Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors

Best Rechargeable Headlamps

Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors starting at 900 lumens and 100 grams in weight. These rechargeable headlamps are the best bang for your buck.

Light up your World with Rechargeable Headlamps

The year 2019 is almost over and the New Decade will soon begin.

Rewilding will be the new wave breaking over 2020, and millions of people will be hitting the wide-open spaces for fun and adventure.

Today’s adventurers get started early and stay late. This is why a rechargeable headlamp is absolutely essential for your backpack and vehicle.

One of My 10 Essentials

Headlamps are one of the 10 main essentials in my wilderness survival kit. Headlamps need batteries and batteries can become expensive over time, so why not invest in a headlamp that comes with a rechargeable battery supply.

Whenever I think of headlamps, I think of Petzl. The reason I’m so fond of this brand is because of my experience with Petzl headlamps.

My first headlamp was a Petzl Tikka that I purchased in the 1980s, and it lit my way up and down the mountain trails for many years.

Here are some examples of the best, affordable, and technically capable, Petzl headlamps on the market today.

1. The Petzl – Swift RL Headlamp

      900 lumens


Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors

Petzl headlamps have been evolving for over 30 years with new technologies, that enable Petzl to design headlamps that are lightweight, powerful, and superbly designed for all hard-core outdoor activities.

The is one of the most powerful Petzl headlamps, it is compact and lightweight at only 100 grams. Commanding 900 lumens of brightness, with Reactive Lighting technology.

Reactive Lighting uses a sensor to analyze the ambient light, and automatically adjusts the brightness of the headlamp, to the user’s needs. The reflective headband is a two-part construction that handles itself well in rigorous outdoor activities.

No slip-sliding all over the place ensures excellent stability in dynamic and intense outdoor work and play.

The Petzl Swift RL has only one button for easy control of the headlamp’s functions.

This rechargeable headlamp has a 5-level gauge to keep an accurate reading of the battery charge level.

Less manual operation is required because of the reactive lighting technology. The light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness and beam pattern to the user’s needs with reactive lighting technology.

This optimizes battery usage. This battery charges via a micro type “B” USB port.


  • lumens: 900
  • weight: 100 grams
  • battery type: a 2350 mAh (milliampere-hour)  lithium-ion rechargeable battery, included
  • beam distance: on low – 12 meters, on medium – 55 meters, and on high – 110 meters
  • charge time: 6 hours
  • burn time: 100 hours on low, 5 hours on med, and 2 hours on high
  • water-resistant: IPX4 (water splashing from any direction will not harm this headlamp)
  • colours: comes in black, orange, and blue
  • guarantee on the lamp: 5 years
  • guarantee on the battery: rechargeable battery guaranteed for 2 years or 300 charging cycles
  • cost: check here for the price

Special Features

  •  simple and easy to use
  • 1 button to control all its functions
  •  longer burn time of 6 hours
  • lock-out mode to prevent accidental use
  • 10 to 15-lumen reserve mode, works for 2 hours, so you don’t get left in the dark
  •  comfortable to wear
  •  an ergonomic adjustable headband, in a 2-part, patented construction for optimal stability
  •  2350 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery is included
  •  charges by way of a type “B” USB port
  •  has a luminous charging indicator for easy to read battery life
  •  a reflective headband for better night-time visibility
  •  ultra-bright at 900 lumens
  •  lightweight at only 100 grams
  •  visual comfort from 3 beam patterns
  •  high-performance lighting with proximity, movement, and distance vision
  •  flood, mixed and focused beams

This headlamp is a real winner, no ifs, and, or buts. One of the best on the market.

2. The Petzl-Reactik+Headlamp

      300 lumens

Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors


  •  lumens: 300 lumens
  •  weight: 3.84 ounces
  • battery type: 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery with an integrated USB port for convenient charging
  • water-resistant: IPX4
  • colours: black and red
  • cost: check here for the price

Special Features

  • the headband is a 2-part construction for optimal stability
  • the headband is adjustable and washable
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • reactive lighting technology, this headlamp automatically adjusts its brightness to the needs of the user
  • the mixed beam produced by the primary light source and activated with the light sensor
  • rechargeable
  • longer burn time
  • energy efficient

3. Petzl – Actik Core Headlamp

Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors

      450 lumens

This Petzl – Actik Core Headlamp is only a rechargeable headlamp when using the CORE battery system. It also operates on 3 AAA batteries. This varies the burn time according to the quality and age of your batteries.


  • lumens: 350 lumens, older model, new version 450 lumens
  • weight: 3.36 ounces, 82 grams
  • battery type: 3 AAA batteries or CORE battery
  • beam distance: low – 65 meters, high – 135 meters
  • burn time: 160 hours at 350 lumens
  • water-resistant: IPX4
  • colours: black and red
  • cost: check here for the price

Special Features

  • powerful and lightweight, it is built for rugged outdoor use
  • 2 beam patterns, a wide pattern and a mixed pattern, for high-performance lighting
  • has a red-mode for preserving your night vision
  • this headlamp uses 3 AAA batteries and the CORE rechargeable battery
  • the CORE battery charges in a micro USB port

Have you checked the best way to shop online?

4. The Petzl – NAO + Headlamp

      a 750 lumens, and a 575 lumens model

Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors

Another excellent rechargeable headlamp by Petzl.

This is a more technical headlamp. Intelligent, programable, and high performance. 750 lumens of luminosity. With its mobile app, ” MyPetzl Light “, the owner can use their smartphone or tablet to check the remaining light in real-time and adjust the headlamp’s performance.

This is accomplished by downloading the predefined profiles or creating your own user-specific profiles. When in use, the NAO + measures the surrounding brightness with its reactive lighting technology and adapts the luminosity to the user’s needs.

This technology minimizes the need to manually adjust the lamp and optimizes energy consumption so that you can focus on your task or activity.


  • lumens: 750 lumens or 575 lumens
  • weight: 6.7 ounces, 185 grams
  • battery type: lithium-ion battery, 3100 mAh, on the 750 and 2600 mAh on the 575
  • charge time: 5 hours on the 575 lumens model
  • burn time: 750 lumens, on high-1.5 hours, on low hours
  • water-resistant: yes, IPX4 splashing water
  • no red-light mode
  • colours: black
  • guarantee on the lamp: Amazon and Petzl guarantee their products
  • guarantee on the battery: see above
  • cost: check here for the price

Special Features

  • Petzl reactive lighting technology
  • lock-out mode prevents accidental activation
  • programmable or reactive lighting
  • rechargeable, no need to carry extra batteries, although I will when this opportunity is available, ” Murphy’s Law, is always in effect!
  • compatible with Alkaline and Lithium batteries
  • Petzl – ACCU NAO + Rechargeable Battery
  • adjustable head strap for comfort in use
  • reserve mode operates at 15 lumens for 2 hours, so don’t end up in the dark

5. The Petzl – Swift RL PRO

A quick look at Petzl’s new offering of 2020.

      900 lumens

Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors

Designed for the workshop and small maintenance jobs, the Swift RL Pro is a rechargeable headlamp with 900 lumens of brightness.

Comes with a reactive technology sensor that analyzes the ambient light and automatically adjusts the headlamp brightness to the user’s needs.

The Swift RL Pro operates with 1 button for easy control of all lamp functions.

The 5-level gauge allows for precise monitoring of the battery level.

This headlamp is compatible with Petzl helmets and mounting accessories.

A red light mode is also available for reduced eye strain and stealth mode.

This is one of Petzl’s new headlamps for 2020.

Available February 2020.


  • lumens: 900 lumens
  • weight:  123 grams
  • cost: only available in February of 2020

Special Features

  • longer burn time
  • battery charges via a type “B” micro USB port
  • The 5-level gauge allows for accurate battery monitoring
  • 1-button control for all lamp functions
  • a red-light mode
  • great visual comfort
  • simple manual operation with reactive lighting mode
  • the reactive technology light sensor, automatically adjusts the brightness and beam pattern for optimal battery life
  • compatible with Petzl helmets and accessories

A Few Free Tips

  • always read the instructions FIRST …
  • never throw the instructions away …
  • never throw the box away too early …
  • always read the instructions first …
  • some living things don’t need to read the instructions, … but most human beings do!

Things to Consider

An investment in a top-of-the-line headlamp should include a shell or protective case. This protective case is a small price to pay for protecting your investment.

There are headlamps on the market that are less expensive and have higher luminosity ratings. They work well for short periods of time but always seem to die out when you really need them.

Petzl’s Reactive Lighting Technology sets a new bar in the headlamp world. If you have the opportunity, give these headlamps a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Look at it this way. A $5000.00 truck is never as good as a $50,000.00 truck, and we’ve all heard the expression, “you get what you pay for”.

We don’t always need an expensive headlamp to get a job done in the dark, if your work or your safety is important to you, and you play and work in the dark hours, these headlamps are well worth considering.

Running in the dark adds another dimension to headlamps, lighter and snug-fitting is always better.

I use headlamps at play, at work, around the house, and I always have one in my vehicle.

There are times when you can get away with “your” night vision, but if you’re the type of person who’s always pushing the envelope, and always playing on or near the edge when it’s dark, YOU need a serious headlamp.

I always carry a spare one in my wilderness survival kit. You can find out why here.

I’d love to hear about your headlamps, what you use them for, and how they stand up to use and abuse.

24 thoughts on “Best Rechargeable Headlamps-for the outdoors”

  1. Hiya Paul

    Thanks for your comprehensive head lamp review, you really like head lamps don’t you! Seriously if I need a headlamp I now know exactly what to go for because your article has it well covered. I thought they were a relatively new invention but you appear to have been rocking them since the 1980’s.

    I bought my cubs cute hats with lamps in and my man and I have adult ones, would you recommend the hat type ones? Is there a battery alternative to the USB charged one? 

    Thank you for providing me with the means to make an informed choice, krs PurpleLioness 

    • Cute caps with their headlamps are great for fun around the house, but I would not want to bring one on a wilderness adventure. 

      Being able to light up your world, in the wilderness, or in an emergency situation is serious business.

      For the price of all those caps you could have bought a real headlamp that will serve you well when needed.

      The Petzl Tikka weighs only 86 grams, and comes with 3 AAA batteries included. At 300 lumens, it has an IPX4 rating. This means that it’s water resistant and can take heavy splashing. I use my in the rain and it seems to handle it well.

      The Actik Core is another fine model to look at. 

      The Swift RL is even better. If you invest in a Petzl headlamp, you will be well served for years to come.

      Toys are for young children.

      If you ever need light in an emergency situation, you will be very pleased that you chose a Petzl.


  2. Hi Paul, 

    Good article, I’ve been meaning to make a rechargeable headlamp a part of my car breakdown kit for a while now! The Petzl – Actik Core Headlamp sounds like it will likely be deal for what I need, as I can recharge and rely on batteries if necessary. Do you know if it’s easy to get in the UK?

    • Amazon must carry it in the UK. Click my link to find out. 

      Petzl is a European company and France is a quick ride through the Chunnel. 

      I’m sure there’s one close by. Get back to me with your findings. I would also like to know how easy they are to get in the UK.

      Good choice, mate.

      Thanks, Paul.

  3. Hello Paul. Thank you for sharing this post on the best rechargeable head lamps for 2019. From your many years of experience using Petzel brand of headlamps, I have no doubt that these head lamps you have recommended here will serve us very well and meet our expectations too.

    I am really amazed by the Bluetooth technology included. It is smart and makes life easier for us while adjusting the light to meet our needs.


    • Thanks for stopping by, MrBiizy.

      Technology is moving forward in huge leaps and bounds. 

      It’s best to keep up with it, otherwise one gets left behind.


  4. Hi Paul, very good headlamp! I also like to do mountain trail and I do it several times a month. I think this headlamp is very good to have, and I will personally choose “The petzl – NAO + Headlamp” because I love tech plus I can adjust the amount of light from the headlamp.
    However, what I’m still confused about is if my cellphone turns off, then does the light on the headlamp also turn off automatically?

    • Great question, Asmadi.

      You will still be able to turn on your headlamp if your phone dies, or is lost. 

      The app is for controlling the amount of light, and it also displays your charge time remaining in the battery. It does not control the on and off function of your headlamp.


  5. You get a stellar source of light while ensuring that your hands are free to do other things. One of the top choices on the market, the rechargeable Petzl Nao headlamp is easy and quick to control and has a very impressive run-time. It is very bright and we liked that it has many settings and adjustability. What is the best headlamp for working? How many lumens is considered bright?  What do lumens mean? How many lumens is a 1 million candlepower spotlight? Which is brighter lumens or candlepower?

    • The best headlamp for working is the most expensive one you can afford, and the one you’re wearing on your head, when you’re working, Ruby.

      Thanks for asking all these questions.

      I like the Swift RL because of its 1-button operation and its Reactive Lighting Technology.

      Now I’ll take a sip from my coffee and see if I can pass your test.

      As far as headlamps go, the Swift RL, at 900 lumens is bright enough for me.

      Lumens are a measure of the total amount of visible light to the human eye from a source of light.

      There are 12,570,000 lumens of light emitting from a 1 million candlepower spotlight operating at peak capacity.

      Lumens and candlepower measure different things, it’s like asking how tall is a woman?

      From your “spotlight” question above, 1 candlepower equals 12.57 lumens.

      Candlepower has become obsolete. 

      It refers to the light of 1 candle’s luminous intensity in a particular direction, hence, a spotlight with one million candlepower emits the equivalent of 1 million candles, … it’s something like cubits, depends how tall you are, because this usually affects the length from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow!?

      I’ll finish my coffee while I await for the results of my test, lol.

      I’m waiting …

      Paul, has never written a dissertation on the physics of light!

  6. Great article, i am really grateful to have come across this post, personally i like camping, generally o love adventure, am most are the times that dark fall while we are still on a hike and we have to rush back to our tents in the dark , now having this idea of the rechargeable head lamps. I find it very helpful, more also i learn that they are water proof, does that mean one can swim while they are on??. I am asking this because i like swimming a lot, i am greatful to have come across this post, i am sure to subscribe to your newsfeed to learn more about this and other related articles. Thank you

    • These headlamps are NOT waterproof, Joy, they are water resistant to IPX4, which means capable of heavy splashing from all directions. 

      They are NOT made for swimming, and I do not say this anywhere in my post. 

      Please reread it to see where I say that they are water resistant to IPX4.


  7. Interesting introduction to a valuable product. I am not a night trail runner, nor do I do activities like camping out at night, but I could see myself using this. I live on a island and we sometimes have unscheduled power cuts. I could see myself putting on this headlamp to find my way around. Also , last week, my car shut down and it was late evening and we thought that if we had a light that we could use without holding it up like a flashlight, then we could have fixed everything much faster. I like all the features especially the fact that the sensors allowing it to adjust  depending on your focus. What is the life of these headlamps ?……Thank you

    • I cannot predict how long a headlamp that you purchase will last, JJ. 

      My expensive headlamps last for years. I have also owned less expensive ones, that have not lasted as long. It all depends how you treat your gear. 

      The Swift RL lamp is guaranteed for 5 years and the battery is guaranteed 2 for years, or 300 charging cycles.

      No one in their right mind will guarantee anything forever.

      Having said that, all reputable retail outlets will gladly accept non-functioning or defective products within a reasonable time frame, and with normal use. 

      It’s a headlamp, not a battering ram or an underwater diving lamp.

      Treat it well, and for its intended purpose, and it should last you for many years.


  8. I am so glad I came across your website. I have been looking for a headlamp for quite sometime. I like the look of the Petzl Reactik and the fact that the battery is rechargeable. Do you know if I would be able to purchase a new battery for it after the 300 charges? or do I then have to purchase a different lamp? How does the bluetooth feature work?

    I have never had a headlight with a bluetooth feature before.

    I want to use a good headlight for when I am out riding, it gets very dark in the north during winter. Which of these headlights would you recommend? Do you know if they would fit on a helmet? 

    Thanks for your review on the best headlights of 2019.

    • Yes, you can purchase an aftermarket battery for the Reactik +, and you not have to purchase a new lamp.

      There is no Bluetooth function on the Reactik or the Reactik +.

      To make your headlamp Bluetooth operable, first you download the MyPetzl Light app to your Smartphone. Then you connect it to your headlamp, such as the Petzl NAO + Headlamp. With this app you can create 4 different activity profiles, you can customize output modes, check battery levels, adjust output, and run times. 

      All these functions can be performed on your Smartphone to manipulate the functions of your headlamp, if it is Bluetooth compatible, and made by Petzl.

      I would recommend the Swift RL or the Actik Core. They are less complicated and better left to the “techies”. I do not know what your helmet looks like, but they both have headbands that should work for you.

      I wear my headlamps on my helmet at work, and so does everyone else. Again, this depends on the lamp and helmet combination, but there is always a way to attach your headlamp to your helmet.

      Thanks for your questions, 


  9. Hey thank you for the awesome review!  I really like the Petzl – Actik Core Headlamp, as it seems to have everything I would want in a head lamp, and it looks really nice in my own opinion.  Do you have idea of how long batteries last on average?  Also, does it come in any others colors?

    • The Actik Core comes in red and black. 

      It uses 3 AAA batteries or a Core battery. Battery use varies with the quality of the brand. Temperature and use are also a factor. 

      The Core battery is rechargeable with a type “B” micro USB port. It’s kind of risky to give you an exact number. Sometimes my batteries seem to last a long time and sometimes less, even with the same brands from the same box. 

      Triple “A”s are also rechargeable, so batteries are are not an issue for me. Depending on where you use this headlamp, good AAAs and a place to recharge will serve you well. 

      That’s my best answer. It’s like how far will my car go on a tank of gas?

      I’d appreciate your feedback on this reply.

      What type of batteries are you the most familiar with, and what level of performance do you get from them?

      Thanks, Paul.

  10. I am usually doing work at my country house in the dark and I always wanted to buy such a set. I don’t need particularly a very strong light but what I am looking for is one that is reliable and has the best battery life. Which one you would recommend me from those in the list? Thank you for such a comprehensive list.

    • I always recommend buying quality products, Stratos, instead of buying 2 or 3 versions of the cheap and unreliable kind, and end up paying more in the end.

      If the Swift RL is in your price range, get that one. 

      Simple 1-button operation, Reactive Lighting Technology, and Rechargeable. 

      Get a protective case and this headlamp will last for years.


  11. Hello Paul, Thank you for writing on the Best Rechargeable Headlamps in 2019. I enjoy your post while reading. The Petzl Swift RL has only one button for easy control of the headlamp’s functions. We will go for Petzl – Swift RL Headlamp. Every lamp is best. Thank you for helping me to choose the best.


    • Hi Parveen.

      Petzl has been around for a long time and their products are rated as some of the best on the market.

      Your choice of the Swift RL is a good one.

      You will be very pleased with this headlamp.

      One button operation and reactive lighting technology.


  12. This is a good review of the best rechargeable headlamps available online. Since I love black as a color, I like the Petzl Swift RL Pro and I’m gonna buy it even though it is announced that it will be available in February 2020. Since it is always raining here in my country (Philippines) and I’m going to use it outdoor, I’d like to ask, are these rechargeable headlamps water-proof?

    • Good Day, Gomer.

      All these headlamps are rated IPX4 which means that they can handle lots of water splashing. They can resist water splashes from any direction. 

      I know that the Philippines is often under attack from powerful typhoons. IPX4 does not mean waterproof, but they are very water resistant. 

      If I were you, I would place the headlamp on my head and then protect it with a good wide-brimmed hat. This is how I give my headlamps better protection. 

      Many of my runner friends run with headlamps in the rain, and I work with them in the rain. they are tough and can take heavy rains but they are not rated as waterproof.

      Your best bet may be the Swift RL because of its proven history.

      Stay dry and safe. 

      Thanks for your question.


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