The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Coast HL7 Review

Previously one of our favorites, but hasn't kept pace with competitor's innovations
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $50 List | $27.84 at Amazon
Pros:  Excellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discount
Cons:  Average battery life, heavier and bulkier than most
Manufacturer:   Coast
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
  • Share this article:
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 8
  • Close Proximity - 20% 7
  • Battery Life - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 4
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Coast HL7 has a lot of good things to offer, a strong beam that shines for 112 meters, very good flood lighting, and it is an easy to use product. It remains a strong competitor, but it no longer makes it into the top three scoring lights in our test. Lights such as the Black Diamond Storm and Spot offer better performance a similar or lower price. Our issue with it today is mostly that it is largely unchanged, while the competition has been improving lights much more significantly each year.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Coast HL7
Awards  Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $27.84 at Amazon$89.00 at Amazon$38.42 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$39.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$96.69 at Amazon
Compare at 4 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
68
100
0
79
100
0
73
100
0
70
100
0
64
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Excellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discountBright wide beam, good battery life, durable design, rechargeableExcellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery lifeExcellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most waysBright, wide spotlight, clear/smooth optics, long battery life, robust design
Cons Average battery life, heavier and bulkier than mostExpensive, 18650 Li-ion battery is not included, heavier than averageMore expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleadingBelow average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofingHeavy, bulky, and expensive
Bottom Line Previously one of our favorites, but hasn't kept pace with competitor's innovationsAn impressive, powerful light in a small package that won't disappoint if you can get past the priceA durable light that will last for years with a bright high-quality beam, slightly higher in cost and weightA quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claimsA quality light with strong battery life, but no longer our top pick for epics
Rating Categories Coast HL7 Zebralight H600w Mk IV Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Black Diamond Icon
Trail Finding (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Close Proximity (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Battery Life (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
4
10
0
6
Weight (15%)
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
2
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
Specs Coast HL7 Zebralight H600w... Black Diamond Storm Black Diamond Spot Black Diamond Icon
Measured Beam Distance 112 m 121 m 91 m 94 m 90 m
Claimed Distance 119 m Not specified 85 m 80 m 100 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 3.1 hrs 3.1 hrs 5 hrs 2.9 hrs 12.6 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 1.5 hrs 2.9 hrs 40 hrs 30 hrs 70 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 25 hrs 232 hrs 42 hrs 9.7 hrs 74 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 70 hrs 203 hrs 120 hrs 175 hrs 175 hrs
Measured Weight 4.5 oz, 127 g 4.5 oz, 127 g 4 oz, 112 g 3.1 oz, 89 g 8.2 oz, 233 g
Battery Type 3 AAA 18650 rechargeable Li-ion 4 AAA 3 AAA 4 AA
Water Resistance water resistant IPX8 waterproof to 2 meters, 30 minutes IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim) IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof
Manuf Claimed Lumens 285 lumens 1400 lumens 350 lumens 300 lumens 500 lumens
Beam Type flood/spot flood flood/spot flood/spot flood/spot, dimmable
Red Light no no yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes yes yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes
On Switch Lock no yes (tailcap lockout) yes yes yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Coast HL7 has been around since 2012, and has had a few upgrades in performance since its original introduction. The design remains largely unchanged, even though it is today brighter than the version we first tested. Unfortunately, competing headlamps have changed a lot in that time, and so while the HL7 remains a very good product, we no longer recommend it over competing lights, in particular, the Black Diamond Storm and Spot offer better performance today, at either about the same price, or even lower cost.


Likes


The HL7 offers an excellent trail finding beam in its spot mode, shining 112 meters, and with very good optics. The beam is a bit hot in the center, not as even and wide as top competitors like the BD Storm.


Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Coast HL7
Beam photo of Black Diamond Storm

Coast HL7
Black Diamond Storm

The HL7 also offers very good flood lighting, which is easy and intuitive to get to by rotating the front lens to zoom in or out. Lighting is wide and fairly even, above average.



We find the Coast to be easy to use, and intuitive. With a single button to turn it on in the front, a zoom dial on the lens, and a lever on the rear battery pack to change brightness. Each function is obvious, and simple.



Dislikes


The Coast is a bit heavy at 4.5 oz or 127g, and the two part package, with the battery in the back and light element in the front is somewhat bulky.


Battery life is OK, but only about average, with 3.1 hours run-time in high mode, and 23 hours in our low mode test (using a similar brightness level to competing lights best mode for close proximity use).



Conclusion


The Coast is a quality product, that offers compelling performance. It ranks in the top 5 in our review on overall performance, which is impressive in a field of more than 20 top headlamps. And, typically found at a reasonable street price around $35 online. Our issue with the Coast today is not so much with it, but simply that competing lights, selling for about the same price, offer a better value. The BD Storm outperforms the HL7 in every category except ease of use, and sells for about the same street price. The BD Spot bests the HL7 overall, yet can typically be found at a lower street price online.


RJ Spurrier