10 Best Headlamps for Hunting 2024

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The best headlamps for hunting are waterproof, lightweight, use energy-efficient LED bulbs and include a red, green or blue light mode. The red, green or blue (RGB) modes will protect a hunter’s night vision while hiking in the dark. Plus, RGB light is far less likely to alert big game animals while you’re hiking to your hunting spot.

The best headlamps for hunters also include adjustable beams that let them pierce through the darkness along a trail but also drop the power to conserve battery. Of course, the main point of having a headlamp for hunting is to give a hunter hands-free light. If you’re quartering a big game animal in the dark, being able to direct light wherever you’re looking is darn near essential.

In a hurry? Skip down to our #1 Hunting Headlamp pick for 2024!

This buyers guide photo shows the Petzl Aria 2 headlamp for hunting with its green light mode lit.
Why not choose a headlamp for hunting with just a red light option? Some hunters see better with green or blue light, so we recommend headlamps with RGB options for most hunters.

Plus, hunting headlamps are surprisingly durable and reliable for the price — the best hunting headlamps are waterproof, made by reputable companies, and they rarely fail. In this buying review guide, I’ll cover the key benefits, drawbacks, and competitive alternatives to help you find out which hunting headlamp is right for you. How do I know which hunting headlamp is the best? I’m an archery elk hunter and an rifle deer and elk hunter in Idaho, and I’ve personally used and tested nearly all of these headlamps and/or previous versions of these headlamps, out in the field while hunting. I’m familiar with the manufacturers and their proven record of delivering high quality hunting headlamps, some with decades of experience.

My primary test that matters the most is actually using the hunting headlamp in the field during a hunting situation. This lets me understand not only real-world light and battery performance over rugged terrain and weather conditions, it teases out usability benefits and drawbacks. These are the LED headlamps that I and my partners hunt with and most consistently recommend.

Table of Contents:

  • Quick Answer: What is the best headlamp for hunting?
  • Best Hunting Headlamps 2024
      1. PEAX Backcountry Duo
      2. Black Diamond Storm 500-R
      3. Petzl Aria 2 RGB
      4. Black Diamond Storm 450
      5. Princeton Tec Vizz
      6. Black Diamond Spot 400
      7. L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 550
      8. Cabela’s Alaskan Guide RGB
      9. Coast FL75R
      10. Browning Night Seeker 2 Cap Light
  • How many lumens do I need for a headlamp?
  • Why do headlamps get dimmer the longer you use them?
  • What is the ANSI FL-1 Standard for runtimes?
  • What is the brightest headlamp you can buy?

What is the best headlamp for hunting?

The best hunting headlamp is the new PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp for three key reasons:

  1. It produces a powerful 1,000 lumens through a high-capacity rechargeable battery
  2. Its red light mode is far brighter and more powerful than the competition
  3. It has an easy-to-use rugged design

While the clarity of light output isn’t as clean as our #2 Black Diamond Storm 500-R — or even as crisp as our #3 Petzl Aria 2 — the sheer power combined with a big 3600 mAh rechargeable battery gives you a forest-piercing beam, making the PEAX Backcountry Duo the brightest headlamp for hunting that I recommend. When it’s time to navigate through very rough terrain in the dark, having more power can help you avoid trouble spots. However, the PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp does have some drawbacks — read on for details and to find the best hunting headlamp for you!

Best Hunting Headlamps 2024

There are a lot of great headlamps available for hikers, backpackers, and trail runners, but we narrow the field considerably with our hunting headlamp recommendations. If you hike into the woods before dawn, you’ll want a headlamp with a red, green or blue mode. And if you hunt in the evening, a bright and dependable headlamp designed for hunting can give you an extra boost of confidence to take your shot right before dark.

As for beam distance and lumens, choosing a high-quality hunting headlamp with good optical components tends to be more important than the exact specs. Let’s say this again in another way: Good optical components around the actual LED lights help deliver brighter, clearer, more usable light. So stick with reputable manufacturers and you’ll be good to go.

Our Top 10 Hunting Headlamp Recommendations:

1. PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp

This best hunting headlamp photo shows the PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp.
PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp is great for hunting because it has the most powerful red light beam we’ve ever tested.

The greatness of the PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp starts with its powerful 1,000-lumen beam. While some of the headlamp competition can compete on sheer power, running at a high-lumen output usually depletes your batteries too quickly to bother with. The Backcountry Duo, on the other hand, uses a large 3600 mAh rechargeable battery that can deliver an impressive 6-8 hours of runtime in the ‘Ultra’ 1,000-lumen mode. On the Low output setting, that runtime jumps to 55+ hours. This means that a hunter can use higher power outputs without fear of running out of battery so quickly.

Better yet, the PEAX ‘ULTRA RED’ light option is far more powerful than most other red or RGB color options on competing headlamps. While a good red light option might be equivalent to 20-40 lumens, the Backcountry Duo red light mode is astonishing: PEAX says it is equivalent to a 200-lumen white light, and we believe it. Red light and white light aren’t easy to compare, but wow, the Backcountry Duo red light option is very strong. Not only is this safer when you’re trying to pick your path in the dark, it’s useful for hunters. For instance, when we tested the Backcountry Duo on multiple Idaho elk hunts, we can easily identify fresh elk tracks in the dirt in the red light mode. With most other hunting headlamps in their RGB modes, we have to strain to identify details in animal tracks — or kneel down to get a closer look.

As for build quality, PEAX uses rugged 6061 machined aluminum and a waterproof design with an IPX6 rating. Operation is super simple: You push one big button to cycle through white and red modes, and the Backcountry Duo remembers your last setting when you turn it off. To recharge the 3600 mAh battery, you simply unscrew one end to reveal a USB-C charging port. So cool. (PEAX sells high-capacity replacement ‘18650’ rechargeable batteries at a reasonable price, so add an extra to your cart as a backup for long nights in the woods.)

The biggest drawback to the PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp is that it is relatively heavy compared to other hunting headlamps. With the battery, it weighs 4.3 ounces. In our experience — read our full Duo Headlamp review for more detail — the PEAX Backcountry Duo isn’t as comfortable to wear for long periods of time compared to lighter headlamps, but it is surprisingly good. (If you’re sensitive to headlamp weight, consider the lightweight Black Diamond Spot 400 or the ultralight BioLite HeadLamp 325 noted below.)

Despite the weight, the overall power — and the awesome red mode — is enough to push the Backcountry Duo Headlamp into our number 1 position for 2024. Very highly recommended.

PEAX Backcountry Duo Headlamp Specs:

Max Lumens: 1,000 Max Beam Distance: 149 meters Color Modes: Red Run Time: 6+ hrs on high; 16 hrs on medium; 55 hrs on low Batteries: 1 rechargeable 18650 battery Weight: 4.3 oz (with battery)

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Editor’s Note: We believe the Backcountry Duo will sell out again before the holidays. If you’re considering the Backcountry Duo as a gift, you may want to act quickly.

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

BlackOvis | PEAX Equipment

2. Black Diamond Storm 500-R Headlamp

This product photo shows the Black Diamond Storm 500-R headlamp.
The Black Diamond Storm 500-R has a maximum 500-lumen light that you can boost to from lower modes with just a simple tap.

The Black Diamond Storm 500-R is new to our lineup this year because it’s powered by an integrated 2400 mAh Li-ion battery. Most other Black Diamond headlamps in this size range use smaller 1500 mAh rechargeable batteries or three AAA batteries. The Storm 500-R’s extra-capacity 2400 mAh battery lets it power its 500-lumen beam for very competitive runtimes. One benefit of using Black Diamond’s rechargeable integrated batteries is that Black Diamond can deliver longer burn times than you get from AAA batteries. The drawback is that you don’t have easy AAA battery backups to use if you need them. On the other hand, you can use the Storm 500-R in the morning and night — and you can give it a recharge boost at hunting camp to get it ready for the next day. We appreciate the battery indicator lights on the Storm 500-R housing, too. (If you prefer the option to use hybrid power sources, the #4 BD Storm 450 lets you use Black Diamond’s removable 1500 mAh rechargeable battery packs as well as AAA batteries.)

Black Diamond is one of the very best headlamp manufacturers today, and its headlamps have outstanding optical quality. You get both close-up proximity and distance beam patterns that are very clean and crisp. Better yet, the Storm 500-R gives you red, green, and blue night-vision modes!

And what about that “Storm” name? The Storm 500-R is IP67 waterproof rated and has been tested to operate at least 30 minutes while submerged to 1.0 meters.

Black Diamond Storm 500-R Specs:

Max Lumens: 500 Max Beam Distance: 120 meters Color Modes: RGB Run Time: 7 hours on high; 19 hours on medium; 350 hours on low Batteries: Built-in 2400 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery Weight: 3.5 oz

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon | Backcountry.com | Bass Pro Shops | Cabela’s

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3. Petzl Aria 2 RGB Headlamp

The product photo shows the Petzl Aria 2 RGB hunting headlamp.
The new Petzl Aria 2 RGB delivers very high-quality light with a beam pattern that’s excellent for dark forest navigation.

The new for 2024 Petzl Aria 2 RGB replaces the Petzl Tactikka +RGB. The new Aria 2 RGB is an upgrade because it delivers quite a bit more lumen power — 450 lumens vs the Tactikka’s 350-lumen max. In our testing, that extra full-power 450-lumen beam is fantastic. Like Black Diamond, Petzl designs high-quality optical components that deliver superior light quality. The white light options on all power levels are clean and crisp without glare or dark spots. If you get a close-up in-person view of the lenses — not turned on — you’ll be surprised at the perfection. In addition, the Aria 2 RGB delivers a blended beam of light that combines light from the proximity lens with light from the distance lens. What does this mean? It means that when you’re walking on a trail in the dark, you’ll be able to more clearly see branches and rocks while also being able to see farther ahead.

Like the new Black Diamond headlamps below, the Petzl Aria 2 RGB can use two different battery options: 3 AAA batteries or the Petzl CORE rechargeable battery accessory. The Petzl CORE is a 1250 mAh Li-ion battery pack with a built-in micro-USB charging port and charge indicator. You could, for example, charge up the battery pack each night before morning hunts and still keep 3 AAA batteries in your hunting pack for emergencies or nighttime treks that go longer than expected.

Compared to the now discontinued Tactikka version, the Aria 2 RGB is now fully waterproof with a very competitive IP67 rating. It works. I’ve used it in wet hunting conditions and even tested it fully submerged.

Petzl Aria 2 RGB Headlamp Specs:

Max Lumens: 450 Max Beam Distance: 100 meters Color Modes: RGB Run Time: 2 hrs on high; 10 hrs on medium; 100 hrs on low Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 3.7 oz

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon | BlackOvis | Moosejaw | Scheels

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4. Black Diamond Storm 450 Headlamp

This photo shows the Black Diamond Storm 450 Headlamp, which includes red, green, and blue night vision light modes that are useful for hunters.
The new Black Diamond Storm 450 Headlamp includes green and blue LED night vision modes in addition to red.

The new and improved Black Diamond Storm 450 is nearly an ounce lighter than the previous generation’s Storm 400 — but much of that weight savings is the difference between the new 3 AAA capacity vs the previous 4 AAA capacity. With the change in power and battery capacity, run times have dropped a bit, but we tend to prefer lighter headlamps than heavier headlamps so we’re OK with the change. How does the Storm 450 differ from the Spot 400? As you might guess by the name, the Storm 450 is more powerful by 50 lumens, but the Storm 450 is also slightly heavier.

The Storm 450 can also use Black Diamond’s Dual-Fuel BD 1500 rechargeable batteries. The biggest benefit of the Storm 450 over the Spot 400 is the addition of green and blue LED option modes in addition to red. If you think you might appreciate green or blue modes, choose the Storm 450 instead of the Spot 400. One more thing, like the Spot 400, Black Diamond reports increased run times when you use its BD 1500 rechargeable battery packs (3 hrs on high with the BD 1500 vs 2 hrs with AAA batteries).

Black Diamond Storm 450 Specs:

Max Beam Distance: 120 meters Run Time: 2 hrs on high; 4.5 hours on medium; 175 hrs on low Color Modes: RGB Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 3.24 oz

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon | Bass Pro Shops | Cabela’s | Moosejaw | REI

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5. Princeton Tec Vizz 550 RGB Headlamp

This product photo shows the latest version of the Princeton Tec Vizz hunting headlamp with 550 lumens.
The latest Princeton Tec Vizz boosts output to 550 lumens — and the red mode is the second strongest we’ve ever used.

The newly updated Princeton Tec Vizz 550 RGB puts out a remarkable 550 lumens and is dimmable in all three of its light modes. The Vizz has a Maxbright LED for a powerful spot beam or a pair of white Ultrabright LEDs for a white flood beam. Two red Ultrabright LEDs come in for preserving night vision. While the Princeton Tec Vizz’s red night vision beam isn’t as powerful as the PEAX Backcountry Duo, it’s two red light bulbs deliver the second strongest red light beam compared to rest of the hunting headlamps in this list. Most importantly, the red beam is powerful enough to let a hunter identify elk tracks while standing at full height. In addition, the RGB version includes single green and blue light options.

The waterproof level is IPX7. In terms of usability while hunting, we’re big fans of the screw systems used to open and secure the battery compartment. It’s easy to use and is more durable than most headlamps with snap-together and pry-apart battery compartments.

Last of all, the Princeton Tec Vizz is Made in the USA! If you care about American manufacturing, the Princeton Tec Vizz should be at the top of your list. Just make sure you get the newer version if you want 550 lumens. (The previous version at 420 lumens is still available and is very good: It has a slightly lower beam distance but slightly longer runtime vs the new version with 550 lumens.)

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Princeton Tec Vizz Specs:

Max Lumens: 550 Max Beam Distance: 85 meters Color Modes: RGB Run Time: 90 hours Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 3.2 oz

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon

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6. Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp

This best hunting headlamp buying guide photo shows the new Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp.
The updated Black Diamond Spot 400 boosts lumen output and adds a dual-fuel battery option.

The latest version of the Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp replaces the previous generation’s Spot 350. As you might have guessed, the new Spot 400 boosts the lumen output by 50 lumens, bringing this new Spot up to 400 lumens. Better yet, the new Spot 400 is lighter than the Spot 350. The optical clarity is excellent, and the two primary white light modes are very good: distance and proximity. The proximity mode bathes your immediate area in a smooth shower of light great for close-up tasks while the distance mode extends far down the trail. The red light mode is dimmable and has a strobe option and you can activate the red light mode without cycling through white modes. The Spot 400 has an impressive IPX8 waterproof rating, which is very competitive compared to most headlamps. If you plan to hunt in consistently wet conditions, choose the Spot 400. Last of all, the Spot 400 is a Dual-Fuel headlamp: you can use 3 AAA alkaline batteries (included) or the rechargeable BD 1500 Li-ion battery (separate accessory). Black Diamond reports an impressive 60% increase in burn time on Max when you use the BD 1500 (4 hrs) compared to standard alkaline batteries (2.5 hrs). Interestingly, the burn time on low is only boosted 12.5% with BD 1500 (up to 225 hrs vs 200).

Usability Recommendation: While the BD Spot 400 headlamp doesn’t have the highest lumens or the most powerful red mode, the ultralight weight and superior comfort make it an excellent overall hunting headlamp. It is one of my favorite headlamps of all time — powerful enough for most situations yet lightweight. I often carry the Spot 400 as a backup headlamp on evening hunts far from camp or the truck — and it’s my go-to headlamp for backpacking and evening hikes.

Black Diamond Spot 400 Specs:

Max Beam Distance: 100 meters Run Time: 2.5 hours on high; 5 hours on medium; 200 hours on low Color Modes: Red Batteries: 3 AAA or BD 1500 Li-ion rechargeable battery Weight: 2.73 oz (2.54 oz with the BD 1500 battery pack)

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon | Backcountry.com | Bass Pro Shops | REI

The many Black Diamond headlamp options can get a little confusing. Here are a couple of additional notes to help you out:

Black Diamond Spot 400-R vs Spot 400

The Spot 400-R is the rechargeable version of the Spot 400. It has a built-in, non-removable rechargeable battery (and can’t use AAA batteries). It has the same basic performance specs as the Spot 400 when you use the BD 1500 rechargeable battery in the Spot 400. The Spot 400-R has a slightly lower waterproof rating of IP67 vs the Spot 400’s IP68.

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7. L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 550 Headlamp

This hunting headlamp product photo shows the L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 550 RGB Headlamp.
The newly updated L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 550 RGB Headlamp boosts lumen output as well as adds RGB color options.

If you’re a fan of L.L.Bean’s legendary customer satisfaction guarantee, check out the newly updated L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 550 Headlamp. L.L.Bean doesn’t say it specifically, but the Trailblazer Sportsman 550 Headlamp is surely manufactured by Princeton Tec in the USA for L.L.Bean to create the L.L.Bean-branded version. The Trailblazer Sportsman 550 has the same basic construction as the Princeton Tec Vizz 550 RGB noted above. You get a competitive 550-lumens, IPX7 waterproofing, and battery life that lasts up to 66 hours. If you’re an L.L.Bean fan, there’s no reason to stray.

L.L.Bean Trailblazer Sportsman 420 Headlamp Specs:

Max Lumens: 550 Max Beam Distance: 78 meters Color Modes: RGB Run Time: 66 hours on low Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 3.2 oz

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

L.L.Bean

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8. Cabela’s Alaskan Guide RGB Headlamp by Princeton Tec

This best headlamp for hunting photo shows the Cabela
Cabela’s Alaskan Guide RGB Headlamp by Princeton Tec

The Cabela’s Alaskan Guide RGB Headlamp by Princeton Tec is one of our favorite headlamps for hunting because it’s dirt-simple to use. All you have to do is push the button and you can cycle through five modes, red, green or blue and, of course, white in high or low. Better yet, red comes on first, so you don’t have to cycle through the white to get to red and mess up your night vision. To get to white, just push and hold for a second or two. So easy. The main LED lamp puts out 300 lumens on high. The only downside is that the runtimes are a bit exaggerated. In our experience and testing, you’ll likely get good results on high for about 4 hours. After that, performance is comparable to other lights on lower settings for longer periods of time. Meanwhile, Princeton Tec is a great headlamp manufacturer in its own right, but this Cabela’s branded model gets our nod because we’re fans of Cabela’s and the company’s overall customer service and dedication to hunting and outdoor gear. It looks a bit plasticky, but multi-year durability has been surprisingly good. Note: If you want the Princeton Tec-branded version, try the more powerful 450-lumen Remix RGB.

Cabela’s Alaskan Guide RGB Headlamp by Princeton Tec Specs:

Max Lumens: 300 Max Beam Distance: 73 meters Color Modes: RGB Run Time: 53 hrs on spot; 150 hours on flood Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 2.9 oz

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Cabela’s

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9. Coast FL75R Rechargeable Focusing LED Headlamp

browning night seeker 2 cap light 10 Best Headlamps for Hunting 2024This headlamp for hunting shows the Browning Night Seeker 2 Cap Light.Coast tends to produce headlamps that are aimed more at industrial or work-related uses, but Coast has attracted some outdoor adventure lovers, too. The Coast FL75R Rechargeable Focusing LED Headlamp is, obviously, rechargeable, but it makes it onto our hunting headlamp list because it has the easiest to adjust beam pattern: It features a twist-focus beam. By twisting the optics around the lens, you can go from Coast’s ‘Ultra View Flood Beam’ to its ‘Bulls-Eye Spot Beam.’ The output is a whopping 530 lumens on high with a maximum beam distance of 156 meters. It also has a red beam for hunters that is activated by a separate button. The FL75R comes with a battery pack, USB charging cord and AC and DC adapters.

Coast FL75R Rechargeable Focusing LED Headlamp Specs:

Max Beam Distance: 156 meters Run Time: 2.25 hrs on high; 5.25 hours on medium; 11 hrs on low Color Modes: Red Batteries: 3 AAA Weight: 3.2 oz

Note: Also check out the new Coast FL78R, which adds a green LED mode, too.

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

Amazon

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10. Browning Night Seeker 2 Cap Light

This headlamp product photo shows the BioLite HeadLamp 325.
Browning Night Seeker RGB LED Cap Light.

The Browning Night Seeker RGB LED Cap Light is a great backup hunting headlamp. The key is versatility. Many hunters wear ball caps with brims and the Night Seeker RGB simply attaches to the cap brim. This Browning Cap Light version uses two white LEDs for 15 lumens. You can also choose between red, green or blue for night vision modes. In addition, the Night Seeker Pro fits underneath your brim, which lets you use the tilt feature to adjust the direction of the light up and down. It’s a great stocking stuffer gift for hunters and the kind of backup light we like to keep in a pickup’s glove box or with an ATV or UTV.

See also  Top 14 Blinds, Treestands and Targets for 2024 | Deer & Deer Hunting

Check Shipping/Pricing:

Bass Pro Shops

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Bonus: Most Comfortable Headlamp

The new BioLite HeadLamp 325 is an ultralight, super comfortable rechargeable headlamp that delivers surprisingly crisp light.

The BioLite HeadLamp 325 is an ultralight, super comfortable 325-lumen rechargeable headlamp. It is easily, by far, the most comfortable headlamp we’ve ever tested. It weighs just 1.75 ounces and it has a low profile against your forehead. That means the light doesn’t bounce at all as you move. Better yet, the band is fused to the lamp housing and it feels seamless. Because the beam quality is excellent and does a stellar job of illuminating true-to-life colors, we like it to cook with the HeadLamp 325 around hunting camp.

Check Buying Options, Shipping & Pricing:

BioLite | REI

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Hunting Headlamp FAQ:

How many lumens do I really need for a hunting headlamp?

For most outdoor activities on trails or in the forest, you should get a high-quality LED headlamp rated at 300 lumens or more. Why? You want to have enough light output to help you see uneven ground in the dark. A headlamp with 300 lumens or more can better illuminate rocks, roots, branches and brush that can trip or injure you in the dark. With today’s more efficient LED bulbs and quality electronics, we now typically recommend at least 400 lumen headlamps for hiking, backpacking, camping, and hunting. In addition, for very rugged terrain, we recommend headlamps with 450 or greater lumens that also have high quality light output. To save battery life when using a high-quality, high-lumen headlamp, you can dim the output to best match your lighting needs on the trail.

Why do headlamps get dimmer the longer you use them?

Most headlamps gradually get dimmer as you use them in order to preserve battery life and still produce usable light. For example, your headlamp might say it has a 7-hour runtime on high using an ANSI FL-1 Standard for runtimes, but that is a bit confusing for consumers who choose a new headlamp but then wonder why it gets dimmer as they use it. Basically, the lumen output will decrease over time to conserve battery power and technically give you light for 7 hours. You won’t really get 7 hours of full power output. Manufacturers make choices on how they electronically deliver the power usage compared to the light output, and nearly all hunting headlamps sacrifice some lumen output over time in favor of maintaining some amount of usable light output for as long as possible. Plus, most people, even in rugged terrain, don’t need to run their headlamps at maximum output — but sometimes it’s comforting and handy to do so.

What is the ANSI FL-1 Standard for runtimes?

For practical purposes, the ANSI FL-1 Standard for reporting headlamp and flashlight runtimes is the length of time a headlamp/flashlight will deliver light until the beam’s lumen power is reduced to 10% of its initial output. Nearly all hunting headlamps gradually reduce lumen power over time to conserve battery and keep providing light in, presumably, rugged outdoor situations. If a headlamp tried to maintain a full-power output, it would quickly deplete its lightweight energy supply and go dead — perhaps unexpectedly in a dangerous situation in the dark. Some expensive headlamps with much larger battery packs deliver regulated outputs that prioritize full power over longevity. The drawback to these headlamps is usually increased weight and bulkiness that is not suitable for most hunting situations.

How can I interpret the ANSI FL-1 Standard in hunting headlamp runtimes?

Here is an example of how the ANSI FL-1 Standard can be used to understand headlamp runtimes: If a 500-lumen headlamp has a published runtime of 7 hours on its highest setting, as measured with the ANSI FL-1 Standard for runtimes, by the time the headlamp hits 7 hours of usage, the beam’s lumen power will only be 10% as bright as when it started. In this case, that means the light coming from the 500-lumen headlamp after 7 hours will only be producing 50 lumens of light. At this point, most headlamps for hunting have a bit of reserve power where the headlamp goes into a sort of emergency mode where the output is often reduced even further, often down to .25 Lux at 4 meters, which is considered the amount of light put out by a full moon on a clear night in an open area. This ultra-low power/reserve mode might give you several more hours of weak light output before the battery is completely drained.

The rate at which the lumen power drops over time is not usually published by headlamp manufacturers. What hunters need to know is this: A fully charged headlamp will deliver a very bright beam at full power — or at nearly full power — for a relatively short time. Typically you can get a couple of hours of high-end lumen output before you start noticing that your light is beginning to dim.

In real-world hunting situations, you can usually navigate through rugged terrain with your headlamp on a medium setting, which will greatly extend your overall runtime. We recommend that you save the highest mode for critical needs only — and pack extra batteries or USB battery packs to recharge your headlamp as needed in the field.

What is the brightest headlamp you can buy?

One of the very brightest headlamps you can buy is the 4,000-lumen AceBeam H30 headlamp.

The AceBeam H30 Rechargeable Headlamp puts out an astounding 4,000 lumens, making it one of the brightest headlamps available in 2024.

However, you should also know that choosing the “brightest headlamp” is more complicated than the question first seems. Bright headlamps typically only produce a maximum lumen output for a fraction of the headlamp’s total runtime before the headlamp auto-regulates to conserve energy and the batteries expire completely. This means that a headlamp with a 1,000-lumen rating might only run at 1,000 lumens for an hour or so before it drops down to 300 lumens or less. In some cases, it might be smarter to choose a 750-lumen headlamp that will run with higher output for 2 hours than a 1,000-lumen headlamp that will fade out more quickly.

If that was confusing, this is what you need to know: Very bright headlamps won’t run at maximum brightness levels for long periods of time.

In addition, very bright high-lumen headlamps can run hot. Some are overbuilt (and heavy) to help dissipate heat. If they accidentally turn on inside of a backpack or travel bag, heat buildup can damage the headlamp or surrounding items and materials.

If you’re with other people, very high-output headlamps can be hard on your companion’s eyes if you accidentally look at them and shine your very bright headlamp in their faces.

Still, if you want raw lumen power and maximum brightness, consider these very bright headlamps:

  • AceBeam H30 Rechargeable Headlamp – 4,000 lumens
  • PEAX Backcountry Duo – 1,000 lumens
  • Streamlight ProTac HL USB Headlamp – 1,000 lumens
  • Coast XPH30R – 1,200 lumens
  • SureFire Maximus – 1,000 lumens
  • Fenix HM65R – 1400 lumens
  • BioLite Headlamp 750 – 750 lumens (but very well regulated for optimal light control)
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>