Buying Guide: Head Torches

See and be seen next time you step out into the dark. Light up the night with a trusty head torch and crack on with your run, hike or climb.

You’ll come across several different technologies when shopping for a head torch, our guide will make sure you’re clued up and ready to go.

Woman with Petzl Bindi Headtorch



To guarantee brightness and reliability, it’s best to set your budget relatively high. Cheap head torches are sometimes unsuitable for active use; they can be heavy and ill-fitting, with poor brightness levels and disappointing burn times.

More expensive models are purpose-built for the situation, so you can expect bright bulbs, long-lasting batteries and a comfortable fit.



The perfect bulb is both bright and energy efficient. These traits vary depending on bulb type, take a look at our summary below for a better idea of what to expect from each.



Tungsten bulbs have become somewhat outdated as technology has advanced in recent years. The bulb brightness is way off what you’d expect from a modern torch and they consume batteries like there’s no tomorrow. Although halogen varieties are much brighter, they too will guzzle batterry power at a rate of knots.

Avoid both if you can.


Xenon / Krypton:

Xenon and krypton bulbs are halogen hybrids designed to offer stunning brightness while preserving battery life. Most high-end head torches will use this type of bulb technology.



LED bulbs provide longevity and energy efficiency in a really affordable package – it’s no surprise that they’re absolutely everywhere these days!

The remarkable thing about LEDs is that they never blow, so they never need replacing. Good for you, good for the environment, good for everyone.

LED bulbs may not be quite as bright as halogen counterparts, but they’ll give you light that’s both balanced and consistent, making them suitable for virtually any activity.

Trail Runners running with Petzl Swift RL Headtorch


Batteries have important role to play too. Let’s take a closer look at the two main types.


Alkaline batteries:

These are your standard batteries – low-cost and readily available.

They may be cheap at the outset, but in the long run, they just aren’t efficient enough to be considered cost-effective. Alkaline batteries also tend to be a bit bulkier than lithium equivalents, making them less suitable for wearable items such as head torches.


Lithium batteries:

Lithium batteries are relatively new, but are now becoming extremely popular as electronics get smaller and smaller.

They’re more expensive than Alkaline batteries, but last much, much longer. Many head torches feature fully rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for ultimate longevity.

The lightweight and streamlined design of lithium batteries is another bonus as it means that they can easily be incorporated into head torches and other wearable tech.


Burn Time

‘Burn time’ is essentially the predicted lifespan of a bulb and battery combined. Manufacturers calculate it based on constant usage. This may not be completely representative of normal use, but it's a handy way to compare the life expectancy of different head torches.


Ease of Use

When it’s dark outside, the last thing you want to be doing is thumbing around for buttons and switches. That’s why you should be on the lookout for a head torch that is uncomplicated and easy to operate.

Control switches should be clearly distinguishable and within easy reach. You may also want to ensure that they can be operated while wearing gloves too.


Comfort & Fit

You want your head torch to feel comfortable and secure. To help you achieve this, there are elasticated straps and plastic buckles to pull it tightly over your head.

This adjustability makes head torches suitable for any individual, as well as allowing you to wear them over the top of hoods, hats and helmets.

You should definitely consider product weight when choosing your head torch. If you’re wearing one to go running, hiking or climbing, you really don't want is something heavy, uncomfortable and downright distracting strapped to your head.

Campers using Tikka and Tikkina Headtorches

A decent head torch will light up any activity. Find yours at Blacks today.

Shop Head Torches

Back to top

Related article

Latest article

How To Clean Your Down Jacket

How To Clean Your Down Jacket

To help you extend the shelf life of your down jacket we have created this helpful guide which will show you how to safely clean your down jacket giving it a much needed lift. Read more

Join the discussion