How To Choose A Headlamp
Choosing a headlamp is a simple exercise. Simply go to your nearest camping store, go to the lighting section of the store, and pick a headlamp that suits your budget and needs. Oh and don’t forget to pick a nice pretty colour. This is very important as you don’t want to get caught out in an emergency wearing something that does not suit your clothes and could possibly make you look daggy.
Believe it or not, this is where a lot of people will start and finish with the purchase of a headlamp. This is fine if you are choosing a device for low occasional use but if you need a headlamp for more serious use or work application this will not work for you and you will end up disappointed. There is simply not enough specific usage information given with each device to help people make an informed decision when purchasing a headlamp that they end up confused giving up and simply choosing the first headlamp that they see or is recommended to them by a sales person in store. Here is a practical breakdown of the attributes to consider when choosing a headlamp for your specific requirements and also a few recommendations from our personal experience based on use. Hopefully this will help you choose the most suitable device for your application that you will be happy with for many years.
Attributes To Consider
- Run-time on high: How long will it run for before it cuts out or will only operate on a lower mode. Check the runtime of the device in high mode to give you an idea if it is suitable for your application.
- Beam Distance : Beam distance is not determined by how high the lumen output of the light is but more importantly how the reflector is designed. For example the larger the reflector the more focused and concentrated the beam can be and hence further distance so suitable for activities like hunting or outdoor activities so check this in the specs. The smaller the reflector the more spread the beam will be so ideal for close up applications like work. Plumbers, Electricians, Plasterers or anybody needing a lot of light out to 30-40 meters.
- Is it regulated to keep the high output running for a specified period of time as regulated headlamps will give you a specified runtime on high for a stated period of time. Also most modern rechargeable headlamps using Lit-ion batteries will be regulated and are also a lot brighter than AA or AAA alkaline based headlamps.
- Is it unregulated and how quickly will the high output start to drop in lumens as unregulated lights will continue to drop in output until the batteries run out. Most AA and AAA battery headlamps will be unregulated meaning they will continue to work until the battery drains to zero. Only thing to consider here is the output of the headlamp will become unusable when the lumen output gets too low so fine for occasional usage but if it is used as a work light regularly a rechargeable headlamp that is regulated is the best option.
- How many outputs levels does the headlamp have. This is important as a lower mode is often used for close up work and can greatly increase the runtime of the headlamp. Many times we have had customers purchase the brightest headlamp only to find that they use a mid mode or low mode the majority of the time so low range mode are also an important factor if the headtorch is being used for close up work applications.
- Is it rechargeable or does it run on standard AA or AAA batteries. AA and AAA are easy and convenient to purchase and are ok to use in headlamps where lower outputs and occasional use is required but if you need a really powerful headlamp that can run for much greater periods of time rechargeable 18650 batteries are the best way to go as the voltage is much higher than standard AA batteries so they can produce headlamps with much higher outputs operating with this type of battery. Also rechargeable batteries will save you a lot of money.
If you require a headlamp for more intense usage or a specific work purpose for example, you are a plumber or an electrician working in ceilings or an adventurer needing a headlamp that will not fail in extreme environments hopefully some of the information we give you further ahead in this piece will help you pick a product that works well for your specific purpose and you get many years of use from. Also we will make a few recommendations for specific products based on use.