How to Choose and Buy the Right Bike Lights

The best bike lights are the ones fit you and your needs best. So before list some important factors for your decision on which bicycle light to take, let’s be clear what kind of bicycle lights we need for our adventure.

Cycling is not only a transportation channel, it could also be a fantastic entertainment, and now it’s leading a new trend of fashion. I am not only talking about MTB or BMX. Take few days off, make a cycling adventure, get immersed in the nature beauty and take a close look at the mighty God. I cannot image any better choices for your holiday. While preparation could means total disaster, and safety is always comes top of your list of concerns. That’s why choosing and buying a best bike lights should always be taken into serious consideration.

The best bike lights are the ones fit you and your needs best. So before list some important factors for your decision on which bicycle light to take, let’s be clear what kind of bicycle lights we need for our adventure. There are basically two kinds of bike lights:

High Power Mountain Bike Lights

Mountain bike lights are specially designed for off road riding. They are featured by their ultra bright and high power design so riders can have a very clear vision of every single detail on cycling trail. These lights are very good options for MTB or BMX cycling.

Compact Bike Safety Light

All kinds bicycle lights could be named as safety light, but what I am gonna discuss here is those compact lights with very low output. Different from mountain bike lights, these lights are designed for on road riders. They are designed for cyclists being seen.

Now let’s come to the most important part, how to choose and buy best bike lights? What factors should we consider while making our decision? Here we would use some bike lights as example, so you can have a better idea what I am talking about.


As mentioned above, there are two kinds of bicycle lights, the off-road ones and on-road ones. Make a deep thought on which type of bike lights you need. Are you buying it for off-road riding? How often do you do mountain cycling? Are you more like a mountain cyclist or bike commuters?

So what’s your need?

If you do need mountain bike lights, you’d better take one with higher output, let’s say a at least 10w led bicycle light. This can be easily told from the LEDs utilized. Most bicycle lights in the market with Cree XM-L T6 LED (or more updated LEDs like Cree XM-L2 LEDs we utilized for our SG-T2200) is about 10w. The LEDs displayed as following is 2pcs Cree XM-L U2 LEDs. Each LED is even 100lm brighter than the T6 ones in max output.

If you are more like to be seen instead of seeing things, then you can find thousands of tail lights, handlebar end lights, etc. Following is a very popular “red bike lane safety light”. For these tiny safety lights, drawing people’s attention is their top mission.

Running Time

For mountain bicycle lights, brightness is much more important than runtime. Why? Cause most of off-road cycling journey is short in time-span, while due to the complicate situation and surroundings, every details in the jungle should be seen for safety issue. Most mountain bicycle lights in the market provide runtime of 3Hrs on full output, some even longer. 3 Hours is already long enough for normal cycling. If you do need extra runtime, an extra backup battery pack would be necessary. You can find many replacement units in market. For on-road riding, 3 Hours is like very basic. In fact, many safety lights work for few days before stop illumination.

Power System

This is another vital factor when think how to choose and buy best bike lights. The most commonly used batteries for powerful bike lights is lithium batteries. They are rechargeable, long-lasting, more environment-friendly, and more energy-saving, while you may find it difficult to buy one in your local store in many countries. And the most widely available battery would be AAA or AA battery. That’s also the reason why some AA or AAA bicycle lights are very popular.

Also button cell battery is quite common especially for tail lights or other tiny lights.

For mountain cyclists, lithium battery pack for sure is better option, because they provide longer runtime if same output, and it can save you lots of money in long term. While for bike lights meant to be seen, AA/AAA/Button batteries are all good choices. Just find out which one fit you best, and take other factors into consideration along with the battery.

Mode Settings

Many users might overlook this matter when try to choose and buy best bike lights. I searched similar topics and checked some of the post, find they failed to mention this matter.  As a matter of factor, a brilliant idea on bike lights may save hundreds or thousands of lives.

The most commonly settings for mountain bike lights are stepped brightness. For example, SG-T2200 gets 10%-40%-70%-100% brightness plus a strobe mode. The stepped brightness offers users a wide range of choices so one can select the right brightness. Some bike lights even provide programmable software along with bike lights, so users can customize their own mode.

Concerning the strobe/flashing/blinking mode, some may think this setting foolish, useless or totally insane (some country do set laws to forbidden flashing beam at coming vehicles). While from our customers’ feedback, this flashing mode does a wonderful job to sending warning signals or bringing people’s attention.

SOS model, this setting comes into stage when you run into bushes, get hurt. You can use this model to ask for help as the light flash at a frequency just like the international signal of SOS.

Except for the stepped brightness and flash frequency on mode settings, there is another factor that may be overlooked. For example, the model may change like this high-mid-low-flash-off-high-mid-low-flash, and just like this cycle. Please notice there is an “off” setting, so when you are riding and changing modes, the light might turn into a “blank pause”, total darkness. This is fatal to cycling safety. Lot of things may happen in this short pause time. Thus some bicycle lights like SG-T2200 design the settings as high-mid-low-flash, no pause time at all. You may wonder how to turn it off? You can press and hold the button for 3 seconds to turn it off. And another feature of the separated yellow button for flashing also add some points to users’ safety.

Beam Angle

Beam angle is another factor should be considered regarding choosing and buying best bike lights. For off-road cycling, the beam angle would better be narrow so the light beam can be focused at trails ahead (60 degree for SG-T2200). For beam angle of on-road safety lights, the wider the better. A wider visibility means more attention and safety. You may find some safety light claimed to have a visibility of 360 degree, that maybe a little exaggerated but very helpful for cycling safety. If you want bike lights for both on-road and off-road application, we may find some modes with two beams. One with clear and computer designed lens for focused light beam, one with rugged grain for horizontal light beam (just like the headlight lens for some vehicle). With such dual beam bike lights, you may enjoy a safer journey.

Waterproof Ratings

If you are planning a bike trip in raining season, choosing a waterproof bike light would be of vital importance. So when you shopping for bike lights, ask the seller how is the waterproof ratings. Normal factories would state the waterproof ratings, for example SG-T2200 is with IP66 rating. If you are not sure about it, you can do some very simple test as following:

  1. Weather the light case is tightly sealed. You can check it carefully for any gap between light housing. It’s better to do it by holding light house beneath a light source, eg. a lamp, any gap would show itself very easily.
  2. Check the connecting part. Most of bicycle lights are with waterproof rubber O-rings on connecting part of light housing. Check weather you can find them.
  3. Water injection test. Pour water on your bike light and see whether it works well or not.
  4. Underwater Test. If you are confident on the bicycle lights you have. You can put it into a water tank and see whether it still works. Be careful about this, it may burn your bike lights, if not with very high waterproof ratings.

Power Indicator

This is important because even you made a very detailed plan for your whole cycling journey, things may go out of your plan sometimes. While if your bicycle lights get LED power indicator, you can plan ahead before you light goes off suddenly, and end up staying in darkness. Some bicycle lights have three or four LEDs for this function. Usually you should consider this matter when shopping for a mountain bicycle lights, as runtime of safety light may be even few days.


The bicycle lights market is quite a mess, why? When you search the internet, you may find totally different price for bike lights with similar or even the same appearance. And sometimes, you can always find something cheaper on Ebay, DX or other places. While my personal advice is find a reliable source, well-known brand, or check direct at your local store.

Regarding the price, you may think of saving budget by taking a bargain. However, I do suggest you take the quality, performance and after-sale service first before you go to price. Sometimes, it maybe costly, but it’s for your long-term use (some may even use same bike lights for few years), not to mention your safety.


Next time, when you don’t know how to choose and buy best bike lights, you may following instructions:

Figure out what you need, mountain bike lights, or bike commuting safety lights?

Brightness: mountain bike lights, the brighter the better, safety lights, bright enough to be seen.

Runtime: 3Hrs is long enough for mountain cycling, and 3Hrs at least for safety light (of course, you are always recommended to bright some backup battery or lights in case)

Power System: Lithium for mountain bike lights, AA/AAA/Button for safety lights

Settings: Stepped brightness + Flashlight + SOS + More (find out what fit you best)

Beam angle: narrow and focused beam for mountain bike lights, wide and clear beam for safety light.

Waterproof: Check the waterproof rating, at least IP55.

Power indicator: stay informed about battery statue

Price: reliable source, well-known brand at high costs, cheap item not recommended.

This post only lists few factors, there are much more to be considered like color temp, beam color, heat dissipation, etc. You are welcomed to contact us and discuss with more details and tips on how to choose and buy best bike lights. 

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Company Name: Shenzhen Sanguan Technology Co., Ltd.
Contact Person: Ms.Carry Cheng
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Phone: 86-755-29559026
Country: China