Good-quality bike lights should be one of the first cycling accessories on your shopping list. Needless to say, they are essential when cycling at night or if visibility is poor, making lights a must-have during the winter and a smart addition to your bike even in the summer.
It’s a legal requirement in the United Kingdom to have lights on your bike if you’re cycling after sunset (we’ve got a full guide on bike light laws), but some riders like to use them during the day as well, especially during the winter, in order to increase visibility to other road users.
Like everything, though, there are many different brands, offering an endless array of options, so it can be a near-impossible task to figure out the best bike lights for your needs.
Fortunately, here at BikeRadar, our expert testers have used and abused dozens of light sets to bring you the definitive list of what we believe are the best road and commuting lights on the market.
Best bike lights at a glance
Here’s BikeRadar’s pick of the best front lights, best rear lights and the best light sets we’ve tested. For more options, plus our reviews and buyer’s guide, read on.
Best front light for under £100: Bontrager Ion Pro RT
Best front light for under £60: Blackburn Dayblazer 800
Best front light for under £40: Lezyne Hecto Drive 500XL
Best rear light: Topeak Redlite Aero 1W
Best rear light for urban riding: Bontrager Flare R City
Best front & rear light set: Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL and Lezyne KTV Pro Drive 75
How many lumens do you need for bike lights?
Bike lights are split into two categories: those that provide enough illumination to enable you to clearly see what’s ahead of you, and those that are designed to simply ensure that you’re seen by other road users – lights to see and lights to be seen, as it were.
We’ve mainly focused on front lights that will enable you to see where you are going on unlit cycle paths or rural roads.
Generally speaking, we’d recommend a minimum of 200 lumens for urban commuting and 400 lumens for riding on unlit roads.
If you’re after lights for riding off-road on trails, you’ll need something brighter, with greater power and battery life. Check out our separate round-up of the best mountain bike lights.
Once you’ve browsed our reviews, don’t forget to check out our buyer’s guide to road and commuting lights at the bottom of the page. We’ve covered all of the key factors you should consider, including light output, battery life, beam pattern and more.
Best front lights for bikes in 2021 as rated by our expert testers
- Bontrager Ion Pro RT: £100 / $125 / €119.99 / AU$189.99
- Gemini Titan 4000: £300 / $350 / €370 / AU$450