These days, bicycle headlights are brighter, lighter, and more powerful than ever. This is mostly because of the switch to the more energy-efficient LED lamps and the advent of the powerful but smaller lithium batteries.
As a result of these advancements in technology, today’s bicycles no longer need to worry about installing heavy headlights for brighter performance.
With that said, it’s still not easy to find the most suitable bicycle headlights for you.
Between all of the available products on the market and the minuscule but important differences between each one, choosing the best bicycle headlights can be difficult.
That’s what we’re here to help with.
|Light & Motion Trail FC 1000 Bike Headlight||Prime||Buy Now|
|NiteRider 6780 Lumina OLED 1200 Boost, One Size, Black||Prime||Buy Now|
|CAT EYE - Volt 6000 Rechargeable Bike Headlight||Prime||Buy Now|
|Cygolite Streak 450 Lumen Headlight & Hotshot SL 50 Lumen Tail Light USB Rechargeable Bike Light Combo Set||Prime||Buy Now|
|Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight Urban Edition with Dual Out-front Mount||Prime||Buy Now|
1. Light & Motion Trail 1000 FC
The Light & Motion Trail 1000 FC is one of the most flexible bicycle headlights on the market. You can mount it on your handlebar or your helmet and it comes with a mount for both.
It can also accommodate a GoPro, which is just perfect for when you go biking on trails, especially at night. But its flexibility isn’t exactly the main selling point of the Trail 1000 FC.
What makes the Trail 1000 FC is so good is its compact nature and the fact that it can output 1,000 lumens.
While 1,000 lumens is nowhere near enough for technical and more demanding trails, it’s still plenty powerful enough. It also helps that it’s shaped like a flashlight.
This means that you can take it off and use it as a makeshift flashlight in case you need additional light while out at night.
In addition to this, the Trail 1000 FC’s built-in battery charges in 2.5 hours via USB and can last as much as an hour and a half on high.
- High brightness output with 1000-lumens light on high
- Flexible mounting options
- Full charge takes only two and a half hours
- Relatively expensive considering it’s not bright enough to be used in darker and more difficult trails
2. NiteRider Lumina OLED 1200 Boost
The NiteRider Lumina OLED 1200 Boost might just be the best bicycle headlight on the market.
The Lumina is perfect for all uses. It doesn’t matter if it’s for city driving, or for mountain biking, and even more difficult terrains.
This headlight’s 1,200-lumen output on high is bright and spreads widely enough to let you see as much as 20 yards in front of you.
The Lumina is also equipped with plenty of battery saving functions to help make sure that it can last the distance.
For example, the Lumina automatically uses the lowest brightness setting once the battery starts to run out. Also, it comes with a battery indicator on the LED screen that lets you see just how much battery life is remaining at all of its five different light levels, as well as four daylight flash modes.
- Powerful enough to let you see as much as 20 yards ahead of you
- Battery saving functions allows the Lumina to last as long as two hours
- OLED screen battery indicator
- FL1 Standard IP64 water-resistance rating
- USB only charging
3. CAT EYE Volt 6000
You simply just can’t make a list of the top bicycle headlights on the market without mentioning the CAT EYE Volt 6000.
Clocking in with a lumen rating as high as 6,000, the Volt 6000 can make illuminate even the darkest of trails brightly enough that you’d think that you were riding early in the morning.
Suffice to say that this hulking bicycle headlight was made specifically for hardcore users.
Those into endurance racing will definitely love the Volt 6000’s rechargeable and separate remote control that lets you switch between the 500-lumen lamp for added longevity and the 6,000-lumens lamp that’s estimated to last for as long as one hour.
Understandably enough, the Volt 6000 is quite heavy and requires a separate external battery.
For daily commutes, the Volt 6000 is too much. However, for users who need BRIGHT lights, the Volt 6000 is well worth considering
- Whopping one-hour 6,000-lumens brightness light
- Separate remote control
- 12-hour battery life at its lowest setting
4. Cygolite Streak 450 and Hotshot 50 SL Combo
On its own, we’d have a hard time recommending the Cygolite Streak 450. However, when you consider its relatively affordable price and the fact that it comes bundled with the Hotshot 50 SL, it’s easy to see why a lot of bikers are recommending this combo.
While 450 lumens is nowhere near enough to let you see properly in darker trails, it’s plenty powerful for well-lit roads.
Not to mention, since it comes with a tail light, the combo pretty much takes care of all of your bicycle lighting needs.
For those who aren’t sure that they need that much light, or have short commutes, or just want a backup set in case of emergencies, this bundle is well worth the low price of entry.
This Cygolite headlight is also very useful as a winter cycling gear.
- Competitively priced
- Sold as a bundle
- Illumination is bright and widespread enough for most city streets
- Low battery life
- Relatively few functions and features
5. Garmin Varia UT800
One of the more technologically-advanced bicycle headlights on the market, the Garmin Varia UT800 automatically adjusts its brightness depending on your speed. The faster you go, the brighter the UT 800 is.
The UT 800 is also well integrated into Garmin’s software ecosystem, allowing it to sync seamlessly with each other. In addition to automatically adjusting headlights, the UT 800 will also turn off or on automatically.
Lastly, the UT 800 is very visible, even in daylight. Other drivers on the road won’t have any problems seeing you with this setup.
Paired with its slim and lightweight design, the UT 800 is both beautiful and functional.
- Cutting-edge headlight technology adjusts light brightness depending on the speed
- Seamless integration with Garmin software ecosystem
- You’ll need to buy into Garmin’s ecosystem to make full use of the UT 800’s features
6. Blackburn Luminate 360 Light SetError: Unknown Link Type
For when absolute safety in city streets is your priority, the Blackburn Luminate 360 light set will definitely not let you down.
Featuring fan favorite is in the Dayblazer 400 and Dayblazer 65, the Luminate 360 light set also adds two more side lights that you can attach to your bicycle’s fork, down or top tube, and gives you the peace of mind knowing that the drivers on the road are going to see you regardless of whatever it is you’re doing.
While brightness isn’t really the Luminate 360’s strong suit — the Dayblazer 400 comes with four modes and lets you choose between 200 to 400 lumens — the battery life is superb.
As an added bonus, the entire set mounts via secure rubber straps and are easy to recharge via micro-USB.
- Complete with front, rear, and side bicycle lights
- Commendable battery life
- Rechargeable via micro-USB
- Brightness isn’t exactly this set’s strong suit
7. Cygolite Metro 600
The Cygolite Metro 600 isn’t a perfect bicycle headlight. It comes with more than its fair share of flaws. But for all of the things that it can’t do, the Metro 600 delivers in one very important aspect: battery life.
The Metro 600 arguably has the longest battery life among all of the bicycle headlights in our list.
Capable of lasting as long as 90 hours on its weakest setting, or 11 hours on its reasonably low lighting — the Metro 600 comes with 6 different light modes, with a max lumen setting of 600 — the Metro 600 is perfect for those with longer-than-usual commutes.
The Metro 600 also comes with a patent-pending “SteadyPulse” mode and a “Daylighting” mode.
These unique features add a layer of safety to the Metro 600. The former, in particular, grab the attention of motorists by flashing them, while the daytime running lights make it easier for you to be seen on the road in broad daylight.
- Long battery life
- Relatively affordable
- SteadyPulse and Daylighting modes
- Mounting options leave a lot to be desired
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When Should You Use Bicycle Headlights?
The most obvious answer here is at night or if you ride after sunset or before sunrise. Ideally, in those situations, you’ll want to have powerful bicycle headlights and pair it with a blinking tail light for safety reasons.
Q: Is Brightness The Only Important Factor?
Contrary to popular belief, brightness isn’t the only factor you should consider when choosing bicycle headlights.
While brightness, or specifically, the lumens rating, is indeed important, there are other things you need to consider that affect brightness as well. This includes beam pattern, or how far the light can reach and how wide its spread is, as well as how evenly the headlight illuminates the path in front of you.
Most headlight manufacturers have comparison tools that let you see the difference between one product’s beam pattern and another. Make use of that if possible.
Factors to Consider When Buying Bicycle Headlights
Bicycle headlights should ideally have the following qualities:
- No-slip, stable attachments
- Easy to remove for charging and portability
- Alarm sounds or indicator lights for charging
- IPX water-resistance rating (at least 5)
And basically, try to avoid using stuff that’s not purpose-built as a bicycle headlight.
While it’s tempting to use that Maglite and buying a handlebar mount for them, it’s still not a bike light.
It won’t be as stable nor as convenient to use as a bicycle headlight that was specifically designed to use with bikes.
How to Use Bicycle Headlights Properly
1. Use reflective material
For added visibility, wearing reflective clothing helps. Specifically, reflective leggings and/or ankle bands make it easier for other motorists on the road to see you since those two are the most active parts of your body whenever you’re cycling.
2. Plan ahead carefully
Most of the best bicycle headlights on the market don’t just come with high lumens ratings, they can also be adjusted according to conditions.
With that said, proper planning helps a lot so you don’t end up wasting your headlight’s battery.
If you’re driving on well-lit roads, keeping the headlights on low can let you get the most juice out of it. Not to mention, the minimal glare makes it near-impossible for your headlights to blind oncoming drivers.
Conversely, using the highest settings can help a LOT in darker paths, especially in trails.
3. Don’t forget to charge your headlights
Always leave more battery life than your commute takes. This is because you’ll never know if and when accidents will happen, or if you need to make a quick stop or detour. The last thing you’ll want to happen is to ride on your bike without the headlights on, especially after sunset or before sunrise.
If possible, carry an extra set of lights with you or batteries for safe measure.
4. Keep them clean
The best bike headlights are manufactured to withstand a lot of punishment. Still, don’t forget, inside their tough housings lie delicate parts.
You definitely don’t want to damage those electronics. Otherwise, your bicycle headlights might end up being useless.
If you can, try to keep your bicycle headlights as clean as possible.
Bicycle headlights aren’t for show. They’re important. You’ll need them if you want to stay safe while on the road.
This is especially true if you like to ride in the dark, such as before sunrise, to get a head start on your day.
Luckily, with our list, you no longer will have as difficult of a time finding the best bicycle headlights today.
But of course, our list isn’t perfect. In case you didn’t like our recommendations, feel free to shop around.
Just remember, when shopping for bicycle headlights, always consider the battery life, durability, and waterproofing, as well as stability and mounting options.
Of course, it should go without saying that you’ll want to have bicycle headlights that project a bright and wide beam for the best visibility.
As long as you keep these things in mind, you’ll have your ideal bike headlights installed on your bike in no time.