Find the right balance between burn time, light output & weight

Keys to choosing your head torch

Choosing your head torch is about knowing what is just right for you. Just the right lumen, just the right burn time and just the right weight. But what is right for you depends on what activities you plan for. Lumen, i.e. light output, depends on burn time – and the other way around. This is why we encourage you to choose between several battery options. A lot of lumen and a lot of burn time require a lot of battery power. However, lower lumen head torches also require a lot of battery power if you want a very long burn time. Or choose a more lightweight battery if you do not need as much burn time.

How much light do you need?

The very first question to ask yourself before getting a new head torch is how much light you need. Don’t get more light than necessary - it will require a larger battery, which weighs more.

If you plan for short training sessions in technical terrain, then we recommend you go for a strong head torch. Choose a smaller battery – it will weigh less. Or do like the experienced users and change the intensity of the light during your training session by clicking on the light mode button.

How much lumen do you need?
• 200-400 lumen: perfect for roads and paths
• 400-600 lumen: sufficient for most trails in the forest
• 1200-3000 lumen: for technical terrain and high speeds
• 10 000 lumen: when you want to turn night into day

Facts to consider:
• When the light is of high quality, less lumen will be perceived as sufficient
• The more lumen the lower the burn time
• The longer the activity the more battery power is needed
• Our head torches are water resistant IPX5 or more 

Burn time and light output

There are crucial factors that affect how much light a head torch can deliver, and also for how long. That is why we have charts on our head torch packaging showing burn time for the head torches in different conditions.

Burn time – the short explanation

At Silva we use the American national standard for lighting systems, ANSI, to measure burn time. What burn time actually measures, is the time it takes from when the light is turned on until the light reaches 10% of the start value. A head torch with 1000 lumen, and three hours burn time, will give you 100 lumen after three hours, according to ANSI.

Burn time is affected by different factors:
• If you use the maximum or minimum light output
• The size of the battery
• The temperature in your environment
• Speed and wind, because the head torch needs to cool down to perform

  • A lot of cooling = a lot of light, and shorter burn time
  • Less cooling = less light, and more burn time

Extend the burn time

The burn time of your battery, and light output, depends on the light mode you use. The burn time is prolonged in warmer temperatures and by keeping the battery close to your body you will get more burn time even when it is cold outside.

The extension cables from Silva enable you to move your battery to your pocket, bag or bike frame. It is also convenient to use an extension cable when you mount your head torch on a helmet. Bring an extra battery when you plan to stay outside for long, it is easy to change batteries to a fully charged one.

Tip from Silva:
“Experienced head torch users know their batteries, and they don’t want to carry more battery weight than needed. In order to maximize burn time they use the low light modes when the terrain is easy or when they go uphill the mountain on skis. Inexperienced users have full light output all the time, even when it is not needed”

Powerful head torches

Powerful head torches need cooling for optimal function. Our head torches are developed to optimize cooling through smart design. High speed sports require a lot of light, and speed wind is used for cooling the head torch. Fact is, all our powerful head torches need cooling to give you maximum lumen. However, when a head torch is used with full light mode on, more battery power is used. If you stand still with your powerful head torch the lack of cooling will automatically dim down the light. This is the headlamp’s automatic safety system to prevent overheating. Lower light output requires less battery power – which will give you more burn time. Thus there are many factors that will have effect on your headlamp’s burn time.

Our head torches


Silva Free is a ground breaking innovation and the world’s first true modular headlamp series. More light, more freedom.


Extreme sports call for an extreme head torch. Spectra’s incredibly strong light output of 10 000 lumen turns night into day and gives you more training hours, more commitment, more speed and more adrenaline.


Running means different things to different people. You can run to keep fit, to win medals or for community and charity. Maybe you run towards a goal, because you love the feeling or to relax and de-stress. Trail Runner is the headlamp for you who run, regardless of your reason.


Explore was created for adventures – on land as well as water. They’re about experiencing, discovering, and well, exploring. So, if you enjoy doing things like mountaineering, kayaking, hiking or sailing – or if you’re always ready for a new adventure – then Explore was designed for you.

Know what
battery to get

Our range of batteries give you many alternatives of burn time and weight. We have low weight batteries that fit perfectly at the back of your head when you want to run fast – and powerful batteries to keep in your backpack when you want to go for a multiday hike.

head torch temperature

LED diodes generate heat. For safety reasons a maximum temperature of 65 degrees is allowed on reachable surfaces. A built-in sensor will detect when the temperature is too high, and the head torch will automatically dim down the light, if the outside temperature or speed wind is insufficient for cooling the head torch.

Choose the
right head torch for your activities

We will guide you to the perfect head torch for your needs.

Read the guide

Our headlamp philosophy

We have been out there since the 1930s and over the years we have learned a few things about headlamps. This is how we think when designing our headlamps.

Our different models of headlamps

When being outdoors in the dark, we want you to feel like your headlamp is an extension of your body and we want you to feel safe. Here is an overview of our different headlamps.


The Silva Light

The optics in all our headlamps is optimized for specific activities with a blend of long spot light and wide flood light. This is what we call Intelligent Light.