Biolite Headlamp 330 hands-on review

Biolite's new headlamp is brilliant -- and we're not just talking about the LEDs

The BioLite headlamp became our go-to light for outdoor activities at home and on the trail
The BioLite headlamp became our go-to light for outdoor activities at home and on the trail
The BioLite headlamp became our go-to light for outdoor activities at home and on the trail

Highs

  • Lightweight
  • Slim, comfortable design
  • Doesn’t bounce when running
  • Remembers your last setting when turning on the light

Lows

  • Easy to accidentally press power button when adjusting the angle of the light

DT Editors' Rating

Biolite is best known for its backpacking cookstoves and camping fire pits, but that is only a small portion of what the company produces. Not too many people are aware that Biolite also sells a line of LED lighting products for home and camp. Most recently, the company has jumped into the headlamp market with an innovative LED light, the BioLite headlamp 330. We got our hands on a pre-production unit to see how it performs.

A new take on headlamp design

The first thing we noticed about the Biolite headlamp 330 is how lightweight and comfortable it is. Instead of attaching the light module to the band like most headlamps, Biolite incorporates the 3-ounce light right into the fabric of the band — a design the company calls 3D SlimFit construction. The battery is placed at the back of the band to balance off the light. As a result, the light doesn’t sag at the front, and the band stays firmly in place without being so tight that you get a headache.

The headband is also made with moisture-wicking fabric and is designed to fit a wide range of head sizes thanks to easy-adjust clips that allow you to dial in the right fit. As you adjust the band, you can move the battery pack so it always sits comfortably on the back of your head.

It might seem like a small and insignificant design change, but this design is a game changer. Thanks to the battery-in-back design, the headlamp’s integrated light sits flush on your forehead and doesn’t bounce when you move. We can’t say enough good things about this design. Not only is this close fit lightweight and comfortable to wear, but it’s also incredibly useful because the light stays right where you point your head. There’s no bouncing or jittery light — even when you run.

Despite its slim construction, the Biolite headlamp also has a tilting function that allows you to direct the light to exactly where you need it. The tilting function is easy to use and incredibly stable thanks to notches that hold the light in place. Once you adjust the angle, it stays right there until you push it to change it again. When you are done, the light snaps right back into the casing with a firm click. All in all, this is a very thoughtfully designed piece of gear

Lighting your way, wherever you go

The Biolite pushes out an impressive 330 lumens, which is more than enough for most nighttime activities. We had no problems hiking or running on the forested trails near our testing area. We also found that we used the Biolite as much around the house as we did in the woods. The light was perfect for grilling and indispensable when we had to stack wood at night to beat an incoming rain storm. At home and on the trail, the Biolite was the first headlamp that we grabbed.

BioLite Headlamp
Kelly Hodkins/Digital Trends

The light includes four different modes, including a white spotlight, a white floodlight, a white strobe, and a red light for night vision. Switching between modes only takes a quick press on the raised button at the top of the light. When you turn the light off, it remembers your last setting — which is a feature we’d love to see in every headlamp. It’s incredibly useful to turn off your light in red mode and fire it up again knowing you will be bathed in vision-saving red and not blinding white light.

The battery on the light is respectable with 3.5 hours in full brightness and 40 hours in minimum light. We used the light at night for nearly three hours straight and didn’t notice any loss in intensity. As the battery drains, A handy meter on the battery pack lets you know how much juice you have left. The light recharges via micro USB so you can replenish on the go if you have a portable USB battery pack or access to an outlet.

Price and availability

The Biolite headlamp 330 is available now at REI with a suggested retail price of $49.95. Each headlamp includes a charging cable and a stuff sack that doubles as a hanging lantern.

Computing

Five months later, the HP Spectre Folio is still one of my favorite laptops

After five months of use, we take a look back at the HP Spectre Folio, a laptop with leather construction and unique take on the 2-in-1. What did we find? It really is far more than just a gimmick.
Movies & TV

Skip the sunshine this summer and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Mobile

These are the best Pixel 3a XL cases and covers to protect your Google phone

If you want to change up the look or feel of your new Google phone, you want some decent drop protection, or both, then we have you covered with this list of the best Google Pixel 3a XL cases and covers.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Deals

REI cuts prices on Garmin Fenix 5 and Suunto 3 fitness smartwatches

REI is currently dropping prices on Garmin Fenix and Suunto smartwatches for its anniversary sale. With fitness tracking, GPS, and smartphone connectivity, a solid wearable is one of the best companions outdoorsmen could wish for.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Health & Fitness

Forget foam. This fluid-filled helmet mimics your brain to protect your head

Fluid Inside is a protective system for designed to prevent injuries not only to the skull of an athlete but brain trauma as well using an innovative approach that is adaptable to cycling, skiing, hockey, and other sports.
Outdoors

Stay toasty in the best lightweight backpacking sleeping bags you can buy

Whether you're a cold sleeper, desire a bag with heaps of features, or consider yourself an ultralight backpacker who will settle for half a bag, here are our picks for the best backpacking sleeping bags currently available.
Mobile

Apple Maps adds Street View-style imagery, but with a neat trick

A revamped Apple Maps is on the way, bringing with it a bunch of new features that include a Street View-style tool called Look Around. According to the demo, it includes a neat advantage over Google Maps, too.
Cars

Bird to expand its shared fleet with this 2-seat moped-like machine

Bird's rentable scooters are available in more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and now it's planning to add a moped-like electric bike to its fleet. The Cruiser is a chunky two-wheeler with a large seat for two people.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Outdoors

The best Father’s Day gifts for outdoorsy, adventure-loving dads

For Father's Day 2019 forget the ties and socks and give your adventurous and outdoorsy dad the gifts that he really wants to take with him on his hiking and camping excursions in the backcountry.
Deals

Save up to $50 on Amazon’s Kindle Oasis ebook readers and Kindle Paperwhite

Ebook readers that are optimized for outdoors are more prevalent than ever. In time for summer, Amazon has knocked $50 off the prices of the 8 GB and 32 GB Kindle Oasis ebook readers. Start the next chapter of your ebook reading experience…
Deals

The GoPro Hero7 action camera gets price cut on Amazon ahead of Father’s Day

Got an adventurous Dad? If so, a GoPro action camera will make a great Father’s Day gifts. Ahead of Father’s Day, capture the GoPro Hero7 Black on Amazon for just $329, down from its normal $400. Don't just settle for socks again this…