Duracell branded headlamp from Costco

Started by Optimist, April 19, 2022, 03:53:40 PM

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Last fall my mother picked up a three pack of Duracell branded headlamps from Costco for $15 (batteries included). My EDC headlamp was dead, so she gave me one of them.

Short review: For emergency headlamps these are excellent and well worth the buy, for an EDC headlamp there were a couple things that didn't work so well for me.

These headlamps have two large buttons for controls. These are nice in that they are easy to press with gloves on, but bad in that they are so easy to press that the thing kept getting accidentally turned on in my pocket (this is the biggest reason why it didn't make a good EDC headlamp).

One button cycled between high, medium, low, flashing and red LEDs. There was barely a difference between high and medium, and I have no use for a red light for EDC. THe other button turned on three side-LEDs (one on the left side, right side and bottom) that were a little yellow tinted and reminded me of fog lights on a car. They shined every direction but straight forward and straight up. I don't see much practical reason for these. I don't think it's avoiding shining the light into other people's eyes, as the whole headlamp is on a hinge (more on that later). The side lights don't work at the same time as the forward-facing lights. I could see maybe using the feature as a lamp for room illumination or a marker to signal to a wide area, but in that case wouldn't it be better if it had LEDs on all four sides and it lit up the front at the same time? And wouldn't the blinking emergency option be better tied to this button? I think a lot of headlamp manufacturers try to cram too many gimmicky modes and features for my tastes, and this headlamp is definitely guilty of that.

One of the best features is that it has a hinge, so the light can be angled downward. I was worried that it was going to be gimmicky at first, but I really liked it. A problem with headlamps in groups of people is that if you look someone else in the face you shine your light directly into their eyes, so you either have to not look directly at them or move/cover your headlamp temporarily.This hinge means you can angle the light down so you don't have to worry about blinding people but can still see where you're walking. The hinge has a decent amount of friction so it can be positioned at multiple angles. I realize it's a weak point, but this is a feature that I'd prefer to have in my headlamps from now on.

It takes three AAA batteries. Battery life seems okay, but I don't really know because of the problem I mentioned before of the light accidentally coming on in my pocket. When it is about out of batteries the light will turn off, then you can hit the button again and it will turn back for maybe thirty second. You can do that for a few minutes before it's out of juice.

The main thing that made me happy with these is how well they held up for the money. I was given mine in October, and it lasted me until it finally quit in early April (it started acting finicky in February). I live in Alaska, so there's a lot of dark in the winter. My headlamp spent the winter in my coat pocket and got used nearly every day. Some of that early on was in the rain, and it got used quite a few times in sub-zero temperatures. My mother kept hers by the door to go out to the barn, and hers is still working. It didn't get used as much as mine but still got used an awful lot. (I'm not sure where the third one ended up). For what is essentially a $5 headlamp I find that very impressive.

I'm not sure if these are still available at Costco and are the same price but if they can still be had for cheap I would consider buying a bunch of them to stash around all over. As I mentioned before there are some things that make it less than ideal as a main headlamp for everyday use, but as an emergency headlamp they seem like a very good value.

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