The brightest headlamps

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There are many lists of “brightest headlamps” on the internet today, and you probably just visited them. It’s totally disgusting what they recommend. Those are written by people who know NOTHING about flashlights, or headlamps. We do, however, share our test results, lumen output, runtimes, beam reach, and many more things. None of the other websites do that.

The list will be updated continuously and is not focused on a specific price range.

Disclosure: 1lumen selects and reviews products personally. We may earn affiliate commissions through our links, which help support our testing.

Brightest headlamp on a single AAA battery

Manker E02 II

The brightest AAA headlamp we reviewed at 1Lumen

Manker E02 II
Manker E02 II runtime AAA
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:420 lumens with a lithium-ion battery (We measured 319 lumens at turn on)
220 lumens with AAA (we measured 159 lumens)
Battery type:AAA (also works with a 10400 lithium-ion battery)
Charging:No built-in charging
Extra:Has magnetic tailcap

The Manker E02 is a rare flashlight, or better said: a right-angle flashlight. It can do over 150 lumens on 1 AAA flashlight. Plenty bright, and the brightest AAA right-angle light currently on the market.

Available for around $20 this is on the edge for some people to be called a budget light. But there is literally no right-angle flashlight that can beat this one for around $20! It’s 72mm long with a head diameter of 20mm, which is really tiny. You can choose between the XPG3 (with a cooler white beam) or the Nichia 219C ( with a more neutral beam). It can be used as a headlamp as well. It can be bought with and without a headband. Add $5 for the head strap. 

Check out our review here: Manker E02 II

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Can be used with AAA as well as 10400 lithium batteries
  2. Tiny!
  3. Regulated output on AAA batteries, so you see a stable output
  4. Available with neutral white LEDs (if you are into neutral white flashlights)

Most powerful headlamp on a single AA battery

Wuben H5

Great AA headlamp with over 200 lumens on AA and 320 lumens with lithium ion battery

Wuben H5 front
Wuben H5 high graph
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:400 lumens with a lithium-ion battery (We measured 325 lumens at turn on)
250 lumen with AA battery (we measured 210 lumens at turn on)
Battery type:AA battery (also works on 14500 lithium-ion batteries)
Charging:No built-in charging, but included 14500 battery has USB-C charging
Extra:

The Wuben H5 is a sweet little “multifunctional clip flashlight”. Just calling it a headlamp would be an insult. The H5 can be used with the headband, in the clip on your shirt pocket, with the clip’s magnet attached to a surface, or with the tailcap magnet attached to something. There’s just so many ways to position the Wuben H5 exactly where you need light.

But it’s so easy to use, convenient size, and takes lithium-ion cells in addition to AA batteries. High marks for the Wuben H5!

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Comes with 14500 battery for maximum brightness
  2. Works on AA batteries but with less output
  3. Plenty compact
  4. Mixed flood and throw optics

Brightest headlamps on lithium batteries (18650 -21700)

Brightest headlamp below $30

Sofirn SP40

Brightest LED headlamp below $30

accessories
Sofirn SP40 graph
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:1200 lumens
Battery type:18650 and 18350 with battery adapter
Charging:Micro USB
Extra:

We reviewed the Sofirn SP40 here. And here’s a quick summary from the review:

There’s an awful lot to like about the Sofirn SP40 – it’s right on the verge of being an incredible light, with only a few minor drawbacks. The price is fantastic for what you get, there’s USB charging onboard, the headband is very comfortable (more on that below),I don’t know how much I can reiterate – I’m a very big fan of the headband! I’ve had the Wowtac A2S for some time, and the rubber has always dug into my forehead at the ends of it, but the headband on the SP40 is just comfortable from the word go. I feel like I could wear this for hours and not be irritated by it, whereas I find myself wanting to take the A2S off within 10 minutes. Or maybe I’m just a little sensitive to that kind of thing…There are a few things I’d love to see in future versions, but I do know that all of these additions come with a cost/benefit decision for Sofirn – higher CRI emitters, the change in UI to add moonlight mode, potentially USB-C charging instead of Micro USB – but I do understand that Sofirn has to build to target their largest markets.

Even with those things in mind, I’m more than happy to give this light a 4.5/5 – it’s a fantastic light, especially for the price, that will do what you expect of it, when you expect it.I hope to see more great headlamps from Sofirn in the future! Basically, this is a great bargain.

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Great value for the money, at about $30 (Amazon prices are a bit higher)
  2. Comfortable headband

Brightest 18650 headlamp

Thrunite TH30 v2

Claiming 3320 lumens off a single battery, this is one /if not the brightest 18650 headlamps.

Thrunite TH30 v2 on cap
Thrunite TH30 v2 runtime turbo
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:400 lumens with a lithium-ion battery (We measured 325 lumens at turn on)
250 lumen with AA battery (we measured 210 lumens at turn on)
Battery type:AA battery (also works on 14500 lithium-ion batteries)
Charging:Built-in USB-C charging
Extra:

When searching for powerful headlamps, this is probably the brightest available. Specs show 3320lumens, but I imagine this is very optimistic. If you’re getting 2000 lumens OTF (out the front) you should be really happy.  The Cree XHP70.2 is powered by a single 18650 Li-Ion  IMR battery 3100mAh, which is included in the package. It’s waterproof with a rating of IPX8. It can also throw a reasonable bream up to 155 meters (roughly 500 feet/170 yards).

Most right-angle lights can also be used without the head strap. And in some cases, they include a strong magnet in the tailcap so you can attach it to metal.

Here’s a summary of this light:

There’s a lot I really like about the ThruNite TH30 V2. It’s built well, it’s plenty bright (even if it misses specs), has a nicely regulated driver, and the UI is a full-featured and natural feeling. I have a few nits to pick though. Having the Cree tint shift of an XHP70.2 in a headlamp is a bit bothersome/distracting. I think if ThruNite is going to stick with a flip-chip Cree LED, I’d like to see them utilize a pebbled TIR (TH30 V3 perhaps?). I also would have liked a magnetic tailcap to beef up its work-light chops. I still would definitely recommend this headlamp, those are just a couple of things you might want to be aware of going in. All in all, I think the ThruNite TH30 V2 is a really solid offering.

Check out our full review of the Thrunite TH30 v2 here.

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. One of the brightest headlamps on a single 18650 battery
  2. Great user interface
  3. USB-C charging
  4. Nice regulated output
  5. Good sustained output

Brightest headlamp on a single 21700 battery

Armytek Wizard C2 PRO MAX

Right angle headlamp with 4000 lumens. 

armytek wizard on helmet
runtime test
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:4000 lumens (We measured 3455 lumens at turn on)
Battery type:21700 lithium-ion battery (included)
Charging:Magnetic charging
Extra:

If you’re looking for a very versatile headlamp that you can use for camping, cycling, but also use as a normal flashlight, the Wizard C2 PRO Max may fit the bill.

It comes with more accessories that you probably need, but that’s actually unheard of. Most manufacturers include the minimum number of accessories, but Armytek went the extra mile.

They include the following (besides the headlamp):

  • Stainless steel pocket clip (so you can clip it onto a pocket)
  • Magnetic charging cable (so you don’t need to buy an expensive charger)
  • Battery: so you don’t need to buy a battery
  • 18650 battery adapter (in case you have plenty of 18650 batteries around)
  • Headband
  • Bicycle mount (so you can use it as a bike light as well)

The only thing that you need to get used to is the UI. But once you get used to it, it’s actually really nice to use. It has a General UI, and an Advanced UI.

The Advanced UI has some great features, but it takes a bit of time to really appreciate it.

If you really want the maximum battery life, you can set it to one of the firefly modes, and let it run for weeks in a row.

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Comes with so many accessories, including a bike mount
  2. Extremely powerful for its size
  3. Headstrap goes sideways and on top of your head for extra stability
  4. Magnetic charging for extra waterproofness (USB ports can compromise the waterproofing of a flashlight or headlamp)

Acebeam H30

4000 lumens from 1 battery.. on your forehead. That is what the H30 can do, albeit for only 1.5 minutes. 

bright headlamp
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:4000 lumens
Battery type:21700 lithium-ion battery (included)
Charging:USB-C charging
Extra:

Not really for jogging or running because of its weight and size. If you want something smaller, you should look at something totally different and smaller. This bad boy is to beat the darkness. Turbo Max (4000 lumens) can only run for 1.5 minutes when it drops down to High (1100 lumens). Turbo (2200 lumens) will do 5.5 minutes before it drops down to High for another 2.5 hours. Charge current with the USB C up to 2A.

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Acebeam has good warranty

Brightest headlamp in the world

Olight H67

The brightest headlamp in the world!

Olight H67 runtime
Specification:Specified:
Max. brightness:12,000 lumens (we tested over 14,000 lumens at turn on)
Battery type:Remote battery pack with 100Wh
Charging:USB-C charging
Extra:Has a fan built in, and battery pack can go into your backpack

The Olight H67 is currently rated as the brightest headlamp. But since we can not just go off anybody’s specifications, we bought one and tested it.

During our test, we noticed that the maximum output of 12,000 lumens was easily achieved, even according to ANSI FL1 standards. (This is so important because most flashlights and headlamps we test don’t meet these criteria). According to these standards, the output has to be measured 30 seconds after turning it on. And even according to these ANSI FL1 standards, the Olight H67 easily reached 12,000 lumens.

The portable battery pack is great because you don’t have all the weight on your head, but in your backpack, on your belt, or in your pocket. With the wide adjustable straps and a strong GoPro mount, it’s pretty comfy to use.

This is why we would recommend this headlamp:

  1. Brightest flashlight in the world, at over 13,000 ANSI lumens (specced at 12,000)
  2. Remote battery pack so the weight on your head is minimal
  3. Large and easy to use switch on top of the lamp, including a lockout switch
  4. Great runtimes, even though they didn’t match the specs

Not available outside the EU. Here is a Dutch online store:

Frequently asked questions about high lumen headlamps

  • what is the brightest headlamp?

    The brightest headlamp is the Olight H67. In our test we measured over 14,000 lumens at turn on, and over 13,000 lumens after 30 seconds. This is the highest lumen headlamp.

  • How many lumens is the brightest headlamp?

    This is the Olight H67 with 12,000 lumens. But we tested it at over 14,000 lumens. See our full review of the Olight H67 for all details.

  • Is 1000 lumen bright for a headlamp?

    Yes, in most cases 1000 lumen is enough, especially if you are just walking. On a bike or other vehicle, you probably want something brighter.

What’s the best headlamp?

If you want to know what headlamps are the best, according to our testing, check out the link.

If you’re going to use a headlamp for jogging, none of these bright headlamps would be a great fit. They are either too heavy, too bulky, or bounce up and down while jogging.

You’d better get something very lightweight (with a lithium-ion battery would be preferred). It also depends on the distance you are running. If you’re running for a couple of hours, you better look for a decent battery and don’t use AAA batteries. The Nitecore UT27 or Nitecore NU25UL would be a good choice.

Missing any headlamp in the list, that is proved to be brighter? Let us know.

We’re not talking about eBay listings with 1000000 lumens.