By Rocky Hays

LED Lenser H7
LED Lenser H7. Photo courtesy of Coast.

Guns and Shooting Online Managing Editor Chuck Hawks gave me the LED LENSER H7 HEADLAMP (distributed by Coast of Portland, Oregon) to review because he knows I use LED flashlights in my shop. I have four small LED flashlights at the end mill, at my lathe, etc; they are very useful and handy. So, to give the H7 HEADLAMP a fair test, I put away my other flashlights and used it exclusively.

The package claims the H7 will run 39 hours on three AAA batteries; it took two weeks of everyday use before the light started to dim. I think 39 hours is a conservative estimate

The on/off switch is a 3/16� diameter push button, recessed in the top of the light. My first impression was that this button would be troublesome, because it would be difficult to use when wearing gloves. However, even with bulky welding gloves or insulated ski gloves, the button was easy to find and use.

The battery pack is located at the back of the headband. On top of this pack there is a large dimmer (rheostat) lever and this is also easy to use with bulky gloves. Why do you need a dimmer? Because, according to the specifications, the light has an output of 150 lumens. A lumen is a unit of measurement of light. It measures how much light gets to an object.

One night I was going up the stairs in my shop; the light from the H7 reflected off the window pane upstairs to such a degree that I was temporarily blinded. It is so bright, that you can�t wear it around people or reflective surfaces, so you dim it.

I compared the H7 HEADLAMP to a 250,000 candle power, or candela, quartz halogen spotlight. (The "bright" headlight setting on a vehicle is about 50,000 candle power.) Candle power is the measurement of light output at the source. Out to about 100 feet, the two lights appeared to be close in brightness, but the pure white light of the H7 made everything clearer than the yellowish light of the quartz halogen spotlight. Beyond 100 feet, the focused beam of the spotlight illuminated things better.

The H7 also has an "advanced focus system," which changes the diameter of the focused beam of light between 5� and 18� at arm�s length. I found this feature very useful when I couldn�t move my head in cramped quarters to get the spot of light exactly on my work. I simply increased the diameter of the spot. The focus system is controlled by a small lever on the bottom of the all-metal light housing. This lever moves at an angle, right-to-left, front-to-back, which makes it difficult to use with gloves, because of the angle of movement and location of the lever. This focus system is a feature I liked, but I would have preferred it be controlled by a textured (knurled) ring around the lens housing like common focusing flashlights.

The light can pivot 90-degrees downward on its forehead mount and has four positive stops. The elastic band is adjustable and stays on the head very well without the need to be too tight. With the battery pack in the back it is nicely balanced. The entire unit is quite small and can even be held in one hand and used like a regular flashlight.

I did find two problems with the H7 HEADLAMP. First, the back of the forehead piece is essentially flat. After wearing it about four hours, it begins to create a pressure point that becomes uncomfortable. Second, the forehead piece has very sharp edges. The first day I wore the H7 it made dozens of minor cuts in my forehead, some to the point of bleeding. The sharp edges were easily removed with 100 grit sandpaper, whch solved the problem.

Neither of these problems would stop me from using the LED LENSER H7 HEADLAMP. In fact, I would buy one of these before I would buy another regular flashlight. I thought I would have to force myself to use the H7 HEADLAMP when I began reviewing it, as it was so different from anything I�ve used before. However, I quickly found it to be a great, functional tool. Its features are useful and necessary and work well together. Try one and see for yourself!

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