10 Best Running Headlamps Reviewed & Tested

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Black Diamond Spot
Test Winner: Black Diamond Spot
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We know that fitting in a run during productive daylight hours can be a real challenge. Equipping running headlamps means that you can fit in a run long after the sun goes down. You already know that seeing the road ahead of you is important, but it’s also important that fellow runners and motorists see you too. We wanted to select designs that fit securely on your head even as you pick up the pace, and won’t cut off the circulation to your brain on those long runs. Plus, selecting designs that are lightweight and rechargeable increases the chance that you will actually wear them!

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.

Standout Picks

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.
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.
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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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.
Amazon Link
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.
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.
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!
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.
Crush resistant up to 80 kgs, this 50-Lumen beacon is good for an early morning run, an evening one or a camping trip.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Weight

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.

Features

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.

Top 10 Running Headlamps

1. Black Diamond Spot

Where to buy
Black Diamond Spot
Black Diamond Spot
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Features

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

Where to buy
PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp
PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Features

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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Princeton Tec Remix
Princeton Tec Remix LED Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Features

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.

Amazon Link

4. Petzl NAO+

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Petzl NAO+
Petzl NAO+
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

We also like that this design uses a lithium rechargeable battery that charges up quickly with the help of a USB adapter.

Versatility

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.

Features

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.

Amazon Link

5. GearLight S500

Where to buy
Amazon Link
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight S500
GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight S500
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

Users said the battery life is good and lives up to the 45 hours the company rates it at.

Versatility

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.

Features

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.

Amazon Link

6. Black Diamond Storm

Where to buy
Black Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp
Black Diamond Storm 400 HeadlampBlack Diamond Storm 400 Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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!

Battery Life

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!

Versatility

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!

Features

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

Where to buy
PETZL Reactik Headlamp
PETZL Reactik Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Features

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

Where to buy
Nathan Neutron Fire Headlamp
Nathan Neutron Fire Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

This running headlamp requires 2 AAA batteries and it can run for 30 hours or more depending on the setting you use.

Versatility

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.

Features

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

Where to buy
Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
Amazon Link

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

Use

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.

Battery Life

The rechargeable battery takes 5 hours to recharge and is good for short distance road runs.

Versatility

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.

Features

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

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Petzl - PIXA 3 100 Lumens
Petzl - PIXA 3 100 Lumens
Amazon Link

Crush resistant up to 80 kgs, this 50-Lumen beacon is good for an early morning run, an evening one or a camping trip.

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Use

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.

Battery Life

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.

Versatility

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.

Features

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.

Amazon Link

Sources

  1. Staff, trail Running At Night, Online Running Publication
  2. Staff, Headlamp Suggestions, Blog
  3. Jacqueline Windh, Trail running at night – training tips for headlamp runs, Running Site
  4. Headlamps 101, Which Headlamp Do Ultra-Runners Wear? , Running Site

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