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The Best Headlamps

AYA images/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated April 2023

Setting up camp at dusk can be tricky and dangerous due to limited visibility and uncertain terrain. If you're seeking a hands-free means to illuminate your surroundings, check out these top-rated headlamps.

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  Top Choice Best Rechargeable Best Heavy-Duty Best for Diving Best Pack
LED Headlamp - Pack of 2
Lighting EVER
LED Rechargeable Headlamp
Rechargeable Diving Headlamp
Headlamp Flashlight
Our SummaryThis reliable set of headlamps offers excellent brightness and emergency strobe functionality.This rugged rechargeable headlamp stands out for its intense brightness and beam distance.This heavy-duty headlamp sports a unique triple-bulb design and next-level brightness.This underwater headlamp is great for diving or underwater exploration.Everyone in your family gets a headlamp with this pack of four.
Pros✓ Lightweight, great value
✓ Multiple brightness modes
✓ Intense strobe function
✓ Durable build quality
✓ Super bright light
✓ Far beam distance ✓ Water-resistant design
✓ Next-level illumination
✓ Water-resistant design
✓ Comes with rechargeable batteries
✓ Durable build
✓ Waterproof design
✓ Multiple lighting modes
✓ Has battery life indicator, incredibly bright underwater light
✓ Good value
✓ Easy to use
✓ Rechargeable batteries
✓ Set of four
✓ Eight lighting modes
Cons✗ Subpar red light mode✗ Subpar controls✗ Bulky/heavy✗ Runs very hot✗ Prone to breaking
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How Did We Research?

15 Models Evaluated

6 Hours Researched

34 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Headlamps

Fit male jogger with a headlamp rests during training for cross country trail race in nature park.
AYA images/Shutterstock.com

Today’s LED headlamps are incredibly bright while keeping battery drain to a minimum, so you get an incredible bang for your buck. Like your moisture-resistant tent and warm sleeping bag, a great headlamp is a must-have item for hiking, camping, or caving. Investing in the right headlamp can be a lifesaving decision in an emergency, so having a reliable one on hand is important.

Buying Guide for Headlamps

Man with lighting headlamp sitting near campfire and tent.

Why buy a headlamp?

While a great flashlight can always come in handy, sometimes you don’t have a hand free to hold one. Luckily for campers, climbers, cavers, and nighttime runners, headlamps provide hands-free illumination of their immediate surroundings that can be controlled with a twitch of your head. Many headlamps also offer durable, water-resistant designs perfect for rugged outdoor activities.

What should you look for in a headlamp?

  • Activity Type: Ensure that the headlamp you purchase is geared toward the activities you’ll use it for. For instance, cyclists should seek out a long-range headlamp that offers exceptional light output, whereas weight and battery life may be more important purchasing factors for long-distance hikers. Luckily, plenty of versatile headlamps on the market are great for a wide range of activities.
  • Battery Type: Both rechargeable headlamps and battery-powered headlamps have their advantages. In the long run, a rechargeable model might cost you less due to the money you’ll save on disposable batteries. However, these will cease working when their battery is drained, and you’re all out of mobile chargers. On the other hand, battery-powered headlamps will always work for you as long as you pack plenty of emergency batteries for your trip.
  • Beam Style: Getting a feel for the type of light beam a headlamp produces before investing is important. Some headlamps offer a spot beam, illuminating a relatively small area far ahead. On the other hand, some offer a wider beam of light or adjustable modes that allow you to choose the beam that works for you.

What extra features should you look for in a headlamp?

Look for a headlamp that offers strobe functionality since this may be one of the best ways to quickly get someone’s attention in an emergency. You’ll also want to check a headlamp’s degree of water resistance before you buy. While some are completely waterproof, most water-resistant models should be a reliable fit for hikers and campers.

Our Picks for the Best Headlamps

Top Choice

GearLight LED Headlamp - Pack of 2

This reliable set of headlamps offers excellent brightness and emergency strobe functionality.

Pros: Featuring impressive brightness for its size and price point, these GearLight headlamps are great for those seeking something lightweight and perfect for long-distance hikes. These headlamps also score points for their multiple brightness modes, and the intense strobe function can come in handy during an emergency. Factor in this product’s above-average battery life and comfortable, adjustable fit, and it’s easy to see why this headlamp is a best seller at its price point.

Cons: While most reviewers seem impressed by this headlamp’s white light, its red light scored less stellar reviews. As such, if you’re looking for a headlamp with an exceedingly bright red light function, this model is probably not a good match for your needs.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for budget-friendly headlamps that look and perform like much more expensive products, this set from GearLight is unlikely to disappoint. While its red light doesn’t necessarily impress in brightness or nighttime visibility, its bright white light, easy-to-adjust design, and reliable build quality make this a stellar headlight for camping and hiking.


Best Rechargeable

Lighting EVER LED Rechargeable Headlamp

This rugged rechargeable headlamp stands out for its intense brightness and beam distance.

Pros: Featuring a durable build quality that feels capable of taking plenty of use and abuse, the Lighting EVER LED Rechargeable Headlamp sports an insane beam distance at its highest setting. Compared to other rechargeable headlamps, it also impresses in battery life, so you probably won’t need to recharge it until after your weekend camping trip, even with regular use. If you’re looking for a bright rechargeable headlamp that’s rainproof to boot, this one is well worth considering.

Cons: To switch this headlamp’s mode or turn it off, this product requires you to cycle through its other modes, which can be annoying and distracting to people at nearby campsites. Some reviewers also noted having issues with buttons sticking, although reports of this defect are few and far between.

Bottom Line: While this isn’t the most intuitive headlamp to switch between modes, its impressive brightness, and long-lasting rechargeable battery make it a great value for the asking price. It’s also nice and light, so it shouldn’t weigh you down too much if you’re hiking long distances at elevation.


Best Heavy-Duty

DanForce Headlamp

This heavy-duty headlamp sports a unique triple-bulb design and next-level brightness.

Pros: The DanForce Headlamp stands out for its unique three-bulb design and nice color options, but its impressive beam distance and next-level brightness set it apart from the pack. As such, it’s a great option for nighttime cyclists and others who need maximum visibility to stay safe at night. While this rechargeable headlamp doesn’t offer a world-beating battery life, it comes with replaceable rechargeable batteries that can be swapped out for extended use.

Cons: While this product’s incredible brightness and intuitive adjustments are tailor-made for hiking, its bulky, heavy design is not exactly geared for life on the trail. Its design is still a great option for night fishing or a casual night at the campsite.

Bottom Line: While the DanForce Headlamp’s Sam Fisher-esque design won’t be a hit with everyone, most people will be impressed by this product’s strong suits. As such, those willing to pay a little extra for the best, brightest, and most heavy-duty rechargeable headlamps shouldn’t be disappointed in their investment.


Best for Diving

BORUIT Rechargeable Diving Headlamp

This underwater headlamp is great for diving or underwater exploration.

Pros: If you’re into diving, you’ll need an effective underwater headlamp to stay safe while participating in the hobby you love. The BORUIT Rechargeable Diving Headlamp combines a fully enclosed one-piece structure with IPX8 waterproofing and incredibly bright light beads to provide up to 1,000 lumens of brightness where you’ll rely on light the most. However, this headlamp’s multiple light modes (including an SOS mode) and easy-to-read battery life indicator up the ante, making it one of the best diving headlamps at its price point.

Cons: Like many underwater headlamps that share this product’s technology, the BORUIT Rechargeable Diving Headlamp is prone to running incredibly hot. As such, it’s recommended for use in cold conditions.

Bottom Line: Thanks to its effective waterproofing and incredibly bright light, the BORUIT Rechargeable Diving Headlamp has much to offer as a budget-friendly diving headlamp. However, you should test it first to ensure it meets your safety and usage requirements.


Best Pack

LHKNL Headlamp Flashlight

Everyone in your family gets a headlamp with this pack of four.

Pros: There is a lot to like about this family-sized set of four headlamps. Each lamp has a maximum brightness of 1200 lumens, perfect for lighting tents and roads. They’re also rechargeable and come with powerful 1500mAh built-in batteries that can be charged while in use, eliminating the need to replace batteries or wait for a full charge. Moreover, the lamps are ultra-light and adjustable, with a comfortable elastic headband that can easily be adjusted to fit different head sizes. The headlamps also feature a waterproof design with an IPX4 rating, making them suitable for rainy or snowy weather. Each model has eight lighting modes, including a motion sensor mode, which allows you to easily turn the lights on and off with a wave of your hand.

Cons: The charging cables are on the short and outdated side, making it difficult to recharge the headlamps. They’re also prone to turning on and off or often have loose components, which can be dangerous during activities requiring concentration and lots of light. Some products have blue lights on but do not turn on when the button is pressed, which is also frustrating for customers.

Bottom Line: This set of four headlamps is great for your family’s next adventure. The lights are simple and easy to use and come with a built-in battery that can be charged while in use, eliminating the need for battery replacement.

Final Thoughts

In a pinch, a great headlamp won’t just make your life a little easier; it can save your life. As such, it’s essential to research to be sure your new headlamp will meet your needs. Since a headlamp can be an important safety tool, be prepared to invest extra money and some time to make an educated purchase.

Zachary McCarthy Zachary McCarthy
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read Full Bio »
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