There are headlamps for many different uses, including general headlamps, headlamps for running, headlamps for hiking and backpacking, headlamps for caving/potholing/caverns, headlamps reviews & comparisons.
There are three main types of headlamps:
1. General Headlamps
This is the type you will see most often. Examples of these headlamps are spot and flood beam headlamps, head torches.
Spot headlamps are designed for lighting up objects at a distance, or enemies/predators to blind them. They are not useful if you want to look into dark nooks and crannies since the spot headlamp beam wouldn't spread out to illuminate this area. This headlamp are mostly used for trail running but are sometimes used in hiking. Spot headlamps are also good headlamps to take when you go hunting or fishing at night since they enable you to see quite far away.
Flood headlamps are designed for illuminating an area closer than spot headlamps, but not as close as head torches would. They are good headlamps for reading, cooking, etc. Flood headlamps are also well suited to be used as a headlamp for the car, to avoid killing others due to lack of visibility by other road users.
Head torches are headlamps that put all their light output into one beam that is directed at eye level.
2. Running headlamp
A head lamp designed for running. The head must fit very tightly so the headlamp does not fall off when you are moving, even when jumping or bending over. There are headlamps that have a headband that goes under your chin in order to keep it in place.
The headlamps that runners wear are made specifically for running because they have a headband that fits close to your head. Some headlamps also have a band that goes over the top of your head, and one or two bands going around/above your head at the back - this type is good for runners who don't like anything touching their head. There are headlamps especially for runners with special features such as adjustable beamwidth (spot-and-flood) and one with multiple settings which you can adjust by clicking a button.
3. Specialty Headlamp
Examples are headlamps made specifically for spelunking - exploring caves - but some people use them for other activities such as camping or caving/potholing (exploring man-made shafts, tunnels, and adits). They have more powerful lenses than normal headlamps, allowing them to shine brighter in total darkness, and several headlamps for this purpose have an adjustable beam providing a wide or narrow beam.
Another important feature when buying headlamps for spelunking is battery life and the distance the light can shine - some head lamps can light up to 80m in front of you, which is long enough to see where you're going and any obstacles in your way. Some headlamps also come with a red LED allowing you to preserve your night vision when inside caves/man-made shafts/tunnels so you don't miss anything.
Must-Have Headlamps Accessories
Besides headlamps, there are LED headlamp accessories such as headlamp covers, headlamp straps, and headlamp clips. These attach to your headlamp so they don't get lost or misplaced. You can also buy a headband for some lamps which has a foam lining for extra comfort and sweat absorption - you can choose from many different colors and designs.
- Headlamp covers are headbands for headlamps that go around your head, and headlamp straps are made of a headband with a headlamp that you can detach from the band. Headlamp clips are metal plaques that attach to your headlamp so it won't fall off if you're moving quickly.
- Headlamp straps go around your head whereas headlamp clips attach to headlamps including head torches. Headlamp covers are headbands that go around your head, and headlamp straps are made of a headband with a headlamp that you can detach from the band. Headlamp clips are metal plaques that attach to your headlamp so it won't fall off if you're moving quickly.
- Headlamp clips are metal plaques that attach to headlamps including head torches. Headler headlamp covers are headbands that go around your head; headlamp straps are made of a headband with a headlamp that you can detach from the band, and headlamp clips attach to headlamps including head torches.
Things to Consider When Buying Headlamps
When buying headlamps you should:
1. Make sure headlamps have headbands that are adjustable so they don't fall off when moving quickly. Also, headlamps with headbands that go above the head are best because you can tighten them around your head by adjusting the back strap without it being too tight to be uncomfortable.
2. Look at the weight of the headband - if it is too heavy after a period of time it might start to hurt your head or neck or cause headaches. Many headlamps are made with special materials to keep the weight down which also prevents chafing on bare skin, but you should still take into consideration how long you'll be wearing yours for each day and whether or not this will bother you. The average person usually wears headlamps for less than an hour at a time. The headband should be comfortable and not add much weight to the headlamp itself.
Other things you should consider when buying headlamps:
Headlamps range in lumens from 8-100, but headlamps with 10+ lumens are usually sufficient for most people who need headlamps. Many headlamps have adjustable beams that will allow you to switch between a focused beam or a wider flood beam based on what you need it for - if moving quickly or climbing steep slopes use a focused beam or if walking/hiking you'd want the wide flood beam so nothing is missed.
2. Battery life
Head torches can run from 4-30 hours on one set of batteries depending on headlamps, but headlamps that use rechargeable batteries are also available.
Waterproof headlamps are best for spelunkers/ cavers because they won't get damaged if submerged in water or even rained on. However, headlamps with good water resistance might be sufficient depending on how deep you'll be going and whether or not it is an area where there might be rainfall/water seepage.
Some head torches can get heavy after wearing them for long periods of time, so choose headlamps that are lightweight with relatively comfortable headbands that won't cause you neck strain, headaches, or chafing Also consider the weight of headlamps that use heavier batteries like head torches with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, headlamps with built-in (non-rechargeable) lithium-ion batteries or head torches which require carbon/alkaline batteries.
5. Battery replacement
Head torches usually need new batteries replaced after 4-12 months depending on how often they are used and what kind of batteries they take. Headlamps using disposable (carbon/alkaline) batteries can be much cheaper in the long run as well as more convenient because headlamp covers will keep them protected much better than a head torch would.
Headlamps are sold anywhere, if you're not sure which headlamp would best suit your needs it's recommended that you ask an associate at Headlamp Pro to help you figure out what headlamps would work the best depending on your needs. Shop online at headlamppro.com for a durable but affordable headlamp.