Whether for hiking, barbecuing, fishing, camping or jogging: With a headlamp, you are ready for action at any time of the day. It is a light, small and very practical companion for all outdoor activities. And you're not limited in any way by the head attachment. We have tested 3 different headlamps for you and paid special attention to the handling, the wearing comfort, and the light cone. Our test winner is the Energizer headlamp: The lamp is comfortable to wear, has a high luminous intensity and is easy to handle. Our favourite with the test mark 9.0!
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TheEnergizer Headlight is a battery-powered headlight. It is very easy to use and has a good light intensity. The light cone can be adjusted in 5 different settings and is pleasant and wide. The headlamp is very comfortable to wear.
TheBlack Diamond Headlamp is a battery-operated headlamp. It is very small and of high quality and can be worn comfortably on the head. In its handling, it is a bit more complicated at the beginning and it can be adjusted to 5 different light cones. The headlamp has a very high luminous intensity and a pleasant light cone, which shows a light yellow/green hue in itself.
The Outerdo Headlight is a battery-powered headlight. Due to the large lamp and the large battery compartment, it causes slight discomfort. It has a large variety in the light cone settings and is easy to use, but the light intensity is very weak and the light cone small.
For longer hikes or excursions equip yourself with sufficient spare batteries.
Adjust the headband to a comfortable position. If it is set too tight, it can cause headaches during prolonged use.
Do not look directly into the light cone of the lamp and do not shine in the face of anyone. If you are surrounded by other people, you can use the tilt option and adjust the lamp downwards.
In the run-up to the test, we defined practical requirements and the following test criteria:
Cone of light
In order to be able to evaluate these criteria, we have defined several tests for the headlamps. First, the scope of delivery is checked. The various functions are tested in the first test runs and the ease with which the lamps can be attached to the head is checked.
It is also assessed whether the lamps are comfortable to wear and how well they can be operated on the head. The lamps are also worn during jogging, jumping and other activities to check how well they stay in place.
The luminous intensity of the devices is then measured. At the highest level and after 3 hours of use. If according to the manufacturer the headlamps are waterproof or cold-resistant, this is also checked by placing the equipment in a freezer compartment for a short time and spraying it with water. Finally, the light cones of the lamps are compared directly with each other.
In order to rule out errors and to ensure exposure to everyday use, each test is carried out in several stages.
The test criteria are given percentages depending on their importance. The final score is then objectively calculated from the test criteria using an algorithm.
Our product selection is based on an observation of the current market. In addition to popular branded products, we also include insider tips in our selection. Criteria such as price and range of functions are an important factor for us. The test field is also determined by analysis and evaluation of customer reviews and external tests (e.g. Stiftung Warentest).
The devices are purchased anonymously or lent to us by the manufacturer. Dealers and manufacturers have no influence on the tests and our evaluation.
As soon as new relevant products come onto the market, our test field is extended by these. The new products go through the same test as the already tested devices.
If you're hiking in the dark, working in dark places or jogging in the evening, then a headlamp is the best choice. A headlamp can be comfortably worn around your head, so you can use both hands while using the lamp. With a headlamp, you will generally find your way easily in the dark. You can basically distinguish between three different types of devices: Compact headlamps, universal headlamps and high-performance headlamps. Depending on the application, you can use a different headlamp. There are also lamps with various accessories such as a red light, a USB port, a rear light or various light modes.
Before you buy a headlamp, you should inform yourself sufficiently about it. In the following paragraphs, you will find out for which purposes you can use headlamps, what different types of headlamps there are and what you should pay attention to before buying a headlamp. You will also find out when a headlamp is more suitable and when a classic flashlight can be used instead.
Headlamps have their origins in the first decades of the 20th century. At this time more and more cave migrations were carried out in Europe into deep and particularly large caves. Since the classic flashlight was already on the market at that time, the cave hikes could be carried out at all. However, during these hikes, it was quickly noticed that the flashlight always requires holding in one hand. An effective solution was sought. A few years later, in the early 1970s, the first professional headlamp was developed. It could easily be fastened with a band around the head and was directed forwards.
Depending on the size of the head, the band could also be adjusted. Equipped with a small light bulb, this headlamp worked just like the flashlights available at the time. The first headlamp was only equipped with a button to switch it on and off. However, the design of the first headlamp has been successful to this day. Originally made for cave walking, the headlamps are now used for a variety of purposes. In addition, today's models have significantly more functions that can be used in a variety of situations. In general, you can fix today's headlamps better to your head. This means that they can also be used in extreme situations.
The fields of application for headlamps are endless. Basically: All areas you want to illuminate, but at the same time want to use your hands freely, you can illuminate with a headlamp. First, the original reason for the development of the headlamp should be stated here: The cave research or cave walks. To move around in a cave, you need a lamp to illuminate it. Here a headlamp is very suitable. On the one hand, your hands are free in the cave. For example, to feel certain rocks or to hold on to objects, free hands are essential. You also need free hands in the cave to keep your balance and not stumble. Because there are often narrow paths in caves. If you want to use a headlamp for the cave, it should at least be waterproof. Caves are often damp and have areas of dripping water in many places.
Headlamps are also often used for fishing. You can use headlamps for this perfectly, because you also have to have free hands to fish. For example, you'll need free hands to cast the line, attach bait to the line, or remove a fish from the hook. In addition, headlamps can usually be adjusted to a low position. So the area in front of you can be ideally illuminated. The headlamp can of course be used for night fishing. If you use a headlamp for fishing, but only want to illuminate a small area, you can also use a headlamp with red LED light. This does not shine as brightly as classic headlamps.
Another typical application of headlamps is any outdoor sport. If, for example, you regularly go jogging at dusk, you will need a lamp. A headlamp is the best choice because your hands remain free and you don't have to concentrate on holding a lamp. At the same time, you are visible to drivers or road users, for example, if you are jogging on a road. The headlamp also provides additional safety here.
You can also use a headlamp when riding a bicycle. If you ride in the dark, you can effectively illuminate the path. Although all bicycles that can be moved in traffic have lighting, it is fixed to the bicycle. So you can only use it to illuminate straight ahead. With a headlamp, on the other hand, you can illuminate your field of vision exactly. In curves, for example, headlamps can be very helpful: Branches, accumulations of leaves or other objects that may be on the road can be detected more quickly by using a headlamp. Combined with the lighting of your bicycle, the headlamp is a particularly safe method of cycling in the dark or at dusk.
Often dog owners can be observed with headlamps. As dogs have to be walked several times a day, they must inevitably be walked in the dark or at dusk. Early in the morning or late in the evening, especially in winter, you are dependent on a light source. With this light, you can quickly recognize possible dangers such as branches or tree trunks when walking through the forest. You also have both hands free to concentrate on guiding your dog. In certain situations, you may have to rely on both hands.
You can also use a headlamp when travelling: If you are on a camping site for camping or on a camping site that is in the wilderness, you are dependent on illumination. If, for example, you have to go to the toilet or shower, you can easily go there in the dark. In addition, most headlamps are equipped with a rechargeable battery or batteries, which promise a long life. If the headlamp is only used for a short period, it can also be used for a few weeks without having to replace the battery.
In addition, headlamps can be used for work. We are talking here about work that is carried out privately. For example, hobby crafts can be called here. If you work in the dark cellar, in the garage or in the garden in dark places, then the headlamp is suitable in the best way for you. Especially when working you are dependent on both hands. To hold a lamp in your hand would make your work much more difficult. Headlamps can also be adjusted to have a wide beam of light. This is especially important when working in dark places.
Last but not least, you can also use headlamps for extreme or special requirements. This is the case, for example, when diving: from a certain depth it gets dark even during the day. When you reach this depth, illumination is essential. Especially when diving, you also need both hands to be able to dive at all or, for example, to make settings on the dive computer.
In general, there are many different types of headlamps. However, these can be divided into three main groups. On the one hand, there are mini headlamps. These are particularly compact headlamps. Compact headlamps are small and light. Thus you hardly notice the weight of these types of lamps. In addition, compact lamps do not disturb you when you wear them. In addition, mini headlamps are very inexpensive. This is because they only have the most important basic functions. So if you want to buy a very cheap lamp, you should use a compact headlamp. The small models usually have a slightly lower light output than larger lamps. Mini headlamps are therefore perfect for jogging, walking or cycling. First and foremost, they can be used to be seen by other road users in the dark. However, mini headlamps are less suitable for illuminating large areas.
On the other hand, there are universal headlamps. As the name suggests, they can be used for many different purposes. They are generally brighter than compact headlamps. Therefore, all-round lamps can also illuminate larger areas. Thus you can illuminate an area of about 50 to 80 m with a universally applicable lamp. The universal headlamps are of course slightly heavier than the mini models. This is mainly due to the fact that the lamps which are built into these have a higher output. However, the wearing comfort does not suffer from the higher weight, as the headlamps are also equipped with a different system for fixing them to the head. You can, therefore, fix a universal headlamp more comfortably to your forehead. It should be noted here that headlamps are also somewhat more expensive than the compact lamps. This is simply due to the higher power, which comes from these types of headlamps. But you can also use these models for a lot more purposes. No matter if for cave walks, bike tours at dusk, walks through the forest or night fishing - the headlamps can be used for all imaginable purposes.
For some purposes, however, even stronger lamps are needed. That's why there are also high-performance headlamps. The lamps used here have an even higher output. The built-in rechargeable batteries or batteries are also much larger than with the other types of headlamps so that the high-performance lamps can be supplied with sufficient power at all. High power headlamps can shine the farthest. With some models, you can illuminate 100 to 150 m here. In addition, these types of headlamps are often equipped with accessories. For example, these are partly equipped with different light modes, adjustment options or special attachments. The high-performance headlamps are primarily used for long hikes in large caves, mining or mountain rescue. These types of headlamps can also be called professional headlamps due to their applications, which are often of professional origin. You should consider the higher price with the professional headlamps.
Compared to flashlights, there are some advantages to the headlamps that are available today. The biggest advantage is the view to the hands: You always have to hold a flashlight in one hand. So you can't let go of it at any time and only have one free hand. Doing sports with a flashlight quickly becomes a tedious act. But you don't have to hold a headlamp. Quite the opposite: Because it is attached to your forehead or your head, you can forget it, because the lamp is always firmly fixed. Both hands are at your free disposal. Thus you can use the headlamp for clearly more purposes. For example, climbing, mountaineering, hiking or general sports activities are affected. The same applies to all types of work where you need both hands.
A further advantage of the headlamp in contrast to the classic flashlight is that it is firmly fixed to your head and therefore always shines in your direction of vision. With a flashlight, on the other hand, you first have to always shine with your hand in the right direction. In the long run, this can be cumbersome and exhausting. In addition, a headlamp is particularly light. This way you hardly take it on your head was. Even after several hours of wearing, the lamp does not look unpleasant. A flashlight, on the other hand, must always be held by hand. In the long run, this can become very unpleasant.
In addition, you can use headlamps particularly flexibly. No other lamp has as many possible uses as a headlamp. Headlamps can even be used for special requirements such as diving under water. For example, there are models here that are waterproof. Flashlights can also be used flexibly, but they do not have too many applications such as headlamps. Flashlights can, however, be used to illuminate narrower angles: Since these are not fixed to your forehead, you can use your hand to guide them into small corners and angles. Flashlights are therefore better suited for certain purposes. Whether a headlamp or flashlight is now better suited for you, always depends on the respective field of application. In terms of price, there are generally only minor differences between the two types of lamps.
The light range is one of the most important criteria when choosing the right headlamp. This should primarily depend on the intended use of the lamp. For example, for use in a cave or in a dark forest, you need a higher light range than for use when jogging or walking the dog. The light range of a headlamp is calculated on the basis of several values. On the one hand, there is the luminous flux, which is indicated in lumens. On the other hand, there is illuminance, which is measured in lux. However, manufacturers of headlamps usually only use the lumen value. The more lumens a lamp has, the brighter it is.
If you are therefore dependent on a very bright headlamp, you should pay attention to a high lumen value. Depending on the model and type of headlamp, it usually has between 50 and 400 lumens. If you use the headlamp, for example, when cycling or caving, you should already use a model with at least 200 lumens. The light range is also indicated in meters. A range of at least 50 m should be provided by any headlamp used for hiking, cycling or fishing.
In the context of the light range, the adjustability of the light must also be considered. Make sure here that your lamp can be adjusted so that it allows both a wide light cone and a concentrated light cone. Adjusting the tilt angle of your headlamp can also be a useful feature. Depending on the application you can adjust the tilt angle individually.
The wearing comfort of your headlamp depends on two criteria: The weight and the attachment of the lamp to your head. A good headlamp has the highest possible power and the lowest possible weight. Definitely, use an LED lamp here. This is particularly light but strong at the same time. The band with which you can attach the headlamp should be elastic and wide enough. It should also be comfortable and quick to adjust. Sometimes an additional band, which runs lengthwise over your head, can provide even more wearing comfort and higher stability of the headlamp.
An important criterion in the selection of your suitable headlamp is the choice of the right power source. Basically, you have the possibility to choose between batteries or rechargeable batteries as a power source for the headlamp. Rechargeable batteries have the advantage that you can always recharge them. Therefore you don't have to buy new batteries regularly, but simply connect the batteries or the headlamp directly to the socket. After only a few hours, your headlamp is recharged. In addition, you protect the environment by using rechargeable batteries: If you buy new batteries regularly, you must dispose of the used batteries. The rare earth as well as the other contents materials, which are in batteries, are rather of disadvantage for the environment and harmful in the long term. Batteries are better for a headlamp if you use them frequently.
Get enough spare batteries for longer hikes.
If you don't want to use your headlamp so often, you can also use batteries. These are characterised by the fact that they do not have to be charged. If you buy batteries, you can use them directly for your headlamp. In addition, batteries always have their full capacity. The power capacity of rechargeable batteries, on the other hand, suffers significantly after many charging cycles. Over time, rechargeable batteries usually produce less power. If you always want to get the full power of your headlamp, a battery is definitely better. This is especially true if you want to use your headlamp, for example, during long walks such as in caves.
Another important criterion which is directly related to rechargeable batteries is the running time of your headlamp. The smaller the battery capacity of the lamp is, the lower the running time will be. This is because you can then only use small batteries or rechargeable batteries for your headlamp. Pay attention therefore also to the capacity and/or the running time of the respective lamp. This is usually indicated by the manufacturer.
Before buying your headlamp, you should also pay attention to the battery or battery mounting on the lamp. This is different depending on the model. With a mini headlamp, the battery is usually directly on - or in the lamp. With a universal lamp or a high-performance lamp, on the other hand, the battery is usually attached to the body at a different location. This is because these types of headlamps usually use larger rechargeable batteries. The batteries are often attached to the belt or stored in a small backpack on the back. Sometimes the batteries can also be attached to the strap of the headlamp at the back of the head. This leads to a particularly good distribution of the weight. The accumulators or batteries are connected to the headlamp by a small cable.
Before you buy a headlamp, you should consider some important criteria that are crucial to the purchase. These include the power source for the headlamp, the light range and all other factors of the light source as well as the wearing comfort and related aspects. First of all, however, you should ask yourself for what purpose you would like to use the headlamp at all. Depending on the application, you can choose a compact headlamp, a universal headlamp or a high-performance headlamp.
In addition, the quality of the headlamp is of crucial importance: If you want to purchase the cheapest headlamp possible, the quality should not play a big role, since most very cheap models tend to be of lower quality. In order to buy a model that will last for many years and has a long service life, however, you should pay attention to good quality. This is characterized by high-quality materials, from which the headlamp is made. If the headlamp is not only made of plastic but also has, for example, some aluminium elements, this speaks for high quality. The same applies to the processing of the buttons or keys, over which you operate the headlamp. In general, it is worth investing a little more money in a headlamp and benefiting from it for longer.
Live and authentic: We get the devices into our Hamburg test laboratory. Here we take a close look at everything.
Each test is preceded by an extensive search:
Which suppliers are on the market?
What current products are there?
What are the comparison criteria?
What tests are we going to run?
What is the test procedure?
When everything's settled, we'll bring the devices to us. For each product the test procedure, the measured values and product properties are documented in detail. We create photos and videos. We evaluate the results for you, summarize everything in a test report and calculate the test grade.