Looking for a tactical headlamp that will help you see in the dark without being seen?
That’s lightweight, durable, and ideally, waterproof?
That has a respectable battery life and does not require a degree in computer science to operate?
You are at the right place!
Here are the 11 best tactical headlamps of 2023 for military and tactical purposes.
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- TOP 11 Best Tactical Headlamps of 2023
- Wowtac A2S LED Headlamp
- Skilhunt H04 TIR Tactical Headlamp
- Fenix HL32R 600 Lumen Headlamp
- Nitecore NU32 550 Lumen LED Headlamp
- Petzl Tactikka+ RGB Headlamp
- Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
- ThruNite TH20 Cree XP-L LED Headlamp
- EdisonBright Fenix HL60R LED Headlamp
- Armytek Wizard Wr Multi-Flashlight Headlamp
- Zebralight H600w XHP35 Headlamp
- Princeton Tec Quad Tactical Headlamp
- Buying Guide to the Best Tactical Headlamps
- What is the Best Tactical Headlamp?
TOP 11 Best Tactical Headlamps of 2023
Wowtac A2S LED Headlamp
The Wowtac A2S tactical headlamp is a really great value. It’s an all in one setup with a 18650 battery and a right-angle light at a fantastic price.
The Wowtac A2S has an easy to use intuitive interface with just one push on the button to turn it on and off, and the manual clearly describes how to quickly and easily change between modes.
This is a well-built tactical headlamp from a reputable maker. It comes with a high-quality rechargeable battery that is safe, not some cheaply made battery that can pose a fire hazard.
- IPX-7 water resistance.
- Great price especially considering the high quality 18650 battery included.
- Rechargeable lasts 4.5 hours per charge.
- The top strap is not removable.
- No red filter.
Skilhunt H04 TIR Tactical Headlamp
The Skilhunt H04 TIR headlamp is a great value because you get a lot for what you pay for it, including a 18650 rechargeable battery, which other headlamps do not always include.
With max lumens at 1200, a CREE XML-L2 U4 LED and 123 meter light reach distance, this headlamp is considered a spotlight style tactical headlamp.
This tactical headlamp is durable and can take some abuse. Its water-resistant, IPX8 rated drop-resistant up to a meter, and it’s got an aluminum shell.
This headlamp can detach to use as a standard flashlight and it has a magnet in its tail to mount to metal surfaces.
- Handy removable tail magnet for quick mounting.
- Compatible with 18650 rechargeable lithium battery.
- Magnetic USB charge included.
- Great waterproofing, IXP8 rated.
- No red light.
Fenix HL32R 600 Lumen Headlamp
The Fenix HL32 R is a good value because it has decent lumen output, the battery is rechargeable, and it has an auxiliary red led to preserve night vision.
If you require the use of a red led to preserve night vision, this tactical headlamp is a good choice.
This tactical headlamp has modest water resistance, so it’s not something you want to wear in the pouring rain or take ice fishing, but it will withstand a light drizzle for a few minutes.
- USB rechargeable.
- Bright white with red LED secondary light.
- 600 lumens output.
- Lightweight, just 3.8 oz.
- No firefly or moonlight mode.
- Battery not replaceable.
Nitecore NU32 550 Lumen LED Headlamp
The Nitecore NU32 is a dedicated headlamp, that is, you cannot use the light as a traditional flashlight like you can with some others on this list.
The benefit of this is it is less bulky as it takes up less space, and it’s lighter too.
Since the battery is built-in, it cannot be replaced, but this headlamp does have a battery check feature so you know how much you have between each charge.
This Nitecore has all the features you need, like a rechargeable battery, secondary red LED, good 550 lumen output, and an easy user interface.
- 1800mAh+ battery built-in.
- Secondary red light to preserve night vision.
- 550 lumen output.
- Lightweight, just under 100 grams.
- Battery check feature.
- The battery is not replaceable.
- Cannot be used as a normal flashlight.
Petzl Tactikka+ RGB Headlamp
The PETZL Tactikka RGB headlamp has the traditional white light with modest 250 lumens, plus it has red, green, and blue lights that allow you to see at night while making it harder for you to be seen.
This headlamp is great for stealth, tactical, hunting, and tracking purposes.
Since this light has 250 lumens and a wide beam, it’s good for up-close projects. The intensity is also adjustable, making the brightness comfortable for those around you.
- Red, green, and blue secondary lights allow you to see without being seen.
- 250 lumens.
- Hybrid system, Compatible with CORE rechargeable battery or two AAAs.
- Good for situations where stealth is the goal.
- One button system must cycle through the modes to change the light.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
The Black Diamond Storm is an all in one headlamp that is strong, and waterproof. If you are looking for a tactical headlamp to use in poor weather conditions, for boating or fishing, or even in snow, this is a good bet.
This tactical headlamp can be submerged for 1 min and 30 seconds without failing.
The beam is sufficiently wide for reading and other up-close activities and the battery is rechargeable.
The user interface allows you to access the color and dimming without cycling the white light settings, which I really like.
- Red light mode.
- All lights are dimmable.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Waterproof IP67 rating.
- 350 lumens.
- A bit on the bulky side for an all in one headlamp.
ThruNite TH20 Cree XP-L LED Headlamp
This versatile ThruNite headlamp has all you need with firefly mode, dimmer, and a max output of 520 lumens.
It has a comfortable stretchy adjustable band, and the light itself is just a bit larger than the AA battery it can use as a power source.
This tactical headlamp can use standard AA batteries or Rechargeable li-ion 14500 batteries (not included).
- Fifefly mode .3 lms, Dims from 1.6 to 250 lm w/ max output of 520 lms.
- Made from durable aluminum.
- IXP8 waterproof rating.
- Uses either AA battery or Li-ion 14500 750mAh battery.
- The user interface takes a little time to learn.
EdisonBright Fenix HL60R LED Headlamp
The EdisonBright Fenix HL60R is known for its really long battery life and high-quality rechargeable Fenix ARB-L18-2600 18650 battery which comes with the headlamp.
The battery quality should not be underestimated because a crap battery can cause problems, lose brightness, not last as long, and even pose a fire hazard.
This tactical headlamp is on the heavy side, but the headband has a top strap that stabilizes it and keeps it from falling.
This light has 5 white light settings from a very dim eco setting to a massive 950 lumens turbo, plus it has a red light option.
- 5 white light settings from 5 lumens up to 950 lumen max.
- Rechargeable Fenix ARB-L18-2600 18650 battery included.
- Sturdy, made from aluminum.
- Secondary red light option of 1 lumen.
- A little bulky & heavy.
- No firefly or ultra-low lumen mode.
Armytek Wizard Wr Multi-Flashlight Headlamp
The Armytek Wizard WR is an excellent tactical headlamp. It includes a rechargeable 18650 Li-lon Battery and has short circuit protection. Short circuit protection is important because prevents fires and other hazards, as the batteries it uses are very powerful.
Keep in mind, you should ALWAYS use high-quality batteries in headlamps because the batteries they use are powerful and sit on your head.
This light has both red and white light, with 5 modes for each light color.
This lamp excels for up-close tasks as opposed to seeing far in front of you and is IP68 waterproof rated for the best waterproofing you can get.
- Includes rechargeable high quality 18650 Li-lon Battery.
- Scratch-resistant tempered glass and rugged aluminum case.
- IP68 waterproof rating.
- Takes a while to recharge.
Zebralight H600w XHP35 Headlamp
This Zebralight H600w XHP35 is perfect when distance vision matters. This is a spotlight style headlamp that allows you to see far into the dark.
This headlamp uses the long-lasting 18650 battery that can last for weeks before needing a charge. Be aware, the battery is not included and must be purchased separately.
This lamp is also very durable. Not only is it made from aluminum, but all the internals are “potted” which means the electronics will not jostle about as you move and are protected in the event you drop the headlamp.
- Vivid color quality, best vision.
- IPX8 waterproof rated, up to 2 meters.
- Built-in voltage protection.
- Battery not included.
Princeton Tec Quad Tactical Headlamp
This simple, easy to use tactical headlamp uses AAA batteries which you can find virtually anywhere. It runs for up to 110 hours on a set of new batteries.
It has 4 bright white LEDs that have a wide focus, making this headlamp good for up-close tasks and jobs where you are around others.
It does have a flip-up red filter if you need red light. It is also waterproof for 30 minutes up to 1-meter depth so it’s decent waterproofing.
- Uses easy to find AAA batteries or rechargeable lithium batteries, sold separately.
- 4 bright white LEDs with a flip-up red filter.
- 78 lumens, not too bright, great for task work.
- IPX7 waterproof rating can be submerged 30 minutes up to 1 meter.
- Batteries not included.
Buying Guide to the Best Tactical Headlamps
What factors to keep in mind before buying a tactical headlamp and what features looking for?
Check out these 5 characteristics to make sure you pick out the best tactical headlamp for your needs.
Red Light, White Light, Cool Light, Warm Light?
The color of the light coming from your headlamp changes your color perception of the things around you.
Warm Light (Lower than 4500 Kelvins)
Warm light makes objects appear more natural and closer to you. Warm light is also better for more sensitive eyes and I prefer warm light for up-close task work.
Neutral Light (Between 4500-5000 Kelvins)
Neutral light is good for seeing details. It’s also decent for distance which you need for spotlight style headlamps.
Neutral light is the preferred light color range of most people.
Cool Light (Above 5000 Kelvins)
Cool light makes things appear more lifeless or grey. Cool white can be brighter, technically, but can make things appear washed out.
Some folks prefer using a very low lumen white light instead of a red light to preserve night vision. A white light mode on your flashlight with a lumen of 0.3 is sometimes called firefly mode.
Some folks say that red light helps to preserve your night vision and allows you to see, without being seen. Red light is ideal in nighttime tactical, hunting, or military operations where you do not want to be seen.
Some military personal or sailing crew are sometimes required to use red light at certain times, making tactical headlamps with red light very popular.
Red light wavelengths disappear faster than other colors’ wavelengths and are harder to see at night, making you more stealth.
Your eyes are more sensitive to green light than red. This means that you need less green light than red light to see about the same. With a green light, it also easier to tell colors apart.
But there is a catch…
The way your eye is set up, with more red cones in the center, means red helps you see detail right in front of you easier. So it’s a tradeoff.
Use red in you are doing low light task work, and use green when telling colors apart is more important.
Battery Quality and Battery Options for Your Tactical Headlamp
Everyone has their own battery preference. Some need a headlamp that uses a common battery, others like more powerful rechargeable batteries.
Here is the low down on each tactical headlight battery type:
AA and AAA Batteries
Some military operations require headlamps that run on standard AA batteries. These batteries are super easy to find. You can get them at any grocery store or pick some AA batteries online.
Tactical headlamps that run on AA and AAA are convenient, they do not need to be charged and usually run from 60 to 100 hours on a set of new batteries.
IMO if you go with a AA or AAA headlamp, make sure the lumens are not too high to preserve battery life.
The AA and AAA type headlamps are great for taskwork and up-close work where you want fewer lumens.
That’s why headlamps like the popular Energizer LED Headlamp is so popular. It’s got low lumens, it’s super cheap, the batteries are included, and it’s good for up-close tasks in the dark. You can use it to change a tire or check under the hood, but it’s not necessarily the best tactical headlamp.
18650 Tactical Headlamp Batteries
Here is the deal. Don’t go cheap with your 18650 lithium-ion battery. These things store LOTS of power, 3 times what a lithium AA battery can hold.
You wear a headlamp on your head, making safety even more important. Look for a high-quality battery with circuit protection.
Built-in Rechargeable Battery
Some tactical headlamps come with a built-in rechargeable battery. They are a great value for now but don’t expect more than a few years of use with them, as they last between 2 and 5 years on average.
They are a good value because the batter is included, which is no common for tactical headlamps. They are also rechargeable. But those batteries can wear out, just like cell phone batteries do over time. And when they wear out…its lights out! Forever.
Spotlight or Flood Light, See at a Distance vs Close Up Task Work?
Tactical lamps that throw light far and sometimes called spot lamps, and those that spread the light around are called floody.
Spot type beams are good when you are hiking and moving fast at night and want to see far ahead.
Floody headlamps are better for doing up-close tasks like working on a car or reading a map.
There are two basic style of tactical headlamps. There are the kind that looks like and are shaped like a traditional flashlight, just smaller. They clip into the headband and can detach, so you can use the light as a standard flashlight.
Then there are the smaller all-in-one- lights that are not designed to detach from the headband.
Here is the deal…
Smaller, All-in-One Headlamps
Smaller headlamps are lighter, but the weight comes at a cost, and usually, that cost is lost functionality and shorter battery life. The PETZL TACTIKKA+ RGB Headlamp.
Is an example of a small, light headlamp. It uses two small AAA batteries.
Larger Detachable Flashlight Style Headlamps
These 18650 batteries I talked about earlier are larger than AA batteries and other built-in batteries.
The 18650 batteries are found in those headlamps with the detachable flashlight. And yes they are a bit bigger, but they last longer, are brighter or can output more light. So, when you consider the cost of charging the 18650 battery which can last 500+ charges VS the cost of using new batteries or ni-cad batteries, the 18650 comes out on top.
Headlamps that use the 18650 battery will always end up saving you money in the end because they last longer and are cheap to charge, even if the actual headlamp is more expensive upfront.
What is the Best Tactical Headlamp?
The best tactical headlamp depends on what your needs are. Here are 4 top choices for different purposes.
Best Budget-Priced Tactical Headlamp
Hands down, you get the most for your money with the WOWTAC A2S LED Headlamp. It’s not the cheapest tactical headlamp, but it is pretty inexpensive. ESPECIALLY considering it includes the 18650 high capacity rechargeable battery and the fact that it is waterproof. It’s a good buy.
Best Spotlight Style Tactical Headlight
The SKILHUNT H04 TIR Tactical Headlamp is an excellent spotlight style tactical headlamp. It reaches a max of 123 meters, has 1200 lumen capacity, and the highest waterproof rating.
Best Tactical Headlamp for Up-Close Task Work
The best headlamp for up-close work is the Zebralight Headlamp. It has a flood beam with a frosted lens, has 90 degrees beam spread, making it perfect for up-close work, and it is compatible with the 18650 battery.
Best Military Tactical Headlamp
The PETZL TACTIKKA+ RGB Headlamp is a good military headlamp. It has a red light, for preserving night vision, and it uses disposable batteries.
While I have your attention, do you have a tactical gear bag to store all of your prized tactical gear?
This wraps up the reviews of the best tactical headlamps of 2023.
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