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If you thought the LED craze — where manufactures will stuff LEDs in anything that’ll hold still long enough — was over, this’ll change your mind: Kobalt now offers a standard ball cap with a pair of LEDs in the brim.  A Batman-style hidden button sewn into the rear corner of the brim turns it on and off, and the battery pack resides in the band near your right ear.

When I happened upon this hat I was reminded of something my Dad told me years ago.  He said, “Half the fishing lures at the store are designed to catch fisherman, not fish.”  I think we may be looking at the same thing here. 

A few practical issues bother me: it’s pretty heavy, and I’m not sure it’d be comfortable over time.  Also, I’m not sure how I feel about paying $30 for the option to charge my hat.  Of course, the final deal breaker for me is that I wear my hat backwards, so unless I need a spotlight on my ass, this won’t do me much good. 

Then again, I’ve been wrong before.  What say you Toolmongers?  Let us know in comments.

Light Hat [Kobalt]


15 Responses to Hot or Not: Kobalt’s Hat Light

  1. eschoendorff says:

    I’ve had this same hat by Craftsman for a couple years now. Craftsman’s version was only 14.99. I really comes in handy if you don’t mind looking like a dork.

    Here’s a pic of mine:

  2. nrChris says:

    eschoendorff beat me to the punch. I have seen the Craftsman hat quite a few times at Sears, and almost pulled the trigger during one of the recent sales. I can’t get past the dorkiness though.

  3. SceneShopNinja says:

    I bought one of the Craftsman LED hats a couple of years ago, it sure wasn’t a replacement for a headlamp or a flashlight, but it was handy because I was always wearing it. The batteries in mine only lasted a few months. And I agree, you have to be pretty proud of your dorkiness to really pull it off.

  4. sackofwetmice says:

    I picked up a similar hat at HD about a year ago for $14.99. It has come in handy for crawling through the attic or crawlspace, and especially for going outside on a winter night to get an armful of firewood. The hat doesn’t seem any heaver than a regular hat to me, but this one is not rechargable.

    As for the dorkiness factor, most people who’ve seen me wear it thought it was cool. I just wish that it had a strobe mode for everyone who asks “what’s that thing on the front of your hat”

  5. At my bachelor party the guys made me wear a hat with blinking LEDs that spelled “PERVERT”; however, my vision was pretty blurry so I can’t comment on the effectiveness of the hat for lighting.

  6. John says:

    A while back, I picked up a little gadget that clips on to the bill of a hat and had 3 white LEDs in it. Found it at Walmart for about 10 bucks. Lately I found an improved version which has 5 LEDs, and I definitely plan on picking one up. Even though I don’t typically wear a baseball cap (I’m a soft-felt brush hat kinda guy), I’ll wear one to use the “hat lamp”. It was in the sporting goods section at Walmart and was called something like “The Fisherman’s Pal”. It should also be with the other flashlights. I also have a stand-alone headlamp with an elastic band that has red and white LEDs as well as a regular incandescent lamp with reflector. I regularly use all three settings; the LEDs are bright but can’t throw the light as far as the regular bulb, but the former use much less power. The only downside to the unit is it’s pretty heavy, which is where the hat lamp comes in handy. And I get to choose what my hat says, unlike the product featured here!

  7. John says:

    Stupid me, I forgot to give a definitive “not” to the product. Duh. Sorry guys.

  8. As much as I love rechargeable batteries, I prefer them to be removable, so swapping in a charged set only takes a second. If you run down a built-in pack, you’re out of commission while the charger does its thing. Also, this hat’s not exactly washable with all the electronics in it. Hats get sweaty, they need washing! For those reasons, I’m giving this a bit “NOT.

    There are standalone clip-on lights that work well enough on hat brims. Some are designed specifically for it, like http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/gadget_brando_5_led_cap_light and its ilk. Others, like the Photon Micro-light, have an accessory clip to attach to random objects. But all those use Lithium coin cells, which are expensive, disposable, and fairly limited when it comes to capacity.

    My favorite hat light, which I’ve been using a lot lately, is the Fluke LVD1. It’s a single-AAA-powered LED flashlight, which just happens to have a non-contact AC voltage detector built in. A fresh battery yields 3 or 4 hours of light, and it fits just fine clipped to my hat brim.

  9. Warden Streets says:

    I’m gonna give this a Not. I’m thinking its probably not very durable, and of course, you can’t discount the dork factor. I was at a local flea market last weekend, and picked up a couple clip-on one-LED lights for a buck a piece. They’re about an inch long, and have a clip on a swivel. I picked them up for the same reason someone decided to put LEDs on this hat. Plus, you can snap them on your glasses, or for the backwards hat wearers you could probably manage to make that work too. Plus, at a buck a piece, I’m not gonna be ticked when one of them fails.

  10. Scott Kammerzell says:

    I have the wal-mart special ones that John mentioned above, It has 3 LED’s and clips onto the brim of your hat. I don’t wear ball caps, and I bet that it would get annoying if it were on one. However, this thing has a permanent home on my hard hat. I don’t wear the hard hat very often, but most of the time that I have it on, I’ll end up needing a light and it is nice to know that it is always in the truck.

  11. Austin Kipperman says:

    Learn to take a fLIcken picture ass wipe.
    LEDs are lame

  12. Allan Hartung says:

    I have been using the Craftsman 2 LED ($16 at K-Mart) light now at the Flightline for 2 months now. I have the early morning shift and use the LED function for about 2 hours a day. The light is finally fading, but I can still see where to put the fuel in the aircraft clearly. This hat was a replacement for a miner’s style light that had 4 AA batteries in it. The hat is so light that many times I forget I even have it on. It is sooo much better than the miners light. I highly recommend this hat to anyone who wants hands free lighting. Sears also has a 4 LED light for about $20.

    As for the Dorky factor…I have just the opposite happen. All of the pilots and mechanics ask where they can get this hat and some have gone out to purchase them.

  13. R Smith says:

    I have used one of these lights for several years when I get caught working late on a car at nite . I think this was a Brinkman . It came in very useful when you needed that little extra more lite . It came with a lifetime warranty that actually was lifetime . Damn good lite . I had the same response as Allan had . Everyone asked me where they could get one . Dorky maybe but i am over 50 so don’t give a flip how it looks , it works !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Erik Lehman says:

    I have been using a craftsman led cap for 6 months now and besides the fact that washing may be a problem (hand wash only) I don’t see any reason not to own one. Dorky? Maybe someone needs to work on some self esteem. I can just say when doing high performance precision work on an engine block, dorky is not the first thing on my mind. If you’re looking for fashion go somewhere else, although the ladies love my cap, especially when i’m all covered in grease. Remember when men where men?

  15. Hal Jones says:

    Guys I thought it was a dorky idea, but picked one up anyway. Yea, I know I am the guy with Petzl and Black Diamond top of the line lights built to withstand nuclear wars and ice caving in Siberia, but frankly I have worn the crap out of the non-rechargeable version from Kobalt.
    Hopefully the batteries will last. If the batteries are lithium, these hats would be great for cold weather camping. It has also found use when I grill. This weekend I am doing an insulation project in an open crawl space and I will use the cap to supplement my work lights. Being colder than a &*&()_ &*&*(), I will use a lot of halogen lights for area lighting(and heat).
    Bottom Line, I would opt for the non rechargeable version for weight and comfort reasons and lower cost.

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