The Ultimate Bike Lights Buying Guide – Everything You Need To Know


In this extensive and very easy to use bike lights buying guide we help you with answering the most important questions. Our suggestions, main considerations, and outlined use cases should guide you through purchasing and research processes.


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Different types of lights

If you don’t have time to go through the whole article please see a quick comparison of our TOP 4 choices below:

Front lights

Designed to eliminate your path and make you visible from the front. Fall into a “to see with” lights category.

Rear lights

Designed to make you visible to traffic behind you. Very important for safety, especially for commuters and urban cyclists. Fall into a “to be seen with” lights category.

Light sets (front & rear)

A set of front and rear lights. Usually buying a whole set is cheaper and easier, but you might not get the best quality of individual light.

Wearable lights

Usually a rear and/or an extra light that can be attached to backpacks, helmets, clothes, and wrists. Used for extra visibility and/or as a backup light.

How bright your lights should be

Light brightness is measured in lumens and the higher the lumen number is the brighter the light. Obviously, your bike light brightness needs will depend on the type of cycling. We have put together a chart with the most common cycling types and a suggested number of lumens you would need for each light (front and rear).

Urban cycling

suggested lumens

Front: 300-500

Rear: 100-300

For urban cycling make sure your front light is not too bright or has various light modes. Too much brightness can dazzle oncoming traffic and might cause accidents. 


You should be fine with a front light that offers from 300 to 500 lumens. 


While choosing a rear light, look for some extra side visibility features. It will make you more visible at junctions and in heavy traffic.


suggested lumens

Front: 400-700

Rear: 100-300

It depends on your route, but generally, commuters need to ride through some dark alleys, parks, and patches of road. Due to this, make sure your front light offers some extra brightness and is easy to operate on the go. You should be fine with 400 to 700 lumens front light. 


While choosing a rear light, pay extra attention to side visibility features and brightness.

Recreational and training cycling

suggested lumens

Front: 500-800

Rear: 50-150

Usually recreational or training cycling sessions mean longer distances through different areas (from urban cycling to cycling on unlit roads). For this type of cycling, we suggest going for a brighter front light that can illuminate your path and allow you to ride faster. Also, look for a light with a longer battery life that can last the whole journey. 


The rear light needs to have flashing modes and extra visibility is always a great idea.

Cycling on unlit roads

suggested lumens

Front: 800-1200

Rear: 150-300

For cycling on unlit and dark roads, you need a very bright front light. The lowest brightness level suggested is 800 lumens, but consider going for an even stronger one with different modes to choose from. Also, make sure the light can be easily operated so you can lower or increase brightness quickly when needed. 


The rear light also needs some extra brightness as you want the traffic behind to see you from far.

Mountain biking and trail riding

suggested lumens

Front: 1200-3000

Rear: 50-150

For mountain biking or trail riding, you would need the brightest light you budget allows. Of course, it will depend on your cycling route, but in general, consider a front light with a minimum of 1200 lumens. Also, take a look at the beam pattern and ensure that it will suit your needs. For example, curvy routes would require side illumination so you can be prepared for turns and see to each side. While straight, down the hill routes could be ridden with more beam focused light. 


The rear light brightness will also depend on your route as well.

Lights we reviewed

Important considerations when choosing bike lights

We also put together some ideas and suggestions on the most important features and considerations when choosing a bike light: 


This one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a bike light. We suggest always look at your needs first and use the table above for guidance on the number of lumens for your front and rear light. Riding on countryside roads and through the city center are 2 very different use cases and would require different brightness levels.

Battery life

This is another extremely important factor you need to consider. Go for the best battery quality you can afford. The longer your journeys are the more durable battery you would need. Evaluate your routes and calculate the number of hours you plan to cycle and get a light that can last longer than that number.

Charging type

Batteries generally fall into rechargeable and lithium battery categories. If you can afford it, go for the rechargeable one. You will not need to deal with lithium batteries all the time. Also, you are less likely to run out of battery with rechargeable lights and more likely to use them during the day, which will result in more safety for you. Rechargeable lights usually have an in-built battery life indicator so you will know exactly when charging is needed.

Water resistance

This could be a crucial feature for people who live in countries with rainy climates. You don’t want your light to break after a ride in the rain. That’s why when choosing a bike light definitely consider water resistance and waterproof ratings. Waterproof lights can be submerged in water, while water-resistance light can withstand light and/or strong water sprays depending on their rating.

Mounting options

You don’t want to end up in a situation when a newly bought bike light can’t be mounted on your bike. To avoid this, make sure the light can be attached to your bike (especially if your bike has an oversized seatpost). Also, consider whether you store or lock your bike outside because in such cases you need an option to take your light off and put it back on. That’s why quick mounting and release functionality would be important.

Light modes

Most of the modern bike lights come with different modes to choose from. Again, consider your use cases and check the brightness spread for each mode. For example, if a light has a max mode of 1000 lumens and the next closest one is 500 lumens then the spread is quite large and you will be more limited in your choice. Also, get a light with special daylight modes.


Buying a bike light can be overwhelming, but it is worth spending some time and choosing an option that will satisfy your needs. Obviously, we all are limited by budget, but try not to save a lot on bike lights. Safety should always come first. In the buying guide above we tried to simplify decision making by giving you the most useful suggestions and outlining the most common cycling use cases. 


We hope this buying guide was useful to you and thanks for visiting our website.

Why should you trust us?

In order to feature and review any products on our website we do extensive research, read user feedback, carefully review forum threads, look at search trends, brand popularity, try to actually use and test as many products as possible ourselves, and evaluate other factors depending on the product category. By doing extensive research and incorporating it with our own experience we are able to shortlist only a handful of products out of thousands of options. 


We want to bring value to our readers and help them find answers to questions and buy the most appropriate cycling products. Brands and cycling professionals always try to innovate and improve to get the best possible outcome. Unfortunately, innovations and product improvements these days result only in marginal gains, but the price increase for these gains is not equally proportional. In economics, this behavior is defined as “diminishing returns”. Knowing this we focus on featuring the best value for the money products that are affordable, but at the same time have a lot to offer. We don’t want our visitors to overspend on something they will not benefit from.

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