When you work long hours or you train during the shorter daylight months of winter, you often find yourself running in the dark. It’s not easy and it’s not usually fun, but if you want to stay on target with your training schedule, it’s a necessary evil.
To light your way, it helps to learn about and own one of the best night running lights for joggers.
Quick Picks – Top Night Running Lights
Why Do You Need a Light for Running?
Wearing a running light serves two purposes when you’re running in low-light conditions.
Whether you’re a new runner or a seasoned pro, if you’ve spent any time at all on road runs, you’ve probably had some close encounters with drivers who are distracted. At night, this problem gets even worse because drivers aren’t expecting to see someone running alongside the road and, because it’s dark, they will only have a few seconds to react when they do finally see you.
This kind of risk can result in a horrible accident or a last-minute attempt to leap out of harm’s way. Neither situation is what you want.
But, if you’re wearing night lights, drivers will be able to see you long before their car lights reach you. This will keep you safer and prevent them from feeling guilty for the rest of their life if they were to hit you. Although runners are always in search of PRs, we need to remember that the best runs are the ones when we’re able to return home safely to our loved ones.
So, keeping you safe from motorists is one of the two important purposes a night light for running serves. The other is keeping you from tripping or stumbling over obstacles that may be in your path. A light will illuminate your way and hopefully prevent you from falling and possibly injuring yourself.
When we’re running in the dark, it’s hard to see giant potholes, uneven sidewalks, storm sewer grates that dip down and other areas that may cause us to twist or turn our foot or ankle. But with running lights, we can spot some of these hazards before they’re upon us.
What Are Some Things I Should Look For in a Running Light?
Running lights come in all strengths, colors, and methods of wearing. Sometimes it’s good to have a variety of them for the different situations you’ll face as a runner. That’s why we came out with our own running safety kit that features a number of reflective products and lights for runners.
Here are some of the things you should take into consideration before you purchase a running light.
- How you wear it: If the running light clips onto a belt but you rarely wear running belts, this kind of light won’t be a good fit for you. Maybe a headlamp would be better. You should find something that works with the gear you already have and regularly wear.
- How comfortable it is: Any running light you choose should be comfortable when you’re wearing it. Keep in mind that when you try something on, it may feel comfortable at first, but you need to remember that you’re looking for something that will continue to feel great even during a long run. If there is anything about the light that feels off when you first try it on, don’t assume you’ll get used to it.
- How powerful it is: Some lights give off just enough glow to make sure motorists can see you. But other lights are much more powerful, letting you see everything in your path. When you’re running in the dark, it’s best to have a light that will let you stay away from any hazards so you should choose a bright light over a dim one.
- Whether or not you want reflective material on it: Some lights, especially if they are lights that are built into a belt, also have some reflective material on them to help people see you while you’re doing your late-night runs. Reflective material won’t help you see stuff in your path, but it does provide a little extra visibility to motorists.
- What kind of light you want: Do you want a flashing strobe light to call more attention to yourself? Or would you rather skip the flashing lights and run with one solid light so you can always see where you are going?
- How long the batteries last: There are few things more aggravating as a runner than shelling out your hard-earned money for a piece of gear only to find out it breaks quickly. You should always try to find out how long the battery life is on a light you’re interested in buying. If it only lasts 10 to 20 hours, you won’t get a lot of runs in before you’ll have to replace it.
- If the batteries are replaceable: Ideally, you’ll find a product that lets you replace the batteries when they die. Sometimes, the replacement is incredibly complicated, so you’ll want to look for one that isn’t too difficult.
5 Best Night-Running Lights for Joggers
These armband lights are a good pick because they go on a body part that has regular movement when you run––your arms. That swinging motion will draw even more attention from passing motorists. The more attention motorists pay, the better off you are.
- If you don’t like wearing armbands, these can also be worn on your ankles.
- You’ll get a set of two.
- They are affordable.
- They are adjustable to fit small runners or heavier runners.
- The batteries last a long time, from approximately 50 to 70 hours.
- They come with extra batteries so you can get some extra life out of these lights.
- You have your pick of five different colors for the lights.
- They are simple to turn on.
- These lights have three different settings and you can even have them flash if you think that will help with visibility.
- If you’re into cross training, these can be attached to your bike as well.
- They are not water resistant, so you might want to skip those rainy night runs if you pick these.
- The lighted part of the band doesn’t go all the way around, which doesn’t keep you protected from cars coming from both directions.
Running with lights attached to your shoes instead of a headlamp or an upper body light means that the bugs won’t be swarming around your mouth––they’ll be at your ankles instead. Bright lights do tend to attract bugs as you run, which is one of the reasons shoe lights are popular.
- The lights give off 270 degrees of visibility on the front side of the runner, as well as two red taillights so motorists from the back can see the runner as well.
- The lights are really bright and because they are so low to the ground, they do a great job of letting you see any hazards you’ll want to avoid on the ground––you’ll be able to see up to 30 feet in front of you.
- Because they easily attach to your shoelaces and are lightweight, they are comfortable––you’ll forget you’re even wearing them.
- They are water resistant so you’ll be covered in the rain or snow.
- The battery life is only four hours at a stretch, but they are rechargeable.
- These are pretty pricey, but they should last a long time.
Some runners prefer headlamps instead of other lights while they’re running. They like knowing the light will shine on anything they turn their head to see. It offers easy control of which direction the light points.
- It’s waterproof, which means you’ll be covered in the rain or snow or if you start sweating heavily.
- It comes with four different modes depending on how much light you want and if you want blinking or solid lights.
- The batteries are rechargeable––a full charge lasts approximately six to seven hours, which is enough for a long night run.
- If you drop it, it will still work because it is impact resistant.
- It’s very bright so you’ll have a clear view of your surroundings.
- The straps are adjustable.
- It is a little clunky when you are running because it sticks out a bit in the front and the back.
- It’s a bit heavier than some runners may prefer for a running headlamp.
If you want a light when you’re out running at night, but you don’t want anything too big and clunky, this might be an option for you.
- The light can attach to your shoe so you can see what’s immediately in your path.
- The light comes on a reflective wrist band, but you can take it off the wristband and clip it onto belts or backpacks instead.
- The light is pretty bright considering its size, and it has a flashing mode and a steady mode. You can use the flashing mode when you want to get everyone’s attention and the steady mode for seeing your way.
- The light is visible from up to a mile away.
- You get two color choices when ordering the light.
- The light is waterproof.
- Some runners may prefer a wider beam of light than this one throws off.
- The blinking mode is not as fast as a strobe light would be, which may disappoint runners who are looking for that style of light.
Runners who are looking for a variety of ways to wear their running light may approve of this unit. It comes with an armband and a belt clip, so you can wear it in either of those places. You can also clip it on a running hat. In addition, if you’re into cross training, you can use it with the bike strap so you’re safe on your bicycle as well.
- It’s rechargeable so you don’t have to spend a fortune running to the store every couple weeks for replacement batteries.
- They only weigh half an ounce so you’ll forget you’re even wearing one.
- You can buy this light as a single unit or a two-pack.
- These lights can provide visibility from both front and back, which will keep you safer than only having one side lit up.
- It has four different modes for lighting.
- The button is hard to press.
- Some runners have had problems with the lights not holding their charge.
And the Winner Is …
Shoe lights are easy to put on and they keep the light angled exactly where you need it––right along the ground. That’s one of the reasons we think that the Night Runner 270 lights are the best night running lights for joggers.
You’ll be visible from both sides with these lights, which gives you extra protection from motorists. The lights are bright enough that you’ll be able to see any dangers in your path you have to sidestep. Because they’re water resistant, you’ll be able to run no matter what the conditions are. You’ll have no excuses to miss those training sessions now!