In this product review article our hunting editor, Casey Fiedler, walks you through everything you need to know in order to pick the best headlamp for your specific needs and hunting situation.
We’ll take a look at what makes a great hunting headlamp and what to avoid. Also see How To Choose The Best Hunting Headlamp later in the article. What is the best headlamp for hunting?
Quick Answer: The Best Hunting Headlamps [2018 / 2019]
- Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
- Kohree CREE 80000 LUX LED
- Streamlight 61070 BuckMasters Trident
- GRDE Zoomable Headlamp
- InnoGear 5000 Lumens Headlamp
- Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight
Best Hunting Headlamps
|Black Diamond Storm Headlamp||Kohree CREE 80000 LUX LED||Streamlight 61070 BuckMasters Trident Headlamp|
|LED light||Red, green, blue and white lights||Multicolor Beam-white beam, RED and GREEN LED||Green and white LED colors
|Special Features||Infinitely adjustable light output||Predator hunting headlamp||3 levels of light output
|Customer Ratings||4.3 / 5 Stars||4.2 / 5 Stars||4.6 / 5 Stars|
Also see: Hunting Headlamps Comparison Table
Best Hunting Headlamps Reviews
- Waterproof sealed housing can be submerged
- Infinitely adjustable light output
- Red, green, blue and white lights
Black Diamond has been making reliable outdoor gear for those who push the limits for years. Their gear is mostly aimed at mountaineers and extreme athletes, but the Black Diamond head torch is unparalleled for the price.
The perfect hunting headlamp has to meet a lot of requirements. The Black Diamond Storm features a long distance focus beam and a diffuse beam for use up close when you need to see a large area without strain on your eyes.
I’ve used this headlamp for years and the waterproof housing stands up to absolutely anything. I never have to be worried about water getting in. Plus it can be stored in your bag in “locked mode” where the button can’t be accidentally activated.
At 350 lumens in focused mode it can light up the trail as far as you can see with great clarity.
Best for a reliable and steadfast hunting headlamp that won’t let you down when you need it.
- Predator hunting headlamp
- 5 power settings
- Rechargeable battery pack
While it might be a little bit specific, this headlamp is going to have a place in the heart of varmint hunters. Particularly those of you hunting at dusk or night, the flood beam on this light won’t leave anything out of sight.
Normally I’m not a fan of rechargeable battery packs, but this is a bit different. Because of the power hungry 275 yard long range beam you need a lot of power. Using disposable batteries would get expensive and wasteful, so the rechargeable method is sensible in this case.
That said, you can get from 6 – 20+ hours of run time out of a single charge! That’s pretty damn good compared to others.
The reason it’s so much better is because the light and batteries are mounted in a somewhat bulky (and awkward) hat harness. They’re literally permanently attached to a camouflage hat that you have to wear.
Because of that you won’t be able to use them in the winter with warmer hats so this is a limited season light.
Best for 3-season night time predator and varmint hunting.
- 3 levels of light output
- Low battery indicator
- Green and white LED colors
Looking for a moderately priced headlamp with the power to reach out and illuminate objects at a great distance? With a listed 126 meter (400+ ft) distance at max power you won’t be disappointed by this beefy headlamp.
It’s great that they included power options for this AAA juiced headlamp. Those little batteries are going to struggle to keep up with the energy hungry high power mode.
I do find it a bit odd that they chose green as the color of choice for power conservation and night vision preservation. It’s widely known that red is a superior color for night vision retention and I’m unaware of a reason to use green LEDs but they may appeal to you!
That said, this light is IPX4 rated which makes it a good choice for waterproofness and you know I love that! We can’t control when it decides to rain on us out there.
I will say that at just 80 lumens of listed light output it begs the question… does the headlamp stand up to the test in the field? Users say it does.
Best for a mid-distance headlamp with green light options.
- 1,800 lumen output
- 2 brightness settings plus strobe
Can you imagine getting a rechargeable headlamp with a zooming beam focus, wall charger, car charger, and usb cables? How about all that and at a reasonable price? If that would be pretty hard to ignore then look no further.
Let’s start off by talking about the size of this thing. Honestly, it’s kind of pushing the upper limits of what I like to see. However, that’s offset by the high light output and zoom adjustable beam focus.
With 1,800 lumens of output and only 2 brightness settings that begs the question of battery life. When I started doing my research I found battery life claims anywhere between 7 – 4 hours depending on output mode.
Since this headlamp operates on rechargeable batteries you’ll want to make sure that you’re near a charger after about 4-5 hours of use. That’s enough time for most hunters to track and field dress game, but it might be a bit short for some users.
Another note to keep in mind is that this headlamp is intended for long range use. There’s no close range diffuse mode and it’s so bright it might be hard on the eyes up close, plus you don’t get a night vision preserving red color mode at all.
Best for extremely long range light and high intensity modes for power users.
- 5,000 lumen output
- 4-6 hours runtime
If you love the long range high power headlamp style but you want some more close range options, we’ve got you covered. I’m always a fan of more versatility and the Innogear delivers more on the short end.
Like most high output headlamps you’re going to struggle with run time. At just 4-6 hours this might put you in a bad spot since it’s rechargeable only. By the time you track, dress, and haul your game out of the field you could be pushing up against running out of battery. That said, you can use the lower power modes to extend that runtime as much as possible.
What I really like about this headlamp over the GDRE is that it also has some shorter range lights that aren’t as overpowering. 5,000 lumens at close range is enough to blind a bat!
Probably the biggest downfall of this headlamp is that it is white mode only. That means when you turn it on, expect all stealth (and night vision) to be lost.
Best for extreme light output and flood light scenarios.
- 165 lumen output
- IPX5 waterproof rating
- Multiple red and white light modes
As one of the least expensive headlamps on our list, the Foxelli might have the highest performance to value ratio of any torch we’ve reviewed. So, what makes it capable of delivering in the field?
While the GRDE outperforms in a single category (light output over great distances) the Foxelli delivers reliable across a wide spectrum of performance factors.
There is a single beam long distance mode, diffuse beam close distance mode, and a red light night vision preservation mode. Like almost all the headlamps on our list there’s also an SOS strobe mode for emergencies (or messing with your friends).
Even at max brightness most users cite 8+ hours of use though I had a hard time finding details from the manufacturer. If you want a headlamp comparable to our top pick, the Black Diamond Storm, but at a lower price this is your stop!
Best for high end features and reliability at a price that’s really difficult to pass up.
Hunting Headlamps Comparison Table
|Best Hunting Headlamps||Price||Waterproof||LED light||Special Features||Customer Ratings|
|Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Octan||$36.80||Yes||Red, green, blue and white lights||Infinitely adjustable light output||4.3 / 5 Stars|
|Kohree CREE 80000 LUX LED||$89.99||Yes||Multicolor Beam-white beam, RED and GREEN LED||Predator hunting headlamp||4.2 / 5 Stars|
|Streamlight 61070 BuckMasters Trident Headlamp||$28.44||Yes||Green and white LED colors||3 levels of light output||4.6 / 5 Stars
|GRDE Zoomable Headlamp||$23.99||--||Super Bright LED Headlamp, 2 brightness settings plus strobe||1,800 lumen output, Zoomable ,Adjustable||4.3 / 5 Stars|
|InnoGear 5000 Lumens Headlamp||$53.99||Yes||Super Bright LED||5,000 lumen output, 4-6 hours runtime||4.6 / 5 Stars
|Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight||$12.97||Yes||Multiple red and white light modes||165 lumen output, Adjustable Headband||4.6 / 5 Stars
How to Choose the Best Hunting Headlamp
Headlamps for hunting are similar in form and function to those for running, hiking or working. But in this article we give special attention to the needs of hunters and recommend those products that are especially the best headlamps for hunting.
The first headlamp I ever bought was a super tiny, ultra lightweight “emergency” headlamp. It was fun, but the tiny battery and LED lights didn’t put out much light.
Over time I started guiding backpacking trips and that tiny light just didn’t hold up. That’s when I switched to a beefy 4xAAA Black Diamond headlamp that could nearly light up a spot on the moon!
When it comes time to head back from the blind late at night your hands are probably full with a bow or your gun. You could use a flashlight but that means you won’t have a free hand to grab branches and move aside bramble. Or when dressing game you’ve got to find a way to hold the flashlight to keep your hands free.
Of course the solution is a great hunting headlamp to keep your hands free. I grew up hunting squirrel and whitetail in the Michigan forest and I’ve spent hundreds of nights guiding backpacking trips around the US. Together we’re going to explore what makes a great hunting headlamp and what to avoid.
- Light Types and Colors
- Battery Type
- Waterproof Headlamps
- Headlamp Headbands
- Headlamp Size and Weight
- Light Output
- FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Light Types and Colors
Headlamps used to come with incandescent bulbs in them once upon a time. Kids these days don’t know what that is, but suffice it to say that all modern headlamps with their salt use efficient and bright LEDs. It’s just how it’s done.
LED lights are available in tons of different configurations and colors. That’s why a good hunting headlamp can easily have half a dozen colors and settings in a single lamp.
For hunters you’ll probably want a few key light features and types:
Diffuse light is more scattered and less focused than a beam light. These are great for when you’re up close, in a blind, or trying to see things with your whole range of vision in your peripheral areas.
Focused beams are great for distances and shining the full power of your headlamp on a single point. If you’re trying to see further up the trail or focus on a single area then a focused beam is a great choice.
Red light is great for night time because it’s harder for the human eye to pick up. That means you can flip it on, check something in the blind, and flip it off without losing much of your eye’s night vision adjustment.
Blue light is sometimes used for reading maps. Red lights used with detailed maps can make it hard to see some details and lines. Blue is better than white light at retaining your eye’s night vision while still being able to read a detailed map.
Purple or colors on the violet spectrum (and sometimes above) are often used for tracking blood trails. These colors make blood really stand out compared to the surroundings like white in a blacklight.
Ideally, great hunting headlamps should have some type of tracking light like this but it’s also totally okay to carry a tracking light as a separate item.
Headlamp batteries are a matter of some debate though you might not think it matters. In some cases the battery type is critical!
For hunters who tend to be back home each evening and can plug things in, a rechargeable headlamp might be a good call. However, what happens when you get out there tracking for 3 hours and your battery dies?
With replaceable batteries you can swap in some more AA or AAA batteries and carry on. With rechargeables you might be screwed.
That’s less a problem today, however, when you can carry a battery charging pack in your bag. Still, why carry two things when you could just be carrying a single headlamp?
Of course there’s a case to be made about the environmental and ecological impact of disposable batteries, so make your choice!
Headlamps with watch style batteries are very inefficient because those batteries are expensive and have low run times relative to common AA’s. Think carefully before going with uncommon battery types.
For outdoor headlamps I can’t imagine any reason to not have a waterproof one. That said, many cheap ones will claim water resistance or some other unhelpful claim.
The only ones I really trust are the ones that actually say they’re waterproof and back up their products with a good warranty or guarantee.
Honestly it can be hard to find these headlamps and you’re pretty much doomed to questioning the waterproofness of any cheap headlamps even if they claim one thing or another. To get a reliable, long lasting, waterproof headlamp you need to lean on brands that have reputations and warranties.
Some headlamps may use an IP rating or ingress protection rating. These ratings are quite trustworthy and they require specialized testing to confirm them. You can learn more about IP ratings here.
I personally think that IP54 is a bare minimum requirement for a good headlamp, but higher is always better.
For hunters it’s probably desirable to have a camouflaged or dark colors headband. In the end, I doubt this is really a necessity but more of a nicety.
What is more important it a siliconized headband which helps hold the headlamp in place. Some headlamps may even have additional clips or attachments for hats or other anchors.
I’ve never seen a headlamp that fails to be adjustable across a reasonable range for all head sizes. I wouldn’t worry about that at all.
One thing to keep in mind is that headlamp headbands tend to be the first failure point of most headlamps. The elastic around attachment points on cheap headlamps can wear out rapidly and replacing it is usually not an option. Sad face.
Headlamp Size and Weight
There’s this weird tendency for macho hunters to try to go with headlamps that look like 1990’s military night vision goggles. As if looking like a cover character from Splinter Cell will help you hunt better.
Let’s be clear, great modern headlamps can be quite small. If it doesn’t easily fit into the palm of your hand it’s probably too big.
That’s not to say larger headlamps aren’t useful in some situations. Cavers and mountaineers use larger headlamps with longer lasting batteries in extremely high performance situations. But you’re probably not hunting whitetails at the bottom of a cave shaft.
One feature that’s a bit bigger that might be worth investing in is a “zoomable” headlamp. These can be a bit bigger than others but they offer adjustable beam focusing instead of button selectable beam focusing. Selectable button beam focus headlamps tend to be smaller and achieve the same results, but it’s up to you.
In headlamps and flashlights, light output is generally measured in lumens. There’s a scientific measurement associated with it, but suffice it to say that more lumens means more light!
Now, lumens isn’t the end all be all factor here. A headlamp with tons of light output but poor design can have a lower overall distance. A headlamp with great design, clear glass, and a focused beam with even a moderate light output can outperform “brighter” models.
A good headlamp in he 300-400 lumen range is really quite adequate for 99% of hunting situations. Ideally you should be looking for a headlamp that has adjustable light output. That way you can dial in the amount of light you want to make your batteries last as long as you need.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I like bright headlights for hunting but I want a red light mode, what can I do?
A: If you can’t find just the right headlight for hunting that has all the features you want, consider a backup flashlight.
It’s easy to find a red or purple flashlight that fits in your pocket so you can use it separately when you need just a small amount of light without scaring off game half a mile away.
Ideally we’d be looking for a headlamp with a great main beam, a diffuse close range beam, and red + purple light modes but they’re few and far between when it comes down to it.
Q: Can I get a headlamp that will work with rechargeable or disposable batteries?
A: Yeah! Today most battery brands have rechargeable AA and AAA batteries which are common for headlamps.
Instead of buying a rechargeable headlamp, go with a standard headlamp and add your own rechargeable batteries to save the planet (and your wallet).
Q: What is an LED headlight for hunting?
A: LED stands for light emitting diode. These little miracles of science and magic (okay, just science) are highly efficient and bright lights.
They’re a big improvement over incandescent bulbs because they make an equivalent battery last much longer. They can also be produced to emit very specific light types such as red, green, purple, or ultraviolet.
In the end the best LED headlamp is the one that works for your needs. I know, that sounds like a cop out, and maybe you were expecting me to hand you the answer on a silver platter. But, that’s not how it works!
Read through our buyer’s guide to figure out what the best headlamp is for you. Once you make a decision based on your own needs, you’ll be a lot happier. Remember as you shop that you’ll usually get what you pay for and a one time investment in a good tool can be much more helpful than an unreliable piece of electronics.
As you make your decision think about how and where you’ll use your headlamp. If you buy a headlamp that’s as bright as the sun, will you really be able to use it inside the hunting shack without blinding yourself? These are important questions to decide on before you buy.
Once you’ve made up your mind just scroll through our list of reviews until you find the best hunting headlamp that meets your criteria!
Thanks for reading The 6 Best Hunting Headlamps. We hope this article has helped you to discover the best choice for a headlight for hunting to meet your needs and hunting environment. You might also be interested in our related and informative deer hunting article entitled, Deer Hunting Regions of the United States.
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