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The Best Running Head Torches in 2021

Whether it’s early morning, late at night, or just a dark day on the trails, a running head torch will help keep you safe while running in the dark.

How is a head torch used in running?

Running head torches are used to help illuminate the path ahead when a runner is out in the dark. A head torch can easily be worn around the top of the head, with a light at the forehead. The light shines in the direction the runner is looking, helping to light up the path and greatly improve visibility.

Head torches are helpful for runners who wish to keep running when there is limited hours of daylight, are only able to run in early mornings or late at night, or run on trails with difficult terrain. This light will not only help improve visibility to avoid tripping or falling on the run, but also helps runners be seen by traffic, animals and other runners.

Head Torch Lingo

When browsing head torches, you’ll find that these three terms are used to describe the unique qualities of each.

  • Lumens – used to describe the level of brightness (the more lumens, the brighter the light)
  • Reactive – a reactive head torch automatically adjusts its brightness based on the light it sense outside
  • Burn Time – the length of time that the head torch will stay on before needing to be recharged

While every runner has different preferences, just about all can agree that running with a head torch of any kind is much easier than running without. Here are some of the most powerful, adjustable, and user-friendly head torches for runners on the market in 2021.

6 Best Running Head Torches of 2021

Petzl Bindi

Incredibly light and easy to pack for travel – it can be stored in a waist pack or small running pouch.

  • Brightness: 200 lumens
  • Burn time: 2 – 50 hours, depending on setting
  • Price: $44.95

Petzl NAO+

The head torch is reactive, adjusting its brightness based on outdoor lighting. It has a powerful beam and is bounce free, lighting up to 100 meters.

  • Brightness: 750 lumens
  • Burn time: 1.5 – 15 meters
  • Price: $199.95

Silva Trail Runner 4

The headband stays in place with an anti-slip design. It is charged with AAA batteries and lights up to 75 meters.

  • Brightness: 350 lumens
  • Burn time: 10 – 90 hours depending on setting
  • Price: $54.98

Petzl Iko Core

This powerful head torch is flexible and can be easily stored, lighting up to 100 meters.

  • Brightness: 500 lumens
  • Burn time: 8 – 15 hours depending on setting
  • Price: $89.95

Ledlenser NEO6R

The Ledlenser also comes with a chest strap to be worn in different locations; it lights up to 40 meters

  • Brightness: 240 lumens
  • Burn time: 8 -15 hours depending on setting
  • Price: $23.95

Petzl Actik Core

The Petzl Actik core has reactive lighting, automatically adjusting based on the outdoor setting for a powerful brightness.

  • Brightness: 450 lumens
  • Burn time: 2.5 – 15 hours depending on setting
  • Price: $69.95

How to Choose a Head Torch for Running

There are many things to consider when choosing a running head torch. Each runner will need slightly different qualities, depending on their training style, environment and running goals. The list below will help you evaluate each head torch to see whether it suits your needs on the run.

Battery life

One of the main qualities to consider when selecting a head torch is the battery life. You’ll want to find a running head torch that has a battery life long enough to last for the duration of your longest run at the brightness of your choosing.

Brightness

Another main quality to consider is the brightness. A 60 watt lightbulb is equivalent to about 1000 lumens in brightness. Most head torches that are designed for running produce between 90 – 500 lumens worth of light. Consider where you’ll be running and what strength of light you will need.

Versatility

Some head torches, especially those not specifically designed for runners, can be a bit clunky and hard to carry. This is fine if you have plenty of storage space and the ability to transport, but other runners need something a bit more compact and able to break down. Many head torches can also be worn on the chest, making them more versatile.

Ease of use

No runner wants to be forced to take their headtorch off to change the settings halfway through a run in the dark. Consider how easily you’ll be able to adjust the brightness, direction and fit of the head torch while running.

Weight

Another often overlooked quality to consider is the weight of the head torch. A good head torch will be lightweight and easy to forget about when running.

Comfort

Perhaps most importantly, runners should find a head torch that feels comfortable when worn. It should stay in place without bouncing, feel lightweight, and contain fabric that is comfortable against the skin for long periods of time.

Reactive lighting

Many runners want to be hands-free during a run. Fiddling with switches or buttons to adjust the brightness of the head torch is hardly how any runner wants to spend their time on the go. A head torch with reactive lighting will automatically adjust its brightness based on the outdoor light – helping runners stay focused and safe.

With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start your search. These six are some of the best head torches for runners this year. Whether you’re looking for the brightest, most budget-friendly or most lightweight head torch, there is something for you.

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