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:
Light & Adjustability
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.
The Zebralight H52 will output 300 lumens, covering a distance of 66 m.
We chose the “cool white” LED version which increases battery life over “neutral” and “warm” LEDs.
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.
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.
Size & Weight
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.
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!
(Note: the headlight can also be removed from the headband and carried in hand as a standalone flashlight.)
The Zebralight H52 is one tough flashlight. We’re extremely impressed with the quality of materials and workmanship that went into the Zebralight H52:
The main body is machined from a single piece of aluminum from “premium grade aluminum bar stocks.”
The body is then coated in “Type III Class I” hard anodized finish to increase durability.
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.
It uses “tempered optical grade glass” and it’s “waterproof to IPX7 (2 meters, 30 minutes)”.
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.
To prevent accidental activations and parasitic drain you can disconnect the battery by slightly unscrewing the tail-cap.
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.
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.
It’ll automatically dim itself if the battery is running low to conserve battery.
According to Zebralight, the parasitic drain is “negligible—much less than the self discharging of a battery.”
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.
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.)
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.