This post compares 3 of the best bike lights: Light & Motion Urban 350 vs. CatEye Volt 800 vs. NiteRider Lumina 750. All 3 of these bike lights used to cost a lot more, but their prices have come down recently. All 3 are now excellent bike lights for very reasonable prices. Use our comparative chart of 3 of the best bike lights to compare these bike lights for commuter cyclists, and decide which one is right for you.
Chart comparing 3 of the best bike lights for commuters: CatEye Volt 800 vs. Light & Motion Urban 350 vs. NiteRider Lumina 750
|Light source:||High intensity white LED X1||High intensity CREE white LED||High intensity white LED|
|Battery:||Li-ion rechargeable battery (3.6V-3100mAh)||Li-ion||Li-ion 2900 mA/h|
|Charging:||Standard micro USB charge cable. Recharging takes between 5 and 11 hrs (5 hr recharge achieved by using 1A or higher USB charging adaptor, or using USB 3.0)||Standard micro USB charge cable||Standard micro USB charge cable. Normal charge time is 6: hrs at 500 mA. Has a patented IntelliCharge function, which charges the battery twice as fast when connected to a higher amp AC adapter – 3 hrs at 1 Amp|
|Modes and run times:||Dynamic mode (700 lumens) 2 hrs; Normal mode (300 lumens) 3.5 hrs; All-Night mode (100 lumens) 10 hrs; Hyper Constant mode (800/100 lumens) 7 hrs; Flashing mode 100 lumens (50 hrs)||High: 1.5 hours (350 lumens) > Med: 3 hours (150 lumens) > Low: 6 hours (75 lumens); Pulse: 12 hours (75 lumens)||High (750 lumens) 1.5 hrs; Medium (300 lumens) 3 hrs; Low (200 lumens) 5.5 hrs; Walking the bike (40 lumens) 18 hrs|
|Beam:||Efficient, widely dispersed beam to give a good view of the road ahead||Efficient, widely dispersed beam to give a good view of the road ahead||Efficient, widely dispersed beam to give a good view of the road ahead|
|Weight:||140 grams (5 oz)||121 grams (4 oz)||172 grams (6 oz)|
|Low battery indicator?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mount:||It is easy to slide the light on and off the screw-down mount||The light is attached with an easy-to-install-and-remove silicone strap-on mount||It is easy to slide the light on and off the screw-down mount|
|Weatherproofing:||From the manual: “This product is water-resistant under normal daily use and can be used in the rain. However, do not intentionally submerge it in water.”||IP67: fully waterproof in 1 m (3 feet) of water for 30 minutes||Rated at IP64, which makes it water resistant|
|FL-1 certified||Not stated||Yes||Yes|
|Notes:||Helmet mount available. The battery indicator is smart in that if it is glowing red and you switch to a lower power beam, the red glow will go off. Optional charging cradle. Quick-change battery||Features bright amber side cutouts so motorists can see you from the side. One of its 4 modes (pulse) can blink and shine light ahead of you at the same time so you can see and be seen at the same time||Most popular of the famous NiteRider bike lights. Company has a good reputation for quality and for customer support. Has a locking function so it cannot accidentally be switched on|
Best Bike Light Winner: CatEye Volt 800 Headlight
With 700 lumens of light, a high intensity white LED X1 and a choice of 5 modes, this light has the brightness and the versatility to be an excellent commuter light, plus even step up (on dynamic mode) to be your trail riding light if required.
The CatEye Volt 800 offers an efficient light beam with widely dispersed light, for a great view of the road ahead.
The Cateye Volt 800 also offers a lighting mode memory function, which means that it will remember what mode you last used it in. This is very useful if you have a favorite mode. It might sound unimportant, but I have found that when you are in a hurry to leave for work, it is really annoying to have to tell your bike light for the 700th time that your preferred bike light mode is high. You can run this light on high (700 lumens), medium (300 lumens) and low (100 lumens). Bear in mind that 700 lumens is equivalent to a car headlight. This is the maximum light you are likely to ever need for bike commuting (you don’t want to blind other people). You can of course run it flashing or steady. The flashing mode is not as bright and annoying for other users as many other bike lights.
The mount is rock solid, which is always important in a bike light – you do want to keep that light pointed in the right direction! You can also choose to get an optional helmet mount to wear this bike light on your helmet. The manufacturers claim a battery life of 100 hours, which is really hard to believe. However, my subjective impressions (and that of all reviewers) is that the battery life is extremely good. There is no way you are going to run out of light on your commute, even if your commute is 30 miles. Also, the battery indicator will let you know when power is low. The battery indicator is smart, in that if it is glowing red and you switch to a lower power beam, the red glow will go off. You can also buy an optional charging cradle, which I highly recommend. However, it will charge off any micro USB cable.
Finally, half of this bike light is actually a cartridge-style quick-change battery, making it easy to carry a spare and quickly swap it in if needed. Great if you are bike touring, of course.
Battery run times: Dynamic (high), 700 lumens – 2 hours; Normal, 300 lumens – 3.5 hours; All-Night mode, 100 lumens – 10 hours; Hyper Constant mode, 800/100 lumens – 7 hours; Flashing mode, 100 lumens – 50 hours
Best Bike Light Runner-up: Light & Motion Urban 350 Bike Headlight
Another great feature is that this bike light has bright amber side cutouts so that motorists can see you from the side. And one of its 4 modes (pulse) can blink and shine light ahead of you at the same time so you can see and be seen at the same time. That is an unusual and clever feature. Note that this light only gets 1.5 hours battery life on high beam – so if your commute is longer than that, you might want to give this a miss. Personally, I find it rare to need to keep a light on high for longer than 1.5 hours at a time. So if your commute is not too long and you don’t like to blind people, the high quality and low price of this light might more than make up for the battery life for you.
Amazon has a great video that shows you everything you need to know about installing and operating this lig
In the past there have been customer complaints that the strap-down version is not secure enough, so that the light moves when the bike bumps. NiteRider has now standardized to a clamp-down model, which they claim is rock solid. It is also possible to order different mounts as optional extras – for example, a clamp-down mount for around $10.
All of the above 3 bike lights are excellent, and should make for comfortable bike commuting. It was hard to choose a winner. At the end of the day, the CatEye Volt 800 Headlight just offers so many great qualities and so much versatility for such a low price, that it had to be the winner in a stellar lineup of excellent bike lights.
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