Due to the scorching sun and busy schedules during the day, it is understandable why runners like you and I often prefer to go for either early morning or nighttime runs.
But due to the dark nature of these hours, you would need a good light source that can provide you with bright light and prevent you from losing your way, tripping, and being hit by a vehicle.
And that is where a running light comes in.
However, you can't just choose a random running light and set out for a run in low-light conditions. There are different types of lights available that you can purchase but not all have the right features to provide you with light for long runs at dark runs and make you visible to vehicle drivers and other trail users.
Some have a low burn time so even though they can provide you with a bright light output at the beginning, their battery will eventually go dead while you are still on the road, and as a trail runner, you can't risk being in such a situation.
A running light failure at dark hours could not only make you trip and miss your way but could also put you at risk of being hit by a moving vehicle. So, to avoid all these, you need to get a running light that will shine for a long time and keep you safe in the best way possible.
That is why in this article, I have reviewed the best lights with the right features that can serve you well. Plus, after reviewing these lights, I have also provided you with a buying guide that contains all the key factors you should consider before choosing the best option from these numerous lights I have reviewed.
But before then, let us take a quick look at the list of the best running lights you can choose from.
Here they are...
Let's now review each of these lights individually and see why you should get them for your predawn or night runs.
Anyone who says the perfect headlamp doesn't exist definitely hasn't used the Foxelli LED Headlamp Flashlight. This light ticks all the boxes that a good running headlamp should have and that is why it is the first top pick on this list.
The Foxelli LED Headlamp Flashlight is definitely one of the lightest and comfortable headlamps I have worn.
It was so lightweight and comfortable that at a certain point I forgot that I had it around my head, and this is because, in addition to having a very comfortable fit, it weighs just 3.2 ounces when the batteries are inserted.
Plus, it has an adjustable strap that you can use to customize the fit and make it stay on your head perfectly without slipping off or causing any discomfort or headache during or after you run.
In terms of brightness, it is built with LED technology that makes it shine very bright on your path and gives you clarity of where you going and what's ahead of you.
It also has up to 7 different light modes and brightness settings which you can change easily while you are on the go. One of these modes is the red light mode which serves as a night vision setting and reduces the level of mosquitos that will trouble you while you are on the road, as compared to white light.
In addition, its lightning head can be tilted for at least 45 degrees to give you a better view of what is ahead. It also has a simple design that allows you to put it on and off with just a click of a button.
To ensure this light doesn't go dead while you are on the road, there are 3 AAA Energizer included batteries that can shine for as long as 45 hours. These batteries are also easy to replace so when they go dead, all you need to do is get a new set of batteries, remove the old ones from the slots, and replace them with the new ones and the light will regain its high light intensity.
This high-quality headlamp also has a commendable water-resistance rating of IPX5 which means it can withstand rain and sweat and still maintain its durability.
Remarkably, despite these exceptional features, this light is sold for a very affordable price that makes it look like a steal.
The movement of the hands plays a key role in helping your body attain top running performance and with this hands-free running light, you can be able to achieve that whenever you run at hours where there is no ambient light.
This running light from AVANTO PRO is built with 500 lumens to shine very bright light in front and behind you when you are in dark areas. It also has three different brightness levels which you can change on the road depending on where you are and how you want it to shine.
Unlike the 45-degree tilt of the Foxelli LED Headlamp Flashlight, the front beam of this running chest light can be adjusted to 90 degrees, making it easier for you to aim it up or down when needed. This also prevents you from blinding and dazzling other runners, drivers, and road users. Its size can be adjusted to fit both adults and children.
To ensure you do not fear any discomfort even when you run for long hours, it is built with a lightweight nature and top-notch comfortability. It is so lightweight and comfortable that you might forget you have it on while you are on the road.
This light also comes with a 1500mAh rechargeable battery that can run for up to 3 to 5 hours on a single charge hence enabling you to run for long without the fear of the battery going dead. It also has a battery status indicator that shows you the power level of the battery and makes it easy for you to know when to recharge it.
In addition, this light is built with quality materials and features to last for a long time even when used in extreme conditions and has a remarkable IPX5 waterproof rating to withstand dust and moisture from sweat and rain. It is also very versatile and can be used for several other activities aside from running.
Currently ranked the Number 1 best-selling camping headlamp on Amazon, this 2-pack light is built with the right features that make it perfect for running at dark hours. It is lightweight, comfortable, portable, and easy to use.
This running light has an adjustable headband that you can customize to fit on your head perfectly without slipping or shaking excessively when you are running.
Its front beam can also be moved 45 degrees to focus on different areas and to get a clearer view of your path.
With 3 AAA batteries, this headlamp can run for up to 10 hours on low light and also several hours on bright light to give you a clear view of the path ahead of you for an extended time.
This light has 7 different modes and 4 of those modes are for adjusting the brightness settings of the white light while 3 modes are for changing the brightness level of the red light which is meant for the protection of night vision.
This headlamp from the GearLight brand is both waterproof and shockproof so you can use it in the rain and snow without the fear of it spoiling or shocking you in the process.
Interestingly, despite being sold at an affordable rate, an order of this product comes with two packs so that you can enjoy the exceptional features of these lights for a very long time before having to get a new one. Plus, the brand has amazing customer service that is always on standby to quickly attend to you if you have any complaints about it.
If the type of running light you prefer is a reflective vest, then this is a good option you should consider.
This reflective gear is very lightweight and comfortable and shines very bright through its strap, and chest lamp (if you get one). The reflections from these components light up your path very brightly when you run in the dark and make you visible to motorists and drivers who are 1/4 mile away and hence prevent an accidental collision when you are running on the road.
This reflective clothing has different colors and modes on it which I easily changed on the go with just the click of a button when I used it. It is also built in a way that you will enjoy 360-degree visibility while you are running.
To ensure this vest keeps shining for as long as you will be running without going off, it is made with a rechargeable battery that can be on for up to 20 hours of use.
Plus, it has a buckle mount that ensures it fits you perfectly and stays in place without bouncing around when you are running. This mounting option can be adjusted and customized to a proper fit.
In addition, it is designed with an antimicrobial material and an IP-67 waterproof rating which makes it breathable and enables it to last for a long time even though it is being used in the rain and other tough weather conditions.
With a 4.8/5 rating on Amazon after 5000+ reviews, it is safe to say I am not the only one who was very impressed and satisfied with how this light worked when I used it.
The Petzl brand is one of my go-to brands when I need exceptional headlamps and they didn't disappoint me with this product either.
This headlamp was built with advanced features as compared to its previous version and it has become much better.
It is very lightweight and comfortable and is built with white light and red light options powered by 600 lumens to provide you with a great view of the path you are running on.
And all thanks to its simple design, you can easily switch between these light modes with just the click of a button when the need arises. It also has a LOCK feature which prevents you from mistakenly putting it on when you do not want to.
You can power this versatile light with either a recharge battery or 3 AAA batteries that do not need recharging. To ensure that you get enough brightness to keep you on the right path in low-light conditions, this headlamp retains half of its brightness when its burn time is halfway gone.
Another significant update that I noticed to this version of Petzl headlamp is that it has both floor and mixed beam patterns which makes it able to provide you with excellent distant and close views.
This headlamp can also be titled around to light up your way as you run in the dark.
Clip-on lights might not be as popular as headlamps but they are a very effective type of light that you can use to illuminate your trail when you for a run at hours when it is dark.
And when clip-on lights are mentioned, one of the best in the market which is nearly impossible to overlook is the Apace Vision LED Safety Lights.
These lights are the real definition of efficiency and affordability. They offer so much value at a very affordable rate.
These lights are very small and lightweight but serve their purpose perfectly.
It shines very bright, helping you to see what's in front of you clearly, and enables motorists and drivers to see you from more than a thousand feet away, making it a great addition to your running gear.
This product usually comes with two lighting devices in it that both have 3 different lights and lighting modes which you can change on the go. The batteries they come with can run for up to 100 hours and the pack usually comes with 4 extra batteries.
In addition, they are built in a way that you can easily hook them anywhere on your running gear and run for as long as you want without it falling off.
And if you do not want to hook them directly to your clothing gear, this product comes with straps that you use to attach them to your body. Plus, they are weatherproof so you can use them in all weather conditions and still be assured of their functionality.
The Black Diamond Sprint 225 Headlamp is the perfect representation of "small but mighty". This headlamp is very small and lightweight but that doesn't stop it from shining brightly and lighting up surroundings greatly.
Its lightweight structure is complemented by a strap made with a soft material to enable it to be very comfortable on your head even when you run with it for long hours.
It also has a snug fit that enables it to stay firmly on your head without bouncing, slipping, and causing you any form of discomfort.
Plus, it has a button that you use to easily change the intensity of the light's brightness and a battery that doesn't last like the other lights we have reviewed but can run for a commendable number of hours.
The first thing you should consider when choosing a running light is the type of light you are comfortable with.
There are different types of running lights available so you need to, first of all, make a choice before considering other additional features and factors.
Some lights are headlamps while some are made as shoulder straps, chest straps, waist lights, belt lights, and even shoe lights.
Plus, some lights are made with different light modes while some have just white light. Some are even made with a reflective material that glows in the dark and provides you with enough light to run in low-light conditions.
You need to also choose the light settings that your ideal running light should have.
Running lights are usually made with either flood settings, long-throw/spotlight settings, or a combination of both settings.
Lights with a floodlighting setting shine broadly but over a short distance, meanwhile lights with a long-throw setting shine like a beam in front of you and give you a high visibility of the road ahead of you.
While the latter will be a more preferred option for you who go for road runs at dark hours, you can go for a light that offers both settings so that you can enjoy the benefits of both worlds.
With a light that offers both settings, when you go out for street runs where there are bright street lights to give you clarity and direction, you can switch to the setting with wide flood beams, and when you run on trails with no lights then have you can switch to the long-throw setting for maximum visibility of what is ahead of you.
In the end, you need to consider which type of light works best for you while choosing the best running light for your dark-time running activities.
And while all the types are excellent, it is down to what you prefer personally.
As someone who will be running on dark paths, the brightness of the light you are choosing is a very important factor you should consider.
This is because the brighter the light, the clearer the path, and the lesser your chances of tripping and losing your way.
However, you must bear in mind that a running light having powerful light modes and shining brightly doesn't automatically make it a great option. You need to consider other factors as well before deciding if it is great for you.
Plus, when you are considering the brightness setting of a running light, remember that using one that is too bright could blind other people who use that same trail with you, and using one with low light can cause your eyes to be strained.
To avoid this, you can also go for a light with a red light setting.
You should also consider the type of battery that a running light is made with when making a choice.
Some lights have rechargeable batteries while some have AAA batteries and some support the use of a rechargeable battery and single-use AAA batteries.
So, you can decide to either go for the more convenient option which is a light that you can recharge from time or time, or opt for the one that uses replaceable batteries if you are in an area where you can't access electrical power.
Alternatively, you can go for a light that has a rechargeable battery and also uses disposable batteries that you can insert, use, and replace with new batteries when you have used out its power.
Mind you, the type of battery you go for could also play a role in how weighty the light is and hence influence how comfortable it will be. So, make sure you choose carefully.
Another very important factor you should consider when choosing a running light is how good its battery life is.
I wouldn't like to be stuck on the road during dark hours due to a dead battery in the middle of a run and I believe you wouldn't either.
So, you need to go for a light with a battery that stays on and bright after hours of run time so that you can run confidently for a long time without fear of tripping or going down a steep slope while in the dark due to the light going off.
If you are someone who sweats a lot while running or goes out for runs during rainy weather conditions then you need to ensure you get a running light that has a good waterproof rating and can't be damaged when it comes in contact with moisture.
That way, you can still be sure of its durability even when you run with them in heavy rain.
Running lights are usually around your head, or other parts of your body, and since you will be having them on you for a long time, you need to go for one that has a comfortable fit.
Make sure you go for a light with comfortable and adjustable straps that won't cause you discomfort while you are on the road.
For example, if you are going for a chest light, make sure you choose one that can be mounted or clipped easily to fit properly on your sporting gear without bouncing around while you run and causing you any form of discomfort.
And if you are going for a headlamp, make sure you go for one that won't cause you headaches when you are done with a run.
The weight of a running light also plays a role in how comfortable it will be so you shouldn't overlook it.
For example, if you go for a headlamp that is weighty, it can cause you discomfort when you run for long distances.
So, no matter the type of light you go for, make sure you go for one that is lightweight and won't cause you any discomfort while you are on the road.
Running lights have varying price points.
Some are more expensive than others, so when you are trying to get the one with the best features and that offers the best visibility, make sure you go for one that matches your budget.
Running lights are meant to not only give you proper visibility when you run in low-light conditions but also make you seen by drivers and other trail users to prevent cases of accidents hence keeping you safer on the road.
I hope this buying guide and the reviews for the best running lights for dark hours will save you time and energy!
I have taken time to test diverse types of running lights with different features and written this article so that you can have a variety of great options to choose from and also highlighted the key factors you should consider so that you can choose a good option.
Hopefully, this guide will help you choose the right light that will serve you well and keep you safe when you run at dark hours.
Happy running friends! Here's to your safety!
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