If you require a quick answer, the best front bike light is the Garmin Varia UT800, which has the ability to connect with compatible bike computers and provide a number of intuitive smart features. However, if you require a standard front bike light, the CatEye Volt 800 is the best alternative that provides excellent performance for the money.
To rate the front bike lights within this article, we based our recommendations upon our experience and testing of multiple lights (as shown in the “How We Rated” section below). We also carried out hours of research and considered a number of factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the build quality, Lumens output, battery life, ease of installation, lighting modes, mounting options, warranty and value for money.
Table of Contents
Front Bike Light Comparison
|Front Bike Light||Lumens||Max Battery Life|
|Garmin Varia UT800||800||6 Hours|
|CatEye Volt 800||800||80 Hours|
|Apace Illuma ZT3000||300||12 Hours|
|Knog Blinder Mr Chips||50||60 Hours|
|CooSpo Bike Headlight||1600||34 Hours|
|Lezyne Micro Drive||450||25 Hours|
If you intend to cycle in the dark, it’s your legal requirement to use appropriate front and rear bike lights and considering the low cost and huge availability, there really isn’t an excuse not to have one installed to your bike.
Below is a list of the best front bike lights that easily mount to the handlebars and are suitable for all budgets.
The Best Front Bike Light
1. Garmin Varia UT800 Smart Headlight
Garmin are a very reputable brand that produce high quality gadgets and their Varia UT800 follows that great reputation. This particular model is a smart bike headlight that can connect with the brand’s compatible bike computers. The benefit of this is that it can automatically adjust the light based upon the rider’s profile, conditions and cycling speed.
In terms of the lighting itself, it has a maximum light output of 800 Lumens and it can be set at 5 different operation modes to best suit your requirements.
Other features of the Garmin Varia UT800 include:
- Works independently or with a bike computer
- Automatically adjusts the light output
- Choice of 5 different lighting modes
- Universal “out-front” mount
- Weighs less than 140 grams
- Battery life of 4 hours
- Low profile and lightweight design
If you already own a Garmin bike computer or plan to in the future, the Varia UT800 is the ultimate bike headlight. Not only does it provide excellent lighting performance but the automatic functionality allows you to focus on your cycling.
2. CatEye Volt 800 Front Bike Light
CatEye are a brand that specialise in bike lights and the Volt 800 is their flagship model. Although it comes with a premium price tag, it’s built to the highest of standards and offers excellent performance. In terms of the lighting modes, there is two flashing and three constant modes, which can be easily selected using the button upon the light.
Other features of the CatEye Volt 800 include:
- 800 Lumens
- Patented “FlexTight” mounting
- Heavy duty aluminium body
- Choice of 5 lighting modes
- Recharges in 5-11 hours via USB
- Run time of up to 80 hours
- Low battery indicator
- Also compatible with helmet mounts
Although expensive, the CatEye Volt 800 is the ultimate front bike light that offers great performance and is backed by the reputable brand. However, if you don’t require the powerful light output, the brand do offer lower powered models.
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3. Apace Illuma ZT3000 Bike Headlight
By far the most popular front bike light within this article is the Apace Illuma ZT3000. It’s a universal fit light for most bikes and it comes with all the hardware required for the installation as well as a one year warranty.
Also included with the ZT3000 light is a USB charging cable, 2 silicone mounts, 8 mounting rings and a user manual.
Other features of the Apace Illuma ZT3000 include:
- 300 Lumens
- Choice of 5 light settings
- Max battery life up to 12 hours
- Recharges within 2 hours
- Installs and comes off in seconds
- Backed by a one year warranty
- Supplied with spare mounting parts
Overall, the Apace Illuma ZT3000 is a compact yet ultra bright bike headlight that offers outstanding value for the money. It even comes with additional mounting hardware for cyclists that own multiple bikes and wish to transfer it over.
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4. Knog Blinder Mr Chips Front Bike Light
One of the smallest front bike lights on the market is the Knog Blinder Mr Chips, which is just 5 x 9 cm in size. In terms of its performance, it provides a peak light output of 80 Lumens, which can be controlled via the five different modes.
Other features of the Knog Blinder Mr Chips include:
- Suitable for standard and oversized bars
- Light output rated at 50 Lumens
- Rechargeable via USB
- Choice of 5 different lighting modes
- 100% waterproof construction
- Matching rear lights available
To conclude, the Mr Chips light by Knog is the perfect solution for those requiring a compact and subtle light for their handlebars. As great as the more powerful alternatives are, they are fairly bulky and they can ruin the aesthetics of the bike. Therefore, this is where the Knog headlight becomes very desirable but you do have to pay a premium for it.
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5. CooSpo Waterproof Bike Headlight
For those that require the brightest front bike light on the market, the CooSpo Headlight is the best option. Whilst set on its most powerful mode, it’s able to output an impressive 1,600 Lumens of light.
Another standout feature of this front bike light is the wired controlled shifting, which allows you to switch between the modes without taking your hands off the handlebars.
Other features of the CooSpo Bike Headlight include:
- 1,600 Lumens of light output
- Choice of six different light modes
- Suitable for all types of bikes
- Supports wired control of the modes
- Battery life up to 34 hours
- Waterproof rating of IPX6
- 360 degree rotation upon the mounting bracket
Although expensive, the CooSpoo Front Bike Light is a high performance option that features the desirable wired control. Although you probably won’t require 1,600 Lumens of light all the time, there may be times when it can make a big difference and it certainly won’t disappoint.
6. Lezyne Micro Drive Front Bike Light
The Lezyne Micro Drive is one of many front bike lights that the brand produce and it’s also one of the best. It combines performance with value for the money and it features an impressive 8 different operation modes to choose from.
Other features of the Lezyne Micro Drive include:
- Light output of 450 Lumens
- Battery life of up to 25 hours
- Suitable for all-weather use
- Lightweight handlebar strap for mounting
- Choice of 8 different operation modes
- Low battery warning indicator
To conclude, the Lezyne Micro Drive is an excellent all-round light that easily mounts to the handlebars and won’t disappoint. If you have a larger budget, the brand also offer more powerful lights if required. However, this budget front bike light really does tick all the boxes for anyone that requires a cheap front light for their bike.
How We Rated
Whether we are cycling upon our road bike or off-road upon our mountain bike, we (the team at Darimo UK) have tried and tested a wide range of front bike lights over the years. These include both the premium and budgets options.
As you can see in the photos below, the lights are relatively small but they are able to output excellent light output considering their compact size. The latest front bike lights are also far better than they used to be a few years ago because they are much smaller in size yet are able to provide improved battery performance.
As well as our experience and testing of multiple front bike lights, we also based our recommendations upon plenty of research and a number of factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the build quality, Lumens output, battery life, ease of installation, lighting modes, mounting options, warranty and value for money.
Due to the advancement of modern LED’s, there are hundreds of front bike light options to choose from. Whether you need a compact light or one that outputs as much light as possible, there is a great selection on the market.
All of our recommendations listed above cover each possible scenario and the list includes lights for those on a tight budget as well as performance based options. As mentioned above, it’s your legal requirement to use a front light upon your bike and all of our recommendations are more than ideal.