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Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Energizer 6 LED Headlamp > Owner Review by Jameson Ward

Energizer 6 LED Headlamp

Owner Review by Jameson Ward

March 4, 2009

Reviewer Information

Name:Jameson Ward

Age:33

Gender:Male

Height:5 feet 10 inches (1.8 meters)

Weight:195 pounds (88 kilograms)

Email address:jameson_ward at yahoo dot com

City, State, Country:Vero Beach, Florida, United States

Backpacking Background:Iíve been camping and hiking as long as I can remember (at least since I was 4).Over the last two years, Iíve gotten back into backpacking; most trips are 2-3 days, though Iíll throw in a week long trip.I tend to pack light, but donít consider myself a lightweight backpacker (I still enjoy some comforts).Most of my trips occur in the Southeastern U.S. and I try to vary terrain and surroundings as much as possible.Given the abundance of waterways in Florida I have at times used a kayak to reach remote trails.

Product Information††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Manufacturer:Energizer

Year of Manufacture:2006

URL:http://www.energizer.com

Weight with batteries:3.2 ounces (90.7 grams)

Height:1.9 inches (47 millimeters)

Width:2.9 inches (72 millimeters)

Depth:1.6 inches (39.4 millimeters)

Battery Type:AAA (Energizer Alkaline included)

Bulb Burn Time (Bulb Life):Lifetime

Battery Burn Time (Battery Life):50 hours on 2 LEDs

Lamp Output:12 Ė 24 Lumens

Illumination Distance:None Listed††

†††††††††††††††††††††††

Headlamp in packaging

 

†††††††††††††††† Photo courtesy of Energizer

The Energizer 6 LED Headlamp comes in a blister pack that includes the headlamp with an attached headstrap and (3) Energizer AAA Alkaline batteries.I think it may have also included a storage bag, but this has long since been misplaced as I donít use it and is therefore not included in this review.The ĺ inch (20 millimeters) elastic headstrap is adjustable and can be adjusted from a circumference of 17 inches (432 millimeters) to 24 inches (610 millimeters).Since this headlamp is a few years old, the strap may have stretched some through use.The headlamp body is plastic and consists of two sections connected by a ratcheting hinge that allows adjustment of the beam angle.The first section, which rests against the head when in use, is the battery case.There is a bit of rubber foam padding on the back of the battery case where it rests against the forehead.The second section is the LED assembly which consists of six LEDs (two red LEDs, two white LEDs, and two white LEDs installed under focusing/magnifying lenses) and a push button switch.The hinge allows adjustment from 0 degrees to 130 degrees.

The 6 LED Headlamp uses (3) AAA batteries.The batteries are installed in the battery case by removing the rear cover.The cover is removed by prying it from the case, a quarter fits perfectly into the provided notch and works quite well, though Iíve used knives, keys, screwdrivers, and my spork with equal success.The headlamp is operated by a push button switch located on the top of the LED assembly.The switch is a bit difficult to operate (I tend to support the base of the unit with my thumb and press the switch with my index figure).I think the difficulty in operating the switch stems more from the covering over the switch rather than the switch itself.

This headlamp features multiple lighting patterns (red, spot, flood, and spot/flood) that are accessed by pressing the switch and ďscrollingĒ through the available patterns.My particular light switches on the two red LEDs with the first push of the switch.The next push of the switch turns off the red LEDs and turns on the spot light (the spot light consists of two LEDs mounted under focusing lenses that creates a concentrated beam).The next push of the switch turns off the spot light and turns on the flood light which consists of other two white LEDs.The fourth press of the switch turns on all four white LEDs (spot and flood).The fifth push of the button turns all LEDs off.I am aware of another version of this headlamp where the sequencing is spot, flood, spot/flood, and red LEDs, though Iím not sure how to tell them apart aside from turning them on and sequencing through the lights.

 

Light Options Table

Table courtesy of Energizer

 

It does not appear that the bulbs are user serviceable (being that they are LEDs, I donít see this as much of a concern).The unit does not appear to be water resistant, nor is it advertised as such.

Field Conditions

Over the last three years, I have used the Energizer 6 LED Headlamp for hiking and backpacking all over the Southeastern United States and Texas.It has been used at Amicalola Falls, Ocala National Forest, Spoil Islands along the Indian River, the Peace River, parts of the Smokey Mountains, Cherokee National Forest, Galveston Island, Goodwater Trail at Lake Georgetown, and Lost Maples.In addition, the headlamp has been used camping at Wekiwa Springs, Ginnie Springs, and other numerous campgrounds.It has also been put to use mountain biking, kayaking, and every day tasks around the house.

Temperatures encountered have run from 30 F (-1.1 C) to 106 F (41.1 C).Humidity has ranged from below 10% to 100%.The headlamp has been used in the rain.It has been used at elevations from sea level to 6,500 feet (1,981 meters).

Review

I originally purchased this particular headlamp for convenience (I like using a headlamp when cooking as the light always seems to be right where I need it) on a car camping trip that I had forgotten my regular headlamp.I have since used the 6 LED Headlamp on many outings and itís performed quite well (my previous headlamp is lacking the red LEDs).Though itís adequate for trail use, I prefer a brighter handheld flashlight for spotting blazes.Iíve even used it in a pinch when my bike headlight had gone out.Where this light shines, pardon the unintentional pun, is in and around camp when performing tasks where itís nice to have both hands free, such as setting up camp, cooking, reading, filtering water, answering natureís call, etc.When in the tent, Iíve found another convenient use by setting it on the battery pack and adjusting the LEDs to provide light where needed.Iím not sure the unit was designed for this use, but the battery pack provides a fairly stable base when used in this manner.

The red LEDs are great for preserving night vision and not blinding anyone that may be around when the light is in use.I tend to use the red LEDs when in camp.Iíll also use the red LEDs when nature calls in the middle of the night (as long as there isnít a need for better lighting) or when sharing my tent to avoid disturbing a tent mate while searching for something.The red LEDs are useable to 10 - 15 feet (3.05 Ė 4.57 meters) and last approximate 72 hours on a single set of batteries.

The spot light provides a nice focused beam of light thatís useable to 30 feet (9.14 meters).This beam is handy for trail use, cooking, or any tasks that require direct lighting.Iíve heard some complain that light emitted from the protruding lens can reflect into their eyes when using this setting, I tend to wear the lamp high on my forehead and donít find this to be a problem.I have found that batteries will last approximately 47.5 hours in this mode.

The flood light provides diffused light to an approximate useable range of 20 feet (6.1 meters).This setting provides more then enough light for reading and moving around in camp.I find the beam to be a bit brighter towards the center (this is probably due to the overlap of the two led beams), but it works quite well seeing that this is usually where my eyes are focused and the little bit of extra light is appreciated.Batteries tend to last 48 hours in this mode.

The last setting is both the spot and flood lights at the same time.I tend not to use this setting much as I find that the spot light tends to overpower the flood lights and is not much different from the spotlight setting on its own.There is a slight increase in ďperipheralĒ lighting, but I donít feel the very slight gain in lighting is worth the increased battery consumption of this setting, which is approximately 17.5 hours.

Though this light could be used for signaling (by pressing the switch Ĺ way down, the light will turn off without switching modes), I feel the distance limitations and awkwardness of using the switch in a signaling mode would keep me from using it as such unless absolutely necessary.

Even though Iíve experienced battery life close to Energizerís claims, Iíve found that the light quality degrades with the batteries.This was most noticeable when doing the battery run down testing (itís not as noticeable during field use).That being said, I find with general use, a set of batteries will last multiple outings (Iíve had batteries last over six months with fairly consistent use).

Though this headlamp is not advertised as waterproof, or even water resistant for that matter, I have used it successfully in the rain.I just make sure I remove the batteries and allow the unit to dry when Iím done using it in such a condition.The headstrap does absorb a good bit of water, but depending on the conditions (Iíve found it to dry much quicker in less humid conditions for obvious reasons) it dries fairly quickly.I have even run this headlamp though a load of laundry (imagine my surprise when I opened the lid of the washer to see the bright light of the spot lights and the two red LEDís staring up at me).I found the extreme exposure to water caused these four lights to stay on regardless of the switch position.I quickly removed the batteries and allowed it to dry on a window sill for a couple days.To my surprise, when I reinstalled the batteries in the headlamp it worked just fine (it took 5 days total, the spot lights turned off after 2 days and the red LEDs took an additional 3 to turn themselves off Ė Iím not sure if it was residual water causing them to light or what, but they all did eventually turn off).To date, Iíve noticed no long term effects from the washing.On the trail, this may have been more of a hassle as the batteries would have to be removed or reinstalled to operate the light and avoid draining them.When using this light in the rain, I attempt to protect it as best possible, but donít become overly concerned with slight exposure to water.I would not submerge or leave it out in the rain, but I think my experience speaks to the ability of this lamp to recover from such exposures.

Over time, Iíve noticed the ďratchetingĒ mechanism of the hinge has worn some.The LED assembly will still hold its position once set, but it doesnít snap with the authority it once did.The lens is not scratch resistant, though I have not found the scratches to affect the light quality much.This lamp has been dropped many times both when lit and when turned off and the impacts havenít seemed to affect the bulbs.I donít believe it will hold up well to ďcrushingĒ impact such as sitting on it, and Iíve been fortunate so far to not have tested this assumption.Since day one, the plastic housing has seemed a bit flimsy though it seems to have held up well to regular use.

Summary

The 6 LED Headlamp has proven to be a worthwhile expense.Though there are better headlamps available I havenít come across one in this price range with such a variety of functions.Though originally purchased to fill a void created by forgetting my then regular headlamp, this headlamp has proven versatile and I find myself reaching for it on many occasions both around the house and while on the trail.I would definitely pick up another one for the price should this one ever fail.

Things I like:

  1. Inexpensive
  2. Battery life
  3. Red LEDs to preserve night vision
  4. Comfortable
  5. Versatile

Things I donít like:

  1. Not waterproof
  2. Cheap plastic cases
  3. Wear on ratcheting mechanism
  4. Lack of a way to access the red LEDs only without lighting the bright LEDs.I would suggest a separate switch for the red LEDs or a slide switch with sequencing as red, off, spot, flood, spot/flood.Though this might become quite cumbersome.


Read more reviews of Energizer gear
Read more gear reviews by Jameson Ward

Reviews > Lighting > Headlamps - LED > Energizer 6 LED Headlamp > Owner Review by Jameson Ward



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