Last year I did a review on the Wurkkos FC11, and that light has gone on to become one of the most often recommended lights over on /r/flashlight for good reason. Well today Wurkkos has the new HD20 headlamp. It has 2 emitters including high CRI with neutral white, a 21700 battery for long runtime and USB-C charging that supports PD, all for an affordable price. Thanks to Wurkkos for sending this to me to review.
Watch this review on YouTube:
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/liquidretro/
Join the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LiquidretroReviews/
Packaging & Accessories
Packaging is a plain and simple orange box with just Wurkkos name on it, I suspect this is one they use with other models too as it’s just slightly too small for this light and there are no descriptors on it. Accessories include the light itself, a 4800mAh 21700 button top battery, elastic head strap, 18650 battery adapter, pocket clip, bag of extras including wrist strap, and 2 spare orings, USB-A to USB-C cable, and a manual.
The Wurkkos HD20 is made from aluminum, and anodized in a semigloss black. I found no issues with the machining on the light. The tail cap is flat and has a strong magnet that allows the light to safely attach on to any surface I have tried it on. There is a lanyard attachment point on the tail cap as well as some straight knurling. The spring inside is short but stiff.
Threads on the body section are square cut and dry. The body tube itself has ripples for grip and reminds me of a larger version of the Prometheus Beta series. There is a place for the clip to attach at both ends and this also where the straps for the head mount live.
The head itself is quite long and has a good amount going on, the side has a few areas milled out for design, weight reduction and heat dissipation, including a large milled area in the back that’s a bit unique, as is the knurling on the back side of the head. This does give a bit of grip to turn when mounted up. The USB-C port is covered by a large silicon cover that does fit the contour of the light well. On top is an Eswitch with translucent silicone cover and LED’s under to give an power level reading. It has a blue ring similar to Olight around the switch. This button does sit proud so it can’t headstand.
At the front you have the two emitters, The top being the spot, and the bottom being the flood. Both have aluminum bezels around them that look to be screwed in. The top has a TIR optic with glass over top and a flat front. The bottom uses a diffused lens. The light is IPX-68 rated
Size and Weight
Maximum length of this light is 122.5mm, maximum diameter at the head is 30mm, minimum diameter on the body is 26.7mm. Weight with the light, battery, and head strap is 202g. For comparison the Acebeam H30 (Also a 21700 light is) 190g. So it’s in the ballpark but a bit heavy.
Here are a few comparison pictures with the Acebeam H30.
The strap is made from a silicone material, it’s the loop type that holds the light in place and allows it to rotate up and down. Attached to this is a basic 3 way elastic band. It’s a less expensive headband which is ok for the price here but functional. I found it only moderately comfortable, the entire setup isn’t’ lightweight, so you need it reasonably tight to keep it in place. I found a bit more comfort if I tightened the top strap to let it carry a majority of the weight.
A pocket clip is an option on this light, but not one I think will be used very often. It can mount on the top of bottom of the battery tube, head down would be the only way I would attempt to carry it due to how much of the head sticks out if mounted the other way. You could use this to mount to a hat with the 2 way clip but I don’t think this will be used much due to the weight and the fact that it’s a right angle light. To me the pocket clip is pretty much useless but nice that it’s included I guess.
LED & Beam
This light uses 2 LED, for 2 different purposes. First you have the Floody beam of the Samsung LH351D in 5000k at 90CRI. This is the bottom emitter on the light and is rated at 700 lumens. The beam it creates is a smooth even flood, it’s everything its described as. Looking inside it looks like it has a TIR style optic with a diffused lens.
The other LED in use here is the Cree XPL HD for the spot emitter. It’s also in 5000k but only at 70 CRI. It’s the larger emitter on top of the light and has a TIR style optic that creates a spot style beam. The spot is reasonably large, with very little spill. Maximum output here is 1300 lumens.
When used together you get a blend of both worlds. The tints here for me matched well enough I couldn’t tell which emitter is which in just tint. The beam shape isn’t perfectly round which isn’t unexpected. If being used as a headlamp it’s a wider than it is tall.
There is PWM in all modes on this light other then moon and Turbo. Below is a sample of what my oscilloscope showed for both emitters on all modes, and then a sample of what each single emitter showed on medium. I don’t notice it with my eye.
Exact outputs vary with each emitter, the LH351D topping out with 700 lumens, and the XPL HD at 1300. Combined they make 2000 lumens. Here is the runtime chart showing the different outputs for each mode and emitter.
Heat and Runtime
I ran both emitters with the included 4800mAh battery on maximum brightness, and turbo output held peak output for 2 minutes before stepping down to 20% relative output where it cooled down and then began an oscillation with it’s aggressive active thermal controls of regulating the light between 18% relative output and 40. This goes on for nearly 3 hours, before the last 30 minutes the spike is larger 15 to 70%. The last hour is a linear decrease to zero. Total runtime was right at 4 hours. Max heat was 42.5C at 2:50.
I then did runtimes with each emitter independently. Both were very linear non regulated input for the most part. The flood emitter which is less bright over all (700 lumens) lasted 10:10:00. The spot emitter lasted an impressive 14:31:00.
The basics of this light work like you think, click to turn on, long press to cycle through it’s 3 normal modes. Double press to go to turbo. When off, long pressing turns on moonlight mode. The blinking modes require you first to go to turbo then double click again, double clicking each time to cycle then between strobe, sos, and beacon. A single click exits any of these. A triple click allows you to check battery status via the switch on top. 4 fast clicks enters and exits lockout.
Switching between the LED’s is describe in the manual as when the light is on just hold + click + hold. It sounds easy but in practice I have struggled with getting it right the first, second, or third time when I want to switch, it’s frustrating to say the least. There is an undocumented way to do this though that works, just triple press to switch when the light is on. This works well but the manual says nothing about it. That needs to change.
There has been some talk of minor firmware bugs with memory on BLF threads with this light, to me they have not been obvious enough to spot without reading about them first. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to update the firmware without telling anyone on the next production run. The FC11 got a revised firmware very quietly.
The light has onboard USB-C charging on the back, and the most exciting part is it’s compatible with USB-C to C and USB-C PD. This is the first headlamp I have tested that’s this way, and it’s fantastic. It only took till late in 2020!
My recharging test was with the included 4800mAh 21700 battery, This is a standard battery I charged from LVP at 2.737v to Full at 4.123V in 3:21:29 which isn’t too bad for this large of cell. The light charged at 2.1A for the first 1:30:00.
The light can also be used as a powerbank on some phones. I didn’t log any data when trying this but I can tell you that my Samsung Note 8 charges fine with this light and a C to C cable, but my ipad doesn’t recognize it as a power source.
- Great value, budget friendly, but good quality, full kit.
- Neutral white with both emitters and high CRI with the flood, Now only if they would go high CRI with the entire light.
- Supports USB-C to C charging with PD! First headlamp I have tested to do this.
- It also acts as a powerbank for some phones.
- Strong magnet that has no problem holding up the weight here
- Pretty heavy, not small
- Nice that they included a pocket clip but for me it’s pretty much useless here.
- Switching between LED’s seems to fail at least 50% of the time if your strictly using the manual method. Instead just triple press when the light is on.
- The head strap could be higher quality.
I think Wurkkos has another hit on their hands with the HD20 if weight or size isn’t a big factor in your decision to buy a headlamp. This ticks a lot of my boxes for a headlamp, the biggest being a neutral white light with a pleasing tint, and at least one high CRI option. The long runtimes here are nice too, but you pay the penalty in size and weight from the 21700 and large head.
The biggest areas I see for improvement is a higher quality head strap that’s a little more comfortable. This isn’t a small headlamp so you notice the weight after a while. After I adjusted the straps to take more weight over my head it got a little better.
It’s so nice to see true USB-C support here, it charges via USB-C to C and USB-C PD. You don’t see a speed increase with PD but that’s ok. Not many flashlights at all price levels support this, and as a result it can even be used as a powerbank if needed.
At the time of filming this is right around the $40 price mark after the discount code (See the desciption of the Youtube video at the top of the page for that), thats a lot of value and I can recommend the Wurkkos HD20. Right now this is my pick for the best large headlamp to buy for Q4 2020.