Headlamp Buyer’s Guide
A headlamp is a type of light that is worn around the head. A battery operated light is attached to an adjustable strap that keeps the light in place. These lamps are often water resistant and include lights of different colors in order to accommodate a number of working conditions. The lamp is often mounted on a tiltable base so that light can be directed where it is needed. Headlamps are often used by people who enjoy hobbies or professions that require them to have both hands free.
Types of Headlamps Available:
- Floodlight Headlamp: A floodlight headlamp is a type of lamp that provides a wide beam of light. These lamps are good for lighting up the immediate area, making them useful for completing household tasks. However, they do not throw light far enough ahead to make them ideal for hiking or running.
- LED Lamps: LED lamps provide more versatility in the light they can provide. These lamps may be able to switch back and forth from a wide flood-like beam of light to a more concentrated beam that allows the wearer to see farther.
- Two Strap Lamps: Most headlamps are mounted on a single adjustable strap that holds the lamp in place. However, there are lamps available that have an additional strap that comes down over the head. This adds to the stability of the light, although some people may not find them as comfortable.
Factors to Consider When Choosing to Buy a Headlamp:
- Maximum Brightness: A key component of any headlamp is its ability to shine brightly. If you are working in dark areas or exploring caves, having a bright light is a necessity. However, a brighter lamp might mean a more expensive lamp. Therefore, take time to consider the activity you’ll be using it for. If you want it for reading in bed, a high powered lamp isn’t the way to go.
- Control Over Brightness: Many lamp models have built-in brightness settings that allow you to choose between maximum and minimum brightness. The more settings that are built in the more control you’ll have over the amount of light you’re given.
- Number and Type of Straps: Depending on your preferences, you might like the added stability that a two-strap lamp gives you, or you may not want the extra strap. You’ll also find that some straps are easier to adjust than others.
- Colored Lights: Many lamps come with additional lights or filters that change the color of the light the lamp throws. Having a red light, for example, will make it easy for you to see in the dark without interfering with your night vision.
- Type of Battery: Most lamps run on common AA or AAA batteries, but this isn’t the case with all of them. Be aware of what type of battery you’ll need to have on hand before your make your purchase.
- Position of Battery: Some lamps store their batteries at the front of the device (behind the light), while others store them at the back of the head. Depending on your preferences you might like having the batteries in either position.
- Comfort: Lamps are usually designed to be comfortable to wear, but not all lamps are created equal. While you can always cushion an uncomfortable lamp with a hat or visor, trying out lamps beforehand or listening to recommendations is usually wise in order to find out how easy each one is to wear.
- Additional Features: Additional features like low battery indicators or a mode-memory function are appealing to some buyers. If you like the thought of these extra features then be sure to look for them in your lamp.
Popular Headlamp Brands and Models:
- Petzl: Petzl offers a range of good quality headlamps. Their lamps tend to be small and comfortable and offer a range of features that make them useful for outdoor pursuits. Because of their small size and light weight, these lamps are great for runners and hikers. Price-wise these lamps tend to be a little more expensive than the norm, but the quality they offer makes the price worth it.
- Energizer: For budget-minded buyers, Energizer has a range of less expensive (and less rugged) headlamps. These lights aren’t the brightest out there, but they’re well suited for use at home or on the job. Great for reading lamps or for seeing into small, dark areas (under the sink, for example), these lamps are best for around the house.
- Princeton Tec: If you want quality, Princeton Tec is the way to go. This brand is regarded as one of the best to go with for hobbies like hiking and cave exploring. Their lamps are really top of the line, putting out a high amount of light while making economic use of batteries. They’re rugged and dependable, making them a top choice for people who depend in on their lights for work or play. Again, this quality will mean you have to pay a little more, but for many people the additional expense is worth it.
Whether you’re looking for something for work or play, having a headlamp on hand will allow you to see while keeping your hands free. With a wide range of strengths and features available, it isn’t difficult to find a lamp that matches the situation that you’re in.