Firefighting is hard, but extremely important work.
Whether today’s emergency is tackling blazes or pulling out trapped civilians from underneath rubble, you’re going to need every bit of equipment you can get your hands on to help you get the job done and save as many lives as possible.
But sometimes your duties require you to head into some dark, smokey areas with very little natural light - making it extremely difficult to see where you are going, never mind what you are doing or where trapped civilians may be.
As a firefighter, you’re going to need a strong flashlight to help in these situations. Flashlights are an essential tool to a firefighter. There’s a reason why every single firefighter has one; they are incredibly useful and can make the difference between failure and success in a lot of situations.
But those flashlights come with an issue - they take up use of one of your hands, making it difficult to perform tasks like tying knots and using other equipment like axes efficiently.
Fussing with a flashlight can lose you precious seconds in an emergency. It’s no use trying to hold your flashlight in your mouth, it’s just awkward and uncomfortable.
The solution to all these issues is easy to see - every firefighter needs a sturdy light to attach to their helmets, lighting up their paths and leaving their hands free for life saving work.
If you are looking for the best helmet light to attach to your firefighting helmet, then we have ten different versions of this crucial tool that should be a part of every firefighter’s uniform.
OUR TOP PICK
If you have been researching firefighter helmet mounted lights for a while now, then it should come as no surprise to see the Streamlight brand on this list.
Streamlight have been making flashlights designed specifically for firefighters for decades, actively listening to feedback in order to improve their designs.
All these years of research and experience in making high-quality mounted lights have led to the creation of Streamlight’s 69189 Vantage.
Streamlight’s 69189 Vantage helmet mounted light is considered one of the very best by firefighters up and down the US. It is lightweight and compact, so it won’t feel like a clumsy addition to your helmet.
The Vantage also uses bright LED lights to cut through smoke and illuminate your way through the thickest of blazes.
It is powered by lithium batteries and rotates a full 360 degrees on the clamp, allowing you to turn your light to face the rear without having to constantly turn your head. Plus, it’s water resistant so you don’t have to worry about this light being ruined due to rain.
This helmet mounted light is considered one of the very best due to its bright light output and easy adjustability, giving firefighters full control over their direction of light.
It is one of the more expensive helmet mounted lights, but that hefty price tag comes with a trusted brand and a light that is the product of many years of firefighter feedback.
- Lumen output is able to cut through thick smoke.
- 360 degree rotation on the clamp, allowing for rear facing light.
- Made by a trusted and reputable brand.
- Large price tag.
Another popular Streamlight helmet mounted light among firefighters is the Streamlight 69331 Vantage II.
This is the newer and improved version of the Vantage light, that comes with added features to improve a firefighter’s experience of using a Streamlight helmet mounted flashlight.
Firefighters impressed after using the first Vantage light for the past decade can now opt to upgrade to the Vantage II.
The Vantage II is a waterproof mounted flashlight that carries on the first Vantage light’s 360 degree adjustability, but now features adjustable brightness settings.
The Vantage II features a high brightness setting, with an output up to 350 lumens that can run for over two hours.
If you don’t require such brightness, however, you can switch to the low brightness setting with an output of 135 lumens and a battery life of five hours - more than enough time to tie the knots you need to get the job done.
Basically, this groundbreaking feature allows firefighters to adjust the brightness of their light to suit their needs. It also features a bright blue rear light so the wearer can be easily spotted through smoke and darkness.
But the Vantage II is not just all about brightness. Along with its good battery life, this mounted flashlight is waterproof to 1m depth for 30 minutes - an incredible bonus if you often have to work around wet environments like rivers or lakes.
It is also impact resistant up to 1m so if you do take a fall, you only have to worry about your wellbeing and not about your flashlight.
The downside to this flashlight, however, is that some firefighters have complained that the bracket is not as secure when compared to the previous Vantage model - an improvement Streamlight will have to look into when designing their newest upgrade.
But overall, Streamlight have delivered once again another high-quality and reliable light that is held up by firefighters themselves as the ideal model of a helmet mounted light.
- Adjustable brightness settings
- Waterproof for 30 minutes in 1m deep water
- Good battery life for both brightness settings.
- Bracket is held together by one small screw, so it is not as secure as previous models.
Another brand known for its helmet mounted lights and is popular among firefighters is Nightstick.
They have specifically designed their helmet mounted lights with firefighters in mind, adding the most needed features that firefighters desire in their lights to allow them to do their roles to the best of their abilities.
One of the most well known and favored Nightstick lights is the NSP-4650B Helmet Mounted Flashlight.
This mounted light is extremely adjustable, capable of pivoting 360 degrees on the clamp, making it easy for firefighters to clear the flashlight from face shields and goggles for optimum light alignment.
The adjustability allows firefighters to take full control of the angle of their flashlight, so they can move their light source by inches.
Another great feature of Nightstick’s NSP-4650B Helmet Mounted Flashlight is that not only is the light itself adjustable, so is the brightness of the light output.
Firefighters can choose between many different settings that increase and lower the lumen output of the LED bulb.
This powerful light can be set as high as a 220 lumen output with a beam distance of 600 feet - or the brightness can be adjusted to a lower 100 or 30 lumen setting to concentrate in the light.
Clearly, Nightstick has given its customers full control over their light - not only in just adjusting the light so it sits more comfortably, but also gives you the ability to adjust the light setting so you can find the brightness that works best for each individual situation.
Of course, this can be a bit fiddly when trying to change the brightness while wearing your gloves and your co-worker won’t appreciate you flashing a floodlight in their face when trying to communicate.
- 360 degree pivot ability on the clamp.
- Adjustable light settings with different lumen output.
- Well known and trusted brand by firefighters.
- Difficult to change the light settings while wearing thick gloves.
FoxFury is another company that creates professional flashlights designed for emergency forces, and have had their products tested by fire departments for years.
They create durable and reliable flashlights to serve in all kinds of emergency situations - and their Sideslide mounted helmet flashlight is no different.
The FoxFury SideSlide mounted helmet flashlight has received the same level of care and attention to detail as all other FoxFury products.
This battery powered flashlight is constructed from high quality aluminum, making it fire resistant for up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, is waterproof and impact resistant - ticking the boxes of all three hazards to make an indestructible flashlight perfect for firefighters.
Not only that, but this helmet mounted flashlight has a 200 lumen output, making it bright enough for most situations, and comes with three different moves: high, low, and a flashing mode that can be seen from over a mile away, so if you get separated or need assistance, you can switch your flashlight to flashing mode in order to attract and send signals to your colleagues over far distances.
This safety feature may just be life-saving!
As for battery life, the FoxFury SideSlide can run for up to an impressive 8 hours! It can be powered either by two CR123 batteries or one rechargeable 18650 battery, so you can choose which power option is best for you.
The only negatives that can be applied to this flashlight, however, is that you cannot rotate this flashlight like you can with the previous models above, but the SideSlide can be removed from its bracket easily and function as a hand-held flashlight instead.
- Amazing battery life, lasting for up to 8 hours.
- Features a flashing mode to send signals and call for aid over long distances.
- Durable and resistant against impact and heat.
- Can only be mounted above or below the brim on the helmet, and cannot be rotated.
For a helmet mounted flashlight that is designed with ease and safety in mind, then we recommend you look into Life Mounts’ helmet mounted flashlight.
Life Mounts creates lightweight flashlights that fit to your firefighter helmet easily using a bracket secured with two thumb screws.
It also features an attachment strap that makes it simple to remove the flashlight to switch to handheld use if the situation calls for it. It is easy to attach and detach from your helmet even while wearing gloves.
You can control the switch with a simple push button, making this flashlight one of the easiest to operate.
The Life Mounts helmet mounted flashlight is made from aluminum and silicone, making it both spray proof and shockproof so you don’t have to hesitate when diving into difficult situations and word about breaking your flashlight.
And of course, this flashlight brings the light. It utilizes a power LED light to illuminate up to 1000 feet - an incredible length of light beam that allows you to see far ahead.
The issue is that this great amount of power means that this flashlight goes through a lot of batteries, so you will need to stock up on a lot of AA batteries to keep your flashlight running - but this can make you eat through your wallet as easily as this flashlight eats through batteries.
- Easy to switch to handheld use.
- Incredible long beam length.
- Spray proof and shockproof.
- Eats through batteries.
Streamlight also has a cool grip on the attachable helmet flashlights with this versatile flashlight - the Streamlight 88901 Vantage 180 X.
Not only is this flashlight capable of being attached to your helmet using a bracket, it can also be used as a handheld flashlight and clipped onto your firefighter coat or belt - whichever is easiest for you!
You won’t even notice it’s there - the Vantage 180 X is very lightweight and compact, weighing less than six ounces.
It is made from a nylon chemically resistant engineering polymer, making this flashlight extremely durable, but its compact size makes switching the power on and off a little difficult when wearing gloves.
And it’s versatility does not end there. This flashlight also features two high and low brightness modes.
The high mode gives you a super bright beam with an output 250 lumens and a length of 170 meters, and is capable of running for 5 hours even on this incredibly bright high mode.
As for the low mode, this less intense beam of light at 100 lumens and 103 meter beam eats up less power and allows your flashlight to run for an amazing 12 hours - long enough to last you through any emergency.
- Amazing battery life, even when using the high brightness mode.
- Versatile use and adaptable.
- Compact size makes it difficult to handle the on/off switch while wearing gloves.
Not to miss out on the market, Nightstick have also thrown their hat in the attachable flashlight ring with the FDL-300R-K01 flashlight - one of the toughest helmet mounted flashlights available to firefighters.
This sturdy flashlight is made from an aluminum alloy, making it not only waterproof but also has a drop rating of 2 meters, which is twice as long as some of its competitors.
This makes it one of the toughest helmet mounted flashlights out there so if your duties as a firefighter results in your helmet light receiving a bit of a bruising, it is worth investing in the Nightstick FDL-300R-K01.
It is also one of the more affordable helmet mounted flashlights available, but this lower price tag does come at a cost. The brightness on this flashlight is not as strong as some of its competitors, with only 180 lumens output and a light beam distance of 190 meters.
Despite not being as strong brightness wise as some of its competitors, it is still good enough to pierce through smoke to get the job done.
The Nightstick FDL-300R-K01 is perfect for volunteer firefighters who do not want to spend a lot of money on an expensive flashlight but still want one that does its job well, even if brighter flashlights are available elsewhere.
- Tough design, with a high drop rating of 2 meters.
- Affordable price tag.
- Weak brightness compared to some competitors.
Headlamps have their individual advantages and disadvantages of being used by firefighters, but that does not mean that they should be underestimated.
SLONIK have created a powerful and super bright headlamp, featuring a rechargeable headlight that has a whopping 1000 lumen output!
So if you find yourself working in extremely dark areas, such as forestry during the night, then this headlamp will certainly be bright enough on high mode for you to see clearly all around.
The high brightness mode lasts for 3.5 hours, but can be switched to a lower brightness mode for a longer lasting battery life (up to 8 hours), making this headlamp versatile enough to be used in any situation.
The only issue with this rechargeable battery is that if your headlamp dies when you are out assisting an emergency, finding somewhere to recharge will be a hassle - and then you will have to wait a further 2 hours before the battery is fully charged.
And if you are concerned about the headlamp’s straps weakening from wear, then don’t worry. The nylon headband can be adjusted for a snug fit over your helmet, and does not loosen over time.
The light of the headlamp is able to swivel up and down 90 degrees, and iis even detachable so you can unclip it and use it to keep light trained on something without having to keep your head still - a common issue with headlamps that is almost solved with this ingenious idea.
This, however, means that you will lose the ability to have both your hands free.
- Extreme brightness.
- Detachable and adjustable lamp.
- Long lasting nylon headband to keep a firm fit.
- 2 hour recharge period.
Of course, Streamlight has a headlamp designed for firefighters - there’s a reason why many firefighters go for this brand.
They design many different kinds of helmet mounted lights to suit the preferences of every firefighter, and now they have even made a headlamp for firefighters.
The Streamlight Tactical headlamp comes with a rubber headband designed specifically to grip onto helmets without the risk of slipping so you can keep both yours hands free to tie knots and complete all your duties without having to juggle a flashlight.
To tackle the issue that headlamps lack adjustability, Streamlight have attempted to solve this by allowing the light fixed to the front of the headlamp to tilt a total of 90 degrees, but this does not hold up to the full 360 degree rotation that clamp mounted lights can provide when attached to the brim of the helmet.
However, what this headlamp lacks in adjustability, it makes up for in brightness.
There are a total of three different modes that provide a maximum lumen output of 635 - certainly bright enough to cut through smoke and darkness so you can clearly see what you are doing.
That brightness, however, does come with a price. The Streamlight Tactical headlamp is powered by lithium batteries, and to keep providing that high lumen output, it eats through a lot of those batteries.
If you do choose this headlamp, you are going to need to keep a stock of lithium batteries handy so you don’t get caught lightless in an emergency.
- Rubber headband for tight grip to helmets.
- Strong lumens output for bright strong beams of light.
- Adjustable tilting light.
- Eats through batteries and power very quickly.
For a trusted headlamp used by first responders all across the States, then you should consider buying the FoxFury Command+ headlamp.
This headlamp provides a wider field of view by fitting a panoramic light across the front of your helmet, providing a wider angle beam of light than other headlamps and even flashlights can provide.
It keeps its tight grip to your helmet using a silicon strap and fits perfectly to most traditional and modern firefighter helmets, avoiding glare and clashing against your protective eyewear.
The FoxFury Command+ is also a favorite among EMTs and medical responders as it uses white LED colored lights that allows the EMTs to see accurate colors when addressing injuries and wounds.
Firefighters utilize this feature too, and use it to be able to carry out up-close tasks such as maintenance, inspection tasks, and repairs. It is fire resistant, meeting the requirements of the NFPA, so it is a very useful headlamp used by firefighters.
The only area where this headlamp struggles where other competitors succeed is in the brightness of the light.
The FoxFury Command+ emits a maximum lumen output of 100 - a lot dimmer than a lot of other headlamps and mounted flashlights. If it is brightness you are after, then perhaps it would be best to look elsewhere to buy your headlamp.
- Wide angle beam light for wider field of view.
- Silicon strap for tight grip.
- Meets NFPA requirements of fire resistance.
- 100 lumen output is not very bright.
Firefighter flashlights come with a bunch of different features, but there are three main features that are most desirable to have in a good helmet flashlight. These three core features are a long battery life, adjustability, and brightness.
All three combine together to create the ideal flashlight for a firefighter as each feature is crucial to help a firefighter complete their duties to the utmost of their ability. Without these three features, then the flashlight will be practically useless.
When a firefighter is called to duty, they can be working at the same incident for hours on end. This means that they require a flashlight with a long battery life that will last a good few hours before needing to be recharged or replaced with new batteries.
The last thing a firefighter needs in an emergency is for their flashlight to suddenly grow weak or die, especially when time is vital to the success of the operation.
Not only that, but they could end up stuck or lost in the dark and unable to see - an absolute disaster to happen in the middle of an emergency situation.
To avoid this, a good flashlight for a firefighter needs a good, long battery life - and a helmet flashlight is no different. Rechargeable batteries last longer than usual batteries, but lithium-ion batteries are easier to source and find last minute.
If you do find that your flashlight is dying, then most households and shops sell lithium-ion batteries for you to find at the last minute.
These battery options are important to consider when searching for your helmet flashlight - do you live and work somewhere close to somewhere you can recharge your flashlight, or are you more likely to work far in the field where a stock of batteries may be more useful?
When you are searching for a helmet flashlight to buy, look at how long the battery life is estimated to be so you won’t end up being caught in the much-feared situation of your flashlight dying in an emergency.
A helmet mounted flashlight with good adjustability is a godsend of a feature for firefighters.
Being able to turn or twist your light without having to turn your head gives firefighters absolute control over where they can direct their light, helping themselves and others if needed to.
This adjustability allows a helmet light to work around other gear such as face shields or goggles, ensuring that the firefighter is fully comfortable and that their light is not hindered.
The more adjustable a helmet mounted flashlight is, the more control the firefighter has over where they can see.
This means that the firefighter does not need to choose between being able to see and protecting themselves, getting the best of both worlds with this much underrated feature.
This feature is a no-brainer - what is the point in a flashlight that is too dim to use to see anything?
For any kind of flashlight, brightness is a key and important feature. A good strong beam of light is the whole purpose of a flashlight, and firefighters need the best so be able to cut through strong clouds of smoke that can obscure visibility in dangerous areas.
Firefighters also don’t work a nine-to-five shift; a lot of firefighters work through the night, so they need a bright flashlight to make up for the lack of natural light.
Most firefighters need a high quality flashlight that gives them up to fifteen feet of working space.
A high lumen output is what gives a flashlight the strength to cut through black smoke, so this is the important factor to consider when looking for a flashlight to attach to your firefighter helmet.
Other Important Features
Of course, the more bonus features a flashlight supplies, the more attractive it will look to a potential buyer.
Other important features to remember when you are considering buying a flashlight include if the flashlight is waterproof and heat resistant, so you can confidently stride into the situations thrown at you without worrying if your flashlight is about to break because there’s water involved or the area is really hot.
Which Kind Of Light Is Best
Of course, you are not just limited to a mounted flashlight - there are many ways you can illuminate your way as a firefighter, and the best kinds of flashlights for your occupation come in three different styles: built-in mounted flashlights, headlamps, and clip-in mounted lights.
Headlamps are the stand out between the three. Unlike the other two, headlamps are a light that is attached to a loop of binder.
The binder fits around your helmet with the light facing forward, so whichever way you look, you will have a strong and steady beam of light streaming out into the same direction.
The issue with headlamps is that you cannot remove them and put them back on with ease if the situation calls for you to do so.
The other two styles are rather similar with one big difference - a built-in flashlight has its clamp built into its body, and when attached to the helmet, is usually more maneuverable than other styles of mounted helmet flashlights.
Of course, this generally means that, like with headlamps, it is difficult to remove the flashlight if you need to.
While built-in mounted flashlights are permanently fixed to their clamp, the clip-in mounted flashlights can be removed and handled like a normal flashlight. The clip-in mounted lights are on average more secure but requires you to attach the bracket separately and clamp it in place.
However, the ability to remove the flashlight and carry it for extra mobility, especially when working in tighter areas, can be extremely useful.
Each of the three styles have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, which may prove to be useful or a nuisance depending on the incidents and situations you will find yourself in.
When considering which style is best for you, it is important to consider what will be most useful to you - are you looking for something to stay securely attached to your helmet, or adjustability, or are you simply looking for a good strong light so you can see where you are going in an emergency?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Firefighters Customize Their Helmets?
It all depends on the fire department.
Firefighters can customize their helmets in the way of buying their own helmet mounted flashlights or headlamps.
Some strict fire departments, however, will not allow firefighters to add their own gear to their uniforms during a call-out, so it is best to check with your fire chief first before you go purchasing extra gear so you do not waste any money buying a flashlight you are not allowed to use.
However, most fire departments allow firefighters to add their own gear like flashlights, but may restrict any other kind of customization - such as added emblems.
Which Brand Is Best For Firefighter Helmet Lights?
Brands like Nightstick and Streamlight are well known for supplying firefighters with suitable gear, but ultimately the best helmet mounted light is the one that has all the features you need.
Sometimes, the one that works best for you is not always the most popular brand - but some brands are popular for a reason.