Best Headlamp 2023
by Tom Miller
As an experienced outdoor enthusiast, I understand the importance of having the right gear when hitting the trails. Every piece of equipment plays a critical role in ensuring a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience, and a headlamp is no exception. With so many options available in the market, choosing the perfect one that meets your needs can be overwhelming.
That’s why I took it upon myself to test some of the best headlamps available in 2023. I subjected each headlamp to rigorous trials, evaluating them based on several critical factors, including battery life, spotlight range, floodlight quality, user interface, size and weight, lighting modes, and price.
After careful consideration and analysis, I have compiled a comprehensive list of the best headlamps of 2023 that I believe are worth considering for your next outdoor adventure. Whether you’re planning a multi-day backpacking trip or a quick day hike, these headlamps will provide the necessary illumination and functionality to help make your trip a success.
Best Overall Headlamp: BioLite 330
In my testing of the best headlamps of 2023, the BioLite 330 stood out as the clear winner in overall performance. Its exceptional combination of features, functionality, and affordability make it a top pick for any outdoor enthusiast.
Boasting an impressive maximum output of 330 lumens, the BioLite 330 is bright enough to light up even the darkest paths and surroundings. Its battery life is equally impressive, with up to 40 hours of run time on low mode and up to 3.5 hours on high mode, thanks to its rechargeable battery, making it an eco-friendly choice.
Weighing only 2.4 ounces, the BioLite 330 is incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods. The headband is soft and cozy, providing a snug fit without causing any discomfort. The headlamp’s modern and streamlined design keeps it low-profile, ensuring it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to your head.
One unique feature of the BioLite 330 is its “Spotlight Mode,” allowing you to switch from a wide-angle floodlight to a focused spotlight with a single tap. This feature enables easy beam adjustment to suit your needs, whether you’re hiking, camping, or simply reading a book in your tent. Overall, the BioLite 330 is an excellent headlamp that is sure to enhance any outdoor experience.
Best Budget Headlamp: Coast FL85R
For budget-conscious adventurers, the Coast FL85R is an excellent choice. Despite its low price of $30, this headlamp is a high-quality option that doesn’t compromise on performance. With a maximum output of 615 lumens, it’s one of the brightest headlamps I tested, making it suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.
The Coast FL85R comes equipped with a rechargeable battery that offers a run time of up to 19 hours on low mode and up to 1.5 hours on high mode. Its zoomable beam allows you to focus the light where you need it most, and it even has a red light mode for preserving your night vision.
At only 4.4 ounces, this headlamp is lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods. The headband is also adjustable, ensuring a snug fit on most head sizes. The user interface is straightforward, with a single button that allows you to cycle through the various lighting modes. All in all, the Coast FL85R is an excellent budget-friendly option that delivers quality and performance without breaking the bank.
Most Comfortable Headlamp: Black Diamond Spot 400-R
As someone who values both comfort and performance in a headlamp, I have found the Black Diamond Spot 400-R to be a top choice. Its sleek and low-profile design offers a comfortable fit without adding bulk or weight to my head. The fully adjustable strap allows me to customize the fit to my liking, ensuring that it stays securely in place during any activity.
Aside from its comfortable fit, the Black Diamond Spot 400-R offers impressive features such as its powerful 400-lumen output and adjustable beam modes, providing versatile lighting options for any task. Its waterproof design also makes it a reliable choice for outdoor adventures in any weather condition. The headlamp also features a red light mode for preserving night vision and a lock mode to prevent accidental battery drain during storage or transport.
Overall, the Black Diamond Spot 400-R is a reliable and comfortable choice for anyone in need of a high-performance headlamp for their outdoor activities.
All the headlamps we reviewed in 2023
If you’re in the market for a new headlamp, there are plenty of options to choose from. To help you find the right one for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular headlamps on the market, along with their specs, pros, cons, and prices. From the lightweight and comfortable Black Diamond Spot 400-R to the affordable and compact Petzl Tikkina, there’s something for everyone on this list. Read on to learn more about each of these headlamps and find the one that’s right for you.
|Black Diamond Spot 400-R||Lumen output 400 lumens; spotlight to 100 m; rechargeable; |
battery life 225 hrs. on low
|Intuitive user interface, long battery life, lightweight||Not the brightest max output, but still plenty sufficient||Check prices|
|Petzl Tikkina||Lumen output 250 lumens; beam distance up to 80 m; battery life up to 120 hrs.||Affordable, compact, long battery life||Not as bright as some other headlamps||Check prices|
|Coast FL85R||Lumen output 700 lumens; beam distance up to 183 m; rechargeable; battery life up to 13 hrs.||Bright, adjustable focus, rechargeable||Short battery life in high mode||Check prices|
|BioLite 330||Lumen output 330 lumens; beam distance up to 75 m; rechargeable; battery life up to 40 hrs.||Comfortable, compact, long battery life, unique features||Lower output compared to other headlamps||Check prices|
|Petzl Bindi||Lumen output 200 lumens; beam distance up to 36 m; rechargeable; battery life up to 50 hrs.||Ultralight, comfortable, good battery life for its size||Not as bright as some other headlamps||Check prices|
|Petzl Actik Core||Lumen output 450 lumens; beam distance up to 90 m; rechargeable; battery life up to 160 hrs.||Bright, adjustable, long battery life, rechargeable, multi-power||Expensive for a headlamp, heavier than some headlamps||Check prices|
|Ledlenser NEO5R||Lumen output 600 lumens; beam distance up to 150 m; rechargeable; battery life up to 40 hrs.||Great for running or biking, bright and lightweight, rechargeable||Not as durable as some other headlamps||Check prices|
|Fenix HM 50 V2||Lumen output 500 lumens; beam distance up to 85 m; battery life up to 128 hrs.||Great color rendering, bright and long battery life, multiple light sources||A bit bulky compared to some other headlamps||Check prices|
Tom is a seasoned camper and outdoor adventurer, with decades of experience exploring the wilderness. He's a retired park warden and has spent his life studying the flora and fauna of the natural world. Tom is a skilled outdoorsman, with a particular interest in backcountry camping, mountaineering, and wilderness survival. He's also an accomplished writer and has published several books on outdoor recreation.