlights with a headlight of our best selection award, $10 (60 renminbi), are good choices for situations that require simple lighting. However, if you spend $25 more (150 RMB), you can get a headlight that can be used for many years, providing significantly enhanced features such as beam spacing, durability, quality, and more. We think that if you are going outdoors, if you are not a paradise, it is worth considering buying a headlight as a tool to help you. If you are in the outdoors and you may encounter an accident, it is worth investing in a good headlight to help you out of trouble.

When things go wrong, it's useful to keep the light in line with your line of sight but have free hands free.

Think about what happened in the dark wilderness, your partner was injured, or the equipment was broken. How helpful is a headlight that allows your hands to move freely!

Don't put the idea of ​​picking an all-around headlight in your head. We suggest you to narrow down your shopping range based on the challenges you may face: bad weather, cold temperatures, complex road conditions, injuries , equipment damage or self-driving, need lights longer than expected, and so on.

Headlight features:

In order to narrow down your options, you may want to know the headlamp function:

Flood Mode: Almost all headlights provide a flood mode that illuminates a wide range of light areas that can have one or more brightness settings. This mode is suitable for close-range lighting, such as cooking in camps, checking tents, or reading books, etc. By adjusting the brightness, you can avoid brightening their titanium eyes when facing their peers. Lowering the brightness can also extend the headlamp battery life.

Spotlight Mode: A wide range of light zones is suitable for use around the campsite. When you need to look far away, a light beam that converges brightness is more appropriate. Once you spend more than $30, almost all headlights provide a floodlight mode and another spotlight mode. The best headlights can illuminate the length of a football stadium (100 meters) and a few headlights can illuminate a distance of more than 150 meters. This bright beam of light is suitable for outdoor path finding and can find the correct signpost from a distance.

Red mode: Nearly half of the headlamps we tested provide red mode. There are several reasons to use the intimate red light mode: The first is the battery life: the red LED is more efficient and can significantly extend the headlight lighting time. This mode is also very useful in search and rescue situations because a flashing red LED can be seen very far away and can flash for a long time. Many people use red LEDs at night to keep their vision. This is especially helpful for watching the stars at night, because your eyes need to enter the dark for an hour to adjust to fully adapt to the dark environment, but then you may need a little light (Note: There are 2 types of independent on the human retina Nerve cells deal with bright and dark visions, respectively, and rods that are responsible for dark vision must enter the dark environment for more than 30 minutes to fully activate. In a bright environment, they will be suppressed. Weak red light will not affect people's dark vision. Hunters also rely on red light (in different environments, they may also need green light, blue light, or yellow light), which allows hunters to maintain a dark vision, while red light does not scare animals. An experienced hunter can determine which animal is based on the brightness and shape of the red light reflected by the animal's eyes. (Note: There is a layer of reflective film on the eye of the animal that reflects the light that converges into the eye to enhance night vision. By night, the animal's eyes are illuminated by the electric light. The animal's eyes will have obvious reflection.)

Waterproof: The cheapest headlights are not waterproof, but most headlights with a market price of more than $20 (120 renminbi) have an IPX-4 waterproof rating, which means that the headlights can resist splashes coming from all directions. IPX-4 headlights provide water repellent performance that continues to be used during storms. We put nearly 20 IPX-4 headlights in a milk box and sprayed them from all directions for 30 minutes without a headlamp failure. A few high-end headlamps have an IPX-7 rating, which means that they can waterproof at depths of one meter deep. The IPX-7 rating requires headlights to be immersed in one meter deep water for 30 minutes. There is a headlight, Petzl's e+LITE, has an IP 67 rating, and the number "7" in the rating "67" is the same as defined in the IPX 7 rating, which is waterproof at a depth of one meter deep, and the number "6" defines this The headlights are not only waterproof but also dustproof. In an accident, we mistakenly placed the Petzl e+LITE headlamp in the washing machine and it was unscathed. (Note: It is highly suspected that this is an accident or intentional, haha~~)

(Note: IP xy rating is the dust and waterproof rating of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), x from 0-6, marking equipment dust-proof ability, y from 0-8, marking equipment waterproof capacity, y0-8 ​​and IPX classification, 9 is a custom waterproof level for the manufacturer, generally some special waterproof features, generally more stringent than 8.)

Battery Types: Most headlamps we tested use AAA/AA alkaline batteries. However, there are several headlights, such as the Black Diamond Sprinter, Black Diamond ReVolt, Petzl Tikka RXP, etc., which can be selected with rechargeable batteries, such as lithium ion rechargeable batteries. Several special headlamps, such as Petzl e+LITE and Surefure Saint Minimum, use non-conventional batteries to suit their very small size. These headlights using AAA or AA batteries are usually able to use the rechargeable battery in the market, but you have to be mentally prepared, use rechargeable battery headlights brightness and battery life will fall.

The main performance indicators of headlights

Each headlamp product has 3 main performance indicators:

-- Lumens
--Light beam distance
-- Battery life

We suggest to be skeptical of such official indicators: 1) ignore the lumens; 2) be sure that the battery life is infinitely exaggerated; and 3) the distance from the beam is only used for the first few minutes after the new battery is installed. Use the indicators in our test report to replace them.

lumen? Hey~~

Almost every manufacturer has a lumen output indicator of their headlights. This is an indicator that is actually tested using a device called an integrating sphere. This device can test the total energy emitted from a device to all directions of light. Although lumens can tell you the extent of total light output, it is a good reference for home lighting, but it cannot tell you exactly how good the headlights are. why? Because in our field tests, we found that the best headlights are headlights that have the best optical index, whether you choose the spotlight mode or the floodlight mode, which can provide a smooth and uniform light beam, rather than the number of lumens The highest headlight. The lumen index is not an indicator of the quality of the light beam, but is simply the sum of the light emitted by the headlight in all directions.

Two headlamps that are almost as bright, because of the different width of the light beam, the optical quality of the lens system can have completely different lighting effects. As a summary, we feel that lumens are not a reliable indicator of headlamp performance. It is best to use light beam distance instead.

(Note: The people who play the flashlight know that the same bright flashlight, FENIX flashlight will always be able to shine a perfect spot, and no-name flashlight can not do it, from this, the author believes that the lumen is not reliable However, the same cannot be absolute, because if you compare similar products of the same grade, such as BD vs Petzl in a climbing headlight, or a certain product under a certain brand, such as Petzl's Tikka series headlamps, lumens are very important. With reference to indicators, the higher the number of lumens, the more often the other indicators will be better and the price will be more expensive.)

Beam distance: To a certain extent, this is very important!

The beam distance is determined by the brightness of the light emitted by the headlamp and the ability of the lens system to converge the light into a light beam. Unfortunately, it cannot prove the headlamp's optical system is of high quality, and the light pillar may contain artifacts that affect its lighting performance.

You can find the bar distance indicator on each headlight, usually one in high-output spotlight mode and one in low-brightness close-range lighting mode. We recommend that you pay attention to the maximum distance of light beam, because this is an indicator related to the performance of headlights. However, be careful, we found that in the test we found that the average mark of the company was about 9%. We recommend that you use our measured beam distance numbers when comparing products, because we test each headlamp in exactly the same way, using the same exact test conditions, photometer, and battery brand. Therefore, we believe that our measurements provide more fair and reliable basic data for one-on-one contrast headlamps.

Battery life: all virtual

When comparing headlights, battery life is a very important consideration and performance indicator. The problem now is that manufacturers are using a private definition of their “creation” time that they invented, rather than the ANSI FL-1 industry standard (Note: ANSI, American Standards Organization, FL-1, measuring moving light sources such as flashlights, headlamps, And so on, waterproof / water repellent, anti-drop, brightness, light beam distance, spot, life time and other seven indicators of the standard). Manufacturers' private standards allow them to easily optimize headlamps to trick the system into an unrealistically long battery life.

We recommend that you use the battery life we ​​have tested and ignore the manufacturer's specifications. When the lighting experts blame our test model for optimality, they need to know that this is a vendor-independent independent test (completed by us, not by the manufacturer, and their own measured data.), and each head The lamps are tested using the same method. We use the ANSI FL-1 definition to determine when to stop timing the battery life.
We discussed in detail in another article why the headlamp indicators are always ambiguous. If you are interested, you can refer to the first reading.

How to pick a headlight that meets your needs?

Well, the above is all background knowledge, now it's your turn, what can you buy headlights? Let us tell you little by little below.

First, consider the beam distance

We first consider what kind of headlamps you need when you are outdoors. If you are the guy who always gets lost after dark, then the beam distance is crucial! It is the most important factor in pathfinding (the optical quality is secondarily). There is nothing more important than looking far away when you are lost.

The headlights with the light beam farthest away, and the best headlights in our pathfinding test, including the Black Diamond Icon, which won the Best User Choice Award, and the Coast HL7 headlight that won the Editor's Choice Award.

But, of course, not everyone needs a headlight that shines furthest. If you are always on the road with good signposts during your hike at night, then you might consider the two products we have won, the Coast HL7 and the Black Diamond Spot. They are all headlights for the best performance. They are suitable for use in the home, on the road, and in the camp. The price is less than 40 US dollars (240 yuan). If you usually use headlights around the camp or use it as an ordinary flashlight at home, then an economical headlight, such as the Energizer 3 LED that won our Best Choice Award for less than US$10 (RMB 60) Can serve as its position.


The next indicator we consider should be durability. In the same way, we envisage what kind of headlamps do you need when you are outdoors and out of trouble, especially in inclement weather? Imagine if you are struggling in the dark wilderness and encounter heavy downpour. Can your headlights work?

Based on our tests, we are sure that every headlight with IPX4 rating can work in a rainstorm. This is why Black Diamond Spot headlights with IPX4 ratings at the same price are rated higher than Coast HL7. Coast's headlights are marked "water resistant" but have not passed IPX4 certification. It may be okay to put the Coast Lights into the Rain Jacket's hat when it rains, but with a IPX4-certified headlight like Spot it's more reliable.
For best durability, consider an IPX7-rated headlight like the Black Diamond Icon. These headlights can be fully immersed in a meter deep water, so they can be prevented from falling into the stream or continue to work during the all-night heavy rain.

Careful outdoor enthusiasts may consider taking a super light Petzl e+LITE headlight as a backup. It weighs less than 1 ounce (28 grams) and has an impressive IP67 rating for water and dust protection. Plus it uses the watch battery CR2032 which can still work well for 10 years, so you can be sure that you hide an e-LITE in a bag for backup and after a few years its battery can work.

Battery Life:

Not everyone value battery life. If you're driving by car and have a separate battery backup, you shouldn't have a problem (in most cases, you won't use your spare battery.)

However, if you encounter conditions outdoors, battery life is critical. Let's assume that we are outdoors, with a wounded companion, and/or failed equipment, taking a full night's sleep. Our ideal headlight should be able to work in the brightest all night. In our tests, we found that the Black Diamond Icon is the only one that has a high-brightness mode that is easy to find, and that the battery life can last for the entire night.

(Note: This is also a balance. To make the battery last for one night, it usually means that there are more, larger capacity batteries in the headlights, which means that the headlights will have more bulk and heavier weight. This is actually Exceeding the need for headlamps under normal circumstances, this is a job that should be undertaken by an outdoor flashlight. If it is not an adventurous, adventurous outdoor enthusiast, there is no need for such a large, heavy headlight, because the head is It is really uncomfortable to have such a thing.)

Other styles of headlights require you to switch to low-brightness power saving mode to run all night long, or you need to bring a spare battery. For example, both the Black Diamond Spot and the Coast HL7 can be used for the entire night, as long as you carry a set of 3 AAA batteries in your backpack (an increase of 1.2 ounces / 35 grams of weight).

If you are concerned about the entire night life, rechargeable headlamps are usually not a good choice (Note: The headlamps are equipped with rechargeable batteries, provide charging jacks and wires, you can directly charge the headlights, this part of the headlights can come out and charge Replace the battery with other ordinary batteries or rechargeable batteries. Some batteries are sealed in the headlights and cannot be replaced.) One exception, however, is the Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp. Whether it is an ordinary AAA NiMH battery or a rechargeable lithium battery, it lasts 18 hours in our battery life test. So, you can take 3 AAA batteries with a total of 1.2 ounces (35 grams) as backup, usually to meet the needs of multi-day use. In contrast, the Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp, which uses a sealed lithium-ion battery pack, doubles the capacity of the ReVolt lithium battery and doubles the exposure distance, but only 5 hours of battery life. And, if the battery runs out, it does not have the ability to replace the new battery. (This situation may have changed in the spring of 2014. Petzl has announced that it will provide replacement battery functionality.)

Need for headlamps for special sports

In some use environments, the headlight purchase indicator described above will be replaced by special sports needs.


A regular runner will run at least 3 times a week in the evening or early morning. In this case, the battery cost is very important, and the wearing comfort is also an important factor. For the runners, we believe that the Black Diamond Sprinter, which won our runner's best choice award, is the best running headlight in the market right now. It can be charged, in the long run can save a lot of battery money, while the battery compartment in the back of the head, can be very good balance with the head of the lamp. It has a top strap to further enhance the stability of the run, while a rear red light serves as an added safety feature to remind car drivers to pay attention to you.

Off-site travel:

When you go to the field or travel abroad, you may not be able to buy a replaceable battery. In this case, a rechargeable headlight with a solar charger is a good thing. The Black Diamond ReVolt is our favorite in this situation. It has flexible battery options, long battery life and reasonable prices.


The weight and size of the equipment is a problem for every backpacker or climber, even if you are not the kind of fanatical, lightweight fanatics that "cut off my toothbrush handle" to save weight. If weight and size are your top priority, Petzl e+LITE headlights will be your first choice. Weighing less than 1 ounce (only 26 grams sold outside the United States), it's small, light, and radiant, as strong as stone.

Translator: 巍峨 巍峨 山

Original Title: How to Choose the Best Headlamp

Original author: RJ Spurrie

Original source:

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