Bike lights

We tested 61 bike lights costing $100 or less.

17apr bikelights heo smaller

Cateye

Omni 3 TL-LD135-F

don't buy

35

Price

$30

Member Reviews

    Test results

    • 13
      Performance
    • 25
      Steady 0°
    • 5
      Steady 20°
    • 15
      Steady 45°
    • 77
      Ease of use
    • 65
      Fitting
    • 74
      In-use
    • 85
      Convenience

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    Good points

    • OK to mount to bike
    • Easy to use on the bike
    • Very easy to remove and refit light
    • Very easy to charge

    Bad points

    • Poor light output at 0°
    • Extremely poor light output at 20°
    • Extremely poor light output at 45°
    • Lighting is uneven with a prominent central spot
    • Partially failed water testing - some water got onto the sealing gasket surface

    How we test

    Overall score:

    Light performance (65% of overall score)

    We measure lux at 0°, 20° and 45° in our lab. Many manufacturers claim a light output in lumens, the total amount of light available, but we think lux (lumens per square metre) is a better measure of light performance as it shows the quality of light, not just the quantity.

    A good front light should make you visible to drivers at junctions, so we calculate light performance combining 40% of the score at 45°, 40% at 20° and 20% at 0°. A good rear light needs to be most visible to drivers overtaking from behind, so we calculate light performance combining 40% of the score at 0°, 40% at 20°and 20% at 45°.

    Ease of use (35% of overall score)

    “In-use” performance (50% of the ease of use score) includes turning the light on and off and selecting the mode (with and without gloves), usefulness of the battery indicator, and robustness of the mount to knocks and vibration. Daily convenience (30%) includes removing and refitting the light, charging or changing batteries and carrying it in a bag. Ease of fitting and versatility of the mount adds the final 20%.

    Water resistance

    We thoroughly doused the lights with a garden sprinkler. We checked they all worked correctly while soaking wet, then inspected for any water inside the lens and battery compartment or charge port. We don’t include water resistance in our overall score, but we won’t recommend lights that show signs of water ingress.

    Burn time

    We measured the burn time of USB rechargeable lights on their maximum steady setting. We noted if they switched to low-power mode before the battery ran out.

    Model

    • Type

      Front

    • See or be seen

      Be seen

    • Price

      $30

    • Lit area size

      Small

    • Lit area quality

      Uneven (spot)

    • Water test pass

      Partial

    • Weight (g)

      49

    • Battery or USB

      Battery

    Features

    • LEDs

      3

    • Steady modes

      1

    • Flash modes

      2

    • Pulse or chase modes

      -

    • Mount to bike

      Bracket

    • Mount type to bike

      Ratchet

    • Mount type to bracket

      Slide/clip

    Specifications

    • Batteries or USB

      2x AAA

    • USB type

      n/a

    • Charge time (hr:min)

      n/a

    • Burn time to off (hr:min)

      50 hr (claimed)

    • Shape

      Strip

    • Bought as a set
    • In set with

      -