Which headlamp to buy is a BIG QUESTION, and yet we can help you in 5-minutes.
Here are our top selections for best headlamps for different activities – just click one to see the headlamp you’re probably going to want most. There are 2 price-ranges – BUDGET, and BEST. BEST headlamp means you just buy it because there’s nothing better and you can’t risk the light failing at the wrong moment.
Ultra-Running – overnight races?
- BUDGET – Petzl Nao 2 with extra batteries
- BEST – Petzl Ultra Rush with ACCU 4 battery, or even lighter option – Petzl Nao+ with extra batteries.
Casual Night Runner – couple of hours in the dark
Hiker or Other Forest Activity
- BUDGET – OLight Wave H25 or Petzl Nao 2 – the Petzl is much lighter. Both are great headlamps for the trail.
- BEST – Petzl Ultra Rush with regular ACCU 2 battery, or ACCU 4 for more than 7 hours of bright light.
Working on Automobile or Machinery in Dark
- BUDGET – Black Diamond Icon will work for close-in work
- BEST – HP25R gives a great flood beam, and plenty of brightness if you need really strong light. Not too expensive either.
Automobile Emergencies – good for the trunk
- BUDGET – Even the budget option here will be expensive because, you’re talking about your safety – you should have a very good light in the trunk. Petzl Nao+ Plus
- BEST – I go with the Petzl Ultra Rush for everything important – where safety is a real consideration. The light is super strong and bright, and gives 7 hours of bright light, more than 30 hours of dimmer light.
- BUDGET and BEST – Petzl Ultra Rush You won’t ski into a tree you don’t see with this headlamp – it has a fantastic quality of light. Don’t go cheap during this activity!
- BUDGET – H25 Wave
- BEST – The Ultra Rush would probably be overkill, but if you need one light that gives you the best light for nearly any activity – the Petzl Ultra Rush is it. That said, you could get away with a Petzl Nao 2 on your fishing trip and be quite happy about it.
- BUDGET – Fenix HP25R has a strong center spotlight beam that will probably work for you. If not, see the Best entry below.
- BEST – Fenix HL60R has a stronger center beam.
Bicycle Light – street or trail
- BUDGET and BEST – again, just go with the best you can get – so you can see, and be seen. Riding a bike at night is very dangerous, you need the best you can get – the Petzl Ultra Rush is it.
Taking Out the Trash
- BUDGET and BEST – Any light found HERE works, you’re best to get one that you can also use for other activities so you don’t buy one cheap light, then another good one for something else.
Reading a Book in a Tent
- BUDGET – The Black Diamond Icon is perfect for this.
- BEST – you might as well have a good headlamp that doubles as a great light on the trail and a book light – right? Check out all of our 12 CHOICES HERE to find one that better fits more activities.
End of the World / GTFO / SHTF / BOB’s (Bug Out Bags) Headlamp?
- BUDGET and BEST – Petzl Ultra Rush with ACCU 4 batteries and waist clip, power wire extension. These don’t take batteries, so you should have a generator for charging. Probably, at some point, someone will have a fix for how to use store-bought batteries with the Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp for an emergency. Google it!
Need a great headlamp for something else? Let us know. We’re always looking for new ways people use headlamps. For instance, we use them for finding venomous snakes at night here in Southern Thailand! We use the Petzl Ultra Rush – it has the best quality of light and is super durable. We fall on our heads sometimes. ;P