Headlamp FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Since we started this website years ago, we’ve had so many questions come by way of the contact form that we are finally making a comprehensive Headlamp FAQ page! See the questions and answers below.

Q: What is the Brightest Headlamp?

A: The brightest headlamp we have works for a short time before it gets too hot and must power down a bit to cool off so it doesn’t start a fire on your head. Not joking! The OLIGHT H2R has 2,300 lumens at peak turbo level brightness. That’s plenty for a short burst. No headlamp we’ve ever tested does well over 900 lumens or so. It’s just the point where the CREE bulbs get far too hot to cool without a fan. Are there other brighter lights? Yes. Should you use it? Nobody needs a headlamp brighter than around 1,000 lumens. Here’s an article with more info.

Q: What is the Best Headlamp for the Money?

A: Great question! There are two of them now. The latest was just released by Petzl and is called the SWIFT RL (not available yet). It has 900 lumens and a rechargeable battery, red light and red-strobe, is super-light and very comfortable to wear with a double rear head-strap. This will be our #1 headlamp. The other is our #1 headlamp for 2019, the OLIGHT H2R. This has 2,300 lumens turbo boost, long-lasting battery is ultra-waterproof, very lightweight, comfortable, and has 18560 replaceable batteries.

Q: OK, NO B.S. — Which Headlamp Should I Buy?

Q: Which Headlamp has the Longest-lasting Battery?

A: In truth, few headlamps have a long-lasting battery. The Petzl NAO+ and the new NAO RL both have a special technology (RLT) that senses how much light you need and adjusts it higher and lower. This saves incredibly on battery power. You can also program it with your mobile phone app to give say 20 hours of light at the brightest setting possible. It will do that (not at the highest setting, but the brightest possible over the entire course of 20 hours.).

Probably you want a headlamp which allows you to buy extra batteries cheaply. That means the Petzl IKO CORE or ACTIK CORE are probably for you. It uses 18650 3600 mAh batteries that are cheap and work a long time.

Q: Which Batteries are Best? Lithium-ion? Store bought? Rechargeables?

A: This is a great question because there are differences between each. Lithium-ion and rechargeable batteries are better for the environment than store-bought batteries, so please, go with one of these as your PRIMARY use batteries. However, I know, sometimes you need to buy a pack of AA’s or AAA’s to get through a project. Do what you have to do.

Lithium-ion batteries are better than the other two options because they provide a constant power supply that gives the headlamp user a much better experience. I would much rather have a 350 lumens light on high for 2 hours – shining brightly for that 2 hours. The Petzl ACTIK CORE lasts 2 hours with the provided CORE 1250 mAh battery. With rechargeable AAAs or store-bought AAA’s – the brightness starts fading fast and you’re left with about 20 lumens towards the end of 2 hours. That is NOT acceptable for me or most people. Get Lithium-ion batteries as your PRIMARY battery!

Q: Which Headlamp is Best for…

A: We have a link at the top of the page that links to the headlamps we think are very good for various activities. Find it here — HEADLAMPS FOR… .

Q: Do You Collect My Personal Information while I’m On Headlamps101?

A: No, not at all. We don’t collect anything. Our statistics program through Google collects information about pageviews and location, language, and device visiting the website. But, it is completely anonymous. Please see our Privacy page for any more information.

See our Best Headlamps of 2022 Guide here >