Do you have an adventurous kid in your life? Or perhaps you love to camp and are looking for a gift or idea for getting your kids excited to spend time outdoors. Any kid who spends time backpacking or camping will benefit from their own headlamp. After camping with kids for over 20 years, we’ve put together a list to help you find the best headlamp for kids. Below, you can find the 9 best options for kids’ headlamps as well as information on how to choose the best headlamp.
These suggestions are generally best for kids up to the age of 10. After this, you are better off buying an adult-sized headlamp that can grow with your kids into their teenage and adult years.
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Quick Look at the Best Headlamp for Kids
The table below shows a quick look at the best headlamps for kids. Below you can find more information on how to select the best kid’s headlamp and many more details about the specific headlamp suggestions in the table.
Best All Around Kid's Headlamp
Best rechargable Headlamdp
Best Deal for Kids and Adults
Excellent all around headlamp
Best Headlamp for older kids
Most fun Headlamp for Kids
Easiest Light to Keep on Kid's Head
Best headlamp for tweens and teens
Best Flashlight for Kids
Top Considerations for Selecting the Best Kid’s Headlamp
What is a Headlamp? (is it better than a flashlight?)
A headlamp is a light that attaches to your head with straps. You can usually adjust these straps to fit different-sized heads and often can adjust the light for different situations. Because the light is pointed in the direction you’re looking, it allows you to illuminate what’s directly in front of you.
The other benefit to a headlamp – and what makes it better than a flashlight – is that it allows you to have use of both hands. This means that when you are walking in the woods at night and trip on a root, you can catch yourself with both hands, or when you are setting up your tent at night you can use both hands.
Kid Headlamps Versus Adult Headlamps
While it may be tempting to get an adult-sized headlamp for a kid, there are a few considerations. The straps on many adult headlamps do not get small enough to fit a kid’s head. Many adult headlamps also have a large and heavy light making it heavy on the front straps. When my kids first begin using headlamps, they borrowed ours and they would often slide down on their foreheads when they were using them.
The last consideration is that kids’ headlamps are often less expensive. When my daughter was 7 she borrowed my $50 headlamp for a game of flashlight tag and left it hidden in the woods. This was unfortunate and the next time she used a headlamp, it was a less expensive headlamp for kids!
While I recommend a kid-sized headlamp for younger kids, once your kid is above 10 (and they are mostly responsible), you are better off getting them an adult headlamp that they can use and grow with. These are often the best quality, last, the longest and have more features.
Does my Kid Really Need a Headlamp?
If you are planning to camp or spend time outside, a headlamp is a great and fun item for a kid. Kids truly love having their own light and a headlamp adds an element of safety for your child. Even if you don’t plan to camp, having a headlamp around the home is a perfect gift for kids. In my opinion, a headlamp checks the box as both practical and fun.
Here is a list of just a few of the ways your kid might use a headlamp:
- Reading at night
- Playing flashlight tag
- Walking from the tent to the bathroom
- Doing the camp dishes
- Night hiking
- Outdoor movie night
- Shadow puppets
There are a few things to consider when selecting a kid’s headlamp. If you really want to get into the details of each thing, scroll down for a deeper dive into things like battery life, otherwise, use this quick look at the different headlamp features to help you decide which is the best headlamp for kids for your situation.
- Battery Life: Battery life varies widely on kids’ headlamps. Some headlamps last up to 100 hours while some last just a few hours. The other consideration is the type of battery and whether the light is rechargeable.
- Headband Straps: A kid’s headlamp straps should fit most children’s heads.
- Looks: Looks are important – especially for kids, what might be a cool headlamp for a toddler is often not cool for a 7-year-old. Choose a fun color and style
- Weight: A heavy headlamp will slide down a kid’s head. For a child’s headlamp, choose a lightweight headlamp.
- Light Brightness: Kids’ headlamps come in different levels of brightness. In addition, the light beam can be narrow or wide. A wide beam is easier and safer for a kid. Lights sometimes can change to different intensities and even flash or shine with a red light.
- Tilting Feature: Since you wear the headlamp on your head, having the light tilt is a helpful feature and gives you more options when you are wearing it.
- Waterproof: If possible, buy a headlamp for your kid that is waterproof. Whether your kid drops the headlamp in the river or just wants to run around in the rain, a waterproof headlamp can make a huge difference.
Complete Details on the Best Headlamps for Kids
Petzl TIKKID Kids’ Headlamp
This headlamp gets my vote for the best overall headlamp for kids. It is lightweight with an adjustable strap that will fit most heads above 3-year-olds. The light has 20 lumens, with several light features, and is battery powered. This headlamp also has several safety measures including a strap that releases under pressure.
This light is an excellent choice and comes at a good price.
Foxelli USB Rechargeable Headlamp
This headlamp is designed for adults, but at the price, it makes a great choice for kids. The strap does get small enough for most kids’ heads, but the light is a bit heavier than other headlamps, so in general, this is best for older kids. The light is very bright (160 lumen LED) and runs off rechargeable batteries, and is waterproof.
This light makes an excellent choice for older kids.
Headlamp Rechargeable, 2-Pack
This is an excellent deal since you get two headlamps. These lights are VERY bright lights. They are also waterproof and rechargeable. They are adjustable and should fit most kids’ heads. The biggest drawback for kids is simply how bright they are!
BLITZU Rechargeable Headlamps
This is another excellent headlamp for kids that is also marketed to adults. The light comes in a variety of colors. This light is very bright and fits heads down to a 2-year-old. One of my favorite features of this headlamp is that it’s made of non-toxic materials. Waterproof, lightweight, and able to tilt, this is a well-priced and excellent headlamp.
Black Diamond Equipment Wiz Headlamp
This is the headlamp my youngest daughter uses and it’s an excellent choice for kids with a sleek loop, waterproof light, and comfortable strap. With 30 lumens, it is long-lasting and has several different modes for the light. This is a durable headlamp and one that can grow with your kids.
LED Headlamp with Animals
This is a fun headlamp and comes in a number of different animal heads and is a perfect headlamp for younger kids. Not only does this light up, but there is also a sound (that can be muted). The light comes in different colors and while this headlamp works, it is more fun than anything else.
This makes a great headlamp for a toddler or other young kid.
Beanie Hat with Light for Kids
This is a very different choice than the other headlamps since it actually has the light set right into the hat. We’ve used this hat around the house often during the cold weather months. The biggest benefit for young kids is that this hat stays firmly on the head while straps sometimes fall down. The hat is well priced and comes in a variety of colors. This hat is obviously best in the winter.
Black Diamond Iota Headband
This is the best headlamp for kids who are on the older end and want a headlamp that will last them for years. My older daughter uses this headlamp and has used it backpacking and camping. After years of use, she is now a teenager and still uses this light. I light the 150-lumen light feature. This headlamp has exactly the right number of features with a tilting light and 3 different brightness levels.
LUXPRO 2 D Cell Flashlight
Ok – so this isn’t a headlamp, but it’s worth comparing this flashlight to the headlamps above and if you decide a flashlight is the best option, this is the one we recommend. We purchased it recently and found it to be heavy-duty enough to take a beating and was the perfect size for a flashlight tag. If you want a light your kids can hold in their hand, this is worth looking at!
How to Select the Best Headlamp for Kids: A Guide to All the Features
The section below goes more details of the different features of headlamps if you’re someone who really like to get into all the nitty gritty. This will help you understand exactly what you’re getting and help you choose the best headlamp for kids. I also shared a snapshot of these different features above if you want to get a shorter version.
Best Headlamp for Kids Features: Battery Life
Years ago, headlamps used to come with a large battery area on the back of your head. Today, headlamps are much sleeker and come with many different battery options. Depending on the headlamp, some batteries will last for over 100 hours.
A few of the options you will see for headlamp batteries are:
- A rechargeable battery pack that stays in the headlamp (where you plug the headlamp directly into a charging cord)
- Rechargeable batteries (where you remove the battery and charge it separately from the headlamp).
- AA batteries or AA batteries
The battery type really depends on your preference as there are benefits to each of the options above. We prefer to have batteries that can be removed and charged as this allows us to have a backup set of batteries ready to go in case we aren’t near a charger.
Best Headlamp for Kids Features: Head Straps
The head strap is an important part of the headlamp and should fit comfortably and snuggly on your child’s head. The straps of headlamps are adjustable. For young kids, these straps often allow the headlamp to slide down on a kid’s head. Try to select wider straps or a strap that also goes over the head if you are concerned about the headlamp sliding off.
Best Headlamps for Kids Features: Light Brightness
There are a few things to consider when looking at the brightness of a headlamp including the overall brightness of the light, how wide or narrow the light beam is, and whether there are additional light features such as flashing lights or different colored lights.
In terms of the overall brightness, you will find some headlamps for kids that are not bright at all and some that are so bright that they are constantly shining the light in your eyes and blinding you. In the list above of the best headlamp for kids, my favorite options are the lights with just over 100 lumens. If you plan to use the headlamp in a place you want more light, consider one of the headlamps with a higher lumen number.
Another feature to look for is whether the brightness is adjustable. Ideally, the headlamp will have 2 or more light levels. This means you can read in bed with one light level, and go for a hike with a brighter light level. Many lights also have lights that can pulse or flash.
The beam of light is also important. In general, it is better to have a wide beam of light – this allows you to see more of the area where you are walking or working. A narrow beam is fine for tasks where you just want to light up that area immediately in front of you.
Finally – since you are buying this headlamp for kids, there are a few light features that are fun to have. Several of the best headlamps for kids listed above have lights that shine in different colors. For most kids, this is simply a fun feature, although red light is actually a useful color at night as it allows you to maintain your night vision.
Best Headlamp for Kids: Tilting
The tilting feature is relatively straightforward and very helpful. Being able to tilt the beam of light gives you the option to adjust the light for different activities. If you are hiking and everyone is shining the light straight out, you will keep shining the light in other people’s eyes, in this situation, it is best to tilt the light down. For very young kids the tilting option is less important, but as they get older, this option is very helpful.
Best Headlamp for Kids: Waterproof
In general, don’t buy a headlamp unless it is at least partially waterproof. You will be using this light outside and never know when it will get wet from rain, from a spilled waterbottle, or even from a drop in a lake. My kids have left headlamps outside overnight only to find them covered in dew the next morning. Make sure you buy a headlamp that can withstand some of the elements.
Hopefully, this helps you pick out the best headlamp for kids. Let me know if I missed anything in the comments!
Looking for more ideas, check out our guide for hiking gear for kids or visit our gear page for more suggestions.