Its pretty obvious that if you are riding your bike at night, you need to have a bike headlight. Your chances of getting hit at night, riding a bike skyrocket after sunset and the small investment of a bike light can save your life.
If you like to ride trails at night your needs for a bike light are going to be different than someone who primarily rides in an urban environment.
If you are looking for a mountain bike light, click here to skip to my reviews.
Since the majority of collisions between bikers and cars happen at intersections the importance of your headlight is much more important than your rear tail light.
If you have a flashing headlight then your visibility increases dramatically to oncoming traffic. Now you just need choose the right bike light for your needs.
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Bike Headlights for 2017
- Bright Eyes 1200 Bike Headlight
- Vision II 860 Road Bike Headlight
- Revtronic 1600 Lumens Bike Light
- TeamObsidian USB Rechargeable LED Headlight
- NiteRider PRO 1800 Mountain Bike Light
- Cygolite TridenX 1300 MTB Bike Light
- ugoe Ultra Powerful 4500 Lumens Rechargeable Bike Light
First, lets take a look at the bike lights, then we’ll talk about how to choose your own. Here is a feature overview of my top 3 overall picks with full reviews and our buying guide below.
The 3 Best Bike Headlights
Best Bicycle Lights for Night Riding and Commuting
This is my overall top pick and my every day bike light because of its versatility, brightness and features.
On its maximum setting it gives you 1200 lumens of light which is as bright as some car headlights! Because of its versatility the Bright Eyes may be the best bike light for commuting and off road use.
The Bright Eyes features a quality CREE LED and a powerful 6400 mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery that gives you about 2 ½ hours in full power mode.
When it was brand new I was getting up to 3 hours in the max brightness setting.
The light mounts easily on your handlebars and is secured with a rubber strap that releases easily for taking it off to recharge.
It stays secure as well even when you’re taking it off road for trail riding.
The external battery mounts on your seat bar or the cross bar with Velcro straps and comes wires to run it along the frame to the light.
What I like about this light is it also comes with a helmet mount and a headband mount so you have the ultimate in flexibility in how you use the Bright Eyes headlight. It even comes with a tail light.
Features of the Bright Eyes:
- High quality Cree LED
- High power – lasts 3 hours at 1200 Lumens
- Medium power- lasts 6 hours at 800 Lumens
- Low power- lasts 20 hours at 350 Lumens
- Strope/Flash mode
- 1 year warranty on battery, lifetime on the headlight
The Bright Eyes 1200 is my top pick because of its quality, features and flexibility and definitely one of the best bike lights you can buy at any price.
The Vision II 860 bike headlight is best for urban riding as it doesn’t have a wide enough beam in my opinion. It is however perfect for urban riding with a bright 860 lumens light with several brightness settings and a flashing mode.
This light is best suited for city riding and is one of best bicycle lights for night riding on the market.
The Vison II uses a replaceable internal lithium ion rechargeable battery, unlike most bike lights where you cannot replace them when they eventually go bad. Plus, it comes with a spare battery do you will be set for quite some time.
Another nice feature is the Vision II can be used as a flashlight as well and easily snaps into the handle bar mounting bracket.
The handlebar bracket is designed to fit easily and securely on any size diameter handle bar.
The light is made from a lightweight, aircraft grade aluminum and is waterproof as well.
Magnus Innovation, maker of the Vision II stands behind the product with a “no questions asked” lifetime warranty!
Pretty impressive, although you would be hard pressed to break it and if you did, you most likely have bigger issues to deal with!
Features of the Vision II 860:
- Made of aircraft grade aluminum
- High power – lasts 1.5 hours at 860 Lumens
- Medium power – lasts 3 hours at 400 Lumens
- Low power – lasts 7.5 hours at 180 Lumens
- Walking – lasts 25 hours at90 Lumens
- Strope/Flash mode
- Lifetime warranty
The Vision II is an ideal urban bike headlight than can be used off road as well. This is a quality product and highly recommended.
The Revtronic 1600 has to be the best value bike headlight there is. While not as feature packed as some of the other ones I have reviewed, for what it does, it has no equal.
The Revtronic has 4 Cree XP-G2 LEDs that throw out a brilliant white light in a wide pattern so you don’t have “tunnel vision”.
You do give up the ability to adjust the beam width at its price point but you have the brightest bike light available.
However, even at its bargain price you get an aircraft grade aluminum housing that is waterproof and shockproof.
The light output is regulated so that the beam intensity is a constant brightness until the battery dies.
It even has overheating protection circuitry. When running in “turbo” mode for extended periods of time the light can overheat but the circuitry will automatically dial down the intensity until it cools off.
You will have plenty of advance warning though, it has a 4 color LED battery status so you will always know how much juice is left in the battery.
The 7.4V 5.2Ah external battery that gives you the following battery life:
- Turbo 1600 lumens – 3 hours
- High 1200 lumens – 4.2 hours
- Med 800 lumens – 3 hours
- Low 480 lumens – 12.8 hours
The light has an easy to mount, secure bracket that to attach to your handlebars sized from 10 to 35mm in diameter. It even includes a helmet mount. I’m not a huge fan of the helmet mount but many bikers swear by it.
The Revtronic is by far the best mountain bike light under $100.
It also functions just as well as a commuter headlight. At its bargain price, you could easily mount one on your helmet and have one on your handlebars.
The Revtronic is one of the best bike lights available at a bargain price, highly recommended.
I was very impressed the quality construction of this light when I took it out of the box. It has a solid feel of a bike headlight costing a LOT more. Its made of a rugged aluminum case that is also water proof.
You can’t find an easier light to mount, just wrap the strap around your handlebars and tighten the mounting nut until it’s secure.
Just be careful not to overtighten, you could strip it. Once it’s on the bars, it slides into the mount and locks in place.
At 400 lumens your not going to take this light trail riding, it’s just not bright enough but that’s not what is designed for.
This is excellent choice for urban riding or maybe a country road. It has several power modes; I like the strobe function for urban riding around my house.
On high power you get about 2 hours and the light has a rechargeable battery built in. It comes with a USB recharging cable. The top of the light has a power light that tells you when it’s charged and its battery status level.
It also comes with a “button” rear tail light for free! It uses a disposable watch size battery that last about 40 hours and it comes with two extra batteries. It has three modes, fast and slow flash plus a steady on.
I like TeamObsidian, its a small family run company that specializes in bicycle products and they have excellent customer service.
The light has a 1 year warranty and TeamObsidian gives you a 60 day no questions asked warranty if you don’t like it for any reason.
If you’re in need a bike helmet, I encourage you to read my review here.
Best Mountain Bike Lights
The NiteRider is primarily designed for off road use and features a blazing 1800 lumens of light. This really is brighter than the average car or motorcycle headlight!
Maybe the best feature of this light is the quality of the beam, its WIDE and bright.
This mountain bike light lights up the trails like it is daylight so you can see every obstacle on the trail.
You will be able to see every tree root, ditch and see the turns in the trail in plenty of time to react.
The NiteRider features quality CREE LEDs in a lightweight, durable package. It mounts securely and easily on your handlebars no matter the diameter.
One thing that I like about this bike headlight is it comes with a helmet mounting bracket as well so if you prefer the extra flexibility of having the light on your helmet you have that option.
The light will last 1 ½ hours in full power mode of 1800 lumens, but can be dialed back to 400 lumens and will last 6 hours at that power setting.
It even has a walking mode that will give over 24 hours of light.
The lens is unusual as it has a “Borofloat” lens, which is a specialized almost unbreakable glass that can even handle the rapid cooling of being immersed in cold water that would shatter any other type glass.
The NiteRider has an easily readable “fuel” gauge so you know exactly how much juice is left in the battery allowing you to make brightness adjustments or get ready to swap out the battery.
Features of the NiteRider 1800 Pro:
- High quality Cree LEDs
- High power – lasts 1.5 hours at 1800 Lumens
- Medium power – lasts 3 hours at 700 Lumens
- Low power – lasts 6 hours at 400 Lumens
- Walking/S.O.S. lasts – 25 hours at 80 Lumens
- Strope/Flash mode
- Helmet and handlebar mounting
- Easy to read “fuel gauge” and storage pouch.
When you want the best MTB light available, the NiteRider Pro is your best bet!
I was shocked when I first turned on the Cygolite TridenX 1300, this is a seriously bright bike headlight at 1300 lumens when set to full power. You could probably use it as a car headlight, seriously it’s that bright.
Of course brightness isn’t everything, quality construction and features are just as important. Cygolite has you covered here.
The bike headlight has 3 CREE XM-L LEDs that give you a nice wide spread giving you peripheral vision, unlike cheap lights that give you tunnel vision. However, when you want a longer narrow beam, the Tridenx 1300 can do that as well.
It has 8 lighting modes, everything from full power output, medium and low plus several pulsing modes for walking the bike to using it while riding during the day.
Motorcycles use day running lights, why not bicyclists who are probably more likely to get hit?
The first thing you will notice when you take it out of the package is the quality construction.
It’s made from an aluminum alloy that is water resistant.
Take it out in the rain, or if you are into mountain biking in wet conditions, not an issue. It will handle all the mud and dirt you can throw at it.
The light mounts securely and easily to your handlebars and will stay on even if you dump the bike. If it does come off, you probably have bigger issues than the light….
The TridenX has a battery level indicator so you have plenty of warning when your running low on juice and need to dial it down a notch to save power.
It comes with a high-capacity Lithium ion battery that is rechargeable, so no more expensive disposable batteries.
The smaller The Tridenx 1300 (260g) has a run time of about 1 1/2 hours on high to 36 hours on pulse.
The Cygolite TridenX 1300 uses their patented OSP Technology that gives you the ability to program in exactly how you want the light to function and access those functions easily with the push buttons.
I’m not sure it’s necessary, but it’s there if you want the customization. The Cygolite is one of the best LED bike lights for the money.
The Tridenx is a US based company and its made in California and support is based there as well, so if you have any problems you will talk to someone from the US.
Video: Overview of the Cygolite 600, its the same as the 1300 just not as bright.
It comes with everything you need, including a helmet mount, and a 36-inch extension cable allowing you to mount the external battery anywhere you like.
This is not what I would call an inexpensive light but if you want a quality MTB light, it’s worth every penny.
This light is a very similar design to the Revtronic. Its made of aircraft grade aluminum that was machined from a solid block. It has an anodized finish that doesn’t corrode or fade over time. What really sets this MTB bike headlight apart is the output.
It has 4 CREE XM-L ultra bright LEDs that put out a steady 3000 lumens of light on high power. The name says 4500 but that’s not a steady output, it may “burst” at 4500 lumens.
Just about all manufactures inflate their power output ratings and why many of them are not as bright as they claim.
It comes with an externally mounted 6000 MAh Lithium Ion battery that straps under the crossbar of your bike with Velcro. In high power mode the ugoe will light up a trail in the woods to almost daylight brightness.
It has a wide beam allowing you to see the whole trail. Of course it’s not just for trail/mountain bike riding at night but it does work very well for that purpose.
I actually like it better at full power for riding during the day. There is a reason that in most states if you have a motorcycle you must have your headlight on for visibility.
When you have this light on, drivers cannot help but see you. Especially in the strobe setting. Just don’t ride at night in full power where cars are on coming, you will probably blind them!
Features of the ugoe bike light:
- High power – lasts 2 hours at 3000 Lumens
- Medium power – lasts 4 hours at 1500 Lumens
- Low power – lasts 8 hours at 700 Lumens
- Strope/Flash mode last 6-0 hours at 1500 Lumens
- Battery: 7.4V – 6000 mAh Li-ion
This is the brightest bicycle headlight available at 3000 lumens and comes with a one year warranty.
How to Choose the Best Bike Headlight For You
- Types of Lights for Bikes
- Features and Modes
- Mounting Style
- Quality of the Beam
- Battery Type
- Battery Life
Types of Bike Lights
There are two main types of lights for bikes available. Depending on what type of bike riding you do will determine which is best for your needs.
Safety Bike Light
These are small, LED bike lights that store in your saddlebag pouch and are typically not that bright. The main use for this style is for allowing cars and other rders to see you and not necessarily to light your way. Used mostly in urban areas where a bright beam would blind oncoming cars. The Team Obsidian and Vision II are good examples.
Main/Bright Bike Light
This type of light is typically for off road use because you need a BRIGHT beam to light your way in total darkness. They are more versatile in that they can be mounted on a helmet of your handlebars.
Being much brighter they are larger and have external, rechargeable batteries. These lights typically start at least 1000 lumens and go much higher. The Nite Rider Pro and Revtronic are good examples of a main bike light.
While the brightness of the bike headlight in Lumens is obviously important BUT the QUALITY of the beam maybe even more an important consideration.
Why you ask?
If your light is just a very narrow beam you are not going to be seen as well nor will you be able to see as well in from of you. If its just a narrow field of view you may miss dangers to your right or left like, like a car door opening or if your riding trails a sharp turn in the trail.
The bike lights reviewed varied from 860 lumens of the Vision II which is more than enough for urban riding to an insanely bright 1800 lumens of the Niterider Pro meant for mountain biking only. This light would blind oncoming traffic and get you in some trouble.
Features and Modes
The better LED lights for bikes will have multiple beam patterns and brightness’s. I personally feel much safer riding the streets with a flashing or pulsing beam for maximum visibility because Im not so much worried about being able to see in front of me as being seen by oncoming traffic.
Being able to change the brightness is of course important since you may not always need the lights maximum brightness and the ability to change the wideness of the beam is a very nice feature to have. Some of the reviewed bike LED lights can double as a home or camping flashlight making them much more useful.
There are two main ways to mount your bike headlight. The most common being on the handle bars but some offer dual mounts and can be used on your bike helmet as well.
I would consider this a better option for mountain biking because here you need to be looking farther out ahead of you looking for turns and other obstacles in the trail. A helmet mount gives you ultimate flexibility on where the beam is trained. Better yet would be having both, a handle bar mount AND a helmet light.
By far the most common mounting style. This style has a strap that wraps around the handlebars and tightens with a knob to secure it. This type can be used for both urban and trail riding and is simple to use, just push the unlock latch and remove the light, simple!
A handy feature is the ability to swivel the light for light up signs and house numbers. This allows you to not have to stop the bike and turn the handlebars to illuminate them. Not too many lights have this feature however.
This goes hand in hand with mounting. Primarily a concern for urban riders who take the bike light off to prevent it being stolen. This type of light should be able to fit in your pocket or purse without too much bulk. These road bike lights are typically powered by AA or AAA batteries and always handlebar mounted.
Off road lights, lack the portability that the smaller safety lights have because they will have external batteries and a larger light. This type of light is not going to fit in your pocket and is not suitable for riding around town.
Quality of the Beam
As mentioned earlier the quality of the bike headlight is pretty critical. Having an evenly bright beam with a wide of angle as possible is going to be far more useful than a bright “tunnel” beam only illuminating a narrow field of view.
USB rechargeable being by far the most convenient and cheaper to operate. Just take the battery in the house and hook it up to the charger. Not only do you save on batteries and help save the environment a little bit but they also usually have longer battery life. Maybe the sole advantage of AA or AAA lights is for an extended trip or to an area where you will not have access to electricity to recharge the light at the end of the day.
All of the bike headlights reviewed will give you over an hour of light on the brightest setting. This is where being able to choose the brightness setting is handy because you may not need the brightest setting and having enough light is more important than the most amount of light. All of the bike light reviewed have rechargeable batteries only.
None have the AAA or AA disposable batteries. This not only saves you money from having to buy batteries also more environmentally friendly. The all come with USB recharging cables you can either plug into your laptop/desktop or a wall outlet.
Ideal rechargeable bike lights will give the most consistent beam brightness as the battery discharges. The cheaper bike lights give you a very short period of time in full bright mode then rapidly fade as the battery discharges.
The better ones like the NiteRider Pro have much more even battery discharge and the light brightness is much more consistent.
Using a bike light isn’t just for lighting your way, using one will decrease your chances of collision with a car. While this is probably obvious to you, finding the right style and type of light is the tricky part.
Overall a rechargeable bike light with a wide, bright beam and a handle bar mount is your best bet for urban riding. The Vision II or the Cygolite are good choices. For off road riding a versatile light that can be handlebar or helmet mounted with a large external rechargeable battery light the Night Rider Pro or Revtronic is a good choice.
Best Brands For Bike Headlights
The top dog as far as bike lights has to be NiteRider, they make the best overall light that is brighter, better battery life and good for trail riding and unlit roads. The Cygolite makes the TridenX and is another strong contender. If your in a more urban environment I like the Revtronic and the Team Obsidian.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best bike headlight to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a light I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.
Have fun and enjoy the ride!