Best Running Headlamps 2024

Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet

Updated on

Whether you are running before the sun comes up or walking your dog in the evening, you need to be able to see where you are going. Many runners and walkers use headlamps to light the way because they are easy to wear and hands-free. Plus, they allow you to both see the path ahead and be seen by other road users, which helps you to run safely at night.

There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing the best headlamp for you:

  1. Batteries, rechargeable or both? There are both battery powered and rechargeable options available for your headlamp. Batteries are nice because it is easy to carry backup batteries or have some in your car in case the headlamp goes out. They also tend to last longer if you are running overnight or forget to charge them. With the rechargeable ones, you don’t have to worry about buying new batteries.
  2. How bright? Are you running mostly roads with street lights, so you just need a little something extra? Or are you running trails in the middle of nowhere and want to flood the trail with as much light as possible? Most headlamps let you know the number of lumens, and the higher the lumens, the more you’ll be able to see.

Bonus tip: If you are running on trails or other uneven surfaces at night, it is nice to have light shining from two angles, like a headlamp that points down and a flashlight angled flatter. This helps your depth perception, so you can see all of the roots and rocks better.

Running headlamps are different from camping or other headlamps because they are built to stay on your head without bouncing while you run. Most are also weather resistant in case you get caught in a storm.

So, if you’re asking yourself which headlamp you should buy to run in the dark, here are our picks for the best running headlamps:

[This is part of our Best Running Gear & Accessories Guide 2024. Check out our guides to the Best Running Lights and Best Reflective Vests.]

Man running in the dark with a headlamp and reflective vest

Nathan Neutron Fire RX

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Running in the dark is easy with the lightweight Nathan Neutron Fire RX. This headlamp kicks out 200 lumens of light on roads or trails. This low profile headlamp has either red, green or blue strobes up front. This weather resistant headlamp has a burn time of 25+ hours and a rechargeable Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery.

There are five different light modes for the Nathan Neutron Fire RX (low, medium, high, boost and strobe,) so you can adjust it depending on its use and your surroundings. Plus, the strap is made with reflective material to give you 360 degrees of visibility.

Lumens: Up to 200 lumens

Rechargeable Battery (included)

Amphipod Versa-Light Max Headlamp

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This headlamp is as light as a feather (less than 2 ounces) to keep you running, even when the sun goes down. The rechargeable headlamp has a removable light with a moisture resistant case, so you can clip it to just about anything. The light features six different modes and has a burn time of 1.5-9 hours depending on the mode. With a soft, adjustable headband, this headlamp is perfect for those who want a streamlined look or may want to wear the light elsewhere.

Lumens: Up to 160 lumens

Rechargeable Battery (included)

Black Diamond Revolt 350 Headlamp

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The Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp gives you lots of charging options to light the way—this headlamp sports both a rechargeable BD 1800 battery or it can run on three AAA batteries if you are not near an outlet.

The Revolt headlamp delivers 350 lumens of light for up to four hours or over 200 hours of light on its lowest setting. Plus, there is a LED power meter so you know when the headlamp needs to be recharged. With a variety of settings, the water resistant Black Diamond Revolt 350 Headlamp will keep you running through the night.

Lumens: Up to 350 lumens

Rechargeable battery (included) or three AAA batteries (not included)

Petzl IKO CORE Rechargeable Headlamp

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Running trails at night? Get up to 100 meters of visibility in front of you with the Petzl IKO CORE Rechargeable Headlamp. On max power, the IKO boasts 500 lumens of light to keep you safe. The ergonomic, ultra-thin AIRFIT® headband allows for optimal airflow and distributes the weight of the headlamp, so it is balanced and you hardly notice it is there. This headlamp can also be worn around your neck or used with its storage pouch for a lantern when you are camping.

The energy source for the IKO CORE headlamp is in the back to balance the light in the front and make it so comfortable, you hardly notice it is there. The headlamp is powered with Petzl’s hybrid concept: It has a micro USB rechargeable battery, but three AAA batteries can also power the headlamp if you like having backup. With a variety of settings and the ability to use either the spotlight or flood light, you will be able to see your way on even the most technical trails.

Lumens: Up to 500 lumens

Rechargeable battery (included) or three AAA batteries (not included)

Amphipod Swift-Clip Cap Light

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The Amphipod Swift-Clip Cap Light is perfect for those runners who always wear a hat and just need a little extra light. This light is ultra light (½ ounce) and has bright white LEDs that give either a constant beam or flashing strobe modes.

The light clips easily onto the brim of your hat, but you can use it for a lot more than running. Clip it on your sleeve when you’re walking the dog, or put it on a hat when you’re working beneath a car or fixing pipes under the sink.

The bright and affordable Swift-Clip Cap Light makes it easy to see whatever task lies ahead.

Lumens: unavailable

Coin batteries (included)

How We Picked the Best Headlamps for Running

With more than 45 years of experience, Fleet Feet is the expert in running. What makes the ideal headlamps for a runner comes down to the personal experience, goals, running surface, preferences and style of that runner. At Fleet Feet, we have been helping runners pick out the right gear for decades and want to pass that knowledge onto you.

We use a combination of real-life use, quality of materials, seasonal trends and our own top-seller lists to pick out the best headlamps for running. With all that in mind, we picked gear that lived up to our personal (and professional) expectations and we think they will live up to yours as well.

Standing Behind Our Picks

We picked the best running headlamps based on what we think will work for the most people in the most situations. If you buy any gear from us and you don’t love the way it looks, fits or performs, bring them back within 60 days for a full refund. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.

Plus, we offer free shipping on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer.