If you're regularly commuting on your bike at night there's no getting around the need for a bike light—a headlight and a taillight. All the essential for night riding, these lights can help in the daytime under less-than-sunny conditions.
But like most bike accessories, not all bike lights are created equal. Here are some options for a range of different cyclists—you can see our guide for some more general advice on choosing the right type of light for your needs.
Light & Motion’s Urban 350 had been The Wirecutter’s favorite bike light, but the site recently in favor of Light & Motion’s even brighter Urban 500 light. Notably, that added brightness (500 lumens vs. 350) doesn’t come at the expense of battery life, and it offers the same great durability and water-resistance as the Urban 350—not to mention the same two-year warranty if it should happen to give out.
It may not exactly be the most affordable option around, but as BikeRadar found in its , Magicshine’s MJ906B bike light does actually gives you plenty of value for the money if you’re looking for more than just the basics. That includes a maximum 3,200 lumens of brightness, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, which will let you fine tune the light output and create multiple profiles for different types of rides.
Not everyone needs a big, rugged and expensive set of bike lights. For a more streamlined and affordable alternative, recommends this combo set from Topeak, which will blend into the lines of your bike and still get the job done. The lights are USB-rechargeable and easy to remove when you have to, with the front light offering a decent 110 lumens of brightness and the rear an adequate 55.
As Road.cc notes, however, the one shortcoming of their easy-to-mount design is that they won’t work with a D-shaped seatpost.
It's not cheap, and it's more than most bike commuters are likely to ever need, but the NiteRider Pro 1800 won't disappoint if you need a super-bright, long-lasting light for long trail rides. As OutdoorGearLab found in , the light rivaled some car lights for brightness, but you'll want to make sure you really need a light of this level.
Apart from the cost, the light is also big and heavy, and can be a hassle to install and remove compared to smaller lights that can be attached with almost no effort.
It may not be able to fully replace a separate headlight and taillight setup, but Blackburn 2'Fer light will at least give you considerably more versatility than your average light. While it's designed to primarily be used as a taillight, the press of a button will switch the light from a red LED taillight to a white LED headlight, which could come in handy if your regular headlight runs out of juice (or any time you just need a bit of extra illumination). While far from the brightest light around, that the 2'Fer actually pumped out 65 lumens instead of the 60 the company claims.
If you're really looking to up your visibility, you may want to consider something like Blaze's Laserlight. It's a 600 lumens, bright, but it goes a step beyond regular LED lights by actually projecting an image of a bike symbol six meters in front of you. That feature , but it does come at a considerable cost compared to similar ones without lasers.
Depending on your needs, it may be better to purchase a headlight and taillight separately, but you can potentially save quite a bit of money by opting for a combo kit. The Bike Light Database Cygolite's Streak and Hotshot combo set as a particularly good value.
This one includes Cygolite's Streak 450 headlight, which is a smaller light than the company's Metro line but still plenty bright for most cyclists, along with a Hotshot SL 50 taillight, which offers six different light modes and flashes of 50 lumens to keep you visible from ahead and behind.
Cygolite's bike lights are among the most widely recommended, and the company's Metro series of lights in particular is singled out by the as offering some of the best performance for your money around.
The Metro 750 offers an ample 750 lumens of brightness, as well as Cygolite's so-called Enhanced Cycling Optics that promise a wider field of vision. You'll also get an hour and half run time on the highest setting (or considerably more on lower settings), and you can recharge the light via USB.