Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Great price, good trail finding, easy to use.
Cons: Short battery life, not the most even beam at close range.
Best Uses: Budget headlamp to keep in the glove box, kitchen drawer or at camp.
This light did surprisingly well considering you might find it at a supermarket point-of-sale. It isn't to be confused with a high performing light but it's only $13 and scored reasonably well for beam quality. It's our Best Buy winner because it was one of the least expensive headlamps in the review and still meets the needs of around-the-home use and casual campers and hikers. Get into $20 headlamps and we feel you might as well step to a powerhouse light such as the Coast HL7 ($36). If you want to spend $20 (but not a penny more) go with the Petzl Tikkina 2. The advantages of the Tikkina 2 are significant: more robust and water-resistant design, longer distance viewing, and much better battery life. But it is hard to dispute the value of the 3 LED energizer, which is fall-off-a-log easy to use, and provides a very usable light.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The trail finding score was surprisingly high and blew away the only headlamp we tested that costs less, the Costco LED. As you can see in this beam comparison photo, the Energizer shines far ahead.
In the below photo it is clear just how much better the beam pattern is with the Energizer.
This score was right in the middle because the Energizer casts an even beam; it's just not very wide. If close proximity is very important to you, check out the Black Diamond Gizmo ($20), which scored very high in this metric and has a very long battery life.
For such an inexpensive offering, it's impressive that the Energizer also comes with a red light mode. This saves battery life and doesn't blind your friends around camp.
The score was surprisingly good. It has an ANSI measured high mode run time of 27.3 hours which puts it in the top five of all 40 headlamps tested. We thought the Petzl Tikkina 2 would blow it out of the water, but the two were neck and neck as you can see in this battery life versus beam distance graph. Learn more about ANSI in our Headlamp Review.
We did not measure the low mode run time, but it's likely to greatly exceed the manufacturers claimed time of 28 hours.
Brightness score is pretty low. We measured a max beam distance of 22 m compared to the Tikkina 2 with 27 m, the Spot with 70 m, and the coast with 128 m.
At 7.8 lux, it scores better than the Gizmo but behind the Tikkina 2. it is also lower than the Costco LED. But we found the beam quality is so much better than the Costco that it's better to have a less bright headlamp that has more even light emission.
At 77 grams this is toward the lighter end of the spectrum and lighter than most Tikka headlamps. It is about 25 percent lighter than the Costco headlamp and significantly less bulky. It is not to be confused with a featherweight like the 26 gram Petzl e+LITE.
Ease of Use
This had one of the highest ease-of-use scores and is one of the reasons why we gave this the Best Buy award. For infrequent headlamp users, it's nice to have a light that is intuitive and does't require learning the various features. This is also easy to use with gloves.
This is the ideal lamp to keep around the house, in the glove compartment or around camp for infrequent use. It is not necessarily the best headlamp for heavy use, backpacking or running on trails.
This is one of the least expensive headlamps we tested and THE least expensive light that performed well. The bigger sibling is the Energizer 6 LED. But while brighter, the 6 LED had an ever shorter battery life, was more confusing to use and has a street price of $23. That price doesn't exactly break the bank, however it knocks it into a price point with stiffer competition where it doesn't fare all that well.
If you're on a budget, this is a very functional headlamp. The only headlamp we tested that costs less, the Costco LED, just didn't have the good beam pattern and is not available online. If you're willing to spend more money, for $20 both the Petzl Tikkina 2 and the Black Diamond Gizmo give you better optics and durability. That said, if you are going to spend $20 you might dig deeper in your pocket and get the Coast HL7 ($33). The Coast has by far the best brightness and beam pattern for the money or the Black Diamond Spot ($40), which also had slightly less brightness but had a much longer battery life. There are so many very good headlight options today that we encourage you to read the full Headlamp Review and our How to Choose a Headlamp and see what option is best for your activities and needs.
The Energizer 4 LED is said to have 90 lumens of light and 8.5 hours of battery life, while the 7 LED is said to have 115 lumens of light and 5.5 hours of battery life.
— RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 9, 2014
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