When searching for the ideal running headtorch, its performance is of paramount importance. Whether it be running rough mountain trails at night or running through a dark park, a good headlamp can be the difference between making it and not. Weight, durability, brightness, cost, comfort and stability are key factors.
Training on shorter winter days through the dark and cold, can shut down even the most ambitious runners. Head torches are invaluable and a decent headtorch can help you maintain fitness through winter. Making sure you don’t get lost when you’re running in the dark with this selection of the best running head torches.
Petzl Nao+ Headtorch
Before you try to find a good deal on this headlamp, please note that there are two versions of the Petzl NAO+. The older version only has 355 lumen, while the one mentioned here has almost twice the output and also a better battery life.
The new version comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, rated at 2600mAh, charging time is about five hours.
One of the outstanding features of the Petzl NAO+ headlamp is the reactive technology. This feature enables the Petzl NAO+ headlamp adjust the brightness to the environment. So if you’re running in a super dark forest at night and suddenly reach a well-lit road; the Petzl NAO+ headlamp will automatically lower its brightness levels.
The reactive lighting on the Petzl NAO+ is an amazing feature that you’ll either love or hate. For people running in relatively dark terrains, this would work perfectly as it adapts infrequently. It can be annoying for urban runners owing to the reflections on street signs and shop windows.
This headlamp is widely described as very stable and comfortable when worn. A lot of poorly designed headlamps bounce around when worn on the head, this is never the case with the Petzl NAO+ headlamp. This is mainly because the weight is evenly distributed across the head with the headlamp in the front and battery pack in the back.
Nitecore HC33 Head torch
The Nitecore HC33 head torch utilises a top of the range CREE XHP35 HD LED to emit a maximum of 1800 lumens. The high performance Led is paired with Precision Digital Optics Technology to offer a beam distance of 187m and a beam intensity of 8,750 candelas. The Nitecore HC33 can be powered with a single 18650 battery or two CR123A batteries. Nitecore strongly recommends using the Nitecore NL1835HP 18650 battery for optimal performance. In general, the 18650 battery will allow the Nitecore HC33 to perform better and run longer when compared to the CR123A batteries. Turbo mode, which is the brightness setting, is not available when using CR123A batteries to power the light.
The Nitecore HC33 head torch offers a unique L-shaped design. This design allows the light to be used as a handheld light when it is removed from its head strap. The light produces a flood style beam with a 100-degree angle. When used with the head strap the light can be adjusted 180 degrees. The magnetic tail cap and removable pocket clip allow the Nitecore HC33 to be hands-free. The light uses a single push button located on top of the head and is used to power the light and cycle through the various modes. With the Nitecore HC33 users have the choice of five main brightness levels, plus a SOS, strobe, and beacon mode.
- ATR Technology
- Battery voltage indicator
- Lightweight and durable
- No lockout feature
- Weight: 1.42 oz. without battery and headband
- Dimensions: 4. inches long and 1.0-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 330 hours
- Highest Setting: 1800 lumens for 30 minutes
Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp
Petzl are known for their high quality outdoor equipment, they’re especially popular within the climbing community with all of their fancy gear. So when they release a new bright headlamp you can be assured it’s going to be a good one. This is the most expensive headlamp on our list, but it’s also one of the best out there. Whether you’re a runner, climber or an explorer, there’s little to dislike about this bright headlamp from Petzl.
The Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp is rated at 760 lumen that is really powerful for a headlamp of this size. It features four constant lightning modes, meaning the headlamp will constantly shine until switched off. Depending on which mode used, it’s possible to achieve up to 38 hours of light with the Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp.
- Minimum: 65 lumen
- Economic: 300 lumen
- Optimum: 420 lumen
- Maximum: 760 lumen
The Ultra Rush head torch uses Petzl own battery, called the Accu 2 Ultra. These batteries have aplastic enclosure and are specifically made for headlamps and will last you a long time.
That protects the battery. It’s also waterproof down to 1 meter, but keep in mind it’s only rated to be underwater for 30 minutes or less. In other words, don’t go diving with this strapped to your head, but it sufficient for a run on a rainy day.
The weight is distributed evenly across your head thanks to the battery being in the back and the headlamp in the front. It’s also pretty light, sitting at 370 grams.
Olight H2R Head torch
The Olight H2R head torch is one of the brightest headlamps on the market today. It is only slightly let down by the uneven distribution of the torch and battery unit. The Olight H2R is powered by a single 18650 battery the Olight H2R uses a CREE XHP50 LED. The CREE XHP50 Led is paired with a TIR bead to produce a wide beam that is ideal for up close illumination. With the ability to emit a maximum of 2300 lumens the Olight H2R is the brightest light in the industry powered by a single 18650 battery.
The Olight H2R headlamp offers a maximum beam distance of 501 feet with a peak beam intensity of 5850 candelas. In addition to five main brightness levels, the Olight H2R offers a Beacon/SOS mode for emergencies. One of the more outstanding features is when changing brightness levels the Olight H2R will do so gradually to help protect your eyes from sudden light changes.
The Olight H2R headtorch can be used as a headlamp or a pack strap in addition to a pocket light as it is able to detach from the head strap mount and comes with a removable pocket clip. Operating the Olight H2R is done via a side switch that is slightly angled for a more natural operation. The Olight H2R is fully rechargeable via the magnetic tail cap and magnetic charging cable.
- Easy to us
- Can be an uneven fit on some heads
- Weight: 2.26 oz without battery
- Dimensions: 4.33 inches long and 0.95-inch diameter
- Lowest Setting: 1 lumen for 45 days
- Highest Setting: 2300 lumens for 1 hour and 50 minutes
Mifine Waterproof LED Headlamp
The Mifine LED headlamp comes with three different light modes, High Light, Strobe and Low Light. Its CREE XM-L T6 LED is rated of a brightness level at 1200 lumens. This is a basic headlamp that ticks all the boxes without setting the world alight.
The Mifine LED headlamp has the pull/push zoom which makes it super handy to change focus. It’s also possible to tilt the lens 90 degrees downward. Like many other headlamps, this is a portable one and with its aluminium alloy construction is actually pretty durable.
This headlamp not only suitable for those who love outdoor sports and running, but also is ideal for lovers of outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, hiking, biking, camping, cycling, caving, and climbing.
When buying the Mifine LED headlamp, you will get an 18-month warranty plus 30-day money back guarantee. Unfortunately, while the Mifine LED headlamp is a product designed for the great outdoors it’s not described as waterproof. It’ll handle some light rain but cannot be submerged for long use in water.
The ON/OFF button is located on the side and pressing it once sets it on high mode. Twice sets it to low mode and pressing it three times puts it into strobe mode. From a full charge, the Mifine LED headtorch can work for 5 hours when in high mode; 4 hours in middle mode; 3 hours in low mode
Ledlenser XEO19R Rechargeable LED Head torch
With the full 2000 lumens likely to be complete overkill in many situations, LED Lenser has equipped the XEO19R headlamp with no fewer than six different Smart Light Technology functions: ‘Boost, Low Power, Power, Optisense (automatic dim), Strobe and the innovative Emergency option, which can give up to 400 hours of ‘Firefly’ light.’
Asides from being an ideal running headlamp, it can also be utilised as a super-bright hand-held torch or mounted to a bike either as a bar or helmet light. As a bonus, you can also use the rechargeable battery pack as a back-up charger for any USB-powered devices you have, which is a neat touch.
Where it gets interesting is that you can not only use the light as straight headtorch with the 4 x 18650 L-ion rechargeable battery power box sat on the rear of the headband, but an extension cord and Neoprene pouch supplied mean you can use the battery remotely to reduce weight on the head and work better in cold conditions.
Other features include water resistance to IPX6 levels – resistant to a continuous spray of water for at least 3 minutes – and a secure lock-off switch.
Burn times are actually quite impressive: some four hours claimed for the 2000 lumen boost mode, eight hours on ‘Power’ and some 20 hours on low. To put that in perspective, claimed range is still a colossal 200m from the 1000-lumen output on power and even on ‘low’ it still delivers 200 lumens and 70 metres odd, which gives the light serious endurance racing potential
LED Lenser is made based on respected German technology and has earned a hard-earned reputation as one of the go-to brands for serious runners. The serious output levels and power options mean that it could easily substitute as a multi-sport light for a combination of running, biking, walking and even climbing.