The Petzl e+LITE headlamp won't win any awards for brightness, but it is an excellent emergency or general-use light. Scarcely bigger than the two watch batteries it requires, the e+LITE weighs next to nothing and has a retractable cord. However, the e+LITE's dial can be tricky to use, and the beam is too dim and short for more technical or athletic uses.
The lightest and smallest you can buy. The Petzl e+LITE has four LEDs: three white lights and one red. It is dustproof and waterproof. But the e+LITE's major claim to fame is its weight: At just under an ounce, it's one of the lightest headlamps you can buy. It's also one of the smallest. Unlike most push-button headlamps, users operate the e+LITE with a dial. Experts say there's a longer learning curve and call it "nearly impossible" to operate with gloves. The retractable string has a rubber-band-like appearance, but reviewers find it manages to keep bouncing to a minimum. A few warn it tends to cut into the skin after extended use. The e+LITE requires two lithium CR2032 batteries, commonly found in watches.
Dimmer than the competition. The manufacturer lists run time as 70 hours in low mode and 55 in high mode, but expert tests clocked a bit less than six hours in high mode. While battery life is shorter than more high-powered headlamps, experts note the e+LITE maintains very consistent beam distance. At maximum power, the Petzl e+LITE generates 26 lumens and throws a beam up to 95 feet, according to the manufacturer. However, an expert review measured a maximum beam of only 78 feet. While it's not as powerful as other compact headlamps, the e+LITE is still more than adequate for most casual, around camp tasks. Still, users who anticipate hiking or any sort of athletic use should look for another unit and use the e+LITE as a backup.
Long warranty and good service. According to the manufacturer the e+LITE is made of plastic that resists extreme temperatures. It even worked after one reviewer accidentally put it through the washer, and experts find the retractable string is also well constructed despite appearing flimsier than typical head straps. A few owners claim dust and sand jammed the e+LITE's dial. Petzl backs the e+LITE with a lengthy 10-year limited warranty, and most customers found Petzl's customer service helpful with warranty claims and replacements.
Though it ranks fairly low in a test of more than 30 lamps, the Petzl e+LITE is still an editors' Top Pick for best lightweight headlamp. R.J. Spurrier praises the lamp's light, compact design and long battery life.
Review: Petzl e+LITE Review, R.J. Spurrier, Jan. 14, 2014
The Petzl e+LITE earns 4.6 out of 5 stars in nearly 60 reviews. Owners praise the lamp's lightweight, compact design. They also like the light's versatility for emergency and outdoor use. Some complain the new model is not pictured and is inferior to older versions.
Review: Petzl E02 P2 e+LITE Headlamp with Integrated Whistle, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014
The Petzl e+LITE earns 4.2 out of 5 stars in about a dozen reviews. Owners praise its long battery life, adjustable beam and durability, but many wish for a brighter light.
Review: Petzl e+LITE Headlamp, Contributors to REI.com, As of February 2014
The Petzl e+LITE is named best light for auto/emergency situations and survival use in this list of activity-specific headlamp picks. There is no explanation, but a link to a product page and a handy comparison chart of several popular headlamps.
Review: Best Headlamp, Editors of HeadlampZone.com, Not dated