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At 350 lumens, the Knog Plugger Front Light is right on the cusp of being a 'be seen by light' that you can also use to see by. The beam pattern is basic, but the battery life isn't bad considering the size of the unit.
The Plugger is probably most suited to an urban environment where you don't need it to see where you are going. Its pulse mode is bright and eye-catching and gives you a 4.5hr burn time, while you also have Flash (12hrs) and Eco-Flash at 180hrs.
Its small size doesn't take up much room on the handlebar, and with a recharge time of five hours from flat, it's possible to top it up at work if you have access to the mains.
Should you venture out of town, you'll find that the beam is pretty much a spotlight, like a torch, with a bit of spread around the outside. It's very focused, but on the full 350-lumen Max you can see where you are going comfortably at speeds of around 15mph. Compared with more expensive and powerful lights, though, it doesn't give a sense of depth, or pick up on potholes and the like.
Also, the rubber band that secures the light to your handlebar (there are two sizes in the box) doesn't stop the Plugger from vibrating around the bar, especially on rough roads, which can be a bit annoying.
Operation is simple, with a single button at the rear: press and hold to turn the light on and off, a quick press to scroll through the modes.
Alongside the flash modes and Max, you also get Medium, which is around 150 lumens, with a run-time of 3.75hrs.
Like many lights, though, if you are in Medium mode and want to get to Max you have to scroll through all the flashing modes – not ideal on a dark country lane.
The Plugger has little round cutouts on each side to spread some illumination, err, sideways. A lot of lights claim this, and like the Knog they are often tiny and likely to be hidden by your arms and wrists when riding.
As for weatherproofing, Knog doesn't give any specifics of ratings, but I rode with the light in conditions from light drizzle through to heavy rain without issue. Its TPU outer construction shrugged off the water, and the rear button gives a tight seal for the charging port.
As well as this Polar Bear White on test, it's available in Ninja Black or Post Box Red.
At £36.99, the Plugger is a similar price to many lights with this sort of power, but there is some tough opposition.
The Cateye AMPP 400 is just £29.99, for example, offering up 400 lumens for two hours, and a decent beam pattern.
Lezyne's Classic Drive 500 has gone up to £45 since we tested it, but gives you 500 lumens for your extra eight quid.
If you want a small light for being seen in town then the Knog is a good choice, but anywhere else it is a little lacking. The beam shape is narrow, and it vibrates around the bar. There is plenty of opposition that can deliver more power for around the same money, too.
A good light for around town, but lacks the beam shape and power of the competition
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Knog Plugger Front Light Polar Bear White
Size tested: Lumen: 350
Tell us what the light is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Knog says, "The Plugger is a light inspired by Knog's roots, and like its little sibling the Plug, comes in overmolded soft touch TPU (rubber like material) in three fun colours. The Plugger produces a powerful 350 lumens and is packed with innovative touches like a low battery indicator, cut-outs in the front light body for improved side visibility and like all Knog bike lights it is fully USB rechargeable.
Designed to work with all genres of bicycles from commuters to road bikes, the Plugger comes with two silicone bands for securing it to handlebars (22-27mm & 27-32mm). The Plugger is a light for every-day, for every ride, for everybody."
It's not a bad light, but not exactly cutting edge for the money.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the light?
Dimensions - H: 87mm x W: 33mm x L:43mm
Charge Time - 5 hours
Lumens - 350
Eco-Flash - 180+hrs
Flash - 12hrs
Pulse - 4.5hrs
Medium - 3.75hrs
Max - 1.5hrs
Tell us how the light performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's great around town but lacks punch away from it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the light
Noticeable in daylight on the brightest flash mode.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the light
Having to scroll through flashing modes to get to high power.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's in the right sort of area, but there are some quality lights that are brighter or with longer burn-times for the same or less money.
Did you enjoy using the light? It's ideal as a back-up around town.
Would you consider buying the light? No
Would you recommend the light to a friend? If their rides are urban, then yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's quite good, a decent light for the money, but doesn't really excel anywhere.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!