10 Best Running Lights Compared and Tested
Even with very strong lights of the car, this is really hard. However, there’s a possibility of boosting the level of our safety- running lights. They’re very useful when you run in the dark, they allow the driver to see us from the longer distance so it may even save our life. We pay attention very much to safety so we’ve made a list of products that will help you stay more visible and illuminated on the roads.
Many people start their morning with a run or blow off steam after work with a brisk jog. This means large numbers of runners are active during the times of the day when the visibility is low or even outright dark. Now factor in winter time (where there sometimes seems to be no light at all during the day), and it's safe to say visibility is a key safety issue all runners must think about.
Be safe, it's not worth taking risks, enjoy our review and select a light which will protect you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
- Surrounds the runner with visibility
- Lightweight, durable construction
- Multiple flashing mode to make sure you are noticed
- Several colors
- Tracer360 – Revolutionary Illuminated and Reflective Vest
- Nathan Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch
- Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
- GoMotion Corelite Waist Light, 100 Lumen CREE LED
- Fenix PD32 Flashlight
- GoMotion Synergy Reflective Hydration LightVest
- Petzl Tikka
- Athlights Magnetic Flashing Safety Lights for Running
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Tracer360 – Revolutionary Illuminated and Reflective Vest
- Surrounds the runner with visibility
- Lightweight, durable construction
- Multiple flashing mode to make sure you are noticed
- Several colors
- The design is not for everyone
A wearable back light that helps you see and be seen when you are out running in the dark or in low light conditions that require added safety and concern.Read more
When it comes to being seen there aren’t many better strategies than simply strapping a light to your torso. With the Tracer360 this is essentially what you’re doing, and it is one of the most innovative and effective light vests on the market.
If you want to go for the nuclear options so to speak, this is it. Reflective shoes, or a head lamp may catch some drivers attention but not all. The tracer360 has multi-color illumination modes which are based on visual science and designed to catch the attention of today’s distracted driver. Its comfortable, durable and completely adjustable to boot.
Although the price runs a bit higher, can you really put a price on safety? This is a great accessory for any runner and if it helps you avoid one accident or injury then it has more than paid for itself!
2. Nathan Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch
- Puts out 300 lumens of brightness
- Comfortable handheld torch mount/brace
- Ear splitting siren, a nice safety feature
- 3-5 hrs of battery life
- Li-Ion Rechargeable batteries USB port compatible
- Not very weather resistant
With this adjustable and easy to wear head light set up, you can illuminate your path and see as well as be seen when you are out for your night or early morning runs.Read more
Another unique option for lighting yourself up is the Zephyr Fire 300 Torch from Nathan. This handheld light is ergonomically designed so you can easily light your path without getting a kink in your wrist.
Nathan produces excellent handheld water bottles and they’ve applied the same concepts here, creating a shockingly comfortable and efficient light source that you can hold in the palm of your hand. If a kicker were needed there is a red LED rear light for extra safety along with a siren which is great for emergencies.
Safety is key when you are running in low visibility conditions and investing in a quality running light is something you cannot put off or avoid. This headlight is a great option for beginner runners and professionals alike.
3. Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
- TriplePower LED with 130 lumens of brightness, projects an ovalized beam for maximum sight
- PowerTap Technology makes shifting modes a breeze
- IPX4 resists water
- Reasonably priced
- Some aren't crazy about the charging design
Shine a light no matter where you are running and keep yourself and others safe with this easy to wear headlamp from Black Diamond Sprinter. You can't go wrong with the quality and comfort provided here.Read more
The consensus is in. When it comes to headlamps the Black Diamond Sprinter is one of the clear winners. There is no one feature that blows you away with the Sprinter, rather it’s a combination of rock solid fundamentals. Its very light, it fits like a glove, it’s got multi-colored LEDS, it’s sufficiently bright, easy to use and it won’t break the bank.
Runners need to stay safe when out running in low visibility conditions- night, early morning, fog, and rain. A wearable light set up like this is a smart way to keep the lights shining brightly the entire time. It will keep you and others safe while you are out for your runs. It's a smart investment that many are choosing to make.
4. GoMotion Corelite Waist Light, 100 Lumen CREE LED
- Fully adjustable waist belt
- Customizable light intensity and run times
- Can change light stream from wide to narrow with an easy rotary dial
- Red LED lights on the rear of the belt for added safety
- Tends to bounce a lot during a run
With a unique write mounted design, this running light is always handy and is right where you need it to be when out on your night and early morning runs.Read more
One of the coolest features of having a waist mounted light is that this helps illuminate the ground. Particularly important if you are running on uneven terrain such as a trail. Beyond that, it’s simply another great visibility tool to make sure you show up in low light situations.
It is a durable product that is made to last and performs well in a range of low visibility situations. It is designed to keep your visible and safe and help others around you notice you sooner.
The price is decent and it is affordable for most runners and when one considers the cost of an accident or injury then it is even more affordable of an investment to make for your running gear!
5. Fenix PD32 Flashlight
- Compact design offers maximum output
- CREE XP-G white LED lights with 50,000-hour lifespan bulbs
- anti roll / anti slip design
- Carries a lifetime warranty
- Gets hot
Looking for something simple and basic to light your way while out on your runs? If so then this flashlight is the perfect solution to your night time running needs.Read more
The Fenix PD32 is a great little LED flashlight. Its great for runners because it offers some versatility and can easily strap onto your wrist. With a battery life of around 8 hrs and a 2.2 oz weight and an easy on/off switch, it’s a no brainer. It takes two CR123A batteries, and once these are spent they are easy to find and replace.
It is lightweight so it is easy to keep in hand during your runs and carry with your wherever you runs may lead you each day. The flashlight also has an easy on-off switch and provides a surprisingly bright beam of light for a small and lightweight piece.
You don't have to worry about rough terrain or the occasional drop as the flashlight is durable and is made to take a bit of a beating while out on the road, tracks, or trails.
It’s very easy to move between the modes.
Very convenient USB charging
Long battery life
For some people with small heads, headbands were too big
This light is even a little brighter than Black Diamond Sprinter. The design of the lamp features the battery pack at the back. This is very useful as the weight is more balanced. This makes the product relatively more lightweight and comfortable for wearing .The strap helps to stabilize the whole lamp. There’s USB port, so you recharge your lamp any time you want. It only takes two hours and then you’re ready to run. Lovers of very long run will be happy when they discover that lamp can work around 100 hours on one charge. The lamp has 280 lumens it also has SOS mode and special emergency whistle.
It will work well for more demanding weather conditions like heavy rain. Users praised the durability of the product, even after dropping on the ground, it still worked. It is also one of the more comfortable headlamps available with a durable yet comfort designed strap system that keeps everything in place.
The price may be a bit of a turn off for some beginners but it a quality designed lamp and provides a high level of quality. It is built to last and will keep you safe out on your runs, no matter the time of day or night!
7. GoMotion Synergy Reflective Hydration LightVest
- Lightweight hex mesh backpack holds hydration bladder
- Variable light modes: High/Medium/Low (20/24/50+ hours, respectively)
- Reflective strips in various locations for added safety
- rotary dial on front light allows for easy adjustment as you run
- May be difficult to find a hydration bladder that fits perfectly
Wearable safety lights are becoming more and more popular among runners and this wearable light vest is just the newest in the growing trend of safety lights for runners.Read more
The GoMotion is a great product because it covers so many necessities for a runner. It offers a bit of storage it makes staying hydrated easier, and best of all built into its design is a lighting system.
It has an LED light mounted at chest height. Due to this particular placement road and trail obstacles cast longer shadows, making them more noticeable. The lamp is powered by a battery back on the rear which also blinks red when initiated.
While it is a bit on the pricey side, even for the more seasoned runners, it is a great piece to have on hand and makes for a smart investment for any runner.
8. Petzl Tikka
The long burn time
Some users said that the band is little slippery
Need a simple headlamp to make your nightly runs safer and more enjoyable? If so then this is a great product to consider adding to your running gear collection.Read more
This headlamp was adored by many our reviewers because of the one particular feature- reactive lighting technology. It adjusts the amount of light that is appropriate, you don’t need to switch anything. With this technology, you can also save some battery. The band is comfortable to wear and there’s no skin irritation even after many washes. Considering the technology used in this headlamp, the price tag is very fair. This is a very competitive price, great quality and durability with modern technology.
This lamp has 170 lumens. This headlamp definitely one of the brightest lights on our list. There are modes to choose from and special integrated emergency whistle. Besides the white light, there’s also red one.
It's simple and easy to use and is a great product for any runner to have on hand to ensure they always have light to run, no matter how dark it might get.
9. Athlights Magnetic Flashing Safety Lights for Running
- Strong magnetic grip
- Flashing LED designed to catch attention
- Can be placed virtually anywhere
- Extremely lightweight
- The lights are a bit small for some
Easy to use and very affordable, these safety lights are a great asset for any runner to have on hand for night time runs or for when the weather is less than ideal for good visibility.Read more
These lights certainly won’t light your path in the way a good torch will, but what they will do is flash bright leaving motorists in no doubt whether you exist. The sporadic flashes of red and white are hard to miss.
An additional benefit of the Athlights is that they attach via a magnetic grip. The company reportedly had some negative feedback about the magnet strip and they’ve doubled down on its strength — so these should work well through thick clothing or in windy conditions.
Overall a lightweight, safe, and sensible choice for nighttime safety. They are a good product that every runner should have on hand for emergencies or as a backup lighting option.
Comfortable to wear
Doesn’t provide good visibility from longer distance
Affordable, easy to wear, decent quality and durable these light armbands are a quick and easy way to ensure you are always seen while out on your night and early morning runs.Read more
It’s headlamp you wear headlamp as you can see everything around you. However, for some users, it may be a little annoying to wear the headlamp as it may not be very comfortable for them.
If you want to stay safe on road or wherever, you can try Higo LED armband. The total weight of the product is 18.1 g so it’s very lightweight. There’s also reflective printing and many colors to choose from. You can choose from two modes- steady glow and quick flash.
We were surprised when we’ve discovered that it can be attached to your hair, you can wear it as a band and still be very visible. Some of our reviewers wore it on the ankle or wrist and it was comfortable.
Users claimed that they didn’t have any problem with replacing batteries, it’s very easy.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
...where on your body you want to wear the lights.
Running lights are the perfect way to make us visible to the drivers. The more visible we are, the safer we are. The thing that you need to consider is where on your body you want to wear the lights. Many runners choose to wear the light on the wrist. This is a good idea because this part of the body is moving all the time while running. When you choose the wrist to wear the light on it, you must remember that when you run in the same direction that the cars drive, you need to put the lights on the wrist from the side of the car( left wrist).
The next popular option is to put the lights on your head. Wearing the light on your head makes you much more visible to the driver. The other advantage of putting the lights on the head is that this is the highest point of the body, a driver is able to see you from a long distance. The most uncommon option but still growing in popularity is to wear the light on your back/ torso. This is a solution for runners who don’t like to wear lights on the head as it may be very uncomfortable. While wearing the product on the back, you start to be really visible to the driver. The surface that light cover is much bigger than on the wrist. However, you must remember that you must run in the same direction the driver do so they can see your back. Choosing the place to put the light is crucial and you need to consider it carefully.
When it comes to weight, it’s crucial where on your body you want to put the lights.
Wearing the lights must provide you safety but still can’t have a bad impact on your running performance. This is why you need to check if the weight of the product is good for you. When you wear the lights on the head, the weight is very crucial as even the lightweight thing seems to be heavy for the runner. What is more, it’s obvious that you don’t want to carry massive light with you because it would have a bad impact on your performance.
When it comes to weight, it’s crucial where on your body you want to put the lights. You must be aware that the larger area the lights cover, the bigger they are. When you buy the lights to put them at the back, they probably will weight a little but this burden won’t be very noticeable. The funny fact is that many runners complain about running lights being too heavy when they wear them on the wrist. This is because you use your arm in the running very much and there is also wind resistance that makes you feel like your arm is becoming harder and harder. If you also wearing the watch on your hand, it’s an additional burden.
...some manufacturers may give the estimated lifetime of the product but most of them don’t do it.
While searching for the best products, we encounter many excellent products. The problem is that even if the product looks extra good and we think that it will be the best product for us, we can’t be sure one thing- durability. This is something that comes with time. We aren’t able to check the durability the same as we check the price. Of course, some manufacturers may give the estimated lifetime of the product but most of them don’t do it. Why? At first, because durability depends on many factors and in most cases, we aren’t able to predict how long will the product last. It really depends on the user. Some runners use light in very hard to manage conditions and the light may be less durable when you use it in these conditions.
You must be also aware that every product sooner or later will end and you will have to buy a new one. It’s also a very common situation that when you purchase the product, at first it works very well. But after 3 or 4 usages, something bad happens to it and you can’t use it anymore. This is why you should really test your product and then decide whether it is durable or not. We really recommend reading comments on the sites of Amazon, eBay or any other online shop. Buyers tend to leave the comments about the durability of the product and if this particular product isn’t very durable, it is very probable that they will write it in their comments. Unfortunately, this is the only way that you can check the durability, you can’t do it before purchasing the product.
Environment is also a factor in durability
We know that not everybody lives in the area where the sun is shining all the time and there are no extreme weather conditions. Of course, we don’t talk here about tornadoes but there are also many runners that run in the rain and that is growing in popularity. Rain may be an extreme weather condition for not so durable products. We know that not every runner consider rain as a very harsh time to run but the lights aren’t very hard material.
Many producers forget that many runners actually love running in the rain, and as a result, products don’t work well in those particular conditions. This is why it is worth to search for the running lights who are water- resistant. The other problem that runners encounter many times is very common in areas when it’s hot. Have you ever had a problem with the lights getting too hot? This is a problem that is very popular and in most cases, it’s not the fault of the weather. It’s sometimes like this that poor quality lights get hot so much that it’s hard to wear it, it is at least very uncomfortable.
...It’s good to choose the color that makes us really visible...
When it comes to being visible on the road, light is the most important thing and many runners become more aware of how important running light is. Manufacturers try to provide the lights that will give us the highest level of safety. At the beginning, you must be aware that if you wear too many lights, it’s also not good for your visibility. You can wear good light on the wrist and that is enough for a driver to see you. There are many options that you can choose when it comes to colors. To be honest, the full range of colors from white to blue is available on the market. The color of the light may be important as not everybody wants to use this normal white light. It’s good to choose the color that makes us really visible- the color that can’t be found in any other place on the road.
It is said that red flashy light or those very white are the best ones. They draw the attention of the driver and he or she knows that we are near. If we had the choice, we wouldn’t choose very dark colors as they are harder to remark. The next convenience that makes our running easier is a possibility to change the flashing modes. When we run, we can make our light to blink very fast or slow and it also makes us more visible to the driver as we move. The blinking lights may be very effective when there aren’t any other lights on the road. You need to choose the best option for you and remember to use the colors that aren’t too dark.
Be sure that you use an appropriate level of brightness...
This is one of the most important questions that you need to ask yourself before purchasing the product. Choosing how much brightness do you need is very crucial. This factor depends on where do you plan to run. In streetlamp running light, you can adjust the brightness to your needs. If you want a light to shine stronger or you want to lower the power of brightness, it’s usually just a case of settings in the running lights. This shouldn’t be very complicated and in most cases, you should be able to do this without any difficulties. When you run on the paths that are lighted by the lighting pole, it still advisable to wear the lights, but they don’t need to shine so brightly.
If you plan running on the roads where there aren’t any lights, you should really invest in good running lights which have a lot of power. The one thing that some runners do and it’s very dangerous and lower the level of the safety is when they get too much brightness. It’s usually in this most advanced running lights- we mean the most powerful when the light cover a big area of the body and they are very unpleasant for the driver. Adjusting the brightness is very important and should be done carefully. You must remember that producers offer different levels of brightness and some running lights may not be strong enough to give you enough protection.
This is why you should always check the parameters as the power of the bulb and etc. Be sure that you use an appropriate level of brightness- you can check it easily. Put on the light and ask your friend to drive a car. He will be able to see from what distance you will be visible and then you will be able to correct this brightness. The time of the containment of the car really depends on the speed of the car. The faster the driver sees you, the faster he breaks.
A special siren will attract driver’s attention and he will be more careful.
When we were searching for our products, we weren’t aware that there is also one more way to protect ourselves on the roads. When we talk in general about running protection, we talk about lights or pepper sprays. The one thing that we forget about is that sound can also let us survive. This is something that may not be obvious for the most of us, but using a sound, especially on the very dangerous section of the roads can even save our lives. On the market, there are running lights with special sound built in to make our life easier.
A special siren will attract driver’s attention and he will be more careful. This is a very nice option for those who run on the roads with very dangerous turnings. You must be somehow aware that this sound won’t be as loud as this used by the police. It will be much more silent that only people near you will be able to hear it. You need to check how noisy it is in producer’s description. Of course, there are many options to boost the volume as buying an additional device. However, we wouldn’t recommend it as it is not allowed in some areas to use very noisy sounds. What’s more, we think that using very noisy sound won’t be very comfortable during running.
A combination of lights and sound may be very useful also when it comes to the areas where there are no houses. This is good because it makes it easier for sound to spread. Purchasing running lights with the siren is an additional option and it’s not for every runner. Many runners don’t like the other sound beyond this from their mp3s and this is why you should really consider whether you need it.
The battery life is very crucial for many users.
This factor is one that runners really care about. You run on the different kind of roads, tracks, and etc. You may also like to run in the forest and you want to feel safe all the time. This is why you purchase the running lights. They make you more confident as you feel safer. Then come the moments when the shine of the light isn’t so strong it used to be. Suddenly, your running lights don’t give any light and glow. This is the moment when you need to change the batteries. The battery life is very crucial for many users.
First, you can find running lights with batteries that are rechargeable or running lights with normal batteries that need to be bought. In our opinion, the rechargeable is the best ones because you don’t need to buy the batteries on and on. Charging the battery doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s very easy to do it. You need to make sure whether you need to buy this charger on your own or maybe it comes with the lights. The batteries that you can’t be charged aren’t the bad idea for those who are likely to forget about charging.
You must be aware that there are different types of batteries and they have a really different lifespan. This is why we would recommend checking what is the power of the batteries and it is better to invest in more durable and high-quality batteries because the cheap ones won’t last very long. Sometimes the charger and batteries come in a package with the lights but it’s rather rare. This is important when you take part in marathons during the night and the battery must work all night long.
Other Factors to Consider
Here comes the favorite factor of those who are very demanding when it comes to buying the product. If a Cheap product was delivered to your house and you don’t want it- no problem, we will give your money back or replace with the new product. This is the slogan that many companies use but in reality, it is much more complicated. It’s not so easy to give back the product as you need a good evidence that the product doesn’t work, you aren’t able to use it or it is damaged and of course not because of your fault.
Filling the documents and all this staff connected with returning the product may be really long and many runners don’t want to bother with it. However, sometimes it is really worth to place a complaint. We know that running lights are made in big factories and there is a possibility that your product may have some damages that weren’t detected while the creation process. This may happen to everyone but it’s not the reason to keep the not working products. It is good when you shop online and when your package is delivered to quickly test the product in the presence of the delivery man.
It’s much better to make it because if something doesn’t work, you already know. It may be very also hard to prove that it wasn’t you who damaged the lights. If the lights come with batteries, it will be much harder to prove that they don’t work. You should also check the package carefully. This is because your package may not be complete. We mean that for example you have bought running lights with batteries and charger and it the package, there is no charger.
The price is the factor that many buyers consider as the most important. This is not true. We know that paying 60 or 70 dollars for the running lights may be too much for your budget. However, you should consider it in another way. At first, we want to tell you that we’re working very hard while searching for the products because we want also the less rich people to purchase the running lights in order to be safer. On our list, there are products that cost even 30 dollars so it’s twice less than those for 60 or 70. The next thing you really should think about is your safety. Isn’t this the most important for you. Is it really worth to save on running light which literally can save your life?
We don’t think so. We know that the prices are high but trying to save money and buying cheap products will only have the bad impact on your level of safety because you will be thinking that you will be protected but in reality, you won’t be. What you can do is to search for the products on sales.
Running lights will simply become the must-have for a running in the night. With our list, you will be able to choose from the products that are rather durable and it can be an investment for years. As we have said before, there are many options for those who don’t want to spend a very big amount of money for running lights but we still wouldn’t recommend buying cheap bracelets on the wrist because they probably won’t give enough light to make you safe.
You should also consider where you will be doing your shopping.
This is a good question that you really need to ask yourself. To be clear, it’s not a big difference for us to buy in the store or online. We usually can’t see the products in a store because they are packed however we can ask a shop assistant to present the product- yes, there is such a possibility in some stores. On the other side, looking for the products online may also have its advantages. The first one is that it is more probable that you will find something on sale. The other good aspect of searching things online is that you don’t need to move from your home. The choice is yours, choose this what is better for you.
The first place to start with safety is awareness. There's a temptation to plug in your headphones hit the road and zone out. But this is asking for trouble. The approach we recommend is assuming the cars never can see you. Therefore the accountability is for you to remain alert and safe. Coming hand-in-hand with this responsibility is the need to get something to illuminate yourself. Reflective vests or clothing are great, but why not get some proper lighting as well?
The way each runner approaches gearing up is unique to that person, which is why we’ve tried to cover as much variety as possible. You may even think about wearing a headlamp on your nighttime or early morning runs. But if you’d like to experience another light such as a handheld one or a vest what you’ll see above is the best of what's out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Years ago batteries were an unreliable option but innovation in battery design and capability has come forward a lot. You can expect a lot of life from the current batteries which are available. It is a good idea to buy a battery charging device and rechargeable batteries so that you can ensure that you always have a good reliable source of power for your running light.
It not a bad idea to combine a running light with some reflective clothing. Reflective armbands, ankle bands, belts, hats will all add to ensuring that you are seen while running during a dark night. A running light is best worn high on the body so that it can be seen from more angles but if you wear a light for example on a belt, then, other light reflective techs strategically placed around your body will add to you being visible to traffic.
Lumens measure how much light you are getting out of a bulb, in short, it means brightness. This is the most important metric with these type of lights, it's essentially the volume.
The term LED stands for light-emitting diode(bulb). First developed in the 1960’s LEDs are composed of a semiconductor light source and the primary reason they’ve become more popular today is that they use less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs.
It depends on how much you use it. It can last from needing to be changed once a month to not needing to be changed or charged for several months.
Head lamps work wonderful for night runners. They're easy to use, most are light weight and have an adjustable setting where you can change the distance setting for the light.
Never assume people see you
Run against traffic
Err on the side of caution, always yield
Avoid wearing dark clothing
Generally, don’t run behind vehicles at intersections
Keep your senses. Headphones will eliminate one of your best safety features, your ears
Carry pepper spray, a good precaution
Run with a partner
Try to make eye contact with drivers before making any moves
Bring a cell phone in case of emergencies
Run a familiar route
And last of all be aware….nothing will protect your better than simply being aware of your surroundings. We hope that with our list we have made it easier for you to choose the best running lights. If you are still confused, get back to our criteria and evaluate everything one more time. We hope that you will appreciate our work as we're working really hard to provide the best products. Let us know if you have the running lights and have you used them. Leave the answers in the comments below!