This micro headlamp, the size of a small stack of quarters, is the lightest headlamp we know of(1.0 oz or 27g) by a large margin. It wins our Top Pick award as the best Ultralight weight headlamp. The top contender is the Black Diamond Ion, which is nearly twice the weight at 1.9 oz and has a slightly more powerful (but still weak) beam, and shorter high battery life. It's hard to think of a more useful $30 you can spend on a mission-critical ultralight outdoor product. Why? The e+LITE is so small (less than the volume of a ChapStick) it eliminates 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, a really inexpensive insurance against getting caught out at dark with no light.
Petzl e+LITE Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Unmatched for ultralight weight and size, outstanding for close-proximity use, durable
Cons: Not well suited for distance viewing, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Petzl E+LITE is a compact powerhouse for emergency back up lighting, or, put another way, the regular lighting for the Ultralight enthusiast.
The trail finding score of 1 is the lowest of all lights we tested, but it isn't really in the e+LITE's wheelhouse. It is about small and lightweight. With good planning, you will seldom use this light for extended trail finding. Predominantly, a light like this is for emergencies, occasional use around camp, or for the occasional unexpected late exit from a day trip.
That being said, you will do well to see the difference between this tiny emergency light and a proper, good trail finding the light. For example, in the beam comparison photo below observe how it differs from Best Buy winner, the Petzl Tikkina.
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 Petzl Zipka, which is also fairly small and light, or even better, the Tikkina or the Black Diamond Spot.
Working around camp or in the tent is where the e+LITE shines and 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. It compares favorably in close brightness and beam shape to the most expensive lights available, and earned an impressive score of 9 out of 10.
This is an area where the e+LITE falls short. We feel it is essential that an emergency light give you prolonged performance, and the e+LITE offers acceptable performance with 9.4 hours on high, and 18 hours on low. Competing lightweight options tend to do no better on high, such as the BD Ion which is small and light, but only lasts 7.4 hours on high. However, the Ion offers an impressive 115 hours of lighting on low, which is 6 times longer than the e+LITE in the type of use we consider most typical for the e+LITE.
On the positive side, the e+LITE batteries are really small and light too, so it is painless to pack extras. It takes tiny 3v lithium batteries, CR2032, that are a little hard to find at a gas station or a backcountry area supermarket (and also expensive). So, order them before you head out for an adventure. You can find a 10-pack of these on Amazon for about $7, which will give you enough battery power for months of regular use.
At 1 ounce, or 27 grams, this is by far 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 recommend being careful when using it with a helmet. In this context it is more prone to both slippage and improper installation than standard elastic headbands.
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. Once accustomed to it, however, every user found it a simple and clear way to activate the different modes. Notably, the e+LITE has a red mode which preserves your night vision, great for star gazing, and also extends battery life.
This is the ultimate emergency headlamp, and great for ultralight fans. 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. Our lead tester has used it in this capacity countless times). Because of its micro size, it is also nice to just have around. It takes up almost no space in a glove box, kitchen drawer, or pocket.
The Petzl e+LITE is our highest rated micro headlamp. At one ounce, it is by far the lightest and most compact headlamp we tested. It is durable (we put it through the washing machine by accident and it still works) 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 are 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 ensure 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.
— RJ Spurrier