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The 7 Best Affordable And Brightest Headlamps (2022 Review)

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Three years ago, I went on a tiger safari in India with my husband and four kids. Without question, it was an extraordinary experience. We stayed in beautiful tents among the trees just outside of the game park. At night, it was incredibly dark and unfortunately, I arrived unprepared. I had to rely on my I-phone to guide me along dark paths. However, the light was shallow and hardly lit up anything beyond a few feet.

One night, I literally stumbled upon a Bengal tiger outside our tent. I survived – the story is quite insane. I was just steps away from the animal and I still could not see exactly what it was with the weak I-phone flashlight. I thought it was a cow or large deer from the park.

However, had I brought one of the brightest headlamps discussed in this article, I would have seen the tiger hundreds of feet away, and I would have never placed my life or the lives of my children in danger.

Whether you enjoy hiking or biking at night, hunting and fishing before or after the sunrise or sunset, camping, or like me, traveling to places where man-made conveniences such as outdoor lights may not be readily available, having one of the best brightest headlamp available is not a convenience but an absolute necessity.

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Is The Brightest Headlamp The Best?

Not necessarily! It depends on the activity for which you want to use a high lumen headlamp.

The focus of this article is the best affordable and brightest headlamps. That is a very specific focus. When people want the brightest headlamps, this usually suggests that they want to see as far and wide as they can. If a light is too intense in a small space, then typically you become blinded from the light or everything within its trajectory is whited out and indecipherable. In other words, it accomplishes the exact opposite for what you were hoping.

The good news is that most of the 8 headlamps discussed in this article have different lighting modes for many purposes. Accordingly, you can go out on an evening hike and see whether there is any danger hundreds of meters or feet away, and then, climb into your sleeping bag and read a book.

What Are Lumens?

The Lumen (symbol: lm) is the unit (like grams or ounces for weight) used to measure the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source.

Lamps of all sorts are now commonly labeled with their lumen output, in addition to its electrical power (watts). To put this into context, a typical 60 watt light bulb in your home produces between 700- 1000 lumens. A 60 watt “white or bright” light will yield higher lumens than a 60 watt “yellow or warm” light.

High Lumen Headlamps

Logically, the higher the lumen amount, the brighter the light. High lumen headlamps will also illuminate a bigger area, and often further too.

However, we are all limited by our eyesight. Generally, the human eye can see approximately 500 meters or 1600 feet (1/3 of a mile). That is normally accomplished with high lumen headlamps offering 5000-12,000 lumens, depending on the number of LED lights, the settings, and the target of the light.

A “zooming” option is a means to focus direct light to a specific and defined point hundreds of feet ahead of you. For the brightest headlamps that offer this feature, you can rely on fewer lumens, often as little as 1000-2000 lumens, if you are able to locate the target.

The Best Inexpensive And Brightest Headlamps

Here are seven of the best budget-friendly high lumen headlamps. Each of them are packed with excellent features that should meet all of your camping, hiking, fishing, biking, and hunting needs, or any indoor activity that requires hands-free and intense light.

Elmchee Brightest Headlamp

brightest headlamp

Features

  • Light source: 6 rechargeable LEDs
  • 8 Lighting modes
  • Headlamp made from plastic
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (protection from rain and from water splashes)
  • Shockproof – resists damage when dropped
  • 90° Rotatable head
  • Charging method: rechargeable batteries with USB cable
  • Charging port is red when charging and green when fully charged.
  • Red safety taillight
  • Adjustable head strap made from cotton braid for comfort
  • Weighs 8.8 oz

Potential Downsides

  • Switch is a little small and takes practice to find once lamp is on your head.

Conclusion

Elmchee Rechargeable Headlamp is one of the brightest headlamps for a budget-friendly price. Without question, you can see your surroundings very clearly in the dark. On the flip side, it provides a dim light setting which allows you to conserve battery life and read a book without being blinded.

The headlamp comes with a stretchy and adjustable head strap that goes around the head and over the top. This allows you to tighten the forehead strap which makes it more comfortable for longer hikes. It also fits over a helmet and is suitable for adults and kids alike.

This brightest headlamp is water-resistant so suitable for most outdoor activities. Unlike some low priced headlamps, this headlamp has charging lights so you don’t overcharge batteries and reduce the life of them.

With almost 19,000 Amazon reviews giving it overwhelming 5* reviews, this is one of the best brightest headlamp on the market for an inexpensive price.

Tupwaid Ultra Bright Headlamp

high lumen headlamps

Features

  • 18,000 Lumens – irradiation range 600 meters or almost 2000 feet
  • Light Source: 8 LEDs
  • 8 lighting modes
  • Headlamp made from aluminum alloy
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (protection from rain and from water splashes)
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 2 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable and cable included
  • Charging time 2-3 hours with charging lights
  • Battery life 4-10 hours with all lights on
  • Light can be adjusted by 90°
  • Red safety taillight
  • Adjustable & elastic headband for convenient wearing
  • Weighs 250g or 9oz

Potential Downsides

  • It may slip a bit when running.

Conclusion:

The Tupwaid Rechargeable Headlamp is one of the best brightest headlamps on the market at a very affordable price.

It has 8 modes to satisfy most indoor and outdoor activities – from hiking, fishing, biking, fixing your car or trying to find something in your knapsack – all without blinding you or turning everything in its path indistinguishable from the bright white light.

You can use it while charging and has charging lights to indicate when this brightest headlamp is fully charged.

In addition, the time to recharge the batteries is very low adding to its convenience.

Aoglenic Super Bright Headlamp

brightest rechargeable headlamp

Features

  • 12,000 Lumens – irradiation range 500 meters or 1650 feet
  • Light Source: 5 LEDs
  • 9 lighting modes
  • Zoomable
  • Lamp swivels 90°
  • Adjustable sweat-resistant headband for adults or kids
  • Battery box has elastic fabric for more comfort
  • IPX5 Waterproof Level – (Protection against low-pressure water sprayed by a nozzle with a diameter of 6.3 mm)
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 2 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable and cable included
  • Safety tail light
  • Comes with storage box
  • Charge time is 7-8 hours
  • Charging lights
  • Weight – 310g or 10.9 oz
  • Battery life is approximately 5 hours on full brightness and 10 hours for low beam or strobing.

Potential Downsides

  • Discourages use when charging.

Conclusion

The Aoglenic Rechargeable Headlamp is a super bright and affordable headlamp. It offers a zooming function so you can easily change your focus from broad illumination to a narrow long-range beam, and cast a bright and powerful light exactly the way you need it.

This high lumen headlight is equipped with a high-quality sweat-resistant headband that is easy to wear, without sliding, and fits both adults and kids. In addition, the battery box is equipped with elastic fabric for additional comfort. For extra convenience, it comes with a storage box.

This brightest rechargeable headlamp also provides a higher level of waterproofness compared to other similarly priced headlamps. If you think that you will be exposed to spraying water on a regular basis, then this headlamp would be a good option.

Suvom Brightest Rechargeable Headlamp

brightest headlamp

Features

  • 10,000 Lumens – irradiation range 500 meters or 1650 feet
  • Light Source: 5 LEDs
  • 4 Lighting Modes
  • Zoomable
  • Red safety light on the back of battery pack
  • 90° adjustable light
  • Elastic and adjustable headband
  • IPX5 Waterproof Level – (Protection against low-pressure water sprayed by a nozzle with a diameter of 6.3 mm)
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 2 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable with USB cable included
  • Car and wall charger included
  • Weight – 400g or 14.39 oz
  • Takes 4-5 hours to fully charge

Potential Downsides

  • On the heavier side.
  • Only 4 light settings and no colored light.

Conclusion

The Suvom Rechargable headlamp is one of the best, most affordable, and brightest headlamps with an IPX5 waterproof rating. This means that the headlamp will still work after being directly sprayed with water. It also has a zooming function for increased functionality.

In addition, unlike other headlamps discussed in this article, equipment for the three recharging methods are included: USB cable, car and wall chargers.

On the downside, it is heavier than other choices and has less lighting modes. However, not every intended use requires 8 or 9 lighting modes. It is a fantastic inexpensive and brightest rechargeable headlamp.

Cobiz Brightest Headlamp

brightest rechargeable headlamp

Features

  • 6000 Lumens
  • Light Source: 3 LEDs
  • 4 Lighting modes
  • Made from aluminum
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (protection from rain and from water splashes)
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 2 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable with USB cable included
  • Charging lights
  • Comes with case
  • Safety taillight
  • 90° pivot
  • Zoomable
  • Adjustable headband
  • 370g or 13 oz
  • Takes approximately 5-6 hours to charge.

Potential Downsides

  • Can’t use headlamp while charging
  • Low mode is too bright for reading. The light goes from bright to super bright.
  • No colored lights.

Conclusion

Even though the Cobiz Rechargeable Headlamp only has 6000 Lumens, three LEDs, and four lighting modes, this is an excellent rechargeable headlamp. Like the other headlamps in this article, it is waterproof against rain and splashes, pivotable, and zoomable. As an extra feature, the headlamp comes with a case to protect it against damage.

Unlike other high lumen headlamps, this headlamp focuses on being super bright rather than trying to do too many things at potentially not doing any very well. If you need an ultra bright rechargeable headlamp that keeps you safe while working, or enjoying the outdoors, this does the trick.

Boruit Ultra Bright Headlamp

ultra bright headlamp

Features

  • 5000 Lumens – irradiation range 300 meters or 1000 feet
  • Light source – 3 LEDs with one center white light and two side red lights
  • 3 Lighting modes
  • Made from plastic
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (protection from rain and from water splashes)
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 2 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable with a USB cable and US plug included
  • Charging time – 8-10 hours
  • Running time 4.5 hours
  • Adjustable head strap
  • 340g or 12.1 oz

Potential Downsides

  • Takes a long time to charge.
  • It is not zoomable.
  • No strobe light for emergencies.

Conclusion

The Boruit Rechargeable Headlamp is not the brightest headlamp in this article but it is extremely bright with a range of 300 meters or 1000 feet.

What makes this headlamp unique is the primary role that the red lights have. This makes this headlamp an excellent choice if you are a hunter, beekeeper, or sensitive to bright white light.

Neither bees nor other animals are spooked by a red light. In addition, you can use the red light in your tent or other enclosed areas for an effective light source without disturbing others or needing to adjust to bright white light.

This headlamp is an excellent choice for all outdoor activities and its’ budget-friendly price make it easy on the wallet.

Eornmor Super Bright Headlamp

super bright rechargeable headlamp

Features

  • 6000 Lumens – irradiation range is 800 meters or 2600 feet
  • Wide lamp cup extends the scope of the range
  • 2 Light modes – strong and weak light
  • 14-18 hours battery life with bright light or 27-35 hours with weak light
  • Charging time 16-18 hours
  • External battery pack design: the weight of the headlamp is 5 oz or 141g with the external battery weighing 11oz or 300g.
  • External battery can be fixed at the waist
  • Lamp holder can rotate 60°
  • Power: removable and rechargeable 6 x lithium batteries
  • USB rechargeable with USB cable included
  • Waterproof rating: IPX4 (protection from rain and from water splashes)

Potential Downsides

  • It can not be tilted.
  • Battery pack is sealed and batteries are not replaceable.
  • May find carrying around the external battery pack to be a hassle.
  • Long charging time.
  • No zooming option.

Conclusion

The Eornmor Rechargeable Headlamp is one of the brightest rechargeable headlamps with extraordinary long battery life. With one charge (albeit a very long charge at 16-18 hours), you can receive between 14-35 hours of battery life depending on the light setting.

In exchange for this long battery life and inexpensive price, you have a couple of limiting factors. Most significantly, there are only two light settings and the battery pack is not attached to the elastic band of the headlamp. Instead, you have to carry it around separately. However, the cord is long enough to attach to your waist or stick in your jacket pocket.

For those who need an exceptionally long charge and a very bright long and wide range light, this headlamp is definitely a fantastic choice for you.

Buyer’s Guide To The Best Super Bright Headlamps

Battery Life

The battery life of a headlamp depends on three factors: the size of the batteries, the brightness of the light (amount of lumens), and the proper care of the rechargeable batteries.

Generally, the higher the lumens, the shorter the battery life. However, if there is more or bigger battery capacity, then this would offset the demands placed on the headlamp by higher lumens.

All things being equal, if battery life is important, you have three options:

  • Choose a headlamp with a smaller lumen output.
  • Keep the setting on your headlamp to low light.
  • Find a headlamp with a large battery capacity.

Proper Care Of Your Batteries

One of the biggest complaints when it comes to the brightest headlamps is battery life. I have read countless reviews where the buyer complains that the rechargeable batteries died after only a few uses or within a couple of months.

Although I don’t know the specifics of each of these complaints, I can tell you that the daily and long term life of batteries are directly impacted by the proper care and handling of these rechargeable batteries. If you do not follow the guidelines from the manufacturers, then you run a high risk of permanently draining the life of the batteries and reducing the long term use of the headlamps.

Tips For Long Battery Life

  • Follow the instructions from the manufacturer about the length of time that you need to charge the batteries before their first use.
  • After that, follow the instructions about the length of time you need to charge the batteries after each use.
  • Do not overcharge the batteries.
  • Do not let the batteries completely drain before recharging. The light output should weaken when the batteries are running low. This is when you should recharge the batteries.
  • If you go for long periods in between using your headlamp, you should recharge the batteries every three months or so, even if you do not plan to immediately use it.

Conclusion

For an affordable price, you can purchase the brightest rechargeable headlamps with amazing features that will handle most of your indoor and outdoor needs. A “hands-free” flashlight alternative is an excellent option to keep you safe and active, even when the sunsets.

16 Comments

  • I must admit that I never considered a rechargeable headlamp to be a priority. I use a headlamp often and my husband even uses one at home to read and check on the kids at night. My main criteria has been fit. This article opens my eyes to many other considerations! Thank you!

    • I totally agree. Until I had some scary situations in the middle of nowhere in the dark, I never appreciated how important a headlamp could be!

  • I have recently been considering buying a headlamp for night riding as I like to snowboard through the trees and other areas that are not that well lit at night. Thanks for the very thorough reviews. Lots of things to consider!

    • For that activity, then I would definitely recommend one of these bright headlamps. I am an avid skier and I can’t imagine not seeing a tree or a stump while barreling down a hill. Stay safe!

  • oh my god.. the story about the tiger. I felt my stomach turn. Glad nothing happened! but yes, I have had some bad situations too from not being able to see in the dark properly. Once almost walked off a cliff in Yosemite while watching the meteor shower. but I am also partly blind so I will def need to invest in one of your suggestions above. Thanks!

    • Holy smokes! First of all, I love the idea of being in Yosemite and watching a meteor shower. How amazing. But, yes, it sounds like a very bright headlamp would be ideal for you.

  • Although I hope that I’ll never find myself in a situation like this, a headlamp comes often…handy when travelling. How often do I miss having a third hand?!? I’ve experienced shortages in many places when travelling – a headlamp is the best tool in that situation.

    • Yes, lesson learned! You begin to think your I-phone is the answer to everything, but in terms of a flashlight, it is very, very limited!

  • As someone who loves being out in nature, this post really spoke to me. I could only imagine what you went through emotionally that night in India. There are of course a million + different scenarios that could occur at night, for which you would need effective and reliable light to stay safe. This is such an educative article on what to look for in ensuring you get the best lighting option, depending on your environment and personal needs. Thank you for sharing your research on the various models here to assist in choosing – all of them seem very cheap to me when you consider what might be at stake.

  • Such a great list and headlamp recommendations. The headlamp is a must-have for me on every trip. It has come in handy many times in the least expected moments. I even take a headlamp for a short hike.

  • Wow, although I’ve never had a headlamp myself, they sure do seem to be extremely handy whenever I see someone else with one! Thanks for the tips on choosing which one to buy when I make the purchase 😁

    • You are welcome. It’s like a lot of things in life – you don’t realize you need it until something happens in the moment and then, you will never be without one ever again!

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