If you are a keen runner then you will understand the importance of purchasing a running head torch – and if you are only just starting out then you will just have to take our word for it! Running is a fantastic way of keeping fit whilst enjoying the great outdoors. However, during the dark, winter months, it can feel impossible to get out for a run in the daylight! This is when you will be relying on the best running head torch money can buy!
A running head torch needs to be stable, bright but also lightweight, so there are many key features to consider! It is an essential running tool, not just to help you see where you are going, but also to help others see you and ensure you are safe if you are running on the roads or pavements.
What To Look For
There are some main features that you will need to factor in to buy the best and brightest head torch. Keep reading to ensure you make the best purchase…
Let’s be honest, if you are buying a head torch for running then chances are you are running in less than bright conditions! Therefore, you need a head torch that is going to be bright enough to light your way! The brightness of head torches is measured in lumens (the amount of visible light that a human eye can detect). Older models of head torch may still be advertised using Watts, but this is a difficult way to measure since LEDs have been introduced to the market, as they have a much lower Wattage but a much brighter light! As a general rule, LED models will be brighter than standard bulbs so are worth looking out for, these come in both single and multi bulb styles!
Head torches will range massively, with some offering just 80lm, all the way up to 1000lm. If you are planning on running on lit streets and pavements then you should only need a model offering around 100lm, but if you are running somewhere where there is only partial pavement and you need cars to be able to see you then opt for a model with at least 300lm. If you are braving quieter, unlit footpaths then you will need as much light as you can get, but models upwards of 400lm should be bright enough to stop you stumbling over logs and branches!
Most of the best head torches now include dimming functions, which allows you to adjust the brightness of the light depending on your location, this will help to preserve battery life – which leads us nicely onto this feature…..
So now you know how the brightness of your bulb is going to affect your battery life, you will appreciate how invaluable a trusted, long-lasting battery is! Most manufacturers will actually state their battery life on the product description (so if they don’t, this may be a torch to avoid).
You need to consider how long you are usually going to be running for, and if you are likely to remember to charge your running head torch after each use. If this is going to be something you struggle to remember, or you know that you are going to be running for a longer period of time, then it is worth investing in a model with a longer battery life, or with one that has replacement batteries that are small enough to take with you on your run!
We would massively recommend opting for a running head torch with a rechargeable battery, as this will save you a considerable amount of time and money! There are still some models that come with AA or AAA batteries, but if you are a regular runner then you are going to find yourself having to replace these regularly.
TOP TIP: Cold weather affects battery life, so if you know that you are going to be running in particularly cold climates then we would recommend opting for a head torch with a separate battery unit that can be kept warm in your pocket while still powering your head torch.
The weight of your running head torch is so important because practically, this device is going to be strapped to your head whilst you are completing a strenuous activity and you don’t want to have to carry any more weight than necessary.
As a general rule, the higher the lumens, the bigger the battery that is needed and therefore the heavier the weight of the head torch – but there are exceptions to the rule if you are willing to hunt and pay for them!
We would recommend always opting for a head torch that is under 200g.
TOP TIP: If you know that you are going to be running for some time, and therefore need a bigger battery, then look for a model that has an extension cable that allows you to carry the battery pack in your pocket whilst running.
Functionality and Durability
There are two key aspects to consider when purchasing the best running head torch, as they determine how easy it is for you to get your head torch up and running, so that you can get running yourself!
It goes without saying that your running head torch is going to need to be waterproof – even if you only run in nice weather, trying to guarantee this weather in Britain is impossible! Look for models that have sturdy and sealed cases, with good levels of water resistance.
Look for a head-torch with a big enough on/off switch that is easy enough to use even if you are tired or have cold hands from being outdoors. Equally, choose a model that has straps that are easy to adjust so that you can make sure the headtorch fits comfortably but also securely on your head. Many running head torches also come with an overhead strap that helps to provide stability whilst running.
Extra Clever Features
Now you know those key features to watch out for, we couldn’t not mention these additional features that we found with some models of head torches! If you are a true, keen runner that is regularly out and about then these features are well worth the additional cost!
- Managed Light Output – If you are wanting to make sure your battery life lasts for as long as possible, then opt for a model with managed light output. These models will use clever sensors to judge how much light is around you as you are running, and adjust the light output accordingly. This helps to preserve the battery life. Some even allow you to control this via bluetooth on your phone!
- Light preservation setting – If you find yourself a distance from home, but with a draining battery life then you will need a light preservation setting. This will give you a warning when your battery is down to 10% and swap your battery to a very low light so that you have at least some visibility whilst you are getting home.
- Brightness memory – Many of the best running head torches will have brightness memory, which means that you can create “settings” that can be flicked between depending on the brightness that you need in different situations.
- Double light – Sometimes known as a tail light, these are head torches that have a light for the back of your head as well as the front. Obviously this isn’t going to help you see where you are running, but it is going to help you to be seen by cars whilst you are out running.
- USB charging – All rechargeable running head torches will be different. However we would recommend looking for one with USB charging as this will add to the flexibility of ways in which you can charge your head torch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the beam pattern of a running head torch important?
The beam pattern of a running head torch is important because this will determine the surface area that is illuminated around you. Some head torches will be focused down in front of you, whereas others will show far in front but leave you at risk of tripping up on something by your feet. Look out for a long-distance but wide beam pattern. We would recommend opting for a model with a variable beam pattern so that it can be adjusted to your height, activity and the location in which you are going to be using it.
Can I purchase additional batteries for my running headtorch?
Yes! There are many running head torches that either come with additional batteries or allow for an additional purchase of spare batteries so that your head torch can keep lighting the way for longer! Make sure to choose a model that makes these easy to switch between – particularly if you are going to need to swap them partway through a run!