Best Running Lights – 2023 Buying Guide
We checked out several headlamps and running lights, searching for the very best. While we like the Storm 375 from Black Diamond the most, we also included four other favorites to our list. You'll also find our favorite budget-friendly picks below.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
A good band should be able to stay in place, even when engaging in HIIT training.
While the brightness is important, we wanted to select designs that opted for bands that are comfortable and stay in place while you train. When selecting headlamp designs, there are a few things to take into consideration.
First of all, be sure to select bands that offer additional pads that work to evenly distribute the weight evenly on your head. This will reduce the change of rubbing and chaffing, and it will also keep the lamp securely in place on your head.
Designs such as the Petzl Iko Core are made from strong and stretchy materials that contour to the shape of your head. Bands that utilize materials such as nylon and spandex will ensure that the lamp stays securely in place and won’t bounce around with every step of your gait. This design also boasts additional pads on the back of your head to evenly balance out the weight of the lamp on the front.
Weather resistance is another feature to keep in mind. We made sure to select bands that are waterproof and dustproof so that they work to wick away sweat and dirt. When you start to build up a sweat, moisture-resistant bands work to wick sweat away from your head where it quickly evaporates on the surface. This will help reduce rubbing and chafing on long runs in the evening.
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.
It's important to select a design that is built to withstand sweat, rain, cold, and heat.
There are a few things that we looked at to ensure that the designs that we selected are built to last. Running isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, which is why we stuck to brands that are considered to be waterproof and dustproof. This allows the runners to train in wind, rain, and snow without the fear their gear will break on them in the middle of a dark and spooky trail!
The best way to check how well as design performs on the trails is to look at previous user reviews. We combed through hundreds of reviews to see how well each design tested out there on the field. If we found that there was an overwhelming number of users that found that the light didn’t quite make it to the end of their run, we simply omitted that product.
It was also important that we selected designs that had batteries that are able to hold up in cold temperatures. Colder temperatures have a way of zapping a battery dry, which is why we stuck to designs that house the batteries in tough and cold-resistant shells so that you aren’t left in the dark when the temperatures drop.
Color isn't just a matter of style, it's also a matter of safety.
There are two things to take into consideration when it comes to the color of your running lights. The first thing to look at is the color of the band. Staying safe is your ultimate goal, which is why brightly colored bands are just another line of defense in keeping you seen while out there on the road. We also love designs that include a strip of reflective material in the band which helps you stay noticed in addition to the lamp on your head.
We also took into consideration the color of the lamp. Many designs opt for a cool LED bulb that makes you stand out from a sea of warm yellow headlights. A warmer LED light is ideal because it also helps to clearly illuminate the road ahead of you so that you don’t trip on tree roots or uneven sidewalks.
Some designs out there on the market even opt for different colored bulbs. If you are in a high trafficked area where you need the drivers on the road to see you more than ever, a flashing red or orange light is bound to draw their attention over basic cool white LED bulbs. Take into consideration where you run in the evening, and buy a design that accommodates your specific running conditions.
When light conditions are low, you need a design that is easy to use.
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.
You should be able to adjust the brightness of your bulb with the simple press of a button that doesn't require taking off your band. Designs from Black Diamond, for example, allow the user to simply tap the lamp casing to turn the brightness up or down. Other designs on our list have large buttons that are easy to detect with just your fingers that allow you to adjust the brightness quickly and easily.
It is important that you also test your bulb before taking it out on a run. 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 they break.
Additional features work to keep you safe.
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. However, sound can also help up stay safe. This is something that may not be obvious for 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 a special sound built in to make our life easier.
A special siren will attract the 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. 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.
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.
There are multiple power source options out there on the market, and it's important that you pick the option that is right for you.
There are a few different power sources to select from, and each option has its various advantages and disadvantages. Below, we wanted to get into a little bit of detail about the various styles of batteries so you can find the design that works best for you.
Rechargeable batteries are a great option for those that don’t like the hassle of replacing batteries. Many of the rechargeable designs on our list include a convenient USB charging cable that charges up the battery quickly. The only downside to rechargeable options is that they often have limited battery life when out on the trails.
Replaceable batteries may seem like a real hassle, but they often are more powerful and last quite a bit longer than their rechargeable counterparts. We prefer designs that opt for basic AAA batteries because they are lighter, more cost-effective, and pretty simple to replace when needed.
11 Best Running Lights
1. Black Diamond Storm 375
Well worth the slightly higher price point.Read more
Intelligent and adaptive features make the Storm 375 stand out from the pack. Users can easily adjust the lamp's brightness by simply tapping the head of the light. Plus, various brightness settings allow you to make it as bright or dim as needed.
The lamp is small and compact and requires 3 AAA batteries. This lamp is also waterproof and dustproof.
Well worth the extra cost for something that is built to last.
2. Knuckle Lights Advanced
Simple and ergonomic option for handheld running lights.Read more
Offering two lights per package, Knuckle Lights Advanced slides onto the hands and secures into the palm for an ergonomic and comfortable fit. This light won't interfere with hand or arm movement while keeping you visible. The adjustable silicone straps fit most hand sizes and do not cause discomfort, and they can even be used over running gloves.
These come equipped with 280 lumens in total and offer three light settings: low, high, and blinking, The lights surround the entire casing to ensure there are no blind spots.
The Knuckle Lights Advanced system comes with a charging dock that can be used after each use to ensure you are always visible when need be.
More lightweight and comfortable for wearing.Read more
The strap helps to stabilize the whole lamp. There's a USB port; recharge only takes two hours. The light can work around 100 hours on one charge. This gives 280 lumens, and it also features SOS mode and an emergency whistle.
It will work well for more demanding weather conditions like heavy rain. Users praised the light's durability; it still worked even after dropping it on the ground. This has a durable well-designed strap system that keeps everything in place.
The price may be a bit of a turn-off for some beginners; however, it is built to last.
4. Petzl Iko Core
If you are worried about comfort on your long-distance night runs, this unique design from Petzl is worth checking out. While it may look a little peculiar, this design is made to reduce pressure points on your head, so you forget that you are wearing anything at all!Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it is made from stretch and versatile materials that attach to almost any surface. Users can wear it directly on their heads, or it can also fit over a helmet. Some users like to wear it around their neck or affix it to extra gear such as bicycle handlebars.
The Airfit headband reduces compression and evenly distributes the weight of the lamp. It is made from super-lightweight materials that stretch for a snug and secure fit, making it an excellent option for late-night training.
If you are looking for something incredibly comfortable and versatile, you can’t go wrong with this unique design from Petzl. In contrast, it may cost quite a bit more than some of the other designs that we have seen. The versatility of this well-built lamp makes it well worth the higher price tag in our option.
5. Black Diamond Sprinter
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. The Black Diamond Sprinter is among the best when it comes to headlamps. No one feature blows you away with the Sprinter; instead, it's a combination of rock-solid fundamentals.
It's 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.
A wearable light set up like this is a smart way to keep the lights shining the entire time brightly. It will keep you and others safe while out for your runs. It's a smart investment that many are choosing to make.