Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Product Review - Zebra Light

Our family has a thing for flashlights.  We have lived for over 12 years in a shop that was never intended to be a house and consequently is very poorly lit.  In addition to our poor lighting situation, we have after-thought, off-grid power, which makes finding a light switch in the middle of the night a challenging proposition.  Due to these little quirks, along with the fact that we have no outside lights and frequently have to start the generator in the dead of night, we have a constant need for quality flashlights.

Over the years we have tried them all.  Mag Lights, Surefire's and Streamlight's have all graced our home.  We have used rechargeable flashlights, LED flashlights and wind-up flashlights.  And one by one, they have all died - some by trauma and others by attrition, but none have withstood the rigors of off-grid, everyday extreme use.

Not too long ago, our friend, Joe Nobody, sent a product review for us to post on our blog.  He had field tested (for many years) the Streamlight Sidewinder and had nothing but good things to say about it.  Sir Knight ordered one (and is the process of field testing it - under extreme duty, of course) and he couldn't be happier, however, he was still in the market for a top notch headlamp.

Although flashlights are handy, more often than not we need the ability to be "hands free" while completing our tasks.  Having looked high and low for a rugged, high quality, durable headlamp that took AA batteries (our group standard) we had concluded that such a thing didn't exist and we would have to lower our expectations.  But then, we found the Zebra Light.

After digging through pages of internet nonsense, Sir Knight came across the Zebra Light (Model H51 Headlamp) and thought it looked promising.  He read every review he could find and came to the conclusion that the Zebra Light met or exceeded all of our requirement with the exception of two....1st - it is made in China - this is very distressing, and 2nd - it is cost prohibitive.

Realizing that we did indeed NEED a headlamp (it is nothing less than a tool for our family), Sir Knight decided to blow the big bucks and make an investment in the Zebra Light.  Wow!  To say that it met all of our expectations would be an understatement.  Not only did the Zebra light meet our expectations - it exceeded them!
Side-by-side comparison with Surefire 6v LED flashlight (both with fresh batteries)
The Surefire is on the left with the Zebra Light on the right

Compact size and sturdy construction
The Zebra Light uses cutting edge LED technology (I don't know how this is different from "regular" LED's, but I can tell you that it is REALLY bright!) and runs on....WAIT FOR IT....1 AA battery!  It has 3 settings - low, medium and high, and those setting are adjustable (with two settings each).  When running on the low setting, it will run for 16 DAYS (on 1 AA battery!) and on high it runs for .9 hours.  The body is made out of anodized aluminum and the cap has an o-ring seal (making it water resistant) and the fit and finish is perfect.  In reality, this headlamp is really just a flashlight that has a headband attachment, making it incredibly versatile.  The Zebra Light System comes with the light, spare o-rings (for the cap), the headband and two rubber holders to attach the light to the headband - one black and one glow-in-the-dark (Sir Knight thinks that the glow-in-the-dark attachment (worn directly in the middle of your forehead) may be a tactically bad idea).  There is a removable clip (that is attached to the light) that can be woven into any knit stocking cap, through a button hole, through two slits cut into a ball cap or clipped onto your molle gear making it highly practical in any situation.  It is important to note that if you back the tail-cap off 1/4 of a turn, it will not accidentally turn on in your pack or your pocket, forestalling an unpleasant surprise when illumination is required.

The offending glow-in-the-dark option
Pertinent Zebra Light Information:

  • Light Output
    • High:         H1 200 Lm (0.9 hrs)   or    H2  100 Lm (2.4 hrs) / 140 Lm (1.7 hrs) / 4Hz Strobe

    • Medium:    M1  30 Lm (8 hrs)    or    M2      Lm (26 hrs)

    • Low:         L1   2.Lm (3 days)   or    L2   0.2 Lm (16 days)

    • Light output are out the front (OTF) values. Run time tests are done using Sanyo 2000mAh Eneloop AA batteries.

Other than the price we LOVE this light.  It has proven to be rugged, useful and highly reliable.  If you NEED an extreme use flashlight, the Zebra Light is the one for you!


  1. Enola,


    I gotta look into that light!

    Im having a hard time giving up my "old school" eight D-cell Maglight that doubles as a blunt instrument and can be "thrown at back of the legs" of a bad guy as he is runnning away, knocking his legs out from under him. We call those "Tonks" for the "tonking sound" the batteries make upon impact.

    Another wonderful advantage to "old school" flashlights is you cant lose them easily and you can duct tape your rifle to a large Maglight like "Sigourney Weaver" duct taping that flamethrower to her rifle in "Aliens 2" (anybody know a single lady that is like Sigourny Weaver's charactor in Aliens 2, send her my way and I will marry her)

    1. I have a 30 year old 4 C-cell maglite I bought a LED bulb for, and LED conversion kits for a couple of the AA maglites. They just keep on working, and the price is reasonable. I've used mine for everything from a bicycle headlight to a frog gigging light. It's been lost in the yard for a couple months(the AA size one), buried on snow, fallen off the top of the roof, dropped in mud/water/used motor oil, and all sorts of gunk. They're scuffed up big time, but still work just fine.
      Yeah, one of the larger ones would make a good "head light" for an intruder. The only downside with maglites is they roll...

  2. Thanks for the review! We are flashlight junkies here, too. This sounds perfect for my husband. He is a very large man though. We have had a hard time finding a headlamp that didn't have straps that cut into his head even when the straps are fully extended. Forget about wearing a stocking cap under one either! Is there any way you could measure the circumference of the band for me? I looked at the specs on Amazon and couldn't find it. I love your blog! Keep up the good work.


  3. Okay, now you are even. I'm going to have to get one of these and try it out...Joe Nobody

  4. Zebra's site has 'em for $69. Amazon has it for $64. And if Joe likes it, then I'm in.

  5. Enola,


    I duct taped my giant "old school" mag light to my M1A rifle and took pics of it and sent it to some friends. Everyone likes it and got a good laugh out of it.
    (I really do plan to by some better lights in the future, right now Im directing my money towards a few more necessitys that help me get through a economic meltdown in this country that will happen in due time)

  6. Have you tried a company called foursevens.com ? Their Quark line is similar and has a headband adapter so you can use them as a head light. They are made in America. Very high quality. I have been using mine hard for three years and no problems so far.

  7. Ouch that is an expensive light especially having to buy a few...:(