Generally speaking, headlamps are more practical for task lighting while flashlights are better for throw and area lighting. The ACEBEAM H30 headlamp is a notable exception. It is an excellent task lighter while still delivering a mammoth amount that would make most flashlights blush with envy.
The ACEBEAM H30 is capable of unleashing a blinding burst of 4000 lumens. By comparison, a good set of car headlights only delivers 3000 lumens. This makes the H30 the brightest single-battery headlamp ever made and has remained king of the hill for over two years now. Only the Lupine Betty RX14 is brighter, but it is huge, requires a battery pack, and costs about 7 times more.
The ACEBEAM H30 features a rugged all-aluminum body and utilizes a high-power Cree XHP 70.2 LED driven by a high-drain lithium 21700 battery. The headlamp can also function as a power bank to charge your mobile devices. The H30 also has dual secondary LEDs with your choice of red/green, red/UV, or red/CRI 90. The fully adjustable headband with reflective hits fits securely without any wobble or bounce.
- Max output: 4000 lumens( 1.5 min burst)
- Max Sustained output: 1100 lumens (2.9hrs)
- Max Runtime: 200 hrs (moonlight mode)
- Weight: 151 grams (5.3oz)
- Main LED: XHP 70.2
- Battery: 21700 with USB-C charge port
- Max Throw: 171 meters (561 feet)
- Submersible to 2 meters
- Tactical Strobe/SOS beacon
- Dual Auxiliary LED: Red/Green/UV/CRI 90 options
- Headband with reflective hits
- Powder-coated Aluminum body
The ACEBEAM H30 costs $137 (as of publishing this article.)
The H30 comes in a tidy and attractive little box with the following contents included:
- Headlamp Unit
- High Capacity 21700 battery
- Head Band
- 2-way USB-C charging cable
- 18650 battery adapter
- 2 spare O-rings
- ACEBEAM Warranty Card
- Lithium Battery Warning Card
Acebeam H30 Walkaround
Main LED and Lens
The brightest flashlights in the world all have one thing in common: they use the Cree XHP 70.2 LED. The H30 is no exception. The XHP 70.2 is made is an American-made high-performance LED capable of unleashing unmatched bulk lumen output. It can be driven hard and the only limiting factor is heat. The H30 utilizes has smart circuitry which prevents overheating by throttling power back when necessary.
ACEBEAM offers two color temperatures for the main LED: Cool White (6500 K) or Neutral White(5000k). I went with cool white because it is closer to sunlight and renders more vibrant colors of whatever I am illuminating.
The orange-peel reflector has decent depth to which gives the headlamp an impressive maximum throw of 170 meters. A shallow bezel adds protection to the hardened glass lens if you happen to be the type that tends to bang your head on things(just saying.)
Auxilary LED Options
The ACEBEAM H30 features two low-intensity secondary LEDs mounted on either side of the main LED. Acebeam offers three secondary LED configurations: Red-Green, Red-UV, or Red-Cri90. There is no cost difference among the three options. The difficult part is choosing.
I went with Red-Green as will most folks. When picking your combination it helps to understand what each LED color does:
- Red Light: won’t attract a swarm of bugs when your cooking and eating outdoors. It will also preserve your night vision, and is used in hunting too.
- Green light: similar benefits as red and is a good balance between white and red for hunters because it allows them to see a bit farther and perceive darker colored objects while still maintaining a higher level of stealth.
- UV Light: used in forensics and housekeeping industry. Also, you can see scorpions at night (they glow under UV light)
- CRI90 Light: CRI stands for Color Rendering Index which rates how well a light source reflects true sunlight. CRI90 light sources are prized in the photo/film industry because they give very accurate color renderings.
The H30 is built tough and, for ACEBEAM, that is to be expected. Their primary market is professionals like law enforcement, Search and Rescue, divers, and engineers. The powder coating is even, the LED and bezel perfectly aligned and the buttons are substantial.
I’m not one to do destruction tests of nice gear like this, but I doubt the H30 would suffer more than a scratch if I drove over it with my car.
Ease of Use
The headband slides on and adjusts very simply. The light, itself, is held securely to the headband via two rubber loops. This allows the headlamp to be adjusted 90 degrees up or down to point exactly where you need the light. I like that.
On a scale of 1-10, I’d give the H30 a 7 for the user interface because of the learning curve required to master 3 different light sources via 2 buttons. The main button is a large orange square and the secondary button is black and round. You can feel the difference which is very helpful for making the right mode selection in the dark.
I think the learning curve would have been shorter for me if one button was dedicated to the Main LED and the other to the secondary LEDs.
Orange Square Button:
- On/Off: Single click
- Turbo On/Off: Double Click
- Red SOS: Triple-Click
- Ultra-Low “Moonlight”: Hold -2seconds.
- Lock/Unlock: Press-Hold 6 seconds when off
Black Round Button:
- Main LED modes cycle: single-click
- Switch between Main & Secondary: Long press
- Switch between Secondary LEDS: single click(once in secondary mode)
Battery and Charging
The H30 has an onboard charging port which is accessible by unscrewing one of the end caps. Yes, unscrewing the end cap to access the USB port is less convenient, but this design makes the H30 as watertight as a submarine. Many flashlights use simple rubber plugs for the USB ports I wouldn’t trust for submersion in water.
Mobile Battery Bank
The H30 doubles as a 2A fast charger power bank. I’m not aware of any other headlamp that has this function. I think it is neat! Simply plug your device into the H30 charging port and you can take advantage of that 5100mAh battery.
I personally prefer having gear that can multitask. The H30 is just that because is more than just an illumination tool. It’s nice to know I can use it to charge my device in a pinch or emergency.
Turbo Burst Mode
As with most high-power flashlights, the heat and battery capacity are the limiting factors of maximum output. The H30 can blast 4000 lumens downrange for around 1 minute before automatically stepping down to more sustainable 1000 lumens.
I typically utilize turbo a few seconds at a time just to get a quick view of my surroundings or figure out what that “weird sound” in the woods was.
If you want a headlamp that can sustain 4000 lumens, your only real option is the Lupine Betty Rx 13. Just be prepared to pay out the nose for it.
I find this mode very useful for night reading or moving around the camp at night without disturbing others who are sleeping.
Headlamps make excellent SOS beacons because you can use the strap to fix it high on trees or branches to maximize your visibility. The SOS signal can run for 3 days and nights, giving Search and Rescue a good shot at spotting you from a very long distance away.
Kids love to play with flashlights, but don’t let them play with this one. The H30 can produce enough heat to light a fire and enough light to temporarily blind folks. The lockout is also important to prevent accidental activation while in your bag or pocket.
Long-Pressing the Red button for 6 seconds will lock/unlock the headlamp while off.
The Acebeam H30 can maintain 1100 lumens for 3 hours. That’s 300 more sustained lumens than other leading high-performance headlamps from the likes of Olight and Nitecore. The secret to the H30’s endurance is thanks to the high-capacity 5100mAh battery. That’s pretty impressive.
Despite the H30 being a relatively large headlamp, it doesn’t bounce around. The headband holds the headlamp very securely and comfortably. It didn’t leave any red marks on my forehead after using it for an hour at a time. The headband has easily adjustable buckles for the crown and sidebands.
The H30 is one of ACEBEAM’s best sellers for a number of reasons:
- It’s the brightest single-cell headlamp in the world
- It doubles as a mobile power bank
- You can choose your Main LED and Secondary LEDs to match your mission
- It outperforms competitors in terms of endurance and max sustained lumens
The two-button user interface takes a bit more learning than most headlamps, but it’s not that hard to master. Be mindful of others when you are wearing this headlamp because it is very bright. Like all headlamps, it is easy to accidentally shine in people’s eyes when you turn to look at them.
The ACEBEAM H30 is certainly a tough workhorse headlamp that packs some serious firepower. I would recommend it especially for search and rescue workers, engineers, cyclists, and campers. Trail runners might find it a bit heavy. In which case, consider the lighter ACEBEAM H40 if you are willing to trade off light output for less weight.