Good cheap headlamp

So my wife got me one of those China special 8 LED lamps for Christmas, you know the ones with 5mm LEDs overdriven by 3AAA batteries. It has the 3 point headband with 3 brightness modes (really just turns LEDs on or off) with a slow flasher. I really like it and wanted to mod it, but at around 80 lm and almost no throw I want more.

Anyone have recommendations for a 1000lm headlamp? Around $25. Ease of modding is nice too.


Slight higher than your price tag, wowtac A2S

Hey neighbor!
I’d try the D25S from Sofirn’s Amazon store. I have one of these, and I like it. If you’re willing to wait, you can get a D25 (very similar) from AliExpress for a little cheaper.

D25S Headlamp

Boruit RJ02. Not really (easily) moddable except for the incredible ease of a TIR swap. Go from 5° spot to 120° flood by just swapping TIRs in about 30sec.

Comes with a 30°, I think, and swapping for a 60° gave me more flood, as to me the 30° was a bit too narrow. 5°/8°/10° are quite common.

RJ-02 is probably the cheapest headlamp worth its price. It’s not top notch. And it is very bulky. And more like 350 lm. But it’s fair quality and cheap. If want a cheap light that just works and don’t have higher aspirations that’s a good choice. Modding? Easy lens swap and doable LED swap (as long as LED footprint matches and you have hot air). No driver swap unless you’re a wizard or know how to design one.

I don’t have a D25 but I have its sibling (Boruit D20) on the way and it seems like a higher quality option…except that I’ve heard it’s not fully waterproof. D10 is.
It is more moddable:

  • you can swap a driver
  • you can do MCU swap to change firmware on the existing driver
  • you can swap optics
  • you can swap any 3V LED in D10
  • you can swap any 3V LED with matching footprint in D25 (not sure about other footprints)

Unequivocally D10

I’d go with a SP40 just for the versatility but there’s no moonlight

Manker has their AA and AAA headlamps on clearance. Not nearly 1000 lumens, but well-made, nice UI, and dirt cheap. The AA has a nifty diffuser.

$18 E03H AA 0.1/12/50/140/350 lumens CREE XP-L or 240 lumens 90 CRI Nichia 219C

$13 E02H AAA 0.6/16/70/220 lumens CREE XP-L or 180 lumens 90 CRI Nichia 219C (Review)

Am I the only one with a RJ02 that is very blue?

+1 on the D25. D10, or Manker sale, I like the AA (E03) for size/runtime.

It might be fun to mod the 3xAAA headlamp (afterall it was a gift from the wife) with some Hi-CRI 5mm like these to run on rechargeable NiMH AAA’s. Up to 80 lumens is still great for closeup use.

Prob’ly. :laughing:

Mine’s definitely CW, but not anywhere near Angry Blue™

I read the mod threads on this head light. Just to be sure, people are placing their soldering irons along side the emitter to heat the board for reflowing?

Interesting. Is the D10 more or less moddable than the D25s? D25 has 2 emitters on a single mcpcb that don’t seem easily swappable without reflow, plus it’s aluminum. I like that D25s says it has sst40s though? Not sure if they’re fakes though like the XML-2. I’m considering the D10 since it has a 20mm mcpcb. What is the driver swap like? Anyone have teardown pics?

Sofirn also has the sp40, which is under $25 on their site:

I’m still rockin the Skilhunt H03, but I guess it’s over your budget these days.

I’ll probably order this one. I like that it has a single led on a standard mcpcb and looks easy to mod. Has anyone ever swapped the driver? It’s a great candidate for an sst40 or maybe an xp-l hi in 5000k?

Comparing to D25, D10 has more mod options. You can change all parts : led, optic and driver. And it weight less.

You can grab a D10 off of ebay for pretty cheap but there are clones of clones and the most important thing to watch out for is the plastic holder which has a see thru hole in it like the ones Sofirn was selling .The lights came out way to easily and the nub didn't keep the light in it's set position .

The one you want just has a nub ... no square see thru hole.

Pennzy> all of my R2's /D10's /d25's have emitter tint good enough for the common man .No nasty green /purple or freakish blues .All surprisingly decent considering the price.

Problem with the R2 is size and PWM ..But if you get rid of the headband /Slap a big magnet to the tail connect it to the side of your fridge or range hood it's a nice cheap light..Just not as a headlamp :)

D-10 ,Skillhunt H03 nw, or the Manker AA E03H at $18 are all great lights ***> the deal on the Manker is XP-L only at this point (no Nichia) but it's still a very nice AA headlamp.

My suggestion is ... Buy them all

Any photos? I bought the cheapest D20 I could find and it’s secure. But for any future purchases I don’t want to rely on luck….

Acebeam AA H40 w/SST-20 95+CRI.

Don't know how moddable but, it ticks all the boxes just fine for me as it comes.


Thanks for all the suggestions! Probably still going to do the D10, although, I did find one that has some interesting features… claims to have 2 fake XML-2 and two xpg2. I’d lume to get our just to tear our airway and see if I could swap 2 xpl hi in it and 2 high cri 3535 size emitters. 6 led headlamp Rechargeable headlamp, 6 LED 8 Modes 18650 USB Rechargeable Waterproof Flashlight Head Lights for Camping, Hiking, Outdoors