For most travelers, backpackers, adventures and explorers, having their own headlamp is essential. The reason for this is quite obvious – it is more convenient since you can attach it on to your head and leave your hands free. Imagine climbing a mountain while at the same time having to carry a flashlight in your hand, not optimal right? Or how about when you read a book at night? A bright headlamp could save you day (or night). I’m a big fan of headlamps and use them daily, either for running or when I go camping. Down below you’ll find what I consider to be the best headlamps of 2018.
In a hurry? Here's what I recommend:
So you’ve probably landed on this article because you’re looking for the brightest headlamps out there, maybe for your next camping trip? Either way, what you need is the best and brightest headlamp on the market. There’s a lot of them, but the best and brightest ones are listed below (at least what I and thousands of people on Amazon consider to be the best). You can pick whichever you like, but the first one is considered the most sought after headlamp by consumers. The headlamps that are featured below have reviews from experts that have actually used them out in the wild.
My top picks
With over thousands of different headlamps on Amazon and other e-commerce stores on the net, you can probably imagine it’s quite easy to become overloaded with info. Don’t worry though, since I’m the flashlight expert around these parts of the net, I’ll help you choose the best one for you.
Please bare in mind a lot of these products have exaggerated the lumen rating by A LOT. While most of them are very bright, there’s no way people are selling 5000 lumen headlamps for 20 bucks.
This product is considered to be one of the brightest headlamps on the market, according to many customer reviews. It has only a lumen output of 575 and yes I know what you’re thinking, how can this light be brighter than the ones boasting a whopping 5000 lumen output? First and foremost, most of the lumen ratings are always exaggerated, so a 2000 lumen light will most likely not give you a true output of 2000.
Before you hop onto Amazon and try to find a good deal on this light, please note that there are two versions of the Petzl NAO. The older version only has 355 lumen, while the one I’m recommending has almost twice the output and also a better battery life. The new version comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, rated at 2600 mAh, charging time is about five hours give or take.
One interesting feature on the Petzl NAO headlamp is the reactive technology. This features enables the headlamp to adjust the brightness according to the environment. Say you’re running in a super dark forest at night and suddenly reach a well lit road, the NAO will automatically lower the brightness of itself. You’ll either love or hate this feature, and I reading the reviews online, I think it solely depends on where you are. Using it in towns will probably cause you to go insane, since it will constantly shift focus due to reflections from street signs, store fronts and windows. Street lamps and cars will also cause it to decrease its brightness. Luckily you can disable the reactive lightning if you find it too annoying.
A lot of customers feel that this product is quite expensive but well worth its price. Most of them feel that the headlamp is very stable and comfortable when worn. A lot of poorly designed headlamps bounce around on head, luckily this is never the case with the Petzl NAO. This is because the weight is distributed evenly across your head, headlamp in the front, battery pack in the back.
Petzl are known for their high quality outdoor equipment, they’re especially popular within the climbing community with all of their fancy gear. So when they release a new bright headlamp you can be assured it’s going to be a good one. This is the most expensive headlamp on our list, but it’s also one of the best out there. Whether you’re a runner, climber or an explorer, there’s little to dislike about this bright headlamp from Petzl.
So how bright is it? It’s rated at 760 lumen which is really powerful for a headlamp of this size. It features four constant lightning modes, meaning the light will constant shine until you switch it off. Depending on which mode you use, you can get up to 38 hours of light with the Petzl Ultra Rush.
- Minimum: 65 lumen
- Economic: 300 lumen
- Optimum: 420 lumen
- Maximum: 760 lumen
The lamp uses Petzl own battery, called the Accu 2 Ultra. These batteries are specifically made for headlamps and will last you a long time. They have a plastic enclosure which protects the battery from getting damaged. It’s also waterproof down to one meter, but keep in mind it’s only rated to be submerged for 30 minutes or less. In other words, don’t expect to go diving with the Ultra Rush.
The weight is distributed evenly across your head thanks to the battery being in the back and the headlamp in the front. It’s also pretty light, sitting at 370 grams.
This another highly popular headlamp, with over 1300 reviews and 71% of them being five stars. In other words, you know you’re in for a treat. The headlamp has plenty of nifty features like adjustable zoom, three light modes, rechargeable batteries and more. With a very low price tag, decent build quality and a bright LED, you can’t really complain. While I can assure you it’s not a true 1800 lumen, it’s still very bright.
According to GRDE themselves, this bright headlamp is rated to last up to 100,000 hours. With some simple math, I calculated that this light should last you about eleven years, a little more even. Now this seems like a rather far fetched claim so don’t be disappointed if you have a buy a new within that time period. 20 bucks for a new headlamp every couple year or so isn’t that bad.
It comes with two 18650 batteries (which are rechargeable by the way) and three different chargers. One for your car, one for the outlet in your house and one for USB-charging. Charging the batteries via USB is not recommended as it takes much longer, so I would advise on using the wall or car charger. I also have to mention that regular AA-batteries will not work on this headlamp, you have to use 18650 batteries.
Another nifty feature is the zoom feature, to zoom in and out you just grab the actual lens and pull it out or push it in. I prefer this way of zooming as it’s much faster than say a turning zoom (where you have to rotate the whole lens).
This headlamp comes with three different light modes, High Light, Strobe and Low Light. Its CREE XM-L T6 LED is rated of a brightness level at 1200 lumens. With a price tag of less than $20, you can’t expect too much from this headlamp. While it is still very bright there is no way a single LED (with this size especially) can reach 1200 lumens, but that doesn’t make this a bad headlamp by any means.
It has the pull/push zoom which makes it super handy to change focus. It’s also possible to tilt the lens 90 degrees downward. Like many other headlamps, this is a portable one and actually pretty durable. thanks to the aluminum alloy. Powered by 3 AA-batteries, sadly these are not included in the package.
This is suitable for those who love outdoor sports and outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, hiking, biking, camping, cycling, caving, and climbing. When buying the Mifine headlamp, you will get an 18 month warranty plus 30 day money back guarantee. And keep it mind, while it may be a product designed for the great outdoors it’s not water proof, sure it’ll handle some light rain but I would never go beyond that.
Just to remind the users, the ON/OFF button is located on the side. You only need to press it one time for it to be set on high mode. Two times will set it to low mode and pressing it three times will put it into strobe mode.
Many customers are giving this headlamp a 5 star rating because of the benefits that you get from its size, functions and comfort. Customers are also thankful as Mifine have top notch customer service and will gladly replace broken or faulty units.
Yet another cheap but very bright headlamp! It comes with four modes: strobe, high, mid and low. Something interesting, I’m not sure whether this is a typo or not, is the fact that they claim it has a service time of 1,000,000 hours. Meaning it would last about 114 years, yeah, that’s probably a typo.
Battery life is pretty good, depending on which mode you choose you can get 6 to 8 hours of light if it’s fully charged. The headlamp uses the standard 18650 batteries, which is good in the sense that you get more juice and run time for the money… But you also you get longer charging times and heftier pricetag on these batteries, if you run out of power in the forest you can’t just put in a new set of AA’s sadly.
It’s made from aluminum so you don’t have to worry about it breaking if you accidentally drop it or run into a tree at night.The body is also waterproof, but I would try to keep it as dry as possible.
Something rather unusual is the tilting angle, compared to the normal 90 degrees you get with most headlamps, this can slightly beyond that. I’d say it’s a full 100 degrees of tilt, meaning you can tilt it upwards slightly, perfect for those times when you’re crouching down in a cave and don’t want to hit your head. When it comes to widest and highest setting, it casts a perfectly round and even bright light without a hot spot at all.
Another Mifine headlight product in the list, this one comes with a super bright XM-L T6 LED beam with brightness that can reach up to 1200 lumens. It has four modes: low, mid, high and of course, strobe mode. Along with the headtorch you’ll find three different chargers, a wall charger, a car charger and a USB-cable for computer charging.
Thanks to the battery pack in the back, it makes for a comfortable fit. The weight is distributed evenly and there’s not a lot of bouncing, even when jogging or running. The front lenses can be tilted downwards by 90 degrees. Body of the actual headlamp is made from aluminum so durability isn’t something you have to worry about. The battery pack is made from hard plastic.
If you for some reason find yourself with a broken or faulty product, Mifine will cover you with their 18 month guarantee, if you return the lamp within 30 days you get your money back as well. For the price and the safety that you get, you really have no reason NOT to try this bright headtorch.
Another highly popular headlamp, it looks pretty much identical to the majority of headlamps on my list. It features four light modes (low, mid, high and strobe), is zoomable, will withstand some lighter rain and comes with three bright LEDs. I am not sure how bright this headlamp really is since the manufacturer haven’t specified the lumen rating. If I were to guess, I’d say it’s somewhere in the 500-1000 range.
The zoom is ideal for situations where you have to change between focusing on something specific and then go back to the flood light mode. When I explore old caves, I like to zoom in objects in the distance to judge whether it’s safe to go there or not. Otherwise I use the flood light so I can see where I place my feet, wouldn’t want to step into a hole or crevasse.
The Outerdo can be tilted 90 degrees downward. It comes with the typical 18650 batteries and several chargers for your house, car or computer. Just keep in mind that you can only use 18650 batteries, if you’re planning on longer expeditions you’ll need to buy some spare ones.
This product is known to provide a super bright light, rated at 5000 lumens but it’s exaggerated by quite a bit, in reality we’re probably looking at rating of 500-1000 lumens at best. It’s still very bright, but don’t expect to get the same kind of light that you would get from a cars headlights.
The XM-L T6 LED Bulb is said to last up to 100,000 hours. Pretty impressive to say the least but I think this also a case of the company over exaggerating. Having a life time of 100,000 hours means this headlamp should last for more than 11 years. It comes with four standard modes: low, mid, high and strobe.
The fit is very comfortable, the weight is distributed evenly and thanks to the padded battery pack, you won’t even feel it’s on your head. The front is made out of aluminum alloy combined with rubber seals to ensure that no water gets into the electronics. With that said, I wouldn’t push the limits when it comes to water and this light. Don’t use it during bad weather or it might fry itself.
It is also very safe to use the headlamp as well, the red light indicator at the battery holder that plays a really good role of acting as a warning when you are cycling or walking during the night. Buying the headlamp will give you 2 rechargeable 18650 batteries, with a dedicated USB Cable, car charger and a wall charger. This product is best used for outdoor sports and various outdoor activities.
Some thing users like about this headlamp is the brightness, the price and the battery life. I think it’s a pretty good combination and for such a low price tag you can really go wrong.
If you’ve come this far in my list, you probably noticed that the headlamps with tri-lenses are pretty popular. While they might not be the coolest thing to wear on your head, they have excellent performance and will not leave you disappointed. This lamp from Siensync has a rating of 5000 lumens which as you probably already guessed is pure baloney. But as I said before, just because the lumen rating is fake it doesn’t mean it’s not bright.
It comes with four light modes, low, mid, high and strobe. A lot of people are confused what the strobe mode is actually for, it’s meant to be used for emergency situations. If you get lost in the forest and a chopper comes looking for you, the strobe will make it easier to find you.
It’s waterproof but considering it’s very similar to other models out there, I wouldn’t go swimming with it. If you’re planning on doing a run during light rain you’ll be fine, if you plan on being outside during storms the light will most likely break. Some users do claim that have used Siensyncs headlamp in cold weather along with plenty of snow without any problems. I’m not recommending to try it, but figured it would good to throw that out there.
The battery pack has a green safety light at the back which helps motorists and other people see you better in the dark. This headlamp is actually one of the few to have this feature, which is weird since safety should be a priority.
Something a little different for my last top pick for the brightest headlamps for 2017. This light comes from GRDE and features a single lens with a high power LED, which supposedly is rated 2000 lumens. In the package you’ll find two GRDE rechargeable (18650) batteries, two chargers, one for the car and one for your house, as well as a USB cable. Interesting part about this headlamp is that fact that you can get it in various colors.
This head torch has a zoomable lens, however it’s the twist type. Something I’m not personally a fan of, I find it takes more time to adjust the focus when I need to twist the whole lens. But then again, the twist mechanism doesn’t break as easily as the push/pull ones.
At the back of the battery pack you will find an LED indicator that tells you when the lamp is fully charged.
It comes with high, low and strobe modes. On the highest setting the light is capable of reaching a distance of 1640 feet (200-500 meters). Keep in mind that most of theses specifications are exaggerated, being able to illuminate an object from 500 meters away is quite the achievement, even high end headlamps have trouble with this. All in all this is a versatile headlamp that works great for outdoor activities, over 70% have given this product 5 stars.
That’s all folks!
These are the 10 brightest headlamp reviews that will help you get the best headlamp out there. And as always, this list is just based on my own opinions. A lot of the times you’ll find that the headlamps found in my list are really good since thousands of people recommend them. If you have any questions regarding the brightest headlamps in 2017, just send me a message or leave a comment.