If you’re a bicycle enthusiast, you already know that there are a few necessary accessories to maximize the safety- and enjoyment- of your ride; like bike headlights. It can be difficult to determine which product is the best choice for you, but using this guide should simplify your search. The decision you make when purchasing a safety feature is very important, so we have put together this list of guidelines in order to help you find the best bicycle lights for your bike.
Things to Consider for Bicycle Lights
When You Most Frequently Ride. If you are going to be riding during the day, experts recommend that you use a strobing headlight because it is easier for oncoming traffic to spot you. If you are going to be riding at night, experts recommend the exact opposite- that is a steady, constant beam of concentrated light; which makes you easily visible to traffic without causing disorientation.
Ease of Installation/Removal. Many models of even the best bicycle headlights require tools to install/remove the headlight; which may or may not be what you are looking for. If you regularly leave your bike unattended in a public place, you may be more comfortable with a headlight that is easily removable and portable. On the other hand, if you are riding your bike off-road you want to ensure that the headlight isn’t so easy to remove that it falls off every time you take a bumpy ride.
Battery Power. It is important to know roughly how long you can depend upon your headlight lasting between battery charges or changes. For instance, you wouldn’t want to be caught in an evening rain storm, only to have matters made worse by an unexpected dead battery. Particularly if you regularly go for extensive rides (such as trail-biking), you need to be able to count on your battery lasting for the entire trip.
Quality, Durability and Price. Even with headlights that meet all of your above listed criteria, there are still a few other things to consider when choosing the best bike headlight; such as quality and durability. Things happen; we’ve all dropped things in a rain puddle at one point or another. But if this does happen to your bike equipment, you need to know that it can take the impact, and resist weather damage. Prices between headlights for bikes can vary pretty drastically, but the higher quality models come at somewhat more consistent prices.
Rechargeable. You tend to pay a bit more for rechargeable headlights. In the long run they are completely worth it however. Over time rechargeable bike lights are much more cost effective. They also provide much more consistent light quality and intensity than non-rechargeable models. There’s also the added bonus of not having to hassle with changing out batteries on a regular basis.
Non-Rechargeable. If you’re on a relatively tight or fluctuant budget, non-rechargeable headlights may be preferable. The non-rechargeable models require batteries that are readily available almost anywhere; and these batteries are usually very easy to replace and relatively inexpensive. However, the light consistency and quality suffer as the batteries are drained.
The Night Owl is our favorite front-of-bike torch on this list. It features a 200-lumen LED bulb with a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, and, man, does it light up the path! It als has an IP65 waterproof grade, where the “6” is referring to excellent dust protection and the “5” means that it is resistant to low pressure jets of water.
It will install easily onto any size bike frame, and while it is our top pick, the only thing that disappoints is the fact that the battery is only good for a maximum of two hours on “high.” Use it on “medium” and it will run about four hours, and on “low,” you should get about 20 hours of use on a full charge.
Be sure you keep track of the charge because there isn’t an indicator that let’s you know when it is almost dead.
Ascher is our next pick and unlike the previous product, this one does have a battery charge indicator so you can make sure you’re heading out with enough “juice.”
Both the front and the rear lights have a lower output than the Night Owl (just 80 lumens), and the provide you with two static modes and two flashing modes (four total).
The IPX4 water rating means that the product can tolerate splashes of water for a minimum of five minutes but cannot handle being fully immersed. Is it the best bicycle light set on our list? Almost, but if you’re in need of brighter output and optimal visibility, then the Night Owl is still our top pick.
The Bright Eyes FULLY WATERPROOF 1600 Lumen Bike Headlight is another good choice for regular bicyclists. As it says in the product name, it is equipped with an impressively bright 1600 lumen LED bulb; making it a great choice for day or night riding. It is programmed for five different settings, which is great for reserving power; although cyclists shouldn’t have to worry too much over power consumption with this rechargeable model.
This bike light comes with a standard mount, which should fit the majority of bicycles. The rechargeable internal battery is further complimented by an external waterproof battery, which is also rechargeable. With all of that battery power, the Bright Eyes Rechargeable is guaranteed to provide powerful and reliable light for many hours.