Best Bike Headlight: 8 Options Reviewed in 2020
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If there’s one aspect of bike safety that you can’t live without its headlights. Many manufacturers have taken great strides to improve this particular function of bike safety in order to provide something that’s lightweight with increased output. The result is what you’ll find in the following guide on how to find the best bike headlight for your needs.
LED lamps have played a huge role in ensuring that these developments come to light. This is because they produce way more light compared to metal-halide and halogen counterparts. Plus, they’re powered by lithium batteries that are lightweight yet more powerful.
What you have are headlights that illuminate brighter for longer and across farther distances.
Bicycle Headlight Reviews
In the following guide, we provide bike headlight reviews of the best bicycle headlights on the market. We’ll focus on different features and price points to cater to different customers.
However, once you’re done with this section be sure to check out our buying guide. It includes helpful pointers on what to look out in order to pick the best option for your needs.
1. Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight
The Garmin brand is known for producing high-tech equipment and the Varia UT800 smart headlight is no exception.
It comes with features such as the ability to adjust the brightness based on your speed and you can use it in conjunction with other devices and apps that you might have within the Garmin software ecosystem. The UT800 will even switch on and off and adjust headlights automatically.
This is what you need for fuss-free illumination on the road no matter what your plans are. The great thing about this headlight is that it remains quite visible day and night. This way, you don’t have to worry about visibility regardless of the conditions.
In addition to its lightweight and low-profile design, the UT 800 is highly functional and it looks pretty sleek.
2. Cygolite Metro Bicycle Headlight
The Cygolite Metro 600 is the best cycling headlight if you’re looking for something that’s simple and straightforward and easy to work with. Sure, its simplistic design means that you’ll more than a few flaws to deal with. But it makes up for all that with its impressive battery life.
To give you some context, this bike headlight can last for up to 90 hours! And that’s on the lowest setting. If you switch it on to a higher mode then the battery lifespan goes down to 11 hours. But half a day is more than you can expect from any other headlight on this list.
There are six different light modes to choose from, each of which works with a 600-lumen setting. This includes “Daylighting” mode which makes it easier to maintain visibility on the road during the day and “SteadyPulse” mode which flashes motorists to alert them of your presence in low-light conditions.
This is what makes the Metro 600 one of the safest bike headlights available.
3. CAT EYE Bike Headlight
Next in our list of the best bike headlights we have the CAT EYE Volt 6000.
This impressive piece of machinery boasts 6,000 lumens worth of illuminating power. It means you’ll be able to see through even the darkest paths.
When it comes to off-road applications, this is definitely the bicycle headlight that you want. In addition to the Volt’s 6000-lumen rechargeable mode, it sports a separate remote control. This enables you to change from a 500-lumen lamp to 6,000 lumens in one fell swoop. The latter mode can last for up to an entire hour and it might require an external battery as well.
However, if you’re using the Volt 6000 for daily commutes then you might find that it’s a bit overkill. But it’s perfect for anyone who’s looking to enjoy off-road cycling on a regular basis.
4. Blackburn Luminate 360 Bike Light Set
The Blackburn Luminate 360 light is the best bike headlight for when you’re speeding through the city running errands or just enjoying a leisurely ride.
The Luminate 360 light comes with the Dayblazer 65 and the Dayblazer 400. This is a set that provides you with two more sidelights than you had which you can install onto the top tube, or bike fork. Regardless, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that drivers on the road will be able to see you from a mile away so accidents are less likely.
There are four different modes to choose from on the Dayblazer 400 – namely 200 and 400 lumens, and each option offers fantastic battery life.
Not only that, but the included rubber straps make it easy to mount this onto your bike. You’ll find that recharging it is just as effortless using a micro USB.
5. NiteRider Lumina OLED Boost Headlight
The NiteRider Lumina OLED 1200 Boost is the best bicycle headlight on this list. Why? Because it’s suitable for a wide range of applications and users. You can use it for difficult trails, mountain biking, and city driving alike.
These headlights have an output of 1,200 lumens which is a light bright enough to illuminate a space of up to 20 yards ahead.
You’ll also be glad to know that the Lumina comes with battery saving features that are designed to ensure that the battery lasts for as long as possible.
For instance, there’s an automatic setting that sets the light to the lowest brightness setting when the battery is low and the LED screen has a battery indicator that tells you how much juice your battery has left. There are also four daylight flash modes and five different light levels included with this bicycle headlight.
6. Te-Rich Super Bright Bike Light
The Te-Rich Super Bright is the best bike light for mountain biking, trail biking, and other off-road applications. It’s made from durable aluminum and it comes with a light indicator that tells you how much juice your battery has left. This way, you don’t find yourself in the dark suddenly.
It’s powered by 1,200 lumens worth of illumination. This means it has the capacity to provide enough light even in the most brightly lit road. It’s rugged and made for the outdoors as evidenced by its waterproof certification. There’s even a charger included with the pack so you can effortlessly recharge it when need be.
There are many ways in which this headlight will help you to save money. For one thing, you don’t have to buy separate or extra batteries because you can just recharge the batteries that it comes with. There are four lighting modes to choose from which all affect battery life.
Basically, this headlight has a lifespan of 4-hour battery life on the high setting, 8 hours on the medium setting, while strobe and low will keep it on for up to 12 continuous hours.
It’s worth noting that this headlight can illuminate the path ahead by up to 980 feet. This is more than enough for you to see the traffic coming in front of you clearly, even in low light conditions. Also included in the package is a taillight with three different light modes as well, namely strobe, flash and steady beam.
We also love the included headband which Te-Rich has included free of charge and makes for a nice little stylish accessory. You’ll definitely benefit from taking this headlight with you on different biking adventures. This is especially when you’re dealing with unexpected dark or light conditions.
7. BLITZU Gator Bike Light Set
If you’re looking for the best road bike headlight, look no further than the BLITZU model. This high-quality light offers 320 lumens, which is all you need when zipping through the city. It takes just two hours to fully recharge it using a USB cable attached to the USB port.
In addition to the headlight itself, the package comes with a free tail light as well granted you buy it within the timeframe by which this offer is available.
As mentioned, this bike light is perfect for city commuting, but it can also handle more unconventional roads if need be. This portable light is lightweight, waterproof-certified and comes in four different modes. These include flash, low, medium, and high.
Not only can you use it in different weather conditions but you can easily swivel it at a 360-degree angle. This way, you’ll be able to see traffic coming up on the sides, and it’s definitely handy to have this light with you at night as it can help you to avoid theft. This is definitely the best rechargeable bike light for regular on-road cycling applications.
8. Light & Motion Trail FC Bike Headlight
The Light & Motion Trail 1000 FC is a versatile headlight that can be mounted either on your helmet or your handlebar using the mounts included.
It has the ability to work with GoPro cameras which is great for when you want to capture the splendor of those mountain trails you love so much.
The best part is that it can generate 1,000 lumens worth of illuminating light without taking up too much space.
This is enough to perfectly illuminate most regular trails; its flashlight shape means that you can always use it in that capacity if need be. The built-in battery has a 4-hour lifespan and can recharge via USB within 2.5 hours.
How to Pick the Best Bike Headlight
Usually, headlights that are made with LED lights are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and feature different brightness settings.
It’s important to notice how many lumens are included in your headlight and check things like its waterproof rating and battery life as well.
Most bike lights come with batteries that can only last for a couple of hours and the power drains out pretty quickly when it’s set to the highest setting.
That’s why it’s recommended to only place it on the brightest setting when absolutely necessary to avoid compromising the battery life unnecessarily.
Lumens refers to the amount of light that comes through per second. That’s why you want a headlight with lots of lumens because this translates to a brighter light overall.
Another contributing factor to the light level is its beam pattern. Generally, 100 to 200 lumens is usually enough to go through a well-lit path while mountain biking requires up to 1,000 lumens worth of light.
A lot of tail lights have less than 100 lumens at the most. But they have different light modes that help to increase the amount of illumination that’s produced.
Bike lights are measured in lumens which is the level of illumination that it offers. To remain visible on a pathway or sidewalk, 300 to 500 lumens is ideal.
Most lights nowadays boast 500 or more lumens which is great and the LED technology that’s used keeps getting better and better.
It’s easy to get value for money on your headlight with a lumen rating of 1,000. That’s because this means that it’ll be able to tackle all types of different terrain.
Another key to finding the best bike headlights is to look out for the quality.
The beam spread plays a huge role in this because it’s what determines the level of visibility that you’re able to maintain on the road.
You’ll do well to opt for a narrow beam if you’re into more off-road cycling. You’ll find that it’s much easier to illuminate the path ahead of you that way.
You want headlights that are easy to mount and highly portable. It should ideally be small enough to fit into a purse or even your pocket.
Most bike lights are powered by portable AA and AAA batteries which come with a handlebar mounting mechanism.
Off road lights, on the other hand, are usually not as portable compared to smaller safety lights because they’re usually powered by external batteries.
The good news is that most bike lights are also waterproof or at the least water-resistant. A bike light’s rightness is usually based on the Ingress Protection scale.
An IPX rating of five or higher is usually reminiscent of a highly waterproof headlight while a lower water-resistance rating means that it’s not fully waterproof.
Make sure your headlight is weatherproof so you can use it regardless of the weather condition.
If you live in a place with a warm climate weatherproofing won’t be much of a concern compared to someone that lives in an area that’s prone to rain and lots of winter weather.
If the latter sounds more like your location, then you’ll want to invest in a weatherproof battery and headlight combo.
At this point, you know all there’s to know about finding the best bike headlights, but if you still need some inspiration on which option to pick, we’d gladly recommend the Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight.
The UT800 certainly lives up to the brand name granted you have the Garmin software ecosystem. Otherwise, it offers 800 lumens of light, brightness adjusting features based on your speed, and the ability to switch on and off automatically.
It’s certainly easy to use and will keep you fully visible to oncoming traffic both day and night. The best part is that it has a stylish look so you won’t hesitate to add it to your bicycle as an accessory.