The Best Running Head Torch
For most people, going for an early morning jog or late-night run when the trails are quiet and deserted leaves you with enough peace to concentrate on the road ahead. However, the conditions at dawn or dusk are usually dark, and without improving the visibility, you can easily end up in a ditch on your bottom!
To ensure that your morning run isn't cut short prematurely, a running head torch is an essential piece of gear that you should get.Aside from making visible the path ahead, the head torch also makes you noticeable to oncoming motorists hence boosting your safety on the road.
So, if you are a fan of running in the dark, it’s high time you get yourself a high-quality head torch. In this post, we take a look at possible candidates for the best running head torch of 2020 you can buy! If you're also in the market for a Running Watch, then check out our latest article: The Best Running Watches UK
The Best Running Head Torch - Buyers Guide
several features in a head torch enhance its functionality to serve you better during your outdoor activities. These are what you are supposed to assess when shopping for a torch so that you end up with the desired quality. Be sure to consider the following:
Visibility is the primary motivation for buying a head torch, so what better place to get started than brightness? The brightness of a running head torch is measured in the form of lumens, which refers to the amount of visible light the human eye can detect.
Until recently, it wasn’t used in the labeling of head torches. However, this unit offers better clarity with the use of LEDs. For perspective, a 60W bulb has a luminous flux of approximately 700-750 lumens. Nevertheless, the focusing of the lumens causes a significant difference to the perceived brightness.
Running head lamps vary in lumens, typically ranging between 20lm to 100lm.The brightness of your head torch should be determined by the type of activity you use it for. More importantly, the brightness should be sufficient to make whatever you need to see ahead visible.
Generally speaking, a torch with 100lm is pretty bright and it’s highly unlikely you’ll need greater lumens just for running. Not to mention that such a level of brightness will drain your batteries even before you finish your run!
Speaking of battery life, you want a running head torch that will last you more than a few running cycles. Usually, manufacturers will display the battery life of the product on the packaging to give you an idea of how long you can expect to use the torch.
As expected, a torch with a higher level of brightness usually has a shorter battery life. Therefore, you want to note the battery life of the torch vis a vis the advertised lumens offered while shopping for the running head torch. Aside from battery life, you’ll also want to know if the product has a provision to recharge the battery.
Preferably, look for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
These are usually much more efficient with power compared to the standard alkaline batteries.This also means that you should get a spare battery as frequent use of the head torch will see you drain the battery in no time.
One last exciting feature that you should know about is reactive lighting. Although still novice to head torches, this will go a long way to enhance the life of your battery. It basically means that the torch can detect incoming light and automatically adjust the brightness accordingly, thus conserving the battery.
The distance to which the beam can shine is determined not only by the brightness of the torch but also by the ability to focus. It is also worth checking if it’s possible to swivel the head of the torch and channel the beam on the ground or straight ahead.
The beam will usually be displayed on the packaging and may range from a couple of meters to few hundreds. Others go to as far as 200m but I doubt you’ll need a torch this bright for your morning runs.
The torch can have one powerful LED or a group of less powerful ones. Those with a single powerful LED have better capabilities of producing a longer-distance beam. You also want to know if the torch has a fixed beam pattern as some are more adjusted to bikers and walkers than to runners.
The implication of a torch having higher lumens, as well as longer battery life is that its weight is also increased. The torch needs to be lightweight enough so that it doesn’t weigh you down and turn out to be a nuisance after a while. You want to be as comfortable as possible during your runs.
For us, anything heavier than 200g on your head feels more like a burden and may negate the primary purpose of the torch.As such, you need to try and find a balance between these features to enjoy optimal functionality. Some brands offer a means of tucking the battery in the pocket to try and ease the weight burden.
How functional is the torch you’re about to buy? How easy is it to turn on and off when necessary? Is it ergonomic to hold in your hands? Just like any other accessory you buy; you want to assess the overall functionality of the head torch.
There a few secondary features to look out for that serve to enhance the practicality of the torch. These are things you need to know how to work your way around. For instance, if you store your torch inside a bag, you don’t want it to easily switch on and drain out all the battery power.
Finally, the torch should be able to serve you for years on end. Considering that you’ll be using it frequently and possibly in demanding conditions, you want something that offers a sense of durability. Look for a product that is at least IPX4-splash-proof.
This ensures that the torch will continue functioning normally in the rain and even survive getting stuck at the bottom of your backpack.
The Best Running Head Torch 2020- Reviews
Biolite Headlamp 200
The Biolite Headlamp 200 is a fresh offering from Biolite that has proven to be a worthy contender for the best running head torch around, and you can credit this to a range of high-performance features. The torch is conveniently lightweight, bright, easily adjustable, and decently priced; it is everything you dream of in a running headlamp!
The manufacturer used a broad fabric for the headband that securely wraps around your head while running. You’ll have a comfortable time adjusting the strap; just pull at the two sliders and voila!
A tiny reflective panel has been included on the back to make you visible to motorists coming from behind during your night runs.The lamp can also be adjusted with one hand, making it easy for you to switch the brightness from distance to proximity without a fuss!
The Biolite headlamp 200 will shine to a distance of 50m ahead, lighting up the road for you. This is just enough visibility when you’re on your night runs. An easy to operate multi-press on the main button allows you to switch between hi/lo beam, strobe light, and red light when reading maps in the dark.
The torch is powered by a rechargeable 700mAh lithium-ion battery that will serve you for 40 hours on a low beam and 3 hours on high beam.The battery can be charged via a standard micro-USB, so you can either do this from the comfort of your car or even at work.
Whether you are searching for a headlamp for your night runs or something practical to have at home for when the electricity takes French leave, the Biolite Headlamp 200 will be a nice option for you!Pros
Great for runners
Lightweight and comfortable
Decent battery life
Easy to adjust
Some products are faulty
Silva Headlamp Trail Runner 4
The Silva Headlamp Trail Runner 4 is another lightweight head torch from Silva that offers a comfortable fit for those who can’t miss their early morning and night runs. A 4th generation iteration by the manufacturer, the Trail Runner 4 comes with an upgraded light output of around 350 Lumen.
Despite its improved brightness, it still maintains the lightweight and generous battery life of its predecessors.
You can either carry the battery on the headband or throw it inside your pocket, thanks to an included extension cord.This should shed enough weight when the unit starts weighing your head down.
An interesting feature on this torch is that it employs Intelligent Light Technology to optimize the beam pattern. This it does via a unique combination of a close flood light and long-reach headlight. As a result, you won’t have to move your head around too much and there is a reduced risk of missing what you wanted to see.
The Trail Runner 4 boasts a hardwearing performance; it is build using water-resistant materials that can easily withstand tough terrains and undesirable weather conditions.This means you won’t have to cut short your run just because of an unexpected downpour.
Aside from being water-repellent, the torch is also pretty lightweight to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the run. The band is also wide and stays securely in place even when the run gets bumpy and is easily adjustable for optimal functionality.
The battery will go for at least 5 hours before running out of power and there is a battery indicator to let you keep track of the remaining charge. Overall, it is a practical head torch for anyone who ventures into the outdoors at night!Pros
Intelligent Light Technology
Short battery life
PETZL Actik Core Headlamp
The first thing that will stand out for you on the Petzl Actik Core head torch is its charming design. It is relatively minimalist and blends the black and red colors on its band seamlessly. This gives it a lightweight build that won’t burden you on those extended runs.
The effortlessly manageable weight of the Actik Core is a welcome feature and at only 82g, you won’t find it a nuisance on prolonged runs.
The headband is wide and holds securely around your hand to avoid sliding down your face.
The beam of the Actik is 450 Lumens, which is more than bright enough to illuminate the trail ahead as needed. This is powered by a 1250 mAh rechargeable battery that offers decent burn time.
The battery pack is a hybrid design, which should be a relief for the forgetful individuals who need multiple power options. This pocket-sized head torch will make a great running head torch if you like to hit the trails in the dark.Pros
450 Lumens max power
Compact and lightweight
The Fenix HL 18R features a neat and compact design that will make a great running head torch. It boasts a 400 Lumen max power beam that is capable of lighting up the darkest of trails, as well as a floodlight setting that will be perfect both runs and evening chores while on a camping trip.
There are 4 spotlights and 2 floodlight settings on the Fenix HL, leaving you with more than enough options to illuminate the trail ahead.You also get an SOS flashing option to make you visible to oncoming motorists.
With an IP66 rating, this torch is more than weatherproof and will continue working fine when exposed to damp and cold conditions. The two control buttons are glove-friendly but anything thicker may prove to be a challenge. The single headband helps to keep the torch lightweight and holds it securely in place at all times.
It is also easily adjustable and comes with reflective details to boost your visibility in the dark. A ratchet swivel on the torch allows you to get to the battery unit when you pull it down far enough. This headlamp is powered by a hybrid battery pack consisting of 3 AAA batteries.
These will offer you around 8.5 hours burn time on Turbo setting, 12 hours on high, and 14.5 hours when using the floodlight feature.A 4-bar indicator on the torch ensures that you keep track of the dwindling battery level whenever you’re using it.
The batteries are also rechargeable and included in the package is a micro USB cable that will come in handy during recharging. You also get a 5-year free repair warranty when you buy this exciting headlamp.
The Fenix HL 18R offers a great balance between weight and functionality. It is a remarkable torch that you’ll enjoy having on the trail. Although the dual buttons may prove confusing at times, it will only be a matter of time before you get the hang of it.Pros
Multiple light settings
Compact and lightweight
Long battery life
Dual buttons confusing
The Ledlenser MH5 is a very flexible head torch with multiple configurations that enable you to perform a number of tasks during a full-on outdoor adventure. This makes for a versatile unit that you’ll enjoy having in your accessory kit.
The running head torch features a 400 Lumen max beam that is enough to illuminate any dark trails and alleys you decide to venture into. On the low side, you only get 20 Lumen beam power. There is also a red light, as well as a red and white flashing mode than warns motorists that you’re on the road.
All these light settings are controlled by a single button that is large enough and glove-friendly for easy operation. The torch uses a fully hybrid power source composed of an AA-sized rechargeable battery, which enables you to replace it when it runs out of power. You can as well replace it with a standard AA battery!
Another important feature on the Ledlenser head torch is that it is capable of switching the beam from a focused spot to flood without pressing on the button too many times.The torch can also be detached from the headband, allowing you to use it as a hand-held flashlight when you see the need.
A clip on the torch can be attached to a t-shirt neck or shirt pocket, leaving you with multiple ways of using the MH5. The IP54 rating tells you that the unit is weatherproof, as well as rustproof. This ensures that you get a durable running head torch that you can use even in the rain.
The only downside to the Ledlenser MH5 is that it can be a little bulky, especially with the detachable mechanism and the additional charging unit. Other than that, this is a high-performance headlamp that will serve you diligently while hiking or running through on darkest trails.Pros
Weather proof and rust proof
400 Lumen max beam
Multiple light configuration
A little bit weighty
Petzl SWIFT RL
This is another great product from Petzl that will impress you with what it brings to the table. The Petzl Swift RL is the latest iteration in the Reactive Lighting series of headlamps and comes fully featured to make for the ideal running, climbing, hiking, and skiing torch.
If you’ve ever used the popular Petzl Bindi, consider this an upgrade of the same! The SWIFT comes with a remarkable 900 Lumen, which is enough to brighten up any pitch-dark environments you find yourself in. The Reactive Lighting technology helps to conserve battery power in this torch.
It is activated with a sensor, which adjusts the beam appropriately depending on the existing light conditions. But if you don’t need the reactive lighting feature, you can disable it by long-pressing the button. The battery in this unit is not interchangeable; Petzl used a sealed 2350mAh battery to power the Swift.
There is also a 5-bar indicator that will show you the remaining battery level. Luckily, this battery can be charged via USB cable and will be at full capacity after 6 hours using a standard charger. You also get a micro USB lead in the package to help you with the charging.
The are 3 different beam settings on this torch, including a low, standard, and maximum beam.
The highest mode offers an incredible 900 Lumen, that should brighten any dark paths remarkably.You can activate these by pressing on the glove-friendly button on the lamp.
The Swift boasts an IPX4 rating that should allow you to run in the rain without worrying about harming your torch. The headband is patented and easy to adjust. It also holds stably around a helmet and reflective details on it ensure that you remain visible to other road users at night.
Overall, the unit is quite lightweight and the head swivels up and down in case you want the headtorch around your neck. One thing it is missing is a red beam, which comes in handy in special circumstances. All in all, this is a high-performance running head torch that you won’t regret investing in!Pros
No red light
BioLite HeadLamp 330
Biolite is a brand known for its innovative and socially responsible camping equipment such as their famous Camp Stove- it can charge your phone while cooking. This is the same level of creativity you find in the Biolite Headlamp 330; a fully-fledged running head torch with enough features to impress the most ardent outdoorsman.
The 330 offers a powerful beam that will be ideal in no light conditions. Its 330 Lumen beam should allow you to keep on running with no hassle. The unit is powered by a 900mAh battery pack that will last you up to 5 hours on max power.
However, you’ll be able to stretch it up to 40 hours when using the 5 Lumen low power. There is a variety of modes for you to choose from, including flood, spot, red, as well as strobe. The head unit is pretty compact and integrated into the grippy and comfortable headband.
This ensures that you have an easy time while running without having to worry about the head torch falling off.
The battery unit has been positioned at the back to evenly distribute the weight for your running comfort.
The battery also features a 4-bar indicator that should be able to tell you when the pack is running out of power. You will enjoy the fit of the Biolite 330, thanks to a comfortable and wide enough headband that holds firmly. Reflective details on the band also help to enhance your visibility.
With all the features you get on the Biolite Headlamp 330, you’ll find it pretty suitable as a running head torch, as well as a host of other outdoor adventures. From camping to hiking and even mountaineering, this is the kind of gear you want to have in hand! It's one of our favourites on this list of best running head torch for 2020!Pros
Nice weight distribution
Short battery life
Black Diamond Revolt
The Black Diamond Revolt employs a triple power LED as the main beam and two low-power LEDs that allow you to adjust the brightness depending on the conditions you are in. This can be done by long-pressing the on/off button, enabling you to switch between the two modes with ease.
The main beam will provide you with a decent amount of brightness, although not as powerful as the Trail Runner 11. Also, you won’t find an adjustable zoom on the Revolt. This torch is powered by the manufacturer’s own AAA batteries, which are rechargeable.
The battery pack can be recharged via USB but you can replace them with standard AAAs as a back-up.A single on/off switch on the headlamp may pose a little change to use and you’ll have a hard time opening the battery compartment when you’re wearing gloves.
This means replacing the battery in the middle of your run may end up interrupting your schedule. Considering that the batteries have been placed at the front, the Black Diamond Revolt may not be very stable, especially when you are running relatively fast. It can easily fall down and may require constant readjustment.
Overall, you’ll like the provision to charge the battery via USB, despite the few slightly underwhelming features.
Nevertheless, when you consider the cost of the Revolt, you’ll realise that it offers nice value for money for runners looking to buy on a budget.
It would be a decent compromise if you don’t have the cash to afford some of the pricier models we’ve discussed in the article.Pros
Triple power LED
OMERIL LED Head Torch
Our last option of the best running head torch is a very budget option of the Omeril LED Head Torch with great reviews on Amazon. Having said that, the Omeril LED head torch will be a fitting choice in this respect.
This torch uses advanced technology to provide a beam that is brighter than LED lamps while consuming less energy.
This power efficiency allows it an extra 80% battery performance.The 150 Lumen beam is not the brightest in the market, but it is good enough for light running in the dark.
Six pieces of AAA batteries are used to power the Omeril LED torch. The headlight also weighs just 0.18lbs, ensuring that you get a lightweight device that won’t weigh you down on the trail. Its elastic and anti-slip headband makes for a secure fit even when you have a helmet on.
The torch is also adjustable through 60 degrees, allowing you to focus the beam just where you want it. You get three lighting modes that include low, high, and flashing. This lets you utilise the ideal level of brightness depending on the existing light conditions.
Finally, this torch will prove to be a crucial safety accessory for both kids and adults. Whether you’re going for a short jog, cycling, camping, or exploring, you can count on this torch to light up the night!Pros
3 light modes
Not very bright
If you’re going to venture outside in the dark, you want to make sure that you have a spotlight to light the path ahead. For night trail runners, a head torch will serve as the perfect gear.
The above models are some of what we consider to be the best running head torch of 2020!