The Best Bike Lights for Commuting to Buy: Buying Guide and Reviews
It is strange indeed to have to carefully research a headlight and set a formal order for it. But while this may sound strange for most people, for cyclists … not so much.
Good bike lights are a must if you often ride in the dark or in places where visibility is low (on roads where there are sparse street lights, for example.) The light won’t just make riding safer by allowing you to see obstacles and rough spots on the road, it will also make you more visible to other riders and drivers on the road.
In some places, you are also legally required to have a set of lights on if you’re riding at night: a white headlight and a red tail-light.
With that in mind, here is a buying guide and review for top rated bicycle lights.
Best Bike Lights For Night Riding Buying Guide
Right away, the first thing you should take into account is how bright you want your lights to be. The official measurement of brightness is lumen. The brighter the light, the more lumen it is rated for.
Typically, rear lights have anywhere between 5 to 100 lumens. Front lights are much brighter ranging from 30 all the way to 2,000 lumens. Depending on the condition of your ride as well as the type of riding you often do, pick your lights accordingly.
For example, if you primarily use your bike to commute, avoid lights that are too bright that could blind oncoming traffic. This is exactly what the best bike lights for commuting can do for you. Always keep in mind that high-lumen lights are to be used for off-road riding or for completely unlit roads that don’t have frequent traffic only. Blinding other drivers while they’re heading your way is a recipe for disaster.
If you interchangeably ride on-road and off-road, you can mount two lights on your handlebar— one with moderate brightness and the other high-powered.
Most bicycle lights nowadays run off of either triple-A or full-fledged rechargeable batteries.
In small bicycle lights, they will typically work with a bunch of triple-A or similar battery types. If this is how your light is designed, make sure that the battery type it runs on can be easily purchased in your local stores or supermarkets.
For heavy-duty lights, they will typically use a small Li-ion battery pack. A Li-ion battery is the same battery inside of your smartphone and can be recharged in virtually the same manner: with a USB cable. These rechargeable bicycle lights are far more convenient and cost effective to use.
Burn time is a crucial factor to take into consideration. Basically, what it tells you is how long you have before your bike’s battery is drained and the light shut down.
There are many things that contribute to the burn time of a bike light. The size and maximum charge capacity of the internal battery is one thing. The light mode you often use is another.
For example, if you often use the light on its brightest setting, the burn time will definitely be lower than when you use it as its dimmest.
To check the light’s burn time, the manufacturer will usually tell you all about it in the product description or user’s manual.
In the past, bicycle lights used halogen bulbs. These halogen lights aren’t as efficient as the best LED bike lights. You may still be able to find halogen bulbs in high-end bike light models, however, their popularity is waning quickly with further development in LED tech.
And these are all of the things you need to know before you buy the top bike lights. Here are the best bike lights reviews you’ve been waiting for!
Best Bicycle Lights Reviews
Cygolite Metro Plus 800
The Cygolite Metro Plus 800 is arguably the best light for bike that you can get at the moment. At its maximum brightness, this bike light can emit a 800-lumen light beam, which will surely brighten up the road even on the darkest of nights. On lower brightness mode, it is perfectly for commuting: bright enough to light up a dark road, but not too bright it would incapacitate any driver heading your way.
This bike light also has a bunch of other lighting features. To name a few, you have several flashing modes and a wide beam mode to make it easier for oncoming traffic to see you. Once you have set a lighting mode, it has the ability to “remember” the last mode you put it on. Turning it back on again and the customized lighting profile will be used.
If you regularly ride in the rain, rest assured that the light is completely weatherproof with a waterproofing level of IP67. Last but not least, the battery is rechargeable via a USB cable.
Overall, it is a solid bicycle light that will work for both off-road riding and also one of the best bike lights for commuting.
Blackburn Countdown 1600
At its maximum lighting profile, the Blackburn Countdown 1600 can generate a staggering 1,600 lumen light beam. According to the manufacturer, the battery pack— once completely recharged— can steadily power the Countdown 1600 for two hours before depleting. This long battery life and great lighting power make it perfect for those who like to ride on technical trails after dark.
The flexible mount allows you to quickly and intuitively adjust the beam’s angle without having to put too much effort or even look away from the road.
The battery is rechargeable through a USB cable. Unfortunately, because of the massive power requirement, it will take the light’s battery about four hours to recharge.
Light & Motion Vya Smart
The 50-lumen red LED bulb of the Light & Motion Vya Smart can be seen on a clear day from a cool distance of half a mile. But that’s not the cool part, though. This handy rear light can sense when your bike is in motion to turn itself on. All you have to do is to install it on your bike and once you start pedalling, the light will automatically turn itself on. If you’re riding at night, the light will stay lit continuously; but for day-riding, the light will flash like a strobe. The light will shut itself down to conserve power once you have stopped pedalling for a while.
The in-built battery pack can sustain the light for up to eight hours at a time. Not just one of the best bike safety lights out there, the Vya Smart is probably one of the more special models with its smart sensors.
Lezyne LED Femto Drive Rear
If you need a rear light that’s small and compact, this best rear bike light might just be what you’ve been looking for all along.
Don’t let the small and simple design fool you, it actually works really well as a safety light. The Lezyne LED Femto Drive offers 180-degree of visibility, ensuring that everyone behind you will know where you are at all times no matter where they’re positioned on the road. However, the bulb can only output seven lumens, which is quite disappointing for such a great design. Fortunately, Lezyne made it up by also adding a flash lighting mode to add visibility.
Battery-wise, unlike all of the models we had discussed, the Lezyne LED Femto Drive uses two disposable batteries. This can be a plus for some people because disposable batteries— while expensive— are surely more convenient than rechargeable batteries because they don’t need to be charged every once in a while.
And that concludes our best bicycle lights reviews and buying guide! We hope you have found the article to be insightful and that it has helped you somewhat with finding a bike light of your choice.