Last Updated: Dec 17, 2020 @ 10:53 am.

What is the best headlamp? We tried out 8 different brands to find out. What was the best for running? Hunting? What about rechargeable headlamps? Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Running Headlamp

Weighs just 1.48 ounces
We loved this USB rechargeable headlamp—no batteries makes it much lighter and less bulky than other brands. And that is perfect for running. Also helpful: motion sensor for hands-free on/off.
$15.99

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Best Running Headlamp: 500 Lumens USB Rechargeable Headlamp 

What makes a great headlamp for running?

Well, let’s first talk about headlamps in general. Headlamps are not just for runners—some folks use them to walk the dog at night. Or to do crafting or sewing projects in the evening. And if you are a worker who uses a headlamp every day, a quality headlamp that doesn’t eat batteries is a plus.

When it comes to running, we looked at 7 headlamps that are pitched for joggers: lightweight, easy to adjust and rechargeable.

After asking our parent readers for feedback and comparing features and quality, we decided Hoxida’s 500 Lumens USB Rechargeable Headlamp is the best headlamp for running.

Yes, headlamps for runners can get rather pricey . . . this model had a great overall quality track record among our readers, yet at a price that didn’t break the bank. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Lightweight at 1.48 ounces.

• Decently bright for running in the dark.

• Adjustable light levels, including a SOS strobe.

• Motion sensor turns the light on or off. You can wave your hand to turn the unit on or off. That’s helpful if you are working with dirty hands and need to turn off the light to talk with someone . . . you don’t have to get that grime on the light.

• Affordable.

• Good battery life: we got 4 hours out of the unit on high. It took us about three and half hours to fully charge the unit.

What Needs Work

• Folks either love or hate the motion sensor. Some folks say it is too sensitive and we see that point. However, we still liked this unit overall.

• A bit bouncy.

• Limited ability to adjust the beam up or down. Yes, you can adjust it about six degrees . . . but that isn’t much. If you need this feature (especially for crafters and other home repair), you may want to consider this next recommendation.

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Best Rechargeable Headlamp

Head tilts by 45 degrees
This two-pack of lightweight headlamps has good battery life and multiple light settings. We liked how comfortable it was, as well as its small profile. Caveat: on/off motion sensor is a bit too sensitive.
$19.39

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Best Rechargeable Headlamp: Soft Digits Headlamp Flashlight

Yes, headlamps come in two basic varieties. Those that are rechargeable via a USB cable, and those that use batteries (typically 3 AAA batteries).

The key advantage to USB rechargeable headlamps: they are generally lighter and less bulky. And you avoid the battery replacement expense, which can add up if you use it frequently.

What’s the downside to rechargeable headlamps? They don’t last as long as those that run on alkaline batteries. The latter can run 40 to 50 hours on low . . . compare that to the three to five hour run time for a rechargeable headlamp. 

Of course, depending on how you use the headlamp, that may not matter as much. For example, for those that use a headlamp to walk a dog at night, a rechargeable headlamp is probably a great fit. 

After looking at 9 different rechargeable headlamps—including some pricey name brands—we decided the simple Soft Digit’s Headlamp Flashlight is the best bet for most folks. Good quality, decent run time AND a price that doesn’t break the bank.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

 Good battery life for most uses. In the real world, this headlamp works for about three to four hours before dimming. Good for walking the dog or crafting. 

• Comfortable to wear.

• Two pack = easy on the wallet.

• Motion sensor turns unit on/off.

• USB rechargeable = no batteries to replace.

• Head pivots by 45 degrees. That is most helpful when doing home repairs or hand work.

• 8 light modes, including strobe, red beam on low and SOS. 

What Needs Work

• No memory function. That means it won’t remember your last setting.

• To shut off the unit, you must cycle through all the light settings first.

• Motion sensor can be too sensitive.

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Best Budget Friendly Headlamp

7 light modes, including red
We loved the super comfortable headband and smart dimming feature of this headband—overall, excellent design. Also nice: wide and spot beam plus red light mode for night use.
$13.99 ($7.00 / Headlamp)

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Best Budget-Friendly Headlamp: GearLight LED Headlamp Flashlight

If you are looking for a two-pack of headlamps that are easy on the wallet, we’d recommend GearLight’s LED Headlamp Flashlight. These are great headlamps to have around the house . . . for crafting, sewing or home repair. 

Yes, they use 3 AAA batteries, so they are a bit heavier/bulkier than other headlamps. But on the plus side, they last MUCH longer on a set of batteries than the USB rechargeable headlamps do.

In a real world test, we got about 5 hours out of these headlamps when running on high. That compares to three to four hours using a USB rechargeable headlamp like the ones we recommended above.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Good brightness for most usee.

• Decent battery life (5 hours on high, according to our test).

• Comfortable to wear.

• 45 degree adjustability.

• 7 light modes, including SOS, red beam on low and strobe.

What Needs Work

• Replacing batteries = more money over the long term. If you plan to use a headlamp frequently, it may be less expensive over the long term to go with a rechargeable model.

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Best Hunting Headlamp

Great gift idea
We loved the super comfortable headband and smart dimming feature of this headband—overall, excellent design. Also nice: wide and spot beam plus red light mode for night use.
$14.39

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Best Hunting Headlamp: Energizer High Powered LED Headlamp Flashlights

When it comes to headlamps for hunting, one key feature comes to mind: long battery life. We also looked for water resistance and a bright beam of LED light.

After asking the hunting enthusiasts among our parent readers for suggestions, we decided that Energizer’s High Powered LED Headlamp is the best bet for hunters. Among our favorite features: it has a super-comfortable headband. That’s important when you are wearing it for hours!

What We Liked

• Lightweight.

• Red light mode is great for low light use (7 modes total).

• Spot and wide beam settings.

• Low battery indicator.

• Runs for 35 hours on low mode.

• Auto dimming feature.

• Very comfortable.

• BRIGHT light (about 260 lumens).

• Remembers last setting.

• Compact size = great for travel.

What Needs Work

• Replacing batteries = extra expense over time.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here's another key point: we don't take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no "partnerships." Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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