If you’re an angler, there undoubtedly has been a time on the water when you’ve regretted not bringing a light to illuminate your environment. Be it in the dusk or the dark of night, or early in the morning before sunrise, a headlamp is an essential piece of gear that should always be brought along.
Not all headlamps are created equal, though. You’ll find that some will help you catch fish more efficiently, while others will prove to be nothing more than glorified night lights. Knowing what to look for when shopping for a headlamp is key in making the proper decision when purchasing this important tool.
Luckily for you, we’ve chosen six of the top headlamps on the market, with detailed breakdowns to help you decide which one will work best for your specific needs.
Criteria for Our Selection of Headlamps
Headlamps come in many shapes, sizes, and levels of brightness. Wading through the different options can be intimidating, so we’ll break down the criteria we believe is most important when making this decision.
Javstreaming Brightness is generally measured in lumens. The more lumens a headlamp has, the brighter it’ll typically be. The range of lumens in the headlamp space can vary drastically. Lower-range options can have lumen numbers in the teens, while higher-range choices might feature lumen counts in the tens of thousands. But what lumen range do you need? Well, that depends.
The average flashlight you keep around your house probably has somewhere between 25-100 lumens. This will suffice for normal tasks, but for fishing at night, it’s not ideal. To keep a keen eye on your surroundings, you’ll need more juice.
Generally, you’ll need a headlamp with a bare minimum of 150 lumens. We prefer to see ranges of 1,000 or higher, but for most general fishing tasks, a starting point of 150 will suffice.
We’ve covered brightness first, as we believe it’s the most important factor to take into account when making a purchasing decision. The brighter your light, the further you’ll be able to see.
You’re standing on a river bank with the light fading behind the trees. It’s almost impossible to see where the water begins or ends. You’re on the hunt for a beautiful brown trout that’s been teasing you all day. Just one more cast could land that trophy fish. You squint your eyes, reach back, and cast your line. But all you hear are a tree’s leaves clattering, and your heart sinks. You’re now stuck in the trees on the other side of the water. If only you had a headlamp to see the exact spot you need to cast your bait toward, the whole scenario would be different.
Brightness is hugely important, and we’ll make sure to cover it in every product we look at.
If you couldn’t tell, headlamps are worn on your head. This means comfort should be a huge consideration when comparing different models.
Weight, size, and band material all play a vital role in headlamp comfort. If it’s too big, too heavy, or made of an uncomfortable material, you’ll want to take it off and never wear it again. What good will that new headlamp do for you if it stays stowed away? We want to make sure that never happens.
A headlamp used for fishing needs to be water-resistant. This means they can generally get splashed with water and be fine. In most cases, though, they won’t survive if they become completely submerged in the water. It’s always better to choose a full-fledged, waterproof light–rather than simply a water-resistant option–if you have the choice.
There’s only one way to know how water-resistant a device is, and that’s by reviewing the IPX or IP rating. That rating will let you know exactly how long your device can be submerged for before it becomes seriously damaged.
Most newer model headlamps come with rechargeable batteries. Much like your smartwatch or cell phone, as long as you remember to juice it up, you’ll be good to go.
Some older style or cheaper options still use regular batteries. This can get costly, though, as you’ll have to factor in the costs of buying batteries over an extended period of time. We always advise using rechargeable units, as the hassle of changing batteries manually is just not fun.
This is another important factor that should be carefully considered. You want to make sure you have as much battery time as possible–otherwise, your fishing trip could be cut unnecessarily short.
Modern headlamps generally offer at least a few different modes, including both white and red lights, brightness adjustment options, flashing and strobe effects, and zoom.
These modes aren’t a requirement for a good headlamp, but many of them make for great additions. Let’s take the ability to zoom, for instance. This feature can narrow the beam of your light so that you can focus on a specific spot. It can also widen the beam, giving you a better view of your surroundings.
Another great mode that’s often overlooked is the ability to use red light instead of white light. White light is great for maximum brightness, but your eyes will more easily adjust to the light if it is red.
We’ll dive into these features and more in each specific model we review.
Brightness: 2,000 Lumens
Water Resistance: IP65
The Zoomable 5 headlamp from BESTSUN absolutely won us over. It has all the features you could ever want from a headlamp for angling, so it was a unanimous decision for our top spot.
BESTSUN paired a rugged aluminum construction with an adjustable elastic headband to create a perfect balance between comfort and function. Combine that with five modes and a respectable 2,000 lumens brightness, and the BESTSUN headlamp really shines.
This headlamp can throw a beam 500 meters. With that distance, you don’t have to worry about missing any dangers when casting your line. 2,000 lumens is plenty of power for any need.
The five light modes include high, middle, low, strobe, and SOS. High will pump full power into your lamp to give you the most visibility. Middle will shine the light at a lesser brightness that’s still strong, but not overpowering. Low will shine the light in low-power mode that’s equivalent to the brightness of a standard flashlight. As you’d expect, the strobe feature will flash the light in a strobing pattern, and SOS will flash the light in case of emergency.
The BESTSUN headlamp is a great option for fishing as it’s IP65 rated. That means it’s designed to resist both dust and water. While you won’t want to allow it to be submerged, neither rain nor splashes of water harm this unit in any way.
The battery on this headlamp can last an entire day on the middle setting. Just keep in mind that on high, you’ll only get up to 5 hours of use time. These specs are excellent for a headlamp that’s this bright, and we didn’t encounter any problems during our use of the device.
IP65 water and dust-resistant
Bright at 2,000 Lumens
Outstanding battery life
The build is mostly plastic
Brightness: 1,080 Lumens
Water Resistance: IPX4
If you want good looks combined with a powerful light, the DanForce headlamp is the one for you. It has an awesome three-light design combined with an EVA non-sweat designed to resist sweat and the harshest conditions.
The headlamp is only rated at IPX4, which means that while it’s splash resistant, you should try not to get it too wet. This is one area we’d like to see improvements in on this unit.
At 1,080 lumens, the DanForce is plenty bright enough for your fishing excursion. You’ll be able to see at a decent range, and when viewing anything up close, you can easily switch to medium or low power mode and save some battery.
The headset comes with 5 modes: high (full power), medium (half power), low intensity (to save battery), flashing (strobe effect), and red light (for a less harsh light)–everything you could possibly need no matter the situation.
The battery life is good, easily lasting a full day of use. Medium mode will cut out the two side lights and just use the center light, which still offers more than enough illumination for most situations.
IPX4 water and dust-resistant
Bright at 1,080 Lumens
Comfortable, adjustable fit
At 12 oz., this unit is on the heavy side
Brightness: 350 Lumens
Water Resistance: IP67
The Black Diamond Storm is an extremely small and lightweight headlamp. This doesn’t mean it isn’t rugged, as the build quality is quite robust for such a small unit. Weighing only a touch over 3 ounces, you’ll easily forget that the Storm is even on your head.
In addition to its lightweight, rugged design, this unit is IP67 classified dust and water-resistant. This is the highest rating of all the devices on our list, and it means that the Storm can be submerged in up to a meter of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. This is an excellent feature for a fishing headlamp.
The drawback to the Storm is that it lacks a bit in the lumens department, only clocking in at 350. However, this unit will still get you a solid 85-meter light distance, allowing you to see a long distance for such a small headlamp. We believe it’s an acceptable trade-off given the compactness of the unit.
This headlamp comes with red, green, and blue night vision modes to ensure you can see well, even in the darkest of night, without using the full light. That feature is a nice inclusion that the other competitors are lacking.
IP67 water- and dust-resistant
Lightweight at 3.2 oz.
RGB night vision
Only 350 Lumens
Brightness: 2,000 Lumens
Water Resistance: IPX5
The Neolight H4 LED Headlamp is the largest unit on our list. Weighing in at almost a pound, you’ll certainly know when you’re wearing this headlamp.
With a design that resembles the front of a traditional flashlight, this option is quite reminiscent of a miner’s helmet light. If you enjoy the large robust look, this could be the headlamp for you. Remember though, that with a light this large, the unit is definitely a bit front-heavy.
The Neolight H4 is well-built, featuring aluminum and ABS plastic that stands up well to strenuous wear and tear. The headlamp is rated IPX5, which is more than enough for protection from splashes and rain.
The battery life is good, rated at 10 hours on medium brightness. On ultra-brightness, you’ll be able to squeak out 4.5 hours.
This headlamp does feature an adjustable focus, which will allow you to direct a higher-intensity beam toward specific areas. Conversely, you can make the beam’s focus wider to get a nice full light to view the surrounding areas.
IPX5 water and dust resistant
Bright at 2,000 lumens
Brightness: 168 Lumens
Water Resistance: IPX5
The HeroBeam is the only product on our list specifically marketed to anglers. With that in mind, it has some features that will likely put a smile on your face.
The first feature that’s specific to the fishing world is the inclusion of a wide-beam, red LED. This means you can cast a wide, red glow in your area, ensuring you don’t scare off the fish while giving you better visibility.
Another lighting mode offered is one they call “Super Spot.” This is the main light in the unit, and it’s used for close work, such as tying your hooks and prepping your tackle.
Lastly, the unit has a motion activation mode, allowing you to simply wave your hand in front of the unit to turn it on. This is a nice feature that’s especially beneficial when you’re wearing gloves or dealing with grime on your hands.
The headlamp is IPX5, giving it splash- and water-resistance to allow you to wear it the rain without much issue. For a fishing product, we feel it could have been a bit higher rated in case of an accidental drop in the water.
IPX5 water and dust-resistant
Lightweight at 2.7 oz.
Only 168 lumens
Brightness: 1,800 Lumens
Water Resistance: N/A
Let’s get the big con out of the way first. The GRDE Zoomable 3 doesn’t appear to be water-resistant. If it is, it’s not listed in any of the product marketing information or documentation. This is a big negative when looking for a headlamp specifically for fishing.
Once we get past the big con, we find a bright, 1,800-lumen headlamp. That’s a very helpful feature for fishing. Just don’t expect to wear it in the rain!
The battery life is very comparable to the other units, lasting roughly an entire day on a full charge. If you run the unit on its highest setting, this will obviously reduce, but no more so than the competing brands.
The unit has three light settings: low, mid, and strobe. The only real “mode” here is strobe, and it performs a strobing effect exactly as you would imagine.
Bright, with 1,800 lumens
Not water resistant
Lacking in build quality
Heavy at 12.8 oz.
Each of the units we tested had some pros and cons, but the BESTSUN came out on top for being the most well-rounded headlamp for fishing.
With a comfortable fit, super-bright 2,000 lumen light, and a water-resistant design, it can withstand all the rigors of any fishing trip. Combine all of that with the five changeable modes, and it has all the bells and whistles you could ever ask for.
If you’re in the market for a headlamp to use on your fishing trips, you won’t find a better available unit than the BESTSUN.