Zebralight H52 Headlamp Review

Survival Gear For Americans 

By James Emry

Updated 

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The Zebralight H52 is an excellent little flashlight & headlamp that runs on a single AA battery—up to 3 months at its lowest setting. Here’s why we love it:

  • Good brightness and throw with adjustable light settings.
  • Small, lightweight, durable and waterpoof aluminum casing.
  • Minimal battery drain rates prolong battery life.
  • Operates on rechargeable AA Eneloop batteries—the best survival battery there is.
Zebralight H52 AA Headlamp with headband, belt clip and spare o rings
Zebralight H52 AA Headlamp with headband, belt clip and spare o rings

(Don’t have time to read? You can buy Zebralight H52 here.)

Light & Adjustability

BEAM LENGTH
This is the H52 “Long Beam” version which is great for trail finding and navigation at night when you need powerful short bursts to scout off in the distance.

LUMENS
The Zebralight H52 will output 300 lumens, covering a distance of 66 m.

COLOR
We chose the “cool white” LED version which increases battery life over “neutral” and “warm” LEDs.

PROGRAM LEVELS
You can program the H52 to your preferred brightness at 3 main tiers: High, Medium and Low, as well as two sub-tiers for each main tier.

OUTPUT
Here are the light outputs & runtimes as posted on the Zebralight website, tested with AA Eneloop batteries:

  • High: H1 300 Lm (0.9 hrs) or H2 184 Lm (1.7 hrs) / 116 Lm (3 hrs)
  • Medium: M1 54 Lm (7.5 hrs) or M2 27 Lm (12 hrs) / 13 Lm (27 hrs)
  • Low: L1 2.9 Lm (4 days) or L2 0.36 Lm (3 weeks) / 0.06 Lm (2 months) / 0.01 Lm (3 months).

Overall we’re happy with the light output for such a small light, and the user selectable levels make it easy to change modes without fiddling around. 

Light & Adjustability Score
90%

Size & Weight

DIMENSIONS
With a length of 3 inches (76.5 mm), and head diameter of 0.86 inch (21.8 mm)—the Zebralight H52 is so small it’ll hardly take up any room in your bug out bag.

WEIGHT
The total weight of the H52 with the headband and an Eneloop AA is only 2.9 ounces (80 gram). Without the battery and headband it weighs 1 ounce!

DUAL PURPOSE
(Note: the headlight can also be removed from the headband and carried in hand as a standalone flashlight.)

Size & Weight Score
100%
Zebralight H52 AA Headlamp with headband
Photo of the Zebralight H52 AA Headlamp with headband

Durability

The Zebralight H52 is one tough flashlight. We’re extremely impressed with the quality of materials and workmanship that went into the Zebralight H52:

BODY
The main body is machined from a single piece of aluminum from “premium grade aluminum bar stocks.” 

FINISH
The body is then coated in “Type III Class I” hard anodized finish to increase durability.

LED BOARD
Zebralight uses a “proprietary heat sinking design that bonds the LED board directly to the unibody aluminum casing” so there’s less that can break loose.

GLASS
It uses “tempered optical grade glass” and it’s “waterproof to IPX7 (2 meters, 30 minutes)”. 

Durability Score
100%

Battery Life

BATTERY RUNTIMES
Depending on the selected brightness level the battery can last anywhere from 0.9 hours at it’s brightest, down to 3 months at it’s lowest—incredible.

PREVENT ACTIVATIONS
To prevent accidental activations and parasitic drain you can disconnect the battery by slightly unscrewing the tail-cap.

CAPACITY INDICATOR
There’s a handy “battery capacity indicator”. Just give it 4 short clicks and the LED will flash 1 to 4 times to let you know how much you have left.

Zebralight H52 AA Headlamp with belt clip
Photo of Zebralight H52 survival flashlight with belt clip installed

LOW BATTERY ALERTS
There’s also a low battery alert to let you know if the battery voltage is below 1.06V when it’s turned off.

AUTO-DIMMING
It’ll automatically dim itself if the battery is running low to conserve battery.

MINIMAL DRAIN
According to Zebralight, the parasitic drain is “negligible—much less than the self discharging of a battery.”

Battery Life Score
100%
BATTERY Survival Tip

The Importance of the AA Battery

FAQ: Aren’t AA batteries less powerful than newer battery sizes, such as CR123’s?

Yes, but those battery sizes are far too uncommon to come by in a survival situation where resources are limited.

According to Wikipedia, “In 2011, size AA batteries accounted for approximately 60% of alkaline battery sales in the United States. In Japan, 58% of alkaline batteries sold were AA. In Switzerland, AA batteries totaled 55% in both primary and secondary (rechargeable) battery sales.”

That’s why we’re so keen on a survival headlamp or flashlight powered by the AA battery.

Take it a step further by pairing a rechargeable AA battery (such as the Panasonic Eneloop), with a solar charger and you get a semi-sustainable source of battery power (as long as weather permits).

Price

At around $65 USD this is not the cheapest light, but frankly, for everything you get we’re surprised it’s not more expensive. While we feel it’s worth every penny we know not everyone can accord it.

(If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly AA flashlight consider the Thrunite Archer 2A V3 which uses two AA batteries.)

Price Score
75%

Overall Score

For such a tiny, lightweight, single AA operated headlamp, we feel the Zebralight H52 is simply the best survival headlamp for your Bug Out Bag.

If not for survival, this is a perfect fit for an ultralight backpacker as well.

Overall Score: 4.7 Stars

★★★★★

Photo of Zebralight H52 survival flashlight with belt clip installed

We hope you found this guide useful! If you did, share this with your friends and let us know in comments.

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About the Author

James Emry is a hands-on, outdoor enthusiast and family man who loves learning new things and acquiring new skills. He developed an affinity with nature as a child and is now passionate in his study of bushcraft and wilderness survival. James founded Fox Survival Gear to help families to get equipped with high quality, affordable survival gear for the event of an emergency. He believes that “Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Well.”

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