Best Rear Bike Lights 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

You’ve probably heard of a great front light like the Cateye Rapid X3 before. It’s a front light known for its power, great battery life, but most of all, the Cateye Rapid X3 helps you illuminate the road ahead.

As helpful as this kind of front light is especially at night, you also need to consider getting a great rear light as it helps you stay safe. It shows everyone behind you that you’re right ahead.

A backlight is also important especially when the weather isn’t so great and it gets dark early, like in winter. These conditions often have drivers sleepy and the visibility on the road is usually poor.

Such combo spells out danger along the highway but it doesn’t have to be an all gloom situation. Having a rear bike light is the best way to go.

Today, many brands sell rear lights, and choosing just one from these might not be the easiest thing for you.

For that reason, I’ve come up with this review of the best of the bunch. Read on to find out which one would make for the best rear lights for you.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Rear Bike Lights

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the rear bike lights that most people buy).

  • Bontrager Flare RT Top Pick
  • Moon Nebula Runner-up
  • Cygolite Hotshot 150 Runner-up

Top 7 Best Rear Bike Lights 2020 – Our Reviews:

1. Bontrager Flare RT

The Bontrager Flare RT is a favorite among many riders and the fact that it comes in an upgraded version makes it even more desirable. The upgrade has seen it become more powerful by 30% as it now has a maximum output of 90 lumens and is 36% smaller.

The rear bike light might come packed with so much to make it what it is but it barely takes up much space on your bike.

The manufacturer of these amazing lights falls under the list of those who were first to come up with daytime backlights, so this one is designed for use during the day. The light has raw power and can be seen up to two kilometers away when it’s on the most powerful setting.

You can also choose the 45-lumen setting and 5-lumen type of flash mode or go for the 25-lumen and 5-lumen steady options.

Aside from just keeping you visible on the road, this Flare RT light is also a smart choice with a battery saver mode that lets you get at least 30 minutes extra time when its juice is down to 5%.

Plus, it features Ant+connectivity and Bluetooth smart connectivity which allows you to connect your light to your Garmin computer.

As such, you can play around with your settings. For example, you could always program the light to turn on the moment you power up your computer and you can even use the very same computer to keep an eye on battery life.

Key Features

  • Comes in a compact design
  • Maximum lumen is 90
  • 15 hours battery charge
  • Rechargeable batteries

Pros

  • Easy to carry around
  • Visible for up to 2 kilometers
  • Has smart connectivity

Cons

  • On steady mode, 25 lumens is low

2. Moon Nebula

The Moon Nebula is another great option if you’re looking for the light and bright rear lights. It’s very affordable and features 180 lumens when in its highest mode.

Being extremely and impressively bright, this option is great for those road users who are on their bikes for the better part of the day. It comes with eight different modes that give out different levels of brightness and flash patterns.

If you would like to use the most economic one, then the 20-lumen flash mode setting will come in handy for you, providing a good balance between the nearly 20-hour battery life and visibility.

When it comes to mounting, you can fix the Moon Nebula on the saddle, seat post, or even your helmet and have the option of doing it vertically or horizontally.

The package also includes clips, universal brackets, and rubberized o-rings. Overall, the Moon Nebula is a great light that you’ll appreciate if you really love road cycling.

Key Features

  • Weighs 44 g
  • 180 lumens
  • Li-Poly USB battery
  • 8 Flash modes
  • 4 Flashing modes and four constant modes
  • Compact design

Pros

  • Has great visibility
  • It’s affordable in price
  • Comes with multiple modes
  • Easy to carry around as it’s light
  • Cool design

Cons

  • The highest setting is too bright
  • Possibility of mounting issues

3. Cygolite Hotshot 150

The Cygolite Hotshot 150 also makes it to our list of best bike lights because they are super bright tail lights that come at an affordable price. This is a great budget option tail light because of its design that’s not the sleekest but it does a great job illuminating.

You can easily mount this particular tail light on either the seat stays or the seat posts using the two types of mounts that come with it. With its mounting system, you get to enjoy the flexibility and ability to twist the tail light to your desired angle.

This light type comes in six different modes that can be adjusted or switched up in a simple two-button operation thanks to the built-in 24/7 safety technology. These six modes include Zoom, Steady, Steady Pulse, Single Flash, Random Flash, and Triple Flash.

The Steady Flash Mode comes with a steady beam that allows cyclists to gauge distances, especially when overtaking at night. If you’d like to signal those who are around you then the Zoom mode will come in handy with its gentle changes in levels of brightness.

The battery is a USB rechargeable one that can run from two and a half hours to an impressive 210 hours if you’re using it at its lowest power or brightness. The low-battery indicator does a great job notifying you that it’s time to charge your battery again.

The Cygolite Hotshot 150 also features enhanced cycling optics that will expand your road presence with its long-range, extra-wide beam that stands out among many rear lights. When you set it to the 150-lumen flash, you will undoubtedly stand out, be it day or night.

By using the light mode memory, you get to save the last mode you’re in for a while longer until the lights are completely turned off. 

This is a compact type of light that’s easy to carry around and is lightweight at only 55 g. It’s also a water-resistant tail light that allows mounting on the seat post or seat stay.

Key Features

  • Built-in 24/7 safety technology
  • 6 different mode options
  • USB rechargeable internal battery
  • Low battery indicator
  • 2-button interface for adjusting brightness
  • Water-resistant
  • Seatpost and seatstay mounts included

Pros

  • Stands out in broad daylight or night time
  • The battery lasts an incredible 210 hours
  • Signals those around you
  • Indicator alerts you that it’s time to recharge
  • Water-resistant rear light

Cons

  • Not the most good-looking type of light

4. Garmin Varia Radar Rear

While it can be argued that this rear light is a bit lacking in brightness and battery run time, the Garmin Varia Radar definitely makes up for it with its advanced features.

Using these rear lights for a bike allows you to sense traffic that’s approaching from the rear at close to 140 meters and will interestingly alter its brightness and flashing pattern so that drivers on the road are warned that you’re just ahead.

This rear light for bike will also audibly notify you every time a vehicle running at high speed suddenly pulls up right behind you. The light also gives you a visual prompt that’s compatible with Garmin computers and most other radar devices you can find.

The computers even go the extra mile to show you the many vehicles approaching from your rear at different speed levels.

Key Features

  • Maximum lumen: 150
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • The battery life is of up to 5 hours

Pros

  • Acts as a radar
  • Compatible with other Garmin products

Cons

  • Not that bright at night
  • Has a short battery life

5. Lezyne Zecto Drive Max

The Lezyne Zecto Drive Max light might just be one of the smallest rear lights you can find out there, but it’s definitely one of the hardiest units. 

It’s among the best bike lights because it’s built to last and benefits from the two-piece plastic-made outer shell that can be securely mounted to the bike’s seat post using a rubberized band.

It’s a light for the bike that comes with eight modes which are controlled using the power button found right on top of the unit.

All you have to do is press the button and hold it to switch it on or off. After this, you get to scroll through the modes through a single click.

The most powerful setting for this rear light is the 250-lumen day flash that, according to the manufacturer, can last up to nine hours. This is closely followed by the 125-lumen and 35-lumen steady blast.

The Lezyne Zecto Drive Max also comes with a nifty mode memory that returns it to the mode you last selected each time you turn the light back on.

Key Features

  • Weighs 69 g
  • Most powerful lumen: 250
  • Battery type: Li-ion USB
  • 8 modes
  • 5 flashing modes and three constant modes

Pros

  • Compact rear light
  • Powerful
  • Comes with multiple modes

Cons

  • Its mounting system is not the greatest

6. See.Sense Icon+

The See.Sense Icon+ can easily be looked at as a computer meant for the rear of your bike instead of just a basic LED light. It’s one of the best bike lights available as it comes with lots of features that road users who prefer cycling will appreciate.

This rear light can connect to your smartphone and bespoke app, that way you get a notification any time the power or battery is running low. It gives a clear charge indication on the device you’re using, and you can use the GPS to change up the brightness level and flash pattern should you find yourself at a busy junction.

Mounting the See.Sense Icon+ can be done using a system that’s both simple and tool-less.

This light also gives you up to 15 hours of run time. In case you’re using the brightest maximum output of 250 lumens, it can take you for up to two or three hours.

This rear light can also act as a theft alarm, impressive right?  However, that would require you to leave this expensive rear light unit on your bike when you park it by the road.

Overall, it’s a great rear light that can be used during the day or night, and with its additional smart functionality, it’s good value for your money.

Key Features

  • Maximum lumen-250
  • The battery life of up to 15 hours
  • Rechargeable battery

Pros

  • Smart light features
  • Incredibly bright
  • Can be used as a theft alarm

Cons

  • A bit costly

7. Knog Blinder Road R70

The Knog Blinder Road R70  rear bike lights perhaps have the best name since they perfectly match the kind of light they give. This is one of the best bike rear lights as it’s eye-watering bright, which is what most bike riders prefer.

As a result, these rear lights are unavoidable at night and they give you that much-needed extra side visibility which is great. That is some power that will also make you appreciate the value you’re getting for your money.

The disadvantage of these lights however is they’re chunky. You will feel the  Knog Blinder’s chunkiness especially when you’re trying to mount the light to an aero seat post that’s a little on the sleeker side.

However, the light does come with different types of clamps that should make things a bit easier for you.

This bike light is made from industrial-grade silicone and has a polycarbonate housing for extra durability.

The light also comes with a rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery that gives you a run time of up to four hours even at its brightest mode.

Key Features

  • Maximum lumen: 70
  • Run time: 20 hours
  • Rechargeable

Pros

  • Bright
  • Great battery life
  • Offers side illumination

Cons

  • A bit bulky

Conclusion

As you can see from the above review, you not only need good front light but also great rear lights with good power that will keep you safe and comfortable as you ride. The best lights have great run time, different mode options, and are rechargeable.

These lights can be found both online and in different stores but before you get yourself some, look at the customer review of the lights, of the manufacturers, and of the stores that sell the lights to avoid any kind of disappointment.

My Pick

Having reviewed all the above bike lights, you may still be wondering which is the most suitable rear light to go for seeing that they all come with a considerable number of pros. My best lights pick has to be the Cygolite Hotshot 150.

While it might not be the most sleek-looking light for a bike, it makes up for it by being both affordable and high-performance. It comes with different modes too so you have a lot to choose from.

The best part about these bike lights is that they help the bike rider gauge distances, especially at night. It’s also the best bike light because of its impressive run time of up to 210 hours which is unmatched by other bike rear lights around.