One of the key features to look for in a headlamp is its brightness. A headlamp has little value if it can’t illuminate the trail in front of you.
In Hiking 101: Headlamps, the other important features to look for in a headlamp are listed.
In this section I compare 3 popular headlamps and their relative brightness. In a simple brightness test, I used each headlamp 8 feet away from a picture on a white wall. The pictures below capture the beam cast by each of the lights, so you can get a sense of brightness, beam size, and suitability for your own hiking adventures!
Headlamp Brightness Comparison:
|Pelican HeadsUp Lite 2610: The Pelican HeadsUp casts a nice broad beam of light. The beam is crisp, and a bright white color. The spot light does a great job illuminating a small area, yet it also has a nice broad reach.
For more info on this headlamp, check out my full gear review: Gear Review: Pelican Headsup Lite.
|Energizer LED Trailfinder Headlamp: The Energizer Trail Finder has a nice Red light setting, which preserves your night vision if you want to check out the stars!
The highest setting, shown below, casts a broad white beam of light. It illuminates the trail well and is good if you’re looking for a beam that casts a broad reach.
For more info on this headlamp, check out my full gear review: Gear Review: Energizer Trail Finder.
|Black Diamond Spot Headlamp: The Black Diamond Spot headlamp casts a great spot light, but is lacking on the reach of the beam. It has a yellowish hue that distorts actual colors, but makes it easier on the eyes.
For more info on this headlamp, check out my full gear review: Gear Review: Black Diamond Spot.
Bottom line? On the trail, I rely on the Energizer Trail Finder if I’m going to be star gazing, and the Pelican 2610 if I want a lightweight, less bulky headlamp that illuminates the trail well. Check out Hiking 101: Headlamps to find out more about other features besides brightness to look for in a headlamp!
Excellent info, Josh, on the new Black Diamond Spot. I will have to check it out, since I know they’ve completely redesigned it.
Black Diamond Spot (2011) model Vs. Energizer trailfinder 7 led headlamp.
I have to say that my new Black Diamond Spot is very nice, it has a high output and available range of functions. I just put Energizer advanced lithium ion batteries in it and it is a lot brighter, practically blinding..I would recommend this headlamp as well as the Energizer 7 led. That headlamp has a lot to offer as well, but since I have already owned one, I figured I would spend another 20$ and get the new Spot. I like both headlamps very much and probably would not go with any other brand or style.
Thanks Belinda! A reader on Twitter also mentioned Petzl today. I’m going to try and get one to add to the comparison.
This is cool! I really like how this shows the comparison of the headlamps because in the stores it is so hard to tell. They all say they are bright! The red setting on the Energizer is nice. I have a Petzl with a red setting and use it when I’m in camp. It is less harsh on other people’s eyes too.