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Petzl e+Lite Headlamp Review

Petzl E+Lite Headlamp
Petzl E+Lite Headlamp

I think the Petzl e+Lite Headlamp is the best headlamp ever made. I’ve been using it for two years now and it is by far the easiest to use headlamp I’ve ever owned.

The thing I like best about the Petzl e+Lite it is its self-documenting selector switch. When you move it from one position to the next, you know exactly what kind of beam you’re going to get: white economy, white maximum, flashing white, flashing red, or red. It even has a lock to prevent it from turning on accidentally and running out of power.

I can’t tell you how many headlamps I own that have a single button and can only be adjusted by cycling through a series of different modes. I can’t remember what the modes are or what order they occur in, so it’s usually a complete crap shoot when I’m trying to find the mode I need.

Camping with the Petzl e+Lite
Camping with the Petzl e+Lite

Now, the Petzl e+Lite has some limitations. This isn’t a high intensity light and I wouldn’t recommend it for nighttime hiking or trail running because it has a limited range. But at 26 lumens, it’s more than adequate for performing camp chores at night, tending a campfire, finding the campground bathroom, or reading in your tent.

The e+Lite is also miniscule, about the size of a walnut, which is good and bad. It’s good, because it weighs less than an ounce (0.9 ounces) and takes up almost no room in your pack. It even has a self retracting head strap, really just a rugged piece of string, that you can use to pull over your head or around your wrist, and an integrated base, so you can set it on a flat surface and swivel it around for directional lighting.

Retractible Petzl e+Lite Head Strap
Retractable Head Strap

The downside of being so small is that the e+Lite is very easy to lose unless you train yourself to keep track of it at all times by wearing it around your head or wrist, or always keeping it in the same stuff sack where you know you’ll be able to find it.

The e+Lite is powered by 2 x coin-sized CR2032 lithium batteries, which I also like, because they’re so lightweight to carry. I always carry extra batteries on hiking and backpacking trips, but the weight of several AAA and AA batteries really adds up,  even if they’re lighter weight lithium batteries.

The back of the e+Lite has a waterproof compartment that stores the batteries: simply unscrew it and replace them as needed. While I have done this in complete darkness (once), I now carry a second backup Petzl e+Lite in my gear repair kit so I’m never left in the dark. At 0.9 ounces each (including batteries), there’s virtually no weight penalty to carrying two!

Battery life and visibility

The battery life of the Petzl e+Lite in each lighting mode is as follows:

  • Economic white: 70 hours
  • Maximum white: 55 hours
  • Flashing white: 75 hours
  • Flashing red: 30h
  • Red: 30 hours

The light’s battery power is regulated, which means that it will maintain the same level of brightness throughout the battery lifetime, without becoming dimmer as the batteries drain. This is a desirable feature although it does mean that the light can cease to function without warning when the batteries are completely drained.

I think my search for a reliable and functional three season headlamp has come to an end.

The Petzl e+Lite headlamp is a keeper.


  • Bulb type: LED
  • Bulb detail: 3 white LEDs / 1 red LED
  • Red light mode: Yes
  • Beam type: Flood
  • Max light output: 26 lumens
  • Max beam distance: 29 meters
  • Beam distance: High: 29 / low: 15
  • Brightness levels: 3
  • Strobe: 2
  • Average run time: High: 55 / low: 70 hours
  • Regulated output: Yes
  • Rechargeable: Yes
  • Batteries: 2 CR2032 Lithium
  • Operating temperature range: High 140F (60C), Low: -22F(-30C)
  • Material: pLastic
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.25 x .5 inches
  • Ultralight: Yes
  • Weight: 0.9 ounces

Disclosure: The author bought the Petzl e+Lite reviewed here with his own funds.

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  1. I’m glad you are liking the light. I’ve heard mentioned several times that the weak spot is the mechanical switch. That dirt, sand or rain water could cause it to stop working. For this reason alone I’ve played with it in REI several times but always hesitated to buy it. A long term report would be great, to debunk or confirm the rumors. I hope yours keep working.

    • The switch on my Petzl e+Lite jammed really hard once, all by itself, with no obvious cause, after it had been on a while and was warm. I forced it off, which I feared would break it, and in the morning it was better. It has never happened before or since, and I love this light.

    • After two years of intense use, I’ve never had a problem with mine.

  2. It’s also easy to attach to a tent stake, around a trekking pole, water bottle, or small tree branch — I love the versatility of this headlamp!

  3. I am a huge fan of the Petzel Company and their Headlamp products..This new product looks like it might be a replacement for my three Tikka II’s when they wear out.. One of my favorite uses aside from just giving me light at night, on the trail, in the tent, on my boat, or changing a flat tire at night, was as a “Nite Light” in my tent to accomadate my best friend Bailey who joined me on hundreds of over night and multi-day hikes. Bailey is sadly in Doggie heaven now and is truly missed. She had trouble sleeping or settling down inside a tent. I was at a loss to figure out how to get her to settle down, beer, bourbon (her favorite) and doggie tranquilizers did not work. So it came to me in the middle of the night that at home we had Night Lite’s stratigically placed throughout the house..So I got out my Tikka II, put it on low and stuffed it into a corner so the light would not keep me awake and what do you know,,she settled right down and went to sleep as normal…I bought one for putting in her doggie packs after I got home an used it on every trip thereon..On low I believe it burns for over 150 hours, that is nearly 19 nights in a tent..Fantastic…Campmor is selling your E-lite for $29.95. I really have a problem with those CR2032 batteries and locating them in small towns during resupply trips on another item I bought so make sure your carry spares… I figure if I do not see a reviewed item in Campmor’s, catalog then I need to investigage why…Thank you again for a great unbiased review…

    • Actually, it’s not a new product. Been out there for years. I have a dear hiking buddy who swears by the e+Lite and I just followed his lead and tried one out. I had to buy a third one after my wife stole one of mine. :-)

      • Yes I knew that but I was not into raining on other peoples parades today. I thought maybe you just heard about it…..

  4. I’d worry most about the string head strap. Can it be replaced? My old Petzl Tikka has an elastic strap which has stretched way beyond factory specs—and it doesn’t look easy to replace.

    • If it is anything like the Petzl Zipka string, it lasts a long time. One other thing to learn, if you are wearing it without a hat and you just pull it off your head, it will grab some hair. Pull the string out, then the lamp off your head, then let the string retract.

  5. It’s right there with the Sawyer Mini as my favorite new piece of kit this season. I made the same choice of carrying two as opposed to a spare set of batteries because this little gem truly feels as if it ways nothing.

  6. Philip, I’ve been using the same same e+Lite for over 4 years. It was my only light on my AT thru hike in 2010. Ven asked how the light holds up with use. After all the miles and nights of backpacking the only part with any wear is the swivel. I use the clip to box it on my cap. At this point it kind of flops around instead of holding any set position.

    I have used it for short night hikes. Not a great use of the little light but if you get caught short of your campsite in the dark it will get you there if the trail is well marked.

    I don’t carry extra batteries. The life of a set is enough for most of my trips. Also the light starts to dim as you get toward the end of their life. There is plenty of warning so you at not just left in the dark.

    Would I buy this light again? Well when I finely give up on this one, it will mostly likely be replaced with the same little light.

  7. Philip agree that this is an excellent light and for the UK during the summer when it is not dark until 10-12 pm depending where you are in the country, you don’t need anything else. Your model must be different to mine as mine weighs around 2.5 oz and has a thin strap rather than a cord.

  8. Have had one of these for many years. I agree with your findings. I have never had a problem with the switch and the whole piece of kit looks like I bought it yesterday. Never changed a bulb and the batteries last a long time if you buy decent ones.

  9. I’ve been using one of these for the past two years and they are great. I’m still on the original batteries. And yes, while they are not high intensity, I have hiked in the dark with mine before.

  10. It’s good to see you guys are mostly getting a good run out of your light, I’ve used mine once and it did the job but coming from a powerful head torch it’s going to take awhile to love it.

  11. I’ve head mine for years and used it successfully with no problems. Mine must be an older version because the strap is slightly thicker and not retractable. Mine came with a case though I generally leave the case at home. Great UL headlamp unless you need to do some serious night hiking.

  12. I’ve had mine for years with zero problems. I think I got it back in 2007, have used steadily for all these years, and it still works just like it did when it was new. Mine has a more conventional strap, so I can’t speak to this new thinner strap (which I expect works just fine). I’m sure if I ever loose this one, I’ll be getting another.

    • I’m pretty fond of the Petzl Zipka, a similar string-strap headlamp. It uses three AAA’s and makes 80 lumens. The current version is 2.4 ounces. Various versions have had a different modes, but the current one just has high and low, which suits me fine.

      It is $40, runs 60 hours at 80 lumens and 120 hours at 20 lumens.

  13. I have several older models. I don’t think any have strings just the older straps. I have hiked at night with these, Not really recommended for off-trail, but fine for any existing ones. Mine only last around 50 hours on low. There is no regulator on these. As the batteries die, the light just dims.After the first few hours, you turn it up on high and it stays fairly good for a couple nights of hiking.

  14. How comfortable is the strap if a person wears it without a hat or buff?

  15. I also really wanted to love this light which seemed exactly what I was looking for all those years but I did drop it once in the dirth and it was all it took to jam the switch and make it almost impossible to turn on and off. Back to my zipka and still in the hunt for a new lighter option.

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