The Best Running Headlamps

Running headlamps are a classification of headlamp designed to be lightweight and easy to operate on the go, sacrificing as little light output and battery life as possible. The latest trend has moved running headlamps in the direction of rechargeable batteries for two reasons – one, in order to cut on weight and size as some newer running headlamps utilize a battery that’s smaller than a AAA, and two, for environmental purposes. Running headlamps designed with smaller rechargeable batteries assume a battery life of three or four hours to be sufficient for a runner’s purposes, whereas larger, heavier traditional headlamps strive for a battery life of sixty hours or more for use on backpacking trips, while camping, etc. Some running headlamps feature a hybrid option, and can be used with either rechargeable batteries or standard batteries depending on the amount of battery life that’s required by the user’s choice of activity.

Finding the ideal balance between light output, weight, adjustability and safety features, environmental friendliness, and battery life is the goal that all running headlamps strive for.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Black Diamond Sprinter
81
Best in Class
2015
Functional Brightnes... 8
Functional Brightnes... 7
Battery Life (max po... 6
Weight to Brightness... 8
Comfort & Security 2

Simple yet effective feature set

Comfortable with minimal bounce

Puts out plenty of light

6-hour battery life limits versatility

The rear button is hard to operate

MSRP
$79.95
BEST DEAL
$79.00
Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp
78
Functional Brightnes... 8
Functional Brightnes... 5
Battery Life (max po... 3
Weight to Brightness... 7
Comfort & Security 8
Value 7

Excellent feature set

Comfortable and bounce-free

More than adequate brightness for technical trail

Controls can be somewhat difficult to manipulate

Hard to use with gloves

Battery compartment doesn’t easily open

MSRP
$30.00
BEST DEAL
$22.49
GoMotion Fusion
77
Functional Brightnes... 6
Functional Brightnes... 5
Battery Life (max po... 7
Weight to Brightness... 6
Comfort & Security 3

Bright and effective light

Makes an excellent second light source

Blinking rear red light enhances visibility

Chest-mounted light is less suitable for trail running

Heavier than a typical headlamp

Securing the light can change the balance of a pack

MSRP
$59.95
BEST DEAL
$54.95
Princeton Tec Byte Headlamp
73
Functional Brightnes... 9
Functional Brightnes... 4
Battery Life (max po... 4
Weight to Brightness... 5
Comfort & Security 6
Value 5

Light weight makes it disappear while wearing it

Compact size is ideal for a backup light

Easy to operate

Very basic but limited features

Shorter battery life

Not enough brightness for highly technical trail

MSRP
$20.00
BEST DEAL
$16.45
GoMotion Litebelt 100
72
Functional Brightnes... 7
Functional Brightnes... 5
Battery Life (max po... 6
Weight to Brightness... 6
Comfort & Security 3
Value 5

Bright and effective light

Ample storage space for things like keys, gels, and cell phone

Blinking rear red light and reflective detailing enhance visibility

Waist‐mounted light is less suitable for trail running

Heavier than a typical headlamp

Fore/aft weight imbalance can lead to bounce

MSRP
$60.00
BEST DEAL
$44.95
Black Diamond Sprinter

Bright and easy to use, the Black Diamond Sprinter works perfectly for daily pre-dawn or post-sunset runs, especially in urban and suburban environments. Unfortunately, its utility for other purposes is limited due to the short battery life.

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Princeton Tec Byte Headlamp

The Princeton Tec Byte is a compact headlamp that is perfect for runners looking to shave every last ounce of weight, or add an emergency backup light to their kit. The small size and low weight also mean that battery life and brightness are both reduced.

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Princeton Tec Sync Headlamp

The Princeton Tec Sync is a versatile headlamp that packs a lot of features into a comfortable and fairly compact package. This is a headlamp that can do just about anything. The only real caveat is that the controls can be hard to use, especially with gloves.

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What Is A Running Headlamp?

by: Last Updated:

Some running headlamps feature both a white and red light option and/or flashing red LEDs on the rear of the headlamp. Nearly all running headlamps have reflective material integrated into the band or the lamp itself for visibility and safety purposes while running at night. Nearly all running headlamps also have a “strobe” option for use in emergencies or when trying to signal someone. Most running headlamps also have tilt adjustments for angling the beam down towards the ground or straight at eye level depending on the type of terrain features encountered by the user while running. Light output adjustments are also a key feature on most running headlamps, allowing users to increase or decrease the brightness of the beam based on their needs. Battery life estimates are generally included along with each light output level, and most running headlamps are also equipped with some form of battery life indicator. Ease of use is another key feature of running headlamps, as most strive to be simple and easily adjustable on the go.