16 eBay LED Headlamps Reviewed

Recently, I’ve had a hard time finding headlamps around my house. My kids have been playing with some, others were left in drawers or at my friends house from hunting, so I decided to buy a few headlamps from eBay. The funny thing is, there’s a lot of repeats from various no-name manufacturers. The cost was low, so I decided to buy each unique type of Chinese headlamp that eBay had to offer to review, compare, and torture for your amusement.

This review compares 16 headlamps from eBay, 3 from my personal stock, and a couple from friends. At a high level, there are some important features that differentiate these headlamps:

  • Battery: AAA, integrated, or li-ion 18650
  • Number and type of LED lamps used: some had a dedicated high power LED and low power LEDs
  • LED type: Most of the cheap headlamps came with a CREE XML T6 LED, better headlamps came with more power efficient LEDs
  • Housing/Lamp aiming style

Here they are in order of claimed lumens. (take all lumen claims from Chinese headlamps with a heaping grain of salt)

Super Bright Waterproof COB LED Headlamp Review

This uses a COB style LED array that makes it inexpensive to make. It's also lightweight at 55 grams and is powered by 3 AAA batteries. To be honest, this kind of headlamp is fine for most activities. It has 3 light intensity modes that are actuated from a top mounted soft-touch button. Because it is lightweight, there is no top strap included or needed. To adjust the headlamp lower, it bends near the bottom. No lumen measurement was offered
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$3.00

Did Not Arrive

This was the only headlamp reviewed that used a built-in lithium polymer battery, which charges via a USB cable. The main LED is a 3 Watt CREE and it is flanked by 2 red LED's. If you're camping or hiking, the red LEDs could be handy for checking a map and not wrecking your night vision. The manufacturer claims that it's waterproof to IPX5, so it should shrug off rain fairly easily. The main LED is rated at 180 lumens and battery life is left at 4 hours on full or 10 hours on low.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$7.55

Jetbeam HP35 Review

Whew, a pricey $23 USD headlamp, this better be good! The HP35 uses a CREE XP-G3 LED. That LED delivers a maximum of 190 lumens per watt according to CREE, so it's very efficient. The 200 Lumens claimed seems very reasonable for this kind of LED. The headlamp also features 2 red LED's that flank the main LED. Efficiency is rated at 5 hours at high, 10 hours on medium, and 120 hours on low.
Brand: Jetbeam
Manufacturer: HP35
$23.00

1200LM Super Bright Headlight R3 Review

Similar to the jetbeam, this headlamp uses a main LED flanked by 2 red LEDs on each side and uses 3 AAA batteries. At $3.02 instead of $23, is there a noticable difference? LED type on this headlamp is not stated, but they do claim you can take it out during rainy days. Even though it's titled 1200 Lumen, it claims a more reasonable 300 lumens in the description.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$3.02

Super Bright Waterproof COB LED Headlamp Review

This headlamp uses a 3W COB style LED that is claimed to produce Ultra Bright Light. They also claim that it's waterproof. We'll see. This headlamp uses 3 AAA batteries for power.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$2.88

Skywolfeye 1000 Lumen CREE XM-L Q5 LED Headlamp Review

To get 1000 lumens from a CREE XM-L LED, you'll need to put 10 Watts and 3 Amps of power through it. Somehow, I don't think that the manufacturers are suggesting that you're pulling 3 Amps from dinky AAA batteries, so we'll put that lumen claim at a rating of totally fucking preposterous.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$3.89

NiteCore HC60 Review

OK, here's my ringer and our first 18650 powered headlamp. This headlamp also comes with a battery with a real brand name so the ratings are likely not garbage. The headlamp also charges the 18650 via a micro USB cable. The headlamp holds the 18650 in the front horizontally and is mounted to the headband via a soft rubber mount. That soft rubber mount also gives your vertical adjustment for the headlamp in the carrier. 4 modes of brightness are on offer as well as strobe, SOS signal, and an infrequent pulse. It remembers the last setting you were on and goes to that setting when initially turned on. All in all, a pretty full featured headlamp that still follows the KISS principle. The CREE XML-L2 LED could be driven to the 1000 lumens claimed, and it comes with a reasonable 170 lumens/watt efficiency. At $58 US, this headlamp is a lot more than the others tested, but it also comes with a highly rated battery.
Brand: NiteCore
Manufacturer: HC60
$58.49

Probe Shiny 5000 Lumen Diving Scuba Headlamp Review

At a claimed 5000 lumens from a single CREE XM-L LED on AAA batteries, we're well into the realm of fantasy, but I thought it'd be neat to test a headlamp that claims waterproof. This headlamp uses 3 AAA batteries in a round configuration instead of stacked, so this lamp sticks out from your head quite a bit. It uses a twist style switch on the right hand side of the lamp and has high, low, and strobe modes. The headband on this headlamp is a rubbery material similar to what's used on swimming goggles.
Brand: Probe Shiny
Manufacturer: No name
$5.59

5000 Lumen XM-L Headlamp Review

At $9.59, this seems like an expensive headlamp, but it comes with a charger and 2 18650 batteries. The batteries hang out in a compartment that sits at the back of your head to balance things out a bit. The main reflector housing is somewhat large and should throw the light pretty far, though the 5000 lumen rating is ludicrous. The CREE XM-L lamps are rated for a maximum output of 1040 lumens. This headlamp features high, low, and strobe modes.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$9.59

Zoomable 8000 Lumen Headlight Review

This one comes with a wall outlet charger, car charger, and 2 18650 batteries that claim 60% more power than the best commercially available batteries. That's pure bullshit, but what I thought was interesting about this headlamp was the ability to focus the light. The lamp has a projector-style look to the lens that should enable different focuses to be used.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$10.39

1200LM Super Bright Headlight R3 Review

No name, zoomable, comes with (2) 4000mAh 18650 batteries (cough, bullshit), and an AC charger. Notably, this is the first headlamp in our series that claims 10X the output that the LED manufacturer sets as their max output.
Brand: No name
Manufacturer: No name
$8.89

Skywolfeye 15000LM 2X LED Headlamp

Brand: Skywolfeye
Model: 15000LM 2X XML T6 LED
$10.99

Probe Shiny 15000 Lumen 3 LED Headlamp Review

I opted to skip the crappy batteries with this one. This headlamp comes with 1 central lamp and 2 oval flanking headlamps that look a bit cross eyed. The central headlamp features focusing and the battery compartment can be charged via USB.
Brand: Probe Shiny
Model: 15000LM 2X XML T6 LED
$8.59

Did Not Arrive

Skywolfeye's take on the 3 headlamp setup is to use more of a barrel shaped reflector/housing for the smaller flanking LED's. I couldn't buy this one separate, so I ended up getting it with the AC+car charger and 2 optimistically rated batteries.
Brand: Skywolfeye
Model: 20000LM 3 LED Headlamp
$11.97

Skywolfeye 30000 Lumens 5X Cree LED Headlamp Review

Still not enough LED's? How about 5??! This headlamp uses 3 main LED lamps and stuffs 2 underneath for good measure. I bought this one with the charger and optimistically labelled batteries.
Brand: Skywolfeye
Model: 20000LM 3 LED Headlamp
$11.97
  • Chris Davies

    I’d love to see you do the same thing to a bunch of Amazon binoculars!

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