How to Select a LED Headlamp | Features to Consider ..

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Fenix has a large variety in headlamps. Where do you being when zeroing in on one? First, consider the main use of the headlamp. Camping, hiking, industrial setting, sub-freezing environment, caving, tropical setting, searching, plumbing, etc. Once you decide on your main use, selection is easier.

Features you will want to consider:


1) Headlamp Lumen Output

"Lumens" are the measure of how much light your headlamp will produce.  Headlamps are available from 0.02 lumens (moonlight mode) up to 1000+ lumens. When selecting the lumen output, you will want to consider the intensity and cd rating. Also, LED color is something to consider. A neutral LED will make the surroundings appear as your eyes see. Other LED colors are cool white and warm white. 

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When it comes to lumens, no need for "overkill." A headlamp used in your house or when performing jobs close up doesn't require very high lumens. A general rule in lighting is operate your light to meet the use. High lumens tend to drain your battery faster. So buy a headlamp with lumens to match your use.

2) Headlamp Maximum Beam Distance

What is the maximum distance you need to illuminate? Since you will be operating the light a different modes, it is important to know maximum beam distance at each output mode. 

3) Headlamp Run Time

Don't consider just lumens. Think about how long you need the headlamp to operate when "in the field." Are you going to be hiking for several days and not have access to power to recharge your rechargeable headlamp? Do you use throw-away batteries? How may do you want to carry for backup? Are you going to be in the workplace on an 8-hour shift? You want a headlamp that will have the longest run time on one set of batteries or one charge. Operating the headlamp on the lowest lumen setting for your environment conserves battery power. If you are going to need a high lumen setting, then you want to check how long the headlamp will run at that high output. Different LEDs and headlamp electronics produce different run times. Be sure to see what battery source was used in the stated run times. Different battery types give you different run times in many cases.

Going on a 2-day hiking trip? Check the headlamp run time chart and plan what it would take to make sure you have lighting for the full trip.

4) Headlamp Output Mode Settings

Headlamps vary from two output settings to 5 or more. Do you need an SOS mode for emergencies? Do you need a moonlight mode for night reading or for extended run times? 

A popular setting in today's headlamp is the "burst" mode. The burst mode allows for a temporary high-lumen beam. Burst is accessed by continually pressing a button. Once you quit pressing the button, the light drops down to the next lowest setting. Always check to see if the highest lumen stated for the headlamp is a burst mode or true mode. True output modes can be access without having to hold a button down. 

It is important to look at the run time at each mode. That will give you an idea how often you will have to replace the batteries or recharge the batteries. 

5) Headlamp Beam Pattern

Do you need a beam that has a flood (wide beam) or more of a spotlight (more forward-focused beam)? Do you want a headlamp with a nice combination of flood and beam? 

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Hiking, searching, and hunting normally require a spotlight beam. Camping, caving, and industrial uses generally use a flood beam. 

Some headlamps have both flood and spotlight beams. Always check the product images to see samples of the beam pattern the headlamp produces. 

6) Headlamp Weight

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Weight is important when you consider the headlamp will sit on your head for and extended time. Things to consider: the more batteries, weight is added. Are the batteries in the head of the headlamp? Is there a separate battery compartment? Is the battery compartment attached to the headband or does it have a wire so it can be carried in your pocket? Does the headband have the strap across the top of your head to offer support?  

Battery type affects weight. If you want high lumens, it will take multiple throw-away alkaline batteries. That increases weight. High-lumen headlamps normally take the more powerful rechargeable li-ion batteries. One 18650 battery can produce many more lumens than one alkaline battery. So if you need a lightweight headlamp with high lumens, you will need to look at the 18650 battery headlamps or the CR123A battery headlamps.

7) Headlamp Durability

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Headlamps are designed for different environments: wet, dusty, sub-freezing, etc. High-quality headlamps will have an  IP rating to specify conditions the headlamp is designed for. Sub-freezing environments require specific headlamps and batteries. Rechargeable  18650 batteries are not designed for extremely cold environments. CR123A batteries perform in sub-freezing temperatures. Always match your headlamp selection to the environment it will be used in.

8) Other Features to Consider

Built-in red light LED: 

If you need a red LED, how many lumens do you need. Some headlamps have a low-lumen red LED built in for light use when you don't want to disturb those around you. Some headlamps have a higher lumen red LED for tracking purpose. Check the red lumen output to make sure it meets your needs. 

 Battery Power: 

Today's headlamps take a variety of batteries. Alkaline batteries are popular because they are easily found. However, single batteries don't produce high lumens. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are more powerful and compact and will be needed to reach high lumens. There are a variety of rechargeable battery types: lithium ion 18650, Ni-MH, 26650, 14500, 16340, etc. Many headlamps can accept multiple battery types so you have options. Rechargeable headlamps charge the battery inside the headlamp body. Others will require an external charger to charge the battery.


Power Level Indicators: 

The more advanced headlamps have power indicators to let you know how much battery life you have remaining.

Detachable Headlamp: 

Some headlamps are dual purpose. The head of the headlamp can be removed, giving you a handheld flashlight. 

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In simpler terms, like the various other commodities in India and abroad are authenticated, measured and tested in order to maintain their standard quality, torches around the world have their mark too. Fenix being an International brand thats spread across the globe are standardised with the ANSI Mark (American National Standards Institute).

To have a clearer understanding, here are few examples for various commodities:

ISI MARK Indian Standards Institute | Products deemed for safe consumers use.

AGMARK AGMARK | Agricultural Product/produce
BIS BIS HALLMARK | Purity of Precious Metals like Gold & Silver jewellery


ANSI ANSI (American National Standards Institute) | ANSI represent more than 270,000 companies, professional societies, trade associations, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. ANSI lobbies for over 30 million professionals and covers nearly every industry across the globe


ANSI / NEMA FL-1 Standard


ANSI Standards, Fenix Torches in India   


Fenix Has Implemented the ANSI Standard for measuring performance and quality across our complete product range. ANSI Standards refer to: 








1. A brief introduction of ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Standard

2. Why was it created?

3. Who approved the standard?

4. What does it mean to Consumers and Distributors?

5. The descriptions of the contents

  • Light Output
  • Runtime
  • Beam Distance 
  • Beam Intensity 
  •  Impact Resistance
  • Water Resistance

    6. How will Fenix use it?

    • In line with the ANSI Standard, 
      • Fenix tests the output and runtime.
      • Fenix tests the beam distance.
      • Fenix tests the peak beam intensity.
      • Fenix tests the impact resistance
      • Fenix tests the water resistance.
    • Fenix carries out other tests.


    Ⅰ. A brief introduction to the ANSI/NEMA FL 1-2009 Standard

    American National Standards Institute (ANSI for short) was established in 1918. It is a non-profit non governmental standards institute.

    ANSI is one of the five permanent members in International Standardization Organization (ISO for short) as well as one of the four permanent members in the

    International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC for short). It takes part in 79% activities of ISO/TC and 89% activities of IEC/TC. ANSI is a member of COPANT and PASC respectively.

    ANSI is the potential national standards institute and actually it has turned into the national standards center. Various standardizing activities have connections with

    it. In the meantime, the ANSI Standard has been voluntarily adopted.


    Ⅱ. Why was it created?

    For a long time, there had been no standardised tests or uniform rating systems for consumers to judge flashlight performance. Without any uniform rating systems, it frustrated the manufacturers who were working hard to make high quality lighting tools.

    The establishment of ANSI/NEMA FL 1-2009 Standard allowed consumers to compare flashlight performance. The standard provides a guide for consumers to rate and compare the claims on the packages for each manufacturer’s products.

    Distributors and consumers are more informed. Therefore, it is much easier for them to make the best choices for their needs.


    Ⅲ. Who approved the standard?

    American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

    National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA)

    Representatives from 14 illuminating companies, such as Princeton, Surefire, Petzl, Streamlight, Black Diamond and Duracell, etc. Representatives from flashlight users and flashaholics


    Ⅳ. What does it mean to consumers and distributors?

    The ANSI Standard helps the consumers know about the technical parameters of flashlights quickly which allows them to make a comprehensive comparison of various flashlights.

    It can provide a guide for distributors and end users to know more about the products and make the best choices for their needs. It evens the playing field for those manufacturers that participate. It’s important to know that adherence to these standards and reporting results is strictly voluntary. Many leading flashlight manufacturers are now adopting the standard.


    Ⅴ. Description Of Test Conditions

    The testing contents of ANSI Standard include light output, runtime, beam distance, peak beam intensity, impact resistance and water resistance:

    1. Output:

    A measurement of the total quantity of emitted overall light energy as measured by integrating the entire angular output of the portable light source. Measured in Lumens.

    To measure the quantity of overall light energy emitted by the device.

    Power resource: All tests are conducted with fresh batteries or fully charged batteries. Batteries used shall be of the same type and/or brand as of the product. The batteries recommended by the manufacturer are to be used for testing. .


    2. Runtime:

    The duration of time from the initial light output value (that’s 30 seconds after the light is turned on with fresh batteries) until the light output drops to 10% of the initial value.

    To determine the amount of time elapsed under continuous operation at every level.

    Conditions: If the device offers multiple output levels, the runtime will be measured at the maximum level & at every level.


    3. Beam Distance:

    The distance from device at which the light beam is 0.25 lux. Results are reported in meters

    To determine the maximum distance at which the devices is capable of producing 0.25 lux of light within 30s to 2 min of operation.


    4. Peak Beam Intensity:

    Peak beam intensity is the maximum luminous intensity typically along the central axis of a cone of light. The value is reported in candela and does not change with distance.

    To determine the peak beam intensity, reported in units of candela, of the device’s beam pattern within 30s to 2 min of operation.


    5. Impact Resistance:

    The degree to which a portable light resists damage when dropped on a solid surface. Dropped samples must remain fully functional in order to pass the impact resistance test.

    To ensure the structural integrity of hand-held/portable lighting devices under specified impact conditions. The test procedure provide specifications and methods that will ensure products meet a minimum standards of reliability as a result of impact testing.

    Drop test should be a priority to any other reliability tests, shall be 1m minimum.


    6. Water Resistance:

    Purpose: The flashlight water resistance can satisfy the lowest requirements for the reliability.

    All test samples shall function normally immediately after the test and 30 min after the test.

    Water Resistance measured in regards to:

    Resistance to Temporary Immersion in Water

    Resistance to Continuous Immersion in Water

    Resistance to Splashing Water


    Ⅵ. How will Fenix use ANSI?

    1. Fenix will strictly adhere to the ANSI Standard to measure the various fundamental features of its products.

    Fenix will spare no efforts to provide more reliable products and perfect services. The consumers can better evaluate, compare and choose their products provided that they know about the output, beam distance, impact resistance, water resistance and the runtime.

    It will adhere to ANSI/NEMA FL1-2009 Standard with all its products.

    In line with the ANSI Standard:

    • Fenix tests the output and runtime.
    • Fenix tests the beam distance.
    • Fenix tests the peak beam intensity.
    • Fenix tests the impact resistance.
    • Fenix tests the water resistance.

    2. Fenix carries out other tests:

    Besides the ANSI Standard and to allow for consumers’ various real life usage conditions, Fenix performs other tests set by itself, such as the salt spray test, bending test, vibration test, ultraviolet radiation test, etc. 
    • Shakeout Test: To provide a procedure to determine the scratch-resistant and wear-resistant abilities of the surface of flashlight.
    • Bending Test: Mainly use to test the bending degree and the strength of wires.
    • Salty Spray Test: Mainly use to test the corrosion-resistant ability.
    • Ultraviolet Radiation Test: Mainly use to test the changes of flashlight after it goes through the ultraviolet test.
    • Environmental Test: Includes the high temperature test and low temperature test, which are used to test the high-temperature-resistant and the low-temperature-resistant abilities respectively.
    • Vibration Test: To provide a procedure to determine the anti-vibration ability.
    • Switch Test: To provide a procedure to determine the lifespan of the switch and the resistivity.
    • Temperature Test: To provide a procedure to determine the conditions of the heat generation and the heat dissipation and the relevant temperatures, etc.
    3. Fenix has introduced the ANSI Standard to its product packages.
    Fenix now records ANSI test results on its product packaging to allow customers to quickly understand the product capabilities.
    4. Fenix has introduced the standard to the product manuals.
    Fenix has made some modifications to its product manuals. The modifications help the consumers to easily identify, compare and rate the flashlights. Fenix will continue to report the ANSI Standard of its later products to meet the international consumer needs.
    5. The description of the flashlight tests.
    • All tests are conducted with fresh batteries or fully charged batteries /energy storage devices.
    • 12V DC devices that are only tethered shall be powered with 13.8V DC using a power supply.
    • Peak beam intensity and beam distance are both measured by the same test.
    • To provide a procedure to determine the peak beam intensity, reported in units of candela, of the device at which the light beam is 0.25 lux within 30 seconds to 2 minutes of operation.
    • Batteries used for testing and claim substantiation shall be of the same type and/or brand as those offered for sale with the product.
    • If the product is sold without batteries and a peak beam intensity claim is made, a specific battery type and chemistry shall be recommended with the package.
    • Lab conditions shall be a controlled temperature of 21±2℃ and a relative humidity of 50±40%. The lab environment must minimize any redirecting of light that would affect the measurement outcome.
    • If the device offers multiple focusing or adjustable beam angle, the peak beam intensity will be measured at the maximum level or as otherwise identified.