Petzl SWIFT RL vs. SWIFT RL PRO Headlamps

Two of our favorite ultra-lightweight but powerful headlamps compared side-by-side to see which one has the better features, better price, and the better chance of wrapping around your head! The Petzl SWIFT RL original headlamp was the BEST OF 2020. The Petzl SWIFT RL PRO just won the BEST OF 2021. Either way, you’ll be real happy with one of these headlamps.

Petzl SWIFT RL vs. Petzl SWIFT RL PRO headlamps. Which one has better features? Better price?
Both are incredible Petzl headlamps with the SWIFT RL taking the best of 2020 and the RL PRO taking the title of the best in 2021.

The Petzl SWIFT RL came out at the end of 2019. We loved it from the start, but there are always things that can be done to make us happier. See our “The Perfect Headlamp” post to see what we’d love to see in a headlamp, but which we’ll probably never see.

The Petzl SWIFT RL and the SWIFT RL PRO are both focused on the huge consumer market that is people who exercise, camp, and generally enjoy the outdoors. Sure, people use their headlamps in the house sometimes during a power outage, or to change a tire on the side of the road at night but most headlamp use is in the forest.

Both of these headlamps provide the functionality for 95% of general outdoor activities. Have a look at our detailed table of features to see which headlamp is right for your needs. Keep in mind, the price difference at this time is only between $20 and $40.

Petzl is a very solid headlamp company who’ve been around since the 1970’s. Their engineering is sound, and they strive every year to put out innovative products that top athletes across the globe can use. If you want to see one sport where they’ve made their mark, check out all the Petzl headlamps on ultrarunners in races across the globe. Probably 80% of them are wearing a Petzl headlamp for the night portion of the race. WHY? Reliability. Who wants to be stuck on a mountain without a light?!


Comparison of two of the best headlamps, the Petzl SWIFT RL and the SWIFT RL PRO. We look at more than 20 features to help you decide the differences.
Max Sustained Lumens550750
Max Lumens Burst9002300
Weight in Grams100100
Battery Life at Max Lumens120 mins110 mins
Battery Recharge Time240+ mins (on USB 1v)240 mins (on 220v)
Charging SourceUSBUSB
WaterproofIPX 4IPX 8
Reactive Lighting Techyesno
Spot Beamyesyes
Flood Beamyesyes
Mixed Beamyesyes
Shop >Check Price button for AmazonCheck Price button for Amazon

As you can see, the main differences between these headlamps are few.

Main Differences between SWIFT RL and SWIFT RL PRO Headlamps

  1. COLOR AVAILABILITY IS ONE DIFFERENCE. The SWIFT RL comes in black, blue, and a dynamic orange color that we tend to favor over all other colors. The SWIFT RL PRO comes only in black. For the moment anyway. They’ll probably release it in another color as well, but so far we’ve seen nothing but black.
  2. STRONG SPOTLIGHT BEAM. The SWIFT RL PRO now has a spotlight beam function that the original SWIFT RL doesn’t have. The original SWIFT RL has a spot beam but it is always used in conjunction with the flood beam. This creates a center-weighted beam which is ideal for many activities. The spotlight beam alone is great for hunters and others looking to see long distances ahead.
  3. STRAP. The PRO strap is just a single strap. The original SWIFT RL strap has a dual strap coverage in the back of the head to cradle the head better. It’s like a step backward. I’m sure one strap is fine, I have just one strap on most of my headlamps, but it would have been nice to have the split (dual) strap in the back again this year.
  4. COLD WEATHER PERFORMANCE. I remember reading that the SWIFT RL had cold-weather batteries, but then in some reviews buyers stated the opposite. They didn’t think it did. Now Petzl is saying the SWIFT RL PRO DOES have better performance in the cold, so we’ll see how that plays out.
  5. WEIGHT. Though both headlamps are ultra-light, the original SWIFT RL is only 100 grams total. The new SWIFT RL PRO is 123 grams. Are you going to feel 23 grams? Maybe if you’re running an ultra, but otherwise, probably not.
  6. RED LIGHT. The original did not have it, and the new PRO has a red light beam that is 4 lumens and goes for 30 hours. This is good for situations where your white beam(s) go out (break) and you need something to get you home. This is also good for fishing and hunting when you don’t want to ruin your night-vision by using a bright light. The red light allows you to see and do things close to you.

Those are all the differences we could see. If you’ve heard of any more, like specifics about the increase in performance in cold weather, we’d love to hear it!

See if the SWIFT RL is available at Amazon here >

See if the SWIFT RL PRO is available here >