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The Best: LED Headlamps

What are the best LED headlamps?

Battery Junction's guide to buying the right headlamp for you.

What are the best LED headlamps?

LED headlamps are great tools for providing light for users who need their hands free to work or maneuver freely in the dark. While all headlamps share the distinction of being head-mounted lighting devices, variations in output, power options and interface separate the good from the greatest hands-free lighting tools. The intended use, value and comfort of a headlamp are all deciding factors for when choosing a headlamp.

This list of Top 10 LED headlamps was assembled using various points of data, including sales records, distinct product features and direct feedback from our customers. We have a wide variety of headlamps available, so if you don't see something here that suits you we have plenty more to choose from!

What to Look For:

With so many headlamps out there, it can be tricky to pick out the right one for you. But if you can pick out a few basic features that you need and know which ones to look for, you'll be wearing some high powered LED headgear in no time!

LED Headlamp output

LED Output:

When it comes to headlamps, lumen rating isn't everything but it never hurts to have have a bit more power available! That being said, a modern LED headlamp should be able to produce at least 500 lumens and be able to adjust to lower settings for close range or discreet work. Having lower light levels at your disposal makes it easy to adjust the beam to your needs and to control power consumption.

Power options

Power Options:

Keeping your headlamp powered up is important, so it is vital to know when and how you can recharge or refill the power source. Most modern LED headlamps make use of rechargeable 18650 Li-ion batteries or primary CR123A lithium batteries. Having a rechargeable light is a clear benefit that will save time and money in the long run (and it's good for the environment too!). However having some CR123As on hand is a great idea in a pinch if you run out of juice. Alternatively some heavy duty headlamps include rechargeable battery packs that can be belt mounted, and remove the complication of replacing batteries.

Anodized aluminum headlamp

Durable Materials:

A headlamp is an investment and a serious tool that you need to rely on, so making sure yours is built with quality and care is essential. Keep an eye out for lights constructed of lightweight yet durable anodized aluminum, which is the standard of high quality LED flashlights everywhere. You'll also want to make sure that the head strap is made from a light form fitting material and is fully adjustable.

Top 10 Recommendations:

1. Nitecore HC60 Rechargeable Headlamp

Our number one pick is the most popular in functionality and sales. The Nitecore HC60 is a high performance headlamp built for versatility and durability. Built from aero-grade aluminum, it is not only lightweight, but also impact resistant. The IPX7 waterproof rating ensures that it will continue to function in any weather conditions. With five different brightness outputs and signaling modes, you can adapt to changing environments and needs quickly. The wide 100° beam angle and vertical 180° tilting allows you to aim your light exactly where you need it. It is internally rechargeable and dual powered by one 18650 or two CR123A batteries.

Uses: Hiking, Climbing, Caving, Camping, Map Reading, Cycling, Construction, Walking, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x 18650 (Included) or 2 x CR123A Li-ion Batteries
Rechargeable:
Yes - Micro USB (internally)
Battery (externally)
Waterproof:
IPX7
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumen and Runtime
1000 lumens
680 hours - 28.33 Days

2. Olight H2R Rechargeable Headlamp

The Olight H2R is the brightest single 18650 battery headlamp on the market today! With a max output of 2300 lumens, five brightness settings and a signal mode, it is sure to meet almost any lighting needs you might have. The light itself is easily removed from the head strap and mount so it can be converted into an angled EDC for another carrying option. Made from high quality aluminum alloy, it is lightweight and rugged. Impact resistant up to 1.5 meters and an IPX8 rating for safe use in all weather environments, it is ideal for extreme use. The silicone mount allows you to tilt your light at almost any angle for optimal illumination. It features the Olight signature magnetic tailcap, which the battery is directly charged through or used as yet another hands-free lighting option.

Uses: EDC, Camping, Climbing, Caving, Hiking, Walking, Cycling, Map Reading, Construction, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x Proprietary 18650 Li-ion Battery (Included)
Rechargeable:
Yes - Magnetic USB Base
Waterproof:
IPX8
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumens and Runtimes:
2300 lumens
1080 Hours - 45 days

3. Nitecore HC30 Headlamp

The Nitecore HC30 is an incredibly durable and versatile 18650 headlamp. Designed to be used two different ways, it can be a powerful hands-free lighting device or taken out of the mount to be used as an angled EDC light. The option between a cool or neutral white LED is up to you and what you need your light for. The singular activation switch on its head is user friendly whether mounted on a head strap or in hand. The wide beam pattern and ability to rotate vertically 180° provides you with superior and customizable illumination. Constructed from aluminum alloy and O-ring sealed, it is lightweight, impact resistant and waterproof - built to withstand drops and any weather conditions. The five different brightness outputs ranging from 1 to 1000 lumens and three signal modes, you are sure to find an ideal setting for any task at hand.

Uses: EDC, Camping, Hiking, Walking, Outdoor Recreation, Map Reading, Construction, Cycling, Climbing

Battery:
1 x 18650
2 x CR123A Li-ion Batteries
Rechargeable:
No - Batteries Only (externally)
Waterproof:
IPX8
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
1000 lumens
330 Hours - 13.75 Days

4. Klarus HA2C Rechargeable Headlamp

The Klarus HA2C is another multi-purpose headlamp that can be used as a hands-free light or a compact angled EDC. User friendly with a single switch interface, you never have to fumble through user manuals or separate switches to reach the setting you need. Equipped with 5 brightness settings that range from 15 to 3200 lumens, and special signaling modes, you are sure to find the ideal output for countless tasks and adventures. The flexible headlamp mount allows you to not only rotate the light 180° for precise lighting, but also releases the light just as easily for in-hand use. Adding value to versatility, it features a powerful magnetic tailcap for yet another kind of hands-free illumination attachment. Powered by one 18650 battery (or two CR123A's) and micro-USB rechargeable, it is easy to find back-up power and recharging options. Built for rugged use, it is impact resistant and waterproof so you never have to worry about accidental drops or damage in changing weather.

Uses: EDC, Camping, Construction, Cycling, Climbing, Caving, Hiking, Walking, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x 18650 (Included)
2 x CR123A, or 2 x Klarus 16340 Li-ion Batteries
Rechargeable:
Yes - Micro USB (internally)
Battery (externally)
Waterproof:
IPX8
 
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
 
Max Lumens and Runtime:
3200 lumens
75 hours - 3.13 Days

5. Olight H1R Rechargeable Headlamp

The Olight H1R is an incredibly bright headlamp, but also one of the most compact! This little powerhouse measures in at less than 3 inches long and weighs less than 2 ounces! Don't let its size fool you, this light is equipped with a powerful XM-L2 LED that can emit up to 600 lumens. The five brightness outputs and SOS mode provide you with a wide range of settings to choose from as your environment or tasks change. The silicone mount provides the ability to vertically tilt your headlamp 180° for precise lighting. For more lighting angles and options, you can take this light out of its mount and use it as a hand-held angled EDC, or use the magnetic tailcap as an attachment point for a different kind of hands-free illumination. The magnetic tailcap also serves as the point of charging for the customized 16340 battery and lamp itself. Built for toughness, it has numerous internal protections, is impact resistant up to 1.5 meters and is waterproof so it can be used in inclimate weather without fear of damage.

Uses: EDC, Camping, Hiking, Map Reading, Cycling, Construction, Climbing, Walking, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x Proprietary Olight 16340 Li-ion Battery (Included)
Rechargeable:
Yes - Only included 16340 can be recharged internally
Waterproof:
IPX8
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
600 Lumens
144 hours - 6 days

6. Nitecore HC33 Headlamp

The Nitecore HC33 is a high efficiency, all-purpose headlamp with wide flood beam lighting. This lightweight and compact light can be comfortably worn with the included elastic nylon headband on a helmet, bare skin or taken out of its mount and used as an EDC. The angled light provides a wide 100° beam angle and can be vertically tilted 180° while in the mount for superior customizable illumination. The single button interface accesses all five brightness settings and signaling modes for simple operation convenience. If working around metal surfaces, you can attach it with the magnetic tailcap for yet another hands-free lighting option! Constructed with hard working professionals and extreme adventurers in mind, it is waterproof and impact resistant. While using the recommended Nitecore 18650 battery, this headlamp can also withstand extreme temperatures without failing.

Uses: EDC, Climbing, Caving, Map Reading, Cycling, Construction, Hiking, Walking, Camping, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x 18650
2 x CR123A Li-ion Batteries
Rechargeable:
No - Charging Bundle Available
Waterproof:
IP68
Beam Pattern:
Flood Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
1800 lumens
300 hours - 12.5 days

7. Streamlight 61304 ProTac HL Headlamp

The Streamlight ProTac HL is a wide beam headlamp designed for industrial and tactical hands-free lighting. This durable light comes with two kinds of head bands to ensure that you have the right fit for you and your helmet. Powered by two CR123A batteries and supported by its Solid State power regulation, you have maximum illumination throughout the entirety of the battery's lives. Capable of tilting vertically a full 90° while in its mount allows you to point your light exactly where you need it. The single button interface controls the three lighting modes and provides access to the Ten-Tap® Programming. This feature allows you to program the order in which the brightness settings cycle, so you can get to your preferred mode even quicker.

Uses: Construction, Industrial, Walking, Hiking, Camping, Outdoor Recreation, Camping

Battery:
2 x CR123A Li-ion Batteries (Included)
Rechargeable:
No
Waterproof:
IPX4
Beam Pattern:
Flood Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
635 lumens
36 hours - 1.5 days

8. Fenix HM65R Rechargeable Headlamp

The Fenix HM65R is an incredibly durable and lightweight dual-light source headlamp that is ideal for numerous tasks and adventures. This light is constructed from magnesium alloy, (which is lighter than aluminum alloy) with an all metal housing that protects it from all sides - even when dropped from 2 meters. It features two light sources for different beam patterns to help you adapt to changing environments and lighting needs. The spotlight provides four brightness settings with a far reaching beam that is perfect for mid to long distance illumination. The floodlight has three brightness levels with a softer and more broad beam for close to mid range lighting needs. Each beam pattern has its own switch, and are independently controlled for easy operation. A favorite amongst nighttime runners and cyclists because of its very large reflective strips, silicone sweat-channeling lines and comfortable hollow headband design.

Uses: Climbing, Caving, Hiking, Walking, Running, Cycling, Camping, Outdoor Recreation, Construction

Battery:
1 x 18650 (Included)
2 x CR123A Li-ion Batteries
Rechargeable:
Yes - USB-C (internally)
Battery (Externally)
Waterproof:
IP68
Beam Pattern:
Combination - Spot and Flood Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
1000 lumens
300 hours - 12.5 days

9. Acebeam H40 Headlamp

The Acebeam H40 is a lightweight, multi-purpose headlamp with two different LED options to accommodate to your specific lighting needs. The CREE XP-L HD LED has a bright, evenly-lit beam pattern ideal for mid to long distance illumination with dimming capabilities. The Luminus SST-20 95+ CRI LED has a warmer and soft beam that closely resembles natural sunlight, is preferred for photography and is perfect for close to mid range lighting. This headlamp can run off of one Alkaline AA battery, one Li-ion 14500, or one Ni-MH 14500 battery. Each type of battery and LED has slightly varying outputs, allowing you to choose what best suits your lighting needs. The comfortable elastic headband is equipped with reflective strips and sweat channeling lines that makes it a favorite for athletes and spirited adventurers. Its extremely durable aluminum alloy housing can withstand drops up to 1.5 meters as well as use in any weather conditions.

Uses: Camping, Map Reading, Walking, Hiking, Construction, Running, Cycling, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x AA (Alkaline)
1 x 14500 (Li-ion or Ni-MH) Battery
Rechargeable:
No - Battery Only (externally and only 14500)
Waterproof:
IP68
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
1050 or 600 lumens
60 hours - 2.5 days

10. Fenix HL50 Headlamp

The Fenix HL50 Headlamp is a dual-powered, lightweight and adaptable hands-free lighting device for a wide variety of applications. Its versatile design allows it to be used mounted to the headband, as a hand-held EDC, or as an angled light with the tail stand functionality. Powered by either one CR123A or AA battery, it has astonishing outputs ranging from 3 lumens to 365 lumens. Built to withstand extreme use, the housing is made from aluminum alloy and can survive accidental drops from 1 meter. O-ring sealed, it has an IPX8 waterproof rating and can be used in any weather conditions without fear of damage. When used in conjunction with a lithium CR123A battery, this headlamp can function in extreme temperatures dropping as low as -40°.

Uses: EDC, Climbing, Caving, Map Reading, Cycling, Construction, Hiking, Walking, Camping, Outdoor Recreation

Battery:
1 x CR123A Li-ion
1 x AA (Ni-MH or Alkaline) Battery
Rechargeable:
No - Battery Only (externally)
Waterproof:
IPX8
Beam Pattern:
Wide Beam
Max Lumens and Runtime:
365 lumens
150 hours - 6.25 days