The 12 Best Bike Lights of 2023, According to Cycling Experts

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Let these bike lights illuminate your path and keep you safe while cycling.
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No matter what kind of terrain you plan to cover, safe bicycle riding requires some type of bike light. But how can you possibly choose the right one out of the countless options?

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Do you need a headlight, tail light, helmet light or a combination? Do you prefer a solid, bright light or a pulsing strobe? How about battery life? Do you need a rechargeable bike light or are you okay with changing batteries? These are just a few questions you'll need to ask yourself before purchasing a bike light.

Consulting several experts helped us to sort through the most popular brands and find 10 of the best bike lights. After highlighting each one, we'll discuss some ways to help you decide which bike lights match your riding habits and budget.

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How We Chose

We spoke to Justin Miernik, manager of Evergreen Cycles, Marc Taylor of 3rd Coast Cycles, Will Alvarado, manager of Toga Bikes, and Jeremy Hurt, owner of Red Bike Delivery, to get their take on the best bike lights out there. We based our top picks on the following criteria:

  • Battery life
  • Type of riding
  • Levels of brightness
  • Light modes
  • Installation

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1. Best Tail Light: NiteRider Omega 300 Lumens USB Rechargeable Bike Tail Light

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes, included USB rechargeable batteries, which are fully charged in 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Type of riding:‌ City riding in daylight hours
  • Lumen:‌​ 300
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Easily installed without tools and has a 'quick release tab' to remove light instantly
  • Other features:‌ 5 adjustable light modes, 3 LEDs, a low-battery indicator, and IP64 water- and dust-resistant

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This bike light is one of two Justin Miernik, manager of Evergreen Cycles, recommends. The NiteRider Omega 300 Daylight Visible Tail Light is one of the most popular in his shop — and for good reason!

It has a quick-release tab, allowing riders to instantly and easily remove it from its mount. It also has several light mode settings, customizable based on personal preference, traffic patterns, location, terrain, time of day and weather.

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Bikers can ride with the Omega 300 on the low setting for up to 30 hours or its high setting for up to 5.5 hours. Both fast flash and pulse flash modes can work for up to 6 hours, while disco flash works for up to 8 hours.

While it's great for single riders on city roads during the day, the light may be too bright for group cycling if someone is behind you. Additionally, some reviewers mentioned that the battery didn't last the full time stated, although most said that the light is extremely bright and useful for making the rider visible to traffic.

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​Buy it:Amazon.com; ‌Price:​ ‌$53.60‌

2. Runner Up for Best Tail Light: NightRider Sentry 260 Tail Light

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌​ 260
  • Easily Installed/Removed:‌ TK
  • Other features:‌ IP64 waterproof and dust-resistant, plus low-battery indicator

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Will Alvarado, manager of Toga Bikes, recommends the NiteRider Sentry 260 Tail Light, a lightweight choice with a luminous 260 degrees of visibility. It's a perfect tail light for almost any type of cycling.

Riders can expect a run time of up to 30 hours, depending on the mode, which includes low, high and steady with fast flash, pulse flash and alternating flash for lengthier rides.

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Rechargeable in 2.5 hours or less, the NiteRider Sentry 260 has two LED light strips delivering its 260 lumens in eye-catching red, as well as inner and outer lenses, which ensure a larger, brighter range of visibility for the rider.

Buy it:Amazon.com,‌ Price:​ ‌$53.00

​3. Best Headlight and Tail Light Pair: LEZYNE Lite Drive 1000XL and Strip Drive Pro 300 Bicycle Light Pair

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌​ 1,000 headlight/300 taillight
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ Extended battery life on both lights (headlight up to 87 hours; rear light, 53 hours), company honors a year warranty, several lighting modes on rear light

There's a trend toward high-intensity rear and front lights, and Marc Taylor of 3rd Coast Cycles recommends both.

"With the improvements in LED technology, these types of lights can be seen in any type of weather," he says. This LEZYNE headlight and tail light combination is very bright, especially in its highest setting.

The tail light also offers adjustable settings — with flashing reviewed as the best, particularly when its five LEDs are used in full sunlight. Both are easy to mount and remove, and the headlight strap can be mounted onto a variety of handlebar widths and shapes.

​Buy it:Amazon.com, ‌Price:​ ‌$114.99

4. Best Wearable Light: CAT EYE - SYNC Wearable Rechargeable Bike Light

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes, recharges fully in 2.5 hours, cable included
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌​ 50
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes, clips on and off
  • Other features:‌ SYNC smartphone app can sync the CATEYE with up to 7 lights simultaneously, features 6 customizable light modes

This little SYNC Wearable clip-on light is small but mighty, ideal for when you need an extra boost of confidence that you're visible in traffic and bad weather, day or night. It clips on anywhere you want — from your backpack to your sock.

The strap included fits a range of post sizes for easy attaching and removing, and it's lightweight and compact for a streamlined look. It comes with a low-battery notification, battery-saving setting and mode memory to select frequently used commands.

​Buy it:Amazon.com, ‌Price:​‌ $49.95

5. Best Headlight: Cygolite Metro Plus USB Rechargeable Headlight

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Roads, commuting, mountain biking; anywhere high-intensity brightness is needed
  • Lumen‌:​ 800
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes and has a quick-release mount
  • Other features:‌ Made in the USA, IP67 waterproof

This light lets you see what lies ahead of and around you clearly, even on the most dimly lit roads. Suitable for daytime or nighttime riding, the affordable Cygolite Metro Plus USB Rechargeable Headlight comes equipped with attention-grabbing flashing modes and top-level brightness that lasts the full run times promised.

Rugged, durable, battery-powered, waterproof and rechargeable, the Cygolite Metro Plus is 0.3 pounds with 9 settings to choose from, including low, medium, high, boost, steady pulse, daylighting, triple flash, zoom and walking. It comes with a low-battery indicator, warning you when you need to charge up.

​‌Buy it:Amazon.com, ‌Price:​ ‌$58.91

6. Runner Up for Best Headlight: NightRider Lumina 650 Front Bike Light Sabre

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌​ 650
  • Easily installed/removed:‌Yes
  • Other features:‌ IP64 waterproof, comes with low-battery indicator

Alvarado recommends another NiteRider bike light — the most popular brand sold in their bike shop. According to Alvarado, NiteRider lights are high-quality, have a variety of features and are crack- and damage-resistant, which is particularly useful during aggressive city riding.

When shopping for bike lights, Alvarado suggests urban riders prioritize lumens no lower than 500 for a front bike light and long battery life with recharging capabilities. That's why he recommends the NightRider Lumina 650 USB Rechargeable Bike Light.

This headlight packs quite a brightness punch at 650 lumens, but it's also lightweight, compact and water- and dust-resistant. Riders can select any of five light modes with varying run times of up to 20 hours.

While stated to be appropriate for both daytime and nighttime use, some reviewers said they didn't think the it was bright enough for nighttime, encouraging people to get the NiteRider bike lights with 750 lumens instead. During the day, however, it works fine and catches the eyes of drivers, especially if you use flash mode.

​Buy it:Amazon.com, ‌Price:​ ‌$55.99

7. Best Budget-Friendly Bike Light: NiteRider Cherrybomb 35 Tail Light

  • Rechargeable:‌​ No
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌​ 35
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Not specified
  • Other features:‌ IP64 waterproof

If you don't mind swapping out batteries from time to time (these aren't rechargeable), ride mainly in the daytime and can only get one affordable light, consider this one. The NiteRider brand is considered top-shelf by many bike professionals, and Taylor recommended the Cherry Bomb model as a budget-friendly option.

A popular tail light, the Cherry Bomb works well in nearly all settings and weather. It's a durable, long-lasting light that helps you be seen by drivers, particularly those who approach from behind. It's lightweight, and you can easily replace the strap without having to replace the whole light.

Buy it:Amazon.com, ‌Price:​‌ $30.99

​8. Best High-Tech Light: Garmin Varia Rearview Radar and Tail Light Bundle

  • Rechargeable:‌​ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Any, especially when you need to know what's coming up behind you
  • Lumen:‌ 20 solid, 8 peloton, 29 night flash, 65 day flash
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ Peloton mode lowers the intensity of the flash so others riding with you or close to you aren't blinded.

The Garmin Varia Rearview Radar and Tail Light Bundle lets oncoming traffic know you're approaching almost a mile away and gives you a heads up about what's coming from behind you without a front mirror.

It pairs with either the Edge bike computer or a compatible smartphone to monitor what's around you and alert you to approaching vehicles you might not be able to see. Easily mounted and offering a variety of display options, this duo increases rider safety as well as confidence on the road.

Plus, peloton mode lowers the flash intensity of your tail light, so group riders and others nearby aren't blinded.

Buy it:Amazon.com,‌ Price:‌​ $479.98

​9. Best Wheel Lights: Activ Life 2-Tire Pack LED Bike Wheel Lights

  • Rechargeable:‌ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Any
  • Lumen:‌ N/A
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ 1-year warranty

"As the owner of a small delivery business, Red Bike Delivery, I am constantly on the road and looking for ways to be seen at night," Jeremy Hurt says. "Along with the headlight and taillight, I would suggest looking into some sort of LED light that goes on the spokes of your wheels. They are bright, colorful and get the attention of anyone on the side of you."

Activ Life 2-Tire Pack LED Bike Wheel Lights feature two lighting modes, 10 color options and include batteries (though they're not rechargeable).

These might seem like they're just for kids, but they're fun and handy for all ages. Even if you already have bike lights (which we hope you do!), these add a dash of visibility from the side and a little kick of color.

Buy it:Amazon.com,‌ Price:​ ‌$24.99

​10. Best Helmet Light: Light and Motion Vis Pro Helmet Bike Light

  • Rechargeable:‌ Yes, fully charges in 6 hours
  • Type of riding:‌ Anywhere additional lighting is beneficial
  • Lumen:‌​ 600
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ Made in the USA, comes with a 2-year limited warranty and an enhanced experience guarantee

The Light and Motion Vis Pro Helmet Bike Light lets you see plenty of area, not simply the strip of road directly ahead, so you can navigate new roads confidently. For example, if there's a pothole in your path, this light lets you aim your bike's headlight straight ahead while your helmet light helps you find a way around it.

With its patented, durable design, this light offers 360 degrees of visibility via amber side lighting, as well as waterproofing to a full meter. The easy mounting system lets you attach and detach without tools, and the battery indicator notifies you when it's low.

​Buy it:REI.com,‌ Price:​ ‌$140.00

11. Best Custom-Made e-Bike Headlight: Fisher Fab House LED e-Bike Light

  • Rechargeable:‌ No, but made for e-bikes and runs on any battery 36 to 96 volt
  • Type of riding:‌ Anywhere additional lighting is beneficial
  • Lumen:‌​ 3,200
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ Made in the USA, has alternate modes like Flash for safe riding

If you ride during all different times of the day and night, in all types of weather, you probably need a very bright light.

"I have become a huge fan of Luna Cycle and its products, especially for e-bike owners," Hurt says. "While being a bit pricey at $200, the Fisher Fab House LED light is a beast. Capable of up to 3,200 lumens, this light will illuminate any path you end up riding. It also comes equipped with an xt-60 connector to hook into your power source, so no worries about batteries."

When you recharge your e-bike, it also charges your light(s). However, the Fisher Fab House LED light generally works well with battery systems ranging from 28 to 112 volts.

This high-quality, custom-made, super-bright headlight comes with combined spot and floodlighting, flashing, dim and other light levels, as well as remarkably fast shipping. The Fisher Fab House LED headlight is made in the United States but is built solely for e-bikes.

​Buy it:LunaCycle.com,‌ Price:​ ‌$199.00

12. Best Budget-Friendly e-Bike Light: Luna Cycle DUAL CREE Lens Front Light

  • Rechargeable:‌ Yes
  • Type of riding:‌ Anywhere additional lighting is beneficial
  • Lumen:‌​ 500
  • Easily installed/removed:‌ Yes
  • Other features:‌ Water resistant, resistant to harsh weather

"If you are looking for something a bit friendlier to your wallet, I would suggest Luna Cycle Dual Cree Lens Front Light," Hurt says. "For only $35, it still rocks out a good 500 lumens, is water-resistant and has a 3000 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery."

It offers four light modes (pulsing night mode, horizontal, vertical and combined), two lens profiles and between four and eight hours of battery life, depending on how many lumens you use at a time (eight hours at 250 lumens and four hours at 500).

Buy it:LunaCycle.com, ‌Price:​‌ $34.95

​5 Things to Consider When Shopping for Bike Lights

1. Number of Lights

"Ideally, you'll have more than one light on your bike," Taylor says. "A solid light to shine on the ground in front of you can help light up your path, while another pulsing light on the handlebars or somewhere else will alert others to your location." Taylor recommends using both lights during daytime and nighttime riding.

For some riding, particularly at night, Miernik recommends a helmet light. Depending on where you'll be riding, you may need more or less light. In most cases, if you're riding on a college campus or through a town, there will be lights on at night to guide your path.

However, for riders who enjoy trail riding at night, when there's only the moon to light your way, he uses a helmet light as well as two handlebar lights.

2. Battery Type

"[Consider] whether you want a USB rechargeable light or one that requires AA batteries," Hurt says. "The AA battery-powered light will give you way more hours, but eventually, you'll have to buy more."

The USB light will provide you with a fraction of the time before it needs charging, but if you're conscious of its level and remember to throw it on the charger every so often, it typically only takes a couple of hours to charge.

3. Brightness

Also of utmost importance is how bright the light is, which is measured in lumens, Hurt says. For reference: "A 100-watt light bulb would be about 1,600 Lumens. But watts measures energy use, whereas Lumens measures light output. With energy-efficient LED lighting, we can no longer rely on wattage to tell us how bright a light bulb is."

Miernik suggests buying the brightest light with the most lumen output you can afford, whether it's a head or tail light. Then, use it at a lower capacity. For example, if you purchase a light with 1,000 lumens, run it at 500 lumens for better battery life.

4. Light Modes

Going for brightness is only one purchase consideration, Taylor says. Some types of lights are better at alerting others to your location than others, especially in heavy traffic.

"Strobes or pulsing lights are better at alerting vehicles, where solid bright lights tend to end up just blending in with other lights," Taylor says. And ideally, you'll have more than one. "A solid light to shine on the ground in front of you can help light up your path, while another pulsing light on the handlebars or somewhere else will alert others to your location."

5. Security

Since most of Miernik's customers are college students who mainly ride to and from class, dorms and jobs on well-lit paths, they don't usually need the same level of lighting that dark, backroad or nighttime trail riders need.

Additionally, students should consider easily mountable and detachable lights, since they frequently leave their bikes outside, and taking their lights inside with them helps prevent theft.

FAQ: Is It Legal to Ride Without a Bike Light?

Taylor recommends checking state transportation authority websites for the laws in each state regarding bike lights.

“Each state or region should have its own type of bicyclist advocacy groups to help riders find out what they need to know in that regard," Miernik says. "In Michigan, for example, there is the League of Michigan Bicyclists, a group you can contact for information and assistance.

Michigan's law states that it's required to have lights on your bike for a half-hour prior to and after both sunrise and sunset, for example, and you could get that information from the advocacy groups.”

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