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Best Headlamps : How to Pick the Right Headlamps - KC Outdoors

Best Headlamps, How to Pick the Right One Klarus and Olight

Best Headlamps : How to Pick the Right Headlamps

You can't beat the hands-free lighting convenience of a Best Headlamps when setting up your tent at night, trail running at twilight, or just hunting for something in your attic. LEDs are almost solely used as a light source in today's headlamps. LEDs are long-lasting, durable, and energy-efficient. So, what distinguishes one headlamp from another? How do you decide what to purchase? Headlamps are distinguished by a number of key characteristics.



man camping with headlamp


Headlamp Beam Type

Flood (or Wide): Best Headlamps Useful for general camp tasks, up-close repair work and reading. Flood beams ordinarily do not throw light a long distance.

Spot (or Focused or Narrow): This tight beam best enables long-distance viewing. In most cases this is a better choice to navigate a trail in the dark.

Flood/Spot: Adjustable headlamps are the most versatile.


Headlamp Light Output (Lumens)

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 stronger the light, the higher the lumens? Yes, in the majority of cases—but not always. The way those lumens are used depends on how well a headlamp manufacturer concentrates and directs that light.


Headlamp Beam Distance

The primary function of a headlamp is to direct light to a specific region. 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 reaches (to a surface you want illuminated).

Headlamp Run Time

This figure indicates how long your headlamp will last after it has been fully charged. However, the headlamp industry has recently began to change how this is evaluated, so you may encounter some confusing 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 duration as 10% of the initial brightness of a light. A 350-lumen headlight, for example, might have a 40-hour run time under the old criteria. 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, albeit at a reduced degree of luminance.) So, if you find two headlamps that appear to be identical but have a large discrepancy in run duration, one of them may not have been tested using the new standard yet.

Headlamp Weight

Most headlamps, including batteries, weigh less than 7 ounces and are about the same size. Until you examine some very high-powered models, you won't notice significant changes in headlamp size and weight. Some include top straps and additional battery packs, which add to the overall weight. Rather of being used for everyday excursions, such versions are designed for specific needs (e.g., climbing).

Headlamp Brightness Levels/Modes

Most headlamps offer at least a high and low mode. Others may offer three or more modes.

Strobe (or Flash) mode acts as an emergency blinker. A few models even offer a choice of flash rates: slow and fast.

Low isthe standard mode used for most tasks such as camp chores or walking along an easy trail at night.

Mid is provided on some models simply to give people more choices.

High (or Max) is a good option for situations where you simply need or want more light.

Boost (or Zoom) is found on just a few models. This feature permits an extra-intense beam to be projected for a brief period, maybe 10-20 seconds—nice to have when you’re really curious about what’s causing that rustling sound in those nearby bushes. Just realize this mode exerts a high drain on batteries.

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