The Best Running Head Torches for 2020
Advice on Running Accessories,Autumn & Winter Running Advice
The Best Running Head Torches for 2020

With more and more people running, and more and more people running in the dark on quiet roads, trails and hills, a running head torch has become an essential piece of equipment for many runners.

Here we give simple information on our favourite running head torches to help you decide which one is best for you, whether you just want to run around your local park early in the morning or tackle a mountainous ultra marathon.

Petzl Tikkina / Petzl ActikPetzl ReactikPetzl Reactik +
Ledlenser NEO4Ledlenser NEO6RLedlenser NEO10R
Head Torch Jargon-Buster

Petzl Tikkina

For a simple, easy to use, no frills head torch, look no further than the Tikkina. It’s a quality torch at a budget price.

Great for night time or early morning urban running in parks, cycle paths or tow paths where there is some background light. It is a Hybrid torch and so can be used with traditional AAA batteries or with a Petzl CORE, USB rechargeable unit.

The Tikkina is also fine to use on country roads you know well as a safety aid to being seen by other road users. Handy to have one around at home or in the car, as an emergency light in case of power cuts, little emergencies etc.

  • Lumens: 100-150
  • Max burn time: up to 60 hrs
  • Approx distance: 40 m – 55m
  • Weight: 92 grams

Petzl Tikkina Headtorch
Black £19.50

Petzl Tikkina Headtorch
White/Green £19.50

Petzl Tikkina Headtorch
Blue £19.50

Petzl Actik

The Actik is still fine as an urban running head torch but we are getting into the realm of night time trail use too.

For the extra money, it has up to twice the brightness and visible distance of the Tikkina. This torch has two beam patterns, short and focused to see the path or trail just in front of you or long and wide to light up a longer distance ahead.

There is also a red bulb setting to help diffuse light and a safety emergency red flash option. The headband has reflective trim and a safety whistle built in.

Like the Tikkina it is a hybrid so can be used with AAA batteries or with a CORE, USB rechargeable unit.

  • Lumens: max 300
  • Max burn time: 60 hrs
  • Approx distance: 90 metres
  • Weight: 92 grams

Ledlenser NEO6R

Similar in all qualities to the NEO4, but rechargeable with a USB cable. Also comes with a chest strap to hold the torch at chest level, reducing mutual glare in group situations.

  • Lumens: 120 - 750
  • Max burn time: 8 - 15 hours depending on settings
  • Approx distance: Up to 40 metres
  • Weight: 95 grams

Ledlenser NEO6R Headtorch
Blue £45.00

Ledlenser NEO6R Headtorch
Black £45.00

Ledlenser NEO6R Headtorch
Green £45.00

Ledlensor NEO4

The Ledlensor NEO4 is a lightweight, well-priced entry-level torch. With a maximum 250 lumens it is fine for urban running and also for trails that are not too technical in nature. 

Like the Petzl Tikkina, it has a simple push button to switch between the two main available settings. Unlike the Tikkina it has a lightweight, rear mounted unit to take 3 AAA batteries. The NEO4 also has a small flashing red light at the rear set on the outside of the battery pack.

  • Lumens: 150-240 depending on settings
  • Max burn time: up to 40 hours depending on settings
  • Approx distance: up to 30metres  (3 Variable settings)
  • Weight: 100 grams inc batteries

Ledlenser NEO4 Headtorch
Green £25.00

Ledlenser NEO4 Headtorch
Black £25.00

Ledlenser NEO4 Headtorch
Blue £25.00

Petzl Reactik

Both Reactik models feature reactive lighting, which allows the head torch to adjust automatically to the conditions.

It will burn brighter in a dark wooded area but not so bright in open spaces. This allows longer battery life. You can also pre-set one of 3 burn times. This is really useful if you have an event or an adventure where you know you will be out for up to X amount of hours in the dark. The torch's settings then work out how bright to set the lamp.

The Reactik and Reactik + are very popular for short to medium night time runs and races on trail or hills, or a longer event where a few hours of darkness may be experienced.

  • Lumens: up to 220
  • Max burn time: 3 settings from 3.5 hours to 12 hrs 
  • Approx distance: 40-65 metres
  • Weight: 115 grams

Petzl Reactik Headtorch
White/Black £59.00 £75.00

Petzl Reactik +

For an extra £20 the Reactik + has some interesting extra features.

It is Bluetooth smart and you can download the MYPETZL app to your phone. By a simple presetting process you are then able to check your battery life on your mobile phone on the go, or change the burn time settings. This model also has much brighter lumen power and longer distance of vision.

Both Reactik models have a USB cable rechargeable battery. A separate additional battery pack can be purchased for longer events or adventures where recharging a battery on the move is not practical or an event kit list stipulates a spare battery pack must be carried.

  • Lumens: max 300 over a 3.5 hr burn time, or 110 on the longer burn settings
  • Max burn time: variable on setting 2.5 - 15 hrs 
  • Approx distance: 70-110 metres, depending in setting
  • Weight: 115 grams

Ledlenser NEO10R

Ledlensors’s top performer, for serious nighttime, off-road running. The torch gives up to 600 lumens of light and up to 150 metres beam length at maximum settings. Swivel mounted housing to adjust angle of the beam.

  • Lumens: Max 600
  • Max burn time: Up to 100 hours depending on settings
  • Approx distance: Up to 150 metres depending on settings
  • Weight: 179 grams

Ledlenser NEO10R Headtorch
Grey £90.00

Ledlenser NEO10R Headtorch
Black £90.00

Petzl Nao+

The Nao is like a mini street light on your head! With a wacking maximum setting of 750 lumens and up to 140 metres vision, this light is designed for serious off road running on technical terrain.

It also has a fairly long battery life making it perfect for longer expeditions or events. The pay-off for all this extra power is a little extra weight with a separate battery pack mounted on the rear of the headband. However at 185 grams it is far from heavy. It offers reactive or constant lighting. The MyPetzl light app is available to download on compatible smart phones/tablets. This then enables you to create and customize profiles for different activities.

  • Lumens: 120 - 750
  • Max burn time: 8 - 15 hours depending on settings
  • Approx distance: 65 - 140 metres
  • Weight: 185 grams

Petzl Nao+ Headtorch
White/Black £164.50

Petzl Running Head Torches

Head Torch Jargon-Buster

Lumens is a measure of the brightness of a torch. The higher the lumens, the brighter the torch
Burn time is the approximate battery life of a torch.
Approx distance is the distance ahead of you the torch will light up, which can be variable on some torches depending on the settings.

Further Tech Notes

All Petzl head torches are waterproof, so totally reliable in any outdoor arena. All tech specs approximate. Much depends on the settings used and in some cases outdoor temperature. In colder temperatures, battery life is shortened, so do consider a safety time factor or carry a back-up battery in case of a longer-than-expected winter run or a higher altitude route in the mountains.

Shop Running High-Vis »

All images: Petzl

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