In the most crucial moments, every speck counts. You can’t afford to lug around a heavy flashlight when all hands are needed on deck.
Constructed with reinforced materials, a tactical headlamp or a military headlamp is made especially to stand the harshest conditions.
If you spend time outdoors, exploring caves and crevices, a great tactical headlamp should be high on your list. Whether it is running, hiking, or even simple stuff around the house, a headlamp will always come in handy.
Often used in search and rescue missions, tactical headlamps give better reliability and range of motion than regular ones.
Below we have compiled a list of the best tactical headlamps.
Top 12 Best Tactical Headlamps 2021
The GearLight S500 is a sturdy headlamp made for the outdoors. Even though it is equipped with batteries, it weighs no more than 3 oz. Its lightweight nature makes it ideal for tactical situations.
The headlamp requires three AAA batteries. Depending on the type of battery and the setting, you can get 45 to 3 hours of battery life. However, 45 hours is only a theoretical maximum so expect much lower than that.
The documentation or packaging does not mention the luminosity of the products. Our analysis of the customer reviews indicates that you may expect anywhere from 100 to below 300 lumens. The luminosity may change depending on the type of battery you use.
Its build is shockproof and water-resistant. You won’t have to worry about ruining your headgear when dealing with rain or snow. One user recalls kayaking and going into the water with the product and not noticing any damage.
The device provides visibility for a long distance. It has a beam with a hotspot but is wide enough not to narrow your field of vision too much.
There are seven different settings that you can choose, depending on your needs. The high, medium and low settings provide superb luminosity in this price range. The device also has a strobe light setting for emergency purposes.
It includes red light for night vision. What’s great about this product’s red light is that you don’t have to cycle through the white light setting to reach it. You can access the red light by pressing the button on the lamp for three seconds. This can come in handy in critical situations.
The device has an option of 45-degree tilt. You won’t have to worry about headspace in cramped situations.
All in all, this is a great product for its price range. You get more than what you pay for. It is a brilliant choice for someone looking for the best tactical headlamps.
The Elmchee 6 LED headlamp is a rugged headlamp, perfect for heavy-duty work. Its three-strap build provides stability in strenuous moments.
It comes equipped with a 1500 mAh Li-ion battery. On a full charge, it should last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the setting.
The device provides 12,000 lumens on its highest setting. Under normal circumstances, you would never need that much power. Even in its lowest power, it is not advisable to look directly into the LEDs. It is a brilliant choice if you need to light up an area very intensely. It also has a wide-angle setting that could come in handy in many situations.
However, due to its intensity, the device is prone to heating upon heavy use. The plastic used on the battery cover is fragile and could break easily.
There are four primary LEDs and two auxiliary ones. In total, they provide eight different settings. The primary LEDs provide high beam, low beam, and all bright settings to choose from according to your needs. It also has a strobe light option for emergencies.
The auxiliary LEDs are low-powered and meant for a lighter workload. They also provide high beam and low beam. In addition to that, they have a red light option for night vision and a red light strobe, as well. However, to get to the red light, you have to cycle through the auxiliary white lights. This might not be ideal in some situations.
IPX4 water-resistant makes it safe for rain or snow. This gives you peace of mind when dealing with conditions where water might be a threat. However, this is not to say that it is completely waterproof.
The 90-degree angle is a great addition to the whole product. With this feature, you will not have to worry about straining your neck in hard to light areas. USB charging features means that you won’t have to carry a separate charger.
In this price range, this is one of the best tactical headlamps available.
Princeton Tec is a well-known brand when it comes to headlamps. They build great products meant to last, and their Remix is no different.
The Remix is made of durable plastic that can stand in the harshest conditions. IPX4 water resistance ensures longevity. You can easily use it in either rain or snow without worrying about water damage.
It comes in various colored straps to fit your needs.
There are three different settings – low, medium, and high. The device provides 300 lumens on its highest setting, which is good for most activities.
Its lightweight build makes it ideal for tactical situations. The two red light settings help in night vision preservation. To switch to a red light, you just need to hold down the button for a few seconds. This quick access mechanism could come in handy.
The wide-angle beam can light up more than 20 feet of area. Meaning, you won’t have to worry about reducing your field of vision.
However, the plastic used in the battery door is fragile and prone to breaking easily. Also, it doesn’t have a tilt option. This could be critical in certain situations where you don’t have much headspace.
The Remix comes equipped with 3 AAA batteries. These are non-rechargeable but could last you up to 150 hours of burn time.
If you’re looking for a device that will serve you for a long period, then the Princeton Tec Remix is a great choice.
Black Diamond is another heavy lifter in the headlamp industry. The Spot series has been a front-runner for a long time and one of the best tactical headlamps. The Spot 325 is the second headlamp in the spot series, released in early 2019.
The 325 stands for the 325 lumens it provides on its highest setting. It also has medium and low power settings to adjust as you see fit.
The AAA batteries that come with the device could give a backup of up to 200 hours on low power. However, on high power, it only lasts 4 hours.
The Spot 325 has an incredible range of over 250 feet of illumination.
It is lightweight, compact, and easy to carry. Though it does not have a cross-strap, the fit is comfortable and stable.
It has multiple modes for you to choose from according to your needs. With the option to choose between proximity mode and distance mode, you can make the beam narrow or wide.
The red light option allows for night vision. However, you have to cycle through white light settings to reach the red light. This might be hampering in critical situations.
The device has been rated IPX8 waterproof, meaning you will never have to worry about water damage.
What makes it stand out against the competition is the brightness memory feature. The device remembers the setting you turned it off in and turns it on in that setting. This helps you avoid cycling through settings every time you turn it on.
Black diamond is a phenomenal brand with great customer service. It has award-winning products, and with its devices, you can’t go wrong.
The SLONIK 2nd generation LED headlamp is a heavy-duty, super-bright headlamp made for outdoor and tactical work.
It has a lightweight and compact build, which makes it easy to carry. The aluminum alloy body makes for a durable device.
A 2200 mAh rechargeable battery comes equipped with the device. This provides up to 8 hours of battery life on the lowest settings and up to 3.5 hours on the highest.
IPX8 waterproof means that you can use it in any weather condition. You won’t have to worry about water damage. You could swim 6 feet deep for up to 30 mins with it.
The 90-degree swivel allows you to illuminate cramped spaces where you don’t have enough headspace.
However, it lacks two significant features. Firstly, it isn’t equipped with a strobe light which could have been essential in attracting attention.
Secondly, it lacks red light which is responsible for night vision functions.
It has a USB charging port and a comfortable strap. Though this product might not be the best ‘bang-for-a-buck’, it still proves to be a great alternative.
The DanForce headlamp is a sturdy, heavy-duty headlamp made for endurance. Its cross-strap makes for a stable design that fits comfortably on your head. Made of reinforced material, it is a great choice for tactical use.
On the high setting, it can produce 1080 lumens of light. It also has low and medium settings to adjust according to your needs. Strobe light helps you in emergencies.
It is equipped with rechargeable batteries. However, due to its heavy power consumption, the batteries drain very fast on high power.
It has been rated IPX45 water-resistant. This means you can use it in snow or rain without worrying about water damage. The band is sweatproof and keeps you cool.
There is only one red light setting, which could be helpful for night vision. You just have to press and hold to access red-light mode. The ease of access could come in handy in critical situations.
The LED can be adjusted up to 90-degree. The range of motion allows you to work freely in cramped spaces.
You can easily adjust between narrow vision and wide vision according to the situation. DanForce provides a comfortable and reliable performance that you could depend on.
The Foxelli MX20 is one of the best tactical headlamps on a budget. Compact and lightweight, it is ideal for outdoors and harsh conditions.
It provides a luminosity of 165 lumens, which might be a little lower than most of its competitors. Still, it works great for night tasks. Like most headlamps, it has high, medium, and low settings. It also has a strobe light setting for emergencies.
The red light feature provides for a great night vision light. You can easily access the red light by holding the button. This means you won’t have to cycle through the various modes before getting to the red light, which is a feature that becomes very pertinent in critical situations.
At the highest power, it can easily light up to a range of over 50 yards. The medium setting goes just a little over 30 yards, and the low power is intended for activities like looking through your bag.
The AAA batteries could last as long as 45 hours. Its 45-degree tilt makes it easy to illuminate hard-to-reach places.
The MX20 has been rated IPX5 water-resistant. You can easily use it in the snow or rain without worrying about too much damage. However, it is not waterproof, meaning it cannot be submerged in water.
The MX20 is made of highly durable material.
The Energizer headlamp is a sturdy headlamp made to withstand the harshest conditions. Built of durable, shockproof, and water-resistant plastic, it is one of the best tactical headlamps online.
The Energizer headlamp provides a maximum of 360 lumens on the highest setting. It provides illumination for over 90 yards. With a narrow and wide illumination option, you know you won’t have to compromise.
It comes with a total of 7 settings. High, low, wide, wide-low, red, flashing red, and green.
The red and green lights are available for night vision compatibility. The flashing red light provides SOS for emergencies.
The headlamp runs on 3 AAA batteries, which come equipped with the headlamp. It can provide over 50 hours of backup on the lowest setting.
The dimming feature allows you to fine-tune the light intensity according to your needs. The Energizer headband is rated IPX4 water-resistant. It can easily withstand snow or rain without being damaged.
Special shatterproof glass makes it durable to withstand tactical situations. The 45-degree tilt helps you to illuminate hard to reach areas with ease. Meaning you won’t have to strain your neck in areas with cramped headspace.
However, users have complained that the headband is hard to use because of its complicated settings. Nonetheless, the Energizer headband, much like the brand itself, is highly dependable.
The EverBrite headlamp is a highly durable headlamp especially made for the outdoors. It is lightweight, weighing just 16 oz. with batteries inside. Its compact design makes it ideal for tactical use.
It has a luminosity of 300 lumens and a range of 328 ft on its highest setting. It is equipped with two kinds of LED – CREE and COB. Together they provide seven different modes.
The CREE provides the standard high, medium, and low modes. It also has a strobe light to signal during emergencies.
The COB LED emits a much softer light. This LED has three different modes – white, red, and green. The red and green lights are present to assist in night vision.
It is powered by 3 AAA batteries. Due to the brightness of the light, the battery drains relatively faster than its competitors. On average, the battery can last from 2-3 hours on the highest power setting.
The EverBrite headlamp has been rated IPX4 water-resistance. Meaning, it can easily withstand snow or rain, and you won’t have to worry about water damage. However, that doesn’t mean that it is waterproof. If it is submerged in water, the device is prone to damage!
The device is impact-resistant for up to 3.3 ft or 1 meter, thus making it ideal for rough handling, which is common in tactical situations.
The 30-degree tilt provides illumination in dark crevices without much strain required.
The EverBrite headlamp is a long-lasting choice headlamp for versatile functions.
The Streamlight 61304 ProTac HL is a headlamp made of a durable aluminum body. It is specially made for the outdoors to stand the harshest environments. It is lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around.
It emits a blinding 635 lumens of light on its highest setting, reaching over 200 yards. The HL in its name stands for High Luminosity and aims to provide high hand-free illumination.
As it is with standard headlamps, this also has the three high, medium, and low settings. It also has a strobe light setting for emergency purposes.
Although it doesn’t come equipped with red light, you can buy a slip-on filter. A slip-on filter is sometimes preferable to regular red light because you can switch to red light in a moment.
The device is rated IPX4 water resistance. You can easily wear it outside in rain or snow. Its shockproof nature allows rough handling that might occur in tactical situations.
The TEN-TAP feature allows you to program the switch according to your needs. With this, you can make the cycle low-medium-high or high-medium-low, or high only.
It is powered by two 3V CR123A lithium batteries that could give up to 36 hours of backup. However, do not expect more than 2 hours of backup at the highest setting.
It comes with an optional cross-strap for extra stability.
The Streamlight 61304 ProTac HL is a brilliant choice for a headlamp.
The Fastras headlamp is a bulky high power headlamp made for heavy-duty work. Its cross-strap is provided for stability. Made with durable material, it is meant to withstand challenges.
The headlamp contains a total of 21 LED bulbs for maximum illumination. One is used as the main light, while two are used as sidelights. The rest are installed in the color LED panel.
It has a total of 9 working modes so that you never have to compromise on your desired illumination. On the highest setting, the headlamp could reach up to 13k lumens, which is potent luminosity and could easily blind a person.
The nine working modes are a combination of the main light, side light, and the strobe color panel.
The headlamp is not equipped with a red light for night vision. Its color panel only has a strobe function to be used in emergencies. The strobe function could be accessed by long-pressing the power button. This ease could come in handy in critical moments.
It has a USB charging port that makes it easy to charge without having to carry around another charger. The battery cover is made of silicon, which should not break as easily as cheap plastic. There is a battery indicator that makes sure you’re never caught off guard. The battery installed is 3500 mAh, which could last days on the lowest setting. However, users have complained about unsatisfactory backup when it comes to the main light.
There is a rear light that acts as an indicator to people approaching from the rear.
Though the documentation does not mention an IPX rating, the device is water-resistant. This means that you can easily wear it in the rain or the snow without worrying about water damage. It is 1 meter or 3.3 ft shock resistant and hence could stand some heavy handling.
This device is an absolute beast of design and functionality. However, the only downside is that it is heavy and bulky, which might not be ideal in some situations.
12. Everbeam H6 Pro
The Everbeam H6 Pro is a lightweight and compact headlamp. It has a sleek modern design made for people who are always on the go.
It provides a bright 650 lumens luminosity over 400 ft distance and has two light modes – high and low. The SOS mode helps grab attention during emergencies.
To assist in night-vision, the headlamp is equipped with a red light.
With the 1200 mAh, the light can last up to 10 hours on white light. However, don’t expect it to serve longer than 3 hours in high mode.
The device has been rated IPX4 water-resistant. Meaning it can easily survive heavy rain and snow. So, you won’t have to worry about water damage in bad weather conditions.
It’s very lightweight, and 2.5 oz makes it unnoticeable when worn. It can be charged by a USB, so you won’t have to carry an extra charger.
What makes this device stand out against its competition is that it comes equipped with a sensor. With the help of this sensor, you can turn on the light instantaneously. This can be very pertinent in critical situations.
Things You Should Look For In The Best Tactical Headlamps
The brightness of a light is measured in lumens. This is independent of ‘watts,’ which is rather the amount of energy required to power the light source.
For context, the light in your room could range anywhere from 300 to 800 lumens. Most good brands provide luminosity from 100 to 500+. In most cases, luminosity above 1500 is overkill and would be unneeded.
However, this is not to say that lumens are the only thing that dictates visibility. No matter how many lumens a headlamp has, if it is diffused, you won’t be able to see as far.
Too many lumens might be harmful to the user and could cause blindness in some cases.
It should also be kept in mind that battery consumption increases with a rise in luminosity. So if you go for a headlamp with a higher lumen count, be sure to it has noted a better battery for optimal performance.
2. Weight And Size
In tactical situations, weight plays a critical role. A heavy headlamp could be a pain to carry around and hard to keep stable on your head.
A compact headband might be ideal in most cases. A small size headlamp feels non-existent on your head and helps you function well.
Another factor that might affect your performance is the strap and the fit of the headlamp. Many brands cut corners when it comes to the strap and become very uncomfortable to wear. A good quality strap is pertinent to satisfaction.
In a similar vein, a good fit and a bad fit might be leagues apart from one another. Be sure to pick one that you’re confident you’ll be comfortable with.
3. Battery Life
Battery life is another significant deciding factor in headbands. Many headbands, in an attempt to make their product cheaper, skimp on the battery. A weak battery will not only mean a quick drain but also lower performance.
As the battery drains, the maximum luminosity of the device decreases until it completely shuts down. If the battery is not good enough, you will not even hit the advertised luminosity.
Any good product will get you through a day of training. However, it is not uncommon to find the battery life to be lower than advertised.
A rechargeable headlamp may be your best bet if you’re confused. They provide reliability, and you would not need to change them again and again.
4. Red Light Filter
The red light filter is responsible for preserving night vision. Although there must be a scientific reason why this is used, the best I can do is speculate. It must be something akin to how pirates used to wear an eye patch so that they could easily see in the dark with the covered eye.
Most reliable brands out there provide a red light to be used, and they can always be handy.
Many brands provide brilliant service and great headlamps. As mentioned in the list, Black Diamond and Princeton Tec are two of the most used brands that provide reliable products.
Even the products available within a budget provide reliable performance, so you don’t need to spend too much.
Look around, ask around and decide which would be the best for you.