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Hands-on Gear Review
NiteRider Lightning Bug 3.0 Review
Cons: Concentrated beam, low light output (not bright), no battery life indicator, disposable batteries are expensive over the long-term.
Battery Life (hours): 26 hr
Battery Type: CR 2032
The NiteRider Lightning Bug 3.0 is an inexpensive, reasonable quality, budget safety light. It's small, compact and has good battery life, but its three small LED lights are not as bright and do not cast as wide a beam as other safety lights we've tested. This light was likely among the best in its class several years ago, but other newer lights have taken its place. It is the highest scoring light with a retail price of $20 or less. However, if you want an ultralight option, we would go with the Knog Blinder 4. If you want the most bang for you buck and a high brightness and beam quality score, check out the Cygolite Metro 360.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The light has a moderately concentrated beam. Unlike some lights, such as the Bell iPulse HD,the beam is moderately even and smooths out near the edges, which is good. Unfortunately however, the beam is still quite narrow compared to other larger bike lights.
According to our tests, this light cast a beam 22 meters. By comparison, the Metro 360 shines 135 meters. We give it a 2 of out 10 for brightness.
The light is tiny and fits in your pocket or a just about anywhere. It's stretchy strap is super quick to install and remove. Unfortunately, the strap attachment is not as secure as adjustable rubber straps such as those found on Light and Motion lights.
Battery life is very good; we measured it at 26 hours according to the ANSI FL-1 standard, and estimate that it costs $6 for batteries to run the light for 80 hours. Although this light's battery life is good compared to other lights with disposable batteries, our testers much prefer lights with a USB rechargeable battery because they are more convenient (you can recharge them just about anywhere and don't need to spend time buying batteries) and cheaper (because you don't need to buy batteries!!).
Due to the low light level and moderately concentrated beam pattern this light is not a good value.
It's worth spending slightly more for a brighter (safer) light. Specifically, we recommend the Knog Blinder 4 Standard
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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