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Tired of finding your way to work in the middle of the night? Some of us start the day early and finish late, but we still don’t want to give up the freedom of our bike.
Luckily, there are many options for affordable, easy-to-use lights that will illuminate even the darkest alley.
For this, we found the best commuter bike lights to save you from going on the hunt for one. We’ll also give you some tips if you’re not sure what to look for yet.
If you just want to know what our winner is, it’s the Cygolite Metro Pro.
Otherwise, these are the best commuter bike lights available right now:
- Cygolite Metro Pro
- Victagen USB Rechargeable Bike Light
- CatEye - Volt 1300
- Blackburn Dayblazer
- Cygolite Hotshot Pro
- Xinji Bike Speedometer Light
What to Look For When Buying Commuter Bike Lights
Keep these factors in mind when checking out the best commuter bike lights:
No matter the brightness level or size of the light you choose, you’ll need a light that won’t leave you in trouble in the middle of a dark road.
Some of the most durable batteries will last for several days or even weeks of use. On top of this, a handy feature is a battery indicator so you’ll when you need to recharge.
All the lights in our review are rechargeable, but some allow you to switch the battery pack for a replaceable AA battery. This might come in handy if you’re planning to use the light for longer trips where you don’t have access to a power source.
Learn everything you need to know about Batteries with our Ultimate Guide to Batteries!
The brightness of LED lights is measured in lumens—the basic unit of measurement of artificial light. The higher the number, the brighter the light.
You won’t need as many lumens on a bicycle light for the city and in illuminated areas, and you’ll likely be fine with around 400.
If you’re biking in rougher terrain or on country roads, it’s good to have an extra-bright setting—something around 1,000 lumens and above.
Super-bright lights do have their downside, though. Battery life will reduce significantly, and you can also end up blinding drivers with them if you’re not careful. This can be dangerous to yourself and others, but it is easy to manage. Just point the light downwards and to the side.
Our Lumens, Lux, and Candela article is a great resource to learn more about Lumens and light output
A bike light needs to be stable so it doesn’t rattle or move around on the handlebars. This is especially relevant if your commute is along country roads instead of pavement. A couple of extra bumps on the road will easily make the light move around.
Adjustable fixings offer greater value for money since not all handlebars are the same size.
For a commuter bike, a wide beam is ideal. Some lights also have long beams, but they’re not always necessary.
You’ll want to aim the light in a slightly downwards angle to clearly see the road 10 to 50 feet ahead of you. This way, you’ll see any potholes or other obstructions.
If you’re riding your bike in the dark, consider not only what you can see but also how visible you are.
For this, a flashing light pattern or a taillight will make approaching cars and motorcycles avoid you and give you room.
As with any torch, if you invest in a product you’ll use every day, you need to make sure it doesn’t get in the way and frustrate you.
A clunky, big light can get uncomfortable on your bike. After all, you need to be able to move your hands from the brakes to the gears without the light getting in the way.
Some lights also swivel. If you need to move the spot around to wherever it’s most comfortable, look for these alternatives.
Click here to see the Best Bike Headlights reviewed!
Reviews of the Best Bike Lights for Your Commute
From low-budget options to complete sets and even options with added speedometers, these are the best commuter bike lights.
This Cygolite is a versatile powerhouse with a 1,100-lumen maximum output, which is ample for cycling in the pitch black.
It has nine different lighting modes, adding lots of versatility, with pulses to make you more visible to others in the dark. It even has three different daylight modes that emit a powerful flash for others to see you on the road.
On top of this, the light swivels, so you can point it exactly where you need it.
Also, the lamp is rechargeable with a common micro-USB connection. Users comment on how easy it is to remove from the handlebars for recharging, which is a nice bonus.
We like how the grip is really hard, and the light doesn’t move around when you ride, but you can also remove it and use it as a flashlight.
In terms of runtime, the extra-boost 1,100-lumen mode lasts 1 hour, which isn’t long. But, on the lowest setting, it’ll last up to 100 hours. Do note that the 1,100 lumens are only for the extra-bright boost mode, not the normal high setting. Still, even the normal modes are usually enough to light up the trail or road ahead of you.
- Lightweight at 5.3 ounces.
- Daylight mode for extra safety.
- Dazzling brightness.
- Wide and far beam.
- Durable and water-resistant.
- No mode memory, so you’ll have to find the right setting every time.
- The battery life is poor on high settings.
Click here to see all of our Bike Light Reviews!
Best on a Budget
This Victagen set includes a headlight and a taillight you can attach to your clothes or helmet. Apart from on your commutes, the taillight is also useful as an extra safety light for runners. You can attach it anywhere, from your clothes to your helmet or the seat post.
This light has five different modes, with the highest setting producing a powerful 2,400-lumen beam that lights up to 300 yards.
Also, the white LED lights are dual, giving you a full, wide beam to see your way. Note that these can be blinding on a high setting, so make sure you direct it slightly downward when you’re riding.
The front light is USB rechargeable, but the tail light requires CR2032 batteries. You can get up to 4 hours on the bright setting of the white LED.
For durability, the light is made from military-grade aluminum alloy, but the mounting bracket is plastic and feels a little flimsy for such a heavy light.
Finally, note that this set is waterproof against heavy rain and fog, but you shouldn’t immerse it in water.
- Wide and long beam.
- Easy to install.
- Water and shock-resistant.
- Good battery life.
- Hard to install tight enough so it doesn’t move.
- The light is heavy.
Best Battery Life
This CatEye model has two bright white LEDs in the front to help you see and be seen. The beam is wide, so you can easily illuminate the road ahead, and the 1200-lumen maximum output is enough for most trails and roads. It’s so bright you might actually be mistaken for a car!
The light also looks great, shiny, and sleek. On top of this, it’s easy to install and adjust by hand, with no tools required. It also fits any handlebar size, but the operating button is small, so big or gloved hands might have some trouble using it.
The battery life is the top feature of this light—you can get a full week’s commutes out of one charge. It also has an indicator light, so you have a warning before the battery runs out.
On the negative side, recharging is slow and will probably take all night or a whole workday. You also can’t use this light when you’re charging, so you can’t use a portable charger to get a quick fix.
- Easy to install.
- Amazing battery life.
- Wide, extra-bright beam.
- Battery charge indicator.
- The battery takes long to charge.
The Blackburn Dayblazer comes in options for 400, 800, and 1,100 lumens, allowing you to pick one perfect for your commuting environment.
On the low-lumen option, the light is too scattered to illuminate the entire road, so we recommend going for the high-lumen option. The 1,100-lumen version is very intense even on the lower settings, but on the high one, it can overheat if you’re using it for a while.
It’s also dust-protected and waterproof against rain and a short submersion to about 3 feet, so it can take even tough weather.
The mount is basically a rubber band, which is easy to install and adjust for everyone. It also has a swivel function, so you can slightly move the light around when you’re riding. The bad part is that the strap isn’t tough, so the light may move around a bit on bumpy streets.
Users particularly comment on the excellent battery life, and the light comes with a charge indicator so it won’t suddenly run out of charge without warning you.
- Simple installation.
- Battery charge indicator.
- Small size.
- Waterproof against submersion.
- The mount isn’t that strong, so the light may move around.
- Overheats sometimes on the high settings.
Best Tail Light
If you only want a light for cars to see you, the Cygolite Hotshot Pro is among the favorites of many cyclists. It’s also really small and fits in the palm of your hand or your pocket.
It’s a 150-lumen red light you can mount on your seat post and has adjustable levels with pulses. On the lowest setting, the maximum battery life is 210 hours, so it’s a great safety addition to any cyclist’s gear collection.
It’s hard to find high-lumen red lights, but this one’s enough to use even in the daylight. In fact, it’s so bright that other cyclists won’t like riding behind you, but cars will give you more space.
We’ve read reports that the two-button operation is simple to manage. One operates the mode, while the other adjusts the tempo.
This light is also easy to mount, but you’ll need a screwdriver to do this, and the brackets aren’t the sturdiest, so make sure you really tighten it up.
- Amazing battery life.
- Small and lightweight.
- Intuitive and simple to operate.
- Blindingly bright.
- The brackets aren’t sturdy and need to be adjusted well.
Best Light With Speedometer
This Xinji model comes as a complete set—one for the front and one for the rear. The front light has the typical white light and an alternative yellow tone that’s a bit easier on your eyes. In contrast, the rear light is a standard red light.
Users love the LCD, which displays your trip distance, average and maximum speed, or riding time. The display will also show you the battery charge, which is super handy.
The front light has four different levels, with 350 lumens of maximum output. Overall, it produces a low-strength beam that won’t blind passersby or cars, but it’ll still light up over 50 yards on the brightest setting.
Handy features include it being water-resistant, so you can use it on rainy days. Also, the front light has a horn, which is good for security and is loud enough to be heard by cars. It can be deafening, though, so you need to be careful with pedestrians.
- Complete set with front and back lights.
- Horn and speedometer included.
- Battery level indicator.
- Softer yellow light option.
- The horn is very loud.
- Getting the speedometer to work takes some time.
Click here to see the Best Bike Tail Lights reviewed!
After looking through the best commuter bike lights options, we found the Cygolite Metro Pro to be the top option available. It’s tough and water-resistant, and bright enough to light up even the darkest stretch of road.
Its super bright options for extra safety in daylight are a smart addition. They’ll let out a flash that will let drivers know you’re around and leave you some extra space on the road.
What’s also super important is that the light won’t move around when you’re riding down a bumpy road. This one has a sturdy mount that won’t slide down, even on tough terrain.