Head-Mounted Flashlight - Headlamp
I'm getting old -- there's
just no way around it. Funny thing is, I get older by the
day! Here's a dirty little secret that you discover when you reach, oh, around age
45: all of a sudden one day you'll wonder why you can only read
the newspaper at arm's length -- but arm's length is too far
away to see the print!
That's a sign that it's time for bifocals... I resisted that concept for many
years; surely it was a sign of Old Fogeyism. Hey, that's just
not me! The Eye Doc finally convinced me that with these
new-fangled progressive lenses, nobody would know the
He was right! But one of the drawbacks of
losing close up vision is that it seems like it takes 2-3 times the
brightness to see anything. Maybe that's what is subliminally
obsession with finding the perfect flashlight?
The latest copy of the REI catalog gave me an idea. They offer
some nice-looking LED flashlights that mount on your head, like for
people who work in coal mines or something.
I guess the REI
customers use them for exploring caves or for being able to hang on
at night with two hands when their only shelter is hanging from a
cliff or something. "Wow!", I thought,
"something like that would be great for working on
bikes!". Hands-free lighting -- move your head and the
light points where you want it...cool!
But being the cheapskate that I am, I didn't want to pay the $30 to
almost $60 that REI is getting for their deluxe models. So I put
off the purchase, until one day I was walking through Home Depot and
there it was, hanging on a shelf and calling out to me -- the
Energizer Headlight! And only $9.94, so I took the chance.
Headlight works pretty much as intended, but mounting it on your
head does take some getting used to. The problem is that
it's fairly heavy (no, I still don't have a scale; I must get
one soon!), and the weight feels like it is centered way out in
front of your forehead.
This means you have to lash it
down pretty tight to stay in place (the better headlamps have
their battery packs located remotely, either mounted in back of
your head or in a case you can put in your pocket).
It has a simple elastic strap with a couple of those friction
buckles that are used to make it tight. The Headlight
comes with plenty of extra elastic -- I can't imagine a head too
large for the Headlight to fit! There's actually more of a
problem fitting smaller heads.
We found that it is
difficult to fit the Headlight on head sizes of around size 7 or
smaller. My wife, who wears a size 7, finds that by
time she gets it tight enough to stay on her forehead, the strap
Nevertheless, the Headlight works pretty much as intended; you have to be a bit
careful to keep your head steady once it's on, because if you
swing your head too quickly, it feels like it's slipping out of
Headlight takes 4 AA batteries (Energizers are included), which
slip into the side of the ABS plastic unit. I'm not a big fan of AA's,
because they seem to lose power pretty quickly, but if you use
rechargeable batteries, you'll probably be fine.
As you can see from the photo (top left), the battery cover includes
an O-ring, so there is probably some modicum of water
resistance, although they don't make any claim for the product.
The Headlight is available at REI, and their description of the
product claims that it's waterproof.
Be careful when you install the batteries, because that O-ring
comes off very easily, and it has a very small diameter, so it's
easy to slip off and get lost.
lamp can be positioned up or down; it swings through about an
85-degree arc, starting from a level position and declining.
It has 8 positive click-locked positions through its rotation,
which is a nice feature, because you can hear each click and
you can easily find a favorite position. The downside is that there
aren't any finer adjustments, but I found that its range was
fine for my use.
I keep it on the second click down from the top for work
that's about an arm's length away, and one or two clicks down
for very close work.
The black button (bottom photo, above) is the on/off switch.
Energizer claims that it's a "lifetime push-button
switch", rated for over 30,000 cycles. That's
It also has a bright Krypton bulb (4.8
volt, 0.75 amp.). I'm glad that
they finally found a peaceful use for this stuff instead
of hurting Superman with it. ;-)
Photo 4: Beam at most focused position.
Photo 5: Beam at widest position.
problem I've noticed with some of the modern
flashlights that use Krypton or Halogen bulbs is
that the reflector designs don't seem to have kept
up with the the power of the bulbs.
(above) illustrates the Headlight's beam opened up to the
widest position. There's quite a bit of dark space in
the middle; this type of beam might be alright for
illuminating something at a long distance, but not for up
It's my impression that many modern flashlights
don't throw an even light -- there are usually too
many hot spots that I find distracting. I
really crave a flashlight with a nice, bright,
white, even beam. I'm going to ask for one of
REI's dual bulb, LED/halogen headlights for
Christmas and see what happens!
The Headlight's beam can be focused. Photo 4
(above) illustrates the beam on the most focused
I use the Headlight mostly on its narrowest beam, as
illustrated in Photo 4.
The Energizer Headlight has a lifetime
warranty (excluding the bulb) on materials and workmanship.
It's interesting to note that I could not find any reference to the
Headlight flashlight on the Energizer web site; so either this is a
very new product, an older product that is being discontinued, or
they haven't gotten around to posting any information about it
I'm not sure about the value of this product. While it does
provide hands-free illumination, I think it would probably be
worthwhile to spend a bit more money to get a product that has a
better design. My feeling is that a head mounted flashlight
needs to have less weight, and the the weight should be centered
closer to the forehead. The light beam should be more evenly
focused; possibly an LED bulb with the ability to focus the beam
would be a better choice.
Check out the variety of head-mounted flashlights on the REI site; you'll notice that the higher priced headlamps have
the battery pack located remotely, either so that they are located in the
rear of the head, or in a separate battery pack. I'm sure this is to even
out the weight distribution and help keep the headlamp more secure
when it's in place on your head.
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Suggested Retail Price: I found this one for $9.94
at Home Depot
|Colors: Yellow/ black
in: China (batteries: U.S.A.)
Product Comments: Hands-free light is handy when
working on motorcycles. Heavy and the weight is
carried too far forward, which makes it unstable.
See the wBW
Flashlight Page | wBW
Review of the Energizer "Headlight"