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Best LED Headlights: Seeing in the Dark Could Save Your Life

Man wearing headlamp and starry sky
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

If you’re going to be heading out into the wilderness you want to make sure that you have the right tools to keep yourself safe and secure. You want to make sure that you are going to be safe while you’re out there, after all, and you definitely want to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever might come your way.

That’s one of the reasons that you want to make sure you have the best LED headlights to help you along the trail and keep you aware of what’s going on around you at all times.

What To Look For First

When you’re looking at a headlight you want to make sure that you’re getting something high quality and something that is going to work for you when you need it to. You want to make sure that the headlight you choose is made with a number of different features including a bright light and a good battery and definitely an easy ability to carry it.

Running headlight

For you, that means a whole lot of research … but luckily, we’ve taken care of that research for you and found some of the best options to choose from.

Beam Type

There are actually three different beam types that you can choose from. These vary from a flood with a wide beam which allows you to see plenty in a large space with a little less concentration of light or brightness. The second is a spotlight, which is far more focused and narrow. This is going to give you a whole lot more brightness.

On the other hand, you can get an adjustable beam that goes from flood to spotlight and back again. Any of these will be good for different situations and different people, allowing you to find something you like best.

Light Output

The light output of your headlamp is going to be measured in something called ‘lumens.’ The more lumens that you can get the better it’s going to be as far as brightness (in most cases) but the more energy it’s going to require as well.

Headlight wide beam

This means it won’t last as long because the energy from the battery is being used up a lot faster to get that brighter level of lighting. Now, it’s important to note that some lights with higher lumens are actually not as bright because of the focus and style, so you want to know what the lumens and brightness really are.

Beam Distance

Knowing how far you’re going to be able to see with your new light is going to be extremely important as well. You want to make sure that you can see at least a decent distance away from you because in the wilderness it’s extremely important to know what’s up ahead before you get there. You don’t want to find yourself stumbling over tree roots or through streams because you couldn’t see them with the light that you have available.

Lamp Run Time

The next thing to consider is how long your lamp is going to run between charging or before you need to replace the battery. You’ll need to know this especially when you’re heading out into the wilderness because you never know when you’ll have another chance to actually get new batteries or charge up the one that you have and you want to know what you’re getting into.

Hikers wearing headlamps

Knowing how long your lamp will last lets you better plan your trip and what you’re going to do to improve your usability at the same time.

Brightness Levels

It’s also going to be important to know just how bright your lamp is. We touched on this once already, but you want to make sure that you’re looking at just how bright the lamp is that you’re looking at. That’s how you’re going to know what you’ll really be able to see, even when you’re going to be moving slowly or through easier terrain.

You want to make sure that you’re aware of what you’re getting and that your light is going to be bright enough that you can see clearly in the area that it’s supposed to light. A lot of distance means nothing if your light isn’t bright enough to get you where you need to go.

Additional Features

There are always additional features that you should look at as well. These are features that are related to the increased benefit of using a particular light. For some you will have red light modes that will give you a little bit better night vision.

Red light headlight

 

In some you will have higher levels of water resistance and drops. You also want to know what type of on/off switch your unit has and whether you can easily move the light to accommodate different types of needs.

The Lights You Need to See: Product reviews and useful tips

Below we’ll discuss some of the best products on the market so you can make an informed decision.

Vitchelo Brightest & Best LED Headlamp Flashlight

Weight: 0.19 lbs.Vitchelo headlight

Dimensions: 2.8” x 3.2” x 4.9”

Specific Features: 6 color options, plastic material, LED light

This Vitchelo Flashlight is going to be a super-easy and bright option that’s also inexpensive. You get a choice of six different colors for your lamp and all you have to do is wrap the elastic style band around your head and flip it on and you’re ready to go. Even better you have several different power levels as well as red and white options for the light, making it easier to use your light when it’s dark outside.

The high beam will get you light up to 110 meters away while lower lighting allows you plenty more brightness without the added distance or lets you get more distance with a lower level of power overall. This light has separate buttons for a number of different options as well as flashing and emergency lights. It also has CE and RoHS certification, so you know you can trust it.

This light is super lightweight and has a V800 LED. You’ll be able to use this for just about any situation, including walking your dog, going for a hike or going hunting. You’ll also be able to use it in less ideal situations and conditions where seeing in the dark is absolutely crucial.

Check the price on Amazon

JETBeam HR25 Rechargeable LED Headlamp

Weight: 6.4 ouncesJETBeam HR25 Rechargeable LED Headlamp

Dimensions: 3” x 2” x 2”

Specific Features: 800 lumens, 1-meter impact resistant

If you’re looking for something that will help you see no matter where you’re going and isn’t going to slip you’re definitely going to like the JETBeam HR25. It has a wrap around the head as well as over the head to make sure that you’re going to have complete control and you’re going to have it with you when it’s needed. You also have several different modes that make it a whole lot easier to use this light for whatever conditions you might need.

Made with aero-grade aluminum alloy, this lamp is extremely sturdy and durable as well as being impact resistant and waterproof. It has additional accessories including a USB charging cable and lithium ion battery so you’ll always be able to have plenty of power.

You won’t have to worry about running out when you’re out in the middle of nowhere. What’s even more important is you’re going to have several different modes, including low lumens, strobes and a whole lot more.

The maximum amount of distance that you’ll be able to see is 140 meters, which provides you with plenty of distance for traveling in the darkest of nights and territories. You’ll be able to find anything and you will be able to easily turn it on and off as well as switching between modes extremely easily.

Check the price on Amazon

Nitecore HC-30

Weight: 1.4 ouncesNitecore HC30

Dimensions: 3.86” x 0.95”

Specific Features: 100-degree illumination, 1.5-meter impact resistance, 330 hour max time, 5 levels, 3 modes

Available in a cool white and neutral white style, the Nitecore HC-30 is designed to give you everything you’re looking for when it comes to a high-tech and highly effective light. With this bundle you get the lamp itself and batteries to use with it.

You also have five different levels of brightness, which means that you can see anything that’s coming toward you (or that you’re walking toward). You can also check three different modes to get the right lighting or attention as needed.

There’s a special feature built into the light to make sure that it never overheats. Called Advanced Temperature Regulation technology it will help you keep using your light without having to worry about it burning out or getting too warm.

What’s really great is that it’s super light and small enough that you won’t even notice it while you’re wearing it. You’ll be able to use it on your head directly or over a helmet to help with work purposes as well.

This light is styled uniquely, with easy to use switches on the head as well as a wide angle light. You get up to 100 degrees of illumination. You’ll also get up to 177 yards of beam distance. Made with aero-grade aluminum alloy, this light has mineral glass and anti-reflective coating, so you know it’s strong.

Check the price on Amazon

Terralux TLH-50

Weight: 0.2 ouncesTerralux TLH 50

Dimensions: 3.1” x 1.8” x 2.4”

Specific Features: 65 hours max time, 3 output levels, water resistance

The Terralux TLH-50 is designed to give you three different levels of brightness as well as up to 65 hours of light time. That means you’re going to have plenty in order to get you where you’re going.

You’ll also have enough brightness to make sure that you can see everything as you’re traveling by bike or walking through the wilderness. What’s even better is that it’s water resistant in case you are out in the rain or even if it gets dropped in a small amount of water.

Small in size, this unit is still very powerful and uses CR batteries that you get right with the unit. You’ll be able to get use it easily because you just slip the strap around your head and over the top. Each strap has a separate adjustment so you can make sure that it fits snug.

You’ll also have the light directly in front of you to make sure that you get plenty of light where you need it most. All you have to do is turn your head to redirect the lights as needed.

The sides of the light attachment have knobs to make adjustment easy and the power button is directly on top of the unit so you can always get the light on or off as needed. You’ll definitely find this one comfortable and easy to use.

Check the price on Amazon

Olight H35 Wave

Weight: 1.77 lbs.Olight H35 Wave

Dimensions: 2.9” x 5.5” x 7.9”

Specific Features: 1500 max lumens, 24-hour max runtime, 3 brightness leve
ls, 55-degree tilt

The Olight H35 offers three different lumen levels that range from only 150 lumens all the way to 1500. This provides anywhere from 2 ½ to 24 hours of light depending on the level that you choose. No matter what you’ll be able to have plenty of light to see anything and everything around you or plenty for an extended trip.

You’ll also have no problem keeping it powered up as needed because the rechargeable battery pack can be attached directly to your belt.

If you run out of power for other devices the USB port on the battery pack means that it can be used to charge anything you want. As for the light, it has the ability to tilt up to 55 degrees to direct the light right where you need it.

It also has a floodlight style that means you’ll be able to see what’s around you when you’re traveling in the dark. It’s also water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about traveling in the rain. You’ll still be able to use it just fine and without worry.

If you prefer you can use the button to turn the device on and off, but it’s also built with a sensor that allows the light to turn on or off with just the wave of your hand. This makes it much easier to use and to get started whenever you’re ready to go.

Check the price on Amazon

Fenix HL55

Weight: 0.35 lbs.Fenix HL55 900 Lumen Headlamp

Dimensions: 2.2” x 8” x 8”

Specific Features: 50,000-hour lifespan, 5 brightness levels, up to 150 hours on low mode

The Fenix HL55 has an extensive lifespan of up to 50,000 hours and offers 900 lumens of light while you’re using it. That means you’re definitely going to have a light that’s going to get you where you need to go whenever you need to get there.

You don’t have to worry about your ability to see being lessened because of this light and if the area is just a little bit dim you won’t have to worry about anything either. It offers five different levels of brightness to get exactly what you’re looking for.

If you need to look in different directions you’ll have no problem because with this light you get up to 160 degrees of tilt. You’re also going to have two different battery options that make it easy to take extras with you when you’re going to be gone for an extended length of time. There’s even an organizer that comes along with it that you can use for storing extra batteries while you’re on the trail.

The straps around and over the head make it super easy to adjust this lamp to make sure that it fits you exactly the way you want. You also won’t have to worry about comfort because the elastic straps are designed to be easy to wear.

Though the light is small in size, it still has the power that you’re looking for and will provide you with everything you need to see longer distances or close up.

Check the price on Amazon

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

Weight: 8.8 ouncesBlack Diamond Spot Headlamp

Dimensions: 5” x 5” x 2”

Specific Features: 5 color options, white and red LED, 3 power options

Available in five different colors, the Black Diamond Headlamp has a simple band that goes around your head to keep it on tight. It’s also fully adjustable.

You have three different options including a triple power LED light and a red LED light to make sure that you can see when it’s lighter or when it’s dark and you won’t have to worry about your night vision either. You’ll also be able to transition between power levels super easy.

If you want to get to ared light you can do it without having to worry about hitting the white level first and you’ll be able to get strobe or solid lights whenever you need them. Because it’s small it’s super easy to use and you’ll be able to get it going with only AAA batteries, which means it’s going to be extremely easy to keep powered for as long as you need. You’ll even be able to see how much battery is left at any time.

Waterproof to 1 meter, this light is going to work for you even if it gets dropped in a puddle and it’s going to be inexpensive to use. You get up to 200 lumens for up to 80 hours, which means you won’t have to worry about getting lost in the dark with no way to see.

Check the price on Amazon

GRDE 31813 Modes LED Headlight

Weight: 1 lb.GRDE Headlight

Dimensions: 6” x 5” x 3.5”

Specific Features: 10 watts, 3 levels, hands-free

This GRDE Headlight is definitely going to look like something special and it really is. It has a soft, elastic style band that goes over the head and around to make sure that it sits firmly where you want it. It also has a forward directed light that shines exactly where you need it without having to worry about angles.

You can adjust it up to 90 degrees and don’t need your hands to use it while you’re traveling. You also get to choose between three different modes which include a high, low and strobe function.

With this you’re going to have not only the lamp and batteries but also a wall charger, car charger and cable to help you charge it whenever you need to. There’s a max brightness of up to 2200 lumens through the bright LED.

Made with aluminum alloy, it’s designed to give you up to a 100,000-hour lifespan so you’re always going to have the right amount of light and the right amount of power for what you need.

This light has an easy to use on/off button and can be adjusted simply. There’s actually one button total that you can press a differing number of times to make sure that you’re getting to the right setting for your needs.

Check the price on Amazon

What we learned

No matter what you’re really looking for, having the best possible headlamp is going to make it a whole lot easier for you to travel and it’s going to make sure that you’re more comfortable when it comes to wandering about at night. In the wilderness, being able to see is going to be crucial, and if you aren’t able to… it could mean extreme danger. Keeping your family safe with a great headlamp is going to be a great idea.

Woman headlamp

So what type of headlamp do you look for? Are there specific features that are the most important to you? How about different brands that you’ve tried out or the most important feature of them all?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bradley Page
Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!

  • Amanda Bringman

    We bring the Nitecore HC30 with us on our camping trips. Have to say, one of my favorite features of this light is that the light it provides on the lowest setting is subtle, so your partner can root around without having to worry about waking other people up. I’ve noticed that with other lights, even on the low setting, the light can be blinding.

  • Bradley Page

    What’s great about the Nitecore is that you have 5 settings/levels of brightness. It’s a great courtesy feature in my book. You can set it in brighter mode or in low when some people are already sleeping. You’re right, some LED headlights don’t have this kind of feature. 🙂

  • Gabrielle Francona

    I use the GRDE 31813 Modes LED Headlight. It’s a very good buy! It’s ridiculously bright and I like that it has different settings that you can set the light to. It’s also comfortable to wear and is adjustable.

  • Bradley Page

    Definitely agree with you – the 2200 lumens will make sure you see everything clearly. It is, as you say “ridiculously bright” and when you’re in pitch darkness, this light can be seen at a great distance. The strap is wide and comfortable, as well.
    Thanks for stopping by Gabrielle!

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