This list is a culmination of work after looking at some of the best bike lights available. Each of these products is among the best bike lights anywhere and should offer something unique to set them apart from their contemporaries.
Although these lights are designed with bicycles in mind, many of these bike lights can function on other cyclists' vehicles as well. The largest value was placed on those lights which have additional safety features. Other functionality was factored into each rating but were worth smaller values.
[amazon box=”B07GXRRHPW, B01F0FCAKW, B072NXX76P, B01IO12N42, B074TDS4KJ, B011RI9NQ0, B00PAFF6RC, B013CH60EC” template=”table”]
How We Chose Our Ratings
All ratings are determined using a five-star system. All of the products on this list are considered high-quality bike lights. For that reason, a low rating doesn't mean it is a bad bike light; it merely means that other bike lights on this list have more to offer. If a bike light offers a unique service or function, that will be reflected favorably in its rating.
This list takes a variety of factors into consideration when assigning a final rating. User reviews are weighed in the final result. The rating for each product also takes into consideration the opinions of other reviewers. Finally, the brand’s comments and design goals will factor into the rating based on how well the bike lights do what the company claims.
Where possible, only one bike light will be reviewed per brand. If two products are deemed sufficiently unique, and both are high-quality products, an exception may be allowed. If so, this factor should be noted in the review of the product.
The bike lights on this list are not placed in a particular order. Instead, the rating should act as the final indicator of their quality.
Top 8 Best Bike Lights
Portland Design Works Gravity USB
The Portland Design Works Gravity USB is a bike light designed to serve as a tail light. Although both front and tail lights are important tools to ensure your safety, most bike experts put more emphasis on the tail light, since it’s more difficult to remain aware of what may be approaching from the rear.
The Gravity USB can be mounted horizontally or vertically on the rear of your seat. The light can also adjust between a dimmer setting and a brighter setting, which allows you to choose the right amount of light for day and nighttime cycling. The light can also be set to produce a constant beam of light, or you may set it to flash at regular intervals.
The light has an accelerometer that detects sudden changes in acceleration, and will instantly cause the light to shine brightly when you are braking or turning. This helps to automatically warn drivers and other cyclists behind you, and lower the odds of an accident occurring.
The Portland Design Works Gravity USB receives a three-star rating. It is above average when it comes to rear bike lights. It has several useful features, such as the accelerometer, but these functions can sometimes miss a change in acceleration at the worst of times. The different functions also shorten the battery life, leading to more recharging time.
Light & Motion Urban 500
Light & Motion has produced a series of bike lights to be commended, but the Light & Motion Urban 500 stands out even against its predecessors. The Urban 500 has three lights that help to protect you while cycling. Two amber lights on the side and one primary light in the center work together both as flashers, and as a beam to illuminate your path.
The Urban 500 is designed to be attached to the handlebars near the front of the bicycle. The wrap has generous room so that it can be attached to bikes with even thick handlebars or frames. Although the Urban 500 has a stronger light than its predecessors, the estimated battery life remains the same.
The light has four power modes, which are adjusted using a switch covered in thick rubber. The extra padding means it would be difficult to damage the light, no matter how forcefully you press the button while riding. Light & Motion also say the Urban 500 is highly water resistant, though not waterproof. This light was also marketed with a two-year warranty if you buy it new.
The Light & Motion Urban 500 receives a five-star rating. The Urban 500 has a well-focused beam that projects a significant distance in front of you. Its mount is solid, the battery life is significant, and the extra lights allow it to fulfill multiple functions at once. It is a well-designed bike light developed with some situations and users in mind.
Lezyne Zecto Drive Max
[amazon box=”B072NXX76P” template=”horizontal”]
Lezyne’s Zecto Drive Max is a rear mounted light with eight settings. Although it may not allow you to set blinking intervals or offer other functions that make other rear lights more complex, it excels in the few roles it does have.
Zecto Drive Max's eight levels of light range from a dim setting - more appropriate during the daytime - to an overwhelming nighttime setting that could blind or disorient drivers and cyclists behind you. While there are few situations where turning it up to its max setting are recommended, these settings still make this the brightest light on our entire list.
There is a 250-lumen daytime flash that is estimated to have nine-hour battery life. The Zecto Drive Max attaches to the seat bar just beneath your bike's seat, using a plastic mount. This mount may be the only issue, as some users noted the plastic mount and the plastic covering the battery could be damaged over time, weakening the product.
The Lezyne Zecto Drive Max receives four stars. It has the brightest setting of any light on this list, making it the easy winner for nighttime cyclists. Though the mount could be made of firmer material, this light excels in battery life and brightness. If you set it to its highest setting, be careful of what traffic is behind you unless circumstances call for the additional brightness.
Cygolite Metro 600
[amazon box=”B01IO12N42″ template=”horizontal”]
The Cygolite Metro 600 is a front bike light that prioritizes battery life and visibility. One thing that must immediately be mentioned about this light is that it can simultaneously create a steady beam of light, and emit a timed flash. While this makes you more visible to drivers, in some areas flashing headlights are illegal as they can distract drivers.
The Metro 600 is a headlight with excellent battery life. If you want to minimize the time you spend recharging your bike light, this is one of the best options on this list.
Its output doesn't reach the levels of the Zecto Drive Max or other bike lights that emphasize brightness. Unlike other bike lights on this list, you may also need tools to help you mount the Cygolite Metro 600. It takes longer to mount and unmount than other bike lights, which evens out with the value granted by its long battery life.
The Cygolite Metro 600 receives a four and a half star rating. Many testers noted that it functions similarly to other top bike lights, such as the Urban 500 while emphasizing different features. The long battery life, and its ability to simultaneously creates flashes and a continuous beam, give it a unique niche when compared to other headlights.
The Magicshine MJ906B is a unique bike light in several ways. It can connect wirelessly to other devices, and comes with Bluetooth connectivity not found in other entries on this list.
The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to create different profiles and settings for your bike light. You can then use a Bluetooth connected device to adjust these settings on the fly. The lights won’t adjust automatically to meet the changing atmosphere of dawn or dusk, but you can use profiles to change your light’s settings when your environment demands it.
Using your phone or connected device, you can choose flash settings. You can also adjust the brightness of the beam from one to one hundred percent. The customizable nature of this bike light makes it stand out, and the complex internal workings are protected by a thick plastic cover.
The one issue the MJ-906B presents is battery life. Though it has a typical battery for a bike light, its wireless settings and additional functionality mean it may drain faster than other bike lights.
The Magicshine MJ-906B receives a four-star rating. It is a bike light designed with technophiles in mind, and the additional functionality can make it so complex it drives away some users. It gives you control over every setting you could imagine using any Bluetooth connected device, but this comes with a few obvious shortcomings, such as potentially short battery life.
Knog Blinder Mob V Kid Grid
The Knog Blinder Mob V Kid Grid stands out because it is a silicon strap mounted bike light. It is a long series of lights and can be attached or removed far easier than other bike lights on this list.
The light on the Mob V Kid Grid is red, and it serves as a taillight capable of warning cyclists and drivers behind you of your presence. The light is designed in a wide bar shape, which allows it to spread the light out in a cone. It may not go the same distance as other rear lights, but the light covers a wider area behind you.
The light on the Knog Blinder Mob V Kid Grid is less focused, so it’s less efficient than other bike lights. Its maximum output only reaches around 45-lumens. It also doesn’t have an above average battery life. Overall, its main selling point is how easy it is to attach and remove, and the cone of light it is designed to project behind your bicycle.
The Knog Blinder Mob V Kid Grid receives a two-star rating. It isn't the most powerful light on this list, it doesn't have a multitude of functions, and its battery life is nothing special. Its strap is sturdy, and it can be attached or removed from a bike very easily. Its red light also makes it stand out on the road and sets it apart from other entrants on this list.
Planet Bike Spok
The Planet Bike Spok bike lights offer something missing from elsewhere on this list; they come as a pair, with a rear light and a headlight. The silicon straps are hefty and give your bike a look of additional padding and material that those who like to customize bikes might like.
These lights use standard coin-cell batteries which you will need to replace at times. The lights can be found in some convenience stores and other general stores. Like most silicon strap bike lights, these are easy to attach and remove
The Planet Bike Spok bike lights receive a one and a half star rating. They are bright lights, surpassing several other entrants on this list. They have very few unique features to make them stand out among the best bike lights though. They can be bought as a pair though, which allows you to cover the front and rear safety with a single purchase, unlike other entrants on this list.
The Blackburn 2'Fer is a bike light designed to fulfill the roles of both a headlight and a tail light. An important thing to clarify is that it only fulfills one of these roles at a time. When placing the light on your bike, you can switch it to the role you want it to fulfill with the press of a single button.
The Blackburn 2'Fer doesn't fulfill both of these roles equally. It is designed to primarily serve as a rear light and produces red LED light when functioning as a tail light. When you change it to a headlight, the light becomes white and produces 60-lumens according to Blackburn.
You also have to stop and adjust the light to face the right direction if you decide to change its purpose. This means you’ll probably choose only one of these roles and you will primarily use it for that function, since changing it can be a hassle. The exception might be if the light it is paired with malfunctions or runs out of battery life, but these are circumstantial situations.
The Blackburn 2’Fer receives a three and a half star rating. The importance of front and tail lights changes depending on the time of day, so a light that can change modes can be helpful in several ways. There are lights that perform their respective functions better though, and manually adjusting the Blackburn 2’Fer takes time and effort you may not want to spend.
When you choose to purchase bike lights, it is recommended that you obtain both a headlight and a tail light. You may also consider buying a light that functions in both roles, but unless you primarily ride during the day, you should acquire two lights for safety. Some lights are even sold in package deals, such as the Planet Bike Spok headlight and taillight combo.
Most cyclists believe that tail light is more important. When cycling, you can often see vehicles and objects in front of you and plan to avoid them. This doesn't eliminate the importance of headlights, which improve your vision and warn oncoming traffic of your presence as well.
You cannot track vehicles behind you as easily because it can be difficult to turn your head while cycling or different sounds or stimuli may draw your attention away from encroaching traffic. For this and several other reasons, it's recommended you purchase a rear light first. This will have the largest noticeable impact on the reaction times of drivers and other cyclists.
When choosing a headlight, it is important to balance your field of vision with how visible you are to drivers and other cyclists. Brighter headlights and flashing lights improve your field of view and make you easier to notice. If a headlight is too bright, however, it can distract oncoming traffic and wash out what you can see beyond the headlight's limit.
If you can adjust the output of a light, then it will often be more useful. It is for this reason that lights with multiple settings, such as the Urban 500, generally received higher ratings.
Bike lights measure their output in a lumen. Even a simple bike light with only a few settings may be an excellent choice, as long as it has a high lumen value. The main factor to balance with a light's luminosity is its battery life. A light that is too strong has too many settings, or comes with many gadgets may have a short battery life due to the amount of energy it drains.
Flashing lights are a nearly universal sign of decreased speed and turns. These signals are acknowledged in many countries around the world and incorporated into their roadside laws. For this reason, a light that detects acceleration and reacts to alert other drivers, such as the Portland Design Works Gravity USB, will benefit anyone seeking additional safety features.