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NiteCore HC30

photo: NiteCore HC30 headlamp


Price Historic Range: $54.95
Reviewers Paid: $50.00
Weight 40.3 g / 1.42 oz
Max Output 1000 lumens
Max Beam Distance 162 m
Max Beam Intensity 6600 cd
Max Run time 330 h 0 m / 13.75 d


1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Great headlamp for a good price. Best for serious night navigation and caving.


  • Well-built rugged design
  • 1000 lumens
  • Waterproof


  • Internal tail spring and cap seem less durable

Ok, so I can finally add this review after several months of punishing caving and some night navigation. This light gets a fantastic review. Bought it when one of my Zebralight H600 lamps died. It is similar in the general design, but there are marked differences.

1. The light cycles through the different modes much more intuitively than a Zebralight. It can be annoying to users like me at first, but once you figure it out it's great! Less of a tendency to blind myself while using it. It ramps up brightness with each click.

2. The button is large and flat. It is easier for gloved hands to press.

3. The beam is more pronounced and spot-like than the H600, but still plenty of usable spill.

4. Very intriguing, the head screws off the battery tube so you can clean the contacts.

5. Yep, price.

The light uses rechargeable 18650 or two cr123. With these lights you just pop in the battery and go all night. Heavier than the ZL a bit, and the tail cap seems like a possible weak point if you step on it or smash it when it's off. Other recommended lights are Zebralight H600 series (better beam) and Armytek Wizard (great button for gloved hands).

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $50


Thanks for the helpful review and light recommendations, Unknown Caver.

6 years ago

Hey UkC, thanks for the review. Now for the questions...First, what happened to your Zebra? I haven't heard about one "dying" before. Second, is the $40 price difference noticeable in quality? (i.e., Would it be better to pay the extra money for a superior light?). It sounds like the 2 lights are almost identical in lumens, weight, design, and batteries. So I'm trying to figure out why there is such a huge difference in price. I can only think quality is markedly less. ???

6 years ago
Unknown Caver

I put a muddy, wet battery in the Zebralight. It was either moisture from that, or eventual wearing down of the switch rubber dunking the helmet in hot water & washing it with the high pressure hose. Either one of those two things can cause problems over time. Any moisture over time causes corrosion. Not many lights compare in durability or waterproof quality. A step up are the lights like Scurion, El Speleo, etc. but they are heavy & expensive. A step down are lights like PT Apex, BD Storm, etc. Then there's the Tikkas & such which aren't very useable, although I have a pile of my friend's dead ones. I guess I should reiterate that we encounter a lot of mud & water, including rappelling in waterfalls. Let me show you the differences between the two lights.

6 years ago
Unknown Caver

The Zebralight seems better quality, but is it worth the extra $$$? The differences are slight when you factor in the price. If on a budget, I'd buy the Nitecore HC30. If I didn't care about money, I'd buy the ZL H600. Both are solid headlamps.

6 years ago

Thanks. My primary is a Zebra. I use the PT Apex as a backup, but I'd rather just carry two Zebras (or this one). Smaller, no cable, no battery pack. Same batteries.

6 years ago

Thanks for the additional info and all of those pictures, Unknown Caver!

6 years ago

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