LED headlamps are one of the latest accessories to gain popularity among outdoor enthusiasts and those who like to work with their hands. These headlamps come equipped with light emitting diodes, or LED lights, which provide a brighter light than traditional lights used in headlamps. LED lights use less battery power than traditional flashlights, thus providing significantly more hours of light. Consequently, an LED headlamp is 90 percent more efficient than one that does not use LEDs.
As with any product on the market, not all LED headlamps are created equal. Use this guide to choose the right headlamp type for you.
Take Your Intended Activity into Consideration
Gone are the days of candlelit helmets and strapping large flashlights and battery packs to your head. Today’s LED headlamps are lightweight and come with thin, flexible straps. Not just for campers and spelunkers, headlamps can also benefit hikers, runners, cyclists, hunters, anglers, mechanics, electricians and even geo-cachers.
When shopping for an LED headlamp, look for one that matches your intended activity. For example, if you participate in a physically rigorous activity and need to be completely hands-free, consider using a model that comes with a strap that fits around the top as well as the sides of your head for extra security.
When choosing an LED headlamp, try it on to make sure it feels comfortable and provides the appropriate LED light brightness for your activity. While wearing the lamp, mimic your movements in the field to see how well it stays put on your head.
Features to Consider in an LED Lamp
Some LED headlamp models have features that look attractive and fancy, but they may not be appropriate for your situation. Knowing what you do and do not need in an LED light accessory can help you choose the product that best suits your needs and budget.
Convertibility. If you are going to wear a helmet with an LED headlamp, chose one that will securely fit around the protective headgear without slipping. Additionally, remember that LED lights with a hinge attachment can allow you to position the beam at the angle you need.
LED beam type and dimming options. LED headlamps utilize different technologies to provide the illumination you need for your activities. Crystal reflector tube systems help you see directly in front of you. Cloverleaf reflector systems that diffuse the beam are ideal for up-close work, as they cast a broad shaft of light. Cloverleaf multi-reflector systems provide a broad-spectrum beam, which are good for general use. A focusing prism reflector system allows you to adjust the width of the LED light beam, while a general prism reflector system provides you with a concentrated beam that allows you to see far into the distance. A multi-optic focusable lens provides the most intense LED light illumination and acts as a floodlight, allowing you to see up to 2,000 feet ahead of you.
Weather resistant. If you plan to use your LED headlamp indoors, you may not need to worry about water damaging your LED light. However, a weather resistant headlamp is a good thing to consider if you plan to use the device outdoors for any purpose.
LED light colors. Most headlamps come with white lights because they enhance contrast and illuminate objects in a manner that looks natural. However, if you are going to use an LED headlamp for outdoor activities, such as running or cycling, look for one that includes blue LED lights at the back of the headlamp. These rear lights are not as bright as white lights, but they will help you be more visible to motorists and others behind you. If you have a need to preserve your night vision, look for a headlamp that also has red LED lights.
Durability. When choosing an LED headlamp, look for one that’s specifically designed for your intended activity. Learn about its run time and the number of batteries required. Most LED headlamps use one to three batteries and have run times that vary between three hours and 20 hours or more.
Take your time when shopping for an LED headlamp. Look for products that have guarantees and warranties so you can feel confident about your investment.