TH20 ThruNite Head Torch
The TH20 headlamp is fitted with the latest CREE XP-L V6 LED for the brightest beam of any head torch powered by a single AA sized battery.
Featuring a 0.3 Lumen FireFly, a huge 520 Lumen Turbo mode, and incremental brightness adjustment.
- Latest CREE XP-L V6 LED
- AA, NIMH Rechargeable or 14500 battery
- Gradual brightness adjustment
- FireFly, Turbo and SOS modes
- IPX8 Waterproof (2m for 30mins)
- Impact resistant to 1.5m
- Memory – light turns on at previous level
Pros and Cons
Where to Buy?
On my last hiking trip, a friend of mine revealed his latest head torch, the Thrunite TH10. I was absolutely blown away by the power of it but was less than impressed with its weight. At the time, my headlamp of choice was the Black Diamond Storm which I choose mainly for the red night vision mode. It’s a great head torch, but not particularly bright and does require four AAA batteries (eight if you bring spares).
As I’m constantly looking to simplify and lighten my hiking equipment the idea of a powerful, yet lightweight headlamp powered by a single AA battery really appealed to me. My choice came down to either the new ThruNite TH20 or the tried and tested Fenix HL23. With them costing around about the same price I decided it might be useful to test both and pick a favourite.
2Design and Build Quality
Both headlamps are constructed in Premium Type III hard anodized alloy with an anti-abrasion finish. There is very little to distinguish between them in terms build quality. I do slightly favour the ThruNite TH20’s diamond knurled ends over the Fenix’s cog-like detailing.
While I have no complaints with the main bodies of either unit, the same cannot be said for their headband retainers. The Thrunite TH20 has a soft rubber bracket that feels comfortable against the forehead. Its design is simple yet effective. It’s easy to adjust the angle and it feels consistent and stable wherever it’s positioned. ThruNite also include a spare, should you need to replace it.
In contrast, the Fenix HL23 has opted for a hard plastic fixing, that will undoubtedly suffer in cold weather. It also has a ratcheting movement that weirdly only ratchets half way then becomes relatively loose.
Although hardly anyone would have a need to position the beam pointing skyward, it does mean that the HL23 can only be worn with the button to the right. I’m a lefty so this isn’t ideal for me. I can wear the ThruNite TH20 with the button on my left but this wouldn’t be possible with the Fenix headlamp.
3Features and Functions
There’s two significant hardware features present on the ThruNite TH20 that set it apart from the Fenix HL23 headlamp. Firstly, the CREE LED on the ThruNite is the latest XP-L V6. The Fenix uses an older XP-G2 which is considerably less powerful. Secondly, the TH20 can accommodate a Li-ion 14500 battery which can double the brightness from 250 Lumens (with a regular AA battery) to a whopping 520 in Turbo mode.
The Thrunite TH20 light modes
Until I’d seen the FireFly mode on my hiking buddies TH10 I was sure the only safe way of maintaining a good vision during the night was with a red light. However, the 0.3 lumens that the TH10 puts out is just right and I actually prefer it to the red light from my Black Diamond head torch.
|0.3 Lumens (14 days)||1.6 Lumens (21h)||230 Lumens (95m)||250 Lumens (93m)||520 Lumens (37m)|
Similar to the Black Diamond Storm, the ThruNite TH20 has a gradually increasing brightness that starts from just 1.6 Lumens and goes all the way up to 230. It also has a memory to restore the light intensity from the last known level when switched back on.
The Fenix HL23 light modes
With three brightness settings, the Fenix is very simple to use. A long press turns it on, and a short press cycles through the levels. Unfortunately, the lowest setting is still bright enough to bother a fellow hiker if you’re careless with the beam. Unlike the ThruNite TH20, the Fenix has no capacity to remember the previous level when turned on. The beam will always start in high mode.
|3 Lumens (100h)||50 Lumens (5h 40m)||150 Lumens (1h 20m)|
It’s no surprise to see the ThruNite obliterates the Fenix in terms of overall brightness, however, there are more factors to consider. Surprisingly the Fenix HL23 stands out in both tone and range. The older LED has a much smaller spread which allows it to throw light further than the TH10.
While they are both really good quality single AA battery headlamps, for me the Thrunite TH20 stands out as the clear winner. The FireFly, Turbo, Infinite brightness control and its memory functionality make it far more versatile than the Fenix. It’s fitted with the latest XP-L-V6 LED which greatly outperforms the XP-G2 R5 and I prefer its rubber headband attachment over the hard plastic alternative on the HL23.
As much as I love my Black Diamond Storm, I’m likely to take the ThuNite TH20 on my next hike. It weighs less, puts out more light and is far more simple to use.