Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Knuckle Lights, Wearable Running Flashlights

Knuckle Lights, running lights you wear on your hand

Knuckle Light on and off down street (just one unit)

The Facts

Knuckle Lights are one of those products that you see the small ads for in the back of magazines like Runner's World and wonder about it. Either it's junk or it's a hidden gem. When I saw that one of the runners I really respect post a photo of herself using them on instagram I decided to give them a go. At the time, I was running at night a lot and needed a way to light my path that was not a headlamp. (I don't have anything against headlamps, I've never tried one but it seems like wearing something extra on my head would annoy me. If you have a great headlamp you think I should try let me know.)

A dislike for headlamps, yet a need for light on his morning runs is was lead founder Dan Hopkins to create Knuckle Lights. Knuckle Lights are wide-beam, 45 lumen lights that are worn on your hands. An adjustable silicone strap holds the lights around you fingers between the first and second knuckles. They come in sets of two, one for each hand, and are powered by 2AAA batteries each (included). The back of the light, where it sits against your fingers, is lightly padded to make it more comfortable. Each unit has 3 modes: high (45 lumens), low, and blinking. Knuckle Lights are weatherproof, come in 5 colors (the plastic of the unit, not the light itself). The current price is $39.99 and they are backed by a 5-year warranty.

Official Knuckle Lights website

Knuckle Light off

Knuckle Light on (just one unit)

The Meat

Knuckle Light adjustment strap
 When I first turned on my Knuckle Lights, I was surprised at how bright they were. They can easily light up a small bedroom. At first, I had a hard time getting the adjustable strap tight enough on my hand and it's tough to adjust if you're already out running and have them both on. My suggestion is to try to get the adjustment right by taking it off, adjusting, and putting it back on, over and over, before you leave the house. After a couple of runs with them and some minor adjustments, I never have to adjust them anymore. I was a little worried about being annoyed by holding something in my hand while running, but with the size adjusted correctly, you really don't hold onto the Knuckle Lights at all. You can run with an open hand and it stays put pretty well. I do like to have a free hand though, and also found myself being blinded when I turned my arm to see my Garmin (which, like most of us, I look at too often so maybe that was a good punishment). My solution is to only wear one at a time; I even wear it and my Nathan bottle on the same hand. Now that I've found that wearing just one works for me, and still provides plenty of light, I wish that buying just one instead of the pair were an option.

Knuckle Lights mode button
Speaking of options, Knuckle Lights have 3 light modes. The high setting is 45 lumens, which is what I use when it's dark, low is maybe half the brightness and I tend to use it when it's dark out but there's streetlights. The blink setting is probably what I use least often but I like it for dusk and dawn in areas with traffic. If it's really dark out, you don't want blinking because your eyes won't adjust to the darkness when the light blinks off, making it harder to see. Though if you're wearing both lights, you could have one constant on and one blinking to make cars more aware of you. You can cycle through the modes by pressing the button on top of the unit with your thumb. It's very easy to switch modes while running without being so easy that you'll do it by accident.
Knuckle Light back padding 

The backside of the unit, where it sits against your fingers is also the battery cover and has a dense foam like material over it for comfort. This also seems to keep it from slipping around much once your hand starts to sweat. I wear mine on my left hand, which means my wedding ring pushes into it a bit (see photo at right) and if my ring is on straight it can be a little uncomfortable, but with my ring turned to the side or turned to my palm, it's no problem. This is really more of a user problem than a design problem, I could just take my rings off.

I've had my Knuckle Lights for 8 months and have ran with them in heat, cold, and light rain with no issues. I did think that they were having a problem with the cold for a while, but I replaced the batteries and they were fine. The batteries that come with the units do not seem to last long, once switching to name brand batteries, I got more life out of them. I'm also glad that the batteries are easy to change, no screwdriver needed.


I like them, and for someone like me who doesn't like stuff on them when running, that's really saying something. I won't say they disappear when I run, I do know they're there the whole time, but they're pretty comfortable. While they can be a little hard to adjust, once you get it right, you shouldn't need to adjust them. Compared to holding a flashlight, it's no contest, the Knuckle Lights are far superior to that. The high setting of 45 lumens is comparable to your mid range headlamps and so is the price tag, but with Knuckle Lights you're getting two lights. The two lights is something I wish were different though, especially knowing now that I only like to use one at a time. I was hesitant to spend $40 for a pair, but I could see myself being much more ready to spend $20 for one.

Although Knuckle Lights were the first of their kind, they do have a competitor now in the Nathan Zephyr Fire Hand Torch. I have not tested the Nathan lights, but just from looking at the specs, photos, and price (MSRP $45 for one light) I would choose Knuckle Lights over them, and not just because of the price. The Nathan light is still a flashlight you hold, it's just also strapped to your hand.

While I do like my Knuckle Lights one issue I've had is that batteries don't last long, but I am using them for 45 minutes to over an hour at a time. Next time I replace the batteries, I'm going to try to keep track of how many hours I get out of them and will update this post with that information. Another thing that's worth mentioning, not for the issue itself, but for the great customer service experience I had: one strap snapped the second time I used the Knuckle Lights and they were quick to respond to my email, and replaced the whole unit at no cost to me.

For someone who runs in the dark or low-light conditions and doesn't want to wear a headlamp, Knuckle Lights are a great option.

This post contains affiliate links. Opinions are my own and I have not been compensated in any way to write this review. My Knuckle Lights were paid for with my own money.


  1. Wow! I have not heard of these, but they sound like a great product! I used to run at night and these would have been perfect. If I ever start running at night again, I will definitely consider these. Thanks for the review!

    1. Glad I could shed some light on these for you (see what I did there?).

  2. Thanks for nice and helpful review.I think every men get a nine information from it.

  3. These are really neat knuckle lights! I like how convenient yet powerful they are - almost like a tactical flashlight. You could almost use them for self defense as they are in a similar position to brass knuckles interestingly enough. Thanks for the post, it was detailed and helpful!


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