Solid all-round headlamp around 60$ - Fenix/Nitecore/YLP?

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bubobubo
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Solid all-round headlamp around 60$ - Fenix/Nitecore/YLP?

Hello everyone

I am looking to purchase a solid headlamp suitable for all kinds of usage. Main activities for which I would need the lamp are: MTBiking, hiking, dog-walking (I live outside of city, close to forest areas), camping, caravanning, house and garden related work (in late hours when kids are finally asleep). So really different type of activities.
I look for USB chargeable headlamp, so that is basically my only condition.
Budget is around 60$
My knowledge of LED headlamps is completely basic, but I have spent couple last weeks occasionally searching this forum, reading reviews etc.

I have come to find 3 lamps that I believe would fit my needs. These are:
Fenix HM65R
Nitecore HC65
YLP Panda 3R

Fenix is a bit more expensive, however I have found it on Aliexpress for 70$ (which is more-less in budget) with excellent seller and product reviews, suggesting it is original Fenix, and I would be willing to take the risk and order from there.

So I come here for advise – which of those would you recommend? Or is there anything else I should be looking at?

One more question please. Looking at run times I see that on High, Nitecore has 2h45min, Panda has 2,5h but Fenix is listed at 22h which is extremely high number. How is this possible given they use almost the same type of 18650 battery?

Thank you

Watermanchris
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Hello,

I have the YLP Panda 3R and it is my favorite headlamp although I’m currently picking up some AA headlamps for EDC so one of those may come to replace it.

If I were you, I would get the YLP Panda 3R and a Manker E03h. The Panda for when you need power and/or runtime and the Manker for when you want something lightweight. The Manker takes a AA which can be “borrowed” from all kinds of devices if you forgot to charge your YLP.

As for the runtime claims, I would say it is one of two things. Either it’s a simple typographical error and it should read 2.2 hours or Fenix is taking full advantage of the ANSI Standards for runtime which State that the light only needs to maintain 10% of the max output during the test. Meaning a 1000 lumen turbo can quickly step down to 100 lumens and maintain that for 22 hours. See this post about Maglite using this practice

bubobubo
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Thank you for your insights.
I currently have old Petzl Tikkina which runs on AAA (or AA?) batteries, so this one will be used in cases as you mentioned.
On the runtime claims, it is really strange. 1000 Lumen turbo is listed at 2h, which is still a lot but not outrageously high number. Whereas High is listed at 22h and Medium at 48 hours. Its definitely not a typographical error as all runtimes look like this. Below link to the specification table from Fenix website

https://www.fenixlighting.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Fenix-HM65R-Hea...ANSI-chart.png

Watermanchris
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See the review here. Just as I thought, they have a stepdown in all modes. If you are most concerned with runtime, Zebralight is very efficient but I stick with my original recommendation. I love my Panda 3R.

Dioda
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I can also recommend the Skilhunt H03 or H03RC with charging, in neutral white light tint. The cheaper version can be had for around 30 USD and I use it as my primary headlamp. I would stick with 18650 cells for decent runtimes.

bubobubo
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Thanks again.

What would you say are the advantages of Panda 3R over Nitecore HC65? When I was doing my research I have always inclined towards Nitecore H65 compared to Panda or Fenix for some reason, dont know why.

bubobubo
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Dioda wrote:
I can also recommend the Skilhunt H03 or H03RC with charging, in neutral white light tint. The cheaper version can be had for around 30 USD and I use it as my primary headlamp. I would stick with 18650 cells for decent runtimes.

Yes I have seen H03 on this forum mentioned a lot. I have checked the RC version, since I would like to have USB charging. It is now around 44$ without battery, and I do not have any 18650 yet. So with that, it would total at the same or even higher price then the 3 lamps I have shortlisted. And all of them are dual LED which I believe would better fit the all-round use.
However I have only seen praise on the H03 so will definitely keep an eye on it. I will maybe buy it later, disguise the purchase as headlamp for kids, and then keep it for myself Smile
Watermanchris
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bubobubo wrote:
Thanks again.

What would you say are the advantages of Panda 3R over Nitecore HC65? When I was doing my research I have always inclined towards Nitecore H65 compared to Panda or Fenix for some reason, dont know why.


4 main reasons.
1. Tint – the YLP is 4200K as opposed to the Fenix’s 6500K spot and 5000K flood.
2. Charging Port – YLP has the charging port under the tailcap which I feel is much better than the gasket-covered port on the body of the Fenix.
3. Size/Weight – the YPL is smaller and weighs 56 G without battery and the Fenix is nearly double at 97 G
4. Price – YLP is $57 and with the BLF-10 discount code you get 10% off. The Fenix looks to be $95 everywhere I looked. You could pick up an extra battery or two and still be at less money.

The most important of the 4 for me is the tint. I prefer warmer tints on my lights. There are definitely pros for the Fenix – comes with a larger capacity battery, longer runtimes due to the stepdown in all modes (the stepdown is a negative for many), and the USB C connector is more robust than Micro USB.

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by either but I love my YLP.

Dioda
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On top of what was said above, Fenix sells the HM65R in the standard “dumbed down” output dropping stepdown version AND besides that they sell the HM65R SUPERRAPTOR version which is supposedly designed only for sale in Finland and has output stabilization and other improvements. This is quite strange marketing strategy, I dont know why someone would want less than the best version of the flashlight. Vote with your wallet.

Bearbreeder
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DONT buy fenix off aliexpress

But it off the fenix usa site with a 20% off coupon if you are in the US … its only 76 dollars

FENIX distributers will NOT honor the warranties if you purchased from unauthorized dealers, so you might have to ship to china for service

As to nitecore, ive been less than impressed by their warranty service before

Im sure the YLP is great, but has anyone tried their warranty service?

U might also want to look at the sofirn sp40

bubobubo
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Thank you very much both.
I am still considering the Nitecore HC65 though. Seems to be a decent light as well with the same price as YLP.
Any thoughts on this one?

Dioda
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It is a matter of your preferences. I would not buy the HC65 as I dont believe in complicated lights with 3 different emitter types. The LED in the main reflector is cool white, which I dont like especially in headlamps. There I expect a nice neutral white or even high-CRI floody beam for close/mid range illumination. Also never needed the red light. From those models you listed I would go with YLP.

Watermanchris
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I too, would avoid the multi-color LEDs unless they are for a specific purpose.

f0xx
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I have an HC65, I bought it when I started my quest for better lighting. I like it, the controls are pretty decent with the 2 stage switch (think camera shutter).

I have used it in many attics and dark building while running low voltage cable. I have bumped it against rafters and dropped it a few times. The light still works and I’ve had zero issues with it.

The included cell works well, but I haven’t measured it’s capacity. On-board charging requires you to remove an end cap, but you can slip the cable through the hole on that end to retain it while charging.

Included strap is my favorite of the ones I own.

I find that the “high CRI” emitter is my favorite as it has a TIR and the lower output allows for decently long run times. The main emitter is indeed cool white. I have since acquired many other lights, most with tints in the 4k-5k range and high CRI. I prefer the tint of these other lights, but the Nitecore is very workable. I opened it up and didn’t see an easy way to change the emitter (this was early in my modding days, maybe I’d have better luck now), so make sure you are ok with the cool white tint before you get this one.

My other headlamps include:
Convoy H1 (modded with new driver, Anduril, LH351D 4K, TIR) – I keep this one near the bed (crazy low moon), and have used it for work a few times. I enjoy the tint, flood, and controls of this over the Nitecore.

Wowtac A1 (modded with new driver, Anduril, LH351D 5K, DC-Fix) – I gifted this to my brother promptly after completing the mods, but it was very nice.

Fireflies PL47 G2 SST-20 4k 95CRI – not used much yet, but seems nice. A bit throwier than my modded head lamps, and brighter as well. I wish I could mod it with some LH351Ds (of the “dogfart” variety), but the stock tint is not bad.

I don’t know that I’ve found the perfect headlamp yet, but I’m getting there. I have a Jaxman triple headlamp host (forget the model) coming soon, and I hope this one will get me closer to what I crave.

themaindude
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I have the nitecore hc50 and the hc50. I keep on buying nitecore headlamps as I loose them. I have never had one stop functioning. They just work. I am an electrician and spend a bunch of time above a ceiling.