The 3 Best Bike Headlights Under $50 in 2018

When you are sharing the road with vehicles and other commuters, staying visible is the key to staying safe on a bike. Therefore, it's very very important to have a good bike headlight. 

Now the good news is that the prices of bike headlights has dropped dramatically in the past few years.

Bike headlights have improved leaps and bounds in the terms of construction quality, battery runtimes and their LED technologies.

And today there are plenty of good choices for bike headlights as low as $50!

We'll get to that in the next few sections.

But before that...

How to Choose the Best Bike Headlights

Here are some of the things to consider when you're buying a bike headlight. As you're on a budget of under $50, you can't get the best of everything.

So you've got to prioritize what's important to you.

  • Brightness - For under $50, you'll usually find headlights with brightness between 300 to 600 lumens. These would be enough for most of your riding needs especially if you're riding along lit roads or just going around the block and back.
  • LED - LED technologies have improved and price have came down tremendously over the past 5 years. There's no reason why you shouldn't go for LED when they last almost forever, doesn't get hot and consumer less power, hence longer battery run times! 
  • Battery Life - Few years ago, most of the bike headlights under $50 were mainly AAA battery powered. Things have came a long way since then and you can now get headlights with rechargeable batteries for the same price. A good bike headlight would typically give you around 1.5 to 2 hours of run time on their highest mode.
  • Mounting Types - There are several mounting options today to mount the headlight on the handlebars – on top, below, in front or below the GPS mount. Some even comes with a helmet mount if you need them. 
  • Durability - Most headlights today claim to be water-resistant or even water-proof. A good bike headlight should have its USB charging ports securely sealed and being exposed to the elements.

The 3 Best Bike Headlights Under $50

TOP PICK - Cygolite Metro 550

Buy this if...

You want the best lumens/dollar ratio.

The Cygolite Metro 550 is my top pick for a bike headlight under $50. This headlight represents the best value for your money at 550 lumens with its solid built and LED that pumps way above its weight.

ALSO GREAT - Cateye Volt 500XC

Buy this if...

You're after a reputable Japanese brand who have been in the market for more than 30 years.

If my top pick is not available, the Cateye Volt 500XC is a solid alternative. As with most Japanese products, you can expect a top quality bike headlight. Solid build, sleek design and bright LED will get you home safely.

GREAT - Light and Motion Urban 350

Buy this if...

You ride a lot in urban areas and want extra side visibility.

The Light and Motion Urban 350 has a pair of dedicated side lighting that provides you with a full 180 degrees visibility which is useful is you ride often around urban areas.

1. Cygolite Metro 550

Cygolite Metro 550 Headlight

If you're on tight budget and looking for a powerful light, don't look beyond the Cygolite Metro 550. This headlight provides you with an affordable yet powerful solution to light your way when cycling.

Out from the box, it comes with a handlebar mount, USB charger cable and an internal rechargeable Li-ion battery.

It uses powerful bright CREE XM-L LED which emits 550 lumens of steady light. In case you're wondering, CREE is one of the industry leaders in LED technologies.

It has 6 lighting modes; Walking, Daylight, Medium, High, SteadyPulse and Low mode. You can attract drivers' attention using the SteadyPulse illumination which offers triple pulses while constantly lighting your way when it is dark.

Besides, the Cygolite Metro 550 has 2 small illumination ports on the side for added side visibility. In my opinion, this is a smart and amazing feature that ensures nearby motorists are aware of your presence especially if you're riding around urban areas.

The internal Li-ion battery runs between 1:30 to and 10 hours depending on the light mode you choose. Charging time is comparable with most headlights at approximately 5 hours for a full recharge. Besides, it also features a low battery indicator and can recall the last mode it was on.

Pros

  • SteadyPulse mode provides a pulse and steady beam at the same time. Useful to attract attention while still shining the road ahead
  • Durable and waterproof body design
  • Fits round handlebars from 22 up to 32mm size

Cons

  • Mounting can get loose while riding and needs constant tightening

2. Cateye Volt 500XC

Cateye Volt 500XC Headlights

With the Cateye Volt 500XC at the front of your bike, you have nothing to worry about whether you set out at dawn or dusk.

It features a powerful white LED bulb that fires a maximum light output of 500 lumens. At 500 lumens and 4 light mode settings (High, Low, Hyper Constant and Flashing), it's enough to cover you for most of your riding needs.

Furthermore, the light beam uses the Opticube lens to provide you with a 180-degree visibility. It also ensures you have a clear vision no matter how dark the environment is by focusing the light beam at where it should be, thereby improving your safety on the road.

As with most headlights today, it comes with a larger-than-average 2200mAh Lithium-Ion battery which has a runtime of between 2 hours to 140 hours depending on the mode you use. Charging the battery takes slightly longer considering its larger capacity at around 7 hours for a full recharge. It has a low battery indicator and lighting mode memory function.

Additionally, it uses a simple wrap-around handlebar mount that fits all round and aero shaped handlebars. It's simple and easy to use so you won’t struggle mounting the headlight.

Pros

  • Easily accessible one button operation toggles between light mode
  • Easy to use mounting system
  • Large battery capacity

Cons

  • Long charging time at ~7 hours

3. Light & Motion Urban 350

Light and Motion Urban 350 Headlight

The Light and Motion Urban 350 is another great headlight that ensures you ride safely on any path whether at night or during the day. I

ts CREE LED emits 350 lumens at its maximum and it also comes with amber side lighting which provides you with side visibility which is very useful especially if you're riding around urban areas.

The internal Lithium-ion battery lasts you around 1:30 should you run it at 350 lumens and up 12 hours on its lowest setting. Charging time is on-par with most headlights at around 5 hours for a full recharge.

Adding to its basic features is the auto shutoff and low battery warning which help conserve battery and prevent electronics damage. 

It has 4 mode settings; High, Medium, Low and Pulse which you can toggle using the single button on top of the body.

Mounting is simple and straightforward using a rubber strap that wraps around your handlebar.

Pros

  • Amber side lighting for added visibility around urban areas
  • Simple, tool-free mounting system
  • Can be used together with GoPro mounts on the bike or helmet

Cons

  • Body gets hot after about 20 minutes running on High mode