The 7 Best Kayak Lights for Safer Summer Boating

Popular mechanics; Courtesy of Attwood

Kayaking is one of the most enjoyable summer activities, and with warm summer nights in full swing, you’ll probably want to be out on the water long after the sun goes down. But, of course, you’ll want to do it safely and be able to see where you’re going. That’s why kayak lights are such an important purchase for boaters, and why we’ve rounded up our favorite top-rated options to help make every excursion a little safer.

The best kayak lights

What to consider

Depending on how dark it is when you take your kayak out on the water, you will need to determine how bright or how intense your light is. Kayak lights are often battery powered, so you should consider this before buying, especially if you need a certain type of battery that will add to the cost of your overall purchase.

You should also consider which end of the kayak you will need the light located – front or rear – so that it can provide the most coverage in the darkest areas of the water. Most of the lights on our list can be placed on the front or back of your kayak, but some attach in different ways.

How we selected

Our kayak lighting choices below can be used on any kayak, although sizes, prices and styles of attaching the items to your boat will vary. Every kayak light we cover has an average rating of at least four stars, so you can confidently buy the one that’s right for you.

For more summer safety essentials, check out our pick of the best life jackets for adults, life jackets for kids and life jackets for dogs.

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Best overall

Kayalite Bright White LED Lamp

  • The light is not super bright

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Front or back
  • Batteries included: Yes

If you are looking for a simple yet functional light for your kayak, this is a great choice. It is equipped with two bright LED lights and can run for 100 hours on three AA alkaline batteries, which are included.

The light can be clipped to a single point on any kayak, and it comes with a nylon coated bungee cord to attach to a grommet or grommet to keep it upright. If the light is submerged underwater, it can withstand depths of up to 1,000 feet.


Best Lights Pack

Navigation lights

  • Cheap
  • Come in a six pack
  • Easy installation
  • May be too small for large kayaks

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Back
  • Batteries included: Yes

These small but powerful lights are the perfect addition to any kayak. Bright LED lights can provide half-mile visibility and are best used for nighttime explorations or fishing trips. They are made of silicone and have dual hooks that can be attached to kayak ropes and boat rails, and are on with a click.

The lights have three functions – flash, slow flash and steady light – and come in a six-pack to provide ample light in the dark.


Best clamping option

Clip-On LED Light Kit

  • bright light
  • Long life expectancy
  • Batteries must be purchased separately

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Front and back
  • Batteries included: Nope

If you need better visibility for your nighttime paddling adventures, then you need a light kit like this. It comes with a red and green LED bow light and a white LED stern light, both of which can be attached with a C-clamp mount.

The lights can operate for over 150 hours on three AAA batteries, which must be purchased separately. Reviewers give this set of lights high marks for its waterproofness and durability, as well as its bright enough to navigate darker waters.


Most colorful lights

Red and green stern lights

  • Very affordable
  • One year warranty
  • Very long lifetime
  • Red and green lights may be too colorful for some

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Front or rear
  • Batteries included: N / A

Steer clear of murky waters with these red and green LED strip lights. Due to their compact size they are more efficient than some larger options and can easily be placed in the front or back of your kayak.

They are waterproof, shockproof and dustproof, and operate on a power saving and low power consumption feature with a lifespan of over 50,000 hours. The lights come with two wires, a set of screws, and foam bases to attach to any kayak or boat. If the red and green lights shown are not to your liking, they are also available in white.


Ideal for emergencies

See-Me 2.0 LED Strobe Light

  • Incredibly bright light
  • Automatically activates when submerged in water
  • Long visibility
  • Expensive for its size
  • Does not necessarily attach to a kayak

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: N / A
  • Batteries included: Nope

If you need a light that doesn’t need to be tethered to your kayak, or would be best suited for an emergency situation, then this portable strobe light is your best bet. Its bright LED light can run for 120 hours and flashes 60 times per minute for surrounding boats to see.

If submerged underwater, it automatically turns on and can provide visibility up to three miles. The light is powered by two AA batteries, which must be purchased separately.


best strip of lights

Navigation boat lights

  • Cheap
  • Available in four colors
  • Made of a soft silicone
  • Not for those who prefer big lights

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Front or rear
  • Batteries included: N / A

Although these lights are small in size, they are bright enough to guide you through the dark on your nighttime paddling adventures. They provide up to three miles of visibility and have a lifespan of 50,000 hours.

Simply attach the strip of lights to the front or back of any kayak, or add them to the corners of your boat for extra light. They are made of a waterproof silicone that won’t get damaged when submerged. The lights come in four bright colors, and reviewers say they’re great for nighttime cruising.


Best with a Flag

LED Flag

  • The flag is easily visible
  • Batteries included

Key specs

  • Light source: LEDs
  • Position: Back
  • Batteries included: Yes

If you want more than just a light to show off in the dark, then this light and flag combo is a great choice. The bright orange flag makes it easier for other boaters and kayakers to spot you on the water, while the light increases your visibility.

This set includes a bracket and hardware to locate the light and flag on the back of your kayak, and a set of AA batteries to power the light, which can run for up to 10,000 hours. Reviewers give it high marks for being a great safety tool and providing enough light for nighttime paddling sessions.

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