You may not know the Highway Code off by heart, but if you're going to ride your bike after dark it helps if you're at least a wee bit familiar with Rule 60. For your night-time jaunts, Rule 60 states that you'll need a white front light on your bike and a red rear light, and they should each emit at least four candelas of light (a candela = twelve lumens, so most cycle lights will qualify here). Both lights have to be fixed to the bike itself, so while your helmet mounted light or rucksack light may provide brilliant extra illumination, especially valuable off-road, it's not enough by itself to make you legally compliant.
But it's not just about the law, of course. You also want your bike lights to charge easily, have decent battery life, to fix securely to the bike, have a simple mounting system and, let's be honest, to look cool. The best bike lights on the market do all this and more, and there are plenty available to suit any budget. Shop all our bike lights here.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the broad choices of lights available and then take you through some of our favourites for different sets of budgets.
- USB Rechargeable VS Standard Battery Lights
- Being Seen VS Seeing where you are going
- Best Bike Lights Under £50
- Best Lights Under £100
- Best Lights Over £100
USB rechargeable vs standard battery lights
Modern bicycle lights will come in a choice between battery lights and USB rechargeable battery lights. The main difference is that the USB rechargeable lights do not require you to buy replacement batteries and over the lifetime of a bike light, this adds up to a significant cost and environmental saving. USB port rechargeable lights will be the brightest light compared to a battery light. The upside of battery lights is that they are a relatively inexpensive light.
Being seen vs seeing where you are going
There are a number of bicycle lights available which will all be suitable in different ways. One of our favourite questions to ask to determine the type of light required is "Are you buying this light to be seen, or to see?". If you need to see where you are going on dark tracks or roads, you will require more powerful lights with a different beam pattern to see where you are going. If you are just looking to be visible then which light you choose depends on brightness required, what flashing modes seem best and, of course, budget.
BEST BIKE LIGHTS UNDER £50
An excellent value front and rear light set with enough light intensity to be visible to other road users. Up to 200 lumens front and 100 lumens rear. With 30 hours run time for the front light and up to 70 hours rear light run time in certain flash modes these are excellent lights for the money. USB rechargeable with a charge time of 2.5 hours from flat to full power.
Aussie brand Knog's product vision is ‘to provide unboring things' and they have certainly succeeded where the Blinder Mini light set is concerned. Be prepared to have total strangers ask you about your cycle lights if you're riding around with these definitely unboring lil numbers. 70 lumens front and rear but these lights are style and safety rolled into one. With four light designs to choose from including Cross, Love, Square or Skull, they will look great and keep you safe.
Best Bike Lights under £100
With over twenty years on the market, Moon are one of the most trusted brands in cycle lights. This is the perfect budget set for the commuter, providing up to 120 lumens ahead and 70 behind and charging in a super-quick two hours. While it won't help you off-road or on long rides, if you're looking for bike lights to keep you safe and seen as you nip back and forth to work, these will provide everything you need without breaking, or even cracking, the bank.
With up to 800 lumens of output and a powerful Daytime Flash mode, the Lezyne Micro Drive Pro cycling LED light is impressive day or night. This is a light that will allow you to see where you are going on darks roads or paths at night with an incredible 800 Lumens for just £65.
A powerful and compact front light to light up the way when you are riding in the dark. There are three versions of this light available - Knog Blinder Pro 600 Lumen (£59.99), Knog Blinder Pro 900 Lumen (£79.99) and Knog Blinder Pro 1300 Lumen (£99.99). What makes this light unique is that it features Tesla high-density battery technology to extend run times and keep the light nice and compact.
Offering a whopping 1300 lumens for incredible illumination of roads, tracks and MTB trails. Can be run on lower power modes for run times of up to 148 hours. Features Tri-Focus optics, which creates a brighter centre spot in a large wide-angle pattern.
Best Bike Lights over £100
Offering a humongous 1800 max lumen output with an excellent run time. Offers ambient light sensor to adjust light output accordingly to help save battery life. The perfect light for night riding off road and for mountain bikers in the hills at night.
Garmin Varia Radar RTL515 Tail Light (£164.99)
This is something a little different - a rear light and rear radar that tells you what's approaching from behind when connected to Garmin Edge devices or compatible smartphones. For riding in daylight hours there is a mode that allows riders to see you up to a mile away.
What is so special about these lights is the power to size ratio. These are incredibly compact front and rear lights that offer a daybright mode for extra visibility in the daytime and a 'peloton' mode which will sense a rider's light behind you and dim itself accordingly.