Written by Terry Smith

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Best head torches[UK]: Most powerful and rechargeable head torches reviewed

This article was last updated on October 20th, 2021 at 10:23 am

Head torches are one of the only pieces of equipment that I know have just kept dropping in price over the last 20 years (I’ve been buying them for fishing, baiting, and gardening). It’s a bit of a bitter pill to swallow actually. Hard as it may be to believe, something the same quality as the top pick Aennon, which by the way would not have been USB and would have also needed a massive 6v battery (that you tied on you somewhere, normally the pocket) and would have cost over £100. Fast forward two decades and I can charge my head torch on my laptop with a generic USB lead and they aren’t even a tenner in some cases 😀

You now have so many options that it’ll come down to what you want – power, battery longevity, reliability, waterproofing, and how well they fit on the head. We’ve compared these crucial points for you:

Best head torch overall: Aennon USB Rechargeable LED Head Torch

Most powerful head torch: Cobiz Head Torch Light Rechargeable -5000 Lumen – suitable for professionals working on rail tracks / fishing vessels etc

Budget head torch: APUNOL 2Packs Head Torch

Alternative head torch: LE Head Torch

How to choose the best head torch for you?

Before you dive right in and secure your purchase, it might be helpful to have a quick browse through my list of features worth comparing.

Here we will go over a few things that we think are worth keeping in mind when choosing a head torch and making sure you get one of the best ones.

Battery type

Nearly all head torches are rechargeable these days, but that doesn’t make them all the same. Some models will come with a preinstalled battery, while others will have a battery compartment that has to be filled with multiple smaller rechargeable batteries, such as AAAs.

Convenience wise, I find the built in single batteries to be better and they also tend to have a longer working life (and it’s very handy that they charge with a generic USB point). The best type of these batteries are lithium ion units and you should get one that is over 1200 ‘mAh’ as this tells you the battery is a decent size (for a head torch) and therefore will have a long run time, even on 400-800 Lumens you can expect 2-30 hours depending on the battery and lumen setting. The highest setting really rips the battery, whilst eco mode has the polar effect.

How long does the battery take to charge against the runtime?

This is very important. You don’t want something that takes eight hours to charge up but then is done after only a couple of hours.

Thankfully, battery tech has really come quite far in recent years and it’s not hard to find a head torch that charges in just a few hours but can last for up to thirty on a low light mode.

Most head torches will have their charging time and run time clearly shown in their advertising, but if they don’t, it might be a red flag.

Brightness, beam range, and beam width

Brightness is measured in lumen, so when you see a number followed by that word, it is referring to how bright the light produced is. For a head torch, 150 lumen is good enough, especially if there are other features involved like high quality LEDs and good lens technology. The torch in this video is 200 Lumen to give you a decent idea of what you get:

Anything over 150 is obviously going to be brighter, and there are some models that are 800+lumen. Having a high lumen rating doesn’t ensure that the light quality is necessarily that good though, so it is important to check that out too.

Another important factor is the beam range which tells you how far the light beam can go and still be visible. On modern head torches 100-200 metres is not uncommon, if not completely necessary for all tasks.

Some torches specialise in the beam width rather than range, and this will probably be measured in degrees of the arc of light. A good floodlight head torch can be excellent for close range tasks and they will usually have a 180 degree light arc.

IP rating

When you see that a head torch has an IPX4 rating or IPX5, it means that it has been tested and certified to that level of waterproofing. If you’re going to be using your head torch outside, the minimum you want is IPX4 because this will allow you to use it in the rain, an example of a head torch in this review with that rating is the LE Head Torch.

Build quality

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get your hands on a great head torch, as our reviews have proved, but not all models will have the same build quality.

Look for products that are advertised as shock proof and waterproof, and read customer feedback about how robust and durable the torch you are interested in really is. Most are shock proof but one I would draw your attention to is the APUNOL 2Packs Head Torch. The ones featured in our reviews were picked because one of their outstanding features was that they are able to take a bit of punishment and keep on ticking. A good warranty of a year or more is another way you can be sure of a products quality, or at least have some back up if anything goes wrong.

Size and weight

If you’re going to be wearing something on your head for any length of time, you don’t want it to be big, bulky, and to weigh a ton. And if it is any of those, it should be because it’s seriously brighter than the average head torch, like the Cobiz Head Torch rated at 5000 Lumens 😀 That thing literally turns night into day as I allude to in my review.

Most head torches are very lightweight, even being under 100 grams, so you shouldn’t have to look too hard, but some battery packs can be bulkier than others and this might put some people off, so have a good look at the product photos and maybe check out youtube videos to see if anything is mentioned about this. Anything bigger than a cigarette packet is not necessary these days – look at this in a women’s hand:

Head Torch – hand gives you a good gauge of size you should expect.

Do the controls suit your needs?

The controls on head torches vary quite a bit, and while these might not bother some people, there are functions that would put certain users off.

For example, people who want to use a constant red light for stargazing will want the controls to operate that function to be separate from the white light. This is because if they use a single button to cycle through the options to get to red, the white light will destroy their night vision. Of course, there are others who love the simplicity of only having one easy to access button for all controls, so it’s a personal preference.

There are some models that have zoom features, but these again can vary somewhat, as can the angle of the tilt on the light head. Make sure you know how a head torch works before parting ways with your cash, by doing a little bit of research beforehand. For me though I just prefer a simple big button that runs through the pre-sets:

Head torch with one big button nice and easy to use

Extras

You’ll almost definitely get a USB charger cable with your head torch, but not that many come with a three pin plug for a wall socket so if that’s how you intend to charge yours, you’ll need to buy one separately in most cases.

Some of the more expensive models might come with their own carry case, but I’ve always seen that as a little bit pointless seeing as though you’ll be wearing them on your head 99% of the time. Then again, I suppose for storage purposes, a specific case could come in handy.

Best head torches picked and reviewed for performance and power:

First, we will dive right into the reviews for best head torches with the Aennon USB rechargeable head torch.

I wanted to update this article, and perhaps give another head torch the top spot but I can’t. This is an update over a year later and still absolutely deserves to be top of the pile and still better than the LE Head Torch which is a great alternative by the way.

Without a doubt, the top rated head torch we came across online was this little beauty from Aennon. This product has been getting rave reviews and feedback from thousands of verified customers and after spending a bit of time with it, I can easily see why.

First of all it is lightweight, in fact I’d say very lightweight, as in only 70 grams, and this makes it an excellent choice for all kinds of purposes such as jogging early in the morning or at night, mountaineering, or for working on building sites.

The elasticated strap is nice and comfortable and doesn’t irritate your head in any way, even after a few hours, and the adjustable nature of it means that you can wear it cover a hard hat on site, a cycling helmet, or a just a baseball cap.

You could even use it as a belt light if you wanted and still have the light shine upwards towards your eye line thanks to this head torch’s ability to tilt at angles up to sixty degrees. You’d have to wear the light upside down, but it wouldn’t make much of difference to you in terms of comfort.

Of course this also comes in handy when worn on the head while hiking as you can angle it down towards the ground to see any possible obstructions clearer.

You can turn the head torch on and off, and also cycle through the four light modes by pressing a single button, and I really liked the simplicity of this.

The four modes are high and low beams, a red light, and a flashing strobe. The high beam mode is very bright at 220 lumens and will give you visibility up to 100-150 metres, and a decent quality of light at that. Here’s a look at what the torch can really do. I’ve forwarded to the business end but it’s not a bad unboxing if you wanted to give it five minutes:

Unlike some of the lower quality red LED lights that are often found in low cost torches, the one in this model is actually really good and gives a constant light instead of a blinking one. The strobe function is also very bright and would be good for attracting attention in an emergency.

There is no need to carry around spare batteries with the Aennon head torch as it has an integrated rechargeable battery, and included in the box is a USB charger cable.
The battery takes about 5-6 hours to be fully charged, but then you good to go for up to 30 hours of usage before the next charge. That should be enough to finish whatever activity you have in mind.

The light unit is solidly built, resistant to shock, and has an IPX4 rating meaning it is resistant to water splashes and will be fine to use in the rain. Aennon are so confident in the durability and quality of this head torch that they offer a money back guarantee!

This is an outstanding head torch available at a very accessible price point, and I have joined the thousands of people that rate it very highly indeed. A must have for early morning joggers like myself.

Pros:

  • Only 5 hours for a full charge
  • Super price point for the quality
  • Standard quality Waterproof rating
  • Handy strobe emergency light – would be seriously handy if something did actually go wrong
  • Light weight – just 70 grams

Cons:

  • Not the most powerful
  • The odd one fails – QC issues – warranty seems to be well honoured
  • So many good ones to choose from hard to decide on this model

Lighting Ever (LE) have produced some excellent lighting products and have featured quite prominently in our reviews on work lights and LED torches, so it should come as no surprise that they’re knocking it out of the park with their head torch too.

The LE head torch can produce 150 lumens, which might be a lower base measurement than some other products, but the quality of the LEDs that Lighting Ever use actually end up producing a brightness and range that is equal or better.

On high mode, you can expect to have a maximum range of about 150 metres in perfect conditions, and around 100 metres as an average.

There is no need to go out and buy batteries as this head torch comes fitted with a fast charging mAh 1200 unit that will give you about 4 continuous hours on the brightest setting, 25 hours on low brightness, and up to 30 hours on red light mode.

There is, of course, a USB charger included in the box so you have all the normal charging options such as power bank and wall socket.

This model is proving to be very popular with star gazers and amateur astronomers due to the quality of the red light, and the fact that the switches for this mode are separate to the white light. This makes it easier to avoid turning on the bright white light by accident and ruining their night vision.

All together there are five light modes to choose from, the white light button can be pressed to switch from full brightness to half brightness, and then to flashing, while the second switch activates the red light in full mode or flashing mode.

You can adjust the angle of the light through 45 degrees vertically but there is no zoom feature like with the Backture head torch. LE have designed this model with a reflection cup design that widens the lighting range really well without losing too much light intensity, which I really liked.

The headband is nice and soft and incredibly comfortable to wear, and with the light only weighing 68 grams you can almost forget that you are wearing it, ideal for joggers.

Wearing this head torch in the rain shouldn’t present any problems as the product has been tested and certified to IPX4, meaning that it can resist splashes and sprays of water from all angles. It is also shock resistant.

Both the headband and the light are made to a high quality and should last a fair old while with proper use and a little care taken, and with this model currently on sale at a discount price, what’s not to like? Definitely this is a contender for top head torch and a very good alternative to the Aennon in my opinion.

As far as complaints go, with so many sold it’s the usual few failed – be it LED, charger, or somewhere between those. This is unavoidable with mass production and cheap for sensible quality. They will replace and entertain warranty so not all bad.

Pros:

  • Only 68 grams – same weight as a bar of chocolate literally.
  • Nice to wear on the head
  • Decent light range
  • Nice USB charger – can charge on laptop too!

Cons:

  • No zoom function – some may want this
  • A few failures which can be frustrating if it breaks at the wrong time!

When it comes to getting more for your money, you can’t beat two for the price of one offers like this one. Apunol are offering two of these excellent head torches at a budget price on Amazon currently. They are easily my pick for the best budget head torches.

These head torches aren’t low quality, throw away products either, they’re actually very good, with plenty of light options and sharing many of the features found in products twice their price.

Let’s start with the light modes. This model gives you the choice of four white light modes, the high setting which is a very bright 400 lumen, middle (150lm), and low light mode (40lm). There is also a white light strobe function too. The red LED light has both a constant light mode and a flashing setting.

These Apunol head torches feature a sensor mode that ids becoming more and more common in these products these days. The sensor mode makes it easy to switch the torch on and off by waving your hand in front of the sensors, which I guess could come in handy in some situations, but for me it was just a novelty thing. Still fun to pay with though.

Powered by a built in 1200mAh battery that fully charges in four to five hours, you can get about half that amount of actual usage out of it if used on high mode continuously. Obviously lower light modes will extend the battery time, with red light giving the longest of somewhere around 30 hours on a single charge.

Charging is done via USB like most things in today’s era so you shouldn’t have to look or think too hard to find a charging spot, and the cables are included with the head torches.

If you’re a jogger or cyclist, you might be interested in the 45 degree tilting light head, and the fact that it is quite stable when set at the desired angle. You might also be happy to know that these torches are comfortable to wear and hardly tip the scales at 68 grams each.

Certified to IPX4 water resistance, and being designed to withstand shock, these lightweight torches would be ideal for rock climbers and cavers alike, and with their being two units, your friend or partner has no excuse not to come and join in too. A Father and his son fishing was pretty much what this was setup for in my mind though.

Powerful, lightweight, good lighting options, and two units for the price of one. Do yourself and your wallet a favour and invest in these if you need more than one head torch.

Pros:

  • If you need 2 then this is a serious bargain
  • Buying 2 means if one fails you’re still good to go
  • Nice standard 1200mAh battery and USB charger
  • Super light 68 grams like the LE torch

Cons:

  • So many light modes you might argue over designed – Ain’t customers hard to please 😀
  • Not as powerful as some but good enough for dog walking
  • Some QC issues – Usual story of mass production.

The most important thing to note is the distance you can see, how bright, and how long right? Well this torch is on the better side of good for sure. 120 metres light range with 2.5 hours runtime on full tilt is not only reasonable and fair, but the manufacture is straight up about it as well rather than pushing the ‘it’ll last 30 hours’ thing which is nice. Because setting a torch to full power and telling you 30 hours on the listings as some have is pretty much false no? 😀

With 650 Lumens it’s translates into decent power but before we pick this one apart here is a look at their sales video:

If you gave the 40 seconds to this video you’ll see the tilt function is easy to use, you get tons of light for camping, hiking, fishing, and pretty much all outdoor activity for that matter. It’s not crazy powerful like the monster Corbiz but it really does pack a punch for the 72 grams it weighs – very similar to the top pick and LE Torch but with a bit more power. This is definitely a reasonable alternative to those two options and on low gives the same hours of lighting too.

Like all the other head torches on the listing it’s both IP4 waterproof and shatter proof. This is pretty much a standard so if you drop it don’t expect the unit to fail. If it does it would certainly be reasonable to request a replacement. The motion sensor is a nice touch though, just wave your hand about the front of your face reasonably close and it’ll flick on fast enough. The power indicator is a handy bonus too. Knowing where you’re at with the battery is one of the biggest problems with head torches!

What I don’t like though, is the 650 Lumens claim. I really don’t think this is way way more powerful than the Aennon that’s 220 Lumens but is definitely a bit more. Also on spec, some have reported the battery started to expand – not good, but expected from mass production and cheap pricing. Some have complained of other niggly failures sure as switch not working or failed LED. Just be sure if it’s in warranty period to ask for a replacement

Pros:

  • Motion sensor works well to activate the light
  • Nice and bright – probably more so than the top pick Aennon
  • A sensible 2 hours on full blast lighting – inline with other models this weight and price.
  • Definitely better than the ten quid units.
  • Nice zip up container – very sleek and space saving

Cons:

  • A few failed units as expected from mass production
  • Not 650 Lumens, or the 220 of the Aennon is more. One way or another they are not that many lumens apart.
  • Not the best unit available at this money

If the plan was to turn night into day, you must buy this head torch. I don’t think I can explain just how ridiculously over powered this head torch is. The first thing I’ve got to tell you is there are far more Lumens out there, 6k, 13k, 18k, and some in between. But at the budget end of the market, and in terms of reliability and actually really having a bright light, this is the best pick in my experience.

To say this will shine light as far as the eye can see would be going a step too far, but you can easy see the floor from 50 years away. The question I have to ask. Is this too much power? The guys fishing or working on the railway at night will love this. If you’re walking the dog, I’m not sure you need this much power:

Cobiz Head Torch – insanely bright

It’s heavier than the top picks but that is almost a given when considering the extra battery needed as well as the weight of the additional LED themselves. This is so much more powerful than any of the other head torches available at the moment. The swivel on the torch goes 90 degrees too, which is more than necessary but it’s great that it more than covers the angles you might want. The straps adjust easily and a single button operates all three modes. Nice and simple, a big button on the side is easy to tap without frustration! All in all a good design and a nice head torch.

What I don’t like so much is the zoom works by pushing or pulling the bezel. This isn’t ideal because it can be a little stiff but I suppose for under twenty quid how much can you ask for? 😀 But what you really want to know is how long will you get at 5k lumens? The answer is over a few hours, which ain’t bad at all is it! The charge time is definitely overnight. It wants a solid 8 hours to be full of life the next day.

Talking of which, there have been some complaints about the battery not giving long enough. What I’d say is, based on what I know from multiple sources, if you don’t get a few hours on top whack then you’re well within your right to give them a message and ask what they can do.

Pros:

  • Most powerful head torch
  • Really well priced for so many lumens and a good battery
  • At least 2-3 hours on full brightness mode – right up there with other models that don’t cost a fortune.

Cons:

  • The odd one will fail – ask for a replacement and you should be looked after
  • Some complain about the battery
  • Not as good overall as the top pick in my opinion because of the extra weight but some need the light and so necessary.

Why buy a head torch?

There are loads of occasions when you need a portable light source that still allows both your hands to be free to carry out tasks. An LED torch is fine but you need to hold it. Work lights are great too but they cast a shadow. The best head torches solve both these problems and bring the best of both worlds.

Most of these tend to be outdoor activities, just take things like cycling at night where you need to have both hands on the handlebars but still see where you’re going. Then there’s hiking, rock climbing, camping, caving, and night fishing to name a few.

While there are some excellent LED torches available these days, most of them require you to use one of your hands to hold and operate them and this isn’t always ideal. For a truly hands free experience, you should consider a head torch.

 

Head torches aren’t just for the great outdoors though, and can come in handy when working in darkened areas, or when you have to inspect the fuse box if there’s a power cut. Even activities such as night gardening can be improved by wearing one of the best head torches, and with some models going for as little as a few pounds, there’s really not much excuse not to own one, is there?

So, what are the best head torches you can buy? It all depends on how you look at it. For us, the best head torches have to tick a few boxes such as value for money, affordability, battery life, brightness, comfort, how well it fits, and extra functions.

We have taken a handful of the products we thought would accomplish this and given them their own detailed reviews that you can read below.

You can also find a buyer’s guide to help guide your decisions in the right direction, right here on this page.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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