Recommend me a AA battery headlamp


Newly Enlightened
Apr 12, 2014
Never had a headlamp, only the flashlight headband for my Fenix.
Want one for EDC and travelling. I figured a headlamp is more useful than a flashlight.
1 AA size battery.
Light, compact, maybe with retractable band.
Have a low light option to save battery.
Less than USD50.00

Does not need to have high power.
Only needs white light.

Note: I don't have a headband for angled flashlights.

Thanks in advance.
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Flashlight Enthusiast
Sep 29, 2012
Try to see Zebralight H51w or H51 old models that are shipped at a discount but only for USA
View Zebralight site in the section

"Discontinued products"
But it would be a good thing to spend a little more and try the new H52w which has much more power and autonomy of the previous version

(Translate with Google)


Sep 28, 2011
Melbourne, Australia
If you are not in a hurry the Armytek Tiara is supposed to be out soon. It should be a very nice light but I'm not confident we will ever see it based on their performances over the past 12 months or so. :sigh:

Zebras seem to be a love-hate brand. I love my SC51W but I've read of many reliability issues with later models so try to purchase locally if you can.

Both of these lights are a little over your $50 though.

Would you consider using a Fenix MC11 angle light in a headband? Good output, flip up diffuser and pocket clip. It's a very versatile little light with a multitude of uses. You should still be able to find a few places stocking them.

Cheaper MC11 clones and various ****fire AA headlamps exist on the regular budget sellers sites but keep in mind you usually get what you pay for. I'd prefer to spend a little more on a good headlamp. YMMV.


Newly Enlightened
Mar 19, 2014
My husband asked to to shop for both a flashlight and a headlamp. The lumens, price, and extra features makes the one below seem like the winner to him.



Feb 16, 2004
I realize you said under $50 but I would do what it takes to spend another $10-$15 and get yourself a Zebralight H502. Best AA headlamp I have ever used. Perfect flood of light for just about any task. And it has a fantastic UI.

Or, you might be able to find a good used H501 which would likely satisfy your needs. I have both and would highly recommend either one.


Newly Enlightened
Jun 3, 2014
I have pretty similar tastes to you in a headlamp, at least from what you have told us. I have still not found what I would consider as an ideal light, but I do have a clear frontrunner. The single AA lights I have owned are an Icon Irix 2, a Mammut (model name escapes me), a rayovac sportsman, and the fenix hl21.

The Irix 2 was decent. It had the infinite brightness adjustment, which IMO leaves every other user interface in the dust, while also being more function in regards to output vs runtime control. It had a cheezy mounting system though, nowhere near enough throw (which is VERY important to me), and it produced some glare in my eyes from the edges of the leds.

The Mammut is a slick little light. It is the smallest and most comfortable of all my headlamps. It has a decent combination of brightness and runtime, with 3 levels of light output, but does not have enough throw for my needs. It also isn't super efficient when on the high mode. I wish one of the 5mm leds was a thrower to give it some range. In the low (single 5mm led) mode, this light is awesome for making enough useable light for average camp and home use while having a very nice run time.

The Rayovac sportsman is old technology, but was my first single aa headlamp. It has good throw and a decent diffuser, but awful runtime, and a bunch of weird colored leds that I have no use for but had to cycle through all the time to use the lamp.

The Fenix HL21 absolutely destroys all the other single aa lamps I have used so far. The low of 4 lumens is enough to night hike on good trails (which is what I use a headlamp for the most) and spot blazes on trees. It is way more light than I want in my tent or to look through my backpack, but at 50+ hours of runtime on low it is a real battery miser. The medium setting is way too bright to use for much of anything unless you love replacing batteries. It could be the high setting, and I would be plenty happy. I wish it had settings of 1 lumen, 10 lumens, and 50 lumens. The high setting is noticeably brighter than the medium setting, but not enough so to be any more useful than the medium setting (even though it is more than double the lumens), because it kills the battery fast, and I don't find 100 lumens any more useful than 45 or so for my uses. It has 3 brightness levels, can have the cap loosened to lock it off in your pack, has awesome throw with enough spill for my uses of night hiking, and will run a long time on low. It is also very comfortable.

If the Fenix just had the brightness knob of the Irix 2, I would not even consider any other lights. My only knock on the fenix is that the light levels are stupidly chosen. They look good on paper, but perform oddly in the field. I can't be the only one who thinks infinity adjustable brightness is by far the way to go on almost any light, but especially a lightweight headlamp for hiking purposes.