The Best Headlamps for Fishing

When reeling in your catch, you want a light that’s easy to operate. Nobody wants a complicated control system that leaves you stuck in strobe mode when all you wanted to do was adjust the brightness. This goes double for an angler wanting the best headlamp for fishing. 

Because it’s on your head, you don’t have the privilege of seeing the switch. It must, therefore, be easy enough to operate by touch alone.

That said, there are many headlamps on the market. To help you navigate through the clutter, we’ve reviewed the six best products. In our analysis of features, benefits, and price, we found the Nitecore NU25 to be the best the market has to offer. It’s light, rechargeable, and has a straightforward control mechanism. 

Our list of the best fishing headlamps for fishing are:

Best Headlamp for Fishing: Buyer’s Guide

Fishing in the dark is hard enough. You want a light that will streamline the event without adding any undue complications. It should be light but durable, small but bright, and comfortable to your pocket. Below are more features to look out for:

Beam Quality

Determine the quality of light you need, by the waters you plan to fish. If it’s in open waters, you need incredibly bright light to illuminate the expanse, whereas, with riverside fishing, you may want a concentrated beam.

With the right headlamp, you will notice fish activity in the distance, and that’ll help you set up for a catch.

There are two metrics with which we measure beam quality:

  • Lumens.
  • Candela.

Lumen

The lumen is a measurement of the total amount of light energy the LED produces. Consider it an indicator of the torch’s power. For a bright beam, go for products with high-lumen counts. However, don’t be overzealous with the lumens. Since a headlamp for fishing has to be small, it won’t have the power to sustain a powerful beam for too long.

You need to balance between runtime and lumen count. Also, remember that there are different criteria for denoting lumens, and they translate to vastly different beam intensities. Some manufacturers measure products in terms of bulb lumens where others measure Out The Front (OTF) lumens.

Bulb lumens indicate the amount of light created by the LED. It’s not an accurate measure of the brightness the headlamp will give. This is because once produced, you will lose some light in transmission, before leaving the lamp.

OTF lumen is a more reliable measure of performance. It shows the actual amount of light that’s available for use. If you are torn between two units with the same lumen count, go for the one measured in OTF—it’s brighter.

Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output

Candela

Candela is a measure of how much light produced per unit area. A high candela count suggests that the beam is bright and focused. Fewer candelas mean the beam is not as bright, but it covers a wider area. 

Match the brightness and width of the beam to your unique needs. If you fish in murky waters, a focused beam is best. If not, sacrifice a little focus for more coverage.

Comfort

A fishing headlamp needs to be comfortable because it will be on you for hours. Make sure it’s weighted right, and the band feels comfortable. Before settling for an item, try it on and see if it works for you.

If you’re new to headlamps, don’t be too quick to decide. Using a light on your head takes a little getting used to. It will feel odd at first, but don’t let that put you off. Instead, assess the weight and the feel of the band. 

If you’re comfortable with the two, that’s enough. Walking in the dark with the headlamp should be enough to get you two acquainted.

IPX Rating

IPX is a standard used to show the degree to which products are waterproof and dustproof. The IP is typically followed by a number that indicates the extent of dust proofing, or an X if the product isn’t tested for dust resistance. The last digit of the rating signifies the ability of a torch to withstand water damage.

IPX4 shows that a unit is water-resistant. That won’t do for a fishing headlamp. Always go for IPX6 through IPX8. IPX7 and IPX8 are most advisable because they can handle submersion—for a brief period, of course.

How durable is it? What does IPX6 mean? Read our Ultimate Guide to the ANSI/PLATO FL1 Standard symbols!

Durability

Fishing is hardly a gentle exercise. You need a product that can handle a little rough handling. They design most lamps to withstand 5-foot falls. This is because of high-quality bodies, usually made from military-grade aluminum.

The torch should feel sturdy on the hands. Be on the lookout for anti-scratch finishes. It’s a feature that’s almost synonymous with products made with durability in mind. 

Also, consider the switch mechanism. Make sure it’s not too sensitive. If it’s triggered by the slightest of touches, the chances are that it will damage as easy.

Battery Type

As you shop around, you’ll no doubt face the age-old question, “Rechargeable or non-rechargeable?” Both types of cells have their ups. With the non-rechargeable variants, you get cheap power that you can buy in bulk before you head out. These cells are convenient in that you can use them anytime. You don’t have to charge them prior to the outing.

The rechargeable variants, on the other hand, have an expensive upfront cost. With time, however, they will prove cost-effective. Some units will accommodate either, allowing you the best of both worlds.

Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!

The 6 Best Headlamps for Fishing

We’ve done the hard work for you. Below are the six best-rated fishing headlamps on the market and the reasons we found them befitting of mention.

Nitecore NU25

With a weight of 1.9 ounces, this headlamp should be very comfortable on your head. It has three light options:

  • 360-lumen white light beam.
  • 20-lumen CREE LED light.
  • 13-lumen red light.

Red light is excellent when you want to see in the dark quickly without having to adjust to the light. The CREE LED is likewise gentle on the eyes, but it has the added advantage of allowing you to see colors clearly. The white light is brilliant for illuminating your environment, but you’ll want to switch to the other two when reading a map.

The NU25 has two easy-to-find switches at the top of the unit for ease of use. It also features a built-in rechargeable battery that goes a long way in reducing the size and weight. 

The only downside to this is that it’s difficult to replace the battery, should the need arise. If this is important for you, the Fenix HL60Rmay be a better option.

Pros

  • Three light options.
  • Comfortable headband.
  • Power indicators.
  • Compatibility with everyday USB chargers.
  • Easy to operate dual switches.
  • 4.9-foot impact resistance.

Cons

  • Battery replacement is a little complicated.

Black Diamond Storm

This lamp has one double-powered LED and a quad-powered LED. The two have the potential for a 350-lumen beam. For night vision, the Storm comes with single powered green, blue and red LEDs. These three won’t hurt your eyes as much as white light and attract fewer insects.

The white light has dimmed and full settings. Thanks to “Power Tap,” a switch technology, you can transition instantly from full to dim. The control system is also easily accessible by touch. It may take a little getting used to, but only if you are new to headlamps.

This light has an IP67 rating, meaning it’s both water and dustproof. It can withstand immersion in about 4 feet of water for 1 ½ hours. That makes it especially suited for fishing, as you can be confident it will survive an accidental fall into the water.

The four replaceable AAA batteries required for operation could end up being expensive to replace continuously. This could be a deal-breaker for some.

Pros

  • IP67 rating.
  • Red, blue and green lights for the night.
  • Easy to use.
  • Comfortable headband.
  • Powerful 350-lumen beam despite its small size.

Cons

  • It only uses disposable batteries.

Click to see all of our other Headlamp reviews!

ACEBEAM H30

The H30 can detect temperature changes within its casing and reacts accordingly. This ensures it never overheats, and performance is always at its peak. The headbands are comfortable, reflective, and have excellent sweat management. Even if you get too hot, they are highly absorbent and will keep sweat from dripping into your eyes.

This light has the potential for a 4000-lumen beam clocking 10,800 candelas on a full beam. Not only does it illuminate your surroundings brightly, but it also lights up a wide area. It has a maximum beam throw of 682 feet, so you’ll see well into the distance. This torch has a red and green light for night vision, SOS mode, and seven brightness options. 

A rechargeable 3.7-volt, 21700 lithium-ion cell, powers the unit.

  • Green light: 70-lumen beam for 11 hours.
  • Red Light: 50-lumen beam for 10 hours.
  • SOS: 50-lumen beam for 70 hours.
  • Turbo Max: 4000-lumen beam for 1 ½ minutes.
  • Turbo: 2,200-lumen beam for 5 ½ minutes.
  • High: 1100-lumen beam for 2.9 hours.
  • Medium: 8-lumen beam for 7.8 hours.
  • Low: 120-lumen beam for 23.7 hours.
  • Ulta Low: 3-lumen-beam for 200 hours.

Pros

  • Seven brightness options.
  • It can be used as a power bank.
  • IPX8 rating.
  • SOS mode.
  • Comfortable headbands.
  • Capacity for 4000-lumen beams.

Cons

  • Some customers found it a little too heavy for comfort.

Fenix HL50

The adjustable body tube on this light allows it to accommodate either AA or CR123A batteries. It has an IPX8 rating and can survive submersion in over 6 feet of water for up to half an hour. 

This torch has an all-function switch that allows for fast and easy control of the light. You can detach it from the headband and use it as a flashlight if need be. Military-grade aluminum construction and a non-abrasive finish ensure durability and enhance impact resistance.

A hardened glass lens with anti-reflective features produces a well-balanced beam. The HL50 also features a reverse-polarity protection function that prevents improper battery placement. This can improve battery life.

Four brightness levels and a ‘burst’ mode make it a versatile option:

  • High: 420-lumen beam.
  • Mid: 160-lumen beam.
  • Low: 55-lumen beam.
  • Eco: 10-lumen beam.
  • Bursts: 900-lumen beam.

Pros

  • Sturdy build.
  • IPX8 rating.
  • Four brightness modes.
  • Comfortable headband.
  • It can double as a flashlight.
  • Reverse polarity protection.

Cons

  • No recharge function. 

Fenix HL60R

This HL60R has an IPX8 rating and features a sturdy aluminum build that makes it tolerant of the occasional rough handling. It has a side switch control that makes it easy to adjust the brightness settings as you fish. 

The headlamp has a micro-USB port for charging purposes and has the potential for a 950-lumen beam through a throw of over 380 feet when fully charged. That’s a dazzling beam, but if you want more, try the ACEBEAM H30.

Fenix supplies you with a rechargeable 18650 Li-ion Battery for regular use, and it also comes with 2 X CR123A batteries for an emergency.

This light has a red LED for enhanced night vision and five brightness modes, for when you need to go dim or brighter:

  • Turbo: 950-lumen beam.
  • Mid: 400-lumen beam.
  • High: 150-lumen beam.
  • Low: 50-lumen beam.
  • Eco: 5-lumen beam.
  • Red Light: 1-lumen beam.

Pros

  • Digitally controlled output.
  • IPX8 rating.
  • Sturdy build.
  • Comfortable headband.
  • Ultra-clear lens.
  • Anti-scratch finish.

Cons

  • Some customers complained that their units blinked a lot when the battery was not fully charged.

Nitecore HC60

The HC60 has a single switch operation that produces a 1000-lumen beam in maximum mode. It comes with a comfortable headband that balances the weight of the unit, making for an enjoyable experience.

The LED is adjustable through 100-degrees, increasing the field of vision, and eradicating blind spots. It has three emergency light modes:

  • Strobe
  • SOS
  • Beacon

The HC60 has a power indicator and a standard-USB charging port. Each purchase comes with a rechargeable 3400 mAh battery.

This light has five brightness settings:

  • Turbo: 1000-lumen beam for 1 hour.
  • High: 420-lumen beam for 2 ½ hours.
  • Mid: 210-lumen beam for 7 ¼ hours.
  • Low: 38-lumen beam for 28 hours.
  • Ultra-Low: 1-lumen beam for 680 hours.

Pros

  • Three emergency lights.
  • Comfortable headbands.
  • Easy to control.
  • Five brightness modes.
  • LED as a 100-degree rotation.

Cons

  • Some customers found even a minor drop affected that light quality.

Click here to see the Best Headlamps reviewed!

The Winner

After sifting through hundreds of reviews, testing the products, and making side-by-side comparisons, we crown Nitecore NU25, the best headlamp for fishing. The headband is comfortable, and the unit is light and affordable. It has four brightness levels and also produces red light, which allows you to see without affecting your night vision.

The Black Diamond Storm is a close second with a 350-lumen capability and three night-lights: Blue, red and green LEDs. It is built for the waters and can stand submersion in up to 3.2 feet of water for 1 ½ hours.

Share on email
Share on print