Best Head Light for the $

Hi Folks,

with the seasons changing, I want to continue riding in the evenings. I used to ride in the evenings a few years ago, and used one of those Nyte Rider head lights that were charged by means of a bottle-sized battery (yes I’m old).

Nowadays the lights are much better. Been looking at Lezyne head lights, but am a bit overwhelmed with choices from a variety of manufacturers.

I’ll be using the light a few times a week, for no longer than 90mins at a pop, primarily on the road. So I’ll need to be able to see things but don’t want to blind oncoming cars. I remember that even back in the day of Nyte Rider the cars genuinely got spooked or just were that much more careful when they saw me. And see me they did.

Question: what’s the best light out there for the $? Requisites: must be easy to charge, fit on the bar, last a few hours with good, safe lighting, and work well in the cold (New England, y’all).

Preferably not super $$.

Thanks everyone.


There are definitely brighter and better lights out there, but I’ve been happy with the couple of Niterider Luminas that I have, especially for road use. I have an 1100 Boost and a 750. They’re not very expensive (well under $100 online), small, self-contained, and very durable.

The 1100 will do 900 lumens for an hour and a half, but to be honest, I can’t tell much of a difference between it and the 750 on full. Two lights can be nice to have for doubling up on the bars or using one on the helmet and one on the bars for singletrack (helps with shadows, sort of), but for road use, I don’t have any issues with one.

What @Otis.Watchjack said…NiteRider Lumina 1100 is my default light. On the road, I just have it on my HB and on the trail, I use it on my helmet.

Exposure lights are also very good, but a bit more pricey.

There are also plenty of cheap lights on AMazon that use a separate battery that can easily be strapped to your top tube and are very bright.

There are some quite good off-brand ones out there as well. I bought a couple of these a few years ago, and have been happy with them, although they have only seen light use:
No longer available, but these were $20 each.
I also have a bontrager flare ION RT front light, which is nicer and brighter, has a better mount, but is also 5+ times more expensive. It’s hard to justify 5x the cost for me.

The one aspect of off-brand lights that needs to be considered is that front lights are often critical safety equipment, and if it goes out unexpectedly can have serious consequences. For me, if I’m descending at night, I don’t trust any single light, but it is a pain to have multiple lights.

Light and Motion Urban 1000. Compact, battery lasts a long time especially on low power settings which is fine for night riding on the road, absolutely phenomenal optics/beam spread, I had the Urban 500 and at the time it outperformed a more expensive Lezyne 1100 lumen light by a country mile. The people at L&M are fantastic as well, I had an issue with a light that I thought was shorting out, they sent me a new light, figured out I was using a bad USB cable and they refused to take my money for the replacement.


The best is Fenix BC 30 v2.0
4 modes + flashing + boost (temporary, 30 seconds).
Wireless remote.
Runs with 2 interchangeable 18650 lithium batteries (cheap and also cheap chargers find everywere on ebay).
Runtime: 6hrs on MID, that is 600 lumens, more than sufficient for road biking.
On HIGH is 1500 lumens and runtime is a little above 2h30’.
The wireless remote could be convenient for flat bars/mountainbike, and has also the boost button: 2200 lumens.
IP67 rating, very well built, sturdy, great handlebar mount. Comes with spares (o-rings)…
In Europe is approximately 65€ with taxes, obviously, and without batteries. 2 18650 batteries will cost you 8€, a basic charger, 10€.
Choose good quality batteries of at least 3000mAh, from LG, Samsung, Panasonic/Sanyo, Sony/Murata.

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I suggest a CatEye Volt. I have a Volt 300 and it’s more than enough. I also have a NiteRider MiNewt Pro 750 and it’s way overkill. For road riding, something like the Cateye Volt series, even the lower end ones are more than enough. I don’t even run mine on full brightness - low and mid level is more than enough and will provide much longer run times.

Back in the day I owned a NiteRider 15 watt halogen with Nicad battery which fit in the water bottle cage. Charging it took forever. The quality of lights today is miraculous.

Hands down the best lights I’ve ever used, by a large margin.

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Ok, so for the cold (I’m in MN) the best thing is to keep the battery inside your jacket or in a well-insulated bag on the bike. Which means a separate battery. Going with a separate battery can also provide you with a lot of peace of mind, because you can carry a back up (I do, unless I am riding towards dawn). If you want to buy a light which actually is from New England, you could do a LOT worse than DiNotte. Wonderful lights, usually a great company to deal with. I have a DiNotte and also a GloWorm, which are also incredible lights (but maybe more than you want/need).

Head lights as in lights you mount on your head/helmet? Or lights mounted to the front of your vehicle?

This limits your options significantly (in a good way - there are plenty of well made bright lights out there but few are suitable for the road).

STvZO certification is usually a good sign, though many of these aren’t that bright.

Ravemen if budget is limited.
Lupine SL-AF if it is unlimited.

I love cateye volt. Not Volt XC or AMP. With the volt you can attached it upside down because the focus pattern will be the same and you will have a cleaner hb top. Volt 800 is sufficient. But if you need more burn time, get volt 1200 or 1300 so you can use the mid for 5-6 hours. For road riding, I read somewhere, the suggestion is min 500 lumens.


I’ve run Niterider for years; build quality is great, the updated handlebar mount from a few years ago was a good improvement, and at least for the Lumina models I’ve had, the mount system stayed consistent.

And K-edge makes a mount adapter so you can use a go pro style mounting point for the light. Not sure if others have that but it works for me.

I would not try to go cheap with a generic light from ebay/Amazon. Batteries can overheat, they may not handle water, etc. You may luck out but the bigger brands typically stand behind their products

This is a screaming deal for a great light……I bought one at $115 about 2 months ago. $90 is fantastic.

Can go for about 90 minutes @1600 lumens, multiple hours at lower lumens.

Been very happy with it…

Another plus for Outbound Lighting.

1 Like Highly recommended. Approx $US60 for a 1000 lumen light is outstanding value.

The Lezyne 1800i [Lezyne Mega Drive 1800I Front Light | ProBikeKit UK]works fine for me on my commute, which is about 80% unlit country lanes. I’ve had it run on high for nearly and hour and three quarters, after which it takes a good six hours to fully charge. Although the battery is integral there is also the “infinite light” unit, a separate battery pack that has given me an additional four hours or more of high run time, and would probably go for a while longer than that (i’ve never run it until flat).

i’m a fan of magicshine lights. probably the main reason is that they charge with a usb-c and if in a pinch i can reverse charge to/from my phone (plus one less cable type to worry about).

they’re a bit pricier, but they mount easily on the handlebar with a garmin quarter turn mount. and as i have a couple of those lying around i either put it on my stem or on my garmin mount (with the garmin on the stem) depending on how dark it is when i start my ride.

i’d say check them out, or at least enter their random popup newsletter signup deal. i used two different emails and got free shipping on one and $50 off on the other (which i used).

Fenix BC3.0 V2, approximately 70€ taxes included for 1800lm and 2200 burst mode, wireless remote control, dual shape beam: low and wide, high and focused (not blinding) for the distance.

try Gaciron bike light from Amazon, I like their wired switch and power bank function