The Best Hard Hat Lights for Illuminating Your Projects

These convenient lighting devices brighten up wherever you look and keep your hands free while you work.

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The Best Hard Hat Light Option

Photo: amazon.com

Working with limited lighting isn’t safe, and sometimes holding a flashlight isn’t a viable option. The solution to staying safe on the job while also keeping your hands free is a high-quality hard hat light. These handy lights attach to your hat via strap or clip and illuminate the project you’re working on, whether it’s in a crawl space, an attic, or a mine.

Hard hat lights come with a range of features like adjustable brightness, different light modes, and rechargeable batteries. Hard hat lights differ from headlamps in that they are made to attach to a hat rather than be worn on a bare head.

The best hard hat light for you depends on the activities you need it for and the conditions you’ll encounter. Read on to learn more about the top picks for the best hard hat lights in several categories.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Klein Tools 56034 LED Head Lamp
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Streamlight 61702 Bandit
  3. BEST BUILT-IN LAMP: Klein Tools 60407 Hard Hat
  4. BEST REMOVABLE BATTERY: Life Mounts LED Helmet Mounted Light
  5. BEST BUILT-IN BATTERY: SLONIK 1000 Lumen Rechargeable CREE LED Headlamp
The Best Hard Hat Lights

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Hard Hat Lights

Here are some of the features to consider when shopping for the best hard hat light.

Built-in Lamps

Some hard hats come with a light attached. Certain models have built-in LED lights, while others have clips for snapping on a light. The benefit of built-in lamps is they won’t slip or bounce during work, providing consistent and safe work space illumination. The downside of built-in lights: If the batteries need to be recharged and the light is built into the helmet, the user must take off the hat to charge them, leaving him or her bare-headed while they charge.

Removable Batteries

Battery-powered hard hat lights are powered by lithium or alkaline batteries, which will need to be replaced after use because the light will dim as the batteries run out of juice. Removable batteries are a good choice for those using the hard hat infrequently. Be sure to keep a backup supply of batteries on hand so the light stays bright.

Built-in Batteries

Built-in batteries in hard hats are rechargeable. When they run out of the juice and the light dims, just plug them into an outlet to recharge. They’re a good choice for intensive and regular use, and they’ll save the user money on batteries. The downside is the downtime needed while charging those built-in batteries.

What to Consider When Buying the Best Hard Hat Light

This section will outline some of the most important aspects to keep in mind while shopping for a hard hat light.

Brightness

A light with 200 to 300 lumens will work for most people and most tasks, but certain bulbs can go up to 1,000 lumens. Be sure to choose a light with adjustable brightness to prevent battery burnout and eye strain. Hard hat lights with LED or CREE bulbs emit the strongest, brightest light, while Krypton or halogen bulbs emit weaker light.

Battery Life

A hard hat light probably won’t need to run for an entire eight-hour shift, but battery life is still worth considering. Charging or changing the batteries every day can be a hassle. Many of the best hard hat lights have run times of over 30 hours, good for switching it on and off when necessary for almost an entire workweek. In general, the longest-lasting lights use LED bulbs, as they’re easier on batteries.

Rechargeable Battery 

Rechargeable batteries can last for several hours with a light set at its lowest output. Some offer run times of more than 20 hours on a charge, but they can take up to eight hours to fill back up with juice. And keep in mind, most hard hat lights with rechargeable batteries require charging while they’re still in the light, so be sure the light is removable from the helmet to continue working with a protected head.

Comfort

Bulky, heavy lights can make a hard hat front-heavy, which may require cinching the hat down tighter than otherwise preferable. The good news is that LED bulbs have made hard hat lights smaller and lighter than ever because they use tiny AA and AAA battery sizes, and the LED bulbs have a slim profile—meaning the best hard hat lights are lightweight.

Functionality

Many hard hat lights come with straps or clips that attach them to the hats, baseball caps, or just around the user’s head, allowing for hands-free work even when a hard hat isn’t necessary. Some hard hat lights feature adjustable outputs and different color LEDs, like red or green. These hues are less jarring on the eyes, allowing for switching between a dark environment and a lit one without temporary eyesight impairment.

Some hard hat lights can focus the beam of light directly in front of the user for working in a smaller area; others can flood a broad space with light to illuminate objects and obstructions even while walking through a work area.

Our Top Picks

Below is a list of some of the best hard hat lights on the market in several categories, based on various shopping considerations.

Best Overall

The Best Hard Hat Options: Light_Klein Tools 56034 LED Head Lamp
Photo: amazon.com

For a versatile headlight with plenty of power, check out Klein Tools’ 56034 LED Head Lamp. The light features a silicone strap to hold it securely onto a hard hat, plus a clip that snaps into Klein Tools hard hats. It has a built-in battery and comes with an adapter for charging it from a USB port. The 56034 model has several lighting modes, including a 200-lumen spotlight and a 100-lumen floodlight, good for lighting an immediate work area or a broader one. The angle of the light itself is flexible, thanks to its 64 degrees of vertical adjustment. It also has a built-in battery indicator to let the user know where the light is in its 22-hour battery life.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Hard Hat Light Options: Streamlight 61702 Bandit
Photo: amazon.com

Streamlight’s 61702 Bandit headlamp is an affordable option with plenty of premium features. It comes on an adjustable strap that can wrap around a hard hat, as well as a clip that grabs onto a baseball cap visor, providing plenty of light wherever needed on the job. The 61702 model has three lighting modes, including a 180-lumen spotlight setting that will run for two hours, a 35-lumen floodlight setting that runs for 9.5 hours, and an emergency flash setting. It has a built-in battery that charges using an included USB adapter in around 2.5 hours.

Best Built-In Lamp

The Best Hard Hat Options: Light_Klein Tools 60407 Hard Hat
Photo: amazon.com

To skip the frustration of a floppy or slipping hard hat light, check out the 60407 Hard Hat from Klein Tools that has a light built in. This safety-standard-certified hard hat has a clip for snapping on Klein-specific headlamps, and there’s a 150-max-lumen Klein headlamp included. It also has a lower floodlight setting of 50 lumens and can be adjusted vertically, enabling the user to position it to shine wherever needed. Just be sure to keep spare batteries on hand, as this light doesn’t have a rechargeable battery.

Best Removable Battery

The Best Hard Hat Light Options: Life Mounts LED Helmet Mounted Light
Photo: amazon.com

The Life Mount LED Helmet Mounted Light uses one AA battery, so a multipack of batteries will last a long time. This light has three lighting modes: low, medium, and a 300-lumen high setting. Cycle through them with the tail-cap-mounted switch, similar to a traditional tactical light. It comes with a bracket that clamps to the rim of the hard hat and a hook-and-loop strap that holds the flashlight onto the bracket. The light rotates 360 degrees on its mount, so it can point wherever needed.

Best Built-In Battery

The Best Hard Hat Options: Light_SLONIK 1000 Lumen Rechargeable CREE LED Headlamp
Photo: amazon.com

SLONIK’s Rechargeable CREE LED Headlamp has a 1,000-lumen LED with six lighting modes that gets its juice from a rechargeable 3.7-volt battery built into the light, providing plenty of light for most tasks—all without the hassle and expense of disposable batteries. It runs for up to eight hours on a two-hour charge using a convenient USB charging port. This headlamp has an adjustable strap as well as clips to secure it to a hard hat. The waterproof aero-grade aluminum alloy means it can stand up to extreme conditions.

FAQs About Hard Hat Lights

Still have questions about hard hat lights? Below is a collection of some of the most frequently asked questions about hard hat lights to help you make a decision.

Q. Are hard hat lights/headlamps waterproof?

Most hard hat lights offer some degree of water and weather resistance, but few are actually waterproof. Be sure to check with the light’s manufacturer to determine its level of water resistance.

Q. How long does it take for a hard hat light to recharge?

Most rechargeable hard hat lights take between two to eight hours to recharge.

Q. How do I care for and clean my hard hat light?

Mild soap and a light scrubbing with a brush should clean it without soaking it and possibly causing water damage. You can clean it whenever cleaning the hard hat, and that should be sufficient.