Best Bicycle Lights
Cycling is quickly becoming one of the most popular modes of transport and with good reason. It is relatively inexpensive, environment friendly – this is of particular importance given the current world scenario with regards to pollution – saves natural resources (petrol) and most importantly from a personal point of view, it is one of the best forms of exercise that you could possibly get.
Bicycle headlights do not seem to get as much attention as they should, unfortunately. When people talk about bicycles and bicycling gear, they immediately think of cycling shoes, headgear, etc. Undoubtedly, the aforementioned things are important, but what is equally important is your bicycle headlight. You need good quality bicycle headlights to give you maximum protection and prevent accidents. It goes without saying that bicycle headlights are of even greater importance in the dark for self-explanatory reasons.
So, how does one choose the best headlights? It can seem a little daunting with all the options available but do not worry, that is why we have this article for you. Once you are done reading this, you will know exactly what to buy and what to avoid. You will also become familiar with the most frequently asked questions with regards to bicycle headlights and the criteria that one must keep in mind while buying bicycle headlights.
Our Top 3 Picks
10 Best Bicycle Lights
Blitzu Gator 320 USB
It is quite decent considering all the features available.
It takes only a remarkable two hours to be fully charged. The best part is, once fully charged it will run for more than two hours at the highest and brightest setting there is.
360 degrees visibility
This is one of the most remarkable aspects of this bicycle headlight. It can spin and rotate in virtually any direction making it incredibly useful in conditions with bad light or low light.
The bike headlight is water resistant. Please note that water resistant does not mean 100% water proof, but it is adequate enough for a few splashes of water.
It is much more than just a bicycle headlight. You could use it as an emergency flashlight or in lieu of a lamp while outdoor activities such as hiking or camping.
Free tail light
It comes with a free tail light, which means you are getting much more for the same price.
One year warranty
The Gator 320 comes with a one year warranty, which means you do not have to worry about being stuck with a faulty device.
In addition to the one year warranty, the Gator 320 comes with Blitzu’s incredible and friendly customer service. You can rest easy in the knowledge that all your issues will be sorted as soon as possible in the most efficient manner possible.
- Fair price
- 360 degrees visibility
- Water resistant
- 1 year warranty
- Incredible customer service
- Free tail light
- Easy to install
- Lacks aesthetic appeal
- Brighter options available in the price range
Hoicmoic USB Bike Lights
It is very decently priced. It is value for money when you consider the features that come along with it.
The bike headlight is rated with a IP65 water resistant rating. It can withstand splashes of water and a decent amount of rain.
360 degrees rotation
The 360 degrees rotation will ensure that your visibility is never compromised.
The front light comes with 4 modes of brightness namely, flashing, low brightness, medium brightness and high brightness.
It can be used for myriad outdoor activities, it is not just a bicycle light. You could use it during your outdoor activities or simply as a flashlight.
The lights are very durable. Should you go for this, it is likely to be your last set of bicycle lights for a while.
Its USB rechargeability makes for convenience in use.
Money back guarantee
It comes with a warranty/money back guarantee, therefore your mind can be at ease knowing that you will not lose out on your product if the product is faulty, defective or not up to standard.
- Value for money
- 4 modes of brightness
- 360 degrees rotation
- USB rechargeable
- Money Back guarantee
- Not the simplest to install
Te-Rich Super Bright
It is not the lowest price you will find on this list. However, given its brightness and other features it is not an unreasonable price by any means.
It comes with 3 modes of brightness. The first mode is low brightness, which is a quarter of the full capacity, the second mode is medium which is 50% of full capacity and the final mode is high which is maximum capacity(100%).
Long lasting charge
It lasts a very impressive 4 hours at the highest setting. At 8 hours and 12 at the medium and low settings respectively, the battery has excellent capacity.
This is one of the most impressive features about this product. The brightness is really impressive for the price.
The setup and installation are relatively simple and straightforward. You will not need any complex tools for the same.
The front light is waterproof, so you can breathe easy even if it is raining heavily.
This product has multiple uses. You can just as easily use it for a trek as you can on your bicycle.
When it is connected to a source of power, the LED indicator lights up.
Aircraft-grade aluminum has been used in making this product to ensure incredible durability.
- Extremely bright
- Neutral light color
- Simple to set up
- Long lasting charge
- LED indicator
- 3 modes of brightness
- 360 degrees rotation
- Battery tends to drain quickly if not unplugged
Stellar Lights Aircraft Aluminum
It for Stellarlights 2 pack is a very reasonable deal. This is one of the best low budget bicycle headlights you will see, therefore if money is your primary criterion go for this without too much thought.
You can manually adjust the brightness from 80 lumens to a maximum of 240 lumens.
The light is so handy and compact that it fits right into your pocket. This has been designed keeping anti-theft measures in mind.
It is water resistant and can withstand a decent amount of rain.
360 degrees rotation
Its 360 degrees rotation gives it great visibility.
It can be used for a number of things (for example, a flashlight).
Simple to install
Its install is very straightforward and extremely quick.
Free tail light with purchase: you get a free tail light with your purchase.
Its lifetime guarantee is a great endorsement of its quality. You may have no qualms about the quality and reliability of this product.
Aircraft-grade aluminum material has been made use of to ensure high durability.
The lens are zoomable up to 2000 times.
- Great value for money
- Anti-theft measure
- 360 degrees rotation
- Highly durable
- 2000 times zoomable lens
- Free tail light
- Lifetime guarantee
- 3 modes of brightness
- Simple to install
- In flashing mode, the flashes seem to be a tad too quick.
Bright Eyes Bike Headlight
It is not the cheapest or the most expensive bicycle headlight that you will find. For the sheer quality of this headlight, the price is totally worth it.
Many of the cheaper headlights tend to dim as the battery drains out, but not this one. You will have consistent output in terms of brightness till the time the battery is fully dead.
You can get a staggering 3000 feet of visibility and 500 feet of brightness.
The external battery can be mounted wherever you find it easiest and most optimal.
3 modes of brightness
It comes with 3 modes of brightness namely, low, medium and high. The brightness for each is 1200 lumens, 800 lumens and 350 lumens respectively. There is also the strobe or flashing mode.
The battery lasts an impressive 4 hours on the highest level and up to 24 hours on the lowest level.
The power 6400 mAh battery is waterproof, so you can ride without worrying about your headlight in wet weather conditions.
You can safely tuck your headlight and battery wires away using the free Velcro ties.
This headlight comes with a head harness absolutely free of cost. Therefore, if you are into hiking or running or something of that sort, this will come in handy.
Also included with this pack is a free diffuser lens.
Free tail light:
As an added bonus, this package comes with a free LED high quality tail light.
There is a lifetime guarantee on the headlight and a 1 year warranty on the battery.
- High quality
- Water proof
- Lifetime guarantee on headlight
- 1 year warranty on battery
- Free tail light
- Free add-ons
- Cord may be slightly small
HODGSON Bike Light Set
It is quite affordable and worth the price for a Hodgson product of this kind.
There are 4 modes available with this piece namely, high, medium, low and flash mode.
It runs for 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours and 5 hours on high, medium, low and flash mode respectively.
The visibility can go up to 330 feet
It comes with a 2 year warranty, so you may have no qualms about going ahead with the product
Coupled with their 2-year warranty, Hodgson has an excellent customer service team, ready to resolve all your queries and concerns.
- Reasonable price
- 4 modes of brightness
- Good runtime
- Great visibility
- 2 year warranty
- Great customer service
- Water resistance is somewhat lacking
CatEye Volt 1600 Headlight
Yes, the price is on the higher side, to say the least. However, the CatEye Volt 1600 is an absolute masterpiece and worth every dollar. Your investment will not go in vain should you opt for this.
High-intensity white LED
With an impressive brightness of 1200 lumens, the Volt 1600 is adequately bright and the white light is easy on the eye.
5 brightness modes
You do not have to make do with limited options when it comes to light modes. The Volt 1600 has as many as 5 brightness modes namely, low, medium, high, hyper constant and flash mode.
The FlexTight bracket ensures that the headlight is easy to mount. You will not find yourself wasting time and have more time on the ride.
High battery life
The Volt 1600 provides a staggering 100 hours of battery charge. This is one of the features that really makes it worth the money. 100 hours of battery life will ensure you have enough for virtually any trips, hikes and camps that you can think of.
The opticube lens ensures maximum visibility. Your safety is ensured even in conditions where there is minimal light.
There is a useful battery indicator which will light up to ensure that you are never caught unawares with a low battery for company.
- High intensity light
- 5 brightness modes
- Easy to mount
- Very good visibility
- Battery indicator
- Some people may find price to be on the higher side
Cygolite Trion 1300
The price is on the higher side. While there are plenty of options available for much cheaper, in terms of quality you will not get much better in this price range.
High level of brightness:
At 1300 lumens, the Trion 1300 will ensure that every path you ride on is well lit and that you never face issues with navigation due to poor light.
8 modes of brightness:
This is one of the features that separates the Trion 1300 from many others on this list. It has an incredible 8 modes of brightness. These are – ascending order of brightness - walking, slow flash, day flash, steady pulse, low, medium, high, boost. While some may feel that many of these modes may not even be required, the more experienced bikers will tell you that it is extremely important to have as many quality brightness modes as possible.
Go ahead and bicycle in the rain with your lights flashing at the maximum level. Trion 1300 has quality water resistance which will ensure that your headlight is not damaged one bit as a result of impact with the water.
The Trion 1300 is sturdy and solid. It is durable and long lasting.
High capacity batteries
It would be an understatement to say that the battery capacities are high. Its Li-ion batteries have very high capacity and work with Cygolite’s 7.6v external batteries.
Battery level indicators
As with the Volt 1600, you will not have to worry about being caught unawares by a low battery .
- 8 modes of brightness
- Water resistant
- Durable and solid
- High capacity Li-ion batteries
- Battery level indicators
- Price may be on the higher side for some
- Mounting screw has to be tightened from time to time
Lumintrail 3000 Mountain Road
It is slightly on the higher side if budget is your main concern, but as said earlier, you will struggle to find a better headlight in this price range.
This headlight comes in 2 colors namely, red core and red bezel.
3000 lumens says it all really about the brightness of this masterpiece. You will get sensational visibility with it.
It is long lasting and durable given its solid build.
As with any decent bicycle headlight, Lumintrail offers quality water resistance so that you do not have to worry about the weather while riding.
You can use this for more than just biking – camping, jogging, hiking, etc.
There are 4 modes available namely, low, medium, high and flashing.
The runtime is 6 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours and 4 hours on low, medium, high and flashing mode respectively.
The battery is a powerful 7200 mAh pack. It can be fully charged in 6 hours.
Whenever the battery reaches danger level, the indicator will let you know that it is time for a recharge.
- Good quality
- 2 colors
- Very bright
- Water resistant
- 4 modes
- Decent runtime
- Powerful battery
- Battery indicator
- Slightly higher price than competitive models
Magicshine MJ 906 Bike Light Set
Again the same caveat, you will find cheaper bicycle headlights; but all things considered, this headlight is great.
The MJ906 is designed for off-road biking. 5000 lumens is extremely bright to put it mildly.
The LED and battery combined weigh only about 15.3 oz.
Modes of brightness:
The MJ906 has 4 different modes(20%, 50%,75%100%) of brightness in addition to the flash mode.
There is a remote control which can control both lights.
The battery will last 7 hours on flash mode, 10.5 hours on 20%, 5.5 hours at 50%, 3.5 hours at 75% and 2.1 hours at 100%. All things considered, that is fairly adequate.
Easy installation and dismount:
There are no complexities in installation and dismounting is fairly straightforward as well.
The MJ906 comes with an intelligent overheat protection, which means the headlight will never heat up enough to be any cause for concern. There is an aluminum alloy which facilitates cooling.
- Value for money
- Extremely high brightness level
- Compact and lightweight
- 5 modes of brightness including flash mode
- High battery life
- Intelligent overheat protection system
- Simple to install and dismount
- Aesthetically not very pleasing – the orange color sticks out a little
- You have to go through to the 4 brightness modes to get to the flashing level
Criteria for Evaluation
By now you may have a decent idea as to what criteria the ideal bicycle headlight should be rated on after having gone through the top 10 bicycle headlights and their features. However, it is still worth reiterating in a separate heading. While going through this criteria, you must remember that while there is no hard and fast rule and no set of criteria that will suit everyone’s needs, there are a few general rules that will put you in good stead with respect to buying the ideal bicycle headlights.
Purpose of the headlights
Your purpose for buying the bicycle headlights has to be at the very top of the list as the first and arguably the most important criterion. Depending on where you plan to ride and therefore use your bicycle headlights, your needs will be different. For example, if you are going to be riding in the woods, forest areas and such similar places, then you will likely require extremely bright headlights to be able to navigate. However, the same lights if used within the city in regular traffic will cause problems to the other vehicles. An overly bright light can temporarily blind oncoming traffic, therefore be very careful and cautious. The brightest headlight is not the one that you should always buy.
It is also imperative that you have an idea as to how long you will need the bicycle headlights to be on. For example, if you need it to be on for 3 hours on a particularly dark stretch, then a bicycle headlight which lasts only 2 hours will be unsuitable for you. Even accounting for the fact that most modern bicycle headlights are rechargeable, there are a few that are not and also a few that are not USB chargeable. Therefore, it is very critical that you know all this.
A lot of bicycle headlights have an IP65 rating with respect to water resistance. This means that they can withstand a considerable amount of water and rainfall. However, it must be noted that such bicycle headlights must not be allowed to be submerged in water as they cannot withstand it. A distinction must also be made with respect to bicycle headlights which are water resistant and bicycle headlights which are totally waterproof. Typically the latter have an IP68 rating or better. Again, you must factor how much of water resistance do you really require. If you live in a place which does not receive a lot of rainfall or if you plan on only riding in the summer when it does not rain, then you do not need a bicycle headlight with great waterproofing qualities. In such a case, water resistance would do. Of course, the converse holds true as well. If you live in an area which is prone to lots of rain, then a bicycle headlight with minimal or no water resistance qualities could be potentially dangerous in the event it malfunctions midway through the journey. With that being said, a good bicycle headlight should have at least some water resistance. Even if there is little to no rainfall, there is always the chance that some splashes of water fall on your bike. Therefore, this is a criterion that one has to factor while buying a bicycle headlight.
Most bicycle headlights on the market at this point in time have multiple uses. In a bid to outdo each other, manufacturers are making bicycle headlights more and more versatile. This is obviously good news for you as it means you will get more value for money. Apart from being bicycle headlights, they will also function in a number of other ways. You could remove them and use them as a flashlight, you could consider using them as indoor lighting or you could take it with you during a hike, trek or camp. The more uses it has, the greater your value for money.
Ease of installation
This is often an overlooked factor when people decide to buy bicycle headlights. It goes without saying that every single person would rather have an easy and simple installation process as opposed to a long-winded process with complex tools. This is particularly important for those people who plan to use the headlights on various bicycles. In such a case, if the installation process is difficult then it not only makes it much more arduous and time-consuming, it could also potentially reduce the shelf life of the battery. Therefore, as far as possible go for the bicycle headlights which have the easiest and simplest installation process, all other things being equal.
Modes of brightness
Typically, a bicycle headlight will have 3 modes of brightness – low, medium and high – in addition to a flashing mode. This is important because you will not always need the same amount of brightness. For instance, if you are riding in a well-lit area, it makes no sense to use the headlights at full brightness. That will only adversely affect the battery. If even batteries are rechargeable, they have a limited number of charges (typically averaging about 500-600). Therefore, it is important that your bicycle headlights have all these modes.
USB Rechargeability vs disposable batteries
Bicycle headlights which come with USB rechargeability are much more convenient that those that have to be recharged with batteries. The option to charge via a USB by just plugging in will make life much simpler for you. Rechargeable batteries also tend to be more cost effective and if you are the kind that takes environmental protection seriously (as we all should!), then rechargeable batteries are better for that as well. Finally, if your bicycle headlights work on disposable batteries and they suddenly run out as you are on your way back home on a secluded and dark street, it could spell trouble. You are always better off with the ability to recharge via a USB cable.
Price is an indispensable criterion when buying virtually anything and everything and it is no different here. You do not want to shell out exorbitant prices for headlights that are clearly not worth their price tag. Equally, you also need to be cautious of manufactures trying to sell very bright bicycle headlights at very low costs. These are generally made using a very cheap material. Not only do such products have a low shelf life, there is also the danger of them overheating and causing trouble. To surmise, be prudent about the price. Do not buy overly pricey bicycle headlights that are not worth it; but at the same time, be suspicious of products that seem to be too cheap. As a rule of the thumb, if something is too cheap to be true it probably is not a quality product.
Warranty and customer service
This goes hand in hand with durability. Typically, the high quality and highly durable bicycle headlights come with a warranty. This is important because it gives you the peace of mind and assurance that in case of faults or manufacturing defects, you will not have to bear any additional costs. Good customer service is also very important for quick redressal of grievances and issues. Of course, in the case of bicycle headlights which are not very durable, it becomes even more imperative that a warranty and quality customer service are both present, as there are greater chances of the product’s manufacturing faults and defects getting accentuated.
Q: What does the term “lumens” mean?
A: This gets asked a lot. People seem to get intimidated by the term without realizing that it is just a term for brightness. Lumen is a measure of brightness. Therefore, the higher the lumen value of the bicycle headlight, the brighter it will be.
Q: What is the flashing headlight option for?
A: Flashing of the headlight is typically used to grab attention. To the human eye it appears brighter than a steady non-flashing light, therefore make sure to use it with caution. It could be uncomfortable for oncoming traffic and they may be temporarily blinded if your flashing lights are too bright.
Q: Why does my battery drain out so quickly?
A: If your lithium-ion battery gets drained too quickly then chances are you do not remove it from the head when it is not in use. Always ensure that it is removed whenever you are done riding.
Q: What does the IP65 waterproof term mean?
A: An IP65 rating does not actually mean that it is waterproof. It has been mentioned a few times in this article but it is worth reiterating. An IP65 rating means that it is water resistant but not waterproof. Therefore, while you can happily ride in the rain without worrying about your headlights, you cannot drop your headlights in a bucket of water and expect them to not get affected.