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Zebralight H602 Review

Zebralight H602
Price:   $89 List
Pros:  Beefy with amazing beam shape
Cons:  Heavy, mediocre battery life, and low beam strength
Bottom line:  Although the beam shape of this model was noteworthy, it had mediocre battery life and beam strength.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Zebralight

Our Verdict

This light is a doomsday prepper's dream. Those equipping for the end-of-times love durable stuff from off-the-radar manufacturers. If it uses special batteries, like the H602 does, all the better. In our view, this is a product uniquely suited to home and shop use, but limited in utility in the great outdoors. At home, you never look too far and can be near replacement batteries. Outdoors, you may want to see further than this Zebralight allows and do not want to have to change batteries as often as we found is required. For better all-around performance with almost the same quality of close proximity beam, check out our Editors' Choice winning Coast HL7.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jediah Porter
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
May 10, 2015

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The Zebralight H602 is a rugged, bright light that burns through a non-standard sized battery relatively quickly.

Performance Comparison


The Zebralight H602 features amazing close-proximity lighting and significant durabilty  but limited battery life and brightness.
The Zebralight H602 features amazing close-proximity lighting and significant durabilty, but limited battery life and brightness.

Trail Finding


With a score of 8 out of 10, the H602 is tied with six other products in our test, and is surpassed by only three. The strong, even beam of all Zebralight products impressed all of our testers. As you can see in the beam comparison below, the Zebralight H602 throws a long beam with really even light distribution. Compared here to our Top Pick for brightness, the Fenix HP25R, which is one of the few lights to score better for trail finding, you can see that the H602 still holds its own.


Beam Distance Photos


Zebralight H602Fenix HP25R


Spot-mode Beam Pattern


Zebralight H602Fenix HP25R

Close Proximity


Only the other Zebralight and the finicky Nitecore HC50 scored as well in close proximity. For working up close with a headlamp, we look for adjustable brightness and even light distribution. Poor lensing in a flashlight can result in hot spots or dark spots. These, while one's eyes adjust for them, prove fatiguing and distracting. Designing a light with even light distribution is difficult and expensive. Zebralight, as a company, has clearly put a great deal into fine tuning their lights' lenses.

Battery Life


We tested two lights that use the unique oversized 18650 Lithium battery. These are not widely avaialble, but are reported to be an excellent, dense supply of energy. They can be recharged with a dedicated device (not included with the Zebralight). Regardless of claims, neither light we tested on 18650 batteries lasted very long. The Zebralight H602 lasted 3.5 hours in high mode. We bumped the score up as compared to other similar timed lights because of the brightness of the high mode. But we bumped it back down because the switch on the H602 doesn't lock. The Nitecore HC50, the other light using the 18650 battery, shines with a brightness similar to the Zebra, but burns battery much faster. The Nitecore burned its battery in 2 hours. This battery life vs. beam distance chart shows how the two perform.

Meagan and the Zebralight H602 in action on a Christmas Tree lot in Atlanta  Georgia. For occasional use in demanding settings  the bright bulb of the 602 could be well worth the limited battery life.
Meagan and the Zebralight H602 in action on a Christmas Tree lot in Atlanta, Georgia. For occasional use in demanding settings, the bright bulb of the 602 could be well worth the limited battery life.

Brightness


Interestingly, as compared to its much smaller cousin, the Zebralight H52, the H602 is far less bright. It throws a beam 2/3rds the distance. Over that distance, the light is usable and clean, but it simply doesn't shine as far as the smaller and less expensive alternative. This lesser brightness does help the battery last a little longer, but not long enough to bring the H602 up to average battery performance.

Weight


The H602 is the seventh heaviest light in our test. Much of the weight is attributed to the big and beefy battery. If that battery ran the light for more than 3.5 hours or pushed light past 50m, we wouldn't mind the heft. However, given the performance in terms of battery life and brightness, this light seems unnecessarily heavy.

Using the hard to find 18650 Lithium battery  this is not the choice for someone who replaces batteries often.
Using the hard to find 18650 Lithium battery, this is not the choice for someone who replaces batteries often.

Ease of Use


Like many small electronics in this day and age, Zebralight packs a great number of features into a tiny package. Outside the battery and housing, the entire light, switch, and instrumentation of the H602 could almost fit in a contact lens case. This is remarkable, especially considering how many different modes the light has. The downside is that clicking through the modes with just one button has a distinct learning curve. Like all compact electronics, however, once you are familiar with the ins and outs, navigating the device is easy enough.

Best Applications


With amazing close-proximity lighting and significant durabilty, but limited battery life and brightness, we recommend this light for around shop and garage. In these contexts you'll be working in tight spaces like car hoods and home crawl spaces. Here, the weight is not a big deal, and distance vision is unnecessary. The quality of up close vision, however, will be much appreciated.

Value


This is an expensive light that fills a very small niche. If you spend a lot of time in that niche - close-up tasks that require excellent head-mounted lighting - the H602 may be just what you need. However, for occasional home use, our Best Buy Petzl Tikkina is a far better choice. You get adequate lighting and battery performance for a tiny fraction of the price of the Zebralight. The Tikkina will be more vulnerable to damage, so be careful how you store it. If you are subjecting your head and headlamp to forces that damage a plastic light like the Tikkina, you have perhaps bigger concerns.

Conclusion


The H602 is a heavy, durable light with excellent close-proximity lighting. The beam strength and battery life are below average.

Other Versions


H602 Cool White and H602 Neutral White
Zebralight H602
  • Cost - $90
  • Two different LED light colors: Cool White and Neutral White
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: October 27, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.9)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
8 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (6)
4 star: 13%  (1)
3 star: 13%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
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   Sep 20, 2015 - 07:50pm
SloPoke · Road Biker · WA
Some pretty serious mistakes in the Zebralight H602 review…

For example,…authors state that its *interesting* that the H602 isn't as bright as the smaller H52. This is total nonsense. The H602 is brighter, puts out significantly more light and for longer than the H52. Its just that the H602, by design choice, has no reflector and is optimized for a flood of light, sacrificing the throw of a focused beam.

Then the next sentences following the initial howler says that the H602 has better battery life than the H52, because the H602 isn't as bright as the H52. This is just idiotic. Contrary to what the authors state, the H602 is brighter, puts out far more light than the H52. Bigger issue is that the authors statement is just backwards and wrong - the H602 has a bigger battery with higher voltage and stores more power than the H52.

Set the H602 and H52 to a similar light output and the H602 will run longer, much longer - its not even close.

The mistakes and incompetence is this review are so egregious and have remained uncorrected for so long that its put a serious, very serious dent in my ability to trust reviews and reviewers from this sight.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
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   May 1, 2016 - 03:26am
Woodenhead · Hiker · BC
I just wanted to quickly post that the other 2 comments are spot on; I used to have one of these and I was scratching my head over the OGL review.

Although personally I now use the ZebraLight H600w Mk II 18650 XM-L2 Neutral White. Absolutely amazing all-around (once you figure out the settings, at least, haha) and it blows every other headlamp reviewd here out of the water. Battery life lasts for months of usage here on the farm (bringing in horses every night) and for a week backpacking trip had zero issues, either. Medium setting is higher than most other light's high setting; it's all you need. The high setting is great if you want it to look like noon on a sunny day at the equator; in other words, handy in an emergency etc. but not needed for any sort of long stretch, esp. since that setting WILL drain the battery in a few hours. (note: there's 6 settings: 2L, 2M, 2H; 1 of each is pre-set, the other of each are programmable; super stuff once you get it nailed down)

Cheers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Oct 27, 2016 - 04:57am
Vlad · Climber · Wawa
This is the most incompetent review of headlamp I've ever read. You take a model that was specifically designed to give FLOOD light and complain that it has short throw? Are you people insane?

3.5 hours at 1020lm is insanely amazing time!!! It is by far the best batt life there is out there.

This kind of incompetence just makes you question the rest of the "reviews" for all the gear on the website..

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 12, 2016 - 06:15am
Comparing this light's runtime at high mode to toy-lights on AA/AAA batteries in the review is just misguiding because the toy-lights' high is usually around 50-100-200 Lumens. How can you compare it to 800-1000 lumens of a proper flashlight?

I do hiking in the mountains, MTB and extended travel. So I'm very picky regarding my gear, its weight and versatility. I've got Zebralight H600Fc High-CRI model and use it from illuminating my night path to the toilet (Low mode) to night hiking (Medium mode at 57 Lm / 30 hrs) to downhill mountain biking (High at 800 Lm / couple hours).

Beam pattern and brightness are perfect for each of these activities. Much better than my previous handheld long-throwing spot flashlight.

After careful research I would never buy AA-powered light. Panasonic 3400mAh 18650's got up to 12 Watt-hours of juice. While the most popular AA rechargeable Eneloop Pros got only a quarter of that.

And good luck riding down a mountain with 100-200 lumens!

UPDATE: also note that H602 model reviewed here has flood-type beam with no center spot leading to decreased illumination distance. My H600Fc light has floody beam (nice flood with soft center spot for increased distance) and has proved to be extremely versatile. My previous light (Thrunite Scorpion V2) had longer throw distance and I do not ever miss it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Oct 1, 2015 - 05:54pm
 
Mediocre battery life? At the low-level settings that most closely approximate the output of the Petzel Tikkna, for example, the H602 will run continuously for about 420 hours (2 1/2 weeks). The Tikkina will run at that level for roughly 20 minutes before gradually fading. Yes, if you run the H602 at its max brightness, the battery life is fairly short: but you can see the damn thing from space at that setting. The H602 puts out OVER ONE THOUSAND LUMENS at that setting, which is so ridiculously bright that there are almost no situations in which it would make sense to use that much light on a typical backpacking trip. That level of output really only has utility if you are in a brightly lit environment and need EVEN MORE light for some reason.

Trail finding? This light is intentionally designed to illuminate a wide area very close to the user. It is NOT intended to "throw" light to illuminate distant objects: that's what the H600 is designed for.

This is a ridiculous comparison, none of these lights are even remotely similar. You might as well have thrown an old Coleman lantern in the mix.
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   Sep 13, 2016 - 08:50pm
While I have never used a flood H602, my beam version (with the hot center area) is my favorite light of all time, I have the neutral white. I have to wonder if the light reviewed didn't have a defective emitter or battery. I don't think one can run the light on high for more that a few minutes unless it's really cold, as it starts getting hot and will derate. I love the incredibly bright high beam, but I never use it for very long. Used it to light up a cougar in my yard while I watched it with a binocular last spring.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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