10 Best Bike Lights Fully Reviewed

0

Changing up your commute by biking to work has countless benefits for you, and the environment. Getting outside and exercising before and after work is great for your physical and mental health, and can improve your performance in the office as well as reduce your carbon footprint. However, poorly lit roads, and high traffic areas can pose danger to the cycling commuter. Getting set up with the proper safety equipment and learning to cycle defensively can help you safely take advantage of this beneficial practice. Finding the proper bike light is essential for bike safety particularly when commuting in the fall and early winter. We reviewed the best head and tail lights for bikes to determine this best options for helping you see the road and make sure you are seen by motorists.

Bright Eyes 1600
  • Bright Eyes 1600
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Long Lasting Battery
  • Price: See Here
Cateye Volt 1200
  • Cateye Volt 1200
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 5 Settings
  • Price: See Here
See.Sense ICON+ Rear Light
  • See.Sense ICON+ Rear Light
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Controlled by Smartphone
  • Price: See Here
Last Updated: August 1, 2018
Avatar
By Tess Bercan:

In this update, we focussed on clarifying our content to give a better idea of the best bike lights available for you today. We took many factors into consideration when making our choices, but primarily, we took your feedback, reviews, and testing to be the most important ways we made our choices.

10 Best Bike Lights

 

1. Bright Eyes 1600

The Bright Eyes bike light provides some of the strongest light at 1600 lumens at its brightest setting. It features 3 light settings and a strobe mode for added visibility. The light and battery pack are fully waterproof and provide hours of light coverage. An additional diffuser lens widens the spotlight to increase your visibility and make you more visible to other motorists. This light is not cheap but it is worth the investment for night riding and those with dark commutes.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
This light provides a strength of 1600 lumens at its highest setting, 900 lumens at medium and about 350 lumens at low. Users report the light feels as strong as a motorcycle headlight and the diffusing lens provides wide coverage that increases visibility for the rider and makes the rider more visible to cars.

Mount:
The mount is easy to set up and the angle of the light can be easily adjusted. Some users find the light is too easily changed and find it pointing further down as they ride. Many reviewers recommend mounting the light below the handlebars rather than on top for a more consistent, forward-pointing light.

Battery Life:
The company reports that the battery should last over 4 hours at the highest setting, over 10 hours on medium and more than 26 hours on low.

Features:
This bike light has three light settings and a strobe setting for added visibility. It is also fully waterproof and comes with a lens diffuser for wider light coverage.

Value:
This bike can be found between 50 and 100 dollars. It may seem expensive for a bike light but this is actually a reasonable price for a light of this strength. It may last as long as some more expensive models but users are impressed with the strong light, wide coverage and reliable battery life.
Pros

1600 lumens at the highest setting

Easy to mount

Diffuser lens for wider light coverage

Long-lasting battery

3 light settings plus a strobe setting

Waterproof

Cons

Light angle may change with bumpy trails

2. Cateye Volt 1200

The Cateye Volt is another bright option for night riding and poorly lit commutes. The double bulb provides a wider flood area for improved visibility. Users find the 1200 lumen highest setting more than sufficient for lighting the way and being seen by motorists. The sturdy build is a bit heavy but reviewers are impressed with this light’s ability to hold its angle through bumpy roads and trails. It is a bit on the expensive side but the stable build and reliable battery will last for years.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
The Cateye Volt provides 1200 lumens of light at its highest setting. This is strong enough for dark roads and trails. Users who also own the 1600 lumen version find the difference negligible when it comes to lighting the road. The double bulb design also provides a wider area of coverage than your typical single-bulb, spotlight.

Mount:
The mount is solid with an adjustable angle that is handy for casual cycling. Reviewers report that the light maintains its angle even through bumpy trails and roads.

Battery Life:
The battery lasts a long time and users report recharging is easy with the mini USB charger.

Features:
This light has 5 different settings. In addition to a high, middle, and low, mode it also offers hyper constant for a wider beam and flashing light mode for daytime awareness.

Value:
This light can be found between 100 and 200 dollars. Users seem to agree that it is a better value than the more expensive Cateye Volt 1600 as the light is almost as bright and the light maintains its angle better on bumpy roads.
Pros

Sturdy build

Double bulbs provide more flood lighting

Provides 1200 lumens of light

5 settings

Rechargeable with a micro-USB

Cons

Heavy

3. See.Sense ICON+

This high-tech little taillight is packed with features to improve safety. At 250 lumens, the brightness is sufficient to be seen during the day. Smart sensor technology monitors your environment and adjusts brightness and flashing as you enter busy intersections or areas of changing lights. The battery lasts up to 15 hours and can be conveniently monitored through a smartphone app. Finally, GPS location can be helpful in the event of a crash or stolen bike. The price point is a bit high but many urban commuters find this smart light to be worth the investment.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
The new ICON+ emits light at 250 lumens, 30% more than the original ICON. At 250 lumens, this is light is bright enough to be seen during the day.

Mount:
This light has a clip that can be used with a variety of surfaces. The included seat mount is designed to fit on round parts of the bike but additional mounts and adaptors can be purchased to work with the equipment you already have.

Battery Life:
The battery on this little light can run for up to 15 hours. Users find this to be an accurate estimation when in practice and enjoy being able to track the battery life through their smartphone app.

Features:
This smart light has an array of features to ease use and improve safety. It is equipped with a smart sensor that monitors the environment to adjust flashing patterns and brightness in areas of higher congestion or changing light. Bluetooth capabilities allow you to link your light to your smartphone to more easily control it and to check the battery level. Additionally, GPS location can alert you if your bike is moved or can send your location to an emergency contact in the event of a crash.

Value:
The high tech smart features and impressive visibility on this tail light help to justify the hefty price tag. If you are looking for the top of the line tail light, look no further than the ICON+.
Pros

250 lumens for a tail light

Long battery life

Smart sensor changes modes and brightness

Can be controlled through your smart phone

GPS

Cons

Expensive for a tail light

Smart features may not be necessary

4. NiteRider Pro 1800

4. NiteRider Pro 1800
The Niterider Pro Race Light is about the brightest you can get when it comes to bike lights. Providing a wide light area with 1800 lumens at its top setting, this light will help you see where you are going in even the darkest conditions. The light is lightweight, the mount is solid and it has four light settings to help you adjust as the evening gets darker. It has ample battery life with a gauge to keep you constantly updated. This light is ideal for endurance riding and racing when there is no city light to be seen. The hefty price tag may not be worth the money for the average commuter.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
This high-intensity light is stronger than the average car headlight at its maximum strength of 1800 lumens. The light is designed to provide a wide angle of coverage for maximum visibility when riding unlit trails at night.

Mount:
The handlebar mount is lightweight and easy to adjust. This light can be mounted to a helmet as well but some riders find it a bit heavy for comfort on the head.

Battery Life:
This light comes with a detachable battery that can be recharged. The battery should last 1.5 hours at the highest setting, three hours at 700 lumens, six hours at 400 lumens, and 25 hours at 80 lumens.

Features:
The Niterider Pro has 4 brightness settings as well as a flashing mode for added safety. The 8-step battery gauge keeps you informed on how much battery life you have left so you can adjust accordingly.

Value:
This bike light retails for well over 300 dollars. The very bright light, sturdy design, and wide angle are a worthy investment for endurance riding through the night. However, it may be overkill for a well-lit city commute.
Pros

1800 lumens at the highest setting

Brighter than a car headlight

Ideal for very dark trails and endurance riding

Wide spot light

5 settings including a flashing setting

Long battery life

Sturdy build

8-Step battery gauge

Cons

Expensive

Overkill for commutes

5. Cygolite Metro 500

5. Cygolite Metro 500
The Cygolite Metro is ideal for urban riding, offering some unique modes to increase your safety and visibility. In addition to the traditional high, medium and low settings, this light features a SteadyPulse mode. In SteadyPulse, the light maintains a steady beam while flashing brighter to grab the attention of passing motorists. This light is one of the less expensive options but it is also water resistant as opposed to waterproof and may not last as long as some more expensive lights.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
At the highest setting, this light provides 500 lumens which is strong enough to light up a path at night or in the early evening. The spotlight helps you spot obstacles in your path but does not have as wide of a coverage area as lights intended for trail riding.

Mount:
The Locktite handlebar mount is very easy to use and stays in place while riding.

Battery Life:
The battery lasts for 1.5 hours at the highest setting and up to 150 hours on walking. Typically you can expect to get 3-4 hours on medium or steady pulse mode.

Features:
This light features 6 different light modes for improved safety. In addition to the standard high, medium and low, it also features a flashing DayLightning mode, a walking mode and the patent-pending SteadyPulse mode which provides a steady beam with attention-grabbing flashing.

Value:
At around 30 dollars, this is one of the less expensive options for a significant amount of light. The light is water resistant rather than waterproof and may not be as durable as some of the more expensive models.
Pros

SteadyPulse mode combines a steady beam and attention-grabbing flashes

6 light modes

500 lumens at the highest setting

Easy-to-use handlebar mount

Inexpensive

Cons

Lower battery life

6. Apace Vision

6. Apace Vision
This affordable bike tail light offers 120 degrees of wide beam coverage with 6 steady and flashing settings to improve visibility. The light itself is very lightweight, mounts easily under your seat and is waterproof. The battery charges in 2 hours and provides up to 12 hours of light.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
Reviewers report this 100-lumen tail light appears bright and makes them feel safe while on the road. The COB LED light provides a wide beam with 120 degrees of coverage to ensure visibility.

Mount:
This tail light comes with 6 rubber mounting rings of various sizes so you can securely attach this light to any part of your bike, helmet or bag.

Battery Life:
The battery charges fully in less than 2 hours and typically lasts between 5 and 6 hours depending on the setting.

Features:
The Apace Vision includes 6 settings with three steady levels and three flashing modes.

Value:
Well under 30 dollars, this is an affordable and reliable tail light.
Pros

6 light settings

Wide angle beam provides 120 degrees of light

Lightweight

Versatile rubber mounting rings

Cons

Not very bright for day time use

7. Cycle Torch Night Owl

7.  Cycle Torch Night Owl
The Cycle Torch Night Owl, is rechargeable bike light that comes with a free tail light. It is charged by using a USB chord which is included, and can charge with any computer, laptop, or phone charger. It attaches easily, without the use of any tools. It also comes with a 100% money back guarantee for the first year.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
This light is 200 lumens. Consumers have said it is nice and bright, perfect for night time bike rides, or walks. It lights up your path, and lets you see if there are any other people around. It has four different light settings, and one is a flashing mode to let cars know where you are.

Mount:
The Night Owl, is easily attaches without the use of any tools. It goes on your handle bars in seconds, and comes off just as easily.

Battery Life:
The battery life is guaranteed a two plus hours running on high, it will last longer on a lower setting. Consumers have said they have used it for a full week without needing to charge it. That was with using it for almost an hour each day. You can recharge it with a USB chord and also charges pretty quickly. Less than an hour for a full charge from a dead battery.

Features:
The Night Owl is a rechargeable bike light, that is charged using a USB chord so you can use any USB charger around the house. It has a universal fit so you can also use it on strollers, kids bicycles, wheel chairs, scooters, and so on. It comes with four different light settings, including a flashing feature to show other vehicles or riders where you are. It is light weight at only 80 grams. It is also water proof. It's IPX5 rated, which means it is completely covered if you got caught in the rain.


Value:
This bike light is relatively low in price. Especially since it includes the tail light for free. It is risk free because it guarantees if you do not like it, you can send it back and either get a new one or your money back.
Pros

Rechargeable battery

Water proof

Light weight

Bright

Attaches easily

Can attach to bikes, strollers, wheel chairs, and more

Cons

Some said the mount isn't the best quality mount

Doesn't give you enough notice when it needs to be charged

8. Cygolite Hotshot 100

8. Cygolite Hotshot 100
This Cygolite tail light emits a 100 lumen red light and comes with 6 attention-grabbing day and night time modes to make sure you are seen. Users are impressed with the high visibility of this light, particularly during the day. They find that the battery lasts a long time and does not require frequent charging. The clip mount is easy to attach to a saddlebag, backpack or the included seat mount.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
The Hotshot tail light emits a bright red light at 100 lumens. Users report impressive visibility from far down the trail.

Mount:
The back clip on this light attaches easily to a saddlebag, backpack or the included seat mount. The included seat mount is hard plastic and only attaches to round areas on the bike which is a downfall for some cyclists.

Battery Life:
The battery life on this little light lasts a long time and is easily charged with micro USB. The company reports it can last up to 270 hours on the lowest setting but in practice, users with a regular commute find themselves charging about once per week.

Features:
The 6 night and day modes of this tail light enhance visibility and improve safety. Settings include a steady light, Zoom, Daylighting, triple flash, random flash and Cygolite’s signature SteadyPulse to grab attention and make sure you are seen.

Value:
This tail light falls can be found for well under 40 dollars. While it is much more expensive than a cheap reflector, many users find this bright light a worthy investment for their safety.
Pros

Bright 100 lumen red light

6 flashing modes for attention-grabbing visibility

Good battery life

Clip mount for versatile application

Works for day and night time use

Cons

Round seat mount does not work on all parts of the bike

9. Light & Motion Urban 650

9. Light & Motion Urban 650
This Light & Motion light is perfectly suited for the evening commuter. The maximum 650 lumens provides bright light to help you see the road in front of you while amber side lights make you more visible to passing motorists. The built-in battery pack makes mounting this streamlined light very easy but it does cost a bit in the amount of battery life per charge.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
At the highest setting, this light emits 650 lumens, 300 lumens at medium and 150 lumens at low.

Mount:
This Light & Motion light has a built-in battery pack for simple mounting. The standard handlebar mount is simple to strap on and use. This light is also compatible with a variety of different mounts such as a helmet mount, GoPro mount, and hand mount.

Battery Life:
Due to the internal battery pack, this light does not have the longest lasting battery. It typically will last 1.5 hours at the highest setting and 6 hours at the lowest.

Features:
This light is fully waterproof and features amber side lights to make your presence known when riding alongside cars. In addition to the three brightness settings, it has a pulse mode for daytime use.

Value:
At around 80 dollars, this is not a budget option but a reliable light that is sufficient for urban riding.
Pros

Built-in battery pack for less bulk and wires

Easy to mount

Versatile mounting options

Amber side lights for added safety

650 lumens at the highest setting

Cons

Not the longest battery life

10. Blaze Laserlight

10. Blaze Laserlight
The innovative Blaze Laserlight projects an image of a bicycle on the road in front of you to warn cars and other bicycles of your approach. This handy safety feature can be a lifesaver at busy intersections. This combined with the 300-lumen headlight can maintain its battery for 2 hours at full power and can last up to 13 hours at a lower setting.
Expand to see more
Light Strength:
At just 300 lumens, this is not the strongest light out there. However, it does a good job of keeping the road lit in front of you and does an even better job at helping you be seen by motorists.

Mount:
The mount is easy to set up and remains in place.

Battery Life:
The battery holds its charge for 2 hours with the light at its highest setting and the laser on. At the lowest setting and with the laser on strobe, it may last more than 13 hours.

Features:
The selling point of the Blaze Laserlight is the laser projected image of a bicycle that shines on the road in front of you to warn motorists and other cyclists of your approach. This feature can be used with or without the main light. The light itself is also fully waterproof.

Value:
Coming in at just under 200 dollars, this is an expensive light for just 300 lumens of power. However, the added safety of that projected image makes this a worthy investment for many cyclists.
Pros

Projected laser image warns motorists of your approach

300 lumen white light

Laser and light can be operated separately

Impressive battery life

Cons

Expensive

Not the strongest light

 

The Metrics We Used to Determine the Best Bike Lights

Light Strength

Modern bike lights are lit by LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) the strength of which is rated by lumens. Lumens are a measure of how much light is passing through an area per second. So, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light. City commuters riding in well-lit areas no later than dusk can get away with 100 to 200 lumens while those hitting rural routes or mountain bike trails at night will want over 1000 lumens.

Mount

Bike head lights vary based on the cost and strength. The more powerful headlights typically require an external battery pack which also needs to be mounted on the bike. These packs are typically lightweight and easy to attach but it does require some additional organization. Most headlights attach easily and securely. However, if you are mountain biking or hitting rougher trails, you will want to ensure your mount is very stable and will not change angles or move around as you go over bumps. Tail lights typically have a clip on the back and can easily be attached to an additional mount under the seat or to a backpack or helmet.

Battery Life

You don’t want your light dying on you in the middle of an unlit road. Battery life is very important when it comes to your bike light. Higher lumen lights typically have an external battery pack to help them hold a charge longer. Smaller lights that come as a single unit are easier to mount and recharge but don’t tend to hold battery quite as well.

Features

Most lights feature multiple brightness settings as well as some flashing modes to help grab the attention of riders. Higher tech lights such as the CYCLIQ Fly12 and the See.Sense ICON+ have additional features such as built-in cameras, Bluetooth compatibility, GPS location and smart sensors that automatically adjust your lighting. These features are great for convenience and safety. However, for the average commuter, these features may be overkill and they add significant cost to your light.  

Other Things To Consider 

Where and when are you riding?

This is probably the most important factor when choosing a bike light because it will determine the power and mount you will need. The urban commuter traveling on well-lit roads relies more heavily on their bike light to make themselves seen by other motorists. You can get away with a lower-lumen light but may want to invest in attention-grabbing features such as flashing modes or even the projected laser of the Blaze Laserlight to make sure you are seen in congested areas. If your commute includes poorly lit rural roads or trails, a stronger light with a wider angle is essential to help you avoid obstacles in the road. Mountain bikers and endurance riders who ride through the night will want to invest in the highest power lights out there, such as the NiteRider Pro, to give them maximum visibility of the trail ahead.

FAQs

Q: When should I use flashing mode vs a steady light?

A: Flashing modes are typically recommended for daytime use as a steady light will not do much to make you seen. At night, a steady light is a better option as flashing light, particularly at higher power, can be distracting and dangerous for oncoming traffic.

Q: What else do I need to be safe on my bike?

A: A helmet that fits properly is the most important safety feature you can have. Reflective features and brightly colored clothing can also add to your visibility and safety.

Sources

  1. Annis, Robert, A Quick and Dirty Guide to Lighting Up Your Bike , Web Article, Oct 03, 2013
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Bicycle Safety, Website,
Rockay Socks + Buff
Next Giveaway draw
1 Winner Picked!
Your email is safe with us. Pinky swear
Share:
Enter the giveaway