As anyone who's spent any amount of time outdoors after dark will tell you, a headlamp is one of the most useful pieces of gear anyone can add to their pack. Pitching a tent after dark? A headlamp frees up both hands and shines light wherever you're looking. Riding home on your bike after work? A headlamp lights the way and helps keep you visible in traffic. Trying to knit a pair of socks in the crawlspace of your home? We're not here to judge, and yeah, a headlamp would come in handy there too.
Regardless of your reasons why, if you're looking for the best headlamp out there in 2022, we've got you covered. Below are our top picks of every make and model, with something for everyone on any budget.
Petzl Actik Core
The Best Headlamp Of 2022 Overall
Powerful, versatile, and lightweight, the Petzl Actik Core is widely considered to be one of the best outdoors headlamps money can buy. All the essential elements are present here, including a powerful 450 lumens max output, an impressive beam distance of up to 90 meters, an optional red light function to preserve night vision, and a wide variety of selectable brightness levels and beam styles. What's most impressive about the Petzl Actik, however, are its multiple power options -- this headlamp comes with a USB-rechargeable battery pack, but it's also compatible with traditional AAA batteries, making it ideal for even the longest expeditions and backcountry forrays.
Fenix HM65R Rechargeable Headlamp
Outrageous Power, Strapped To Your Head
Chances are you don't need a 1400 lumens headlamp anymore than you need a tail or a flamethrower, but let's be honest: All three sound kind of fun. Plus, unlike a tail (and hopefully a flamethrower), you can order the Fenix HM65R online pretty much anytime. And while outright power is definitely the main selling point of the Fenix HM65R, it also happens to be an incredibly versatile headlamp. This beacon features dual lenses that allow you to run a far-reaching spotlight, a wide floodlight, or both at the same time for a wall of brightness that lights up even the darkest depths. Add in a helmet-friendly headband and rugged IP68 waterproofing, and you've got a headlamp that's just as suited to general emergency use as it is to spelunking.
Petzl Bindi Ultra-Compact Rechargeable
The Definition Of Minimalist
Weighing in at just 35 grams yet packing a respectable 200 lumens of output, the Petzl Bindi is the lightest headlamp on our list, but don't let its compact size fool you: This little wonder boasts an impressive amount of features including three lighting modes, white and red light options, reflective piping for improved nighttime visibility, and a runtime of up to 50 hours on its lowest setting.
Biolite HeadLamp 750
Well Rounded, High Powered, And Comfortable
Biolite's original HeadLamp 330 made a splash with hikers, runners, and outdoorsmen of all descriptions when it hit the market years ago, and their new HeadLamp 750 is what you might consider the "pro" model in their lineup. The new 750 includes all the features we loved about the original Biolite lineup like the "no-bounce" design that incorporates the light and strap into a single unit and the rear-mounted battery pack that evenly distributes weight and minimizes bulk, but it also adds in a serious dose of power. With up to 750 lumens on tap and up to 7 hours of runtime on high, the Headlamp 750 is a true powerhouse that's versatile enough to take on anything from evening trail runs to pre-dawn climbs. It also features a rear-mounted tail light incorporated into the battery pack, which is a great safety feature for runners and bikers.
Black Diamond Spot 350
Big Quality On A Small Budget
You don't have to spend a fortune to get a great headlamp, and the Black Diamond Spot is pound for pound (or gram to gram, in this case) one of the best headlamps on a budget money can buy. With up to 350 lumens of power, rock-solid IPX8 waterproofing, and easy-to-use controls, the Spot 350 is an outstanding all-rounder that fits any budget. We love that the Spot includes dual-beam modes, with one that shoots far ahead for active situations like trail running, and another that sticks to a flood-style light that's ideal for stationary tasks around camp. Honestly its only downside is that it relies on traditional AAA batteries rather than an internal rechargeable unit, but with a runtime of up to 200 hours on its lowest setting, you won't have to worry about replacing them very often.
Nitecore NU25 USB Rechargeable Headlamp
Affordable And Lightweight With USB Charging
If you're loving the price of the Black Diamond above but prefer a USB-rechargeable battery, look no further than the Nitecore NU25. Nitecore is known for its tough-as-nails line of high-powered flashlights, and the NU25 packs the same build quality and premium features we've come to expect from the brand. With 360 lumens of peak power, simple two-button controls, and rugged IP66 water and dust proofing, the NU25 is a ton of headlamp for the money. Weight-conscious hikers and runners will also appreciate that this little torch weighs in at just 1.9 ounces.
- The best snowshoes for winter trail exploration
- The best heated clothing for your cold-weather adventures in 2023
- The 11 Best Backpacking Tents for Hiking and Camping
- The Best Hydration Packs for Hiking, Trail Running, and Day Trips
- The 6 Best Day Hikes in U.S. National Parks