An LED cap is a baseball-style cap with a built-in light-emitting diode (LED) flashlight. LED caps are different from LED headbands or clips because the flashlight in an LED cap is an integral part of the brim or visor. The battery for an LED cap is usually found in the front sweatband of the hat. To save space and reduce the overall weight of the hat, the most common type of battery used is a watch battery, or button cell.
The LED cap has its origins in the miner's headlamp. The headlamp is a type of flashlight that can be attached to a hardhat or a helmet. This style of flashlight is popular with mechanics, search-and-rescue crews, military personnel and miners.
The primary purpose of an LED cap is to allow someone to work or see in a dark area without having to hold a flashlight. This type of hat is particularly useful to mechanics, hunters and campers. For mechanics, the hat is useful when peering into poorly lit areas of engines and underneath cars. An LED cap can be useful to a camper when he or she is attempting to pitch a tent in the dark. For hunters, the different colored lights in some of these LED ball caps can help in tracking wounded animals.
LEDs come in a variety of colors. LED hats can make use of the variety to provide hats that are tailored to specific purposes. Red light, for example, is often used by people who enjoy tracking and viewing wildlife at night. Lights that are red are used because they are less damaging to a person's night vision. For hunting purposes, green lights or blue lights can be used to help make blood trails more visible in the dark.
Most LED hats are made so that the flashlight system is as unnoticeable as possible. This means that the lights, the wiring, the switch and the battery are integrated into the fabric of the hat itself. This not only increases the aesthetic appeal of the hat, it also makes it less bulky when the LED flashlights are not needed.
Aside from integrated flashlights, there are also separate LED flashlights designed to attach to the brim of almost any type of baseball-style cap. These visor lights are usually clipped to the brim of a non-LED cap and can be removed when not in use. The appeal of this kind of lighting system is that it is usually cheaper than an integrated system, and it can be used with any brimmed hat.