5 Best Rear Bike Lights Reviewed for 2020

Longer wintery nights shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some time out on your bike. In order to be as safe as possible, however, it’s important to have the best rear bike lights.

For help in choosing the right ones, look no further than our guide here. We will go over everything you need to know about the 5 best reviewed bike lights of 2020.

Overview For Our Top Choice

The Garmin Varia RTL510 is our go-to choice for this round for its ability to protect you in more ways than one.

Sale
Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles
Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles

    Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Rear Bike Light Buying Guide

    Lumen

    The lumen is the total amount of light that’s emitted from any rear light. The higher number of lumens you have, the more light you’ll have. Lights that have higher lumens will look especially bright to the human eye.

    For the most part, most rear lights have 5 to 100 lumens, whereas front lights range from 10 to perhaps hundreds of thousands of lights. You’ll want to look in that 5 to 100 range then, and stay aware of other factors like the lux of your lights, which is the intensity of light on an area or surface. 

    Lumen is how much light is emitted, but lux is how far that light goes. This is important if you plan on biking around at night when it’s dark to be sure that cars and other cyclists see you.

    Installation

    The question is where to mount your rear lights when you have your hands on them. The right mounting of your lights ensures that any bike that you already have can be made safe and capable of night riding.

    Keep in mind that you don’t need to only buy rear lights. While we will mainly focus on mounting your lights on the back of your bike, you do have the option to mount a headlight on your handlebars, which is a great way to stay extra safe while you’re riding at night.

    Otherwise, there are side lights to help show your wheels in motion.

    In terms of rear lights though, they can be mounted on your pack, pocket, or seatpost, although there are options that can be mounted on the back of the rear bike packs.

    Many available options will use a clip on your seat or bag, but if you have a lot of items attached to you or your bike already, you might want a more permanent attachment option.

    Try constructing a bracket to mount your lights. This may be more work than you’d like to put in to adding your lights, but it’s something good to consider if you don’t want to clip your light somewhere every time.

    Run Time

    The battery life of any light that you buy will depend on the type of light, the power of the system, and the kind of LEDs in your light. If you have a flashing light, this will use less power than something that has a steady beam.

    You can choose which option usually, since many lights offer both a flashing and steady mode—flashing for the day and steady to keep you constantly visible at night.

    Battery Or USB Rechargeable

    There are also rechargeable units that have many settings. These types of lights can switch between power settings that are low and last a while to high-intensity light that will drain them more quickly.

    You can also add in small lights that allow you to replace the batteries in them. These provide an extra layer of safety to your night riding. There are also light options that are made to increase in brightness as you brake, ensuring that you’re visible. Just make sure that you have a good, bright flat beam to your lights regardless of what type of setting you choose to use.

    Attachment

    When you’re looking for your bike lights, think about what other factors you need to look for before you buy. There are options that include additional LEDs on the sides, which provide you with more visibility than just having one wide beam.

    Look for lights that include waterproofing as well—not only water resistance. If you’re riding in the rain, or it just suddenly starts raining, you don’t want to find that your lights don’t work as they should.

    Luckily, most lights are made to be waterproof now, and there’s no reason not to buy a good waterproof light just in case you might need it.

    Think about choosing an option that has more lighting options as well. Some lights include a pattern to them that can flash or strobe during the day so that you’re not using your entire battery power the entire time that you’re riding.

    These types of options also mean that you won’t have to compete with other lights outside to be seen.

    You may also want a light that knows how to turn on and off on its own. Some lights will figure out when it’s getting dark and turn on automatically.

    Others will have an automatic shut off option so that you don’t have to worry about the battery draining.

    Features

    The real question is what you want from your lights. You may want to buy more than one light for your bike with varying levels of brightness. These lights come in different colors too. You can pick out both red and white colors to be sure that you’re seen by everyone behind you.

    You may also want to consider a different beam pattern for your lights. There are some options that are narrower, especially if you’re mounting them above your head or on the front of the bike. 

    On darker roads, you can pick out something with a wider beam that gives you better peripheral vision. You may not be able to compare beam patterns until you have the light, but you’ll want different patterns to preserve your battery.

    You may also want to choose a rechargeable battery option, which can recharge over 500 times before you need to replace them. Just make sure that if you pick this option, you fully charge them without overcharging them, which will preserve their battery life best. 

    5 Best Rear Bike Lights Reviewed

      1. Cygolite Hotshot SL Tail Light

     Key Features:

    • USB rechargeable and comes with cable
    • Lithium- ion internal battery with up to 200 hours from a single charge
    • Features a high powered two- watt LED bulb
    • Reflectors incorporated to increase visibility

    For the biker who wants to increase their safety, while still keeping the appearance of the basic reflector, this is a great option.

    The Hotshot SL is designed to look very similar to a rear reflector, and even incorporated reflectors into the design to increase visibility from a wider angle.

    The light itself is a single two- watt LED bulb, which is bright and bold, without being blinding to those around you.

    The Hotshot SL comes with five different settings to choose from to fit your preferences. Single flash, triple flash, steady, zoom and random are all available for you to select from.

    The lower flash settings use much less battery power, and will allow you to use the maximum charge time of about 200 hours. On the highest setting, the intense flashing drains the battery much more quickly and will only last around two hours.

    While a very low- price option, the Hotshot SL comes with a lot of great features. One of the best features for many buyers is the ability to charge it via a basic USB cord.

    That means no more batteries and no more paying for finite charging power. Simply plug it in to any device or outlet that will provide power and your light is good to go for 200 hours in just two hours of charging times.

    There is also a built- in charge indicator to let you know that it is charging when plugged in.

    The light mode memory will remember the last setting you selected and start out with it when you turn the light back on.

    OSP smart technology will help you easily change flash settings as you need to with minimal effort, and the entire thing is IP64 water resistant.

    Pros:

    • IP64 water resistant design
    • Six night and day modes
    • On- Site Programmable Smart technology to adjust flash speeds on the go
    • Affordable price for any budget
    • Hard mount compatible with Seat Stay mount included
    • Secure clip for easy attachment
    • Compact design to fit anywhere
    • Will remember the last setting you used and start with it next time
    • Charging indicator to let you know when fully charged
    • Only weighs 1.3 ounces in total

    Cons:

    • Higher settings drain battery life substantially
    Sale
    Cygolite Hotshot– High Power 2 Watt Bike Taillight– 6 Night & Daytime Modes– User Tuneable Flash Speed– Compact Design– IP64 Water Resistant– Secured Hard Mount– USB Rechargeable– Great for Busy Roads
    Cygolite Hotshot– High Power 2 Watt Bike Taillight– 6 Night & Daytime Modes– User Tuneable Flash Speed– Compact Design– IP64 Water Resistant– Secured Hard Mount– USB Rechargeable– Great for Busy Roads

      Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      2. Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light

      Key Features:

      • Includes two 0.5- watt LED bulbs
      • Two AAA batteries will provide you with 50 hours of runtime
      • Precision Euro reflectors 

      Portland Design Works prides themselves on quality manufacturing and well thought out designs. Every product comes with a lifetime warranty to help you protect your investment, and customer service is there if you have any issues with your light.

      The light itself comes with two separate 0.5 watt LED bulbs, and the entire thing is powered by two AAA batteries. There are no battery packs or complicated power sources. The Danger Zone light also comes with precision Euro reflectors to help you get greater visibility when riding.   

      The Danger Zone comes with batteries to get you started, and there are three separate modes you can choose from. This includes a-HA! zZz, and Rock Steady. You will get around 50 hours of running time from your batteries, and the entire thing weighs only two ounces.

      The entire thing is weather resistant to protect it all year long, and it comes with both a backpack clip and a Stayputnik seat post mount. You can also purchase other types of mounts and accessories from Portland Design Works to go with your Danger Zone light, but they are sold separately.

      Pros:

      • AAA batteries included with purchase
      • Lifetime warranty to protect your investment
      • Constructed to be weather resistant
      • Comes with a backpack clip for easily securing it to your person
      • Seat post mount comes with purchase for secure attachment and doesn’t require tools  
      • Three different modes to choose from
      • Weighs less than two ounces

      Cons:

      • Several other ways to attach the light, but are all sold separately by the company
      Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light
      Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light

        Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        3. Blitzu Cyborg 168T Ultra Bright Bike Light

        Key Features:

        • USB rechargeable design to save you from needing batteries
        • Angled to provide 260 degrees of light visibility
        • Daytime technology makes sure you are visible at any time to stay safe
        • IPX4 certified waterproof
        • Up to 6 hours of battery life per charge on low settings, with around 1 hour 30 minutes on high 

        A proud American company, Blitzu aims to provide you with high quality products at a very affordable price. The Cyborg 168T is one half of a team of bike lights for the front and rear.

        This rear model is designed to provide you with an angle of visibility of 260 degrees to make you easier to spot from a wider range. With a waterproof construction and visibility for both day and night, the Cyborg 168T is perfect for all weather all year long.

        There are six different settings to choose from when it comes to flashings. This includes high and low flashings, steady low, steady medium, steady high and strobe.

        Depending on what setting you choose, you can get up to six hours of battery life per charge. A USB cord is used, rather than batteries to power your tail light. You can either charge it fully and then use your light, or charge it on the go.

        If you have any issues, you can rely on the reliable customer service team to help you fix the problem.

         Pros:

        • Secure the light anywhere with an easy to use fastener
        • Versatile when it comes to where you can place it
        • US company that takes pride in their product
        • Weighs only 0.32 ounces
        • Can run while charging
        • Great customer service
        • Six different settings to choose from
        • Very affordable price for any budget rider
        • Works well in any weather
        • One- year warranty

        Cons:

        • Relatively short battery life
        Ultra Bright Bike Light Blitzu Cyborg 168T USB Rechargeable Bicycle Tail Light. Red High Intensity Rear LED Accessories Fits On Any Road Bikes, Helmets. Easy To Install for Cycling Safety Flashlight
        Ultra Bright Bike Light Blitzu Cyborg 168T USB Rechargeable Bicycle Tail Light. Red High Intensity Rear LED Accessories Fits On Any Road Bikes, Helmets. Easy To Install for Cycling Safety Flashlight

          Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          4. Garmin Varia RTL510 Radar Taillight (Top Pick)

          Key Features: 

          • 60 lumen rear light attaches to the back of the bike frame
          • Bright light has a 220-degree range for premium visibility
          • Visual and audible alerts when vehicles approach
          • Slender vertical design
          • Long-lasting battery

          Garmin is a well-known brand that creates many products geared towards keeping you safe and aware. This nifty item is more than just a simple taillight for your bike. By purchasing this, you are also getting an alarm system of sorts.

          As you are cycling along the streets amongst cars, you will be notified with both visual and audible alerts to let you know when a car is behind you. It can detect cars to alert you from up to 153-yards away.

          The radar display unit is sold separately, but it is highly recommended. This unit is also compatible with most Garmin brand cycling head pieces as well.

          The onscreen display, if you decide to purchase this, will provide many details. You will be able to see oncoming vehicles on the screen depicted as dots as they overtake you.

          Not only that, but the radar picks up on data like how fast they are going and how far away they are from you. It will pick up multiple cars at once and they will each be depicted by their own dot, or a cluster if there are many cars in one spot.

          When you are cycling, it is not safe to continuously peer behind yourself to see where cars are located. While you will still need to do this for your safety, the alerts this item gives are trustworthy and will help keep your eyes ahead on the road where they belong.

          Meanwhile, the rear light on the back will help ensure that cars are also aware of your presence.

          The rear light has a powerful brightness that will help alert car drivers of your location. It offers visibility up to a mile away in the daylight. It’s battery life will last 15 hours in flashing mode and 6 hours when solid or night flash modes are active.

          Overall, this combination unit will help keep you safe by making sure that you and others on the road are aware of one another.

          Pros:

          • Visual and audible alerts
          • Strong daylight visibility with a long range
          • Long battery life
          • Easy to install
          • Great for long commutes
          • Visible from the side
          • Very effective as both as radar and a tail light

          Cons:

          • The base price is for the light alone
          • Could be brighter for twilight and dawn
          • Works best with Garmin devices
          Sale
          Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles
          Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles

            Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            5. Aduro Sport LED Rear Bike Light

            Key Features:

            • 6 different modes
            • No batteries required
            • Versatile mounting ability
            • Wide beam LED light
            • Lightweight but durable hardware

            If you are just in the market for a light for your bicycle, then we suggest this Aduro bike light. Our favorite thing about this light is that it does not require batteries.

            Using technology that requires batteries can be such a hassle, especially during those moments when you are inconveniently out of the exact type of battery that you need.

            That is why this light being rechargeable with a micro USB charging cable is so exciting. Just pop it off at the end of your ride and bring it inside to clean it up of mud or debris and let it charge. Easy.

            This light has six different settings that allow you to customize your experience based on your needs at the moment. Those six different settings are as follows: Low, mid, high, flashing, 50% flashing, and strobe.

            Each of these settings serve a purpose and have better uses during different weather or even just different times of the day. Meeting almost any environmental need, the 168 lumens will help protect you even in the bright daylight.

            Perfect for commuters who have to travel on the roads amongst the cars during different times of the day since the different light settings will keep you visible.

            One of the downsides of this light is the battery life. It only lasts about 4-hours in total, depending on which settings you are using. However, that is what makes it being rechargeable so beneficial.

            You can easily snap it off and bring it with you to charge while you are in the office or at home.

            On that note, this light can attach almost anywhere on your bike. Horizontal or vertical positioning are both possible by twisting it to its desired position. You could even wear this on your helmet if that would make you more visible.

            Overall, this is a simple little light that does its job well and comes in at an affordable price.

            Pros:

            • Very bright intensity for better visibility and safety
            • Rechargeable
            • Wide viewing angle
            • Easy to use and control
            • Various versatile strobe settings to choose from
            • Water resistant

            Cons:

            • Only comes with the light and cannot work with other technology
            • Short battery life
            Aduro Sport LED Rear Bike Light USB Rechargeable - Ultra Bright Powerful Safety Taillight, 6 Light Mode Options, One Touch Mount and Dismount, IPX4 Waterproof, for All Bikes
            Aduro Sport LED Rear Bike Light USB Rechargeable - Ultra Bright Powerful Safety Taillight, 6 Light Mode Options, One Touch Mount and Dismount, IPX4 Waterproof, for All Bikes

              Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Which One to Choose?

              Everyone will have different needs and uses for each of these devices covered in our guide. In the end, it is all about ensuring that there is enough light being produced so others can see you on the road.

              However, road safety is of utmost importance. While a simple light like the Aduro is wonderful for being versatile with placement and easy charging, it simply cannot compare to what the Garmin light is capable of bringing to the table.

              The Garmin Varia RTL510 is our go-to choice for this round for its ability to protect you in more ways than one. This device does not only rely on others being able to see you via the light. It provides you with extra ways to be vigilant of what is happening around you as you commute to work or practice for that next race.

              Being able to see and hear that there are cars around you, even ones you cannot hear over wind, without having to look over your shoulder every few seconds is intensely helpful.

              Having a rear light on your bike can save your life by making you more visible to those around you. With bike safety as our number one goal for you, we hope you stay safe and have fun.

              Sale
              Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles
              Garmin Varia RTL510, Bike/Cycling Radar Tail Light, Alerts for Rear-Approaching Vehicles

                Last update on 2020-11-24 at 03:59 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Perry
                Perry
                Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.