Best Bike Lights

Our Best Bike Lights page is where we list our current favourites. If you haven’t got time to spend hours trawling the Internet figuring out which light to buy, I’m sure you wont be disappointed with any of those featured here. This list gets continually updated as the technology evolves and new lights become available. The brightest (and most expensive) lights are at the top and get progressively cheaper going down the page until you get to the budget lights at the bottom. For now we’ve concentrated on bike lights for commuting. In time we’ll also include a section for mountain bike lights but we need to properly test some first.

Best Front Lights – Luxury

If money is no object, we highly recommend these lights:

Best Front Light – High-end Commuter

Best Front Cycle Light 2011 is the Exposure StradaThe Exposure Strada rechargeable bike light is an easy choice for the position of  Best Commuter light. Actually we like all the Exposure lights. This one sits somewhere in the middle of their range and offers a good balance between bright light, long battery life and low weight. It’s mainly aimed at commuters and comes with a handy handlebar mounted push button to dip the light for oncoming motorists. The light is plenty bright enough for riding with confidence on unlit roads and would also be fine for some off-road MTB action. Exposure lights are not cheap (you might like to sit down before checking out the price!), but they are well designed, have amazing build quality, are unaffected by severe weather, and if you can afford it you won’t be disappointed. The latest version is mk5 which is a few generations on from the reviewed model but has a number of refinements. Some reliable on-line stores from which Exposure lights can be purchased are here, here and here.

Best Front Light – High-end Lightweight

Best Bike Light 2011 - The Exposure Diablo is the best lightweight front light.

The Exposure Diablo is an excellent choice if you want maximum lumens for minimum ounces. This could be if you’ve got a carbon fibre road bike and don’t want to make any compromise on weight, or just because you have to lug it about on a daily basis. This light works very well on a Brompton for example and I would recommend it above all the light options that Brompton themselves offer. Of course it also makes a great helmet light for mountain biking. This light is actually brighter than the Strada but half the weight. It can be purchased from the same places as the Strada (see above).

Best Front Lights – Mid Priced

If you ride regularly on dark country roads and want something much cheaper than the luxury lights above then these are recommended:

The new Lezyne Super Drive rechargeable light has knocked the Hope vision 1 off its perch and is now our favourite light in the mid price category. It’s a simple but stylish and well thought out design and kicks out sufficient light to ride confidently on pitch black roads.  Since the review updated models have been produced and in particular, the Super Drive XL and Power Drive XL are now recommended. Most of the lights Lezyne make offer about the best value you can get at each of their respective price points.  Recommended on-line stores that supply them are here, here and here.

Best Front Lights – Lower Mid Priced

If you ride mainly around town but want sufficient brightness for occasional rides into the country one of these lights would be appropriate:

Best Bike Light - Cateye EL530The Cateye EL530 is one of Cateye’s brightest battery powered headlights and is also bright enough for unlit roads though if you can stretch to a Lezyne Power drive or Super drive you’d have a much much better and brighter light for your money. The EL530 can be purchased from here or here. Rechargeable batteries and a decent AA battery charger are pretty much essential with this light. The Cateye EL530 can also be bought bundled with our favourite rear light, the TL-LD1100. Together, these represent much better value for money than when bought separately.

The Smart Lunar 35 is a recent addition to our best lights page. It has a stylish compact design and has surprisingly good battery life from 2 AAs. It’s one of the cheapest lights we’ve found that produces enough light to see for riding (albeit slowly) on dark country lanes. For added value it can be purchased bundled with the Smart Superflash, a very good rear bike light. See the end of the review for purchase options.

Best Bike Lights – Budget

Cateye HL-EL135 and TL-LD150 set are very good budget lightsThese lights are only really powerful enough for being seen and you wouldn’t use them for riding through the dark lanes, but if you’re only ever riding in town on roads with street lighting, you can probably get away without spending too much. There’s a bewildering range of budget lights to choose from and many of them offer good value. Our pick for best budget lights are the Cateye HL-EL135 and TL-LD150 which can be bought together in a set for a great price. Many of the Cateye sets shown there represent great value for money.

Best Rear Light – All-rounder

Best Rear Cycle Light 2011The Cateye TL-LD1100 takes the place for best (ahem) rear of the year. It has a rugged design, lots of mounting options, good waterproofing, good all round visibility, lots of modes including a useful steady+flashing mode and long battery life. It’s now looking a little dated but is still widely available and is still popular. Purchase options can be found at the end of the review.

Best Rear Light – Compact

The Moon Shield 60 is our latest rear light choice and is ideal if you want to be seen from a very long long way away and want a bijou bike light. Links to online shops that sell this light are at the end of the review.

Previous Winners

Best mid price bike light - Hope Vision 1The Hope Vision 1 was previously a winner in our mid price category. This rugged light takes 4 AA batteries and is bright enough for unlit roads. It can be still purchased from here. While it’s still a good light, it’s been around a while and we feel it’s now outgunned by a number of new lights on the market, in particular the new Lezyne lights (see above). Let’s hope that Hope respond with a new light in this category soon!


The Blackburn Mars 4.0 was our previous choice for small rear light. It’s now outshone by the Moon Shield 60 and isn’t as widely available as it once was. It’s still worth considering though.  This (and the Moon shield above) would be a good choice for Brompton owners.