FITNESS

Best Running Headlamp: Keeping You Running Through the Night

Best Running Headlamp
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

Are you a night time runner? If so, do you find it hard to run and stay safe? What if we told you that you can run through the night without worrying about tripping over something and getting injured? The solution to your problems is the best running headlamp you can find on the market.

If you like going on early morning or nighttime runs outside through the local neighborhood, you will definitely want to a running headlamp. It will illuminate the path you are running on, and at the same time, allow others who are approaching you while you’re running on the road, to see you more easily so you will remain safe from a dangerous accident.

Considering the amount of safety the headlamp provides, you can see why they’re worthy of consideration. But, how to know which model will suit you? That’s where we jump in and save you time you would lose on research and from the possibility of buying the wrong one.

Man with headlamp

We are going to show you the important features of running headlamps you should consider before buying one, and then show you some reviews so you can give some consideration to such gear before your purchase. Ready to run like the wind with safety?

Our top picks

Product NameWeightDimensionsDistanceSpecific FeaturesPrice
Vitchelo V8002.4 oz1.6 x 2.4 x 1.8 in110 mLED, AAA batteriesCheck price on Amazon
Reivalo HAH1.8 oz1.5 x 2.5 x 1.8 in109 mLED, burns 120 hoursCheck price on Amazon
Foxelli USB Rechargeable3.5 oz1.4 x 2.4 x 1.6 in122 mWaterproof, 100 hours of lightCheck price on Amazon
Princeton Tec Remix8 oz10 x 8 x 3 in110 mRed LED, compactCheck price on Amazon
Aennon LED2 oz2.1 x 3.3 x 4.1 in50 mAdjustable, AAA batteriesCheck price on Amazon
Luxolite LED3 oz2.4 x 1.9 x 1.6 in110 mHands free, 2 control buttonsCheck price on Amazon
Black Diamond Sprinter7.2 oz5 x 5 x 3 in100 mStrobe mode, water resistantCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

When you are investing in a headlamp for running, you will often see these devices list measurements on the product packaging. These same measurements are usually in the product description as well as any instruction guide you might receive with your purchase.

The measurements you need to be concerned with include the burn time, battery duration, distance of the light beam, lumens or light intensity, and the weight of the unit you buy. For more information about why the measurements are useful, see the information below.

Burn Time and Battery Life

When comparing headlamps for running, make sure you take into account the burn time as per the information the manufacturer shares on the product’s packaging. Burn time is measured in hours and is a relatively fair indication of how long you can use the headlamp before you have to replace the batteries.

The “hours” indication is a figure based upon the use of the running headlamp when it is on the lowest possible setting or on “conservative use” This is an important notion since the battery powering the unit will expire a lot faster when you are using the higher powered settings as they can drain the battery quickly. In that regard, also note the battery type so you can stock up on the kind you need.

Headlamp for running light

Battery life duration is an important fact to know when making a headlamp investment. With every use, the batteries you put in the headlamp are going to start draining. Some headlamps allow for the gradual dimming of light as batteries eventually weaken when using the unit. Other units may have special features that allow the headlamp to generate a steady, optimum amount of lighting at all times.

However, this function might be nice if you prefer bright lighting throughout your run, but the batteries will drain faster and will cut out quickly or even unexpectedly. In this case, you might want to carry a fanny pouch or light backpack and extra batteries so you can swap out batteries quickly.
Of course, an even better alternative is to test the batteries before each run to ensure there is still enough juice in them to keep the headlamp working at optimal levels.

Distance of Beam and Lumens

The light beam distance is an important consideration when you shop, as this is the overall distance you will be able to see in front of you. The measurement of the beam distance of a headlamp appears in meters or feet.

Do not be surprised if the packaging of the headlamp or the instruction manual gives you several listings of beam distance, especially if the headlamp you purchase has different light brightness settings, as the varying measurements will apply to the different lamp settings on the unit.

Headlamp light length

Lumens is not a measurement intensity, or rather the degree of brightness, the light the headlamp produces. When you are in need of an exceptional headlamp for your nighttime or early morning runs, you will want to choose a device that has anywhere between 40 and 200 lumens, whereas a lamp offering 40 to 50 lumens should be plenty for your needs.

The product guide or packaging is likely to indicate maximum and minimum lumens that the headlamp generates in use. Keep in mind the more lumens the headlamp offers the faster the unit will consume battery life because a high amount of lumens is a reflection of high-energy usage.

Weight

Yes, weight is one of the more important buying considerations when selecting the best headlamp for running. After all, you are choosing a device you wear on your head. This allows for hands-free operation and lets you focus on your run, not the equipment you are carrying.

Weight of headlamp

In this regard, you want a very lightweight unit, but one that is built with durable materials to ensure the lamp’s longevity. The ideal headlamp should be light for ease of portability. The weight of the unit usually appears in gram measurements.

Keep in mind that some weight listings on the product packaging include the weight of batteries in the unit, some measurements only indicate the weight of the headlamp alone, and some manufacturers may define the weight of the unit both with and without batteries included.

Light Style

In addition to the distance, you might want to consider the pattern the lighting generates. There are two main types of lighting patterns associated with headlamps: the spotlight lighting and floodlight pattern. Both patterns cast out usable light in the distance the product is capable of casting light.

The useable light is about as bright as the lighting of a full moon in the dark of night. The spotlight pattern is also the “focused” pattern and the floodlight pattern is the “wide beam” style.

Some units allow the user to switch back and forth between patterns: These adjustable, hybrid headlamps let the user quickly change from focused to full wide beam lighting.

  • Focused spotlight – This pattern is what choice runners select when looking to improve visibility at a distance; the spotlight is a preferred pattern of runners as it allows the light beam to highlight the running path clearly.
  • Wide beam lighting – This type of beam casts more lighting closer to the runner’s body so it is better for close-up visuals.
  • Hybrid – If you opt for an adjustable unit, you will have the exact style of lighting you desire at all times. The diversity of the hybrid unit may increase the price tag, but the small hike in price is well worth the initial investment.

Headlamp light style

Headlamp Modes

The leading manufacturers of headlamps look to diversify the features of each lamp so that you can get the best usage out of the unit in every situation. In this regard, the simplest units might feature one or two lighting modes, like low and high options.

More advanced offerings can have anywhere from three or more different lighting modes to choose when you want to change up the lighting pattern. Consider some of the following lighting modes available in the mid-range and upper-end models, which can prove useful on a run.

  • Flash – Some manufacturers refer to this lighting mode as the strobe mode, and it is exactly that: a fast blinking or flashing pattern which serves as an emergency code letting others know you are dealing with an urgent problem or situation. The upper-end models of headlamps may even all you to alter the speed of the flash with fast and slow strobe lighting modes.
  • Low lighting mode – This is the most conservative lighting setting, which will allow you to get the most out of your batteries, but may not be the ideal lighting in every situation. It can serve well to see the trail in front of you, but it may limit visibility at a distance.
  • Middle or Mid-Lighting Mode – A nice halfway point or compromise between low and maximum lighting: This choice, allows you to conserve some battery energy while getting the greater visibility you need during darkened runs.
  • Maximum or High Lighting Mode – This setting does little to conserve battery, but gives you great lighting when you want to see your surroundings clearly both near, and at a maximum distance.
  • Red lighting mode –Some units have red lighting that proves ideal when you are on darkened runs at night: The lighting has little effect on the pupils so they remain open and wide and let in the maximum amount of lighting to ensure the greatest visibility.
  • Zoom lighting mode – This feature is on a few upper-end models and is the “boost mode.” The feature lets the unit emit a high beam of lighting for up to 20 seconds or so, before returning to the original mode; it is great for a quick glance around at a distance and it will allow you to conserve as much battery as possible when returning to a lower mode of lighting automatically.

Headlamp light modes

Best Products on Today’s Market

With so many headlamps on the market, the choices may overwhelm you. Consider some of the factors shared above as you buy.

You’ll find listed here are the leading headlamps you can buy, some which are lower-end models with basic features, and others that are upper-end models with all the bells and whistles. Whatever your budget, there are some outstanding headlamps available for purchase.

Vitchelo V800 LED HeadlampVitchelo V800 LED Headlamp

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 2.4 oz

Dimensions: 1.6 x 2.4 x 1.8 in

Specific features: LED, hands-free operation, operates off of two AAA Alkaline batteries, rechargeable battery compatible, 120 hours of burn time, red light and white light modes, flood light, focused light, dimmer function, distance of 110 meters, waterproof

Best use: Running at night, hunting, camping, walking trails, sidewalks, and late night outdoor activities

Description: The Vitchelo V800 LED Headlamp is a model by the famous VITCHELO. With every purchase of a product made by this manufacturer it goes to help people residing in Santa Cruz, Bolivia gets clean water, so you are helping the community to boot.

The LED lighting ensures you get a good deal of brightness a little battery drain from the light. You wear the lamp on your head so it makes for hands-free operation. Batteries power the device, but it is also compatible with rechargeable variants.

You get a full 120 hours of burn time on low mode. The device lets you choose the lighting you like the most, white or red. You can switch between spotlight and floodlight modes, and if one mode is too bright, you can use the dimmer functions to make adjustments.

The distance out is about 110 meters all together. If you are in a summer shower or a bit of rain, the integrity of the lamp remains due to the inclusion of waterproofing features.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with batteries
  • Bright and light

CONS:

  • Can stop working
  • Red light can stop working
  • Hinges can break

Related: The TrailHeads Women’s Ponytail Headband is great for runners who have ponytails. This comes in many colors and is warm, and keeps your comfortable and dry.

Check the price on Amazon

Reivalo HAH LED HeadlampReivalo HEH LED Headlamp

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 1.8 oz

Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.5 x 1.8 in

Specific features: 100 percent cotton rib knit materials; 168 lumens, operates off three AAA batteries, and the lighting features a six-mode selection, SOS flash, IPX6 rating, shock proof, water proof, lifetime warranty, and 100% money back guarantee

Best use: Running, camping, hiking, walking trails, night use

Description: The Reivalo HEH LED Headlamp is a model that is about $30. The headpiece that fits around your head is 100 percent cotton rib knit materials, so you get lasting comfort as you wear the headlamp.

The LED lighting is bright enough to illuminate your run trail perfectly and it casts a light at a distance of 120 yards. The unit has a burn time of 120 hours maximum while operating off three AAA batteries. Six modes for lighting help you choose the perfect lighting every time while conserving your battery. In an emergency, you can set the lighting to flash an SOS signal so you can get help quickly.

The International Protection Marking Code or simply the IP Code for the device is a level 6; this is a rating system reveals the durability of the device, and at a level six, you’re getting a dust tight headlamp.

PROS:

  • Bright and light
  • Comfortable on the head
  • Lifetime warranty

CONS:

  • Hinges can break
  • Hard to turn on

Related: The Squad Goods Silicone Toe Cap Protector and Finger Sleeves are protectors for your toes while you are running, This can make running easier and gives less pain on the feet for around $10.

Check the price on Amazon

Foxelli USB Rechargeable HeadlampFoxelli USB Rechargeable Headlamp

Price: Approx. $25

Weight: 2.4 oz

Dimensions: 1.4 x 2.4 x 1.6 in

Specific features: USB rechargeable, super bright lighting, high durability level, waterproof, light and comfortable, 100 hours lighting when charged, USB chargeable, two hour charge time

Best use: Reading, camping, hiking, caving, and running short and long distances

Description: The Foxelli USB Rechargeable Headlamp is a fully rechargeable unit priced around $25. You can charge up the device via any USB port in as little as two hour’s time. The device gets 100 hours of continuing lighting on one charge.

Battery life indicator built into the device lets you know when you are close to the time when you will need to charge it. The unit has an IPX7 rating, which means it will remain in working order even if immersed in water one meter deep for 30 minutes.

You will have no trouble seeing all around you with the 400 foot distance the headlamp casts light in and the 280 lumens feature ensuring everything is bright and visible. The body of the unit is tilt-able a full 90 degrees so you can adjust it to your comfort level.

If there is an emergency, an SOS flash mode is among the many lighting modes to choose from with this unit. The device also comes with an emergency whistle.

PROS:

  • Affordable and light
  • Recharges, 100 of use per charge
  • 2 mini USB cables included

CONS:

  • Hard to turn on
  • Modes are hard to use
  • Only charges with the cord it comes with

Related: If you are someone that needs compression socks, then the Blitzu Calf Compression Sleeve Socks may work for you. Affordable, these socks offer a lot of support and comes in many colors.

Check the price on Amazon

Princeton Tec Remix HeadlampPrinceton Tec Remix Headlamp

Price: Approx. $35

Weight: 8 oz

Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 3 in

Specific features: 150 lumens, Red LED, available in 70, 100, and 125 lumens, one Maxbright and three LED lights, compact body, water resistant properties, and rotating light unit for ease of positioning

Best use: Running, hiking, camping, indoor reading

Description: The Princeton Tec Remix Headlamp is available with a Red LED offering 150 lumens, which is absolutely perfect lighting for revealing your run a trial in the dark. The unit is durable, so it is great for indoor and outdoor use. The battery door opens easily for ease of battery insertion and renewal.

A single push button switch makes for quick, easy unit operation. The unit is water resistant, light, compact, and totally self-contained, thereby making it light to wear and highly portable.

Fitted with one Maxbright LED as well as three Ultrabright LEDs, this unit offers a good deal of lighting for your nighttime runs. The headlamp sports a price tag of around $35.

You can select your choice of color from the standard black to white and green. We like this headlamp because it looks good, feels good and offers a nice brightness so we can see fairly well.

PROS:

  • 150 lumens
  • Comes with arm bracket
  • Water resistant

CONS:

  • Not waterproof
  • Cost more than some others
  • Can fail to turn on

Related: The Bseen LED Running Armband are great arm bands that help brighten you up at night so drivers can see you. These come in a pack of two and you can choose your colors.

Check the price on Amazon

Aennon LED HeadlampAennon LED Headlamp

Price: Approx. $12

Weight: 2 oz

Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.3 x 4.1 in

Specific features: 90-degree tilting headlamp, four lighting modes, hands-free operation, single button control, light unit, distance of 164 feet, adjustable headband, three AAA batteries to operate and three batteries come with the unit

Best use: Indoor and outdoor usage, emergencies, automotive repair

Description: The Aennon LED Headlamp is priced around $12. The unit is water resistant and it is made of durable plastic materials. The headlamp hosts a tilt feature so you can direct the beam of light in any direction.

Four lighting modes give you just the right amount of light pattern diversity. The single button control makes operation of the device a breeze. With a 164 beam of light, you can cast light at considerable distance, and easily illuminate the area of your nighttime run. Three AAA batteries required.

Affordable, this headlamp can be used by kids and adults alike. It is comfortable to wear and is great for a myriad of uses from auto repair to running at night. It does come with batteries and it’s easily adjustable.

In the end, this is one headlamp we truly recommend. It works well, fits well and does a great job at keeping the light bright.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Comes with batteries
  • Pretty bright

CONS:

  • Can get hot
  • Light can stop working
  • No flashing red light

Related: You need music when you run, so having some good headphones like the Otium Bluetooth Headphones will be helpful! Affordable, these have an 8 hour battery and are wireless.

Check the price on Amazon

Luxolite LED HeadlampLuxolite LED Headlamp

Price: Approx. $20

Weight: 3 oz

Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.9 x 1.6 in

Specific features: Hands-free operation, two control buttons, red and white light beams, instant setting of light intensity and four cool white light modes

Best use: Running, camping, hiking, jogging, hunting, reading, chores, do it yourself task, automotive under the hood work, caving, fishing, and cycling

Description: The Luxolite LED Headlamp hosts 168 lumens so it will light up the nighttime and reveal your run path with perfect clarity. It casts a light at a distance of 300 feet so you can clearly see upcoming territory and terrain.

The headband is elastic, soft, adjustable, and does not squeeze against the scalp thereby preventing “brain squeeze” and lending to your lasting comfort when you run. Weighing only three ounces, you might forget you are wearing the headlamp at all!

The CREE LED lighting in the Luxolite headlamp promises a full 50,000 hours of life or more. With the instant light intensity settings, there is no need to cycle through light modes to set light intensity or to turn the unit off.

You get two red light settings: Strobe and Steady, and four white light modes including HI, MED, LO, and Flashing SOS for emergency conditions.

The IXP6 rating ensures the unit is dust proof and durable, and the device is powered by three AAA batteries, all of which are included with your purchase. The Luxuriously Smart Headlamp comes with a Lifetime Guarantee.

PROS:

  • Affordable, includes batteries
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Too small
  • Band stretches over time
  • Hinges can break

Related: Nobody wants to carry a wallet on a run. The StashBandz Unisex Travel Money Belt fits around your waist and has pockets and a zipper to hold your money and phone.

Check the price on Amazon

Black Diamond Sprinter HeadlampBlack Diamond Sprinter Headlamp

Price: Approx. $75

Weight: 7.2 oz

Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 3 in

Specific features: A single triple power light source, LED lighting, 130 lumens maximum, oval-shaped light beam pattern, water resistance with protection from all angles

Best use: Running, ice climbing, hiking, climbing, camping, and backpacking

Description: The Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp is about $75 and the unit has an IPX4 rating because of its water resistant properties delivering protection of the device at every angle.

The unit comes with four different light mode settings, all with an oval pattern, including full strength, dimming, strobe, and setting lock. The oval light beam is at 130 lumens so you get sufficient lighting for your nighttime run.

A single, triple power light source makes for ease of control. The LED lighting promises long hours of use.

While this unit is a higher price than a lot of headlamps, it includes a ton of features like PowerTap technology, IPX4 rating, and full strength settings. We love the red tail light strobe that can be programmed for visibility. It is comfortable to wear and offers enough lumens to see well.

This is definitely one headlamp to look into, as we recommend it fully.

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Full strength
  • Regulated for illumination

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • One color choice
  • Can have charging issues

Related: The Lenpow Sports Armband with Cell Phone Pouch is an armband that holds your phone and has a zippered space to hold your keys and money. Under $10, you can take this on a run or to the gym, as it has many uses.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Shopping for a headlamp to illuminate your run path at night or in the wee hours of the morning when you are out running and the majority of the world around you still sleeps does not have to be difficult.

Sit down before you shop and define how much you are willing to spend along with the features that will serve you the best. Consider the lighting modes, patterns, styles, and features available to you before you buy so that you won’t end up with the wrong product.

Headlamp for running

Why not share your stories with us in the comments section below? We’d love to hear about any products you’ve tried and enjoyed, whether they are products from this list or not. Also, if you have any questions or thoughts, be let us know! We love interacting with you! Thanks for visiting and learning with us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Rachel Mohan

    The Reivalo Explorer is a great headlamp for running. Handily, there are separate buttons for both the white light and the red light which saves having to cycle through each setting to get to the one you need. In terms of wearing the headlamp, it doesn’t bounce around as many other headlamps on the market seem to do (I should know: I’ve tried; hated; and returned a fair few!) I did think the light would illuminate a wider area, however. It’s more of a direct beam, like a spotlight. I’m used to it now though!

  • Jerry Mueller

    More than the quality of light and the lumens, I’m also particular about the band that encircles our heads. What the Reivalo has is a hundred percent rib cotton band – so wearing it is very comfortable. I’ve used on headlamp before that made my forehead itched for days. I must be allergic to the fabric used in the band, so it’s a factor to be considered, as well.

  • Kim Bromley

    I’ve bought a number of cheaper, uncomfortable headlamps in the past and hated wearing them so, for the quality you get, the splurge on the Black Diamond Sprinter was definitely worth it! It has all the features that I felt were lacking in the cheaper model. It’s rechargeable – just plug it in overnight and it’s ready to go in the morning – it’s completely waterproof and it has a red rear light – added safety bonus there. In terms of how it stacks up against other headlamps in simply lighting up your run, it excels and surpasses others that I’ve tried.

  • Jerry Mueller

    Hi Kim! Thanks for dropping by and I’m pleased that you like the Black Diamond Sprinter. It’s one of the crowd favorites and very durable. You’ll find that it’s great value for the money and it won’t let you down even in the most demanding situations.

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