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What Is an LED Headlamp?

LED headlamps may be used when exploring a cave or other dark area with no natural light.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
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A light emitting diode or LED headlamp is a way to have hands-free light, since the lamp portion is strapped to a person’s head. An LED headlamp is usually brighter than a traditional headlamp, the light bulbs typically last longer than traditional bulbs, and it is very lightweight. It is most often used for hiking, camping, backpacking, household projects, or detailed car repairs. Because of the bright light emitted and the long lasting bulbs, it is also commonly used by search and rescue people, such as forest rangers, police officers, and firefighters as well.

The LED headlamp is typically attached to an elastic, yet adjustable strap. The headlamp, itself, usually rests on a soft cushion on the wearer’s forehead. There are some models where the headlamp can be easily removed and then attached to a baseball cap or other hat with a bill. Most models are water-resistant, although some models are better equipped to handle moist or wet conditions than others.

Generally, the headlamp in most models will have the ability to tilt forward. Thus, the wearer can have the light shine directly onto something on the ground or in her hands. This feature is particularly useful if the wearer is trying to have a conversation with another person and she does not want the light to shine in the other person’s eyes. In addition, some headlamps allow the user to dim the light that is emitted from the headlamp.

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The most common LED headlamps are powered by AAA batteries. Although white LED light bulbs are the brightest, yellow bulbs typically last longer. Consequently, if a person is in a situation where she may not be able to replace the batteries in her LED headlamp, she may prefer to use yellow LED bulbs.

Usually, the LED light bulbs emit white light. The white light is among the brightest light choices. There are some headlamps that use bulbs of other colors. For example, if the headlamp is going to be used for night vision purposes, red LED bulbs are common. A person who is using her LED headlamp to maneuver through smoky areas or other hazards may prefer to have blue LED bulbs in her headlamp.

Some models have extra details, and it is up to the consumer to decide what features and light colors she needs in her LED headlamp. For example, in addition to white LED light bulbs, one model is equipped with an SOS light and a series of red and amber LED lights for emergency situations. While the bulbs of an LED headlamp will typically last 100 to 200 hours, there are a few models where the manufacturers claim the bulbs will last for 100,000 hours.

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