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Campers eating and wearing headlamps. Credit: Getty Images

The Best Headlamps of 2022

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Campers eating and wearing headlamps. Credit: Getty Images

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Product image of GearLight S500

GearLight S500

Offering great value, the GearLight Headlamp is a portable light in a water-resistant package. Read More

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Batteries not included
  • Uncomfortable headband
2
Product image of LHKNL TG-T12601

LHKNL TG-T12601

A comfortable, lightweight headlamp offering value with a warranty and hands-free operation, the LHKNL TG-T12601 offers several lighting modes. Read More

Pros

  • Hands-free operation
  • Lightweight
  • 26-month warranty

Cons

  • Tilt limited to 60 degrees
3
Product image of Petzl Tikka

Petzl Tikka

A great value in a range of colors, the PETZL Tikka Headlamp is from a classic camping brand with thoughtful features and a longer-than-average warranty. Read More

Pros

  • Glow-in-the-dark power button
  • 5-year warranty
  • Comfortable headband

Cons

  • Extra cost for rechargeable battery pack
4
Product image of LHKNL TG-T069

LHKNL TG-T069

As a lightweight headlamp, the LHKNL TG-T069 offers a hands-free operation, a 26-month warranty, and an easy, long button press to shut off. Read More

Pros

  • Hands-free operation
  • Lightweight
  • 26-month warranty
  • Quick shut-off

Cons

  • Motion shut-off can happen unexpectedly
5
Product image of Kucoal LED Rechargeable Headlamp

Kucoal LED Rechargeable Headlamp

While a bit of a gamble without a warranty, the Kucoal offers a long battery life and a brighter than expected light. Read More

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Hands-free operation
  • Brighter than expected

Cons

  • Some issues with battery holding a charge
  • No manufacturer warranty

Headlamps are one of those tools that you don’t think about using until you really need it. If you’ve only used a headlamp while camping, you may be surprised how useful they can be in a range of situations. A couple of headlamps in an emergency bag can make an uncomfortable situation significantly better.

For example, leaving a headlamp in your car can help you change a tire at night or check out that strange noise in the engine. Compared to holding a cellphone and peering into the darkness, a headlamp wins hands-down.

There are a few features that separate great headlamps from lousy ones. The headlamp should tilt to give you some freedom over the light direction. Most headlamps also now offer a range of brightness options, letting you stretch out the battery life over the longest time or giving you a brighter light for a shorter time. As a compact lighting option, a headlamp tucked away is tough to beat.

To help find you the best headlamp, we dug through thousands of reviews to get the best assessment of headlamps available online. After examining the best (and worst) reviews, these are the best headlamps we found.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of GearLight S500
GearLight S500

The GearLight Headlamp was the only selection on our list that didn’t include any batteries. Considering they use three AAA batteries, adding a pack of batteries seems to be a reasonable trade-off for the low cost.

As an emergency pack addition, keeping batteries separate from your headlamps is a smart way to avoid any issues with leaking batteries or accidentally turning the headlamp on. Several reviewers noted the lack of padding on these headlamps, making them uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. In addition, some reviewers experienced the headlamps turning on unexpectedly and the on/off switch stopped working.

Pros

  • Water-resistant

  • Low cost

Cons

  • Batteries not included

  • Uncomfortable headband

Product image of LHKNL TG-T12601
LHKNL TG-T12601

The differences between the TG-T12601 and the other model from LHKNL are very slight, with both offering similar features and lumens. The TG-T12601 offers a slightly lighter model at 1.76 oz and has smaller oval buttons. This headlamp offers a motion sensor mode, allowing the headlamp to be turned on or off without touching it. While the manufacturer states the headlamp is waterproof, the IPX4 rating suggests the headlamp is resistant to splashes rather than being safe to fully submerge.

Many reviewers commented on the value, appreciating the brightness of the LEDs. There might be some issues with the batteries since a handful of reviewers report the headlamps stopped working after a couple of uses and charges. The warranty covers 26 months, which is surprisingly long (and suspiciously specific).

Pros

  • Hands-free operation

  • Lightweight

  • 26-month warranty

Cons

  • Tilt limited to 60 degrees

Product image of Petzl Tikka
Petzl Tikka

The PETZL Tikka is a lightweight headlamp at 82 grams, coming in a range of color options. The button is a glow-in-the-dark plastic, increasing the chances of finding it in the dark of your glove compartment. While the headlamp ships with three AAA batteries, the rechargeable battery is sold separately at almost the same price as the headlamp. Several reviewers commented on the strap being comfortable and the length of battery life being reasonable. With a five-year warranty, PETZL offers an excellent limited guarantee.

Pros

  • Glow-in-the-dark power button

  • 5-year warranty

  • Comfortable headband

Cons

  • Extra cost for rechargeable battery pack

Product image of LHKNL TG-T069
LHKNL TG-T069

As one of two headlights from LHKNL we recommend, the differences are pretty minor. Both headlamps offer similar features with hands-free motion sensor operation and similar estimated battery run times. The TG-TO69 version offers a quick way to shut off the light with a long button press instead of cycling through all the light options. The buttons on this model are also slightly larger. While the manufacturer states the headlamp is waterproof, the IPX4 rating suggests the headlamp is resistant to splashes rather than being dunked.

Some reviewers noted there was an issue with charging, either with the cable or with the battery. Other reviewers struggled with the motion shut-off occurring when they come close to a wall or another object. Like the other LHKNL headlamp, the warranty on this model also lasts 26 months.

Pros

  • Hands-free operation

  • Lightweight

  • 26-month warranty

  • Quick shut-off

Cons

  • Motion shut-off can happen unexpectedly

Product image of Kucoal LED Rechargeable Headlamp
Kucoal LED Rechargeable Headlamp

Boasting a long-running battery at 10 hours on a lower white light setting and 30 hours on the red light, Kucoal exceeds expectations. Several reviewers remarked on the headlamp still having battery life after several hours of use and still indicating plenty of battery life left.

This headlamp is particularly useful for repair work, offering a motion sensor to turn on and off rather than fumbling for buttons with dirty hands. One reviewer noted the feature was more useful than they expected, allowing handsfree switching between a focused and more diffused beam.

While the manufacturer describes the headlamp as waterproof, the IPX5 rating would be better described as water resistant. Several reviewers found the battery was not very reliable, either having issues holding a charge or not even turning on after a few uses.

Pros

  • Long battery life

  • Hands-free operation

  • Brighter than expected

Cons

  • Some issues with battery holding a charge

  • No manufacturer warranty

Product image of Slonik Rechargeable LED Headlamp
Slonik Rechargeable LED Headlamp

The SLONIK offers 1000 lumen light, similar to many of the other headlamps, with a rechargeable lithium battery. The extra cost is justified by the rugged design as this headlamp is more durable with an aluminum body and waterproof construction.

The tradeoff for the quality construction is heavier weight, with this headlamp weighing 4.19 oz. SLONIK backs up its products with a 48-month warranty, giving you ample time to test out this headlamp. Since this headlamp is advertised as being for trades and construction, this waterproof headlamp will more than do for camping or household repairs.

Some reviewers mention having issues with recharging with the charging cable not being very reliable when plugging it in. In addition, the plastic connector on the headband failed for a couple of reviewers.

Pros

  • Waterproof

  • Aluminum body

  • 48-month warranty

Cons

  • Issues with recharging

  • Heavy

Meet the tester

Rebecca Boniface

Rebecca Boniface

Contributor

Rebecca Boniface is a certified PADI dive instructor, full-time nomad, and DIY enthusiast.

See all of Rebecca Boniface's reviews

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