What Should I Look For In A Headlamp? - Lumens, Red Lights & More
December 30, 20205 min read
Headlamps have grown to be the most efficient means of hands-free directed lighting. What makes a headlamp great, however, is all the other factors that go into its construction.
The primary headlamp features to consider are the brightness and field of light that it projects, the power supply system, the ease of use, and the comfort of wearing it. The number of lumens recommended will vary based on how you plan to use it, along with the type of battery required.
We have taken our 15+ years of expertise in the lighting industry to break down all the factors that make for a perfect headlamp. So let's take a closer look.
How do I choose a headlamp?
Headlamps come with a wide variety of features and settings. Understanding how these settings translate into usage will help you find the right one.
Since headlamps, as the name implies, are worn on your head, comfort is a huge factor when choosing a headlamp. Choosing one with a padded ergonomic design like the FLEXIT Headlamp that we at STKR Concepts have built will help ensure that you won't get a headache from prolonged periods of use.
In addition to being comfortable for any wear duration, the laminated layer of foam and soft-touch felt helps control sweat in hot environments. This design also extends to the headlamp's weight, which is only 5.8oz. The lightweight and low-profile design will shape to the individual user, keeping the mass close to the head and evenly distributed, making for easy addition to your gear.
It is impossible to discuss headlamp lighting without talking about the most important feature, the lights themselves! The first step in this process is understanding lumens. Lumens are defined as "a unit of luminous flux in the International System of Units that is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one-candela intensity radiating equally in all directions."
This definition is a bit dense, but you can really boil it down to lumens equaling brightness. When most people think of lightbulbs, the first thing they think of is their wattage. Watts are a measurement of energy use; however, not light output. Because LED technology is incredibly energy-efficient, wattage cannot measure brightness correctly.
How many lumens do I need for a headlamp?
Understanding how many lumens you need for your purpose is heavily dependent on the task at hand. Fortunately, both of our FLEXIT Headlamps come with multiple settings, but how do you determine which one to use at any given moment? The brightest possible light isn't always the right choice for every scenario, so let's look at some of the possible situations.
Low lumens: This level of light is perfect for setting up camp in the dark, walking your dog, reading, doing any close-up work, and any time you are in a group, so you don't blind those around you.
Medium lumens: This is an ideal setting for night hiking or running on poorly lit but relatively even terrain. You can use this to strike a balance between maintaining battery life and providing enough light to see.
High lumens: Use this level of light for mountain biking or skiing in the evening or at any time when you need to have a complete vision of everything in front of you.
These examples take into account the brightness of your headlamp, but it is also essential to consider the field of view. Many headlamps function the same way traditional flashlights do, where they only provide a single spotlight that can sometimes give good visibility, but it requires a lot of head movement to keep focused.
The FLEXIT Headlamp solves this issue with another one of our innovative design features. Both the 2.5 and the 6.5 Pro versions come equipped with a high range Cree LED spotlight centered on your field of view, but they also have side-mounted floodlights that create 180° lighting.
Using both sets of lights in parallel allows for long-range vision with the spotlight and an excellent peripheral view with the floodlights at the same time. This combination prevents the tunnel vision that traditional headlamps cause, creating a safer and more comfortable experience. You can also operate each light independently of the other for situations where you may only require one.
Why is there a red light on the headlamp?
Since headlamps are primarily used at night or in other dark situations, maintaining safety is incredibly important to us at STKR Concepts. This concern is why we have designed both of our FLEXIT Headsets with 360° visibility red flashing hazard lights. Users can maintain the focal spotlight while the rear-facing and side-mounted lights blink, ensuring that they can be seen from every angle while still illuminating the task in front of them.
To take that concept one step further, we have also designed the COB LEDs on our Pro version to feature a red mode. These are the LEDs that produce the floodlight that allows for the excellent field of view our FLEXIT series provides. Red LEDs are not as bright to the human eye, which can help in situations where users need to preserve their natural ability to see at night.
What kind of batteries do headlamps use?
A significant factor in choosing the right headlamp is the battery system and lifespan. At STKR Concepts, we only use LEDs for our lighting solutions, and the efficiency of that light source drives our designs. Our FLEXIT Headlamp 2.5 maintains a runtime of up to 12 hours of low-light based on the 3 AAA batteries used to power it. We have more than quadrupled this runtime, however, with our FLEXIT Headlamp Pro.
We have equipped our Pro version with a 3350 mAh 18650 lithium-ion rechargeable battery to give it a tremendous 55-hour low-light runtime! You can charge this battery via the USB port inside the battery case. It can also be swapped instantly with a backup 18650 lithium-ion battery if you are on a long trip or in case of emergency.
We recommend that Pro version users stick exclusively to the 3350 mAh version of our lithium-ion batteries. While we offer replacement batteries in both the 2000 mAh range and the 2600 mAh range, the FLEXIT Headlamp Pro will provide the best results if used with the batteries that ship with it.
The FLEXIT Pro's ability to be recharged via USB allows users to take advantage of portable solar recharging sources. This functionality allows for more prolonged excursions while still having your light source available at night. It can be advantageous to get the most longevity out of each lithium-ion battery before needing to swap.
With all of these electronic components, it is vital to consider the weatherproof capabilities as well. After all, most users need headlamps for outdoor use! Our FLEXIT Headlamps are rated as IPX5 weather-resistant, which means that they can handle rain perfectly fine, but don't go swimming with one on.
Headlamps can be used for a wide variety of tasks. Whether you need some additional safety measures for late-night bicycling, a convenient light for working on your car, or a way to keep your hands free while hiking through the wilderness, a well-designed headlamp is the way to go!
By taking the time to understand our consumers' needs, we have designed the FLEXIT Headlamp 2.5 and the FLEXIT Headlamp 6.5 Pro to cover every possible situation. Check out our website to take a look at these and other lighting solutions to brighten every aspect of your life.
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.