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Top 5 Best Headlamp 2020

Are you looking for the best headlamp? In this topic, we will top headlamps on the market.

1. Black Diamond Spot 325
A personal favorite of the editors here at Switchback Travel, the latest Black Diamond Spot hits a great balance of power, durability, and price. The headlamp projects a strong 325-lumen beam and has a touch-sensitive housing for quick brightness adjustments. You also get a full suite of lighting choices, from the long-range dual LED to a softer proximity LED and red LED for use around camp. And it’s worth noting that Black Diamond has greatly increased ease of use—our main complaint with the prior model—by adding a second button that switches rapidly between the various modes.

The headlamp market is competitive overall, but nothing can match the Spot’s well-rounded design. It’s priced right at $40, and the lamp’s updated, low-profile shape makes it easier to wear while running or store in a pack.  Further, the BD can handle being under 1.1 meters of water for 30 minutes, which gives you that extra level of security when you have to hike out in a downpour. All told, for most outdoor adventuring, the versatile Spot 325 is the headlamp to get.



2. Petzl Actik Core
Headlamps with rechargeable batteries are becoming more and more ubiquitous, and Petzl is the class leader in this department. Their Core series of headlamps is fully rechargeable, but the hybrid design allows the option to swap the battery pack out for three AAA batteries. This is particularly helpful if you plan on being in the field for days on end without recharging capabilities. From their current lineup, the Actik Core model is a standout, featuring 450 lumens between two white LEDs in a reasonably priced package. You get consistent performance across its burn time (12 hours with standard power) and easy charging via micro USB.

At $70, the Actik Core is more expensive than the non-rechargeable competition, and it doesn’t keep up in other functions. You get a red light mode and similar maximum brightness as the Black Diamond Spot and Storm but without a dimmer (the Actik Core has only three preset brightness levels). Moreover, the Petzl has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which doesn’t protect it from submersion like the Spot. But the rechargeable convenience, sub-3-ounce weight, and strong output give the Actik Core a high spot in topic.

3. Petzl Tikkina Headlamp
For camping trips or use around the house, a simple headlamp like the Petzl Tikkina is a fine choice. This very popular design recently was updated with a stronger 250-lumen maximum output from a single white LED. We’ve found that the center button is easy to find and operate, and the beam is great for nighttime cooking and setting up tents in the dark. As with the Actik Core, the Tikkina is compatible with Petzl’s Core rechargeable battery, although in this case it’s an accessory that is purchased separately. If you anticipate using the Core technology, we recommend purchasing the Actik Core for a similar cost ($10 more) and a lot more lumens.

But if you stick with AAA batteries, the Tikkina hits a nice balance of performance, weight, and price. What's not to like with the Petzl Tikkina? By today’s standards, the light is decent but not overly impressive, and you don’t get the dimming capabilities or red light function like the Black Diamond models. In most cases, we’d recommend spending the extra $20 for the Black Diamond Spot, which offers a significant step up in both output and versatility. But for the truly budget-conscious, the Tikkina gets the basics right in a $20 package, and the bump in lumens makes it a nice option.

4. Nitecore NU25
For minimalists and true ounce-counters, our favorite ultralight headlamp of 2020 is the  Nitecore NU25. At just a hair under 1 ounce for the lamp itself, the Nitecore is surprisingly bright with a 360-lumen max output, easy to use, and rechargeable via micro USB. For thru-hikers and those who want to carry the least possible weight on their back, the NU25 is brighter and cheaper than the Petzl Bindi. Keep in mind that the Nitecore NU25 has four brightness settings: 360, 190, 38, and 1 lumen, respectively. However, we’d like to see something a little more practical in the 60- to 70-lumen range, which is one shortcoming. In addition, the NU25 tilts slightly downward but not as much as many of the models we’ve tested. In terms of the strap, the included Nitecore option adds nearly an ounce to the equation at 1.9 ounces total. But if you’re really trying to go ultralight, Litesmith makes a shoestring-style headband for the NU25 that weighs just .18 ounces, bringing the whole set-up to 1.17 ounces total.



5. Black Diamond Sprinter
Most of the headlamps in this article are intended for general use—hiking, camping, climbing, or as an emergency lamp to store in your house or vehicle. And while many of these lamps can be used for running, dedicated nighttime runners are better off getting a model built specifically for the sport. Our top running headlamp is the Black Diamond Sprinter: it puts off a strong, consistent beam for seeing the trail ahead, is nicely balanced with the battery on the back of the strap, and has a red taillight on the rear housing to increase visibility.

The Sprinter’s intended use also happens to be its biggest downside. The single beam along the front is ideal for running or hiking on a trail, but the lack of a proximity beam makes it much less useful around camp. And the additional strap over the top of the head and separated battery pack add a little weight and bulk relative to the lamp’s output and price. If we were to choose a single headlamp, it would be one of the options. But for serious runners or those that will value the strong oval beam, the Sprinter is an excellent option. And if you’re looking for a super lightweight running option, check out Black  Diamond’s new 2-ounce Sprint 225.

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