Review: COAST HL4 Headlamp

The HL4 headlamp from Coast has two modes: 5 white LED’s, or a 1 red LED mode. The two modes are independently controlled from two different switches one on the top of the lens that other on the bottom.

Each is colour coded, which is fine when the lamp is off your head, but not so great when you are wearing it.  The head straps are adjustable so it’s very easy to fit most head sizes and with the battery pack at the back actually stays on a hard-hat without sliding up and off.

The red LED is only useful when you need a low amount of light and you want to preserve your night vision.   Not particularly a function most Home Inspectors would need.

The white light has two modes high and higher.  But in a dark attic or crawlspace higher is the only way to go.

The lamp is powered by three AAA batteries which are mounted in a neat package, attached to the headband at the back of the head.  These last around 3 hours before there is a significant dimming in the light available.  While the batteries will actually last for another 2-3 hours before being depleted to the point where they won’t give much light at all, for inspection purposes the batteries will need to be replaced more regularly.  You can put AAA rechargeable batteries in, but there is a noticeable loss of light emitted.

The manufacturers say the lamp is impact resistant to 1 meter, but I’ve dropped it from higher with no significant damage and it’s water resistant so it can be used in the rain.   That said, don’t drop it in a puddle or sump.  It’s not waterproof. 

The lamp is a fixed beam, so the distance and beam spread doesn’t change but it features a vertical hinged adjustment which makes it easy to position the beam up and down to point the beam where it’s needed.   

COAST-HL5-Headlamp-test

In a semi-dark basement looking into a 3-metre deep closet in the spread is around 4 metres wide at 3 metres out, with the end of the closet being readily visible.  It provides a good definition for photographs, but the light does require a reflective background to enable really good visibility of things at a distance.

It’s very light weighing in at only 4.4oz with the batteries.

It has an annoying habit of turning itself off if there is the slightest static discharge (gloves/winter). The same happens if the battery pack it tapped and more than lightly.  At first, I thought I it was a defective headlamp, but I purchased two at the same time and they both have the same problem.

I purchased mine from Lowes at $30 each.   

At this price, it’s at the cheap end of the scale and while it outperforms many other flashlights at this price, I’m looking for something that provides a little more light at the end of the tunnel (or attic or crawlspace) and is a bit more reliable.

Results of Coast HL4 Review
  • 4/10
    Light output - 4/10
  • 8/10
    Ease of Use - 8/10
  • 3/10
    Battery (Type and lifespan) - 3/10
  • 8/10
    Size and Weight - 8/10
  • 6/10
    Value (Price & Running costs) - 6/10
  • 4/10
    Beam width & distance - 4/10
  • 8/10
    Impact resistance - 8/10
  • 4/10
    Water resistance - 4/10
5.6/10

Summary

At the cost it’s at the cheap end of the scale and while it outperforms many other flashlights at this price, I’m looking for something that provides a little more light at the end of the tunnel (or attic or crawlspace) and is a bit more reliable.