Which affordable headlamps are best?
Headlamps are a necessary addition to any nighttime outdoor activity. These convenient lights strap to your head using an elastic band, which frees your hands from having to hold a flashlight. Headlamps give you the mobility and vision to tackle any number of tasks in the dark from late-night jogs through the park to searching through a dimly lit attic or setting up a campsite after sunset.
Headlamps can be somewhat expensive, but they don’t always have to break the bank. There are plenty of options for affordable headlamps. Particularly, the Energizer LED Headlamp costs only $10 and provides the comfort and brightness of a more expensive product.
What to know before you buy an affordable headlamp
Lumens are the measure of how bright a light is. This measurement applies to all sorts of lighting, including light bulbs, car headlights and flashlights. Most headlamps fall within the range of 80-300 lumens. Usually, 80-100 lumens are sufficient for basic needs like assembling a tent at night or searching for an item in your dimly lit garage. However, for more serious outdoor activities like hiking or biking at night, consider a brighter headlamp that offers 250-300 lumens. Check out the BestReviews buying guide to see a list of the best overall headlamps offering a wide range of lumens.
There are two main battery types for affordable headlamps. Some headlamps offer rechargeable batteries that are built within the lamp itself. These are often charged using USB connections that can easily plug into your iPhone charger. Other headlamps use alkaline batteries, which are standard household batteries, such as AA or AAA. These battery types tend to weigh less than rechargeable batteries but aren’t as easy on the environment. Most affordable headlamps use alkaline batteries to cut costs.
There are two main design considerations when it comes to purchasing a quality affordable headlamp: head strap and weight. The head strap should be easily adjustable and wrap around your head without causing any discomfort. Furthermore, the weight will determine whether the headlamp moves while running. For joggers, you’ll want a headlamp that weighs around three ounces or less to prevent it from bouncing on your head. It’s also worth considering the effectiveness of the head strap. Most head straps are made with a stretchy elastic material, but some are lower quality than others. Look for headlamps that boast a durable head strap that won’t stretch over time.
What to look for in a quality, affordable headlamp
Battery power depends mostly on how many lumens your headlamp offers. The higher the lumens, the more battery power is used. Some headlamps have adjustable brightness settings that allow you to save on battery life when brighter light isn’t required. Most batteries, both rechargeable and alkaline, provide a few hours of light before needing to be charged or swapped out for new batteries.
Higher quality headlamps offer brighter beams and longer beam lengths. Of course, these will come at a higher price tag. However, some affordable headlamps still offer powerful beams. The type of beam you need will also depend on the activity you are using your headlamp for. For example, if you’re a nighttime runner, look for a longer, straighter beam. If you’re buying a headlamp for camping, you should consider a wide floodlight beam.
Many high-quality headlamps are waterproof, while more affordable headlamps are usually water-resistant. Waterproof means that the devices can be submerged in water for extended periods of time, and the water will not penetrate inside. Water-resistant means that the headlamp will continue to work through rain and brief instances where water might make contact.
How much you can expect to spend on an affordable headlamp
Affordable headlamps cost between $10-$20.
Affordable headlamp FAQ
How long will an affordable headlamp last?
A. If headlamps are well taken care of they can last anywhere from 1-2 years. Much like cell phones, dropping a headlamp on hard surfaces can cause chips to the case and damage the internal components, ultimately lowering its lifespan.
Can you adjust the angle of a headlamp?
A. One of the most underrated features of a headlamp is the tilt function. Even some affordable headlamps allow you to tilt or adjust the angle of the light. This can come in handy during situations where you might need extra light at an awkward angle.
What’s the best affordable headlamp to buy?
Top affordable headlamp
What you need to know: The Energizer headlamp is very affordable and offers a decent beam of light at 100 lumens stretching to 40 meters in distance.
What you’ll love: This headlamp is a great choice for night jogging or camping due to its minimal weight. It also features a washable band making it easy to clean off sweat and dirt.
What you should consider: It does not have a tilt function, which can make lighting in certain situations difficult.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top affordable headlamp for the money
What you need to know: Black Diamond is the most well-known brand for headlamps, and their Astro 250 headlamp is affordable and offers excellent light.
What you’ll love: This device features 250 lumens with multiple brightness settings, making it one of the brightest affordable headlamps available.
What you should consider: Although Astro is not waterproof, it does promise rain protection.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Streamlight 61421 Enduro Pro Headlamp
What you need to know: The Streamlight is one of the most versatile headlamps out there due to its wide range of light colors (green, red, and white) at 200 lumens.
What you’ll love: This headlamp is not only multi-functional, but it’s also very lightweight, which makes it a comfortable choice for hiking and running.
What you should consider: The strap materials are less than ideal and may stretch over time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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