What Should I Look For in a Head Lamp?

April 01, 2022 5 min read

There are many people who enjoy riding bikes. Biking is a sport that keeps you fit and healthy. However, cycling also comes with a certain amount of risk. Bike safety lights are very important for cyclists. During the nighttime, cyclists should use them to warn drivers and pedestrians that they're coming. 

Bike riders should always use high-powered lights to illuminate their bikes. They need to make sure that they're bright enough to illuminate their path while being safe enough to avoid blinding others. 

Red lights are very important for cyclists because they let other drivers know that there are people riding bikes. Reflective materials are useful too because they make it easier for cars to see you. You can also attach some reflectors to your bike so that you're more visible to others.

Your headlamp should be easy to adjust brightness when needed whether on a car or a bike. 

There are two different types of headlamps: rechargeable and disposable. Disposable ones are cheaper than rechargeable ones, but they won't last very long. In addition, there are some other features to take into consideration. For example, kid-friendly headlamps are usually brighter, while adult-only headlamps are usually less bright.

It's wise to bear in mind that a cheap headlamp may work fine, but probably won't be as reliable. User-submitted reviews are a great place to get information about the best headlamps, especially when buying a new one. 

Head­ lamps come in var­i­ous sizes and shapes and styles. Some are designed for workplace use while oth­ers are more spe­cial­ized. Most head lamps have an on/off switch and some also have dim­mers. In addition, some head lamps have built-in light­ sources (batteries) while others require addi­tion­al bat­teries.

Let's look in a bit more detail at what to look for in a headlamp. 


A lumen is a unit for measuring the brightness of an LED. Wattage is the unit for measuring electricity consumption. Lumens burn upcharge, so running a high-lumen lamp for a long period of time uses up lots of batteries.

Bike lights should provide enough light to allow you to see where you're going, but also make sure you're seen by others. A bike light should have a minimum of 200 lumens for urban commutes and 400 lumens for rural rides. 


Brightness/Mode/Beam Type 

Headlamps come in many different styles and features. Some headlamps will be able to flash, while others will be able to go into strobe mode. Some will be able to boost or zoom, while others will be limited to a single mode. Some will have red light mode available.

Headlamps should crank out at least 200 lumen on their highest setting. A lamp with more than just low-medium-high settings is useful for trail use and nighttime riding. If you're looking for a single light that works for both riding and camping, look for one with automatic adjustment or manual control over the output.

There are different levels of brightness with headlamps:

  • High: Use bright lights for dark areas.
  • Middle: Use middle-level brightness if you want to conserve battery power.
  • Low: Use the lowest level brightness if you want maximum efficiency.
  • Strobe: Use strobe mode if you want to attract attention.

Headlamps have a long-distance of usable light. At the very end of the beam distance, the brightness will be just about the same as the full moon on a dark night. Longer beams give better visibility.

Peak beam intensity is another measure used to describe the brightness of a light source. It is measured in candelas (cd) and doesn't change with distance.

Beam Distance 

Headlamps with longer beams are more useful than those with shorter ones. A headlamp's beam range depends on the number of batteries used. As batteries drain, the beam distance decreases.

Headlamps with a spot beam are great for the night but if you want a wide flood beam, get a headlamp with a wide flood beam instead. Headlights with both a floodlight and a spotlight are useful for fast-paced activities such as biking at night. 

The combination of beam types helps you to see changes in terrain in your path and what's further ahead, but there are some inconsistencies around the reported beam distances. To get a realistic view of how far a headlight will illuminate objects, consider the beam type and the number of lumens, and then check the claimed beam distance.


Headlamps should last longer than 8 hours. A typical headlamp lasts about 1 hour per battery. This means you'll need 2 batteries. You want to carry plenty of extra batteries because you may run into problems such as dead batteries.


Headlamps should be white or red. If you're looking for something more specific, there are other options, just investigate the options to see what works best for you. 

White lights allow more visibility in the dark. Manufacturers make headlamps with different tints to provide natural white light. What about red?

A red light is surprisingly useful. Red lights are less obtrusive at nighttime. They help you maintain your night vision because red light doesn't cause the same type of eye contraction as white light does. A combination of both is the best option. 


Lights are now made out of LED technology. There are lights that are completely self-contained, and there are also those that require an extra battery pack. Most people prefer self-contained lights because they are smaller and lighter than traditional incandescent bulbs. 

Batteries can be easily changed if needed and they last longer than traditional bulbs.

Lights that won't last the whole trip are useless if you plan to bike for more than a few hours. Batteries are affected by temperature, so make sure you buy enough. Cold weather affects batteries. 

Knowing how much juice your lights still have left is extremely important. Some bike lights only have rudimentary green, orange, and red battery indicators, while others will show time or percentage remaining.


A single headlight mounted to your handlebars is sufficient for most riders. Some people prefer a helmet-mounted light. Mountain bikes usually do not require a separate light.

Most bike lights have a plastic/silicon mount, however, some more serious models have a dedicated mount. We recommend using a dedicated mount if your bike has a lot of weight on it. There are many different types of brackets available for cameras.

There are many different types of bike lights out there, but if you choose well, you'll save money and have a better experience. You should always buy from a reputable brand because they tend to work longer than others and are easier to install.  


Riders need to be visible by day and night. There is a specific law about this, and it is very strict. The law says that during daylight hours, there should be two lights on the front of your bicycle, one white (front-facing) and one red (backwards). At night, there should be two more lights, one white (facing forward) and one red (facing backwards). In addition, there should also be reflectorized clothing.


Hopefully, this guide has given you an idea about what to look for in a decent headlamp for your cycling adventures.