One of the best tools you can keep in your backpack is your headlamp. The most important aspect, though? That it works. But it's up to you to decide which one is best for you. Do you want a lightweight one for running or a high-tech one for easy usage? Depending on where you are exploring, you’ll want a waterproof headlamp or one that can withstand extreme temperatures. Maybe you want one that uses batteries or one that you can recharge from your phone. Whichever one you choose, we’ve got you covered with the nine best headlamps to buy this year.
01 of 09
The Black Diamond Spot is an extremely bright headlamp (200 lumens) that is lightweight with only three AAA batteries and offers a long battery time. The Spot has a proximity light for close-ups, a spotlight for distance, as well as a red light for hanging around the campsite, which has a strobe and proximity setting. The Spot uses power-tap technology for changing between modes, has a three-level power meter to indicate when the battery is low and is fully waterproof down to one meter for 30 minutes. Colors include silver, dark green, black, red and blue.
02 of 09
The Black Diamond Storm is a durable headlamp that doesn't have a sticker shock price tag. You’ll get 160 lumens in a variety of settings to brighten up any area: full-strength proximity, full-strength spotlight, red-night vision, as well as a lock mode so you don’t run your battery down. All three lights (proximity, distance and red) can be dimmed with ease by simply tapping the side of the touch-sensitive lamp. The red light also has a strobe setting. The best parts of the Storm? The entire getup is fully waterproof and there is a battery meter, so you know when to change out the four AAA batteries. Colors include gray, black, green and white.
03 of 09
Even with an extremely low price point, the Lighting EVER Headlamp doesn’t skimp on function. The headlamp has four light modes — three levels of white light and one red flashing mode — and is water resistant. The headlamp is a bit bulky, but does have a comfortable, adjustable headband that goes both around the head and over the top of the head for a secure fit. Includes three AAA batteries.
04 of 09
At just 2.4 ounces, the BoldBrite Running Headlamp is ideal for high-impact activities. The lightweight lamp won’t bounce around on a run, plus the forehead panel is curved for a headache-free wear. The lamp has four settings with 120 lumens overall: bright white, white, red and strobe red. Not only will you be able to see in the dark, but cars will also be able to see you with a reflective elastic strap. The headlamp takes three AAA batteries.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
The Foxelli USB Rechargable Headlamp is lightweight and doesn’t include batteries. Instead, you can re-charge on-the-go from a cellphone or portable charger with a mini USB charging cable (included). After a two-hour charge, the headlamp will be fully charged with up to 40 hours of light with 160 lumens of white light for distance, proximity and strobe. A red light setting is also available. The headlamp is water resistant and comes in black or white.
06 of 09
The Vitchelo V800 Headlamp is great to use when you're running, climbing, cycling, kayaking or even working on your vehicle. It offers 168 lumens in a variety of modes. With two easy-to-use buttons, you can get a red steady light or a red strobe light, as well as four white light settings — high (goes as far as 110 meters), medium, low and a strobe. The headlamp weighs just 2.1 ounces and uses three AAA batteries. Colors include black, blue, green, orange, white and yellow.
07 of 09
At almost $200, the 750 lumens Petzl Nao+ is a pricey headlamp for serious explorers, but tech-lovers will find it fascinating. With Reactive Lighting Technology, the light’s luminosity and shape of the beam adjust to whatever light you are in and what you are looking at. This makes for a no-fuss change between modes and saves on battery power. There is a constant light setting that has beams for close shots and distance, and the battery is charged via a USB port. You can also connect the headlamp to the MyPetzl Light app to check power levels and customize your favorite light settings.
08 of 09
Use this if you are counting ounce for ounce on a through-hike or stash it in your first aid kit for emergencies. The Petzl e+Lite is a 30-gram headlamp with 26 lumens and stays powered by lithium batteries. It is extremely small and has a retractable headband. Plus, the e+Lite has not only a bright white light mode, but also a red emergency mode. The micro-headlamp can function in extreme temperatures and is waterproof up to one meter for 30 minutes.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Popular among cavers, the Princeton Tec Apex has a bright spot beam, as well as a large flood light. It is slightly heavier than other headlamps (9.8 ounces), but is compatible with four AA batteries or lighter, lithium batteries. There is a battery power meter on the side of the headlamp, so you’ll always know if you need to swap out for a new set (the four batteries offer approximately 150 hours of light). Options for the Princeton Tex Apex headlamp include a headlamp with 200, 275 or 350 lumens.
At ThoughtCo, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.