LAST UPDATED: February 26, 2021
The Best Rear Bike Lights (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Stay visible, stay safe, and stay cool with rear bike lights.
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PUBLISHED ON February 26, 2021
Anyone who rides a bike regularly knows that easily the biggest hazard on the road or trail is other people. On the road, drivers often fail to pay attention to those on two wheels instead of four. More than motorcycles, bicycles appear and disappear from view extremely quickly due to their small profile. Without a rider's concerted effort, many drivers will simply not see them without a good rear bike light.
These lights increase a bike's visibility, keeping riders safe and drivers more aware. On the flip side, off-road bikers can benefit from a quality rear bike light as well. Visibility translates to safety when fellow bikers and other trail adventurers can see you coming, especially when it's dark. If you're interested in finding the best rear bike lights, we've compiled a list of the top options available.
The Guard G3X Pro100 gives bikers a bright tail light with safety-conscious strobe and flash patterns, and its long, narrow body fits neatly behind any bike’s seat post.
- Puts out 100 lumens
- Has a visibility arc of 180 degrees
- Holds an IPX5 rating
- Brand has good customer service
- Some users have seen limited longevity from their lights
- Minimalist mounting strap
The Pyro Bike Light Set keeps bikers safe in daylight and low-light settings, providing them with both front and rear running lights at an excellent price point.
- Both lights put out 80 lumens
- Each light has a built-in clip for easy attachment to other objects
- Built with aluminum
- Only has an IPX4 rating, limiting its water resistance
- Front light is only bright enough for daylight running and will not work as a headlight
The Varia RTL510 provides bikers with a “just right” rear running light, and its radar system does what Garmin does best: using modern technology to enhance safety and convenience.
- On high, the light puts out 69 lumens
- Holds an IPX7 rating
- Rear-facing car detection radar works as an electronic rearview mirror
- Integrates with Garmin GPS units
- Very expensive
- Lumen output on low settings is too poor for daytime use
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Rear Bike Lights
- Safety. Rear bike lights bring attention to bikes and their riders, increasing their visual profile. A better profile turns bikers into a focal point, raising the situational awareness of other people on the road or trail. In turn, bikers, drivers, and pedestrians can avoid dangerous and costly accidents.
- Easier group travel. Traveling in a group can be a challenge, particularly in poor weather or environments with bad visibility. When each member has a light on their bike, keeping the group together without collisions becomes a much simpler chore.
Types of Rear Bike Lights
Today, the vast majority of bicycle lights are powered by either disposable or rechargeable batteries. These lights are simple and convenient, requiring no parts beyond the mounting component(s) and the light itself. As such, they can be mounted in multiple locations, making them extremely convenient to use.
Of course, batteries must either be replaced or recharged to keep these lights working. Many lights now use USB-based rechargeable batteries, although those who prefer traditional alkaline-style batteries can still pick one up.
While rare in today’s market, there are alternatives to using battery-powered rear bike lights. Those wishing to generate their own electricity can find a dynamo light instead, using tire revolutions to create an alternating electrical current to generate the light’s electricity.
The additional parts and electric cables can be a bit of an obstacle for some, and when the bike slows down, the light begins to dim. Still, this is a very eco-friendly alternative to disposable batteries and mining-intensive rechargeable batteries.
In 1991, a group of bike-loving engineers launched Cygolite in Irvine, Calif. The company’s first product was an LED blinking tail light, a predecessor to current offerings like the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 200. Today, the company focuses on creating LED-powered, USB-rechargeable bike lights.
Knog first saw the light of day in 2002, thanks to Hugo Davidson and Mal McKechnie. Based out of Melbourne, Australia, the company focuses on producing handheld lighting systems like headlamps and flashlights and bike accessories like bike lights and bike bells.
German native Micki Kozuschek founded Lezyne on March 1, 2007, at the top of his career as a professional triathlete. Headquartered in Reno, Nev., the company specializes in bicycle tools and accessories, including pumps, multitools, GPS devices, and lights.
In November 1996, Planet Bike first arrived on the biking scene in Madison, Wis. From the beginning, this cycle-centric company has focused on producing top-tier bike apparel and gear of virtually every type, such as the Planet Bike Grateful Red Bike Tail Light.
Rear Bike Light Pricing
- Under $50: Lights in this price range usually max out around 100 lumens, with many lights putting out lower numbers. IP ratings for water resistance are usually around IPX4 or IPX5.
- $50 and up: These lights tend to have lumen outputs at or above 100, with some reaching the 300-lumen mark. These lights are much more likely to earn an IP rating of IPX7.
Lumen output is one of the essential features of any rear bike light. These lights help keep bikes and their riders visible to traffic approaching from the rear, so a light that is too dim lacks practical value. For daytime rides, use a light rated for at least 50 lumens as the sun will drown out lights with lower outputs.
The human eye is most attracted to green lights and movements, so the small red light on a relatively slow-moving bike may fail to catch a driver’s attention. As such, a rear bike light with a strobing or flashing pattern and a bright enough output help pick up the slack, grabbing an approaching driver’s attention much faster than a solid, dim bike light.
A bright, strobing light means nothing if it cannot withstand the weather. Lights from reputable manufacturers will feature an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Most units will feature a rating between IPX4 and IPX7. Units rated IPX4 are only splash resistant, while IPX7 units may be temporarily submerged in up to three feet of water. IP ratings with a number in place of the “X” have been tested for resistance to intrusion by dust and debris.
Make sure to purchase a rear bike light with the battery life to support applicable ride times. Most lights have a runtime range that will account for low-output settings and high-output settings. While some lights may run for only a couple of hours on their highest setting, a few will hit over 75 hours of runtime on their most battery-friendly setting.
- Mounting Options. Light mounting options vary from unit to unit, but many are available with a strap-based mounting system for easy adjustments and removal since most of these lights are rechargeable via USB. A few tail lights still feature traditional hardpoint mounting systems with a clip-on feature, fixing the light at a given angle while still allowing users to easily remove it when necessary. Some lights feature a hybrid system, combining the best of both approaches.
Best Rear Bike Lights Reviews & Recommendations 2021
The Apace Vision Guard G3X Pro100 takes the top spot on this list, thanks to its excellent combination of features, performance, and cost. This rear bike light shines brightly, putting out 100 lumens to maximize visibility in virtually any environmental condition, and it grabs attention with ease with its seven different flash patterns, including a much-appreciated daylight strobe option. With an IPX5 rating, this light withstands slashing rain and other jets of water, while the battery life ranges from 2.5 to 45 hours, depending on the selected flash pattern. This USB-rechargeable unit comes with a strap mount and an impact-resistant polycarbonate housing, and the light features a 180-degree beam angle.
While this rear bike light is an overall solid option, some drawbacks are its limited longevity and the minimalistic mounting band.
This set comes with a white front and a red rear bike running light, each putting out a solid 80 lumens of light for increased visibility, and both featuring four modes: High, Low, Fast Strobe, and Slow Strobe. These USB-rechargeable units feature a runtime between 3.5 and 10 hours, yet they work while charging. Both strap-mounted units have very lightweight, low-profile aluminum housings that are impact-resistant when dropped from heights up to 10 feet. The Vont Pyro Bike Light Set comes with two charging cords, extra mounting straps, and a lifetime warranty.
Before purchasing this light, consider its IPX4 rating, which limits its use to mist and light rain rather than heavy downpours. Also, the front light is too dim for use as a headlight after dark.
This premium rear bike light features solid, flashing, and night flashing modes, generating between 20 and 65 lumens, a rating low enough not to be irritating to others on the road. This light’s battery life lasts between six and 15 hours and recharges easily via a USB charging port. This strap-mounted device earns an impressive IPX7 rating and has both a one-mile visibility range and a 220-degree beam angle. The Garmin Varia RTL510’s most impressive feature is the rearview radar system, which provides visual and audio alerts for vehicles up to 153 yards (140 meters) away and pairs with many other Garmin devices.
This rather expensive light has a relatively low lumen output—the low setting is too poor for daytime use. Also, the radar’s alert system is incompatible with headphones and earbuds.
This strobe-capable bike tail light generates an impressive 200 lumens and features six different modes: High Flash, High Steady, Group, Steady Pulse, Zoom, Low Flash. This unit allows users to adjust the tempo of each mode. The USB-rechargeable battery has a runtime ranging between two and 210 hours depending on which mode the rider selects, and it includes a low battery indicator. The hybrid strap and hardpoint mounting system allows users to adjust the light's orientation, allowing users to maximize the light long-range, wide-angle beam. To top it all off, the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 200 is an all-American product.
A few users have complained about this light's inconvenient mounting system. Some have also been disappointed with the battery's durability and the light's IP64 rating, which isn't as waterproof.
Being seen is the key to being safe on the road, and the Don Peregrino B1 110 Lumens Rear Bike Light ensures bikers are visible. This light compliments its strong output of 100 lumens with seven different light patterns: Standard, Low, Breathing, Flash, Fast Flash, Slow Flash, Strobe Flash. The USB-rechargeable battery runs for anywhere between four and 10 hours for those who tend to prefer shorter rides but are not afraid of long treks. The hybrid strap and hardpoint mounting system allows users to recharge and reorient (horizontal or vertical) the light while keeping the light in the same position every time. The affordable Don Peregrino B1 110 Lumens Rear Bike Light features a 492-foot range and a 150-degree beam angle.
The only knock against this light is its light-duty IPX4 water resistance rating, which may not be enough protection for some riders.
In busy urban settings with lots of competing lights, the Lezyne Strip 300—a light with true star power—is the only way for a bike to stand out in the crowd. This light generates a whopping 300 lumens of light for extreme visibility and also produces 10 different light patterns for the ultimate combination of brightness and flashiness. The battery has a runtime of up to 53 hours and can be recharged via the USB charging port. This unit is ideal for use in any weather, as its IPX7 rating means it can even stand immersion in up to three feet of water. The Lezyne Strip 300 comes with an easy-to-use strap mount and has a beam angle of 270 degrees.
This light is a little bit pricey, although not outlandishly so. One thing to take note of is that some users have complained about the inflexible mount design.
This bright light has three convenient light patterns: Steady On, Breathing, and Slow Flash, all of which are sure to grab an eye or two. The USB-rechargeable light features a battery runtime ranging between 25 and 50 hours with battery status and charging indicator lights as well. The aluminum housing and IP65 rating protect this little flare from hard rains, and a hardpoint-and-strap hybrid mounting system secures it in place. The 180-degree beam angle keeps riders easily visible, and the EBuyFire Smart Bike Tail Light’s accelerometer activates an intelligent brake light when it decelerates.
Some users have been disappointed with the mounting components. Also, the light’s specific lumen output is unknown, so it may not be as bright as you'd like it, but you wouldn't know unless you purchase it first.
Drivers can create artificial blind spots by failing to notice things in front of them, but the Knog Blinder Road R70 helps eliminate this concern. This rear bike light produces a solid 70 lumens, creating a good balance between bright enough but not too bright. While not the brightest light on the road, the five flashing patterns—Steady, Fast Flash, Chase Flash, Peloton, Eco Flash—easily grab the attention of every driver, biker, and pedestrian. This unit mounts easily with the convenient rubber strap, while its housing keeps the electronic internals safe enough to earn an impressive IP67 rating. It has a runtime between 3.5 and 20 hours, and the USB charging tab replaces the ubiquitous charging port.
A few downsides of this rear bike light are that the integrated USB charging tab lacks a sturdy design, and some users have expressed disappointment with the mounting components.
This bright rear bike light has earned an IPX5 rating for water resistance, making it an excellent choice for riding in the rain. It features five flashing patterns: Strobe, Slow Strobe, Meteor, Tai Chi, Breathing. Depending on the selected mode, riders can expect a battery life between eight and 56 hours, more than enough for most users. When the battery indicator light turns red, simply plug the charging cable into the USB port, then wait for the little light to turn green. The strap-mounted Wasaga T05 includes an integrated clip and a 200-degree beam angle and is available in three colors.
This light’s actual lumen output is unknown, and the plastic clip is somewhat fragile. Some users have also run into the occasional quality control issue.
This set includes a bright, 100-lumen tail light with a blinding, 1100-lumen headlight with both units generating multiple light patterns, including both solid and strobe/flash capabilities, and multiple light intensity settings. The tail light's battery life spans 4.5 to 15.5 hours, while the headlight hits the one-hour and 18-hour marks. Each unit is rechargeable via USB and includes its own separate charging cable. Both lights are quite durable, with the Lumina 1100 Boost boasting an aluminum body with a fiberglass-reinforced nylon housing. The NiteRider Lumina 1100 Boost and Solas 100 Combo also includes strap-based mounting systems for each light.
While these lights are impressive, be prepared to spend more than other options. And even though it's priced at a premium, its IP64 rating is disappointing at this price point. Also, some users have run into quality control issues.
- Before purchasing a rear bike light, consider the worst possible lighting and visibility conditions you might encounter to determine the appropriate lumen output.
- When purchasing a rechargeable light, be sure to get a battery with at least twice the life you anticipate needing. Otherwise, find one that runs while charging and buy a bike-mountable solar charger to match.
- Bikers with traditional battery-operated should pack along extra batteries in a waterproof or extremely water-resistant container.
Q: How bright should my rear bike light be?
Rear bike lights should be bright enough to make them visible in any weather or lighting condition; this usually requires an output of at least 50 lumens. Since bike lights are much smaller and less noticeable than car lights, purchase one with an eye-catching flash or strobe pattern.
Q: What is the ideal number of lumens for a rear bike light to ensure I'm visible on the road?
A rear bike light with an output of at least 50 lumens should provide adequate visibility in most weather conditions, both day and night.
Q: Should I use a rear bike light during the day?
On-road bikers should consider using a rear light during the day. A proper light will put out at least 50 lumens and have an eye-catching strobe or flashing pattern.
The 100-lumen Apace Vision Guard G3X Pro100 enhances in all conditions while saving bikers’ money. On the other hand, the Vont Pyro Bike Light Set provides 80-lumen running lights for both a bike’s front and rear, all at less than the cost of most single-light options.