PETZL ULTRA RUSH Headlamp Review – May 2017

Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp comprehensive review (E52 H)
For most of you, the Petzl ULTRA RUSH is just too much headlamp, and you should just walk away. This is one of the top-of-the-line Petzl headlamps, and is probably best for professional use in the construction industry – or sports geeks who have to have the best of everything.

PETZL ULTRA RUSH HEADLAMP (E52 H – 760 LUMENS)

[Page updated: 1 May 2017. Spanish, French, Italian specifications (click one).]

Honestly, this Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp was an impulse buy. I saw it for a price that made me go “WHOA!” and that was it, I bought it with a smile on my face, and it arrived 6 weeks ago. I just bought ANOTHER ONE too. I have been putting this headlamp through the paces, and it seems like a VERY capable light. I think the quality of the light beams (all 6 of them) is fantastic, and it’s definitely one of my top two headlamps we have reviewed. I have never seen a review for this Petzl product, so likely – you’re seeing it close-up here for the first time.

Read our entire review below, or skip to the video at the bottom of the page here.

The couple differences between this light and the top of the line Petzl Nao+ is that the Ultra Rush has much better waterproofing standards – you can even submerge it in a meter of water for 30 minutes. Likely much more, but that’s how they rate – conservatively. There are two 18650 batteries, so it’s cranking out much more light over a longer duration – which, in my case is going to make me really happy. And finally, there is no need to have the light intensity changing all the time with Reactive Lighting Tech, because the batteries are so strong, they put out as much power as you need – anytime.

I was really excited to get this in the mail. It’s likely the most expensive light I’ll ever see, except maybe in the dentist’s chair! Before we get started, you’re probably not in the market for headlamp over $300. If not, here are our two best options for headlamps that we have used and reviewed – and found them to be exceptional:

ULTRA RUSH DESCRIPTION

Petzl has really built a name for themselves over the last four decades. A headlamp like this one is ideal for people needing a very bright and durable light for their harsh working conditions, or for long distance treks, runs, or whatever else might put you in the middle of a dark place for up to 38 hours.

Petzl Ultra Rush 760 lumens headlamp as worn on head.

This light is a bit heavier and quite a bit larger than the Nao series headlamps, but is much more powerful in cranking out the lumens for hours longer. It is expensive for me, and honestly, I’ll likely sell some of my other lights in order to justify buying some more of these Ultra Rushes, but they are definitely the only light I want to use in the rainforest. I couldn’t ask for anything more with the current state of battery technology – headlamp technology.

The Ultra Rush uses all 6 Cree LED bulbs when it is turned on – no matter which setting you use. This ensures the quality and shape of the beam – it doesn’t change, just gets stronger as you cycle up through the power settings.

If you need the best light you can find – this is probably it. Pay the $400 and be happy owning it. If you don’t need a $400 light, choose either the Nao+ or the Nao 2 – either of which will probably fit your needs.

This headlamp is the best we have, but we chose the Nao+ as our Top Headlamp in 2017 because the price is just more reasonable and more people can afford it. I think more people can use the lighter form-factor and Reactive Lighting Technology as well. This Petzl Ultra Rush will be used primarily by professionals in the field. 

Let’s get started with the review!

SPECS

  • Dimensions (longest): 6.3cm x 3.8 cm x 3.8 cm (2.5″ x 1.5″ x 1.5″)
  • Weight: 370 grams (13 oz.). Battery pack: 160 g. (5.6 oz.)
  • Bulbs: Six Cree LED’s – mix of spot and flood. Life – 50,000 hours.
  • Red Light: None.
  • Lock Feature? Yes, just reverse twist the beam selector to show the ‘off’ position.
  • Redundancy for Beam Failure? If one burns out, you have 5 more.
  • Power Modes: Manual control only, no Reactive Lighting Technology.
  • Max Lumens: 760, and lower power 65 lumens.
  • Max Beam Distance:  170 meters (186 yards)
  • Run-time Range: 2 hours (760 lumens) to 38 hours (65 lumens).
  • Battery Rating: ACCU 2 – Two 2,600 mAh rechargeable 18650’s, proprietary
  • Recharge Time: 3.5 hours quick charge (fully charged from empty)
  • Water Resistance Rating: IP67 – 1 meter submersion for 30 mins.
  • Warranty: Bulbs – 3 years. Battery – 1 year.
  • Tilt Range: 90° – points straight down to the ground from the 90 Degree position.
  • Number of Tilt Clicks: 9  (10° per click)
  • Price at Petzl.com: Unavailable. Can find online at Amazon.

Price at Amazon: $430 – 499
Check prices at Amazon here ->Petzl Ultra Rush

LET’s SEE WHAT WE’VE GOT – Detailed Ultra Rush Images

Battery connector point for Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp.
Accu 2 Battery is sealed waterproof, and heavy. It balances the front of the headlamp. Very well made.
ACCU 2 battery for Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp
Solidly made and has a battery life indicator in 4 red LED lights on the top of the Acc 2 battery.
Close-up of 6 Cree light bulbs on Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp.
The Ultra Rush uses 6 Cree ultra-efficient bulbs – giving a mixed spotlight and flood effect.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

When I first unboxed this headlamp, last week, I was really excited. I mean, more excited than I’ve ever been over a headlamp. Maybe that’s because I paid over $300 for it and I had high expectations!

My first thought as I looked at the unit, was – it’s BIGGER than the Petzl Nao 2 or Nao+. Considerably bigger, but not massive. It has a lot more battery power and 6 Cree LED bulbs – so, it needs to be a lot bigger. It isn’t overly large, considering those factors.

It is very comfortable, despite the weight. I have walked with it for four hours and though I’m twisting my neck often to look in different areas, my head and neck didn’t get tired. Quite comfortable! The straps and shape of the Ultra Rush forehead and back of the head plate have all been greatly upgraded to make this more comfortable on the head. Very welcome changes, and necessary due to the extra weight.

I couldn’t wait to turn it on – and when I did – WOW!! Even at 65 lumens, the lowest setting, it seems so bright. At 300 lumens, I figure I can probably use that for herping if I needed to go for 7 hours. At 420 lumens, it’s bordering on too bright for herping anything close distance. At 760 lumens, I’m sure I’ll be spotting slow lorises in the trees better than ever – at 200 meters distance.

The light this headlamp cranks out is like sunshine. It’s super-bright and white – no blue or orange tint. I think at high setting it is far too bright for my use in the forest for most things, but for regular use at a lower setting, I’m going to get 5-7 hours on the next two brightness settings – which makes me SO HAPPY.

The Nao line of Petzl headlamps is already built very well. This Ultra Rush is built exceptionally well. They didn’t just make a Nao with brighter lights and more battery power – they created something entirely different. This headlamp is waterproof and crush resistant to 80 kg. It can be dropped from 2 meters in height onto a hard surface. Really tough! Kudos to Petzl for that. This is a beast of a light – and one that I quickly tried out in my favorite spot for night wildlife on the planet – Krabi, Thailand.

MATERIALS – CONSTRUCTION QUALITY

All the higher-end Petzl headlamps are built to last. They’re solid and appear to use quality materials. Their molds are smooth, no rough edges. Their lights last. I have seen no forums dedicated to destroying their reputation online because – they just work. This Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp is definitely built to last, there will be no doubt in your mind that it is a quality light when you finally get it in your hands. I’m still astounded. Of course I’ve never held a headlamp that cost so much either.

The selection knob is large and bumpy, ensuring an easy grip – with, or without gloves. To select a brightness level – you twist the selector forward to one of the four settings. The head-strap has been made wide all around, and on the top, and is a nice quality upgrade from the Nao line of headlamps.

The battery in the back and the light unit in the front are fairly well-balanced. I can’t say I don’t notice the headlamp on my head, but it isn’t so heavy that I couldn’t stand it for 12 hours or so. The longest I’ve worn it so far, was 5 hours, and that presented no problem.

I tried jogging with it briefly, and it sits snug on my head when adjusted correctly. I can see that it wouldn’t be ideal for running, but it could work if you were in a jam and had to use it. The beam is absolutely mind-blowing, and perfect for running or biking. Petzl sells adapters to fit the Ultra Rush headlamp on a bike handlebars.

The rubber cable running from the battery pack to the headlamp triangle is solid and doesn’t get in the way. The battery pack is strong, and has a nice 4 LED light battery power indicator available at the push of a button.

Overall impression? IMPRESSED!

WATERPROOFING

These headlamps have a high level of waterproofing and dust-proofing – rated at IP67. This means dust cannot enter, and water cannot enter when submerged to 1 meter for 30 minutes. Probably the water rating is drastically underrated, and you can use it in the water for hours. Water resistance ratings are always underrated to protect the company from having to replace damaged units.

Do be careful your battery compartment is sealed shut properly before you go out.

ULTRA RUSH BATTERY LIFE and OPTIONS

There are two 2600 mAh batteries in a sealed proprietary container which you can buy extras of for just $160. I know. It’s really starting to get expensive now.

The massive battery power available is the main reason I wanted to get the Ultra Rush. Currently, on the Nao 2, I can get 90 minutes of high power manual setting at 290 lumens – which is great while it works, but uhm, 90 minutes?

The Ultra Rush boosts me up to 420 lumens at 5 hours, or 300 lumens for 7 hours! Talk about an upgrade! Then, I can also choose the 760 lumens in short bursts to supplement my needs, or I could use it flat-out max for 2 hours straight. It’s really quite a perfect light, and I have zero complaints.

Could I want for anything more? Actually, yes. I always want more. If this could also have the Reactive Lighting Technology, I’d be in heaven. As it is, the Ultra Rush gives 38 hours of light at 65 lumens. If it had RLT, like Petzl’s Nao series – I could maybe get 10 hours of light on max level. That would be enough for 2 days of use in the field. So, there’s always something more… but honestly, this light is damn-near perfect as it is.

Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp Battery Life Chart
This chart came from the official product PDF at Petzl. It shows that the lights are actually putting out 914 lumens for 20-30 minutes as the light is first turned on. That’s a bonus!

Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamp battery life chart in different lighting modes.

Emergency backup battery option? There is no way to use AA or AAA batteries as a backup when the ACCU 2 battery dies in the Ultra Rush headlamp. There is a reserve mode of lighting – but Petzl doesn’t say how many lumens it puts out in that mode. It does say you’ll get almost 3 hours from it – which is great. I tested it after a battery drain, and I couldn’t even guess how many lumens there are. It’s weak light for sure. Could you walk on a path at night using it? Probably, slowly.

BEAM QUALITY

There are six beams, a mix of flood and spot. I think what that means is, there is one spot in the center and 5 floods around the side that are more like combination flood/spot beams, and not really giving a very wide light profile.

The quality of light is perfect, just a little brighter in the center, and the entire area in front lit up strongly. I couldn’t ask for a nicer light spread. I like the quality of this light even better than the Nao+, but of course, you’re going to pay for it.

There is no red-light mode, or red flashing light on the back of the battery pack on the Ultra Rush headlamp.

One bonus is that the light is adjustable down to 90° (pointing at your feet). Some people may need this setting. It also is nice to have that greater range even if using off the head and laying on the ground providing light in a tent or somewhere else.

SETTINGS OPTIONS

Petzl made it easy on this premium headlamp – you turn the selection knob to one of 4 positions: minimum – economic – optimum – maximum. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

WHICH ACTIVITIES IS THIS BEST FOR?

The Ultra Rush headlamp is probably best outdoors. I think it is best for these activities:

  • running – not sure – a bit on the heavy side. Recommend Nao+ or Nao 2.
  • hiking – trekking
  • cave exploring (spelunking) – can get in the water a bit. Best to use Ultra Vario.
  • working oil platforms or other heavy industry work
  • adventure climbing
  • skiing
  • bicycling
  • temporary replacement for a motorbike headlamp!
  • wildlife excursions at night – it’s perfect!

SPECIFIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ULTRA RUSH and NAO+ (Plus)

  • Ultra Rush headlamp is twice as heavy.
  • Nao+ has 750 max lumens vs. Ultra Rush’s 760. However, with the Ultra Rush you actually get to use all 760 lm. With the Nao+ you get brief bursts at 750 lm in automatic lighting mode (RLT). (** important to note)
  • On Max manual brightness the Nao+ goes 90 minutes at 530 lumens. The Ultra Rush will give you 5 hours at 420 lumens or 2 hours at 760 lumens.
  • Nao+ has Bluetooth connectivity options. Ultra Rush has no computer connection capability or way to change the lighting profiles. I think they figure, you’re getting huge amounts of light – for hours at a time, you should surely be able to use it as it is. I certainly can, but I’m sure some people would prefer the ability to create specific lighting profiles.
  • Automatic red flashing light on reverse of Nao+ ensures some visibility from behind for runners, bikers, and well, anybody. Ultra Rush headlamp – has none.
  • Nao+ has a programmable strobe option to flash a message in morse code in case of emergency. Requires Bluetooth connected phone – Android or Apple. Ultra Rush has none.
  • Longer reserve mode on Ultra Rush (2:45) vs. Nao+ (1 hr.)
  • Can dunk Ultra Rush under water – Nao+ is not specifically rated for that level of water protection.

CUSTOMER RATINGS

I’ll rate the light myself below, and then add some other ratings I find online as well.

Headlamps101 Ratings

  • Quality of Build – 5 Stars ***** Lightweight and very strong. Straps don’t rot and nothing breaks.
  • Beam Brightness – 5 Stars *****
  • Beam Quality – 5 Stars *****
  • Battery Life – 5 Stars ***** Though I always want a stronger battery, this is pretty good for today’s technology. I won’t complain. It does everything I want it to do.
  • Water Resistance – 5 Stars ***** I haven’t heard of any other headlamps this powerful that are rated so high.
  • Price – 2 Stars ** If they would have added another 18650 battery to the Nao+, I’d have been quite satisfied with that. However, the Petzl Ultra Rush is a slightly different light, and it’s even better for what I use it for – looking for snakes at night in the rainforest in Thailand. I do think $160 for a battery pack is ludicrous. I would not buy one if I thought I needed an extra battery pack.

Amazon Ratings for Ultra Rush Headlamp

Rating chart for Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp on Amazon.com.

Review of Petzl Ultra Rush headlamp on Amazon.

ADD ON ACCESSORIES

There are a number of accessories for the Ultra Rush headlamp, from a more powerful ACCU 4 battery (twice the power) and it comes with a clip for your waist and a cable to run up to your head – keeping the weight off your head. There are ways you can put this headlamp on a helmet for caving or riding a bike or motorbike. You can even attach the Ultra Rush to a body harness or your bicycle handlebars. Item numbers beside each product for easily finding them to order.

 

 

 

Petzl Ultra Rush accessories chart with item numbers.
Item numbers listed for each Petzl Ultra Rush accessory.

PETZL ULTRA RUSH USER MANUAL (PDF) – PETZL ULTRA RUSH Headlamp User Manual (PDF)

Compatible Accessories – PETZL ULTRA RUSH Accessories (PDF)

PRICE and AVAILABILITY

The Petzl Ultra Rush Professional Headlamp is available at high-end sports locations online, EBay sometimes, and Amazon. If you are like me, the comfort of knowing that you’re actually going to receive the items you order – is very important. There are very few places I trust when ordering items over $50 or more. I use Amazon for everything I can. If I can’t find it there, I’ll try to find the item at some other online chain, but I can almost always find everything I need at Amazon.

Headlamp buy button.

Here are some of the Petzl Ultra Rush Headlamps at Amazon… maybe browse around there and see if you can get this headlamp for about $420 – which is how much I paid for mine in January 2017. Or, have a look at the next level of headlamp down – the more reasonably priced, but less powerful Petzl Nao+ (Plus).


See Comparison of our Top 4 Headlamps HERE >


Or, watch the video…

PETZL ULTRA RUSH Review: