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September 3, 2009 Comments (0) Gear & Equipment

Energizer 4 LED Headlamp Review

ORDay3011cWoods Monkey had a chance recently to check out some of the new lighting options available from Energizer at the Outdoor Retailer show.  Here’s the first of our reviews on their products.

Light up the night and priced just right!

 

 

 

100_2659aIn the realm of portable lighting equipment the LED has been making a steady progression to supremacy. Using marginal quantities of power as compared to its filament-baring cousins it allows for longer battery life. Also with the onset of newer and better lens configurations the LED has begun to oust the halogen and krypton bulbs as well. LED may well be the future of lighting. I am not however reviewing the front-runner of modern LED technology. Nor am I able to claim that this is going to be a debasing of a low quality junk light. No my friends this review is, not to give anything away ahead of time, fabulously mediocre. It is simply a light suited for every head.

I doubt anyone who has actually tried a headlamp for an extended period of time is able to come away not liking it. Such is my belief in them as a viable outdoor tool that I have a few. If the power in my house goes out you will soon see me donning a headlamp. Kitchen sink needs some work under the cabinet? You guessed it, its headlamp time. Anything that can perform its job to the fullest and still keep my hands free is a winner in my book. If you want to try out a headlamp though; be warned. You will look silly to the uninitiated and they will most likely let you know. But, if you would like to brave the ridicule in search of freeing up those hands then I would encourage you to try a new comer to the playing field. The energizer 4 LED headlight. Now Energizer isn’t a newcomer to lighting or headlamps. This piece marks a bit of a turning point for them though. The 4 LED lamp is a marked improvement over previous models and takes them from the arena of a flashlight stuck on your head to a true outdoor product.

100_2685aTo say the light is a new model isn’t quite right. It is instead a redesign of not so epic proportions but the changes that were made were the changes that needed made. When you look at the 4 LED headlight the first thing that you’ll notice is that it is trendier than previous endeavors. Much more streamlined and compact than earlier renditions the 4 LED headlight is, no pun intended, light and sleek. When you tear open the package the assembly is straightforward and requires no tools. Spring the two clips at the rear of the lamp, marked “open”, to release the battery compartment cover. Worth noting is the compartment cover is tethered to the main body of the lamp, you won’t have to worry about dropping it or losing it. This compartment is O-ring sealed and accounts for much of the lamps claim to being weatherproof. A claim I can attest to after a nice 3 mile walk in the rain with it strapped to the outside of my poncho hood. Once you load up the included 3AAA batteries and replace the cover you simply attach the headband and you’re ready to go. Now, if you’re like me this is the point at which you cycle the switch about 40 times, shine it in the dogs face, and then try to find the darkest room in your house to play with it. I did all that but I also got this lamp out into the woods for some rather more serious testing as well.

The 4 LED headlamp has as you may guess 4 LED’s, 1 red and 3 white. The two lighting modes are with one push of the button the single red, and the next push of the button lights all three white. A third push of the button turns the LED off. The packaging claims a run time of 38 hours for red and 21 hours for white. Not too bad considering the nature of the lighting, which is listed as 28 lumens. Personally I have no frame of reference for what that means. I know it is a unit of measure for the intensity of light and I know that moving up that scale the intensity rises. What I don’t know is if you hand me a 28 lumen light and a 50 lumen light what I can expect that difference to be. This light is plenty bright to navigate at night with but I feel a little bland saying that. So I thought I would put it into terms that we may well be able to grasp as outdoorsmen.

100_2680aI took a stroll through the woods on August 20th around 10pm, which, if you check was the new moon. It was about the darkest situation I could get for what I wanted to do to show the abilities of this light and it seemed to work pretty well. I was looking to give you a frame of reference for how strong or weak this light is. What I came up with hopefully will help. First the red LED setting, in this mode I was able to navigate slowly but not see more than about 10 feet into the surroundings. I did note however that the transition from red to dark and back was easier on the eyes than the white. Preserving ones night vision is the purpose of this setting and it is fine for rough tasks like walking level ground out to about 10 feet. Finer tasks are ok within 3 feet and something as intent as reading would need to be inside 2 feet. This may seem like this mode isn’t really worth much but when you consider that if you used it exclusively it would add 17 hours to your battery life, it makes it worthwhile. I used it to read in my hammock tent and was well pleased with it. A simple way to sum it up is you can do anything at arms length, past that to see any details I switched to white. Now as for the 3 white LED mode this is where my proposed frame of reference comes in handy. I used trees for this exercise noting what distance I could make out the outline of them; identify generally what type of tree, and when I could identify them definitively from the bark. I averaged these distances out. First though I would add a quick note about LED light in my experience. LED light is so uniform that at distance it tends to wash out the surroundings, meaning the definition of things is lost past a determinate point. So as I walked through the woods I was able to tell there were trees there at 25 yards, no idea what type or really how big. At right around 15 yards I was able to determine individual trees as well as general shape. Once I got within 5 yards I could tell what type it was most of the time.

We have seen so far that the lamp is dependable, functional and reliable. I failed to mention though that it is also reasonably priced. With a price point of around $20 the Energizer 4 LED headlight is affordable. Some things you may be curious about are the comfort. I found it to be light and the padded back made for comfortable contact with my head. Hats were tried too and I found the light to work with everything from ball caps to hats with a fairly wide brim, you would of course not be able to direct the light down in this position. The lamp is hinged to allow for this type of adjustment, moving from a horizontal beam to vertical is as simple as tipping the light forward by whatever degree up to 90 you wish. I always wear it slightly tipped down so I can see the ground out to around 20 feet in front of me as I walk. If I am fixing a meal, carving or reading though I may have the light flipped all the way forward to shine into my lap.

100_2683aSo this little baby is reasonably priced, functional, small, and light enough to make it a welcome addition to your gear, presuming you are a headlamp aficionado. So what are the draw backs you may ask? None I would say save for this one little thing. Anyone who has had a lantern, spotlight, or porch light on at night has seen how bugs are drawn to light. This isn’t a truly unheard of occurrence but knowing about it and ignoring it made the only draw back to a headlamp I have ever experienced. I was walking across the dam on my lake coming back from the woods after having had the headlamp out for testing. I decided to see if I could see any fish or frogs around the edge of the lake so I dug out the lamp and put it on. After a few minutes I had indeed seen a few fish and frogs but the insects that gather around the edge of the water decided my light was more interesting. Being no stranger to bugs I ignored them and headed on towards the house. Now anyone who is into the outdoors knows that nature is progressive by that I mean there is always something else feeding on whatever. For bugs at my lake it is bats, they do a great job for us in keeping the population down but I am no great fan up close. The headlamp did not care about this, it just did its job: produce light. Which the insects swarmed towards then gathered into enough mass to attract the attention of my winged allies in pest control. Mister bat. That’s right friends my only draw back in testing this light – it didn’t fail to do its job. That job mixed with my own ignorance caused a bat to come close enough to my head that I felt his wings flap to miss me. This caused me to make the highest pitch noise I have made for a long time, perform an oddly gymnastic avoidance maneuver, and break into a panicked sprint; all of which entertained my dog Timber greatly. So in short – it’s a great little light for a fantastic price. Use it wisely.

Visit: http://www.energizer.com

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