Gear

Headlamp Review: Lighting Your Way

8 new running headlamps reviewed, with options for every preference: from forehead to waist to handheld.

One way to avoid the crowds and better social distance is to run at odd hours, which, as we head into warmer months, is all the more accommodating because of the cooler night-time temps. This means running when it is dark, which is easier and safer than it used to be, with today’s running lights, which are both lighter weight and brighter than ever. The following lights, either on their own or in combination, will keep help you stay safe and brighten your path. Only now you’ll have a new problem: “When will I rest?”

BioLite

BioLite small headlamp
photo: BioLite

Headlamp 200 $45

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Bright enough for trail use, at 200 lumens, this lightweight rechargeable light features white spot, dimming, red flood, red strobe, white strobe and lock out modes. It weighs only 1.75 oz, is water resistant, tilts for beam adjustment, has a 40-hour burn time on low (good for 8 meters of beam) or 3 hours of high (50 meter beam). The headband is well balanced and sleek with a minimalist approach that stays flush on your forehead without bouncing.

Black Diamond

Black Diamond headlamp
photo: Black Diamond

Sprint 225 Headlamp $45

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Weighing a mere 1.8 oz, the rechargeable Sprint 225 packs a wallop into a small, lightweight package. The splash-proof, locking headlamp can last up to 20 hours on a full charge at 6 lumens for 7 meters of light or 1.5 hours at the full 225 lumens for a 40 meter beam, including reserve power. There is also moderate mode of 120 lumens for 20 meters and a strobe mode for safety.

Black Diamond headlamp
photo: Black Diamond

Sprinter 275 Headlamp $75

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With an option of three AAA batteries or rechargeable, the Sprinter 275’s battery pack is rear mounted to minimize and balance the weight and prevent annoying undulations. There are also rear red strobe lights for safety. The low setting of 6 lumens, which is rather anemic, lasts for 100 hours with 6 meters of beam while the mid level of 140 lumens lasts for 8 hours with 26 meters and the high, of 275 lumens, lasts for 4 hours for 40 meters.  Burn times are slightly longer with the AAA batteries.

The BD 1800 is compatible with the Sprinter 275 and other models and comes with a USB charger so you can recharge on the run and cost $25.

Nathan

photo: Nathan

Luna Fire 250 Chest/Waist Light $40

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Moving the light off the head, either as a secondary light or as the sole source, allows for versatility and fewer shadows and, in some cases, a steadier beam. The Luna Fire can be worn on either the chest or waist and easily clips off when not in use. There are three base settings and the burn times range between 8 hours and 3 hours. In the safety strobe setting it lasts 24 hours. There’s also a “Sprint” mode that stays on for 5 minutes with 250 lumens before an auto reset.

Nathan handheld running light
photo: Nathan

Terra Fire 400 RX Flashlight $60

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As a running-specific handheld flashlight, the Terra Fire is ergonomically built to slip in the palm of your hand with a  comfortable wrist strap. The five modes offer low, medium, high, strobe and “Sprint,” which provides one minute of 415 lumen brightness. There’s also a rear red light. The burns times range from 7.5 hours to 24 hours and the unit comes with a rechargeable battery.

Petzl

Petzl ultralight headlamp
photo: Petzl

200 Bindi $60

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The mighty Bindi weighs only 1.2 oz and can be worn as a headlamp or around the neck. It is rechargeable, water resistant, has a red light mode, and has a 6 meter, 5 lumen mode that lasts 50 hours on a charge or can go to 200 lumens for 2 hours.

Petzl headlamp
photo: Petzl

900 Swift RL $120

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The Swift RL quickly became the standard lamp on the ultra scene, due to its power (900 lumens on reactive mode), energy gauge, staying power (up to 100 hours at 10 lumens/12 meters of beam) as a durable, weather-proof, rechargeable and easy-to-use and well-secured lightweight (3.5oz) headlamp. It does, however, take a while to recharge, if that’s a relevant consideration for you.

UltrAspire

UltraSpire waist running lamp
photo: UltraSpire

Lumen 400z Waist Light $120

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With three brightness options, 100, 200 and 400 lumens and a bevel adjustment to adjust between flood and spot, the waist-mounted “3D” lighting cuts down on shadows and allows you to turn your head without directing the beam, saving your eyes with a steady output that stays even and stable, given it sits right on your hips. The belt, battery and light weigh only 7.3 oz, including a rear blinking light. The belt includes a sweat-proof pocket that can hold a large cell phone, should you want take it along for safety.