The Best Helmet Lights

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If you’re looking for a great light to attach to a hard hat, you may already know it’s challenging to find one that meets all your requirements. You may want an extra bright beam to help you see far off into the distance or a light that’ll let you see your immediate surroundings clear as day.

There are some key features that make a good helmet light stand out. Whether you’re looking for an extra durable flashlight for harsh conditions or the most powerful light, we’ve compiled a list to help you make your buying decision.

These are the best helmet lights we reviewed.

Buying Guide

These are some of the most important features you should pay attention to when purchasing your helmet light.

Adjustable settings

The most relevant settings in headlamps are usually the angle, the brightness and the beam width.

Angle

If the light’s head can tilt and angle downwards, you can see what’s happening at your feet without putting an unnecessary strain on your neck. This will be especially helpful if you need to work for hours on your feet.

Brightness

Manufacturers usually express the brightness of an LED torch in lumens. This is the basic unit of measurement used to measure artificial light. 

Many people are fine with 100 lumens. However, if your work requires a lot of precision or you need to illuminate long distances, invest in a more powerful lamp.

Beam Width

A narrow, focused spot is necessary to see longer distances. A wide flood beam can be more useful when you need to illuminate an entire space, such as a cave or a room.

Most headlamps today offer variable widths, either through fixed settings or a flexible switch that allows you to find the “sweet” spot.

Environment

A good helmet light will adapt to your environment. It needs to have tight enclosures to make sure it can resist dust, water and sometimes even extreme temperatures. Some lights will manage only water splashes and rain — others can endure submersion. The higher a product’s IP rating, the better.

Impact resistance is another useful feature for a torch you’ll be using in tough environments. A good work light can survive a drop from three to six feet. 

Battery Life and Type

With great power comes … increased battery consumption! This is something to consider if you will give the light a lot of use.

If you need a lamp for your daily life, it’s best to invest in a rechargeable model. Disposable batteries will start getting expensive if you have to buy new ones frequently, and you must remember to have spares on-hand. 

The charger is also important.  Most rechargeable models available today have easy charging with a standard micro-USB cable that you’re likely to have at home for use with other devices.

For lamps that take standard AA or AAA batteries, you can buy rechargeable versions of these batteries and a charger to maintain them.

A hybrid flashlight will allow for both an effortless charging experience with a USB cable and the security of being able to swap it for a replaceable battery. This is an ideal option for you if you’ll be spending long hours away from a power source. 

Vision vs. Visibility

If you work in environments like construction or on the side of the highway, you’ll not only need a light that will let you see ahead. You’ll also need one that helps you be seen by others, especially drivers and people operating heavy machinery.

Some helmet lights offer 360-degree visibility with additional lights in the back — others have reflective straps or blinking red lights. To maximize your safety, consider wearing some reflective gear or additional LED lights on your clothes.

Comfort

Comfort in a typical headlamp is not the same thing as in a helmet lamp. While usually you’d look for a soft strap, the vital element with a helmet light is that it doesn’t slip off. 

While typical headlamps come with a fabric strap, many of these models have rubber straps that hold on to your hard hat better. Some of them even have clips to attach them to the helmet.

Another relevant feature is the comfort of use. Big buttons and simple mechanisms are usually helpful in work use, so you don’t spend time looking for how to dim or change the beam type.

Product Reviews

We tried and compared the specifications and benefits of dozens of products and narrowed the list down to these six lights. There will surely be an option for every pocket and specific need, so check them out.

Streamlight ProTac HL USB Headlamp

This tactical flashlight from Streamlight is a 1000-lumen powerhouse. It’s bright, strong and durable, and it’s also intuitive to use. Impact resistance is 6 feet, and it’s also water-resistant, with an IP rating of 4.

You control the lamp’s variable beam, for a 400-lumen medium setting and a 65-lumen low setting, with the same multi-purpose button. It has a full 90-degree angle tilt, so you’ll be able to see your surroundings without tiring your neck.

For such a high-powered flashlight, it’s impressively lightweight at 8.1 ounces, with the battery included. The build is solid and sturdy, but it might tug down on the straps. That’s why this lamp is best worn over a helmet to keep it firmly in place. It has rubber bands to prevent it from sliding off.

This model comes with two interchangeable lenses for green or red light — these colors help you maintain your night adjusted vision. The green light, especially, extends the use of this lamp outside of work situations. It’s easy for the eyes and great for hunting since it doesn’t spook animals away.

Keep in mind that a high-power helmet light like this will not last many hours on a single charge. The battery life is only an hour and a half at the maximum output, and 20 hours on the low setting. However, it’s one of the brightest torches in its category.

This helmet light is rechargeable with a micro-USB charger that comes in the package. It doesn’t charge well with other cables, so you must make sure you don’t lose it.

Pros:

  • Dazzling high setting.
  • Red and green lens options.
  • Rechargeable.
  • 90-degree angle adjustment.

Cons:

  • High price.
  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Short battery life.

Illumagear HAWF-01A Halo

The first light on our list is an innovative and strange, but powerful and comfortable light. Instead of a focused lamp at your forehead, Illumagear’s HAWF-01A is a circular halo you can attach on top of your helmet.

This product provides you with a 360-degree light that illuminates your surroundings. It gives you extra security with its ¼ mile maximum visibility. This comes in handy, especially for roadside workers or people on construction sites surrounded by machinery.

The halo has a 276-lumen maximum output level and a flashing alert mode. It also has a task-light mode that focuses the light on only the front panels, or a dimmer setting to save power. You’ll get from around five to 34 hours of runtime on one charge, depending on the brightness level.

If you only need to illuminate a closed, small space, this light will probably be more than sufficient. It gives you a comfortable light all over, and you’ll have enough brightness to work with. However, you don’t get a focused spotlight to project light further away if you need it.

Protection against dust and water is excellent, with an IP rating of 67, and it weighs 10.1 ounces. For power, it uses the included, rechargeable 18650 battery, but you must buy a charger for it. 

Pros:

  • Great for safety in construction work. 
  • Bright light.
  • 360-degree illumination.
  • Comfortable.

Cons:

  • No possibility to project light.
  • Charger purchase needed.

Princeton Tec Apex

Our next light projects a strong and even beam. You can use its four Ultralight LEDs for a wide floodlight beam, or you can adjust it to the focused Maxibright spotlight. The output settings are variable from 25 to 70 lumens, for the floodlight, to an incredible 550 lumens for the spot.

Both the width and the brightness of the beam are superb. The low light option is still plenty bright, so you must be careful not to blind people temporarily when turning in their direction.

The waterproof IP rating is 7, making this light suitable for submersion of up to 3 feet. This makes it an appropriate option for people working outdoors in humid locations. Its battery life is good, ranging from 2 to 150 hours, depending on the brightness.

The Apex weighs 10.4 ounces and works with 4 AA batteries, which add to the weight. However, the straps are good quality and hold it on tight when attached to a helmet. The battery pack is in the back, so you get some added balance. There’s also a strap going over your head for extra stability to ensure the device stays put.

Pros:

  • Power indicator.
  • Bright LED light.
  • Balanced, even beam.
  • Stays in place.

Cons:

  • The buttons are hard to maneuver.
  • Heavy, especially with batteries.

Nightstick XPP-5458G

Nightstick’s multi-function headlamp gives you 130 lumens for a maximum beam distance of 390 feet. It has an adjustable angle that tilts up to 90 degrees so you can better see your feet when working. 

This torch also has a green floodlight mode that will help you see around you without bothering others. Green is a good option since it’s easier to pick up by your eyes than red light, but you won’t sacrifice your night adjusted vision.

The lamp has an IP rating of 67, so it is safe to use in environments with hazardous materials and dust. It’s water-resistant for submersion of up to 3 feet and impact resistant from 6.5 feet. This will come in handy for both nighttime work environments and sports use.

This light runs on three AA batteries and weighs 9.4 ounces. The battery pack is at the back, and there’s an overhead strap for added stability. Two large switches on top of the lamp control the modes and are easy to operate. Overall, it’s a solid, strong and reliable lamp for tough work.

Pros:

  • Affordable.
  • Green light.
  • 90-degree adjustable angle.
  • Water and impact-resistant.

Cons:

  • May slide off a hard hat despite the non-slip headband.

COAST HL27

The Coast HL27 is another medium to low-priced option on our list. The lamp has a sturdy water-resistant design (IP4) that can withstand an impact of up to 10 feet. It gives you a 360-lumen maximum output, which is enough for most work situations.

You can hinge the lamp slightly to adjust the angle about 45 degrees downwards. It also includes clips to prevent it from sliding off your helmet and make the lamp more comfortable.

The lens twists to go from a flood beam to a spotlight. The brightness is also adjustable to your preference with a wheel mechanism. It can go all the way from 1 lumen to 360 without a rigidly fixed setting, so you can adjust it to your liking. However, this model won’t give you an extended, focused beam.

Depending on the brightness, this torch will give you 9 to 84 hours of battery life. It weighs 6.7 ounces, which is modest for this category and brightness.

Pros:

  • Easy beam control with the twist lens.
  • Flexibility in the brightness settings.
  • Easy clips to attach to a helmet.
  • Lightweight.

Cons:

  • The brightness wheel is too loose.
  • Not possible to get a long, focused beam.

Streamlight 61200 Haz Lo

Streamlight’s economic option is also a reliable product and a safe investment. It projects a 120-lumen beam as far as 540 feet and has brightness settings of 45 or 13 lumens. The lamp is easy to operate with a simple push-button. 

It comes with an elastic fabric strap and a rubber strap for a hard hat, which adds some versatility. The lamp boasts an unbreakable lens made of polycarbonate and a bulb life of 50,000 hours on the top setting.

The manufacturer states that the 61200 is water and dust-resistant, but we couldn’t find its IP rating, so we must take their word.  It can tolerate a fall from 3 feet, and its runtime is up to 11 hours on the lowest setting. 

This lamp has an option for AA or AAA batteries that last up to 11 hours, and it weighs 7.1 ounces with batteries included.

Overall, it’s a quality budget product for people who are looking for durability and versatility without too many extra functions.

Pros:

  • Powerful beam.
  • Solid, durable build.
  • Water, dust and impact-resistant.
  • Compact.

Cons:

  • The straps may get loose after continuous use.

Conclusion

After careful testing and comparing, we’ve found the Streamlight ProTac HL USB Headlamp to be the best helmet light out on the market right now.

It’s incredibly bright and has a powerful, long beam. The build is durable and reliable, and you’ll get many years of use from this lamp. It also tilts a full 90 degrees, so you can save your neck while still seeing what’s going on around you.

The interchangeable red and green lenses are a great addition that makes this torch adaptable for hunting and other situations where you don’t want to sacrifice your night adjusted vision.

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