The Ultimate Headlamp Guide - Wearable hands-free lighting
February 16, 20219 min read
If you’re into camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors, it’s unlikely that you go anywhere without a headlamp. These powerful little lights are easy to transport and let you keep your hands free for all your adventures. So, what should you look for in a great headlamp?
Lumens are a significant factor in your headlamp choice. Lumens determine how bright a lamp will be, between a range of 50 to 1000 lumens. You should also consider whether a focused or broad beam-type works for your needs.
Headlamps come with a range of potential features, which will work for a range of needs. Whether you are looking for the perfect headlamp to keep your hands free while you work or to light up your latest outdoor adventure, read our guide to find out the right option for you.
What are lumens?
Lumens are a measurement of brightness, and different activities will require different lumens.
For example, suppose you are just trying to find the campground bathroom at night without waking everyone in their tents. In that case, you’ll want a lower lumen headlamp. However, you might need a high lumen headlamp if you need to see a long way in front of you because of uncertain terrain.
You can find different kinds of lights with lumens from 100 to upwards of 5,000. For a headlamp, you won’t be likely to need more than 1,000. Keep in mind too much light can be unnecessary and impractical.
The major upshot of a lower lumen headlamp setting is its energy efficiency. It can shine for a lot longer and add extra light during dawn and dusk hours.
Of course, higher lumens will shine brighter and allow you to see in dark caves and starless nights without a problem. Getting a high Lumen headlamp will drain the battery a lot faster this way.
This is something to really consider if you're out in the boonies, just if you have an emergency situation and want that battery to last.
A great compromise has multiple settings or even a medium mode, which gives a decent amount of light without draining the battery as quickly.
Some headlamps will have custom variable brightness settings so you can dial in precisely the amount of brightness needed. This will make it easy to find how many lumens works best for your activities. Read more about lumens for your worksite, and learn how to calculate how many lumens you needhere.
What other light features should I look for?
An additional feature that could prove handy is a strobe or flash feature. If you happen to find yourself lost or need to quickly grab someone’s attention from a distance, you can use strobe lighting. You can also use it to keep your power usage to a minimum when your battery life is getting low.
Red light is another great additional light feature. You can add just a little light without a harsh white light that affects your night vision.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and need to find something or just get to the bathroom, the red light won’t wake you up too much (or anyone else) but will still give you the light you need.
You might also consider a headlamp with boost or zoom mode, which is used for short, high-intensity beams of light. This is only designed to give you a brief glimpse of your wider surroundings and will drain your battery pretty quickly with repeated use.
Another feature that will make your life easier as a headlamp user is independent light control. If you have multiple lights on your headlamp, which is a feature of most good-quality headlamps, you want to be able to turn lights on and off as you need them.
With the FLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5, you can dim or brighten all of the lights independently with conveniently placed buttons. Two near the temple and one on the back.
What beam-type should I look for?
Most standard headlamps will fall into one of two beam-types: a spot beam or a wide beam. Some headlamps will let you transition between the two light types for different circumstances. In contrast, other headlamp options will have both incorporated into one.
A spot beam is a focused or narrow beam. This light will give poor visibility of your broader surroundings but will let you see further. If you’re working in narrow spaces and need to see with precision and for a greater distance, this beam type could be right for you.
On the other hand, a flood beam gives you a more expansive, less focused light, which allows you to see more of the area directly in front of you. This type of light is not so great at seeing at a distance, but if you need to see all of what’s right in front of you, a flood beam will do the job.
If you need the best of both worlds, the FLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 contains a high-power beam light in the center of the headlamp and floodlights on either side to give total peripheral visibility.
This design allows you to see far into the distance without causing tunnel vision, which can feel unnatural and disorientating. This headlamp also has variable independent light control, meaning you don’t have to use all the lights all at once or even all the lumens of each light at once.
The front lights are basically on dimmers, so you can truly customize the amount of light to what works best for your activity.
Should you choose a rechargeable headlamp?
Instead of packing a whole lot of backup batteries, rechargeable headlamps can allow you to travel lighter. Rechargeable batteries are also often larger capacity and more powerful than standard batteries, allowing your headlamp to shine brighter for longer. Here are some of your different battery choices:
-Alkaline batteries: These are the batteries that you will most commonly find in headlamps, but they cannot be recharged.
-Nickel-cadmium batteries: These batteries have almost unlimited charges and highly durable. They don’t, however, have the same power capacity as alkaline batteries.
-Lithium batteries: this high-voltage battery option, which is the equivalent of two alkaline batteries, is rechargeable numerous times. Lithium batteries are also perfect for use at high altitude because of their resistance to temperature and condition variations.
The FLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 contains a Lithium battery that is USB rechargeable, the cable for which is included. It also features a battery level indicator, and a kill switch, which stops the light from turning on by accident, helping to preserve battery life.
The battery can also easily be swapped with abackup battery, which is a great option for longer trips where you might not have the opportunity to charge your headlamp.
What durability factors should I look or?
If you’re out on an adventure in all types of weather and conditions, you will need to ensure that a little rainfall or a dip in the river won’t affect your headlamp.
Your headlamp must have a waterproof battery socket because otherwise, your battery will short out and die after water exposure. The electrical components may also cause safety concerns, especially since you wear a headlamp around your head.
Having a waterproof headlamp is one of the most important durability factors to consider if you want to take your headlamp into all conditions. Another durability factor is drop-resistance.
A good indicator of high-level drop resistance is if the headlamp could survive a fall of 2 meters. If a drop results in a crack, internal circuit failure, or if the batteries fall out, then the durability is pretty poor and the headlamp is not a practical choice.
Another important durability factor is weather and cold resistance. If you are exploring cold northern regions or high altitudes, you’ll need a headlamp that can handle those conditions.
If you choose a low-quality headlamp, it will be at risk of becoming hard and brittle with the cold. This will damage and break the internal core wires, leaving you potentially without light.
What is the best headlamp for working?
Construction workers, plumbers, and many other professions need headlamps to make their jobs easier, and there is a range of specific needs that go a long with that. Being waterproof, drop resistant, and generally durable are all important to enabling work.
Another great feature to look out for in a great headlamp for working is hard hat compatibility. You can wear lamps like theFLEXIT Headlamp on your work helmet to increase your visibility and improve your safety. You can also purchaseclips to keep your headlamp secured to your helmet without sliding up over time.
An excellent work headlamp will also have a positionable spotlight. This allows you to easily see what you are working on by adjusting the light and not awkwardly positioning your head, limiting your visibility.
TheFLEXIT Headlamp and theFLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 both have this important feature. It’s also vital that the headlamp is sturdy enough to hold the light in place at any angle so your hands remain free to work.
The final important consideration for a headlamp for working is comfort. If you need to wear your headlamp without a helmet for long periods, it will need to be comfortable.
TheFLEXIT Headlamp is designed with maximum comfort in mind. It is lightweight and low-profile and features sweat prevention comfort foam around the inside, providing a cloud-like comfort.
TheFLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 can also be worn for hours at a time without discomfort, thanks to a laminated layer of foam and felt lining the inside.
This feature helps to limit sweat in warmer environments in addition to providing comfort. This headlamp is also lightweight at only 5.8 oz. Its design is very evenly weighted and low profile for superb wearability.
What is the red light used for on a headlamp?
You may have noticed some headlamps have a red light and wondered what it could be used for. Red lights have several applications and are often used in photography darkrooms, as well as in military bunkers, submarines, other dark working environments, and even hunting.
Red light allows you to see your work but keeps your eyes adjusted to the dark so you experience less disorientation when the lights are turned off. Your eyes will dilate less with exposure to red light as compared with brighter white or yellow light.
It is almost a form of night vision, letting you see without removing your eye’s natural ability to adjust to the darkness. It also means you are less likely to disturb those around you if they are sleeping because the light is dimmer and less noticeable.
Outdoor adventurers regularly use red light features on their headlamps if they need extra light around a campfire. Also, in a tent with others who are sleeping or just to see at night without letting their eyes adjust to bright light.
Using red light outside also gives you better peripheral vision than a spot beam. It is an excellent option around your campground or an area you know well and need to travel a short distance. Red light can also be used for a little extra light during dawn and dusk hours or when the moon is particularly bright.
TheFLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 allows users to operate the red LED lights independently of any other lights on the headlamp. There are two red lights on the front of the headlamp and an additional red light on the back. This backlight also has a flashing function in case of emergency or for battery preservation.
On this headlamp, the red light also serves as a safety feature. The 360-degree red flashing light ensures that the wearer can be seen clearly from every angle. This is a great way to remain visible while jogging or cycling in the dark. It also serves as an emergency locator, helping rescuers locate the wearer.
What is a good amount of lumens for a headlamp?
We discussed above what lumens are and how different lumen amounts can impact the light you are getting and the battery life; but is there a correct amount that’s best for everyone? The answer depends greatly on the head lamp’s intended purpose.
Suppose you are going into a cave, or cycling before sunrise, or doing anything where you rely entirely on your headlamp as your light source. In that case, it makes sense to go with a more powerful option. The 650 lumens provided by theFLEXIT Headlamp PRO 6.5 will do the trick nicely.
If you are using your headlamp to work and need precision lighting, you might want to use a headlamp with less light and more battery life. For this purpose, the 250 lumens provided by theFLEXIT Headlamp 2.5 will be more than adequate.
It is not always best to just go for the brightest headlamp with the newest, flashiest features. The right headlamp for you will meet your needs and help make your life, work, or adventures easier.
A great working headlamp will fit sturdily around a hard hat, be easy to use, and give off precision light for an extended period. If you are a night time adventurer and need to see far and wide with a significant amount of light, you will want something with both a spot beam and a flood beam.
At SKTR concepts, we are lighting experts passionate about creating innovative products for everyone from DIYers to mechanics and construction industries. You can view and shop all of our lighting solutions and read more about who we are and what we dohere.
Anything can happen at any moment in time. Being prepared can make a major difference in how safe you remain during an emergency. It’s recommended that everyone has an emergency kit ready so that they are prepared anytime that the unthinkable happens.