What to Look for in a Fishing Headlamp

Updated on November 9, 2022 by
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When choosing a fishing headlamp you should consider the brightness, battery life, waterproof rating, and comfort of the strap.

Just like anything else when it comes to shopping for items related to fishing, you’ll need to pay close attention to a few things pertaining to these products to make sure you’re getting the best quality. If you’re looking to find a more budget-friendly style of the fishing headlamp, some offer certain aspects that others fall short on. However, as you might expect, you’ll get a much better product if you’re willing to invest a bit more. 

Headlamp in use while fishing


Regarding the most important factors regarding a fishing headlamp, getting one that’s comfortable is very important. While most brands focus on having a bigger, brighter lamp or light than any of their competitors, it won’t do you much good if it’s uncomfortable to wear for many hours at a time. Some brands focus highly on making a comfortable product that fits snugly on your head without being too tight or rubbing your forehead or ears too much. 

Make sure you purchase a headlamp that offers elastic EVA material as a strap. This will allow it to stretch and fit across your head without having to tighten it down too much. It also helps a great deal if you normally wear a hat while fishing. Also, pay close attention to whether or not the straps are made to fit a certain size, or if they are adjustable and can fit anyone from a child to an adult without any trouble. 

Some headlamps operate with straps that fit around your head while others are designed to clip onto the bill of a cap, which is sometimes more convenient for anglers who usually wear a hat while fishing. There is really no major advantage to having one of these clip-on headlamps, other than convenience. If you plan to do a great deal of night fishing, it’s probably best that you have a strap that fits around your head and can be secured to a greater degree. 

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Another obvious factor you’ll want to make sure of is just how bright your fishing headlamp is before you spend your hard-earned money to purchase it. The brightness of any bulb is measured in lumens. It’s important to have a light with as many lumens as possible if you’re looking for the brightest headlamp you can get. 

You might also want to consider the beam distance your headlamp can produce. Certain brands might make a lens with a wider beam, which is better suited for easily seeing more of your immediate surroundings. Other products might offer a farther beam distance, but this is probably not what most anglers will be looking for unless they’re trying to scope out decent spots to cast or looking for debris in the water as they maneuver their boat around the lake or river. 

Light Settings 

One of the aspects of a good headlamp that is often not considered is the different light settings that it offers. Other than the standard beam, which is white in color, some feature bulbs of different colors that allow you to operate the light with a blue, red, green, or virtually any other color you want to use. Some of these colors are very specific for other activities like hunting or even emergency response efforts. 

You can also use these different colored bulbs and lights to your advantage on the water to a certain degree. The red light setting on most bulbs is designed to allow you to see your immediate surroundings without putting off too much light and potentially spooking the fish in a given area. 

These different colored lights also help to preserve your battery compared to using the much brighter white light for extended periods of time. Another major factor to consider is that bugs won’t be nearly as attracted to the more dim red light as they would a very bright white beam. This is a very useful factor in having a fishing headlamp that’s capable of using different color beams. 

Battery Life 

Be sure to check on the battery life of any fishing headlamp that you’re considering purchasing – many operate using CR123A type batteries while others might use AAA or even AA batteries. It’s a good idea to be aware of the battery life that the brand claims the headlamp is capable of giving you. You should also plan ahead to have an extra set of fresh batteries in your boat or tackle box in the event that you run out of batteries. 

Waterproof Ability 

Another very important factor to consider is whether or not the headlamp you’re considering buying is waterproof or not. Some are merely water-resistant, which means they can withstand small amounts of water, but will usually be damaged if they’re soaked or dropped into the water and submerged. Some high-quality headlamps are advertised as being fully waterproof, which is what you should look for if you intend to use the product mostly for fishing. 


Finally, it would help if you always considered the price of any item you’re looking at relative to its competitors and similar models. Most headlamps that are specially made for fishing are relatively inexpensive. There are premium quality options designed to be used as part of diving equipment intended to withstand the extreme pressure of being hundreds of feet below the surface. 

Most fishing headlamps can be purchased for under $50 with many options being under $20. Like anything else in the fishing industry, if you want to get one of the best possible on the market, you’ll have to spend a bit extra. 

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.