Our Guide to the Best Running Headlamps After 2015
At some point, every trail runner winds up running in the dark. Maybe you enjoy an after-work jog, or a run before sunrise. Whatever the case may be, a headlamp can shine a little extra light on your trail to make your runs just a little bit safer.
Headlamp Flashlight – USB Rechargeable 280 Lumens Cree Led
Our favorite for 2020
LED Headlamp Flashlight for Camping
A great value option
*SALE* LuxoLite CREE LED Headlamp – Waterproof Super Bright Head Flashlight & RED Lights for Running
A great waterproof option
Finding the right headlamp is no easy task. When comparing models, here are a few things you should be looking at:
- Batteries: Headlamps typically run on batteries, but some have rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable models will save you money in the long run, but tend to cost a little bit more upfront.
- Quality: If you’re going to be running in the dark, you want to make sure that you have a headlamp you can rely on. Quality is important, so make sure that both the lamp itself and the strap are high quality. LED lights will provide you with the most hours of light. As for the strap, elastic is a great choice, but can give some people headaches. If you fall into that category, look for an adjustable elastic band that will give you a little extra leeway.
- Design: The design of the headlamp is important, too. A two-strap design (one around the head and one over the head) offers the most secure fit, but a single strap design may be preferred by runners who wear headgear.
- Lighting Options: Most high quality headlamps offer numerous lighting options, so you can maximize your battery life. These lighting options give you control over brightness, which affects the beam distance and battery life. Some also offer colored light options (red mainly), and S.O.S flashing for emergencies.
A headlamp can make running safer, but when you go to buy one, you may notice that they all look the same. To make it easier for you to find the right headlamp, we’ve compared and reviewed the best-selling models to find ones that meet our strict quality criteria.
The Best Jogging Headlamp – Our Top Picks
Foxelli Headlamp Flashlight – Foxelli offers a headlamp with a feature that most competitors don’t have: USB-rechargeable batteries. One of the biggest hassles with a headlamp is having to spend money on batteries – and carry around spare batteries when you’re out on a run. Foxelli solves this problem with their USB rechargeable headlamp flashlight, and it fully recharges in just two hours.
Each battery charge will provide you with 100 hours of light, and there’s a built-in battery indicator that lets you know when it’s time to recharge.
The Foxelli is incredibly lightweight at 4.4 ounces, and the elastic band is easily adjustable for a custom, secure fit. The Cree LED delivers a 120 meter beam, and the adjustable flood light diffuser makes this light the most versatile and brightest in its price range.
A number of light modes are available, and a 90-degree tiltable body allows you to shine light where you need it most. An S.O.S. mode is built in, and the headlamp even comes with an emergency whistle.
Waterproof and virtually indestructible, this is the best trail running headlamp you can buy.
Aennon LED Headlamp Flashlight – With 4 light modes and an adjustable strap, the Aennon headlamp allows you to enjoy a safer run without sacrificing comfort.
The long-lasting LED light offers four modes: 2 LED (10 lumens/65 feet), 4 LED (20 lumens/98 feet), 8 LED (30 lumens/164 feet), and 2 Red LED. On top of the light is a simple button that allows you to cycle through the four light modes. The power saving mode (2 LED) provides you with up to 16 hours of light.
The quick-release battery case makes it easy to change batteries with just one hand, while the adjustable strap allows you to customize the fit.
The body of the headlamp tilts up to 90 degrees, so you can focus the beam where you need it most. And the LEDs offer up to 20,000 hours of lighting.
LuxoLite CREE LED Headlamp – LuxoLite offers a Cree LED headlamp with multiple lighting modes, extra durability and a weatherproof design – all great features for runners. And the comfortable, one-strap design allows you to easily fit this headlamp under a hat or other headgear.
The LED light offers three constant light modes: 10 lumens (30ft), 75 lumens (215 feet) and 160 lumens (360 feet). This is one of the brightest headlamp we’ve reviewed, and it’s a smart choice if you run long distances in the dark. The LuxoLite also offers S.O.S. flashing light, constant red lighting and flashing red lighting.
Completely waterproof and boasting a dropping height of 5 feet, this headlamp is a must-have for all runners.
Reivalo Headlamp of All Headlamps – The Reivalo headlamp is ultra-bright, offers 6 lighting modes and is so comfortable to wear, you’ll forget you have it on. It’s extra-durable, too, with resistance to water, dust and shattering (up to 5 feet).
Delivering up to 168 lumen (120 feet), this headlamp is powered by 3 AAA batteries and weighs just 3 ounces (with batteries). A red LED light is included as well as an S.O.S flash for emergencies.
The batteries are easy to change. Just pull the LED light forward to reveal the battery case. Reivalo even includes your first set of batteries, so you can start using the headlamp right away.
Vitchelo V800 Headlamp Flashlight – The Vitchelo V800 offers both flood (wide) and spot (narrow) light modes, so you can adjust the brightness to your needs. Two separate buttons allow you to control the white and red LEDs individually for maximum versatility.
The ultra-bright LED light allows you to see up to 110 meters, and you can use either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. But unlike the first headlamp on our list, this one does not offer USB recharging.
Both the flood and spot lights are dimmable, so you can adjust the brightness to your liking. A strobe light is also included for emergency situations.
The V800 is waterproof, and comes with a set of batteries and travel case.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Sift Through All the Running Headlamp Reviews and Find the Right One for You
- Lighting modes: One of the first things you should consider is the number of lighting modes offered. These modes allow you to adjust the brightness (and distance) to accommodate your needs. If you’re running on a long, dark trail, you may want a headlamp that offers ultra-bright lighting for maximum visibility.
Emergency S.O.S. lighting is a nice added bonus if you’ll be running on trails.
- Brightness: The brightness of the LED will directly affect your range of visibility. Higher lumens allow you to see longer distances, but will drain your batteries faster. Lower lumens allow you to see just a short distance in front of you, and will help you preserve your battery life. Determine how bright you need the light to be, and this will help you find a model that will suit your needs.
- Comfort: If the headlamp is uncomfortable to wear, you won’t use it. Lamps with adjustable straps are usually the better option as they allow you to customize the fit. Some also offer additional padding behind the lamp, so it doesn’t cause discomfort on the forehead. If you run long distances, you may want a headlamp with these additional comfort features.
- Price: The price of the lamp will likely be the deciding factor. The good news is that you can get a high quality model for a reasonable price, so you won’t be spending an arm and a leg. But as always, focus on buying the best quality you can afford.