(Last Updated On: October 8, 2021)

QUICK ANSWER: BEST RECHARGEABLE HEADLAMP

RECHARGEABLE HEADLAMPS COMPARISON

PRODUCT  WEIGHT MAX LUMENS RUN TIME MAX BEAM BATTERIES PRICE RETURN SHOP
Best Lightweight

BioLite HeadLamp 330
2.43 oz 330 lumens High: 3.5 hrs
Low: 40 hrs
75 meters – USB Rechargeable 900 mAh lithium-ion $$ REI 1-Year
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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Another Lightweight Option

Petzl Actik Core
2.8 oz 450 lumens High: 2 hours
Medium: 8 hours
Low: 130 hours
90 meters – 1250 mAh CORE
– Compatible with 3 AAA alkaline
$$ REI 1-Year
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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Best for Trail Running and Day-Hiking

Black Diamond Sprint 225
2 lbs 225 lumens High: 1 hr. 10 min
Low: 20 hours
42 meters – Rechargeable lithium-ion $$ REI 1-Year
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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Extremely Comfortable and Brightest

Petzl IKO CORE
2.8 oz 500 lumens High: 2.5 hours
Standard: 9 hours
Low: 100 hours
100 meters – 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable
– 3 AAA batteries
$$$ REI 1-Year
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Fully-Waterproof and Super Bright

Fenix HM50R
2.8 oz 500 lumens
Turbo: 2 hours
High: 14 hours
Medium: 28 hours
– Low: 128 hours
80 meters – 700mAh rechargeable $$ REI 1-Year
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Excellent Battery Life

Ledlenser MH5
3.3 oz 400 lumens High: 4 hours
Low: 35 hours
180 meters – Lithium-ion
– 1 AA alkaline
$$ REI 1-Year
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Very Lightweight and Budget-Friendly

Knog Quokka
1.73 oz 80 lumens High: 3 hrs.
– Red low: 69.5 hours
N/A USB Rechargeable Battery $ REI 1-Year
100% Satisfaction Guarantee
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BEST RECHARGEABLE HEADLAMP REVIEWS

BioLite HeadLamp 330

Best Lightweight Rechargeable Headlamp

PROS:
– Very comfortable for running or hiking
– Insanely lightweight
– Very bright beam
– Easy to use even with gloves on
– Takes 2.5 hours to fully charge
– IPX4, meaning water-resistant
– One-year limited warranty
CONS:
– Not fully waterproof

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 2.43 oz
  • Max Lumens: 330 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 3.5 hrs.; low: 40 hrs.
  • Max Beam: 75 meters
  • Batteries: USB Rechargeable 900 mAh lithium ion
  • Price: $$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Petzl Actik Core

Another Lightweight Rechargeable Headlamp

PROS:
– High brightness
– 100 lumens for 7 hours is good for many outdoor activities
– Lightweight
– Fits snuggly on hard runs
– Comfortable and reflective headband with an emergency whistle
– Adjustable light angle
– Red night vision
– Lock function against turning it on accidentally
CONS:
– Only two-hour life at full power
– Requires to be open in order to charge it
– Difficult to switch between beams with gloves on
– Casing might be vulnerable to cracking if you drop it 

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 2.8 oz
  • Max Lumens: 450 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 2 hours / medium: 8 hours / low: 130 hours
  • Max Beam: 90 meters
  • Batteries: 1250 mAh CORE; compatible with 3 AAA alkaline
  • Price: $$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Black Diamond Sprint 225

Best for Trail Running and Long Day-Hiking

PROS:
– Lightweight
– Comfy and unobtrusive on the head
– No bounce when you’re running
– No exposed wiring to damage
– Easily adjusted narrow headband
– Resistant to rain
– Seems to hold its charge well when not in use
CONS:
– Lacks a red-light
– Very low autonomy at high mode
– Not bright or powerful by modern standards
– Re-charging via USB takes 3 hours from empty

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 2 lbs
  • Max Lumens: 225 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 1 hr. 10 min / low: 20 hours
  • Max Beam: 42 meters
  • Batteries: Lithium ion
  • Price: $$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Petzl IKO CORE

Extremely Comfortable Brightest Rechargeable Headlamp

PROS:
– Astonishingly bright
– Works with beanies and hoods
– Very stable even when running
– Extremely comfortable
– Sturdy fit
– Pouring rain does not affect it
– Can recharge while using it with a second Core battery or with 3 AAA batteries
CONS:
– Hard to turn on and off with gloves on
– No red light for reading map times
– Do not work with caps or helmets
– Bulky when folded

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 2.8 oz
  • Max Lumens: 500 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 2.5 hours / Standard: 9 hours / low: 100 hours
  • Max Beam: 100 meters
  • Batteries: 1250 mAh CORE rechargeable or 3 AAA batteries
  • Price: $$$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Fenix HM50R

Fully-Waterproof and Super Bright

PROS:
– SUPER bright
– Performs well in extreme cold
– Sharp responsive ON/OFF click
– Lightweight
– Completely Waterproof
– Satisfying on/off click
– Steel casing protects against drops on rocks
– Charges fast
– Doubles as a handheld flashlight
– Doesn’t take a lot of space on your forehead
– Reflective and stretchy headband
CONS:
– Battery indicator color choice

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 2.8 oz
  • Max Lumens: 500 lumens
  • Run Time: Turbo: 2 hours; high: 14 hours; medium: 28 hours; low: 128 hours
  • Max Beam: 80 meters
  • Batteries: 16340 700mAh rechargeable
  • Price: $$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Ledlenser MH5

Excellent Battery Life Rechargeable Headlamp

PROS:
– Powerful light
– Easy to use
– Excellent battery life
– Reasonably priced
– Super comfortable to wear
– Doubles as a handheld or clip-on light
– Decent red light
CONS:
– Feels heavy on the headband
– Just two light functions
– Doesn’t provide much peripheral lighting
– No battery charge indicator

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 3.3 oz
  • Max Lumens: 400 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 4; low: 35 hours
  • Max Beam: 180 meters
  • Batteries: Lithium ion; also compatible with 1 AA alkaline
  • Price: $$
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

Knog Quokka

Very Lightweight and Budget-Friendly

PROS:
– Budget-friendly
– Very lightweight
– Simple and comfortable silicone headband
– Dependable
– Consistent light output
– Brighter than expected
– No wired to charge it
– Fits small heads
– Electronic lock against turning it on accidentally
– Water-Resistant
– Easily washed off
– Does not slip or bounce even over two beanies
– Extremely compact
CONS:
– Does not mount easily on helmets
– Not the brightest on the market

QUICK SPECS

  • Weight (incl. battery): 1.73 oz
  • Max Lumens: 80 lumens
  • Run Time: High: 3 hrs. / red low: 69.5 hours
  • Max Beam: N/A
  • Batteries: USB Rechargeable Battery
  • Price: $
  • Return: REI 1-Year 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (Learn More)

TODAY’S PRICE

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BEST GAITER

LUMENS

Lumens means the total sum of light from a light source and does not always mean the covered distance or how well it will illuminate a trail or campsite.

Other factors like beam distance, beam type, and optical quality play a role in the headlamp light performance.

I can say that the beam distance is a more important factor that decide the headlamp lighting performance.

This is some lumens range to help you decide:

  • < 150 lumens: Headlamps in this lumens range are good for around the house use or as a backup during hikes or around the camp.
  • 150 – 250 lumens: The headlamps are good for use in complete darkness.
  • > 250 lumens: There are ideal for night running/biking or extreme sports like night climbing.

LIGHT MODES

These are the lighting modes that headlamps have:

  • Strobe: Headlamps with this liighting mode are ideal for emergency situations because its makes you more visible to others.
  • High: This mode help seeing what is far from you making it good for situations like looking for signs during hikes or spotting climbing anchors.
  • Low: This mode is ideal to see what it at proximity because its beam is wider and is also good at saving battery because it produce dimmer light.
  • Red light: This mode saves battery, does not attract flying insects, is less annoying to others around you, and ideal to read maps at night.

PRICE

As we all know, higher price products are often more likely to live longer, especially if you take care of them.

  • < $30: Rechargable headlamps with this price are basic option that make them ideal as a backup option or for experienced people that are sure of what they need.
  • Around $50 : This is the average price for rechargeable headlamps.
  • > $80: These rechargeable headlamps are either advanced ones or average products that try to appear as high quality.

COMFORT

Features that make some headlamps more comfortable to wear and use than others are having soft and wicking fabric straps and well-balance by putting the large battery in the back of your head.

SIMPLICITY

Simplicity is always better, it make the product easier to use and more safer at emergency situations.

Examples of hard to use headlamps are the non-smart ones that make you start from zero when you want to change the lighting mode. Advanced products are also suseptible to be hard to use depending on its design.

Bigger buttons are also another feature that makes headlamps easier to use in the of having gloves on.

BRIGHTEST DOESNT MEAN THE BEST

When you compare headlamps to the home bulbs that have an output of around 1000 lumens, rechargeable headlamps with 1000 lumens are more likely to be a false advertisement or ones that want to sell you just the title with a quick-to-discharge battery product.

Another thing that you should consider when you are after headlamps with high lumen value is that very bright headlamps can whiten what is in the front of you or make you blind, especially when you are looking at close-by things.

COMPARED TO NON-RECHARGEABLE

RECHARGEABLENON-RECHARGEABLE
Pros– Environmentally-friendly
– Reduce battery waste
– Great for saving money
– Last longer
Cons– Tend to have shorter run times– Cost more
– Create more waste

I recommend you getting rechargeable headlamps that works also with triple-A batteries because they offer the benefits of both worlds.

ALKALINE OR LITHIUM

I recommend lithium over alkaline because they offer a longer burn time, they stay efficient in extreme temperature, and they are also lightweight by 30% compared to the alkaline.

WEIGHT

Most of the time, the more powerful the headlamp the more heavy it is.

Similar to hiking, lighter is better, especially for backpackers and runners, but this should not be on the expense of battery or essential features.

Lightweight rechargeable headlamps are result of having less powerfull batteries and thin plastic casing, making them more fragile in the case of droping.

On the other side, heavy rechargeable headlamps are sturdy due to the use of aluminum or thick plastic.

Another very important related to weight that you should consider when comparing is how balanced the weight, because a a headlamp that have the half of its weight placed in the forehead and the rest on the back of your head are more balanced than another of the same size but placed all on your forehead.

DURABILITY & WEATHER RESISTANCE

Headlamps that made of thick plastic or aluminum are more resisant in the case of a drop.

If you are careful with electronics and your activity is not extreme, a thin platic headlamp can be enough.

IP code is a standard that determines the resistance of a device against solid and liquid.

As an example, IPX68 means a device that have an IPX6 resistance to solids and an IPX8 resistance to water.

Most of the time, you will found the IPX with one digit at the end and that refers to the water-resistance.

STRAP

The common types of straps between headlamps are the classic one that uses a simple elastic nylon that wrap around the head and another style that have two straps, one around your head and a second one that run over the top of your head.

I recommond you the first stype of strap that wraps around your head because its more compatibe with helmets.

COLD-WEATHER PERFORMANCE

Cold weather drain batteries faster, this is why I recomed you always to avoid alkaline batteries and get lithium or rechargeable NiMH ones to get better performance even in cold conditions.

Some of the tips that I can share with you if you work with headlamp batteries in the cold weather is to keep them in warmer places, near your body, like inside your pocket when your are moving or in your sleeping bag when you are sleeping.

TIPS FOR RECHARGEABLE HEADLAMPS

  • Do not charge and use your headlamp at the same time.
  • Do not keep the battery in when stored for longer periods.
  • Avoid looking directly to an ultra bright headlamp, especially at a close range.

Last modified: October 8, 2021

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