I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.
I recently took my son and made a quick trip to our friendly neighborhood Walmart to pick up a few things — an Energizer work headlight, some batteries, and a “for sale” sign. No, that last item isn’t related to the first two (or to my son, for that matter!). It just happened to be that I need one, so might as well get it this time around! And though this was a sponsored trip, no, the Energizer bunny did not meet us at the door. I’ll have to have a word with him.
The closest Walmart to home is an older store, but it is my favorite. (An aside: This Walmart does not have a grocery section, meaning it is both smaller in overall size and has a wider selection of regular items. Amazing! As much as I love low prices on groceries, I wish more Walmart stores were like this one. But I digress.) We made our way over to sporting goods and found the flashlight section.
As you can see, there are quite a few from which to choose. For the purposes of this trip, though, I was looking for a headlight. I found that Walmart actually had quite a selection of these.
While Energizer clearly has the most models available here, you can also see headlights from Coleman, Ozark Trail, and Rayovac. I was intrigued by the Energizer cap lights — they clip on the bill of your baseball cap! — but decided to go with a headlight model. I don’t wear a cap often enough to justify getting a cap light. The head lights come in a number of varieties, with differences in brightness, distance, and battery life. I chose the model with the longest battery life.
After grabbing the rest of our items, we headed to the checkout lines and back home. On the drive back, my son and I talked about how we could use the headlight. “It would be good for camping,” he offered. Yes, I’m sure it would, but we don’t go camping. Ever. What else can we do with a headlight? We started talking about other options — walks in the evening, power outages, trips to the basement or garage (which aren’t well-lighted). The more we thought about it, we came to this conclusion: you can use a headlight anytime you would normally use a flashlight. Yes, it produces light (an important requirement!), but it also frees up your hands. Anything you would need to do with a flashlight should be easier to do with a headlight. Of course, we still had to test the product to see if it would actually live up to our expectations!
We arrived at home and opened the package before we even left the car.
At first I thought this would be one of those annoying blister packs that are nearly impossible to open. I was pleasantly surprised that all I had to do was tear back the perforated cardboard to get the package open. It’s a great solution and a major improvement over the way products have been packaged in the recent past. We got the flashlight and the included batteries out, then popped open the back to install the batteries.
That was easy. Time to pop the assembly back together. I noticed that the back of the flashlight has a soft, rubber cushion, right where the device will meet my forehead. Nice touch!
OK, time to see just how ridiculous I look with a bright headlight strapped to my forehead!
The headlight has four modes: spot, flood, spot + flood, and “night vision,” which is red. We went to the basement to try them out. First test: the bookcase. I turned off the basement lights, then used the headlight to look at our bookcase.
The spot mode is certainly the brightest, but the flood mode was the most useful for this inside situation. I can see where spot may be good for walking outside, where you need to focus more light ahead of you. The night vision mode was a cool novelty, but not something I can see myself using.
OK, so it works. It is a bright headlight. How about some real-world situations, though? Can it actually make a difference? I thought of three scenarios where I would normally grab a flashlight and tried using the headlight instead.
Scenario One: The breaker box. Our breaker box is in a dim corner in the basement. Even when the power is on in the basement, I need a flashlight to see what’s in the thing. Then, however, I’m balancing a flashlight whilst trying to decipher what’s been written on the box cover and match numbers on the breakers — it’s a mess.
As you can see, the box is much more clearly illuminated with the headlight than with the lights on in the room. Plus, with the headlight, I have both hands free. Bonus!
Scenario Two: The scary garage. Our garage is a disaster. Heading in there, even with the lights on, is dangerous enough that the X Games are considering adding it as a new sport. Finding something? Forget it. Flashlights are required, but then you’re limited to one hand — not exactly a wise move with the mutant field mice ready to pounce on the unsuspecting. Two hands definitely make for a better situation. The headlight gives me this, plus lets me actually see what is in the toolbox out there!
As I finish up this scenario, it dawns on me: I can hold this light in my hand if I really want to. So if a situation were to arise where an actual hand-held flashlight would be preferred, I can just pull the headlight off my head and hold it in my hand. Voila!
Scenario Three: Checking under the hood. Inevitably, when a car breaks down, it’s in a poorly lit location. Flashlights are a necessity to carry in the car for those “what if” times that will eventually come. Have you ever tried using a flashlight when you’re fixing a car, though? You need both hands, so you balance it on something, or pin it between your holder and your head like you would a phone, or hold it in your mouth, or… you get the idea. Imagine how much better a headlight would be!
I went ahead and popped open the hood on one of our vehicles.
I suppose I should have anticipated the results, but I was still surprised at how well the headlight illuminated the engine compartment. I had both hands free, and the light always shone exactly where I needed it, because I had complete control. I can’t begin to count the number of times something like this would have made a huge difference.
Given the significant impact a hands-free, head-mounted light would make for auto repairs, I decided that the right place to keep the headlight is in the glove compartment. I can also easily see how having one of these available in the house would be a good idea, too, so I may just need to pick up another one!
Ben Martin is the CEO of THE FATHER LIFE. He lives with his wife and five children in the Rochester, NY, area.