Best Rear Bike Lights – 2021 Review

Anthony
| Last Updated: March 6, 2021

Bike's Terra is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Given how much rides on the safety equipment we use for our bikes, we don't want to end up making the wrong choices. Our bike lights are crucial. 

Besides being mandated by law, when we're riding at night, we need to be visible. 

This article looks at some of the best rear bike lights currently on the market, discussing the different models' pros and cons. 

Our Top Picks for Best Rear Bike Lights

  • Rechargeable
  • Various uses
  • Easy installing
View Latest Price →
  • Long battery life
  • Wide visibility
  • Versatile light
View Latest Price →
  • Easy installing
  • 2 lights included
  • Easy power
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best Rear Bike Lights

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 3 LEDs with 650mAh lithium battery each - rechargeable
  • Can be used for all outdoor activities and cycling
  • Very easy tool-less installation option
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • Clearly visible for up to 153 yards
  • Compatible with a wide range of bikes
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Very easy tool-less installation option
  • You get 2 tail lights included in the package
  • Needs only 2 small AAA batteries to operate
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Brightest Rear Bike Light
  • This light has up to 150 lumens output
  • Rechargeable via a USB cable
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Rear Bike Light For Daytime
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • Very bright 100 lumens output in daylight
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Bike Helmet Rear Light
  • Keeps you visible at night and day
  • Easily rechargeable via a USB cable
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Led Rear Bike Light
  • Up to 4 LEDS for improved visibility
  • Wide angled beam for better visibility
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Rechargeable Rear Bike Light
  • Up to 260 degrees angle of visibility
  • Quick and easy hook on clip system
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What to Look for When Buying a Rear Bike Light

The most crucial factor to consider is our visibility while we're out and about. There are also a few other aspects to take into account before choosing the best rear bike light for our bikes.

Brightness

Lumens are the standard way of describing how much light the device puts out. For night riding, we consider higher lumens, but also various functions, such as flashing ability. 

Durability

The durability of the light is essential, especially when taking the price into account. We want a reliable light that will last. There's no point in having a light if it gives hassles when we're on the road, especially at night. 

Photo credit: BikingTribe.com

Size and Fit

A good light can be easily fitted on the bike (with the correct mounting) and just as easily removed. The fitting should be sturdy with non-slip features. 

We want a visible light that won't be in our way while we're cycling. The beam's shape is only essential when looking at higher lumens, unnecessary with a rear light. The beam must be visible from the side and at different angles. 

Battery

We have a choice to use USB chargeable, rechargeable, or standard batteries. Regardless of which option we prefer, the light should last an entire ride.  

Quick Take - Best Rear Bike Lights

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best rear bike lights:

  1. Ascher AS-3L
  2. Garmin Varia RTL510
  3. BV Rear Bike Tail Light

Review of the Best Bike Lights

There are tons of different lights on the market, and the sheer variety can often make it challenging to choose which one will fit our needs best. We don't want to waste money on something that won't benefit our rides.

The following products are the best rear bike lights on the market at the moment: 

Best Overall:
Ascher AS 3L

Ascher USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set,Super Bright Front Headlight and Rear LED Bicycle Light,650mah Lithium Battery,4 Light Mode Options(2 USB cables and 4 Strap Included)

pros

  • Both front and rear lights are in the package
  • Four light functions, including steady on and flashing
  • Fully USB rechargeable 640mAh lithium battery in each light
  • Silicone straps allow for easy installation and a non-slip fixture
  • Up to nine hours of battery life, depending on the function that you use

cons

  • Can be hard to find due to its popularity
  • Silicone straps can wear out with repeated fixing and unfixing

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are reportedly happy with the product. Many have said that the batteries last longer than anticipated. Users enjoy the waterproof feature that the lights provide for all-weather cycling. The extra straps that are supplied with the original purchase seem to be well-met. Buyers are also happy with the daytime visibility that the flash-function of the lights provide, stating that it allows for high visibility during the day.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

The battery life of these lights is impressive! It provides more than ten hours of light with a full charge, even though the manufacturers advertise less time. The batteries also don't corrode quickly. 

These lights may not be as pretty as some others on our list, but the price is enticing for this quality level in cycling lights. We like the quality of the product that's not easily found at the Ascher AS lights' low price. We'll be visible during the day and at night, and we won't need to worry that the lights will cut out during our ride.  

Bottom Line

These are some of the best rear bike lights on the market, and it's sold at a great price. The product is durable, has excellent battery life, and is affordable. It's no wonder that these lights are so often sold out at cycling supply stores.

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

pros

  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • Compatible with a range of other Garmin devices
  • 220-degree angles of visibility for oncoming traffic
  • Visual and audible alerts when there's oncoming traffic
  • Visibility up to 15 miles away in the daytime for other vehicles

cons

  • Pricey device
  • Needs a dedicated radar display unit if you don't have other Garmin devices to integrate with

What Recent Buyers Report

As a light unit on its own, there's nothing exceptional for buyers. The radar functionality and visual and audible signals are big pluses for most cyclists. The display and alerts for oncoming vehicles are entirely accurate and give enough time to maneuver out of the way. 

Some cyclists were worried that the unit would pick other cyclists up when riding in large groups, but it doesn't alert for bicycles. Reviews also point out that battery life is substantial. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Garmin Varia is a great safety tool whether you ride during the day or at night. This rear light unit is fantastic for use in urban areas where there is plenty of traffic but is also helpful if you ride alone in low-traffic areas to alert you of any potential hazards. While it doesn't pick up other cyclists, it does pick up motorcycles that can pose a danger. It's easy to install, and the battery is USB chargeable. 

Garmin has a long reputation for making quality products, and this unit is undoubtedly one of them.

Bottom Line

Even though the Garmin Varia is pricey, it's well worth the money. It provides excellent safety for any cyclist who needs to be aware of traffic coming toward them. As a lighting unit on its own, there's nothing fancy about it, but we won't regret this purchase with the added safety features.  

Best for the Money:
BV Rear Bike Tail Light

BV Rear Bike Tail Light 2 Pack, Bicycle LED Rear Lights, Easy to Install for Cycling Safety Flashlight

pros

  • Three LED lights on the unit
  • Can be adjusted to fit any bike
  • Three light settings to choose from
  • All-weather lights that you can use in rain, snow, and sunshine
  • Easy to fix to your bike with a mount that's included, and you can detach the lights from it

cons

  • Lights aren't intensely bright
  • Batteries aren't rechargeable

What Recent Buyers Report

The consensus among buyers is that they are satisfied with the light intensity for urban use. The rear light will make you visible up to 1,500 meters away. Buyers have also experienced that they get 50 hours of light from the AAA batteries. Users are impressed with the clip that you can easily slide into the seat bag, stating that they've never been able to find a light with this feature before. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rear bike light is easily the best value for the money, bright enough for the average cyclist, and the unit is durable. The easy attachment to your bike is a plus. We like the three LED lights, even though there are only three settings.  This little light is versatile, and you can use it for more than cycling. 

Bottom Line

If we're talking value for the money, the BV Rear Bike Tail Light is on the top of the list. Since it's sold in pairs, the lights are cheap, but in this case, cheap doesn't mean low quality.

Best Brightest Rear Bike Light:
Cygolite Hotshot Pro

Cygolite Hotshot Pro– 150 Lumen Bike Tail Light– 6 Night & Daytime Modes– User Tuneable Flash Speed– Compact Design– IP64 Water Resistant– Secured Hard Mount– USB Rechargeable– Great for Busy Roads

pros

  • Six settings to choose from
  • 150 lumens for the red-hued tail light
  • You can get up to 210 hours of light from a single charge
  • Steady pulse is designed to alert vehicles of your presence in daylight
  • Unit features a two-button design to set the various functions with ease

cons

  • Unimpressive bracket to mount the unit to your bike
  • To avoid losing the light, you have to purchase a better frame from Cygolite

What Recent Buyers Report

Many people who have purchased the Hot Shot Pro use it mainly for commuting in urban areas. The different functions that a cyclist can choose from allowing for easy transition between settings, regardless of the light conditions when they're out. The bracket that can slip off has some users concerned. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The brightness of this little light is impressive and makes for the perfect rear light for daytime use. It's a small unit with intense power. The batteries are USB rechargeable and last incredibly long considering the unit's brightness. It doesn't matter when we're cycling. The 150 lumens will keep us safe on the roads. 

Bottom Line

This rear tail light is the perfect light for daytime and nighttime safety on the road. The only problem is the bracket that can fail, but it's easily fixable with a replacement bracket, which isn't too expensive. 

Best Rear Bike Light for Daytime:
Planet Bike Rojo 100

Planet Bike Rojo 100 Bike Rear Tail Light, Daytime Running Lights for Bicycles, 100 Lumen Output, USB Rechargeable, Red

pros

  • Multiple different mountings
  • Top brightness of 100 lumens
  • Four modes with different lumens
  • Can fit any bike with its universal fit
  • Smart technology will alert when the light needs charging

cons

  • Small power button can cause fumbling on rides
  • Only the charger cable included in the pack works to charge the battery

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love the brightness that this light offers, but some have warned against using it in group rides as it can be blinding for those behind the user. Users have mentioned the usefulness of the different mounting types. Some reviewers mention that the only charger cable that works is the one included in the packaging, so keep it safe.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the brightest lights on the market, the Planet Bike Rojo 100 makes day rides safer. Planet Bike also participates in the 1% for the planet campaign, donating time and energy to the local economy, which is a big plus! We like that we can use the different mounting brackets to use the light on any bike. We can even mount it on our helmets

Bottom Line

The Planet Bike Rojo 100 is one of the brightest rear lights currently on the market. Since safety on the road is our number one priority, this light gives us peace of mind that other road users can see us.

Best Bike Helmet Rear Light:
Volcano Eye Rear Bike Tail Light

Volcano Eye Rear Bike Tail Light 2 Pack, Ultra Bright USB Rechargeable Bicycle Taillights, Red High Intensity Led Accessories Fits On Any Bike or Helmet. Easy to Install for Cycling Safety Flashlight

pros

  • 240-degree visibility angles
  • USB rechargeable batteries
  • IPX4 waterproof design for all-weather use
  • Use of daytime visibility technology for safer rides
  • Easy to install on helmets, bags, and various other accessories

cons

  • Not extremely durable
  • We have to unclip the light from the strap to clip it to our helmets

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers love the brightness and ease of use of the Volcano Eye Rear Bike Tail Light. The fact that it comes in pairs is quite appealing to many cyclists, and users enjoy the different light functions. Reviews point out that battery life is good, but there are a few reports of lights only working for a few months and then failing.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love the fact that we can clip this light on any 90-degree surface, including our helmets, or use it as a standard rear light. The light is excellent for day and night rides, with a wide-angle of visibility, making it easy for other road users to see us. The price is good for the pair of lights, and the batteries are easy to charge using various devices.

Bottom Line

These are some of the best rear bike lights for helmets currently in stores. While the purchase is value for money, make sure that the light is still functioning before going on your ride.

Best LED Rear Bike Light:
Ascher USB Rechargeable Light

Ascher USB Rechargeable LED Bike Tail Light 2 Pack, Bright Bicycle Rear Cycling Safety Flashlight, 330mah Lithium Battery, 4 Light Mode Options, (2 USB Cables Included)

pros

  • Up to 12 hours of battery use
  • Easily mountable silicone straps
  • Wide-angle for ultimate visibility
  • Fully rechargeable lithium batteries
  • Four different functions to choose from

cons

  • Design isn't eye-catching
  • Sometimes stops flashing while riding

What Recent Buyers Report

Reviewers love the brightness of the flash modes and how easy it is to install the unit. Some users have reported that the lights stop working while they are riding or will not switch on at all. Ascher has a warranty to make sure that all their customers are thrilled with their products. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

These bright LED lights are great for night riding. It has a long battery life, which is great for users who do long rides, especially at night. The different flashing modes are an added win, and so is the easily accessible ”on” switch.  The fact that these lights come with a warranty puts our minds at ease that we are getting a quality product. 

Bottom Line

This is the second time that Ascher lights have made our list, indicating these units' quality. It's functional for most cyclists and will last long. You also get two lights in the pack, which makes the light affordable.

Best Rechargeable Rear Bike Light:
Blitzu Ultra Bright Bike Light

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

pros

  • Fully USB rechargeable batteries
  • Visual design with a 260-degree visibility angle
  • Extra bright light for vehicles to easily spot you
  • Easy to mount on bikes, backpacks, or helmets
  • Daytime noticeable technology for extra safety

cons

  • Has a bulky design
  • Silicone mounting strap can quickly wear out with repeated use

What Recent Buyers Report

Users express how much they love the brightness of the light, even making them visible during the day. They point out that it's easy to use with their bikes and various other places, even on pets' collars. Some reviewers raised concern about how waterproof the unit is, and a few complained that their devices didn't function properly. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The fully rechargeable batteries offer up to ten hours of riding time with the light, depending on which function we set the light. We like that Blitzu offers a warranty on its products to fix any faults and ensures that customers are satisfied. The lights are easy to install on the bike and are bright enough that vehicles will see us during the day and at night. 

Bottom Line

If we're talking about affordable, quality rear lights that are completely rechargeable, these lights will do their job. It meets all the criteria of an excellent rear tail light, and we're covered with a warranty if something goes wrong.

Do I Need a Specific Light When Riding in the Day or Night?

Before deciding which light is best, we first need to look at precisely what our needs are. Using light for nighttime cycling is mandated in all the states, but it's unnecessary to use during the day. Very little research has been done to see how effective daytime lights are. Of course, in winter conditions, a light can be just as useful during the day. 

Photo credit: DailySpin.co

For a front light, more than 100 lumens are necessary for urban areas during the day. While a front light will help oncoming traffic see us and see what's going on around our bikes, the red hue of a rear light doesn't serve this purpose and doesn't have to be that bright. The red light can be anything from 20 to 100 lumens, which will be entirely sufficient for the day and night riding.

What Purpose Does a Rear Bike Light Serve?

Visibility For Other Road Users

Like the brake lights of a car, our bikes' back lights make it easy for other road users to see us, even during the day. With almost 75% of all cycling accidents happening during the day, a flashing rear tail light is the best way to make sure that other road users can see us. Similarly, if we're cycling at night, we need to be visible to any vehicles that may pose a hazard.

We have lights at the front of our bikes to see our surroundings and lights at the back so that others can see us. The quality of the lights we choose to fit on our bicycles directly influence our safety when we're on the road, and we cannot compromise on safety.

Brake Lights

Some rear taillights also serve as a brake light, indicating when we stop, which is great for group rides and when we cycle in traffic.

Safety

If a car can see us, it can avoid us, which means that the rear tail light is an essential part of our safety equipment. Lights like the Garmin Varia, which has radar integrations and emits visual and audible alerts about other vehicles, add extra safety to our rides. It's almost a necessity if we often cycle in areas with other vehicles, providing us with eyes on the back of our helmets. 

Ascher USB Rechargeable Light

Pros and Cons of Rear Bike Lights

Pros

  • The most apparent pro for using a rear bike light is that you're visible to other vehicles on the road. It allows cars to pass you with enough space not to cause a hazard. 

  • Using a rear tail light gives you extra peace of mind that you're safe on the road, and that means you can focus on other aspects of your ride, such as your distance, speed, and how hard you're pushing. 

  • If the light we choose also functions as a brake light, it helps our riding buddies see what we're doing and our intentions.

  • There is an excellent variety of rear lights to choose from, and shopping for them is fun!

Cons

  • On the other hand, the rear lights can go out while we ride, and, given its position, we won't necessarily notice. That means we think we're visible to other cars and make decisions accordingly, which could pose a danger. 

  • Rear lights come in various lumens, and it could end up being so bright that those riding behind us struggle to focus on their rides.

Photo credit: ph-files.imgix.net

Conclusion

It may be an obvious choice to use a front light when cycling, but the use of a backlight is just as important. It's a significant help when it comes to our safety on the roads. 

We can't compromise on how visible we are to other road users and its impact on our rides. Using different rear tail lights for cycling during different times of the day or night is a good option, or we can invest in a single light that provides various settings for daytime and nighttime riding. 

The options are endless, and we can choose from the best rear bike lights on the market to make sure that we are entirely safe on the road. 

People Also Ask

If you're still unsure which lights will suit your cycling needs the best, some commonly asked questions might help you decide. You should take these into account when shopping for your lights.

How Bright Should My Rear Bike Light Be?

There is no law governing the number of lumens that a rear tail light must-have. For daytime riding, you need more light than for riding at night. Daytime lights should be at least 50 lumens and preferably have a flashing function, where nighttime lights can be as low as 20 lumens. 

When choosing the lumens, consider how well lit the area is where you will be cycling. The more light there is, the higher the lumens.

Photo credit: bikeinquire.com

Should I Use a Rear Light During the Day?

It's advisable to use one of the best rear bike lights during the day, set to flashing mode, to make yourself as visible as possible while cycling. It's not mandated by law, but it will help keep you safe. 

How Many Lumens Do You Need For Night Riding?

For night riding, you can use fewer lumens than you would for daytime riding. Anything from 20 lumens and up should be sufficient to make yourself visible during your night rides.

Anthony

"I'm Linda's husband. We got married in 2018 and are loving life together. We met in one of my many competitive races and hit it off right away. Our best dates are when we're riding down a trail enjoying each other’s company in the beautiful Colorado weather. I enjoy writing about everything pertaining to bikes. "