How to Choose a Headlight

Headlights increased in recent years, autonomy and a very limited power to nearby powers of car headlights and autonomies of several tens of hours.

The number of brands and supply is very important but here are some tips for you there in front of the jungle.

Autopsy of a headlight

Headlights are composed of a battery or batteries, a circuit which regulates the lamp power and one or more LED (light emitting diode).

The battery can be deported or not (that is to say, the batteries and the LEDs are not in the same block).

The LEDs

It is they that make a big difference because lamps provide light. They have large differences in terms of energy efficiency, but generally the big brands are using equivalent LEDs from one brand to another.

The LEDs are extremely impact resistant, highly durable, and has a very good energy efficiency and that is why they are now the standard for headlights.

Today there are 2 types of LED on the front:

  • The unfocused LEDs: they scatter light so as to give a pleasant diffused light short
  • The LEDs focused: this type of LED is focused through a system of mirrors.They provide a powerful remote lighting.

sometimes there are these two types of LEDs on the same front.

Cells or batteries

Please note, contrary to what many people believe the batteries last as long as the batteries.

A size equal a non-rechargeable battery to a loan autonomy of 2 times the autonomy of a battery. The batteries are however very interesting since autonomy can go up to 200 hours on batteries for certain frontal.

Most of the front running on battery propose a solution to fit the batteries in case of problems. Sometimes it is a paid adapter but often the battery simply the form of batteries and is therefore easily replaceable.

The remote batteries

Some headlights offer remote battery at the back of the head or on the hips. This option minimizes discomfort on the head.The Battery offset is necessary only for large lamps which have a heavy and bulky battery. This option complicates the lamp and is not necessary in most cases.

The lamp power

This is obviously one of the first criteria. It is expressed in lumens. The lumen is a unit that gives the overall brightness projected by the headlight in all directions. Power in lumens is announced on all headlights.

As an indication a car headlight throws 900 lumens. Here are the recommended power according to your business:

  • Less than 20 lumens: camping
  • Between 20 and 60 lumens: camping,hiking
  • Between 60 and 120 lumens: hiking, mountaineering, running
  • More than 120 lumens: trail, caving, mountaineering

Obviously equal energy source and LED equals more power is increased more autonomy is low.


A lamp can light 200 lumens without being remotely effective if the beam is not focused.

All high power lamps (over 60 lumens) provide focused lighting and diffuse lighting. How focused the lighting makes a big difference because it is too focused lighting is unpleasant. Do not worry, all the major brands of front perfectly know how to control this area and we are rarely disappointed by a front.

The distance lighting

It is correlated with the beam width. As said earlier, you can have 200 lumens that light to 20 meters or 200 meters. The lamps offering a focused lighting still offer a diffused lighting for the focused lighting does not use the lamp in a tent or camp.


The autonomy of a lamp is a very complex issue but it can be summarized this way: the battery power decreases with time according to the following curve:

The power indicated by the marks is valid only for a few minutes and autonomy given by the manufacturer actually gives only the maximum front brightness of the time on the “mode” maximum while this mode no longer produces the maximum possible power .

To sum up if you have a 120 lumens lamp that offers 10am this power you 120 lumens for 10 minutes and after 10 am the lamp will produce more than 10 lumens.

Some brands electronically manage the power of the lamp. Petzl is considered a pioneer in this area and has launched two consumption managed electronically.

Le constant lightning

The light output remains constant over time. This consumption mode keeps the power at its peak but (obviously) reduces lamp life. A lamp in constant lightning illuminates about 4 times shorter than in conventional consumption but the lamp still lights at maximum power.

Le reactive lightning

The headlight has a light sensor that adjusts the lighting. As it gets darker and the bright shining strong. The report, “consumption of the sensor / energy saved” is very positive and higher than the constant lightning lamps autonomy. It is not possible to measure the autonomy of this type of lamps because it varies depending on the terrain encountered.


Now all headlights are more or less sealed. In France, the standard allows to give the water resistance according to the following table: Generally the waterproof cycling lights are IPX4 or IPX6.

The modes of lighting

On most headlights can modulate the power or the type of lighting (if several LEDs). Most often it is the number of pressing the power button that switches modes. The existence of two modes: diffused (flood) and focused (spot or focus) is very significant and makes it very versatile lamp.

Examples of lamps

Examples of lamps according to the use you could make: