Save on Pinterest

The 5 Best Headlamps To Light Your Way

Keep every path you take well-lit with our picks for the best headlamp for every activity

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Biolite Headlamp 425 Ecomm Rei.comVIA MERCHANT

We all know the importance of proper lighting during any DIY project or nighttime adventure, especially those that are outdoors. In some cases, a flashlight or portable work light will do the job. But in tight quarters—like under your kitchen sink or in a crawlspace—and during activities that require a lot of movement, you’re going to want a quality hands-free headlamp. We found the top five options to help shine light wherever you may need it.

How We Chose the Best Headlamps

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.

1 / 5

Fenix Hm65r Rechargeable 1400 Lumen Headlamp Ecomm Scheels.comVIA MERCHANT

Best Overall Headlamp

Fenix Rechargeable Headlamp

According to Family Handyman’s Ethan O’Donnell, the Fenix HM65R is the nicest headlamp he’s ever used. It features two ultra-bright lights that emit up to 1,400 lumens of neutral white light. The spotlight and the flood light are independently controlled and powered by a rechargeable battery.

The magnesium alloy body weighs less than aluminum, but still resists impact. It’s also waterproof up to a depth of six feet. As a bonus, if you misplace your USB charging cord or don’t have access to an electrical outlet, the headlamp can also run off two CR123a single-use, primary batteries in a pinch.

Pros

  • Very bright beam
  • Lightweight reflective headband
  • Rechargeable and battery-powered
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Pricey

2 / 5

Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp Ecomm Rei.comVIA MERCHANT

Best Easy-to-Use Headlamp

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp

The Black Diamond Spot 400 is the best headlamp with a slim profile and straightforward design. It has a 200-hour burn time, making it perfect for overnight camping trips or working at an outdoor job site.

The light emits, as the name suggests, 400 lumens—plenty for a predawn hike. There are two beams (one wide and one narrow), which are both easily accessed with a quick tap. There’s a red light for preserving night vision and an easy-to-read battery-life indicator. A smart brightness memory mode automatically reverts to a previous setting whenever you turn the headlamp on.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use design
  • Lightweight and waterproof
  • Rechargeable and battery-powered
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not as bright as other models

3 / 5

Victoper Rechargeable Headlamp Ecomm Amazon.comVIA MERCHANT

Best Budget Headlamp

Victoper Rechargeable Headlamp

The Victoper Rechargeable Headlamp has eight LED lights that emit a combined 18,000 lumens. This incredibly bright headlamp ensures you can see everything around you, whether you’re hiking, fishing, cycling or engaging in any other outdoor activity in the dark. The budget-friendly pick has a USB charging cord and also comes with rechargeable batteries that support three to six hours of use, depending on the mode.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Rechargeable and battery-powered
  • Waterproof
  • Eight lighting modes

Cons

  • Bulky design

4 / 5

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp Ecomm Amazon.comVIA MERCHANT

Best Headlamp for Outdoor Adventures

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

The Petzl Actik Core is a top choice for backpackers and outdoor adventurers. The easy-to-use lightweight design adapts its brightness according to distance, proximity and rapid movement. Red lighting preserves night vision for fire pit hangs or after-dark hikes.

The device recharges quickly with a USB source, and if you don’t have an outlet nearby, the headlamp can run on three AAA batteries. On the lowest setting, the hands-free headgear will last 120 hours.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Rechargeable and battery-powered
  • 450-lumen light with excellent optical quality
  • Simple single-button design

Cons

  • Not completely waterproof

5 / 5

Biolite Headlamp 425 Ecomm Rei.comVIA MERCHANT

Best Headlamp for Running

BioLite Headlamp

The BioLite 425 is a lightweight headlamp designed for sport, and a perfect pick for fast-paced night hikes and runs. This slim-fitting headlamp packs a 425-lumen beam with a variety of lighting modes, and sits flush on the forehead without any slippage.

Runners rave about the comfortable fit, noting that it hardly bounces or moves during any activity. Also notable: A rear red light with a solid or strobe mode adds increased visibility. At the end of a run, the battery pack plugs in to charge via USB-C.

Pros

  • Moisture-wicking headband keeps you cool and dry during any activity
  • Very lightweight
  • Rechargeable

Cons

  • Light is very slim, which might create issues for those who wear glasses

Shop Now

What to Consider When Buying a Headlamp

How bright is a headlamp?

A headlamp’s number of lumens corresponds to how bright it is: The higher the number, the brighter the light. But it’s not as simple as purchasing the highest lumen count possible. A high lumen count drains a headlamp’s battery more quickly than a lower lumen count.

Lumen count also doesn’t tell you much about the length and shape of the light beam, which is important to consider depending on your activity. For everyday tasks that only require close-range viewing, you don’t need more than 300 lumens. If you want to see farther away, headlamps with more than 300 lumens work best.

How many lighting modes are there?

For indoor use and up-close activities, you’ll want a headlamp that has a flood light, which spreads the beam over a wide (but not very deep) area—perfect for looking under the sink or changing your socks at a campsite. A spotlight or narrow beam, on the other hand, is needed for seeing into the distance and high-speed activities like running. Red lights and strobing modes are other helpful outdoor lighting features you’ll want in the dark.

What kind of batteries does a headlamp use?

Most headlamps run on either rechargeable or AAA batteries, or both. While disposable batteries are quick and easy to replace, they can be heavy and expensive. Rechargeable headlamps solve those issues, but might put you in a pickle if you run out of juice and you’re not near a power source. If you plan on spending days in the backcountry with no access to electricity, for instance, you’ll want a headlamp with an extra-long burn time.

Shop smarter with our expert recommendations for tools, gear and money-saving deals on can’t miss DIY and home products. Sign up for the Stuff We Love newsletter

Mary Henn


As Associate Shopping Editor, Mary helps Family Handyman readers find products to elevate their time spent at home. Her expertise lies in style, trend and design. When she’s not working on the latest home and DIY content, you can find her reading a poem or novel—her creative writing has been awarded national recognition.