Planet Bike Blaze 2W Micro
Planet Bike has been at it for years making affordable commuter lights and blinkies, incrementally stepping up the light output as LED technology has evolved. The Blaze 2W Micro is a 139 lumen output (reported) light that will make sure you are seen by anyone that is looking, and is bright enough to navigate dark streets and paved bike trails on night rides and the commute home.
The $40 Blaze 2W Micro is both a be-seen and help-to-see light with three modes depending on your ride needs. Switch between steady high and low beams to light your way, move over to the Superflash mode for a pulsing pattern bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight. Getting caught in rain at dusk or dawn can be one of the most dangerous situations to find yourself in on the road, and the Superflash mode seems made for making other road users aware that you are pedalling along. Back in steady mode, the light is bright enough to ride with at commuting speeds in town, especially with a bit of ambient city light pollution. You might have to slow down a notch on completely unlit roads and trails, but continuing the ride safely is doable with the Blaze 2W Micro. The beam pattern on the light is even, but perhaps more of a spot focus than some would prefer.
While internal rechargeable batteries are all the rage, the Blaze 2W Micro uses a pair of standard AA batteries. Sometimes I prefer alkaline batteries, both for run time between outages and shelf life between rides. Rechargeables with best-case 2 hour run times have left me in the dark on rides more times than I can count, while alkaline batteries seemingly last forever and tend to dim as they reach the end of their life rather than just go out completely. Planet Bike quotes 60+ hrs of run time per pair of batteries in Superflash mode with roughly 5/12 hours on high/low steady beams modes, perhaps requireing battery replacement more often than is ideal, but a 4-pack of rechargeables is fairly inexpensive for the regular night commuter.