Self-Reliance

The Best Headlamps of 2021

Everyone should have a reliable headlamp. Whether you’re an avid backpacker, a trail runner, or even just a fan of walking the dog at night, a hands-free light source is a must-have tool in every survivalist’s arsenal.

With all the options out there, however, picking one can be an overwhelming endeavor. That’s why we’ve sifted through them all and picked out the best headlamps for you.

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Bang for Buck | The 7 Best Headlamps for All Your Outdoor Activities

1. Petzl Actik CORE

Male tourist rest mountains | Headlamps

The Petzl Actik CORE is the best rechargeable headlamp on this list. It is user-friendly and comes with the old-school Petzl dependability we know and love.

Admittedly, the Actik CORE is slightly more expensive compared to the standard Actik. Its added features, however, make up for those few extra bucks.

The Actik CORE weighs only 2.8 oz., a tad less than your standard Actik. On its max setting, it also burns 100 lumens brighter.

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Both options allow you to choose between using the rechargeable CORE battery pack or the longer-lasting AAAs. The Actik CORE, however, includes the battery pack.

Both models are extremely easy to use and they both emit a quality beam that combines both spot and floodlights.

Pros:

  • Rechargeable
  • Easy to use
  • Bright
  • Light does not dim even as the battery depletes

Cons: 

  • Pricier than most at $69.95
  • Shorter burn time

PETZL – ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 450 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Black

  • HAVE A LIT ADVENTURE: The powerful and lightweight ACTIK CORE is built for mountaineering, running, cycling, hiking, and…
  • BRILLIANT BEAMS: Features two beam patterns (wide and mixed) to meet your need for high-performance lighting for outdoor…
  • TURN YOUR BRIGHTS DOWN: The red lighting preserves night vision and prevents blinding other members of the group.

2. Black Diamond Spot 350

Man headlamp near glowing orange tent | Headlamps

The Black Diamond Spot 350 has been a staple camping gear among climbers and hikers for years. Its newest model is a testament to the fact that even the good can get better.

The new Black Diamond Spot 350 has a brighter LED and a longer burn time. It is comfortable to wear, has a longer burn time compared to the previous model, and stays at its brightest for the longest time compared to the other headlamps on the list.

These features make the Black Diamond Spot 350 the best value-for-money headlamp on this list. Perhaps its only downside is that it takes a bit of time to learn how to use it as it holds a ton of features.

Pros:

  • Bright and comfortable to wear
  • Waterproof (IPX8)
  • Has a long burn time and a battery life reader

Cons: 

  • Takes a bit of time to learn how to use

3. Black Diamond Spot Lite 200

Caucasian female hiker reading | Headlamps

Want a lamp with pretty much all the features of the Black Diamond Spot 350 but just a little lighter and a bit more compact? The Black Diamond Spot Lite 200 is perfect for you.

This model is the best ultralight headlamp as it is affordable, high-quality, comfortable on the forehead, but holds almost as much power as its more packed brother. It has a two-AAA battery system that does limit the max output and burn time, but it still works great for all intents and purposes.

If you’re an ultralight backpacker, then this is the perfect headlamp for you.

Pros:

  • Ultralight and compact design
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof (IPX8)

Cons: 

  • Takes a bit of time to get used to
  • Max output is slightly more dim than others
  • Shorter burn time than most

Black Diamond Equipment – SpotLite 200 Headlamp – Azul

  • Emits up to 200 lumens on max setting
  • Multi-faceted optical lens design runs on two AAA alkaline batteries, included
  • Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes, dimming, strobe, red night-vision and lock mode

4. BioLite Headlamp 200

Young african man wearing headlamp running | Headlamps

The BioLite Headlamp 200 makes it on our list as one of the best headlamps for runners and walkers. This headlamp is the most comfortable one on the market, with an ergonomic design and a smooth headband that sits perfectly on the forehead.

It’s the best choice for runners simply because it is ultralight, yet fits well enough so it doesn’t slip or bounce on impact. It has a relatively short burn time, which makes suited only for short evening walks or jogs close to home.

Pros:

  • Ultralight and compact design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Rechargeable

Cons: 


BioLite HeadLamp 200 (Midnight Grey)

  • A headlamp so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing it. This headlamp delivers excellent fit, versatile lighting modes,…
  • Four light modes: White + Dim , Red + Dim, White Strobe, Red Strobe
  • Front panel tilts downward with one hand. Weighs ony 50 grams.

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5. Fenix HM50R

Brave night explorer climbs | Headlamps

If you have a taste for extreme adventures, then the Fenix HM50R is the perfect headlamp for you. The headlamp is equipped with a large, easy-to-press side button, which will come in handy when you’re wearing gloves.

It comes with a rechargeable battery but is also compatible with CR123A batteries that are great for adventures even in low-temperature areas. For most, the Fenix HM50R might be a bit too much. For the extreme adventures guy, however, this headlamp has a quality build that allows it to handle what most other headlamps couldn’t

Pros:

  • Performs well even in cold conditions
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Durable metal housing
  • Waterproof (IP68)

Cons: 

  • Batteries used are not common
  • Has no strobe or red mode
  • Takes some time to learn the different modes

6. Princeton Tec SNAP

Mountainbiker headlamp | Headlamps

Because of its versatility, the Princeton Tec SNAP easily makes it on our list of the best headlamps this year. It comes with a 2-way carabiner housing perfect for hanging the headlamp like a lantern, a bike handlebar mount for when you’re riding at night, and of course, a headband. Plus, it has a long run time.

The mounts that the Princeton Tec SNAP come with can be left where they belong so you can just pop the headlamp in whenever you need it. Plus, the headlamp sticks to metal surfaces because of its magnetic end. This makes it particularly useful when you’re working on some household projects.

Pros:

  • Versatile and convenient use options
  • Multi-purpose mounts
  • Long burn time

Cons: 

  • Max output is not as bright as others
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not fully waterproof

Sale


Princeton Tec Snap RGB Headlamp (300 Lumens, Black)

  • DIMMABLE LEDs. Provide the precise output needed for a given task, and help conserve battery power for maximum efficiency.
  • FOCUSED WIDE BEAM. An excellent choice for multipurpose activities. At close range, wide beams simulate normal daylight…
  • IPX4. Water resistant to splashing and quick dunkings. If submerged for a longer period of time, remove the batteries and…

7. Ledlenser MH10

Man exploring dark cave | Headlamps

The Ledlenser MH10 is one of the brightest headlamps on this list. This makes it perfect for those who love activities that require powerful beams of light such as caving or other winter sports.

Among other rechargeable headlamps, the Ledlenser MH10 also has one of the longest burn times. Its downside, however, is that it is bulky and heavy as it is equipped with a large battery.

Pros:

  • Very bright
  • Easy to use
  • Rechargeable but with a long burn time

Cons: 

  • Pricier than other headlamps
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Not fully waterproof

Ledlenser, MH10 Rechargeable Headlamp, LED Light for Outdoor Use

  • Take your outdoor adventures to the next level with the MH10; It boasts the best weight-to-lumen ratio of all Ledlenser…
  • Light up the trail or campsite with up to 600 lumens that shine up to 150 meters for up to 120 hours; Features Constant Light…
  • Comes with red and green color filters to provide better night vision for fishing and hunting; Features a rear red light so…

Now that you have a list of the best headlamps for your next outdoor activities, know what factors you should consider when buying one with this video courtesy of REI:



Headlamps are essential not just for hikers, campers, or runners. A headlamp can come in handy in a lot of situations such as when doing repairs at home, going on bike rides at night, and even in emergency scenarios. Check out our list of the best headlamps above and choose the one that’s perfect for your needs.

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Are there other headlamps that you think should have made it on this list? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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