Head torches are well suited to any number of activities. Like their hand-held equivalents, they can light up the dark, or increase the visibility of certain objects and areas. However, unlike hand-held torches, head torches will also align directly with your field of vision, instantly illuminating anything you look at, while also leaving both of your hands free to read a map, converse via two-way radio or be prepared to defend yourself.
In this guide, we’ll be examining the features, uses and unique abilities of head torches. We’ll also tell you what to look for when buying a head torch as well as listing the activities to which they are best suited. Let’s dive in.
Ledlenser Head Torch
PETZL Actik Core Head Torch
ThruNite TH30 LED Head Torch
Olight Perun Head Torch
Fenix HL60R Head Torch
Why you Might Need a Head Torch
As the name indicates, a head torch is a portable light that can be comfortably attached to a person’s head, acting as a hands-free light source.
The light emitted by a head torch will always shine in the direction you look – and at head height, too. This will help you to avoid obstacles at head height that might be missed by people with hand-held torches held at waist height.
Head torches can be extremely useful in any number of scenarios. If, for example, you’re walking your dog at night or on a winter evening, you can hold your furry friend’s lead, while also being able to throw their favourite tennis ball and/or check your phone.
If you happen to be walking (or jogging if you’re the ‘keep fit’ type) across a dark stretch of road, having a light with you increases your visibility many times over, which helps to keep you safe.
However, it isn’t just night strollers and their canine companions who can benefit from using a head torch.
Camping enthusiasts also find head torches to be invaluable, not only when it comes to unzipping your tent or navigating your campsite at night, but also simple things like reading in your tent (both hands are free to hold your book and the light is always where you want it to be). Additionally, there’s less of a need to make separate trips for multiple items (e.g. toilet paper and soap) because both hands are free.
Many hikers, cave explorers, fishing enthusiasts and festival goers also employ a head torch for these reasons and more.
Cyclists are also big users of head torches, which can be used to see upcoming corners and obstacles, as well as complimenting the bicycle’s existing lights (which tend to be less powerful than a head torch).
Head torches are also excellent for those working in dark places or at night.
Other people who can benefit from head torches include mechanics, conservationists, security staff and anybody else who needs both hands free to do their job in the dark.
So, if you’ve engaged in any of the activities listed (or any of the many others we haven’t listed), a head torch could be a major benefit to you.
Things To Consider before Buying
There are many different types of head torch – and not every model is well suited to every activity featured above.
Some head torches, for example, are very bright, which makes them excellent for cyclists or spelunkers, but far too bright for use as reading lamps. Others place an emphasis on providing a comfortable (as opposed to particularly secure) fit. These torches can be good for dog walking or enjoying festivals, but are wholly inappropriate for joggers or cyclists.
Today’s head torches mostly use light-emitting diode (LED) technology. LEDs have a number of advantages over traditional bulbs, including using between 75 and 90% less energy, lasting (in some cases) for 30 years or more, giving off little-no heat (even after continuous usage), turning off and on instantly with no ‘warm up’ period (or visible fade out) and being entirely unaffected by cold temperatures. LEDs are also lightweight and very difficult to break.
LED is by far the better technology when it comes to head torches, so keep this in mind.
LEDs generally come in two variants; high powered and low powered. Be sure which type you want before making your purchase.
See the next section for further information about brightness.
You will also need to decide if you want a single LED torch or a multi LED array. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but it is definitely fair to say that a single LED head torch, though not usually as bright as a multi-light array, can be very bright indeed. In fact, many single LED torches have a magnifying lens in front of their LED for this very reason.
Multi-LED head torches are versatile in the sense that the wearer has the option to choose how many lights are active at any given time. This number can range from as many as 10, to as few as 3. They are usually brighter than their single-LED counterparts; though often lack the depth of a single, powerful light.
If you’re not sure exactly how powerful you need your torch to be, you can buy one with a dimmer.
The headband is also a very important component of a good head torch – and should be examined thoroughly before purchase. If you can’t physically try the torch on due to buying online or ordering from a catalogue, see if you can find a video on YouTube or read an independent review elsewhere online.
People’s heads come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, so it is important to look for a head torch with an adjustable headband. Of course, a snug, secure fit is preferable for those intending to wear the torch while performing intense physical activity such as running, while a looser, more forgiving fit is better for those campers who like to read a good ghost story before bed.
With all headbands, comfort is key – and the more adjustable your headband is, the more the likelihood is that you will find a position that’s comfortable for you. This is important if you plan to wear the torch for extended periods of time (and especially so if you’re wearing it for work). Consider also the weight of your head torch. The sturdier (and therefore heavier) models may be better for certain tasks, but will not be suited to long-term wear.
In general, you should look for a head torch that’s easy to use and operate, especially if you have gloves on. You don’t want too many options, settings or functions, as cycling through them can quickly become an annoyance. You also don’t want a model with an on/off switch that’s tough to reach. Remember, it will be mounted on your head.
As a final note, we recommend that you buy a quality model. Remember, cheap isn’t necessarily cheerful. Leaving aside the lack of quality and reliability issues that can arise from using inferior technology, it is also worth noting that high-quality equipment can make a huge difference in cases of emergency.
Look for something that fits comfortably in your budget. You may not be able to afford the best model money can buy (and, in all probability, you won’t need to) but don’t settle for the cheapest model just because it’s cheap. After all, you get what you pay for.
Which Light is Right? Which is Too Bright?
When it comes to beam dispersal, all torches fit into three informal, but reasonably accurate, categories. These are ‘floodies’, ‘throwies’ and ‘zoomies’.
‘Floody’ beams illuminate a wide area, but do not travel particularly far. They are useful if, for example, you want to light up most of a darkened room.
‘Throwy’ beams, for their part, throw bright light over long distances and have a tight hotspot, meaning that you can instantly spotlight objects that are relatively far away. This is useful for people who are outdoors at night and wish to see as far in front of them as possible.
‘Zoomy’ beams, as the nickname suggests, have the ability to elongate their light beam, thus ‘zooming’ in on objects that are further away in one mode, while also casting a wide beam in another. These lights suffer from not being as good at either positions as their more specialised counterparts, but they generally engender a lot of goodwill due to their versatility.
If you want close-up lighting (e.g. for reading, fishing or any close activities), look for a wide (‘floody’) beam. This will spread the light well, but will lack depth. For hikers, cyclists and dog walkers, you may want to pick a ‘throwy’ that can cast a beam of light a long way. If you have a mixture of activities in mind, you may find that a ‘zoomy’ works best for you.
Next, we should talk about lumens. The brightness of any visible light can be measured in lumens (lm). So, the greater the lumen count, the brighter the light from your torch will ultimately be.
When it comes to a head torch, a lumen count as low as 300 will be more than sufficient for most activities.
A professional hand-held torch may have a lumen count of between 1,000 and 5,000 lumens, but there are hand-held torches that can generate as many as 60,000 lumens. Of course, you won’t find a head torch that goes anywhere near this number. Even if you could, you probably wouldn’t want it.
An excessively high lumen count may negatively affect the battery life of your torch, while also being annoying for bystanders, motorists and local wildlife. Even though LEDs generate only a minimal amount of heat, a massive lumen count can also make the torch quite warm, which is one reason why the count for head torches might be less on average than that of hand-held torches.
The luminous intensity of light, measured at a distance of 1m from the light source is known as the candela (1 candela being equal to the light from a single candle). This is different to the lumen count because it takes into account the distribution of light, whereas the lumen count describes only the intensity.
Many head torches will feature variable light settings. This, essentially (sometimes literally), provides the torch with a ‘dimmer switch’, meaning that the brightness of the light can be adjusted by the user. This function is useful not only for conserving battery life, but also adds greatly to your torch’s versatility. If variable light settings are an option for you, they should definitely be considered.
What Colour Light Should I Choose?
Although multiple light colours are available, in this section, we’re specifically referring to white and red light, both of which have their own particular benefits and drawbacks.
Red light, for example, is designed for night vision. It takes the human eye roughly half an hour to adapt properly to diminished light. This is because our eyes react chemically to the light they’re receiving. Once a bright white light is switched on, our eyes struggle to adjust to it. An intense enough flash of bright light can even temporarily blind a human being.
Red light, however, allows our eyes to adapt more-or-less instantly. This is due to the presence of rod and cone cells (known as photoreceptors) in the back of the eye. Rods outnumber cones by a significant margin – and they are responsible for adapting to low light.
Accordingly, many hunters and survival experts prefer to use a dim, red light (below 650 nanometres).
When set to ‘flash’ mode, a red light can also be a highly effective distress signal. Many places in both the Lake and Peak District will dispatch recue teams the moment a red flashing light is spotted on the horizon.
A red light, however, is not especially good for spotting details – and is horrible for reading as a result. Green light can be conducive to reading and spotting details, as well as being used for night vision technology, so it has many proponents as well. However, the human eye is a lot more sensitive to green than it is to red, meaning that red still works better for most people.
Batteries or Rechargeable?
Today, many torches will come bundled with rechargeable batteries. Other torches will still use traditional batteries, while still others will have an internal battery, recharging in a manner similar to that of your smartphone.
In terms of which is better, it really comes down to a choice between the internal battery and the rechargeable models, each having their own benefits and drawbacks.
Rechargeable torches require access to a power source in order to recharge. So, just like when you’re out and your phone dies, you will need to wait until you get home until you can plug your torch in and get it working again. These torches will have an easily readable display to let you know when the battery needs charging, but, in many cases, when they die, they’re dead until you get them home.
On the whole, removable rechargeable batteries may have the edge, as you can purchase a separate set, charge them up and keep them on hand in case of emergencies.
In either instance, be it internal or removable, rechargeable batteries are definitely better than their traditional counterparts. Not only are rechargeable batteries more energy efficient, they are also much more environmentally friendly as well.
Torches that use traditional batteries are in no way bad torches (there’s no difference in performance, for example). Indeed, their power source is the cheapest and most widely available of all on this list. However, they will cost you money over the long term, as you will have to regularly replace the batteries.
A one-off purchase of an extra set of rechargeable batteries may be considerably more expensive than grabbing a basic set of traditional batteries from your nearest store, but this actually represents false economy, as the traditional models will cost much more over time.
Additionally, no battery is 100% leak-proof, but traditional batteries are at greater risk of leaking, this can cause problems, especially in warmer environments.
If you do opt for a traditionally powered torch, please be sure to recycle your used batteries (most UK supermarkets legally have to give you the option these days) as throwing them in the bin or otherwise discarding them can be catastrophic to your local environment.
As a final, general note, high-powered LEDs may provide excellent light, but they will quickly drain the torch’s batteries. If your head torch gives you the option to shift the beam intensity to a lower setting, you should do this, as the higher settings will inevitably drain the battery at a faster rate.
What is an IP Rating (and why is it so Important)?
‘IP’ stands for ‘Ingress Protection’. All good technology designed for outdoor use is awarded an IP rating.
Any head torch needs to be able to withstand moderate to severe bad weather, or else intrusion by dust, sand and particles of dirt.
An IP rating consists of two scores that range between 1 and 6 (‘0’ or ‘X’ meaning that the device offers no protection in this area). The first score reveals the device’s resistance to intrusion from dust, dirt, sand and small objects.
If the first digit is 1, for example, your device is only safe from objects greater than 50mm in diameter, drop it on the beach and you may well need to buy a new one. A rating of 6, by comparison, means that the device is basically dust proof. Bury it on the beach and it will probably still work.
The second digit refers to the device’s resistance to moisture. A rating of 1 denotes a device is reasonably well protected against rain or condensation. A rating of 8, on the other hand, assures the user that their device can be fully submerged in water, even at significant depths.
In most cases, you will not need your head torch to be entirely waterproof (cave divers notwithstanding). It will however need to survive rainfall, as well as snow, sleet, hail and other inclement weather conditions. Look for an IP rating anywhere in the 60’s and you should be fine.
Who Should Buy a Head Torch?
Over the course of this feature, we’ve listed a number of activities where the use of a head torch would be beneficial.
These have included hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, dog walking, jogging, spelunking, rock climbing, attending outdoor events such as festivals, cycling, conservation work, outdoor study and others.
Professions that may benefit from the use of a head torch include mechanic, plumber, house clearance, house restorer, fishermen (and by extension anyone who works on a boat), electrician and outdoor security guard.
Essentially anybody who works with their hands and does so either at night or in the dark will find a head torch to be very useful indeed
SIA Security work is one of the key fields that make use of head torches, as the ability to go ‘hands free’ is often very important.
Head torches also make checking IDs or searching festival sites a good deal easier.
In addition, on-site security guards, who regularly patrol commercial, residential and industrial sites, may also find a head torch greatly beneficial to their work.
If you work in any of these areas (or others we may have missed), or if you enjoy any of the activities mentioned above, you may wish to invest in a head torch. If you do, we sincerely hope this guide has been of use to you.
Ledlenser Head Torch
PETZL Actik Core Head Torch
ThruNite TH30 LED Head Torch
Olight Perun Head Torch
Fenix HL60R Head Torch
Ledlenser Head Torch
This head torch weighs just 158g, but can put out a beam of clear, white light that can stretch as far as 150 metres. With a maximum brightness of 600 lumens, this powerful torch can illuminate even the darkest environments. It also comes with a 7-year warranty.
The Ledlenser rechargeable headlamp is also very versatile, offering spot-to-flood adjustability that lets you decide how much light you need for either mode (or anywhere in between). The fact that you can flit effortlessly between a subtle glow of 10lm and a floodlight blast of 600lm is certainly noteworthy.
So, the light put out by this torch is very impressive. Our only knock on it would be that the ‘full power’ mode diminishes automatically after about 5 minutes or so. This is a common problem, (definitely not limited to this model) and was presumably added to the design as a way of conserving battery life. Nevertheless, we’d like the brightness of the beam to be our choice, not the manufacturer’s.
A full recharge takes just 6 hours, while the battery can last for 10 hours on full power and a whopping 120 hours on low power, with the average battery life being about 15 hours or so. The battery’s longevity makes this torch great for long walks, runs and excursions into nature, while the USB charger is ideal for traveling and really increases your charging options.
In case the great battery life isn’t enough, the torch even comes equipped with a ‘low battery’ warning. This will tell you roughly how much power the battery has left at any given time. This light-based system (green light = charged, red light = nearly drained) is simple, direct and very useful if you’re planning to use the torch for extended periods. You also have the option to upgrade the battery to an even better one, should you need it.
Despite its lightness, the Ledlenser rechargeable headlamp feels surprisingly solid and durable. One downside, however, is that the focus bezel feels overly tight, lending the impression that it could be easily broken. Indeed, the ring that adjusts from ‘flood’ to ‘spot’ mode is also insanely stiff. It seems likely that it will loosen over time, but the fact remains that this torch isn’t as user-friendly right out of the box as it could be.
An IP rating of X4 is also a little south of where we’d like it to be. It should continue to function in light rain and gentle snowfall but is far from waterproof. If you’re planning on wearing this outside in all kinds of weather, be warned: it may not be able to keep up with you.
The headband is comfortable to wear and very adjustable, meaning that you should always be able to keep the torch firmly in place and not worry at all about dropping it.
Overall, we like this head torch. It has a great beam that’s very versatile. It also has a really good battery and a reliable head strap. The lack of proper waterproofing is an oversight, as is the overall stiffness of the bevel and ring. Quibbles like this stop our review from being as positive as it might otherwise be, but this one is still worth a look.
Equipped with a ‘low battery’ warning that will tell you roughly how much power the battery has left
Lasts 120 hours on low power
Comes with a 7-year warranty
Focus bezel is tight/stiff, feel like it could break easily
IP rating of IPX4, making it weatherproof only
PETZL Actik Core Head Torch
A neat, modern design that weighs in at a super light 75g, the PETZL Actik core headlamp is a smart, effective model that will certainly turn a few heads.
The torch only puts out 450lm worth of light, but while this isn’t as impressive a number as the output of some other torches, 450 Lumens is still more than you’re likely to need. The light is more than adequate for outdoor activities and gives off a very broad, bright beam that can travel for 20 metres or so.
The light consists of two options: flood and mixed. Both options work well. The brightness options are even better (there are three) and each one is well judged.
Also, the addition of a red light is particularly welcome. Not only will this allow you to not startle/blind other people and animals if you’re out late at night, it may also be used to signal for help in emergency situations.
The torch is also very adjustable, and the ratchet style tilt mechanism allows the light’s position to be easily adjusted while still remaining steady at all times.
In terms of weatherproofing, a rating of IPX4 is another limitation that this model could do without. It can be worn in light rain, even splashed with water, but it is not waterproof and should not be considered so. Honestly, this isn’t quite where it should be in terms of weatherproofing.
A charge time of just 3 hours makes this little number’s battery quicker than a whippet on curry night. However, it drains just as swiftly, lasting only 2 hours on full power. It does rather a lot better in ‘standard’ mode (100lm), lasting around 8 hours, which is pretty good.
The good news is that the rechargeable batteries can be replaced by store-bought AAAs, which will work perfectly. This is a very welcome feature, although it would be better if it were simply an option for the user, rather than a probable necessity.
It’s also a bit of a pain to actually get to the batteries in order to charge them, if we’re honest. When you do reach them, the plastic housing feels cheap and flimsy – just one clumsy mistake away from breakage.
One key benefit of the PETZL Actik core headlamp is that it employs a single button that allows the user to select the lighting options quickly and easily from a range of possibilities.
The ‘lock’ button is also hugely useful. Not only will this prevent you from mistakenly changing your preferred settings, it will also protect you from accidentally activating the light and draining the battery while the torch isn’t being used.
The only downside here is that the torch doesn’t remember the previous setting it was switched to, meaning that, if you switch it off for whatever reason, you will have to navigate your way back to the settings you want. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s there.
The headband is reflective (a very cool safety feature that can help you to be more visible at night – more head torches should have this feature, in our view), as well as washable. It’s also comfortable and lightweight enough that it’s possible to actually forget that you’re wearing it. If we were to criticise it, we might argue that it’s a little too rigid, but that’s only if we’re being picky.
All told, this is a useful little torch. The washable, reflective headband is very good – and so is the torch, it just isn’t great. For starters, the light could be brighter, it has no memory for settings and the battery life is somewhat lacking. The compatibility with regular batteries is great, but this exposes a flimsy battery case that appears to be quite breakable. Nevertheless, the light emitted is bright and of good quality and the option for a red light is very welcome indeed.
There are a number of innovative design features on display here, but the whole thing is just let down slightly by the execution.
Rechargeable batteries can be replaced by store-bought AAA’s
A charge time of just 3 hours
Lock button will also protect you from accidentally activating the light and draining the battery
Doesn’t remember the previous setting it was switched to
IP rating of IPX4, making it weatherproof only
ThruNite TH30 LED Head Torch
This head torch is bold, brilliant and super-bright. It’s also fully detachable, so it can be used as a hand-held flashlight if needed.
Accordingly, the torch itself weighs ever-so-slightly more than some of the others we’ve seen but still remains lightweight and trim at 123g. To our minds, this is good design, as the torch is designed to be both hand-held (where a bit of bulk is actually useful), but also head mounted (where the general rule is ‘the lighter the better’). This shows that the ability to detach this torch wasn’t added as an afterthought but is in fact a key design element. This hypothesis is further attested to by the addition of a belt clip.
The torch itself can produce a staggering 3500 lumens worth of light which, unless you’re planning on replacing the sun, will be more than enough light for anyone.
The light beams can stretch for 155m as well, which is about as good as it gets, really. The light is bright and clear in both the ‘flood’ and ‘throw’ modes and remains decent even in the ‘energy saving’ mode.
The ‘one button’ design is also a welcome feature, as this makes the torch simple to use in a hurry, allowing the user to cycle one-handed through brightness levels, as well as easily switch the torch on or off as needed.
The torch will also remember the most recent mode it was set to and, if switched off, will go right back to whatever it was doing before it was reactivated.
As a minor complaint, we should say that detaching and reattaching the torch to the head-strap is fiddly and could probably be easier (in fact, you may well find yourself removing the headgear in order to affix the torch properly into place). However, the counterpoint to this is that once the torch is in place, it remains firmly fixed in position.
The ThruNite TH30 is also waterproof, with a rating of IPX8. This means it can actually be submerged in water (to a depth of 1 metre) without breaking. Wear it in rain, snow or a typhoon and this sucker will still light up your life.
One of the most praiseworthy things about this torch is its versatility. The ThruNite TH30 benefits from 6 different brightness modes (3 is the average). These modes include two versions of the ‘medium’ brightness setting (one low, one high), a full-on ‘turbo’ mode and even an ‘SOS’ mode. This really expands the possibilities available to the user, making this torch a great choice for performing any number of activities.
The battery, on the other hand, is a real let-down. Putting out 3500 lumens is a difficult task, even for the best batteries and this setting will drain the battery completely in less than 2 hours. The ‘high’ setting (a dazzling 1275lm) will last about an hour and a half and the ‘medium’ settings (352lm) will only manage about 2hrs, 10mins. Essentially, this means that for all the torch’s brilliance, it just isn’t suited for anything close to long-term use.
A blinking light, followed by a red indicator light will inform you when the battery is low (which will literally be every couple of hours in anything but the ‘low’ and ‘firefly’ modes) and then the torch will require 3 hours to recharge, longer than it lasts in any of its better modes. The USB charger is very convenient and useful if you’re on the move, but it still takes 3 hours to charge a two-hour battery.
It’s also worth stating that the rubber grip on the torch itself can rub against the forehead while running or engaging in strenuous activity. This is a genuine shame, as so much else here is so very well thought out.
Sadly, this is an example of a torch that burns brightly, but briefly. This torch works well, but only over limited periods. Yes, it is much brighter than the majority of its peers, but in order to get any use value out of it for any length of time, the user will have to resort to the lower brightness settings – settings that will last much longer on models that come with a lower brightness output in the first place.
Light output, even in normal mode, is fantastic and provides plenty of light
Can be used as a headlamp or as a small flashlight by removing it from its clip
Remembers the most recent mode it was set to and, if switched off, will go right back to
Rubberised torch attachment can be uncomfortable on the forehead
To get any use value out of it for any length of time, the user will have to resort to the lower brightness settings
Olight Perun Head Torch
The Olight Perun mini head torch really lives up to the ‘mini’ part of its name. Weighing in at just 52g, this torch is lighter than light and fits easily in the palm of your hand. Don’t let the Perun’s small stature confuse you, however. This is still a tough little torch.
Waterproof to a depth of at least 1 metre (IPX8), encased in a tough outer casing (able to withstand a 1.5 metre drop) and capable of throwing a beam for around 100 metres, this torch is proof positive that sometimes big things come in small packages.
At 1000 lm, the light given off by this torch is nice and bright. However, it will only stay this bright for 1 minute. After that, the light drops sharply to 250lm, which is less than that of most other high quality head torches on the market right now.
Additionally, even after the drop in brightness, the battery will last less than an hour and a half. If you start with the 250lm setting, the battery will last a little longer (about 1hr 40mins in total), which is better, but far from great.
The middle setting, which emits around 65lm, has a solid battery life of 6 hours, which is pretty good. However, 65lm really isn’t all that impressive. A brightness of 25lm will keep the battery going for over a day, but, again, isn’t all that bright. 25 – 65lm will provide decent light (you could comfortably read by it, for example), but it’s a far cry from the 1000lm maximum offered by this model.
When it’s time to recharge, this torch’s USB magnetic charging cable is both practical and convenient. A knock-on benefit of this feature is that the torch can be magnetically attached to metal work surfaces as well.
The torch is easily detached from the headband. It also has a Velcro duty patch that allows it to be easily attached to the user’s clothing or other surfaces as well. Once attached, this duty patch offers 60-degree rotation so you can be sure that the torch is exactly where you want it to be.
Although this is a very useful design feature in theory, in practice it isn’t so good, as the Velcro doesn’t actually work especially well. This coupled with the torch’s extreme lightness means that it could fall off and easily become lost at any time it isn’t actively being used.
In summary, this torch is potentially amazing. Getting 1000lm of light thrown over 100m from a device the size of a thumb is no small feat. Extra design features like the Velcro patch and the magnetic charger are brilliant too. The only real disappointment here is the fact that the torch really isn’t that bright when used for longer periods, a fact that wouldn’t be so bad if the battery lasted longer, but it doesn’t. In the end, this is just a decent torch that will provide decent light while sporting a number of neat design elements, but apart from that, it isn’t anything too exceptional.
Velcro patch is very useful addition
Torch is easily detached from the headband
Charger attaches to the torch using a strong magnet. This means you can attach the torch to other metal surfaces
Button on the top of the torch can lead to accidental presses
Will only stay this bright for 1 minute on highest setting
Fenix HL60R Head Torch
From the look of things, the Fenix HL60R came to play. It has an impact resistance of 1 metre but feels so solid that we wonder if it isn’t actually indestructible. The HL60R also has an IP rating of X8, which means it can be fully submerged in water and so could easily shrug off a major rainstorm. On top of that, this torch can put out 950 lumens worth of light over a distance of 116 metres.
So far, we’re impressed. What else can this bad boy do?
The highest setting of 950lm is particularly impressive. However, the battery can only keep this up for around 48 minutes. The second-highest setting, weirdly enough, is 450lm. This lasts for a respectable 3 hours but represents a pretty steep drop from the dazzling brilliance of nearly 1000lm.
However, the third setting will comfortably put out 150lm for 10 solid hours. This is the function you’ll most likely want to use. 150lm is relatively bright and 10 hours is a long time. It makes for a nice balance. This makes the Fenix HL60R a dependable torch for people who rely on good light.
The white light can go as low as 5lm (which will last for 100hrs) and there are two red LEDs that will put out 1lm and also last for 100hrs. The inclusion of red light is excellent, but at just 1lm, it could be brighter. All told, there are 6 brightness settings, so there are a lot of options for the user to play with. The torch will also remember the last setting that was used.
Additionally, the torch’s digitally regulated output maintains consistent brightness and the neutral white LEDs allow for better colour rendering.
Selecting the mode can be a little bit tricky, as the user will need to keep cycling through every power setting until they find the one they want. If they miss it, they’ll have to cycle round again. This is a common problem, however. It is not unique to this brand or torch.
One cool feature is that the rechargeable battery can be replaced with two CR123A batteries. This is useful should the user find him/herself in the position of still needing to use the torch after the power has run down.
The batteries can be recharged via the Micro USB charger cable, which is very convenient and remains our favourite charging option as a result. However, the cover to the charger port can be temperamental, both to take off and put back on.
The Fenix HL60R weighs just 121g, which is light enough for a head-mounted torch, though not the lightest we’ve seen. It also weighs more once the batteries have been added.
The torch itself is fashioned from durable, high-grade aluminium. It has a premium Type III hard anodized anti-abrasive finish (try saying that three times fast), which is why it feels so strong. Even the glass lens has been specially toughened. When using this torch, you really feel like it would be safe to drop it while running or climbing and that it would survive the fall unscathed.
The Fenix HL60R is a solid, reliable head torch with good battery life, strong, reliable light and a tough design capable of withstanding anything you care to put it through. It’s a little on the heavy side, but it does the job it’s designed for and does it well.
Has an IP rating of X8, which means it can be fully submerged in water
Neutral white LEDs allow for better colour rendering
The Battery can be replaced with two CR123A batteries
y* ** The rubber cap over the charging port is a bit fiddly, both to get out and put in
Slightly on the heavy side but worth it for the powerful beam
The Ledlenser rechargeable Headlamp benefits from a good ratio of beam to battery life. It also has a well-designed head strap, though the lack of proper waterproofing could be cause for concern.
The PETZL Actik Core Headlamp, on the other hand, boasts a number of innovative design choices, including a reflective head strap and the option to add store-bought batteries in a pinch. However, it also lacks proper waterproofing, and the battery case is flimsy and breakable.
Then there’s the ThruNite TH30 LED Head Torch, which puts out an incredibly bright light and is fully waterproof but doesn’t have nearly enough battery power to make either feature useful for any length of time.
The Olight Perun Mini Head Torch is small, but mighty. It can put out a very bright light, but only for very limited periods. It is versatile and well-made though.
Finally, we have the Fenix HL60R Head Torch, this one is the consummate all-rounder, with great durability and reliable consistency. It is a little bit heavy though.
All told, each head torch has its benefits and drawbacks. Now that we’ve detailed them for you, dear reader, it’s up to you to choose the model that best suits your specific needs. Stay bright!