Nitecore NU25 UL Headlamp Review

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Following on from my previous reviews of the Nitecore MH12 Pro and EDC27 EDC flashlight, my last Nitecore review is for the NU25 UL headlamp.

This light has a bit more personal appeal to myself and my partner compared to the flashlight, as we are both keen runners. My partner works 9-5 and has been training for the Chester Marathon, so she ends up having to run in the mornings in the dark.

The Nitecore NU25 UL is an appealing choice for runners as this is the ultra-lightweight version of the NU25. While this is an ultra-lightweight version of the NU25, it appears that there is only an 11-gram difference, and to the best of my knowledge, the only difference is the headband design.

Technical Specifications

The Nitecore NU25 UL boasts a respectable lumen output, enough to light up your trail or workspace. The beam distance is adequate for most outdoor activities, while the LED types provide a good balance of brightness and energy efficiency. The battery life seems promising, and the rechargeability via USB adds a layer of convenience. Its weight and dimensions further reinforce its position as a lightweight, portable lighting solution.

  • LED: 5500k dual LED + Red LED
  • Max. output: 400 lumens
  • Max. beam distance: 64meters
  • Max. beam intensity: 1029cd
  • Battery config: 650mAh In-built Li-ion
  • Onboard charging: Yes
  • Modes: 3 x 3 + 1 for primary LEDs + Red LED
  • Waterproof: IP66

Lighting Options and Brightness Levels

Brightness Levels:
Mix (spot and floodlight)
High: 400 lumens – 2 hrs 40 mins runtime
Mid: 200 lumens – 4 hrs 40 mins runtime
Low: 60 lumens – 10 hrs 25 mins runtime

Mid: 200 lumens – 4 hrs 15 mins runtime
Low: 60 lumens – 10 hrs 30 mins runtime

Mid: 200 lumens – 4 hrs 15 mins runtime
Low: 60 lumens – 10 hrs runtime
Ultralow: 6 lumens – 45 hrs runtime

Red light
On: 10 lumens – 16 hrs runtime
Slow flashing: 10 lumens

Plus SOS and beacon (400 lumens).

Unboxing and First Impressions

As I unboxed the Nitecore NU25 UL, the packaging exuded a sense of premium quality. The design of the headlamp immediately caught my eye—minimalistic yet functional, with a decent size that suggested portability. The build quality felt sturdy in hand, promising durability for the rough trails ahead. The package included a set of accessories such as a headband and USB cable, setting a good first impression for what lay ahead in testing this gear.

Design and Build Quality

Nitecore NU25 UL Headlamp Review Design

The Nitecore NU25 UL has a utilitarian design and has no metal parts, which keeps the weight down. The overall build quality feels durable and well-made.

The controls of the light are covered in rubber, with one button for power and brightness and the other to switch between lighting modes.

The USB-C port is then on the side, which is also protected with another rubber tab.

The light angle can be adjusted from straight ahead to angled downwards.

The headband is a plastic elasticated cord which is easy to adjust and has enough length to fit any head.


Nitecore NU25 UL Headlamp Review Spotlight

Unlike the other two flashlights I have reviewed from Nitecore, there is no information on the specific LEDs. However, there is three separate lights: a spotlight with a single LED, a floodlight with a  single LED then two red LEDs.

 You can run the spotlight and floodlight together, or the RED leds by themselves.

Nitecore NU25 UL Headlamp Review Red LEDs

Performance and User Experience

My initial impression was that the cord-style headband may not be ideal for running. It seems like it is something that could be uncomfortable for long runs, and if there is any movement on the cord, it may rub.

I tend to only do shorter runs in the dark, but so far, I have had no problems with the cord design. However, I haven’t used a headband-style headlamp, so can’t accurately compare the comfort fo the two.

The brightness settings and red light mode proved invaluable across different conditions, providing adequate lighting while preserving night vision when necessary.

For the majority of my runs, I opted to use both the spotlight and floodlight and at the maximum brightness of 400 lumens. This should last 2h 40 minutes, which is plenty of time even for most long runs.

If you only need basic illumination, you can dial down the brightness to low or medium.

Battery Life and Charging

The headlamp has a 650mAh in-built Li-ion battery, which doesn’t appear like it would be easy, or even possible, to replace. If they had used a removable battery, this would have added to the weight.

Real-world testing of the battery life aligned with the manufacturer’s claims, showcasing a good longevity that would serve well on extended outings. The charging time is reasonable, and the convenience of USB charging is a modern touch that enhances the user experience.

With both lights at maximum brightness, you will get around 2 hrs 40 mins runtime. If I was hiking or any other endurance activities in the dark, I’d probably use just the floodlight, which achieves a 23m throw distance at 200 lumens and increases the run time to 4h 15 minutes.

Pros and Cons

The Nitecore NU25 UL shines with its lightweight design, robust build quality, and versatile performance.

The different light settings and overall brightness make this perfect for running, but a few might find the maximum brightness lacking in extremely dark conditions.

For the sake of a few grams, I think the elasticated band of the normal NU25 may be better for comfort, but I have not tested this to confirm.

Price and Alternative Options

The Nitecore NU25 UL is available for £44.95 from, the standard NU25 with a thick headband is £48.95.

Amazon also stocks them at the same price.

Nitecore has several other headlamp options to suit different needs and budgets. These include:

  • Nitecore NU33 with 700 limen maximum output for £50
  • Nitecore HC65 V2 with 1750 lumens max output, an easily replaceable rechargeable battery for £90
  • Nitecore NU21, which is a similar design to the NU25 UL but 360 lumen output for £35
  • Nitecore HA11 is another dual beam headlamp, and this runs on AA batteries. It is limited to 240 lumens output but costs an affordable £26


The Nitecore NU25 UL is a superb headlamp. The build quality and  IP66 waterproof rating make it suitable for running in all conditions. The dual LED headlight with floodlight and spotlight provides more than enough illumination in urban environments.

It is possible it may not be bright enough for pitch-black scenarios and things like fell running, where you may want to be as aware of the terrain as possible, but brighter lights will be bigger and heavier. I think this headlamp will be more than adequate for most runners.

Nitecore NU25 UL 400 Lumen Ultra Lightweight Headlamp Review


The Nitecore NU25 UL is a superb headlamp. The build quality and  IP66 waterproof rating make it suitable for running in all conditions. The dual LED headlight with floodlight and spotlight provides more than enough illumination in urban environments.

  • Overall - 80%


  • Spotlight and Floodlight work well together for maximum illumination and environmental awareness.


  • Corded headband is not the most comfortable.

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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