Best Running Headlamp

August 26, 2022

Running is a great form of exercise that practically anyone can do, since it doesn’t require a lot of specialist equipment. Not only can anyone take up running, but you can also do it at any time of day that you please.

To some the idea of running at night might be very appealing, but what do you do about areas where visibility is poor

You can’t just go jogging off into the dark unprepared, as all it takes is a single tree root, or discarded soda can for you to potentially slip. At best, you may just fall over, but in the worst case scenario you could end up with an injury.

Even a minor injury like a sprained ankle might stop you from running until it heals, so it is worth trying to avoid such injuries wherever you can.

If you plan on going for runs at night, then the first thing you should consider getting is a running headlamp.

These are head torches that are specially built to stay attached to your head, even when you are doing physical exercise such as running. They make it possible to go wherever you want, without worrying about low visibility.

Today, we have compiled some of the best running headlamps that you can buy for your nocturnal jogging.

PETZL Unisex Headlamp

Lots of headlamps were attached to straps made from a moisture wicking fabric, however, these can still get sweaty during a long run. That’s why this product uses a special ultra-thin headband that won’t become saturated with sweat.

Just because it is very thin doesn’t mean it isn’t durable, and there are adjustable chords that help the headlamp to stay stable while you are running.

Thanks to its minimalist strap design, you can wear this lamp attached to your head, your neck, or to other objects such as a tent pole or thin trees.

As such, this is a versatile piece of equipment that will be very useful for any outdoor activities where you expect to move around at night. You can lock the headband into two different formations and it is completely waterproof so you can run in the rain.

There are three different white lighting settings including proximity, distance and movement. At its highest setting, this lamp can produce up to 500 lumens of light.

This will offer excellent visibility when running at night. You can also set the beam patterned to mixed or flood, depending on how wide you want your beam of light to be.

Pros:

  • Versatile headband that can be locked into two different formations.
  • Three different white light settings and beam formations.
  • Very light weight.

Cons:

  • Not the brightest headlamp for its price range.

Also available at: Petzl

Fenix HM65R 1400 Lumen Dual Beam LED Headlamp

This is a more conventional headlamp design that sports a completely waterproof rugged design. As such, if you plan on running in the rain, then this headlamp is more than up to the challenge.

The HM65R produces up to 1400 lumens of light on its highest setting, which is great for navigating unlit areas at night.

You can recharge this head torch with a USB-C cable, so you can save a fair bit of money on buying replacement batteries. At maximum brightness, this lamp can cover a distance of up to 535ft.

This is perfect when navigating rural areas or parks at night, where you need to see what is coming up in the distance.

The lamp itself, excluding the headband and battery, weighs 3.42 ounces, which is roughly the same weight as an egg. This means it won’t bounce around uncomfortably while you are running and will stay pointing in the direction you need it to illuminate.

As well as the headlamp, you will also receive a charging cable and a small torch that works perfectly as an everyday carry item.

Pros:

  • Rechargeable battery that connects to USB-C.
  • Produces up to 1400 lumens of light on turbo mode.
  • Lightweight with a headband that helps the torch to remain stable on your head.

Cons:

  • Battery will only last a few hours on higher brightness settings.

Also available at: Fenix-Store

Black Diamond Equipment – Storm 400 Headlamp

If you are looking for a good running headlamp on a tight budget, then this is the product for you.

Black Diamond have given this headlamp a comfortable elasticated strap made from a moisture wicking material. This means that your head won’t get too sweaty while running with this lamp.

The storm only produces 400 lumens of light at max power, but this should be enough for running safely at night.

With a waterproof and dustproof housing, this lamp is quite durable and suitable for use in a variety of conditions. You can alter the brightness of this headlamp by simply tapping the top of it, which is very convenient.

Another cool feature is that the lamp will automatically retain the brightness setting you had applied when you turned it off. Its compact design makes this product very portable and easy to take with you.

Sadly it isn’t rechargeable which means you will need to regularly buy AAA batteries to keep it running.

Pros:

  • Compact and durable design.
  • Brightness can be adjusted by tapping the top of the lamp.
  • Comfortable strap made from a moisture wicking material.

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable.

Also available at: BlackDiamondEquipment

KNOG Quokka Run LED Headlamp

This is another great budget headlamp that is even cheaper than the Storm. It sports a very minimalist design that consists of a super thin headband with a miniature lamp at the front.

Due to its small size, it isn’t the brightest, but it comes with a variety of other features that make it very appropriate for running at night.

For a start, this headlamp has two red LEDs at either side of the main lamp, which are great for making you more visible to cars and other forms of traffic.

It also has a rechargeable battery that only takes 3 hours to fully charge from flat. At low brightness, this torch can provide up to 46 hours of continuous light.

This headlamp is both waterproof and dustproof, which means it won’t get damaged easily. It has four different brightness and beam modes, including options to make the whole headband light up as well in Halo mode.

This is a good product for city running, where you will be more concerned about making yourself more visible to cars, than improving your own visibility.

Pros:

  • Multiple brightness and beam settings.
  • Extremely lightweight and easy to run with.
  • Rechargeable battery that recharges very quickly.

Cons:

  • Very low lumen output.

Also available at: Knog and Rei

PETZL – ACTIK CORE Headlamp

Petzl makes a lot of high quality products for runners, so it should come as no surprise that two of their headlamps made it on this list.

The Actik Core is a bit bulkier than the Ico Core, but comes with a more conventional headband that some may find much more comfortable. It has a low brightness output, but still produces enough light for running through unlit parks at night.

This lamp comes with two beam patterns, wide and mixed, so you can illuminate your surroundings as much as possible or focus in for performing specific tasks.

It comes with a rechargeable battery that can last up to 160 hours. If you don’t have access to a USB-C adapter, then this product will also work with regular AAA batteries.

There is also a red light mode that is great for when you need to see better but don’t want to compromise your night vision.

The headband can be removed and is machine washable for when you need to clean it. It is also made from a moisture wicking material that is very comfortable when running.

Pros:

  • Red light mode to help preserve your night vision.
  • Lasts up to 16p hours on a full charge.
  • Removable, machine washable headband.

Cons:

  • Low lumen output.

Also available at: Petzl and Rei

BioLite HeadLamp 750 Lumen No-Bounce Rechargeable Head Light

One of the main issues when running with a head torch is that it can bounce around while you are moving.

That’s exactly the problem that this headlamp has been built to address, with a rubber strap that holds the device comfortably on your head. The way the strap is designed, it prevents the lamp from moving around during your run.

This product can produce up to 750 lumens, which is more than enough for seeing your way through dark areas.

It offers up to 8 different lighting modes, including red vision, floodlight and strobe. The red light is located on the back of the torch, which is useful for lighting up your surroundings without destroying your night vision.

You can tilt this torch down for when you need to focus your light in a particular direction. It has a rechargeable battery that will last up to 150 hours on lower light levels.

Along with the lamp purchase, you’ll also receive a 3ft chord that can be connected to a power bank for continuous light when you need it.

Pros:

  • Helpful 750 lumen output.
  • 8 different lighting modes to choose from.
  • Won’t bounce around on your head while you are running.

Cons:

  • Single button interface is very cluttered.

Also available at: Rei and BioLightEnergy

Buyers Guide

There are lots of awesome headlamps out there that are perfect for running at night, and to help you find the right one, we have included this buyer’s guide.

In this section, we will cover some important things to look out for when finding the right head torch for your needs. This will help you to know which features to look out for, so you can buy a good product that will last for a long time.

Lumen Output

Naturally, one of the first things you should consider when looking at a headlamp is how much light it is capable of producing.

Light intensity is often measured in lumens, and generally you want around 400 lumens of light for safely running at night. If you plan on running through unlit areas where it gets very dark, you may need a much stronger torch.

While 400 lumens is sufficient for night running, you will want your torch to have a higher maximum lumen output unless you are working on a tight budget.

Normally, you won’t want to be using your lamp at full power all of the time, and so having a torch with higher output will prevent you having to do so.

The reason for this is that running the bulb at full power will quickly drain your battery, meaning it will have to be recharged or replaced more regularly.

Battery Life

Talking about batteries, this is another one of the most important things to consider when comparing various models of headlamp. Rechargeable batteries are the best, since they will prevent you having to buy new batteries on a regular basis.

Many models can be recharged by a USB-C cable, which is great as this is one of the most common methods for charging electrical devices.

Some other models will run on AAA batteries, which is fine, although you will end up spending more in the long term than you would with a rechargeable model.

Always look at the maximum battery life on the highest light output mode as well as on the lowest, so you have an idea of the range that your lamp provides.

While you will often want to be using the lower settings to avoid wasting your battery, you will want a product that can handle higher output for at least a few hours.

Light And Beam Modes

Most headlamps will come with different settings for adjusting the brightness and beam. This allows you to switch to a wider beam when you just want to see your general surroundings, or make the beam narrower to focus on intricate tasks.

As well as having different brightness settings, there are lots of other helpful modes that a head torch can have.

Red light settings are great for any environment where you want to improve visibility while still partially relying on your own night vision. Strobe mode can also be quite a helpful setting in emergencies where you need to attract attention or signal for help.

Head Strap

Another one of the most important parts of a head torch is the strap, especially for one you want to use while running. Wearing a headlamp while running can often lead to the issue of the lamp bouncing due to the movement.

As such, you want a model with an adjustable strap, so you can make it as tight as you need.

You don’t want your head strap to be too tight, but it should still be able to grip your head without wobbling or bouncing while you run.

Rubber is great for its elasticity, but can get very sweaty during vigorous exercise. This is why it can help to buy a product with a super thin strap to prevent sweat on your forehead soaking into the fabric.

Alternatively, head torches with a moisture wicking headband are also great for exercise as they will absorb sweat before it can run into your eyes.

However, you will want to make sure that you can remove the headband, to make sure that you can wash it when needed.

Durability

As with any electrical device that you are going to be using outside, you need to make sure your headlamp can stand up to the elements. You need to make sure your chosen device has a waterproof and dustproof casing surrounding the lamp.

This will prevent it being damaged during heavy, or light rain, which is useful since you won’t just be running in dry conditions. It also helps to know that your head torch can withstand being dropped from the height of your head.

Since you will be running with it, there is always a small chance that your lamp could fall off your head.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Lumens Measured?

Lumens are one of the main systems for measuring light intensity, and you may be wondering exactly how they are calculated. Lumens are calculated by taking a given surface area of 1 square meter, when using the metric system.

The light source is placed a set distance away from this surface, and product developers test how much of the surface is illuminated. The greater the lux, (the total area illuminated by the light source) the higher the number of lumens that product is said to produce.

Why Do Some Headlamps Produce Red Light?

Some headlamps will have a dedicated red light mode, which is very useful for situations where you need to work at night.

Red light can improve your visibility like normal light, but it has another benefit that is very useful for people working at night.

Red light won’t compromise your night vision like white light, which means when you turn the light off you will still be able to see reasonably well in the dark.

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