BIKING

Best LED Headlights: Essential Safety for Cycling Enthusiasts

bicycle lights featured
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Don’t you just hate it when the dark gets caught up with you, and your bike light is not strong enough to help you see the road in front of you? Wouldn’t you love to have a strong, durable, and long battery life, flashlight, and turn the night into day? Well, the best LED headlights are the solution for your problems.

LED headlights are the newest invention for bicycle forward lighting. When compared to conventional halogen headlights, LED headlights are much brighter and durable. The choice of LED headlights on the market is huge, and not every cycling enthusiast can make the best purchasing decision for oneself. Fear not, we understand you better and we are here to help you out.

In this article, we will first discuss the most important features to consider, and then review seven top picks that you can buy today. With the knowledge you get here, and with the choices we recommend, we are sure you will make the right choice.

Product Name Weight (Ounces) Brightness (Lumens) Battery Life (Hours) Price
Xtreme Bright Ultra8250100+Check price on Amazon
Onedayshop Cree 12.812004-5Check price on Amazon
CycleBeam Top Brightness13.69301Check price on Amazon
CycleBeam 900 Lumen169004Check price on Amazon
Urban Ethix 2.4300100+Check price on Amazon
Gugou T622.4
150002-4Check price on Amazon
Divine LEDs Vont 7.84
50010+Check price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

It goes without saying that bikers have to invest in headlights and taillights, for without them, road and mountain biking can be dangerous sports/recreational activities. Headlights and taillights are by far the most important safety gear for a biker at night.

We understand that there are numerous models in the market and choosing the ideal one might be a problem for some bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. So, we have laid out detailed criteria for choosing the best LED headlights below.

Lumens

Light sources are measured in lumens. Basically, this refers to how much light is emitted from a source.  The higher the lumens, the more illuminated the area within its beam will appear.
The best lamps for cycling should exceed 200 lumens.

bicycle with light in the dark

Obviously, some situations, such as nighttime mountain biking, will require brighter lights. Therefore, you should consider a headlight with at least 500 lumens, so that you don’t have to strain your eyes and stay focused on the road in front of you.

Mounting

Some enthusiasts would like to see headlights built into the bike.  However, this is actually not ideal.  Not all cyclists ride at the same height or position, so adjustments may be necessary for both the light’s position and angle.

This is where the mount comes in.  A good mount is what actually connects the light to the bike.  It may also be convenient to use the same light on multiple bikes, as when switching from a road bike to a mountain bike.

Also, in the event of an emergency, detachable headlights are a necessity.  If it can be removed, a headlight can also be used as a flashlight. This is important to consider because walking is much slower than pedaling.

bicycle light mounts

The return could be much later and darker if a bike is damaged beyond usability. Some mounts are built directly into the lights, others are detachable.  If the light is detachable, this means that it can be removed without detaching the mount, further expanding convenience.

Range

Many cycling headlights feature a luminance range of 500 to 900 feet, which means they can actually rival some low-beam automobile headlights. This is especially important for mountain bikers who want to explore the growing number of night trails.

While they may not be moving as fast as a car on the highway, there are more obstacles to navigate on the rugged terrain.  As with automobiles, some local mandates may regulate the luminance of a bike’s headlight, so it’s important to consider the city and state laws.

Durability

Durability is vital for a bicycle headlight. After all, it will be completely exposed to virtually no external protection beyond that which has been integrated.

bicycle light

Durability is particularly important for mountain biking since it will likely be exposed to dirt, mud and quite possibly water (even on dry days).  Mountain bikers are also more prone to crashes, and headlights tend to be ideally placed, to suffer the brunt of it.

Weight

While it may seem ideal to position a headlight at the center of the handlebars, this isn’t always possible. Therefore, it may need to be placed slightly to one side. This is why weight and balance are important factors to consider when biking.

Quality bicycles are designed to reduce weight as much as reasonably possible, and the same rule should be applied to accessories.  It is typically best to keep the weight less than one pound unless extra durability is needed.

Battery life

Like most modern electronics, the most headlights include a rechargeable battery that can be connected via a USB cable. This way, your headlight can be conveniently charged anywhere a USB connection is available, including most vehicles.

battery pack for bike light

Since dying batteries can be detrimental to a night ride, most bicycle headlights also include a charge meter alerting riders of the remaining battery life.  Not only is this very convenient, it also ensures that a headlight remains fully charged when needed.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Now that you know what to look for, here are a few actual products to consider. Each of these selections contains the basic necessities, though they will differ in their ideal uses.

Personal preference and riding conditions will ultimately determine the best choice.  It is possible that more than one selection could be viable for a single rider, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a backup.

Xtreme Bright Ultra LED Headlight Xtreme Bright Ultra LED Headlight 

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 8 oz

Brightness: 250 lumens

Specific features: Brilliant illumination, rotates 360°, 100+ hours of battery life and includes two tail lights

Best use: Road biking, camping, hiking and fishing

Description: The Xtreme Bright Ultra LED Headlight offers a great start for the casual biker. At only eight ounces, its weight is likely to go unnoticed. With its fairly bulky design, it is not the most compact option, but still remains small enough to stay out of the way.

With safety in mind, the light throws in a tail light.  Additionally, both lights are resistant to shock and water; though this should not be confused with waterproof. This simply means that it will serve you well in light showers.

This option is great for the commuting cyclist or for a casual weekend ride, not to mention that it boosts great durability during use. The 250 lumens may not be sufficient for a night of rugged trail riding and would really serve no purpose on single tracks during the day.

You do not have to ride in the dark because you cannot afford expensive headlights. The Xtreme Bright Ultra is inexpensive, making it suitable for a tight budget.

PROS:

  • High-quality aluminum components are highly durable
  • Military grade construction is waterproof and suitable for humid conditions
  • Comes with a visibility range of 500 feet for superior illumination
  • Tail lights do a great job of informing drivers of your presence on the road
  • Easy to install on your bike’s handlebars
  • It is an inexpensive choice for bikers with a tight budget

CONS:

  • Limited brightness will not be suitable for mountain biking
  • Aluminum construction is not convenient for extreme conditions

Related: The light will illuminate the road, but you need the Xtreme Bright Cable for securing your bike. This cable allows for easy locking and unlocking of your bicycle after dusk.

Check the price on Amazon

Onedayshop Cree LED Headlight Onedayshop Cree LED Headlight

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 12.8 oz

Brightness: 1,200 lumens

Specific features: Aluminum alloy housing, four switch modes, long service life, and multiple color options

Best use: Road biking, mountain biking, camping, hunting, fishing,  and climbing

Description: The Onedayshop Cree LED Headlight cuts right to the chase with its budget-friendly price tag that fits a smaller budget.  At 12.8 ounces, the headlight is fairly compact and easy to install on a bike or a helmet.

The green border design can enter irresistible haze when cycling in the dark to make you more visible to other road or track users. It is capable of offering impressive 1,200 lumens of brightness at the price of reduced battery life, which lasts four to five hours.

The upside of the headlight is that its battery is rechargeable. It is both waterproof and weather resistant, two benefits that are both complimented by stellar durability. This combination makes it useful for a day of mountain biking.

Even though it won’t be winning any beauty contests, this bicycle/head light is small enough to offer plenty of versatility for more than one outdoor event. The light is also available in eight color options for preference.

PROS:

  • Features ultra-bright LED for superior brightness
  • It can function as a bicycle and a head light
  • Four switch modes allow you to conveniently change brightness level
  • Aluminum alloy and plastic materials are waterproof and weather-resistant
  • Li-ion battery is rechargeable
  • Rubber rings allow for easy installation
  • High brightness of 1,200 lumens is suitable for multiple outdoor events

CONS:

  • Lasts about five hours at full brightness
  • Emitted beam is bright, but narrow

Related: Improve the performance of this bicycle/head light by buying Bright Eyes Diffuser Lens. The lens will widen the beam to spread the illumination from 10 to 32° flood pattern.

Check the price on Amazon

CycleBeam Top Brightness LED Headlight CycleBeam Top Brightness LED Headlight 

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 13.6 oz

Brightness: 930 lumens

Specific features: 3.5 times brighter, adjustable zoom-focus, built-in single-chip microcomputer, rotating mount, rechargeable battery and tools-free attachment

Best use: Road biking, mountain biking, camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting

Description: The CycleBeam Top Brightness LED Headlight redefines the industry standard.  With this headlight, you get the highest possible illumination power for mountain biking and climbing. A feature unique to this model is the built-in single-chip microcomputer.

This particular bike light is incorporated with five brightness levels, including high, medium, low, strobe, and SOS. You get the longest battery life when you set it at the lowest brightness level. You will be a bit disappointed with the battery life at the highest setting.

The light is easily detachable so that it can be used as a flashlight without removing the mount from the handlebars. Its anti-abrasive construction is designed to withstand even the hardest falls, making it perfect for mountain bikers and climbers.

At 13.6 ounces, the bike light is fairly lightweight for practicality. While it is a bit more expensive than some other options, the added versatility and customization is definitely worth the money.

PROS:

  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction is highly durable
  • Top-quality anti-abrasive finish makes the light suitable for rough terrain
  • Five switch modes for convenient adjustment of brightness levels
  • Single-chip microcomputer enables battery protection and low battery warning
  • Flexible mount bracket allows for easy mounting
  • Rotating the head allows for easy beam size adjustment
  • Top-quality rechargeable battery does not require frequent replacements

CONS:

  • It is bulky compared to competing models
  • Has a very short battery life at full setting

Related: The bike/head light does not come with tail lights; therefore, you should consider buying the Bold II Bicycle Tail Lights. The tail lights will make you more visible to other road users for safety.

Check the price on Amazon

CycleBeam 900 Lumen LED Headlight CycleBeam 900 Lumen Long Run Time Bike Light with Warning Blink

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 16 oz

Brightness: 900 lumens

Specific features: Extremely bright LED bulb, secondary micro LEDs, large battery capacity, long run time, water and weather resistant

Best use: Road biking and hiking

Description: The CycleBeam 900 Lumen LED Headlight loads power and features into a sixteen-ounce package.  In addition to its radiant 900 lumens LED light, it also includes built-in backup lights in case of an emergency.

The light comes with a rechargeable battery that can last up to 15 hours at the low setting, 8 hours at medium setting and 4 hours on high setting. This allows you to conveniently switch between brightness modes.

The rugged aluminum construction is designed to reduce heat when set at full brightness. With its small size and easy installation, the light is a great choice for cyclists who like to switch between the paved paths and single tracks.

However, as it is only resistant to water, this may not be the best choice for mountain bikers who like to ride in the rain or take on creek crossings.  Its more rugged counterpart, the CycleBeam 700, is the probably best choice for tougher trails.

PROS:

  • Extremely bright LED bulb provides 900 lumens of brightness
  • Twelve surrounding micro LEDs provide extra illumination for safety
  • High-quality Li-ion battery has a large battery capacity
  • Has a long run time across all switch modes
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum body allows for superior heat dissipation
  • Blinking rim can be operated separately from the main light

CONS:

  • It is not completely waterproof for mountain biking and climbing

Related: This particular model does not come with tail lights; so, you should consider purchasing the Blitzu Ultra Bright Bike Light. The tail light offers excellent illumination for safety, it is easy to install and it is USB rechargeable.

Check the price on Amazon

Urban Ethix LED Headlight Urban Ethix LED Headlight

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 2.4 oz

Brightness: 300 lumens

Specific features: Aerospace aluminum construction, SteadyFast solid bracket for mounting, USA Cree LED lamp, unfastens in a few seconds and tail light included

Best use: Road biking, camping and hiking

Description: The Urban Ethix LED Headlight is just what you need for road biking, camping and hiking. However, it comes with limited brightness for mountain biking and climbing. It is one of the inexpensive options for a tight budget.

The light features aerospace aluminum construction, which is lightweight, water-resistant and durable. You can use it on rough terrain without damage. It is installed with a high performing Cree LED lamp that delivers 300 lumens of brightness for effective nighttime illumination.

The steadfast, solid bracket allows for simple handlebar mounting, and you can easily unfasten it in just a few seconds for hands operation. The light setting has zoom and flashing switch modes, allowing you to change the brightness level handily.

Unlike conventional bike headlights, this particular model comes with top-quality tail lights. The double tail lights come as a single motorcycle style unit, which delivers super bright rear illumination for improved visibility and safety.

PROS:

  • Aerospace aluminum construction is water-resistant and durable
  • SteadyFast solid bracket allows for easy and fast mounting and unfastening
  • Comes with zoom and flashing switch modes for changing brightness level
  • Motorcycle style tail lights offer ultra-bright red radiance for superior visibility
  • Tail lights can be mounted vertically or horizontally for preference
  • Comes with definite lifetime money back guarantee

CONS:

  • Headlight drains battery very fast at maximum brightness
  • Limited brightness level is not suitable for mountain biking

Related: If the available mounting gear is small for your bike’s handlebar, then you should buy the TaoTronics Bicycle Holder. This specific holder is rotatable by 360 degrees, providing you with the best viewing angles.

Check the price on Amazon

Gugou T6 Bike Light Headlamp Gugou T6 Bike Light Headlamp

Price: Approx. $40

Weight: 22.4 oz

Brightness: 15,000 lumens

Specific features: Features a super bright Cree LED bulb, aluminum alloy housing, three switch modes (high, low and strobe), high-performance electronic switch, coated glass lens and waterproof design

Best use: Biking, camping, fishing, hunting, and hiking

Description: The Gugou T6 Bike Light Headlamp is a powerful and stylish headlight for the money. This headlight uses an exceptionally bright LED bulb that emits up to 15,000 lumens of brightness. This allows you to have a clear view of the track regardless of whether it is rough or smooth.

The light offers ease of use with a quick switch that provides normal light, extra bright, and an emergency strobe. However, it doesn’t really offer any customization compared with many of its rivals.

The heavier design allows the light to be waterproof, and it’s much more rugged than many of its counterparts.  This is a great choice for mountain biking, especially downhill racing.

The rechargeable battery has a large charge capacity that provides a long battery life. You can use it continuously for up to four hours at full brightness. It does also come with two mounting options, including a head strap and a handlebar mount gear.

PROS:

  • High-quality aluminum alloy housing is waterproof and durable
  • Super bright LED bulb delivers 15,000 lumens for superior illumination
  • Adjustable brightness settings allow you to switch between high, low and strobe
  • Coated glass lens is highly durable and offers great forward radiance
  • Light blue button switch is visible in the dark for easy operation
  • Rechargeable battery allows for 2 to 4 hours of use on full brightness
  • Comes with a 100 % satisfaction guarantee

CONS:

  • It is a little bit heavier compared to other bike lights
  • Short battery life, not suitable for extended nighttime use

Related: This headlight is not sold along with tail lights; so, you will have to buy the Lonew Bicycle Tail Light. This model will deliver 120 lumens for better visibility and safety.

Check the price on Amazon

Divine LEDs Vont Bike Light vont bike light

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 7.84 oz

Brightness: 550 lumens

Specific features: Features divine LED technology, tools-free attachment and military-grade materials

Best use: A suitable light for road biking, camping and hiking

Description: The Divine LEDs Vont Bike Light is engineered to deliver superior lighting periods on the track and on the road. Even though the manufacturer has not stated the maximum brightness level of the LED bulb, we are satisfied with its brightness.

This bike light features a stylish design that is large enough to be noticed, but still small enough to stay out of the way. Special attachments offer a quick release for both the camera and its mount to maximize convenience.

No tools are necessary to put it on or take it off the handlebar, and it will only take you a few moments. Its water-resistant design meets military standards for durable construction. This allows you to use it in the rain.

Unfortunately, it is not rechargeable and requires 3 AAA batteries.  Since it does not offer much customization, this light is probably best reserved for rides on smooth paths.  For added safety, it also comes with tail lights.

PROS:

  • Military grade materials are water-resistant and highly durable
  • Light is checked as well as inspected by the manufacturer to guarantee top-quality
  • Tools-free mounting and detaching is easy and fast
  • Switch modes allow you to change brightness, even on bumpy roads
  • Free rear light ensures that you are completely visible for safety

CONS:

  • Brightness rating of LED bulb is not provided
  • Does not come with a rechargeable battery

Related: Tail lights are extremely important; so, we urge you to buy the BV Cycling Bag with tail light hanger. This bag provides enough storage capacity for your essential items and a convenient hanger for installing a tail light.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

The Divine Vont Bike Light marks the end of our best LED headlights on today’s market. The reviewed products feature revolutionary road beam technology for superior illumination without surprising oncoming traffic with your presence.

With the statistics increasingly stacking against us, it is time that we reverse the trend by taking responsibility for our own safety, especially if local legislation requires you to do so. The products listed here consider both the need for visibility and safety.

front bike light

Therefore, always shop for a bike or headlight with a high-power LED bulb that will offer you failsafe illumination. A weatherproof and waterproof construction is necessary to guarantee continuous operation after exposure to rain and splashing water.

So, now that you have seen our take, what about you?  Are there other features that you are looking out for in a headlight/taillight, or any other product that you’d recommend? Let us know what you are thinking in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.