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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.

The list will be updated continuously and is not focused on a specific price range. Prices can range between $10 and $600.

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

Manker E02

The Manker E02 is a rare flashlight, or better said: a right-angle flashlight. It can do over 200 lumens on 1 AAA flashlight. Plenty bright, and the brightest AAA right-angle light currently on the market. This is an excellent choice for using as a headlamp! Also for kids!

  • Available in XPG3 (200+ lumens) and Nichia 219C (180 lumens)
  • Brightness step-down from Turbo to High after 3 minutes.
  • High is about 60 lumens
  • Built-in magnet in the tail
  • Pocket clip included
  • One-handed operation
  • Works with (Eneloop) AAA batteries 
  • 4-modes, Moon- Low-High-Turbo
  • 3 hidden strobe modes

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. 

Most powerful headlamp on a single AA battery

right angle light made by Zebralight

Zebralight H53w

Zebralight has been the #1 manufacturer for powerful AA flashlights and headlamps. And the H53w is no exception. 

  • Max Output: 330 lumens (on 1 Eneloop AA battery)
  • LED: XP-L2 EasyWhyte (80CRI which is above average)
  • Modes: User selectable levels. 3 main modes and each can be set to its sub-level output
  • Length: 75mm long / 2.9 inch
  • Weight: 79gr / 2.8 oz with battery
  • Operation voltage 0.7-2V, so no 14500 batteries!

Zebralight has been the leader when it comes to high powered AA flashlights and headlamps since about 2014. They have had records in most powerful AA flashlights and also in headlamps. The H53w is very very bright with only 1 AA Eneloop battery. I do not recommend using Alkaline batteries in any flashlight. Because Alkalines are weak batteries, they can never reach the highest output in a flashlight. Never. Always use rechargeable batteries like Eneloop or Fujitsu.

Brightest headlamps on lithium batteries

Brightest 18650 headlamp

Thrunite TH30 v2 headlamp

Thrunite TH30

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

  • Brightest rechargeable headlamp on a single 18650 battery
  • Charging: via USB-C
  • Right-angle headlamp can be used without the head strap
  • LED: XHP70.2 high power LED

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 from 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 headstrap. And in some cases they inlcude 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 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.

 

Brightest headlamp below $35

  • Led: CREE XPL HD
  • Max output: 1200 lm
  • Battery: 18650 (for an additional $3 they'll include one)
  • Charge: Micro USB

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 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.

Brightest headlamp on a single 21700 battery

armytek wizard on helmet

Armytek Wizard C2 PRO MAX

Right angle headlamp with 4000 lumens. 

  • Max output: 4000 lumens (I tested
  • LED: XHP70.2 high power LED
  • 7 brightness modes from really dim to very bright
  • Charging: proprietary magnetic charging
  • Battery: 21700 lithium-ion included (5000mAh capacity)

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)

Here is it's performance for the first 30 minutes:

runtime test

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.

bright headlamp

Acebeam H30

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

  • 4000 lumens
  • XHP70.2 high power LED
  • CREE XPE2-R2 630nm red light
  • CREE XPE2-G2 530nm green light
  • 4 brightness modes
  • USB C port for fast charging
  • Includes a 21700 type battery with 5100mAh

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. Use our special code: 1lumen323 at Acebeam.com for 11% off.

Brightest headlamp in the world

lupine rx brightest headlamp with 5000 lumens

Lupine Betty RX

A super bright headlamp with 5400 lumens. We are talking about the Lupine Betty RX 

  • Max output: 5,400 lumens
  • LED: 6*XML2 + 1* XP-G2
  • Available with a 9.9Ah battery pack (RX 7) or 13.8Ah battery pack (RX14)
  • 11 different brightness levels

The Lupine Betty RX is not your average kind of headlamp, weighing in at 500 grams with the smaller battery pack and 660 grams with the larger battery pack. It's not just for wearing on your head, it can also be mounted to your bike.

With 11 different output modes, you should be able to get 1 hour of runtime in the highest output mode, will reaching 150 hours on the lowest output mode. The highest is claimed to reach 5000 lumens and the lowest at 30 lumens. The Betty RX shows the battery voltage on the head of the lamp as well as on the Bluetooth remote control. The Bluetooth remote control is a great feature, especially when riding a bike. The remote switch uses a battery indicator LED that can be switched of to conserve battery power.

The Betty RX is supposed to be the brightest rechargeable headlamp, but we haven't tested it, so we can't 100% confirm.

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.

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 the above headlamps would be a great fit. You'd better get something lightweight and the least amount of batteries ( a lithium-ion would be preferred). Not specifically the least amount but with the least weight and best balanced. 

Secondly, it 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 would be a good choice.

If you just want the brightest headlamps, check the ones above.