Having a source of light is one of the most important things to store away in your backpack for all sorts of situations. The best tactical headlamp is super handy for specific jobs that need to be done – they put out a ton of light and you can work totally hands-free!
Without further ado, I present to you a list of the best tactical headlamps out there on the market.
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Best Tactical Headlamp Review
- Best Tactical Headlamp Overall – Fenix HM50R Rechargeable Best Tactical Headlamp. Micro USB rechargeable headlamp with max output of 500 Lumen. Max runtime of 148 hours. Very lightweight. Where to buy the Fenix HM50R.
- Olight Array Rechargeable Best Tactical Headlamp. Waterproof and rechargeable with magnetic charger. 400 Lumen. Runs 13 hours on lowest setting of 50 Lumen. Taillight mode. Where to buy the Olight Array Headlamp.
- Coast FL60 Wide-Angle Tactical Headlamp. Runs on 3x AAA batteries with a max output of 400 Lumen. This headlamp Runs 19 hours on the lowest setting of 55 Lumen. Where to buy the Coast FL60 headlamp.
- Best Mid-Range – Smith and Wesson Delta Force HL-10 Tactical Headlamp. Solid aluminum, max 430 Lumen. Runs 33 hours on lowest setting of 65 Lumen. Total beam distance of 153 meters. Uses AAA batteries. Where to buy the Smith and Wesson HL-10.
- Elmchee Rechargeable Best Tactical Headlamp. Reported output of a whopping 12,000 Lumen. 6 LED lights with a lifespan of 100,000 hours. Very cheap. Rechargeable, waterproof, dirtproof, snowproof, and shockproof. Where to buy the Elmchee Headlamp.
- Acebeam H40 Lightweight Tactical Headlamp. Runs on 1x AA battery with a beam distance of 102m. 230 Lumen output. Where to buy the Acebeam H40.
- Klarus HC1-R Headlamp. Runs on 3x AAA batteries with max Lumen output of 300. It’s tiny; 1.69″ wide and 1.5″ long. Max beam distance 72 meters. Where to buy the Klarus HC1-R.
- Best Budget Headlamp – Foxelli Tactical Headlamp. Runs on AAA batteries with a 45 hour runtime. Minimum Lumen output of 40 and max 165 Lumen. Lights a distance of 50m at max output. Very cheap! Where to buy the Foxelli headlamp.
Visual Overview of My Best Tactical Headlamp Top 4
Fenix HM50 Rechargeable Headlamp Flashlight from Blade HQ
Weighing only 2.2 ounces, this best tactical headlamp created by Fenix is easy to operate as it only has one switch.
It features 4 different brightness output modes, all of which are suitable for both casual activities and emergency situations. Turbo is its highest mode, having an output of 500 Lumens and a runtime of 2.5 hours.
Its lowest mode is called “low” (It’s hard not to call it anything else, right?), having an output of only 4 Lumens and a max runtime of 148 hours.
Being micro USB rechargeable, this best tactical headlamp has a light indicator that tells you when it is charging and when it is fully charged.
This headlamp’s Cree XM-L2 U2 LED light can last as long as 148 hours on a single charge, and a general lifespan of 50,000 hours. If you love longevity in tools like lights, you will love this headlamp!
BladeHQ or Amazon:
- LONG LASTING BRIGHT LIGHTING ─ With built-in CREE XM-L2 U2 LED, the HM50R produces a...
- EASY 1-HANDED OPERATION ─ A single conveniently located side switch allows for simple...
- USB RECHARGEABLE ─ The HM50R has an integrated micro-USB charge port built into the...
- COMPACT MULTI-PURPOSE FLASHLIGHT ─ Whether you're using the HM50R for hands free...
- COMPLETE PACKAGE ─ Fenix HM50R Headlamp, Spare O-ring, Silicon Holder, ARB-L16-700...
Olight Array 400 Lumen Lightweight Rechargeable Headlamp from Going Gear
If you’ve read my previous article on the best pocket flashlights, you’ll need that I’m a huge fan of Olight flashlights. This headlamp is no exception.
The Olight Array best tactical headlamp is specifically made for those who love to go out for a long outdoor run. Having a maximum output of 400 Lumens, this headlamp offers as many as 4 different lighting levels depending on how long you want to keep the light on.
What you will notice about this headlamp is that it relies on magnetic charging to maintain power in its battery.
It doesn’t take the standard AAA battery to power this best tactical headlamp. Instead, it utilizes a rechargeable 2000mAh 3.7v LiPo battery.
On its lowest setting of 50 Lumens, this headlamp has a solid runtime of 13 hours. It has smart battery indicators to remind you of its power status, and it can enter Taillight Mode immediately and blink to guarantee safety.
It is also waterproof, so you can go exploring underwater with this best tactical headlamp!
Going Gear or Amazon:
- 400 Lumen output, ideal for camping, fishing, climbing and all outdoor activities
- Dual LED array features long range and close range LEDs
- Lightweight, compact and waterproof
- Magnetic charging cable for easy, reliable charging action
- Bundle includes EdisonBright charging cable carry case
Coast FL60 Wide Angle Headlamp LED Flashlight from Blade HQ
If you are looking for something primitive and convenient, you have found a good candidate in this best tactical headlamp. Running on 3 AAA batteries, which are included with your purchase, this headlamp is able to produce a maximum of 400 Lumens. Considering that you don’t need many Lumens to produce sufficient lighting, this is a good maximum amount.
This headlamp utilizes a wide-angle flood beam to light up large areas with its wide circular beam. You can turn this headlamp off and on with the simple press of a button.
The impressive feature of this best tactical headlamp that stands out is its runtime. You get almost 3 hours of runtime at 400 Lumens, but the lowest setting of 55 Lumens allows the headlamp to run for 19 hours. That is very reassuring if you need to keep a light going overnight.
BladeHQ or Amazon:
- Product Type: Tools
- Item Package Dimensions: 19.558 L X 14.223 W X 9.144 H (Cm)
- Country Of Origin: China
- Item Package Weight: 0.158 kgs
Smith and Wesson Delta Force HL-10 Headlamp from Blade HQ
Made out of solid aluminum, this best tactical headlamp is built for performance.
Having a maximum output of 430 Lumens, the Delta Force HL-10 offers 6 different light modes that you can toggle through by simply pressing a button. Ultra-high, high, medium, low, and strobe are common light settings, but there is also an S.O.S. mode that will really help you in emergency situations.
Runtime performance is amazing with this best tactical headlamp as its highest light setting of 430 Lumens runs up to 3 hours, and its lowest light setting of 65 Lumens can run up to 33 hours. This best tactical headlamp runs on aaa batteries.
Its total beam distance of 153 meters gives you plenty of space to work with, and its compact length of 2.5 inches makes it easy to store this headlamp inside your backpack.
BladeHQ or Amazon:
- Specs: 430 Lumens With 3-Hour Runtime On High/33-Hour Runtime On Low And Weighs 3.11 Oz
- Brightness: Features (1) Cree Xp-G2 R5 Led And 6 Modes (High, Medium, Low, Turbo-High,...
- Durable: Constructed Of Anodized Aerospace Aluminum That Is Waterproof And Impact...
- Ease Of Use: With A One-Handed On/Off Button Control Switch, The Headlamp Is Easy And...
Not only is this a cheap option, but this best tactical headlamp made by Elmchee is one of the most diverse ones out there.
This best tactical headlamp groups together 6 separate LED lights and offers as many as 8 different working modes. These modes include high beam and low beam, all bright, strobe, and what I find to be the coolest modes of them all, red light and S.O.S. red strobe.
The LED lights can be easily rotated 90° so you can adjust your focus on an object you want to view.
The reported output is 12,000 Lumen, but this seems outrageous considering 1000 Lumen is incredibly bright. As other reviewers mentioned, it’s probably more like 1200, but some swear it genuinely has an eye-scorching 12,000 Lumen. You’ll have to check it out for yourself!
Having 1500mAh Li-polymer batteries, the lifespan of the LED lights is over a whopping 100,000 hours! Chances are good that you won’t have to replace the lights.
Lastly, this best tactical headlamp is all sorts of “proof”, as in waterproof, dirtproof, snowproof, and shockproof.
- 【Hands Free】With Elmchee rechargeable headlamp you can have a reliable, hands-free led...
- 【8 WORKING MODES】 this movable brightest LED head light is prepared to adjust to a...
- 【Rechargeable & Long Lasting 】--High Quality 1500mAh Li-polymer battery and 6 Super...
- 【IPX-4 WATER RESISTANT】It protects against splashing water from anywhere, no need to...
- 【One-year Quality 】We provide 100% refund and if you are not satisfactory with our...
Acebeam’s H40 best tactical headlamp shouts out simplicity in its presentation. Much like the Fenix headlamp, Acebeam provides a Cree XP-L HD LED light for its headlamp, which gives you a more balanced view at night.
It is powered by only 1 AA-size battery, so you don’t need to buy any special brand of battery for this headlamp. What may catch your attention is how amazingly flexible this tiny 1.2-ounce best tactical headlamp is.
Having infinite dimming outputs that range from 15 to 230 Lumens may not sound impressive initially. However, when you use this best tactical headlamp, its maximum beam distance of 102 meters more than makes up for the limited Lumens amount.
The headlamp itself is made out of hard-anodized aluminum, which means that if you drop this thing from as high as 2 meters, it will endure and keep working. I wouldn’t recommend dropping this headlamp hundreds of times, though. Don’t do that!
Going Gear or Amazon:
- 1xSST-20 CRI 95+ LED
- Powered by 1xLi-ion (700mAh)/ Ni-MH (1900mAh) / Alkaline battery (Not included in the...
- Turbo: 600~220 lumens; 1 min + 40 mins
- WATERPROOF TO IP68 Rated for use in heavy rain day and other extreme conditions
- ships out within one business day
Klarus HC1-R 300 Lumen Head Lamp – 3 x AAA Batteries from Going Gear
This best tactical headlamp is tiny, being only 1.69 inches wide and 1.5 inches long. It has a dual switch as there is a switch for illumination, and one switch to activate the red light.
The headlamp has 3 LED lights, a white spotlight, a white floodlight, and a red light. You can change between all these lights to suit your needs.
This headlamp will come with 3 AAA batteries, and the good thing here is that these are the easily replaceable kind of batteries.
You can adjust this best tactical headlamp up to 60° to get a different illumination angle.
It is also waterproof as it can be submersed as far down as 2 meters underwater.
The white spotlight has a maximum output of 300 Lumens and a maximum beam distance of 72 meters, which is more than bright enough for any outdoor activity at night.
The headlamp itself is very small with dimensions of 1.6 x 2 x 1.6 inches, and it weighs only 3.2 ounces.
Not only is it convenient to carry around in your backpack, but the Foxelli best tactical headlamp is also helpful in the 5 different brightness options it offers. Low, medium, high, strobe, and red are all the brightness options you can use.
It is at a level of IPX-5 waterproof, which means that it will resist any splashing or spraying of water from any angle.
The headlamp is 45° adjustable, so you can get a little creative with the light angles.
Standard AAA Energizer batteries are included with this headlamp, which aims to provide as much as 45 hours of runtime.
The minimum output is 40 Lumens for up to 15 meters, and the maximum output is 165 Lumens for up to 50 meters. Depending on what you are doing, that is a solid range of brightness for the best tactical headlamp.
And the best thing? It’s crazy cheap!
- SUPER BRIGHT LED TECHNOLOGY (165 feet beam) - wide variety of white & red light modes +...
- WATERPROOF AND DURABLE – why equip yourself with anything but the best and most reliable...
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMFORTABLE – you won't even notice wearing it. Weighing only 3.2 ounces...
- SUPER LONG BATTERY LIFE – by using leading technology MX20 provides more light with less...
- 100% SATISFACTION, NO QUESTIONS ASKED MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – we are so confident you...
- 100% SATISFACTION, NO QUESTIONS ASKED MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – we are so confident you...
Best Tactical Headlamp Buyer’s Guide
While there isn’t too much to look out for in the best tactical headlamp, it always helps to know the basic points behind owning one.
Though it is as easy as turning a light on and adjusting it as you go, you should also know how flexible your headlamp is.
Why You Need the Best Tactical Headlamp
Aside from the obvious answer that wearing a lamp on your head frees up your hands (though that is a good answer), tactical headlamps are needed mainly because they are versatile enough to handle a wide variety of projects or emergencies.
If you love camping or hiking, you would know that nighttime is a dangerous time. Unfamiliar surroundings in the woods, tent spikes, and wild animals are just some of the dangers out there, but the best tactical headlamp will help you clearly see these things.
On the flip side, if you stay at home and experience a blackout, you will need a source of light to help you get out of complicated messes. Regular flashlights and candles may not always cut it depending on how bad the blackout is.
Wearing a headlamp frees you from trying to light something in the dark at night, and if you need to repair any appliance or even fix a circuit board issue in the basement, the best tactical headlamp will buy you precious time.
I can tell a long story about the circuit board in my home basement, but that would be an e-book for another time.
What Should I Consider When Looking for the Best Tactical Headlamp?
For starters, any headlamp that requires you to use one or both hands to hold it up just isn’t the best tactical headlamp. A headlamp’s basic function is to provide hands-free illumination.
When comparing hands-free capabilities to brightness, you should always consider a headlamp’s hands-free capabilities first. Beam distance, battery life, weight, and comfort are also key factors you should consider.
Ideally, the more features a headlamp has, the better off you will be. This means that if your best tactical headlamp has both floodlight and spotlight settings, as well as high and low light settings for various activities, then you have the right headlamp.
What Is the Minimum Brightness You Need for Caving?
Caving is a hobby where you go inside caves and explore. One thing for certain is that caves are always dark. They will never have a bright neon light sign that says “Welcome” upfront.
Instead, you need a reliable light source. It is recommended that you have the best tactical headlamp that has a minimum output of 150 Lumens if you plan on caving. This amount of Lumens ensures a long battery life but enough brightness for you to see what you are stepping into.
Should You Only Buy Tactical Headlamps Instead of Pocket Flashlights?
Tactical headlamps are cool and they serve their purpose of giving you a hands-free experience to perform activities you couldn’t do with a pocket flashlight. (See the best pocket flashlights here and the brightest tactical flashlights here!)
However, I wouldn’t abandon pocket flashlights altogether. It is up to you, the individual, if you prefer wearing the best tactical headlamp all night to perform a task like hammering nails into boards. Pocket flashlights deliver great quality and strong brightness as I discuss in my review of the best pocket flashlights.
My favorite pocket flashlight, the Olight S1R, actually has a magnet that sticks to any metal like glue. If I’m doing a lot of stuff in the dark, sticking this flashlight to a metal pole is much more comfortable than wearing a headlamp for hours. Just my opinion, though!
One doesn’t exclude the other, I believe.
Why Should We Use a Best Tactical Headlamp Instead of a Flashlight?
While you shouldn’t only buy tactical headlamps, here is where they are more favorable than pocket flashlights.
Imagine trying to set up a work area around your camping site during the late-night hours. Alternatively, imagine trying to fix a broken car part that you need to fix at night or else you can’t get back home.
Lastly, imagine a scenario where a natural disaster struck your area at night and the power inside your home went out, and a friend or family relative needs first aid help with an injury. I just described scenarios that are better handled with two free hands instead of one hand holding a pocket flashlight.
Should a Headlamp Always Be Comfortable to Wear?
Always read the fine print of all the features a best tactical headlamp provides.
Any headlamp product that sounds like it would be too heavy for your head to wear, it most likely is. The best headlamps today are specifically designed to be lightweight, only a few ounces. A reliable headlamp can carry only so much battery weight before it becomes uncomfortable to wear.
Should a Headlamp Be Included in Your Daily Survival Kit?
If you can afford one, then I strongly recommend you consider including the best tactical headlamp as part of your survival kit.
Especially if you prefer hands-free experiences, then there is no reason not to get one.
It is also a good thing if you have both a headlamp and a pocket flashlight because if one light runs out of power, you can simply use the other.
The Best Tactical Headlamp for Hands-Free Light
It’s hard not to like the idea of having the best tactical headlamp as part of your survival kit. Having a reliable light source could make all the difference between safety and certain danger.
You should go for a headlamp that offers much beam distance, but ultimately it has to be a device that really is hands-free with no strings attached.
All of the listed headlamps give you a hands-free experience that you can appreciate, and all of them are affordable.
As for the headlamp that gets my seal of approval? I usually go for lights that are known to work, regardless of how much brightness they offer. I believe you can’t go wrong with any of the listed headlamps. They are all worth getting so that you can have your ideal adventures in the dark at night!
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Last update on 2021-08-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API