10 Best Running Headlamps Reviewed & Tested
In this guide, we have selected some of the best running headlamps so that you can fit in a run long after the sun has gone down.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hrs of research
Easy to take off and put on
Top 10 Running Headlamps
1. Black Diamond Spot
Easy to take off and put on
Basic design and features
Band can be a little uncomfortable
The Black Diamond Spot is by far the most affordable option available. However, being the most affordable option doesn't mean it sacrifices comfort or other excellent and necessary features. This headlamp has been around for a long time but has recently been redesigned. Its updated version is by far an excellent option for your nightly runs and is sure to offer what you need.Read more
This running headlamp by Black Diamond can be used by almost anyone—not just runners. Whether you are a hiker, climber, winter athlete, or outdoor enthusiast, you will surely love this one!
Its waterproof construction allows you to use it in the water and its comfortable fit ensures you can rely on it even when the weather decides to take you by surprise.
You can rely on this headlamp for up to 180 hours on its lowest setting and 25 hours on its high setting. It requires 3 AAA batteries.
This headlamp is a popular choice among runners--it is comfortable, durable, affordable, and bright. It's also weather and water resistant. In fact, it can be submerged in water for a continuous 30 minutes! If you get stuck in a downpour you won't have to worry about your headlamp giving out on you.
This headlamp weighs in at just 3.52 oz, so it is incredibly lightweight. It can also be used for elevations as high as 80 meters and as low as -10 meters.
The Spot offers 300 Lumens at full capacity and utilizes PowerTap technology for you to transition between lighting settings. It also comes equipped with several lighting settings: full-capacity, dimming, strobe, red night-vision, and lock mode. It also comes with a Brightness Memory option--so you don't have to switch through all of the lighting options to get to your previous one.
2. Petzl TIKKA
Three simple but effective lighting modes
3 year manufacturer guarantee
Glow in the dark system for easy location when not in use
An overhead strap would be a great improvement
A classic time-tested headlamp, the Petzl Tikka is a great go to for urban running. Boasting a plentiful 100 lumen brightness and user friendly design — the Tikka deserves its status as a household name.Read more
This simple but effective headlamp is a great one to have around. It is versatile, easy to use, and perfect for all types of runners.
The Petzl Tikka is a hybrid headlamp, meaning that it can be powered by standard batteries and is compatible with the Petzl CORE rechargeable batteries.
Its lightweight durable features make it weather resistant, breaking the scale at just 3 ounces. On the highest level, the headlamp illumination can range up to 80 meters and last nearly 250 hours on the lowest setting. The user-friendliness is made available by the simple push-button system for fast lighting selection. The standard lighting technology beam will switch to a reserve setting when batteries are getting low to preserve the remaining battery life.
The Tikka headlamp is yet another compact lightweight set engineered by Petzl that delivers top-notch quality. It is definitely on the lower end of the pay scale when looking at its competitors. With 200 lumens brightness and wide beam capability, this headlamp brings plenty to the table; or should we say head.
A favorable bonus among its users is the glow in the dark locator that self-charges when not in use to easily find the headlamp in the dark. When shining, the Tikka offers three lighting modes for proximity, movement and distance vision. The red lighting will not blind other members in the group and preserves night vision.
3. Princeton Tec Remix
Short battery life in some situations
The Princeton Tec Remix is the top choice on a lot of recommendation lists and is highly regarded by many users. This one is easy to use, affordable, and comfortable--and it will definitely get the job done when you are out on your nightly runs.Read more
This option is perfect for runners who love to run in muddier terrains and also need sufficient lighting. They can work in any environment and are weather and water resistant.
It also comes in different lighting capabilities of 70, 100, 125, and 150 lumens--so you can adjust it to what you need at any present moment. It utilizes AAA batteries and can last for up to 150 hours.
Since this headlamp is both weather and water resistant, you can rely on it even weather decides to switch it upon you. Many mud runners love this lamp--so you can believe it is definitely durable enough to take a beating as well. This one is also great for short hikes or treks--so you can definitely use it for more than just running.
Weighing in at just 4 ounces, this headlamp is incredibly lightweight and comfortable--so it won't bother you, even on your longest runs or races.
This headlamp offers an adjustable band, so you can make sure it fits you both securely and comfortably. The batteries are easy to switch out and the push button is easy to access even while running.
4. Petzl NAO+
Rechargeable lithium battery
If you are serious about low-light running, this design from Petzl is worth every penny. It boasts a frame that is lightweight and secure, and won’t bounce around on your head as you struggle through those last miles. Plus, it has a unique lighting system that adapts to the light level to keep the road ahead of your perfect lit. Plus, the Nao+ has an extended battery life when compared to some of the other models out there on the market.Read more
If you are in the market for the best of the best, the Petzl Nao+ is a great choice. While it clocks in at a pretty steep price point, it is a design that is perfect for runners that only have time to hit the trails after the sun goes down. We love that it utilizes reactive lighting technology with a companion app so you can spend more time shaving seconds off of your time and less time fiddling with your gear.
We also like that this design uses a lithium rechargeable battery that charges up quickly with the help of a USB adapter.
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it boasts reactive lighting technology. The lighting tech actually changes the intensity as well as the shape of the beam based upon the brightness level outdoors. Automatically adjusting the intensity of the beam saves on battery life too, which means you won’t have to fiddle with brightness settings in the middle of your run.
Runners can also download the Petzl app on their smartphone that allows them to make adjustments to the lamp without feeling around on the base to make manual adjustments.
5. GearLight S500
Powerful 200-lumen beam
Seven light modes
Some delivered with different color headband
This feature packed option has 7 light modes, a comfortable and secure head strap, 200-lumen bulbs for a super bright light, and the company even donates part of their profits to help sustainable water projects for people living in rural Bolivia. There's also a 60-day money back guarantee that proves this brand stands behind its products.Read more
This is great for running because it has one of the best strap systems out there which really keeps it secure on your head. It also has six light modes, including a red light to help you maintain your night vision.
Users said the battery life is good and lives up to the 45 hours the company rates it at.
With its seven different light modes, this product is one of the most versatile on our list. It's perfect for running and great for hiking and camping, emergency lighting, or working on projects at home where you might need some extra light.
At just four ounces this is one of the lightest on our list and won't weigh you down or jostle on your head as you run.
This option has seven light modes including red lights. It's also highly water resistant and does a good job of working well and holding battery life in cold weather.
6. Black Diamond Storm
Lots of lighting settings
Some users don't like all of the lighting options it has available
Black Diamond is well regarded among outdoor enthusiasts. The Black Diamond Storm, specifically, is not only incredibly durable but also really versatile. You can use this one for almost anything—from climbing or hiking to running.Read more
It is both dustproof and waterproof so you can rely on it in any situation. It is easy to transition between its light settings—distance, dimming, strop, red, green, and blue night vision—and it can be taken underwater for up to half an hour!
This headlamp offers 350 Lumens of lighting power as well as 3 different night vision color options. It has 8 different selections to choose from—and, believe it or not, it also has great battery life. In fact, in its low setting, it can last for up to 160 hours and in its high settings, it can last for up to 22 hours!
If you are looking for a versatile headlamp you can use for more than just running, then you will love this one. Since it is waterproof you can count on it to work in the water or when the weather decides to surprise you. It first securely and comfortably—so it won’t bother you no matter how long you wear it.
Weighing in at just 3.2 ounces, this headlamp is incredibly lightweight!
If you are looking for a headlamp that offers a lot of features, you will love this one! Not only is it completely waterproof, but it can be submerged for up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. It also offers different night vision colors and 8 lighting settings to choose from. It features Power Tap technology which makes it really easy to change the light’s brightness and the strobe setting will also help make you more visible.
7. Petzl REACTIK
Easy to wear
Can be a little uncomfortable to some
The Petzl REACTIK headlamp is a lightweight option that comes packed with useful features that are sure to keep your nightly runs safe, comfortable, and well-lit. This 300-lumen headlamp comes equipped with a multiple beam lighting feature, is water-resistant, and uses reactive technology to adjust the intensity of its lighting to your surroundings.Read more
This 220 Lumen running headlamp is a perfect option for all nighttime runners--whether you are on a trail or your neighborhood streets, this lamp's features are sure to fit all of your needs.
At full capacity, this headlamp has a 2.5-hour battery life, a 5-hour battery life when used in standard mode, and a 10-hour battery when using its maximum autonomy mode option.
The best feature is its reactive lighting technology. This allows the lamp to adjust its lighting and brightness to your surrounding (with maximum lighting being 220 Lumen). This means you can focus on your run without having to manually adjust your lights as well as extensively save your battery life--making this option much more energy efficient.
Weighing in at just 4 ounces it is really lightweight, durable, and comfortable.
Its Bluetooth capability allows you to communicate with others through Morse code as well as track your battery life during your runs. You can also preset your lighting yourself and double check that you have enough lighting for specific distances and locations. Another excellent feature is that it is weather resistant--so you can rely on it when the weather surprises you or catches you off guard.
8. Nathan Neutron Fire
Reliable battery life
You need to manually switch through the light settings
While this is one of the most cost-effective headlamps, don’t let that fool you. The Nathan Neutron Fire still offers tons of beneficial features and ensure you get more than what you pay for. It is comfortable, lightweight, and—best of all—easy to use!Read more
This Nathan headlamp is perfect for runners and those of you who love to hit the outdoors. Not only does it ensure you are visible, but it also allows you to see clearly no matter how dark it is outside. It is also water and weather resistant—so you know you can count on it when you need it most.
This running headlamp requires 2 AAA batteries and it can run for 30 hours or more depending on the setting you use.
If you are looking for a multi-functional option that comes at a great price, you will love this one. You can use it for running, hiking, or even as a reading light when you are camping.
At 0.8 ounces, this headlamp is incredibly lightweight and compact in size. It will take up minimal space and remain comfortable no matter how long you wear it.
For the price, this headlamp offers quite a bit of additional features. It gives you the option to adjust your lamp’s angle and also has 2 side strobes for additional visibility. It has 5 light settings to choose from—low, medium, high, strobe, and sprint—and delivers a total of 115 lumens. The side strobes can be set to blue, green, or red.
9. Black Diamond Sprinter
Easy to put on
Battery can be a bit short-lived
The Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp is another lightweight and affordable option that has a 200 Lumen capacity. This headlamp is the perfect option for night running and is both comfortable and efficient.Read more
This headlamp is a great one to have on hand for those of you who like to run short distances at night. It does not have a long battery life so don't count on it when out on a trek.
The rechargeable battery takes 5 hours to recharge and is good for short distance road runs.
It comes with a rechargeable battery and a perfectly balanced and adjustable headband--so you don't have to worry about constantly adjusting it during your runs.
It's really popular among runners--it is affordable, comfortable, and lightweight.
Its' best safety feature is its rear red taillight strobe--for maximum visibility at night. This lamp also uses PowerTap technology to provide different lighting settings and beam intensity.
10. Petzl Pixa 3 Pro
Rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery pack
Attaches easily to just about anything
Built for heavy duty, not fragile
Washable elastic headband
Priced a little higher
Crush resistant up to 80 kgs, this 50-Lumen beacon is good for an early morning run, an evening one or a camping trip.Read more
Illuminate the space in front of you for up to 55 meters with this 10-ounce headlamp. It is extremely reliable, user-friendly and can withstand falls up to 6.6 ft and crushing weights of up to 80 kg.
The battery life on the Petzl Pixa 3 Pro is unmatched. Two AA batteries can last up to 12 hours if used on lower settings. The headlamp also includes a battery indicator light that will alert you when your batteries are running low. As the AA batteries near the end of their lifespan, it will continue to shine on the 15m beam setting for an additional 10 hours. Furthermore, a battery case is included that is compatible with several rechargeable lithium batteries. You are not going to have to worry about losing light for a very long time.
Its versatile design allows you to rotate the beacon up to 45 degrees to point the beam where you need it. The removable back mounting plate provides preferential placement on flat surfaces for lighting in tight spaces.
This headlamp is very lightweight and has excellent durable qualities.
The fully adjustable LED multi-beam light allows you to adapt to all types of situations and movements for close-up and long-range vision. It features three lighting modes to illuminate what is in front of you depending on the distance and proximity.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Different types of running and lighting conditions require different styles of headlamps.
Are you a trail runner who won’t have any light at all? Do you run in more of an urban environment at night where there will be a decent amount of city lighting? Whatever your style, the headlamp must fit your purpose. Obviously the brighter the better, but knowing the environment you run in will help you invest in the right headlamp for your intended use.
The max beam reach of the headlamp is another important factor. There is a big difference for those who need to see 15 meters in front compared to those who may only need to see a few feet in front of them. Either way, it’s important to understand what your situation is.
Choose a headlamp with the right beam type for you. A flood or wide type is good for close-up lighting, not really for distance. Spot, focused or narrow types are great for long-distance because it is a tight beam. This is ideal for dark trail runs.
A design with a long battery life means you'll never be lost in the dark.
Battery life is an essential part of our considerations about what goes on this list. It goes beyond assessing standard battery life. Something that underperforms has no chance at placement and a headlamp with average battery life would have to stand out in some extraordinary way to earn a second glance. For the best of the best, only lamps with an exceptional battery life will earn a spot on the list.
We also have a rechargeable lamp on this list. We understand that charging a headlamp is not always accessible to everyone and favoring a lamp with exchangeable batteries is a matter of convenience.
Whether you are going for a walk, a brisk jog, or an all-out sprint, you need a lamp that stays put.
Headlamps need to be as versatile as you are as an athlete. We made sure to include some of the most durable, weatherproof headlamps on the market. In reality, almost every headlamp is not only made for running but for a variety of activities. Because of this, runners can reap plenty of benefits from a variety of characteristics.
For the most part, every headlamp can withstand a decent amount of water. If these lamps can go up to a meter underwater for up to thirty minutes they are going to be able to stand pretty wet running conditions. They can take on the cold very well so those living in chillier zones of the world won’t have to worry. For those in hotter areas, the listed headlamps are not going to overheat on you.
To shave precious seconds off of your PR, you need gear that is lightweight.
All in all, weight is the number one thing you're looking at next to the brightness of the lamp. Your run will most likely be a lot more comfortable the lighter the headlamp. We did include a couple of different “heavyweights” compared to others, but it also depends on your preference.
The headlamps with added material on top, known as the overhead strap, will provide a bit more stability. If you run on more uneven trails than that may be a good option for you. Our list contains a good mix of both heavier and lighter weighted bands. We made sure that the lightweight lamps that made the list also provided an ample amount of stability. You’re not going to want to have to adjust your headlamp on run. Ideally, you want to choose one that really feels like you aren’t wearing one.
Advanced features allow you to focus on the road ahead of you.
Many of the headlamps on our list offer a lot of additional features that will simplify your life and come in handy when you are using your running headlamp. If you have a specific use, terrain, or activity you want to use your headlamp for (outside of running), then you will want to take an extra close look at the additional features each one of our options has to offer.
When we took a look at features, we considered more than just the Lumens each one had to offer. Aside from Lumen strength, we took a look at the different lighting options each one had—some offer the basic low and high selection (which is perfect if you want something straight and to the point) while others offer up to 8 different lighting settings. Many offer strobe lights for additional visibility and other headlamps offer self-adjusting settings—so you don’t have to manually switch to the light setting you need at any given time.
We also took a look at how stable and secure the headlamp would fit—after all, you want to make sure you can maintain a hands-free run and not worry about having to adjust your headlamp every two minutes because it keeps falling all over the place. We also took a look at whether or not the lamp offered any Bluetooth connectivity options and if they were compatible with rechargeable batteries or not.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
With any electronic products and accessories, it's always a good idea to look for one that offers a generous warranty. There are many small parts in running lamps and other light sources that can break surprisingly easily and cause problems with functionality. In order to avoid feeling as though you've wasted your money, finding manufacturers who will repair or replace these items is a good strategy.
Since running headlamps are intended for use in order to keep you safe, it makes sense that your well-being should be the top priority while using them. However, it's not a bad idea to make the effort to avoid shining your light into the eyes of other pedestrians, or drivers if you're jogging alongside the road since it can blind them and potentially lead to more safety issues.
Other Factors to Consider
Most of these headlamps offer a great number of brightness levels and modes. Know the modes. Strobe or flash mode is great as an emergency blinker. Some of these lamps offer different colored blinking lights as well. Low is the standard model used for easier trails and saves the most amount of battery life. The high mode is great for super dark areas and can really illuminate your surroundings for quality vision. Tilt features are a great plus to your headlamp as well. Choosing a headlamp that can tilt up or down can come in very handy in plenty of situations.
At the end of the day, you need to make sure you invest in a running headlamp that won’t complicate your life and offer the features that you need. If you are okay with a headlamp you have to manually switch through to get your desired light setting, then go for it—these work great for many runners. On the other hand, if you participate in other activities—like climbing or winter sports—where you have to be hands-free, then you will want to take a look at the headlamps that are more responsive and able to self-adjust as needed for you.
Finally, price is an important factor to take note of. A few of these headlamps are very economical and can easily get the job done depending on your situation. If you are a runner who stays on fairly well-lit streets, there isn’t much of a reason to go with a headlamp that has all the bells and whistles. Take these factors into consideration and you will be able to pick out the perfect headlamp fairly easily.
User-friendliness is a huge advantage when picking your headlamp. We made sure to pick simple options with easy to press buttons. Many of the headlamps are also easy to navigate with gloves on if you are in the cold. Another factor to look at depending on your situation is the headlamps with self-adjusting brightness. When you’re running you want to really be as hands-free as possible even if it saves you from pressing a button less than you need to. Several headlamps were chosen for their self-dimming and self-brightening features.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How well do headlamps do when accidentally dropped?
The headlamps we selected for this list, and most other quality lamps will be able to endure an accidental fall or two or a brush with a rogue branch. This equipment was designed to be used outside and at night and was made to prevent and endure accidents.
q: Can I wear these headlamps in rain and snow?
You should always consult care instructions about the level of water resistance a piece of gear has. Generally speaking, most models have waterproofing and can prove to be quite resilient.
q: What is a good weight for a running headlamp?
Headlamps that come in at around 6 to 7 ounces are the perfect weight for running. If you are looking at lamps that weigh more than that then these are probably designed for hiking or working. If you can find a headlamp that weighs less it’s probably worth considering. The lighter the headlamp the better it is for running.
q: Does paying for more expensive headlamps mean better quality?
We at RunnerClick will never equate price to quality. To do so would contradict the numerous articles we have based around affordable and accessible running gear. When it comes to paying more, you aren’t always paying for higher quality. Sometimes you are paying for a brand name, other times you will be paying for features. To avoid paying more needlessly, always consult buying guides like this one and reviews.
When it comes to paying for additional features, sometimes it is worthwhile to you in terms of investment. You might be getting stuff you genuinely need. Other times it's just extras that will not help you at all. It really depends on your circumstances.
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