This post compares 7 of the best bike lights. One of these bike lights is certain to be just right for you! All 7 are highly recommended bike lights. Use our comparative chart of 7 of the best bike lights to compare, and decide which one is right for you.
Chart comparing 7 of the best bike lights
No. 1: Best All-round Handlebar-mounted Commuter Bike Light: CatEye Volt 700 Headlight
Best Price on Amazon right now: $94.99
|Cyclist commuters who want a compact handlebar bike light that will meet their commuting needs||700 lumens. Water resistance not stated||Handlebar-mounted with included rock-solid mount; you can order an optional helmet mount. Micro USB cable included||Rechargeable 3100mAH Li-ion
cartridge battery; low battery indicator. Battery life: Dynamic–2 hrs; Med–3.5 hrs; All-Night–10 hrs; Hyper Constant–7 hrs; Flashing–50 hrs
Best Price on Amazon right now: $119.95
|People who cycle off-road in pitch darkness and want a very bright light that can be moved easily from handlebars to helmet||1000 lumens. Battery pack is waterproof. Water resistance of light not stated, but I have used it in heavy rain without problems||Ships with excellent helmet and handlebar mounts and battery pouch. Plug-in adaptor charger included||Rechargeable lithium ion battery. Battery life: High-4 hrs; Low-8 hrs; Flashing-8 hrs|
No. 3: Best Bargain Bike Lights Set: Lumintrail Headlight and Tail Light Combo
Best Price on Amazon right now: $19.99
|People who want a bargain, one-step bike light solution. Set includes good headlight and a mediocre taillight||1000 lumens on the headlight, while taillight is not super bright; |
IP44 water resistant rating – splashing water from any side
|Mount on handlebars and seat post with included mounts. Micro USB cable included||Rechargeable lithium 3.7V 2600mAh
battery for front light, low battery warning light; CR2032 batteries for tail light. Battery life: High-2 hrs; Med-4 hrs; Low-8 hrs
No. 4: Best Not-Too-Bright Bike Light: Light & Motion Urban 350 Bike Headlight
Best Price on Amazon right now: $43.99
|People who have a bike commute under 1.5 hours and don’t want to blind other people||350 lumens; IP67 - fully waterproof in 3 feet of water for 30 mins||Handlebar mount included. Micro USB cable included||Rechargeable lithium ion battery; accurate battery life indicator. Battery life: high-90 mins|
No. 5: Best Budget, Bright Bike Light: Serfas E-Lume 450 bike light
Best Price on Amazon right now: $28.59
|People who want a budget priced, high quality handlebar-mounted light||450 lumens; |
IP44 water resistant rating – splashing water from any side
|Handlebar mount included. Micro USB cable included||USB rechargeable 2200mAh LG 18650 lithium ion battery, battery indicator. Battery life: High-150 mins; Med-210 mins; Low-420 mins|
No. 6: Best Bike Taillight: Serfas Thunderbolt Taillight
Best Price on Amazon right now: $34.99
|People who want a versatile, very bright taillight||35 lumens of pure red light; water resistance rating not stated, but I have used it in heavy rain without problems||Easily mount anywhere on the rear of the bike with silicon bands. Micro USB cable included||Rechargeable lithium polymer
battery. Battery life: High-1.75 hrs; Low-7 hrs; High blink-3 hrs; Low blink-9.5 hrs
No. 7: Best Super Bright Handlebar Light: Cygolite Metro 850
Best Price on Amazon right now: $64.99
|People who want a very bright light on their handlebars||850 lumens; water resistant||Handlebar mounted; Locktite quick-release, tool-free handlebar mount included||Rechargeable built-in Li-ion battery; low battery indicator. Battery life: High-1.5 hrs; Med-3.5 hrs; Low-10 hrs; Steady Pulse-4 hrs; Daylighting-14 hrs; Walking-100 hrs|
No. 1: CatEye Volt 700 Headlight – Best All-round Handlebar-mounted Commuter Bike Light
With 700 lumens of light, a high intensity white LED X1 and a choice of 5 modes, this light is bright and versatile, making it an excellent commuter light. It is so bright that it can even be your trail riding light, if required.
The Cateye Volt 700 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 (Really? You need me to tell you AGAIN? Click, Click, Click, CLICK!!) 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 road users as with 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
No. 2: Lumintrail Bike Headlight – Best Affordable, Super Bright Bike Light that can be Mounted on your Bike Helmet or your Handlebars
The Lumintrail headlight is perfect for cyclists who bike in complete darkness. Brighter than a car headlight, this light will get you noticed by everyone. More importantly, it will enable you to cycle under really tough conditions. I have used it to cycle with confidence off-road on wilderness trails in complete darkness (no moon or stars).
The only problem with this bike light is that you have to be really careful not to blind other cyclists and pedestrians. This is where the option to mount it on your handlebars or your helmet really comes in handy. I always use it on my helmet, so that I can quickly and easily adjust the brightness and the position of the light to avoid blinding others. For example, I click it to full brightness and angle it upwards to see the ground 20 feet in front of me if I am on a pitch-dark off-road route. But if a person is approaching me, I quickly turn it down to lowest brightness and angle it towards the ground. If I very suddenly spot another human being, I quickly turn my head away to avoid blinding them.
Expect to be able to run the light on high power for up to four hours, and on flashing mode for up to eight hours. There is a battery power indicator to help you monitor battery life. The LuminTrail Bike Headlight is powered by a solid lithium ion battery pack. The battery pack attaches via a cord to the light. So basically, I have the light on my helmet, with a cord trailing down to the pocket of my cycling jacket (read about the 7 best waterproof cycling jackets here). You can of course also attach the battery to the frame of your bike, if you always ride the same bike. If you don’t – well, this light is super easy to mount, so you can easily move it to another bike.
Battery run times: High – 4 hours, Low – 8 hours, Flashing – 8 hours
The price of the LuminTrail headlight on Amazon is reasonable for a top-class light. I have had mine for five years of heavy use with no problems – even though I have a bit of a reputation for clumsily breaking things. Honestly, I think I could bounce this light off a wall without breaking it. The price includes the battery pack, a helmet mount, a handle bar mount, and of course a charger. It also includes enough Velcro to attach a baby elephant to my helmet. When I attached the helmet mount I had to cut off the excess, but as Maggie (Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist) pointed out when I was having a grumpy moment about it, too much Velcro is way better than not enough Velcro.
The LuminTrail headlight makes me feel much more confident when cycling in the pitch dark, because I can see where I am going. And it definitely makes me much safer. I like it so much that it has also become my camping light, as it is perfect for finding the washroom in the dark, while scaring off bears. And some people use them for pot holing (exploring pitch dark caves). In short, this light is highly recommended for bike commuters who commute in the dark and like to have a light on their helmets!
No. 3: Lumintrail Headlight and Tail Light Combo – Best Bargain Bike Lights Set
For an instant, affordable bike light solution, you can’t go wrong with this well-rated set. It includes easy-mounting front and rear lights from a respected bike light manufacturer. The lights can be mounted without tools, and the front light is quick release so you don’t have to leave it on your bike while it is parked. The front light is rated at 1000 lumens, which should be more than enough for most people. It has three light modes and three flashing modes. It can be swiveled to point in any direction.
The taillight has two modes – steady and flashing with side visibility. The set ships with a USB cable to charge the lithium battery in the front light. As might be expected at this price, it does not ship with two lithium batteries – the rear light is powered by two CR2032 non-rechargeable batteries, which also are included in the package. Those are the coin-shaped batteries, which are cheap to replace. But still, in a world where most good bike lights are now recharged with a micro UBS cable, this is pretty old school.
This set has an IP44 water resistant rating – that is, splashing water from any side.
Battery run times: High (1000 Lumens) – 2 hours; Medium (500 Lumens) – 4 hours; Low (250 lumens) – 8 hours. Quick Flash Medium – 4 hours; Slow Flash High – 4 hours; Slow Flash Low – 8 hours.
Personally, the taillight on this set is not really good enough for me. I prefer my Serfas tail light (see below), which is super bright and has a rechargeable battery. Also, the rubber stays on the Serfas are a tighter fit. However, if you want a bargain priced complete bike light solution, this set is a good starter kit. The headlight alone more than justifies the price. The taillight would make a good backup or extra rear light.
No. 4: Light & Motion Urban 350 Bike Headlight – Best Not-Too-Bright Bike Light
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.
Battery run time: High – 90 minutes
Amazon has a great video that shows you everything you need to know about installing and operating this light.
No. 5: Serfas E-Lume 450 – Best Budget, Bright Bike Light, Handlebar-mounted
The very reputable Serfas company has achieved its aim of developing one of the best bike lights on the market at a budget price.
With 450 lumens, the Serfas E-Lume 450 bike headlight is powerful enough for almost any use. As a frame of reference, bear in mind that the average car low beam is 700 lumens. The light is very easy to attach and remove with a universal mounting bracket. Handy if you have more than one bike!
The Serfas E-Lume 450 bike light offers 4 levels of brightness, and you can choose steady light or intermittent. This is a traditional small bike light that sits on your front handlebars. But it’s modern in the sense that it’s charged by a USB cable and is very bright. It’s very, very bright, yet has a wide beam. It has the feel of quality in your hands, and the quality shows when you’re out cycling in the dark.
The Serfas E-Lume 450 has a long battery life, and a new 3 level battery level indicator. It also has a last mode memory, which saves you having to set it to your preferred mode every time you switch it on! It is water resistant to IPX4 (protected from splashing water, no matter the direction). It has four brightness levels and two flash modes (steady and intermittent).
From the Serfas website: “All Serfas Lights are RoHS compliant. The RoHS directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. Although RoHS is not mandatory in the United States, for over 4 years Serfas has elected to do the right thing for the environment, and only manufacture lights that are RoHS compliant.”
Battery run times: High – 150 mins; Medium – 210 mins; Low – 420 minutes
The Serfas Thunderbolt Tail Light is one of the brightest bike tail lights available, yet costs less than $50. With 35 lumens of pure red light, it is brighter than about 95% of the bike tail lights I see on the road. It attaches with silicone stays to pretty much any part of your bike, quickly and easily. You don’t need tools – you just snap the stays in place. And if you lose the silicon bands, you can replace them via the Serfas website. Unlike many other tail lights, it does not move around, so that you get to work and find you have been shining your light onto the ground the whole time! This light seems to last forever – it really is super tough. It is also highly water resistant (I have used it in floods, and never had a problem). I have had a Serfas Thunderbolt taillight for years, and it just keeps on shining brightly!
This taillight comes in a range of seven different really fun colors, so you can choose a color to match your bike!
The Serfas Thunderbolt is extremely bright, thanks to its 30 micro-LEDs strip. On the other hand, it is small enough that cyclists behind you are not blinded. It has four modes: high beam steady; low beam steady; high blink; and low blink.
Battery run times: High – 1.75 hours; Low – 7 hours; High blink – 3 hours; Low blink – 9.5 hours
No. 7: Cygolite Metro 850 USB Rechargeable Light – Best Super Bright Handlebar Light
The Cygolite Metro 850 is both compact and extremely bright, plus it has some very clever features. Like the Light & Motion 350, one of its 6 modes (steady pulse) can blink and shine light ahead of you at the same time so you can see and be seen at the same time. A unique feature is the Daylighting mode, which helps you to be visible in the day time with ultra bright eye-catching flashes. I do highly recommend keeping your bike lights on in the day time – much easier for people like bus drivers to see you. Also, the Cygolite Metro 850 is designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA.
Battery run times: High – 1.5 hours; Medium – 3.5 hours; Low – 10 hours; Steady Pulse – 4 hours; Daylighting – 14 hours; Walking – 100 hours.
All of the above 7 bike lights are excellent. Choose the best one for your needs, and be able to find your way home when cycling in the dark!
Below are links to all of our best posts on bike lights!
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