running head torches

Running off road without a head torch at night is a fast track to a meeting of one’s face with the ground! While the roads and streets are lit by street lighting, once you get off road, there is very little to light your way except the stars. If you are planning on some night time training for an ultra marathon or you just fancy a run under the stars, it’s worth investing in a good head torch to light your way. How do you choose the best running head torches though?

Choosing Running Head Torches: 

  • Do you want one that goes over your head with a band across the top to prevent slipping or are you more comfortable with the strap around your forehead? Are you going to need the security of a top strap for more technical activities?
  • What about battery power? A rechargeable head torch has many benefits, unless you need to recharge mid run. 
  • How much space do you have to carry it? If you are carrying a lot of kit, every gram counts. 

We take a look at the best running head torches to suit all eventualities but first let’s explain the jargon:

Lumens: measure of the brightness of a light. The higher the lumens, the brighter torch.

Burn time: the time it will stay on without needing charging or new batteries

Petzl Nao+

Powerful multi-beam rechargeable head torch, programmable with the MyPetzl Light App. Consult your smartphone app to check remaining burn time and make sure you never run out of light.  

The technology reacts to the ambient lighting and adjusts the brightness to suit. With a comfortable head strap, there is the addition of a top strap for more technical activities as well as a red indicator light at the rear to signal location.

The belt kit accessory for NAO+ allows the rechargeable battery to be moved to the belt to reduce the weight worn on the head, or to keep it warm in winter

The Important Stuff

  • Lumens: Max 750
  • Burntime: 6.5 – 15 hours
  • Charge time: 6-8 hours
  • Best for: long night runs, ultra marathons that require running through the night. at 350 lumens, the battery can last for up to 15 hours.


Ledlenser Unisex’s Mh10 LED Headlamp

A rechargeable headlamp perfect for the nighttime trails. On it’s lowest settings, the burn time on this is up to 120 hours. It’s certainly more than capable of coping with a couple of hours on the nighttime trails.

Weighing 158g including the battery, it’s light enough to pop in your back pack for those sunset runs. This headlamp also features a transport lock to prevent battery train when being transported.

Additional features include a red and green filter cap for different light options and a warning indicator for low battery.

The Important Stuff

There are three power options with the Ledlenser MH10 LED Headlamp – 600, 350 and 10 giving you a burn time of between 10 and 120 hours.

  • Lumens: 600
  • Burn time: 10 hours
  • Charge time: charge to 80% from flat in 3 hours
  • Best for: With a battery time of 10 hours on full power, this is ideal for running through the night.



Ledlenser H3.2 Head Torch

At only 133 grams, the Ledlenser H3.2 is the lightest model in the H series. The ability to adjust the light angle via the 75° swivel rotation of the lamp head and the fact that it weighs so little means that this running head torch is easy on the neck muscles. Configured to maximise run-time on full power, it also lights for up to 60 hours on low power. The light beam intensity can be continuously dimmed using the lever on the battery box down to 5 lumens and thus adapted to every situation. Supplied with 3 AAA batteries (1.5V), this light will also operate via 3 AAA NiMH (1.2V) rechargeable batteries (not supplied). 

The Important Stuff

Powerful CREE LED offers 120 lumens and 100m beam range. This lightweight torch is perfect for shorter night runs where not so much light is needed. 

  • Lumens: 120
  • Burn time: Ranges from 6 – 60 hours
  • Charge time: battery powered 
  • Best for: Dusk runs or shorter night time trail runs



Kingtop Waterproof LED Zoomable Head Torch

A great entry level head torch for runners that are new to night time off road running, this is a cracking find for the price. Probably not something you want to be lugging about in your kit bag on a long endurance run but definitely worth the investment for the trail runner that runs at night now and again.

This rechargeable running head torch comes with a battery pack on the back with an indicator light so that you can be seen from behind. It has an over the head strap for security over the more technical trails and gives that added security to those that don’t like the band slipping.

The Important Stuff

  • Lumens: 600
  • Burn time: 9 hours at it’s longest, lower lumens
  • Charge time: 2-3 hours
  • Best for: shorter night time trail runs



Tangcision LED Lighted Beanie Hat

Now we have to be honest and say that we haven’t tried this particular bit of kit however that’s not to say that we aren’t sorely tempted. Those who like to wear a beanie hat may find this a tempting bit of kit, especially at that price and reviews look pretty good too. This unisex knit hat will keep your head warm while lighting your way. It’s rechargeable via  USB, comes in one size and multiple colours. When you need to wash it you can pop out the light and throw it in the wash. You can adjust the brightness you want according to your own needs and the battery life is up to 10 hours. 



Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links which may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you. The products we recommend are either those that we’ve used or that our fellow runners have used.