HELP WANTED - Need good (and cheap) headlamp for running

I'm new to the world of BLF/serious lights.

Here is the problem. The only practical way that I have found to control my weight and health is running. The only available weekday time is 4-6 am. I've run without a headlamp and injured my knee bad enough to require surgery. Not running is not an option.

My current headlamp is a Black Diamond Sprinter. At the time I bought it, it was advertised as being a 68 lumen light. The new (?) version is advertised as being a 75 lumen light. Even if it is real, a 7 lumen improvement is not enough to "upgrade". I need real visibility.

I just purchased a generic headlamp on Amazon ( Although I expect it to outperform the Black Diamond, I doubt it will be enough to make me truly comfortable when running outside during the winter mornings.

I've looked at some of the triple Cree XM-L T6 units, but I have my doubts about their performance. The advertised specs seem to be beyond miraculous.

I am expecting to have to carry a big, separate battery pack because my typical run is 1.5 - 2 hours and I want *lots* of light. Judging by my house lighting, I can't imagine being satisfied w/less than 500 lumens. 2000 lumens would be ideal, but I suspect the required heat sink would be to massive to carry on my head.

If I have missed any details or have unrealistic expectations, please inform me - you are the experts.

Please fire away!!!

Have you ever tried to get a parent w/dementia to take their meds? I started this topic about 8 am EST and quit writing in order to help my mom. 14 hours and I never got through to her. GAAAHHHH!!!!

I’m not sure if this would fit in your budget, but have you considered the H600 series from zebralight? They come with normal XML, neutral white and floody options and take a single 18650 battery. Runtime on high would be about 2 hours and 420lm going by their website description of the H600.

I think that light will be plenty bright, what you have to keep in mind is the light in your home is diffused and spread out all around. This is all focused into a spot with some spill.

My main recommendation is to get some good batteries.

Do you have a preference for batteries, AA or AAA or 18650s etc?

The best head lamp that I know of:

I fear you might find the amazon headlamp a bit heavy. If I’m right, that’s a magicshine clone, and they were originally designed as handlebar lights. You’ll probably get something like 800-900 lumens out of it, which is pretty bright for running.

Whether that’s overkill depends on what kind of surface you’re running on… is it trails, sidewalks, …?

Depending on mood/conditions/what batteries I can find, I run with a few different headlamps. For situations where I don’t need a ton of light, it’s a Petzl MYO RXP (~150 lumens). I’ve got a couple of homemade units based on a lux-rc triple xpg, one 700 lumens max, the other 1400 lumens max. Even for rough trails in pitch darkness, 700 with a medium carclo optic is enough. That said, I like the brighter one for reminding cars that I’m there. Plus, you see a lot more wildlife in the periphery with it, which is kinda nice.

You’ll find lots of info on the homemade ones on Just search for “easy2led” housing, lux-rc triple.

All of these have a battery on the back of the head… I feel like that’s more balanced. They all weigh less than 200 grams (bright ones with 2-18650) which is my limit, having tried heavier ones. Some prefer otherwise.

Good luck with the running.

I bought this:\_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Works for me, cheap, seems to work well, batteries that actually work…for the money, go for it…

The ground looks awfully flat with a headlamp. The H600 is a good choice because you can hold it in your hand where it'll create shadows that will keep you from tripping. If you tie a keychain coin light around your neck, you'll have a light to change batteries in case your primary light goes dead, or it should give you a few hours of light should you need to finish your run at a slower pace or a walk.

Sorry for the slow replies, still trying to sort out the med situation w/my mom - today was the first day since 12/25 that we were able to persuade her to take the meds ...

My preference in batteries is either 18650s or 28650s. I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised by my generic "1600 Lumen" (HAH!!!) headlamp. I guess it is difficult to screw up the XML LED. However, as you all anticipated, the Ultrafires that it came with are looking pretty shady ...

I ordered 2 pairs of Panasonic NCR18650Bs off of FastTech and a Nitecore I4 charger. I am debating the purchase of a SkyRC B6 ultimate to do controlled discharges and logging (its the research engineer in me).

I hadn't considered that (The zebra HL). The shape looked like it would be pretty bad for retention on a headband. However, your post got me researching and I found something called the Nite Ize Headband that seems to be pretty universally used for running w/the Zebra HL. That will be going on my short list.

Glad to hear that it is bright! Truthfully that charger is overkill for flashlight batteries. From what I can tell the Accucel 6 can do everything that one can do, except the accucel 6 can be had for under 40 dollars shipped from the US.

Check out SPARK headlamps. On par with the quality of zebralight. Check out the ST6

I'll find out about the weight tomorrow morning. It seems a bit marginal at 263 grams. The majority of the weight is the battery compartment/circuitry which weighs about 150 grams. This has me thinking about making a dedicated battery pouch to carry on my waist ...

I'll be running on snow covered paved walking paths. Unfortunately, the Detroit Metro area has seen hard times and doesn't really maintain the quality of the pavement. There are numerous areas where tree roots have raised 2-3 inch high barriers.

I think I mentioned this in another post, but the amount of light is actually decent. It needs to be a bit more floody, but all things considered, not as bad as I feared. After looking at some of the magicshine lights, I think you have it identified correctly (as a clone).

If you want it a bit more floody you can put scotch tape over the lense.

I got the SkyRC B6 Ultimate for $68 shipped - hopefully the data logging is worth it . Even if I had seen the Accucel before, I probably would have gone for the data logging. I'm sure someone at BLF has used one of these. I should have asked how good it is for that purpose ...

I'm planning to power it w/an ATX power supply.


Great idea. I assume you mean the frosty type of scotch tape?


I like the ST6 and I am wondering about the SD6. It looks like it may be a bit too floody ...

Funny enough, that looks *exactly* like what I got!

Yep, I've actually done it before and it works fairly well. There also is diffuser film, but I don't see the need for it. (If I had any left I'd send some to you)