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Petzl E+LITE Review

   
Top Pick Award

Headlamps

  • Currently 4.6/5
Overall avg rating 4.6 of 5 based on 10 reviews. Most recent review: February 25, 2014
Street Price:   $30 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  One of the lightest headlamps out there, three lighting modes, durable.
Cons:  Low spotlight, below average battery life, expensive.
Best Uses:  A light to take for any outdoor activity in case you get caught out after dark.
User Rating:     
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 (4.4 of 5) based on 9 reviews
Recommendations:  83% of reviewers (5/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: RJ Spurrier ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 14, 2014  
Overview
This micro headlamp, the size of a small stack of quarters, is the lightest headlamp we know and by a large margin. It wins our Top Pick award as the best lightweight headlamp and does so by a good margin. The only close contender was the Black Diamond Ion which is about the same weight but has a much less powerful beam, much shorter battery life, and fewer beam modes. It's hard to think of a more useful $30 you can spend on an outdoor product. Why? The e+LITE is so small (about the volume of a ChapStick) it eliminated the question "Should I bring a headlamp?" So it can be seen as either an expensive headlamp considering the light is not that bright or, as we see it, really inexpensive insurance against getting caught out at dark with no light.

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Performance Comparison
Click to enlarge
Credit: Shellay Glatz
Trail Finding
The trail finding score of 3 is pretty low until you consider just how small this light is. It scored as well as many headlamps that weigh four times as much. For example, in the beam comparison photo below, it is quite competitive with the Costco LED which weighs more than four times as much.

Beam Distance Photos


Petzl e+LiteCostco headlamp

But there is no way around the fact that this is not a trail finding powerhouse. It will get you out of a jam, but if you plan on hiking long distances at night, get a true trail finding specialist like the Coast HL7.

Beam Distance Photos


Petzl e+LiteCoast HL7

Close Proximity
Passable short distance performance is a big reason we like this headlamp so much. It casts a nice even beam around you and is surprisingly effective for how small it is.

Battery Life
This is where the e+LITE gets is revenge on the Coast and many other headlamps. In this battery life vs. beam distance graph, you can see how the high powered Coast is out after five hours while the e+LITE goes strong for 20. We feel it is essential that an emergency light give you prolonged performance which is a big reason why the e+LITE wins and award. It had much better battery life than its ultralight rival, the Black Diamond Ion.

It takes tiny 3v lithium batteries that are a little hard to find at a gas station or supermarket. However, we ordered 25 online for $6 which is enough battery power for over a year of regular use. These are much less expensive than the 6 volt batteries most other lithium ion headlamps we tested required.
Click to enlarge
Credit: Shellay Glatz

Brightness
With 24 meter measured max beam distance, this is not the brightest headlamp. By comparison, the similarly priced Coast HL7 shines a beam over 250 meters. That said, it has pretty solid beam distance for its size. It shines a beam 2 meters further than our best buy winner, the Energizer 3 LED which is 3 times the weight (but a third the cost). The e+LITE's brightness for its weight is impressive.

Weight
At 26 grams, this is the lightest headlamp in our review. Even more impressive, is the size. Because it uses a retractable string headband, it is in the most compact package imaginable. The string headband is surprisingly sturdy and keeps the light steady even when jogging. However, we don't recommend using it with a helmet as it is more prone to both slippage and improper installation than standard elastic headbands.
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Credit: Shellay Glatz

Ease of Use
This uses a different light selection button than any other product tested. Instead of a button, it uses a type of lever/dial. This is a little harder to figure out at first and is nearly impossible to use with gloves.

Best Applications
This is the ultimate emergency headlamp. It is so light that you can toss it in your daypack (or even in your running sock) and not notice it. Since it weighs less than 3 AAA or AA batteries, it can serve as an alternative to bringing spare batteries and gives you the option of having two headlamps (for your friends who forget theirs). Because of its micro size, it is also nice to just have around. It takes up almost no space in a glove box or kitchen drawer.

Value
At $30, this is a premium prices light, especially for its brightness. Spend just another $6 and you get the Editors Choice Coast HL7 or the Black Diamond Spot. That said, this light is well worth every penny because of its potential to get you out of an emergency situation.

Conclusion
The Petzl e+LITE was our highest rated micro headlamp. At less than one ounce, it was the lightest and most compact headlamp we tested. It is durable (we put it through the washing machine by accident) and it scored surprisingly well for beam quality and close proximity, considering how small it is. Even though this headlamp (understandably) scores very poorly for beam distance and trail finding, we were still impressed with it. It comes with three different lighting modes, including a red light mode. It comes with a handy waterproof case that will insure it stays dry. However, the best part of this light is how small it is so we never used the case. It is small enough to put in a sock or keep anywhere.

Its main competitor is the Black Diamond Ion, which is the same weight and size. The Ion had a better spotlight but the E+Lite had much better close proximity light and battery life. Considering the main reason to have this headlamp is for emergency or unintended backup use, the better battery life of the E+Lite makes it the clear winner. That said, at $30 the E+Lite is $10 more expensive than the Ion and puts you in the category of much more capable three-ounce lights like the Petzl Tikkina 2.

Even though its total score was not that high, we still consider this a must- have headlamp for anyone who does serious activity in the back country or away from the car (trail running at dusk, etc). It weighs nothing so there is no reason not to bring it everywhere. If you have an extra $30, there is no reason not to buy it. It could be the most useful light you ever buy. That said, if you are on a budget and don't mind a headlamp that weighs two more ounces, go with the Fuel or the Energizer 3 LED, which cost less, perform much better and is still pretty darn small and light.

RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 25, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.4)

83% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
8 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (6)
4 star: 13%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 13%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 9 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Feb 25, 2014 - 07:45am
The best part about this light for a climber is that you can carry it in your chalkbag. The plastic case protects it from the chalk and it will always work. There is now no excuse for not carrying a headlamp.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 25, 2014 - 12:46am
skibeer · Kayaker · Victoria
I have three, one in my bicycle repair kit, one in my First Aid kit and a third one in my analog darkroom. Yes the red light is a great help when I am printing.

It is what it is, in case of an emergency it is there, And for those interested it does not fog Ilford rc paper.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 30, 2011 - 03:11pm
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
If you carry the E+Lite in its case it takes up as much space as the Tilkka. But I acknowledge that the strap is a little bulky for a chalk bag. But then there's little space for an E+Lite either.
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   Aug 26, 2011 - 06:10pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
In reponse to Stefan's comment below, I don't think the e-lite is comparable to a regular Tikka, which I have also owned. You can't carry a regular Tikka on your chalk bag belt, at least not comfortably. The Tikka has a wide headband that won't stow easily, the unit itself is two or three times as big, and it weighs nearly three times as much (or almost twice as much if you count the weight of the e-lite case.

If your light is always going to be in a pack, then the Tikka might be a better alternative. But for something you have with you at all times without ever noticing it until you need it, the e-Lite is superior.
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   Aug 26, 2011 - 04:35pm
Stefan Jacobsen · Climber · Danmark
I have had the E+Lite for a couple of years, and I wonder about the hype. Space and weight wise it is comparable to a regular Tikka, but light and battery wise it is not as good. I would recommend a regular Tikka in stead.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 24, 2011 - 08:39pm
rgold · Climber · Poughkeepsie, NY
An ideal emergency light. It is bright enough to climb by (verified the hard way). Not so good when it comes to following an indistinct trail; for this a heavier unit with a longer beam will help a lot.

For climbs with an approach pack left at the base, I leave a big lamp in the pack and carry the e-light (its case will thread on your chalk bag belt). The theory is that it will be enough to get me over the top, down the descent, and back to the pack with the big beam for the hike back out. This has worked out so far.

A nice feature of the case is that there is enough room to tape a spare battery inside it, giving you an extra boost of illumination time with virtually no weight gain and no space penalty.
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   Aug 19, 2011 - 09:35am
Brian in SLC · Climber · Salt Lake City, UT
Also worth mentioning that this light is waterproof down to -1 meter.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Aug 19, 2011 - 08:21am
YoungGun · Climber · North
Love this little guy. The review isn't lying — mine has been through the wash too, and works like new. It's surprisingly bright given the size. I keep mine in my chalk bag pouch at all times now. Rapping in the dark sucks. This is cheap insurance.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 9, 2010 - 02:39am
bearbreeder · Climber
must have for any emergency kit … light, fairly bright

bats can be bought at dollar store

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Petzl e+LITE headlamp won our Top Pick Award for Best Ultralight headlamp
Credit: Petzl
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