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Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl e+LITE Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $30 List | $29.39 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  The lightest weight headlamp out there, three lighting modes, durable
Cons:  Low spotlight, expensive
Bottom line:  A micro headlamp that is the smallest by a large margin.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Measured Max Beam Distance:  28 m
Claimed Distance:  29 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI):  9.4 hrs
Manufacturer:   Petzl

Our Verdict

This micro headlamp, the size of a small stack of quarters, is the lightest headlamp we know of and by a large margin. It wins our Top Pick award as the best lightweight headlamp. The only close contender was the Black Diamond Ion, which is twice the weight and has a slightly more powerful beam, but shorter battery life and fewer beam modes. It's hard to think of a more useful $30 you can spend on an outdoor product. Why? The e+LITE is so small (less than the volume of a ChapStick) it eliminates the question "Should I bring a headlamp?" So it can be seen as either an expensive headlamp considering the light is not that bright or, as we see it, a really inexpensive insurance against getting caught out at dark with no light.

Update - January 2017
Petzl has updated the design and lumens for its E+LITE headlamp. Keep reading for more information!

RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamps

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

Last Updated:
January 29, 2017


Update - January 2017

Petzl has taken the E+LITE and given it a number of updates. Check out the new version (left) next to the version we tested (right) below, as well as a summary of functional updates!
Petzl e+LITE headlamp won our Top Pick Award for Best Ultralight headlamp

Here's a summary of the key differences between the updated E+LITE and the version we tested:
  • Lumen Boost — The new E+LITE features 50 lumens, compared to 26 in the older version.
  • New Headband — The redesigned E+LITE comes with a new, more traditional elastic headband.
  • Redesigned Bulb Placement — The bulb placement in the new version has been redesigned from the version we tested. We haven't tested the updated E+LITE yet, so we can't say what functional impact this update has.
  • Weight — Petzl claims the weight of this latest version is 26g. If true, our favorite ultralight headlamp just got lighter!

Hands-on Review

The Petzl E+LITE is a compact powerhouse for emergency back up lighting.

Performance Comparison

Weighing only 30 grams  this tiny light can be stashed anywhere and always brought along in case of emergency.
Weighing only 30 grams, this tiny light can be stashed anywhere and always brought along in case of emergency.

Trail Finding

The trail finding score of 3 is pretty low until you consider just how small this light is. With good planning, you will seldom use this light for extended trail finding. Predominantly, a light like this is for emergencies or for the occasional late exit from a day trip.

That being said, you will do well to see the difference between this tiny emergency light and a proper, good trail finding light. For example, in the beam comparison photo below observe how it differs from the Editors' Choice winning Coast HL7.

Beam Distance Photos

Petzl e+LITECoast HL7

There is no way around the fact that this is not a trail finding powerhouse. It will get you out of a jam, but if you plan on hiking long distances at night, get a true trail finding specialist like the Coast HL7, or even better, the Fenix HP25R.

Beam Distance Photos

Petzl e+LITEFenix HP25R

As compared the its closest competitor, the Black Diamond Ion, the e+LITE does not have as strong of a beam for trail finding. What it lacks in beam strength, it makes up for in light weight and a compact package.

Beam Distance Photos

Petzl e+LITEBlack Diamond Ion

Close Proximity

Passable short distance performance is a big reason we like this headlamp so much. It casts a nice even beam around you and is surprisingly effective for how small it is. It compares favorably in close brightness and beam shape and integrity. Earning a score of 4 out of 10 isn't excellent, but again, remember just how small this thing is.

Battery Life

This is where the e+LITE gets is revenge on the Coast and many other headlamps. In this battery life vs. beam distance graph, you can see how the high powered Coast is out after 4 hours while the e+LITE goes strong for almost ten. We feel it is essential that an emergency light give you prolonged performance, which is a big reason why the e+LITE wins an award. It has noticeably better battery life than its ultralight rival, the Black Diamond Ion.

It takes tiny 3v lithium batteries that are a little hard to find at a gas station or supermarket. However, we ordered 25 online for $6 which is enough battery power for over a year of regular use. These are much less expensive than the 6 volt batteries most other lithium-ion headlamps we tested require.

The e+LITE takes a 3v lithium battery.
The e+LITE takes a 3v lithium battery.


With 28 meter measured max beam distance, this is not the brightest headlamp. By comparison, the similarly priced Coast HL7 shines a beam over 130 meters. That said, it has pretty solid beam distance for its size.

It shines a beam about the same distance as our best buy winner, the Petzl Tikkina which is three times the weight and a third the cost. The e+LITE's brightness for its weight is impressive.

The Petzl e+LITE is not really appropriate for extended  intentional trail walking. But for an occasional late exit  it will do the job.
The Petzl e+LITE is not really appropriate for extended, intentional trail walking. But for an occasional late exit, it will do the job.


At 30 grams, this is by far the lightest headlamp in our review.

Even more impressive is the size. Because it uses a retractable string headband, it is in the most compact package imaginable. The string headband is surprisingly sturdy and keeps the light steady even when jogging. However, we recommend being careful when using it with a helmet. In this context it is more prone to both slippage and improper installation than standard elastic headbands.

The retractable string headband allows this lamp to store in a very compact package.
The retractable string headband allows this lamp to store in a very compact package.

Ease of Use

This uses a different light selection button than any other product tested. Instead of a button, it uses a type of lever/dial. This is a little harder to figure out at first and is nearly impossible to use with gloves. Once accustomed to it, however, every user found it a simple and clear way to activate the different modes. Notably, the e+LITE has a red mode. The next heaviest light with a red mode, the Black Diamond Ion, suffers from other issues.

Best Applications

This is the ultimate emergency headlamp. It is so light that you can toss it in your daypack (or even in your running sock) and not notice it. Since it weighs less than 3 AAA or AA batteries, it can serve as an alternative to bringing spare batteries and gives you the option of having two headlamps (for your friends who forget theirs. Our lead tester has used it in this capacity countless times). Because of its micro size, it is also nice to just have around. It takes up almost no space in a glove box, kitchen drawer, or pocket.

The compact and convenient Petzl e+LITE is a favorite of OGL headlamp and bike tester Denise Park.
The compact and convenient Petzl e+LITE is a favorite of OGL headlamp and bike tester Denise Park.


At $30, this is a premium priced light, especially for its brightness. Spend just another $20 and you get the Editors' Choice Coast HL7 or the brighter Black Diamond Spot. That said, this light is well worth every penny because of its potential to get you out of an emergency situation. The comparison to other similarly priced lights is a bit inappropriate as the e+LITE is such a specialized product.


The Petzl e+LITE is our highest rated micro headlamp. At less than one ounce, it is by far the lightest and most compact headlamp we tested. It is durable (we put it through the washing machine by accident and it still works) and it scored surprisingly well for beam quality and close proximity, considering how small it is. Even though this headlamp (understandably) scores very poorly for beam distance and trail finding, we are still impressed with it. It comes with three different lighting modes, including a red light mode. It comes with a handy waterproof case that will ensure it stays dry. However, the best part of this light is how small it is so we never used the case. It is small enough to put in a sock or keep anywhere.

Its main competitor is the Black Diamond Ion, which used to be the same weight and size. The newest version of the Ion is twice the size of the e+LITE and its previous versions. Even with the changes made for 2015, the Ion has a better spotlight but the e+LITE has much better close proximity light and battery life. Considering the main reason to have this headlamp is for emergency or unintended backup use, the better battery life of the e+LITE makes it the clear winner. That said, at $30 the e+LITE is $5 more expensive than the Ion and puts you in the category of much more capable three-ounce lights like the Petzl Tikkina.

Close-proximity Beam Pattern

Petzl e+LITEBlack Diamond Ion

Even though its total score was not that high, we still consider this a must-have headlamp for anyone who does serious activity in the backcountry or away from the car (trail running at dusk, etc). It weighs basically nothing so there is no reason not to bring it everywhere. If you have an extra $30, there is no reason not to buy it. It could be the most useful light you ever buy. That said, if you are on a budget and don't mind a headlamp that weighs two more ounces, go with the Tikkina or the Energizer 3 LED, which cost less, perform much better, and are still pretty darn small and light.
Petzl NAO
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier