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Wurkkos HD15 Review: Headlamp
Wurkkos HD15 specifications
|LED||Samsung LH351D + Luminus SST20|
|Max. Lumens||2,000 lm|
|Max. Beam intensity / distance||5,700 cd|
|Battery config.||1*18650 / 18350|
|Blinkies||Strobe, SOS, Beacon|
|Review date||February 2022|
Wurkkos makes a decent array of budget-friendly flashlights. I’ve owned many of them and their FC11 is one of my absolute go-to recommendations for non-enthusiasts or those just getting into flashlights. One of the Wurkkos lights I’ve owned was the HD20. Dubbed a headlamp, it just seemed too heavy and bulky for being strapped to a head. Now Wurkkos has released a similar concept but in a smaller form factor. Meet the new Wurkkos HD15. Let’s see if it has overcome some of my concerns with its larger brother.
The HD15 arrived in typical Wurkkos packaging: a lightly designed orange and white box with the Wurkkos logo on top. The light itself was protected in a bubble wrap sleeve and everything else was tossed in. In all, the contents were:
- Wurkkos HD15
- Battery (18650, pre-inserted)
- 18350 battery tube
- Two-way pocket clip
- Spare o-rings
- USB charging cable
Flashlight in use
The Wurkkos HD15 is a 18650-based headlamp and is, therefore, smaller and lighter than its larger 21700-based sibling, the HD20. But just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean it’s small. The HD15 is the largest headlamp I currently own.
There are several different ways to use the HD15. As you’d expect, headlamp is the most obvious configuration. The included headband has a very rubbery attachment area. The headband is an over-the-head type and is pretty standard feeling – not high-end, but it works well enough.
Wurkkos also includes a heavy-duty two-way pocket clip with the light. The clip is designed to be attached near the tail. But if for some reason you’d rather it be pointing in the opposite direction even though it’s bidirectional, you can actually flip the body tube around and orient the clip groove by the head of the HD15.
The tailcap also includes a strong magnet. That’s useful for using the HD15 as more of a utility light, allowing it to be flexible in its positioning when attached to a ferrous object.
The included lanyard is a run-of-the-mill affair. It attaches via a cut-out in the (otherwise flat) tailcap. Unfortunately, the attachment point is quite rough, it really could have used a chamfer around the edges.
All in all, the Wurkkos HD15 is pretty flexible whether you want to use it as a headlamp, clipped to your breast pocket, or placed in various positions as a utility light. And the option of spot, flood, or both LEDs makes it all the more useful.
Build Quality, and Warranty
The construction of the HD15 is “aerospace grade” 6061 aluminum that is machined and then traded with HA Type III anodizing Like most Wurkkos lights, the anodizing is on the shiny end of the spectrum.
There’s no knurling to speak of The body tube has a series of rings that are identical to what you’d find on the FC11 model. The tailcap has a few shallow grooves machine into it, running in the direction of the body, to aid in removing and reinstalling the tailcap. The threads are smooth, square-cut, anodized at both ends, and pre-lubed. Aside from the aforementioned sharp lanyard attachment point, the rest of the body is smooth and nicely chamfered.
Warranty: The manual simply states “Please contact us if you have any questions. If your product is defective please contact us for refund or replacement within warranty period.” But… it doesn’t state how long that warranty period is, nor could I readily find that information on Wurkkos’ website.
LED, Lens, Bezel, Beam, and Reflector
As the saying goes: two is better than one! One of the hallmark features of Wurkkos’ headlamps has been the use of two different LEDs and optics. One to be used as a spotlight, the other to be used as a floodlight. On the HD15 we have a Luminus SST20 5000K 70-CRI behind a smooth narrow TIR as the spotlight. There’s a Samsung LH351D 5000K 90-CRI behind a pebbled TIR for the floodlight.
These LEDs and optics are held in place by a metal plate. At first, I thought it might be steel, but a strong neodymium magnet provided no signs of attraction. The plate is held down by four Torx screws.
The LEDs and optics handle just like you think they should. The LH351D provides a nicely diffused High CRI light for fairly up-close tasks. The SST20 makes a pretty tight beam with some slight tint variation when viewed against a white wall, likely a result of the tiny throwy optic.
Spot + Flood combo measurements (High mode):
- CCT: 4714 K
- CRI: 67
- DUV: +0.0098
Spot only (SST20) measurements (High mode):
- CCT: 4705 K
- CRI: 61
- V: +0.0107
Flood only (LH351D) measurements (High mode):
- CCT: 4985 K
- CRI: 94
- DUV: +0.0070
Dimensions and size comparison
- Length: 110 mm / 4.3 inches
- Head diameter: 27.4 mm / 1.1 inches
- Body diameter: 24.0 mm / 0.9 inches
- Without cells (18650 tube): 75 grams / 2.6 oz.
- With 18650 cell: 122 grams / 4.3 oz.
- With 18650 cell and headstrap: 159 grams / 5.6 oz.
Flashlight size comparison with its competition
With other headlamps, from left to right: Nitecore HC60 V2, Wuben H1, Wurkkos HD15, Wuben H5
Driver & User Interface:
The Wurkkos HD15 appears to have a fairly basic FET-powered driver that is PWM’ed to create modes. I was initially concerned about a one-off UI for dual LEDs (as opposed to tint ramping on Anduril) but as it turns out, the UI feels fairly natural and was easy enough to operate throughout the duration of testing.
Available modes: Moonlight, Low, Medium, High, Turbo
- Press and Hold: Moonlight mode
- Single click: last used mode
- Double click: Turbo mode (with last-used LED selection)
- 3 clicks: check battery status (green, red, or flashing red)
- 4 clicks: Lockout mode
- Press and Hold: cycle modes (Low > Medium > High)
- 1 click: turn off
- 1 click then Press and Hold: cycle LED modes (spot > flood > both)
- Double click: Turbo mode
- 3 clicks: cycle LED modes (not mentioned in the manual)
- There is mode memory for the normal modes (Low, Medium, and High)
- The HD15 also remembers your last used LED selection (spot, flood, or both)
- To Moonlight: hold from Off
- To Turbo: double click (from Off or On)
- To Strobe: double click from Turbo mode
Low voltage warning:
- LEDs under the button indicate battery status:
- Green = over 30% battery remaining
- Red (solid) = under 30% battery remaining
- Red (flashing) = battery is critically low
- Strobe, SOS, and Beacon are available
- Double click from Turbo to activate Strobe
- Double click again to activate SOS
- Double click again to activate Beacon
- Single click at any point to exit
- Lockout mode is activated by 4 quick clicks
- None in Moonlight and Turbo modes
- Low, Medium, and High modes have ~31 kHz PWM (very fast, not visible to the naked eye)
Additional info on the UI:
- Wurkkos claims that the HD15 has thermal regulation, and that plays out in the runtime graphs. There is some oscillation that I’ve seen in other Wurkkos lights with thermal regulation, but it’s not too bad.
- As pointed out by a fellow BudgetLightForum member, I can confirm that there is a slight UI bug. I feel like it’s pretty minor but worth noting. If you enable the spot LED (only), double click to activate turbo, then double your way through the strobes until you get back to turbo, and then cycle through the LED selections (spot, flood, or both), what should be the flood-only selection will have the spot LED stuck on as well (in Turbo, no less). To fix this, just turn the light off and back on.
Batteries & Charging
The Wurkkos HD15 comes with a 3000 mAh button-top 18650 battery pre-installed and protected by a little disc that you’ll need to remove when you first receive the light. As there is a spring on both the driver and in the tailcap, the HD15 is very flexible with the batteries that you can use. Wurkkos also includes their 18350 battery tube in the box at no additional charge. That’s a very nice touch. Note that if you want to use the 18350 tube, you’ll need to provide your own battery.
There’s a USB-C charging port on the back of the head of the light. A USB-A to USB-C cable comes with the light. That works just fine, and charging the HD15 also works with USB-C to USB-C cables. In my testing I observed an 11.9 watt charge rate. It took 2 hours and 18 minutes to complete the charge cycle. The battery was at 4.19 volts at the end.
The HD15 can also be used as a powerbank. I tried using it to charge various USB-C lights I had sitting around:
- An original Wurkkos FC11 charged fine.
- A ThruNite T1S charged fine.
- It had trouble with a new Sofirn BLF LT1 lantern. This new LT1 also has powerbank capabilities and I imagine they just couldn’t figure out which light should charge up the other.
For current measurements, an ANENG AN8008 multimeter and UNI-T UT210E clamp meter were used. Lux was measured by a UNI-T UT383 BT at 5 meters. Lumens were measured in a homemade lumen tube using a TSL2591 sensor, calibrated with a Maukka calibration light. The temperature was monitored with a MLX90614 IR temperature sensor. The included Wurkkos 3000 mAh battery was used for testing.
Lumen measurements (for each mode)
Spot + Flood lights together: Lumen output
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Moon||13 mA||2 lm||1.2 lm||1.2 lm||–|
|Low||42 mA||20 lm||14 lm||14 lm||–|
|Med||546 mA||240 lm||243 lm||241 lm||–|
|High||1.2 A||800 lm||709 lm||688 lm||653 lm|
|Turbo||5.7 A||2,000 lm||1,958 lm||1,730 lm||332 lm|
Spot light only
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Moon||8 mA||1 lm||0.6 lm||0.6 lm||–|
|Low||24 mA||10 lm||6.1 lm||6.3 lm||–|
|Med||349 mA||120 lm||137 lm||137 lm||–|
|High||0.8 A||400 lm||344 lm||336 lm||322 lm|
|Turbo||3.5 A||1000 lm||1,105 lm||1022 lm||134 lm|
Flood light only
|Mode||Amps at start||Specs||@turn on||@30 sec||@10 minutes|
|Moon||11 mA||1 lm||0.6 lm||0.6 lm||–|
|Low||29 mA||10 lm||8.9 lm||8.8 lm||–|
|Med||362 mA||120 lm||131 lm||129 lm||–|
|High||0.9 A||400 lm||430 lm||417 lm||390 lm|
|Turbo||4.5 A||1,000 lm||1,173 lm||1,073 lm||120 lm|
- 105 µA (seemed to fluctuate rapidly between around 85 and 110 µA)
Turbo, Both LEDs – in this test, the output started at 1958 lumens and sagged down to 1605 lumens by 2m11s. At that point, the light was at 57°C and thermal regulation kicked in, quickly ramping output down to 324 over the next 20 seconds. Output stayed in that ~300 lumen realm until thermals allowed it to slowly start stepping back up at 1h15m. Time to 10% was 3h16m. The light shut off at 3h30m.
Turbo, Spot LED – output started out at 1105 lumens and slowly dropped over the first 3m5s to 931 lumens. The light was at 55°C; temp regulation kicked in and dropped the output to only 134 lumens. There were a few up-and-down cycles over the first 36 minutes as the thermal regulation attempted to get the temperature stabilized. Time to 10% was 3h33m. The light eventually shut off at 3h41m.
Turbo, Flood LED – output started out at 1173 lumens and slowly dropped over the first 2m23s to 959 lumens. The light was at 56°C; temp regulation kicked in and dropped the output to only 116 lumens. There were a few up-and-down cycles over the first 32 minutes as the thermal regulation attempted to get the temperature stabilized. Time to 10% was 3h50m. The light eventually shut off at 5h26m.
High, Both LEDs – output started out at 709 lumens and slowly ramped down throughout most of the test Despite peaking up to 72°C, thermal regulation never kicked in with High mode. The time to 10% was 2h18m. The light eventually shut off at 3h31m.
High, Spot LED – output started out at 344 lumens and slowly ramped down throughout most of the test. Max temperature was 51°C. The time to 10% was 5h24m. The light eventually shut off at 7h53m.
High, Flood LED – output started out at 430 lumens and slowly ramped down throughout most of the test. Max temperature was 59°C. The time to 10% was 3h33m. The light eventually shut off at 5h26m.
Special Note: during my initial testing, the Turbo Mode with Spot LED only had extremely wild swings in output every 5 minutes or so. After a few hours into the run, the HD15 would begin to strobe erratically. I repeated this test 3-4 times and it happened every time. All of the other modes operated just fine. We contacted Wurkkos regarding this and they promptly sent a replacement flashlight. The replacement unit did not show this wild behavior, thankfully. If for some reason you receive a flashlight that does exhibit unusual behavior, do contact the manufacturer.
Wurkkos didn’t really mention candela figures for the HD15, so I calculated them from the provided meter throw specs. For my testing, a fresh battery was used in Turbo mode at 5 meters.
|Spot + Flood||5,700 cd||6,125 cd||157 m||172 yd|
|Spot only||5,476 cd||5,625 cd||150 m||164 yd|
|Flood only||1,406 cd||1,850 cd||86 m||94 yd|
Beam shots of the building are taken at 15 m (16 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/10 second exposure time
Beam shots of the playset are taken at 30 m (33 yd) using a Pixel 6 set to ISO 200 with 1/2 second exposure time. The trees in the background are around 65 m away.
- Wurkkos HD15 – both LEDs
- Wurkkos HD15 – spot LED
- Wurkkos HD15 – flood LED
- Nitecore HC60 V2
- Wuben H1
Disclaimer: This flashlight was sent to me for review at no cost by Wurkkos. I have not been paid to review, nor have I been holding back on problems or defects.
- Both Spot and Flood LEDs
- Lots of light
- Full-featured kit
- Neutral White
- Fairly simple UI
- USB-C charging
- Powerbank function
- So-so regulation
- Physically large
- Can get very hot in High mode
Explanation on star ratings:
1: Avoid: my phone flashlight would be a better choice – 2: Poor: significant defect or issues; almost unusable – 3: Average: some defects or issues; but still usable 4: Good: recommended (minor issues) – 5: Great: highly recommended
4 stars: ★★★★
Wurkkos uses the slogan “Wurkkos for all workers!” I think that’s befitting of the new HD15 – it seems like a great work light with a lot of options and modes of operation. Whether you’re working up close, further away, want the light strapped to your head, or affixed under your car hood, the Wurkkos HD15 has you covered. Sure, it’s not fancy as some of the more premium brands (that cost 3x as much!) and you don’t get the cooler-running buck drivers with nice, flat output graphs. That said, Wurkkos packed a lot of value into their new headlamp.