Having bright bike lights is an absolute must for cyclists who ride at night. Like everything else, though, there are lots of different bicycle lights you can choose. For some, the best bike lights are clip-on USB rechargeable bike lights, while others prefer fixed lights attached to their bike.
Find the best LED bike lights, cheap bike lights and even smart bike lights in the guide below.
GUIDE: Best Bike Lights For Commuting
If you’re a commuter who sets off on your cycle to work before sunrise, and starts to journey home after sunset, commuter bike lights are particular crucial to keep you well-spotted in the dark.
Irrespective of the elements you’re braving, good bike lights prevent potential accidents being caused as a result of drivers or other pedestrians not being able to see you clearly enough.
In this guide, we’ll cover a number of key points about push bike lights to help you find the perfect model for you, such as the best cycle light brands, the best budget lights and the best lights available on Amazon. We’ll also discuss a wide range of types of bike lights, including:
How To Find The Best Bicycle Lights
Hopefully this guide will help you find the best for you, but it all depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want bike lights that shine particularly brightly, to ensure you stay visible in dark nights or early mornings? Do you want lights for the front, rear, on the wheels or on the spokes of your bike? Or perhaps you’d like them to go on your helmet instead? Do you want LED lights, or rechargeable USB lights? There’s so much choice, and hopefully this guide with assist you in deciding on your favourite.
Brightest Bike Lights
All high power bike lights are tested for brightness, but you will find the most powerful bicycle lights are invariably LED lights. They are the brightest bike light because they have a high lumen/watt score (lumens measure of the total amount of visible light emitted).
They’ll probably cost you a little bit extra than other bright bicycle lights, but as arguably the most powerful bike lights, you’ll surely find in time that you’ve got your money’s worth from them.
In a nutshell, if it’s bright cycle lights you’re after, then LEDs are the way to go, and we’ll look at some examples in more detail in the following sections.
Best Bike Lights For Night Riding
As we’ve already said, for cycling home after dark, you don’t just want good bike lights, you want the best bike lights for night riding that money can buy.
As the brightest new bike night lights on the market, the Niterider 3600 Pro shines with an enormous 3600 lumens – compare that a typical car headlight, which doesn’t even produce half of that. Not only are they incredibly bright, projecting hundreds of feet in front of you, they’re durable, too, so should stay intact should you have any bumps or collisions on your cycle.
The only drawback is that if, as most commuters do, you cycle to work through an urban area, you’ll find that they are, if anything, too bright. In that case, the 1800-lumen or 1200-lumen Niterider will be welcome alternatives, as a more affordable yet still highly effective solution.
Or, for some cheap and cheerful red-white flashing bike lights, check out this design from Cycleafter, which are also rechargeable and can last for as long as eight hours. The COB light it emits not only flashes, but is also particularly visible, so however dark or foggy it may be, for instance, that shouldn’t make much of a difference.
What Are The Best Bike Light Brands?
If you’re still wondering what the brands with the best cycle lights are, then look no further. Because, while your first port of call might naturally megastores like Halfords or Evans Cycles, there are plenty of companies who sell cheap, effective and genuinely cool bike lights in their own right.
For two leading examples, check out Moon bike lights, which sells a wide range of front and rear lights as well as headlamps, and Cree bike lights, which specialise in extra-bright LED-powered designs.
Types of Bicycle Lights
Of course, bog-standard bicycle lights are far from your only option. For instance, you may be tired of wasting both your time and money on models that constantly need their batteries replacing, and would prefer a rechargeable design.
Or, if you often find yourself cycling in wet weather, then waterproof bike lights might be top of your shopping list. Whether it’s either of these types, or lights for the front or rear, or wheel or spoke of your bike, lights you can clip on to your handlebars or lights to fit on to your helmet, these can all be just as useful. In the sections below, we’ll look at all of these different types of bike lights and more in much greater depth:
Front Bike Lights
Let’s start with essentially the bare minimum, though; a bike front light. A good cycle headlight will keep you clearly and visible from the front, but which LED front bike light should you invest in? Let’s look at some of the best front bike lights below:
For a start, this Knog Light Pop II cycle front light offers a brightness of 60 lumens, as well as 180-degree side visibility. Powered with simple AA batteries, it’s an effective bike headlight to use to make sure you passengers and pedestrians can spot you on the road.
Also perhaps the best cycling front light is this Exposure Switch bicycle headlight, which costs a fair bit more but is perfect for urban environments. Its brightness is a fantastic 375 lumens so you’ll be exceptionally clear to see, even if it would be harder to see the road ahead on unlit countryside lanes with this bicycle front light.
Red Rear Bike Lights
It’s often said that the best rear bike lights are a red bike light; ideally one which flashes as you cycle. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best examples of the best bicycle rear light (and the brightest rear bike light) you can find and afford on the market today:
First off, we have this Lezyne Laser Drive rear cycle light, which boasts 250-lumen brightness, and rather uniquely, projects laser beams which can be displayed either side of the cyclist. This bike back light is designed to lower the number of close passes you experience while cycling, and though it’s a tad more expensive bicycle rear light, it’s bound to both impress and protect you.
Alternatively, how about this Knog Blinder R70 bike tail light? It covers pretty much all bases: it’s perfectly bright, has several different modes, a long-lasting battery but is also USB rechargeable. If you’re looking for something which may not be flashy but accounts for most, if not all of the basics, this is tailor-made for you.
Bike Light Sets
If you’re looking for some of the best bike light sets (i.e. bike lights, front and back of your bicycle), then hopefully this guide will have something for you, too. Again, it’s always important to get the best bicycle lights you can, because ultimately, the best bike lights equal the best protection from potential injury.
First, we have the Exposure Trace/TraceR bicycle lighting system which are as compact as they are bright, emitting 110 lumens in the front light and 75 lumens in the rear. These bike safety lights also weigh just 35g each, boast three different brightness modes, and can last for up to 25 hours.
Elsewhere, we’d also recommend the Bontrager Ion 100 R/Flare R City cycle light set, which consists of front and rear bike lights designed to be just efficient during the day as at night. Both lights feature an in-built ambient sensor to ensure that, however bright or dark the day is, you can’t be missed.
Finally, there’s the Electron F150 and Pod bicycle light set, which is again a compact design but still great for commuters, with multiple modes and a front light boasting 150 lumens and a 20-lumen rear light.
LED Bike Lights
As we said earlier, a cycle LED light is your best bet if you’re looking to really push your visibility to the limit while on your bike. Below, we’ll look at some of the best LED bike lights for you:
We’ll start with the Lezyne Hecto Drive 400XL bike LED light which, in terms of sheer brightness, may just be the best LED light for bike riding at the moment; certainly for what it’s worth, anyway. It can shine up to 400 lumens, is lightweight and rechargeable, and has many different modes to cater for a longer battery life; the maximum being an impressive 17.5 hours.
Similarly impressive for bicycle LED lights is the Exposure Strada SL, which can reach as many as 900 lumens, has a road-specific beam pattern, is ideal for either urban terrains or darker paths, and has a terrific build quality. A truly excellent LED front bike light.
USB Rechargeable Bike Lights
If, as mentioned earlier, you are one of those commuters who craves a USB bike light instead of repeatedly having to pay for new batteries, then fear not, because we’ve recommended three of the best rechargeable bike lights in the business over here. They’re all, for a number of reasons, great cycle lights: rechargeable, affordable and easy to use, none of these will let you down.
For long-lasting rechargeable LED bike lights, the aforementioned design by Cycleafter is the way to go: for just £19.99, these USB cycle lights clip on easily to the front and rear of your bike in seconds, are highly visible and last for up to eight hours.
These rechargeable bicycle lights from Degbit are among the best USB bike lights in terms of ease of use; they’re easily fastened on with no extra tools needed, can withstand even the worst weather conditions, and are particularly visible USB bicycle lights, with a brightness of 300 lumens. Or, for a waterproof model, check this especially bright design from Balhvit.
Unlike solar bike lights, which are similarly environmentally-friendly but rely on the weather, rechargeable bike lights only demand that you charge them up often enough, and unlike dynamo bike lights, they won’t weigh you down. So, if you’re looking for an energy-saving solution with little extra fuss, USB bike lights are the way to go.
Bike Wheel Lights
Front and rear bike lights are one thing, but if you want something that little bit more striking, especially if and when you find yourself cycling at a 90˚ angle to others, LED bike wheel lights (or, alternatively, bike frame lights) can hugely improve your safety.
Islington company HikariBike have offered their own great solution to this issue with the VeloHalo Bike Wheel Lights (click here to read our full review), with lights powered by a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery that gives you as long as 30 hours’ battery life. This sits in a sealed compartment on the wheel hub, so it’s not only entirely waterproof, but also difficult to steal, too.
Bike Spoke Lights
Alternatively, you may want bike spoke lights – i.e. lights on the thin metal rods or wires from the central hub of your bike’s wheels.
If that is the case with you, then check out this pack of four bicycle spoke lights from Oumers – available in blue, green, red or a multicoloured version, these are a great way to enhance your visibility on your bike, offer easy installation and good stability, and also provide three different modes: fast flashing, slow flashing, or full brightness.
Smart Bike Lights
If you want something a little more advanced and hi-tech, then give smart bicycle lights a try. Not only do they shine just as brightly as any other bike light, but they also act as a sort of motion-sensor which responds to what’s happening around you on the road.
We’d recommend the See.Sense Icon, which has a better-fitted on-off button than the original design by this company, as well as a second Cree LED to enhance its brightness up to 210 lumens. It’s also more waterproof, too.
What’s more, it can alert you via your phone if someone tries to steal your bike while you’ve left it locked up unattended somewhere. Its motion sensors also provide a faster, brighter flash at junctions and when cars approach than its predecessor.
Clip-on Bike Lights
If ease of use is your highest priority, then removeable bike lights are sure to suit you.
For this, the Proviz LED 360 bike light set is worthy of a recommendation; these small bike lights are made by quality Cree LEDs, and are both water-resistant and are USB-rechargeable too. The front light offers a 300-lumens output, while the 220-degree wide angle at the rear helps make you even more easy to spot on your bike.
Bike Helmet Lights
Though not everyone wears them, helmets can be more than just a protection against potential head injuries while cycling. Yes, with a bicycle helmet light, they can be used to alert your whereabouts to passers-by as you ride.
Recommended by us at Discerning Cyclist is the LIVALL BH51M Smart Helmet (click here to read our full review). Rather than have a bike light mount to manually fit one on to your headgear, this helmet lives up to its title as being ‘smart’. Instead, the bike helmet light is built-in, and shows indicating in either direction, as well as generally flashing lights as well as stopping and warning lights, which makes communicating with other pedestrians far easier.
And if it that wasn’t enough, it also comes with Bluetooth speakers, so you can listen to music safely while cycling, too. Along with the lights, they are connected through the LIVALL Riding app, which you can also connect to other Bluetooth devices on your bike. It’s a simple app which offers great help getting you started. A must if a helmet light is what you’re after.
Best Bike Reflectors + CatEye Bike Lights
Another way of guaranteeing you’ll never blend in with the night sky is by fitting your bike with reflectors. Through retroreflection, they alert another road user of your presence on the road. CatEye produce a number of great lights of these kind, which we’ll look at below:
For a bike rear reflector, go for the RR-395, a bright red light which will ensure you’re highly visible while cycling. If it’s bike wheel reflectors you need, the RR-317 offers a glowing orange emission which is equally effective, as do similar bicycle wheel reflectors like the RR-550N. They also sell orange pedal reflectors, too, in the forms of the RR-1 and the RR-2.
As for bike spoke reflectors, there are a good-quality pack of 36 from Premier available on Amazon here, which offer an simple, comfortable fit for all spoked bicycle wheels.
Cheap Bike Lights: What Are the Best Budget Bike Lights?
If you’re shopping for bike lights on a tight budget, don’t worry. There are plenty of bargains to be found, and here are just some of them:
One of the best cheap bike lights is the Moon Crescent Rechargeable Rear Bike Light, on offer for just £12.99. It may be small, but it’s mightily effective, and can produce up to 25 lumens. It also offers multiple lighting modes, and can range from just bright to blindingly bright with ease. It also has good side visibility, too.
Also, the Sigma Micro Combo LED light set offer similarly superb value at just £14.99. They weigh hardly anything, they’re pretty small as bike lights go, but they’re great for commuters in particular because of their especially bright LED light. Another which covers all of the essentials nicely.
What Are the Best Bike Lights on Amazon?
As you’ll have probably noticed by now given how many of the links above direct you to the site, Amazon is a great place to find exactly what you’re looking for, not least in the world of bike lights.
Some of the best Amazon bike lights include the Balhvit Bike Light Set and the iTechole Bike Light Set, which for just £12.99 and £15.99 respectively, offer you rechargeable, waterproof front and rear white and red LED bike lights.