Petzl Actik vs. Actik Core | Complete Comparison Guide

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Who doesn’t know it? The planned tour drags on longer than expected. Especially in autumn and spring, darkness can quickly take you by surprise. Also other suddenly occurring poor visibility conditions are not to be underestimated. 

To be able to complete the tour safely, you need a powerful headlamp. If you want to go on a tour lasting several days, you should have a headlamp in your luggage anyway.

But which model is really good? Among the bestseller lists, the models of the French manufacturer Petzl appear again and again. This has brought various series for different activities on the market. Among them is the ACTIVE series for outdoor activities such as mountaineering, which includes the two models ACTIK* and its upgrade ACTIK CORE*. In the following comparison, we will take a closer look at these two models and determine which is the best for climbing.

Application Area

According to the manufacturer, the Actik* and the Actik Core* are both suitable for mountaineering, jogging, trekking and bivouacking. So you want to expect that the lamps offer a secure hold with high wearing comfort and sufficiently illuminate both the near and far range.

Weight and Dimensions

Both the Actik and the Actik Core are true lightweights. The Actik Core is with just 75 g even slightly lighter than the Actik with 86 g. At under 100 g, you can basically talk about a comfortable weight. The Actik Core measures 14 x 13 x 4.5 cm, the Actik 6.35 x 3.8 x 3.8 cm. The latter is thus a bit more handy.

Material and Processing

Both models have a plastic housing with LEDs and an elastic and reflective headband. This can also be easily pulled over a helmet. The headband sits comfortably on the head and is removable and washable. Everything looks solidly made at first glance. Here I can not follow some customer reviews that criticize an alleged cheap processing. 

Both headlamps have IPX4 protection. This means they are weatherproof and can withstand rain or splashing water on all sides, snow and humid environments. However, it is arguable whether the IPX4 protection class can be considered a quality feature for outdoor equipment. 

Other headlamps have higher protection classes and are partly completely waterproof. Normally, IPX4 is sufficient in any case. However, if you get caught in a very strong thunderstorm, it could possibly become critical. Under no circumstances should the headlamp fall into the water.


The handling is quite simple. A single button on the top allows you to choose between different light levels by pressing it longer. The button is also wide enough so that it works very well even with thicker gloves and mittens. The last mode is saved when switching off. A lock function ensures that the headlamp is not accidentally turned on in the backpack and so the batteries or the battery are stressed.

Light and Focus

The model Actik reaches a luminosity of 350 lumens at a range of 80 m, Actik Core 450 lumens at 90 m. Both models use two cones of light, wide or combined, allowing three different modes, plus additional red light for night (2 lm at 5 m) and flashing light for emergency (visible at 700 m for 400 hours). 

The 3 modes include Max Burn Time (6 lm at 8 m light range), Standard (100 lm and 45 m light range on both models), and Max Power (350 lm and 450 lm at 80 and 90 m light range, respectively).


Both models feature the Petzl Hybrid Concept. This means that they can be operated with batteries (alkaline batteries, lithium batteries), as well as rechargeable batteries (Ni-MH rechargeable batteries). The Actik model is supplied with batteries (3 AAA/LR03 batteries). The CORE battery* (1250 mAh) must be purchased additionally if you want to use it. 

This is also compatible with other headlamp models from Petzl. However, a rechargeable battery is generally only worthwhile if you use it regularly. Otherwise, the performance can decrease in the long term. If you only plan a tour once a year, you do not necessarily need a rechargeable battery, but can also stock up on batteries. 

By the way, with the Actik Core, it’s the other way around with the accessories: A CORE battery is included, but no batteries. The CORE battery is very easy to charge via micro USB port. The charging time is about 3 hours. The burn time for the Actik is 120 hours, and 130 hours for the Actik Core. However, this applies to the weakest light mode with 6 lumens. If the battery is running low, the lamp automatically switches to reserve mode.


The design is very similar for both models. The Actik is available in blue, green and black. The Actik Core in black and red.


The headlamps have a manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years. The warranty for the CORE battery is 2 years or 300 recharges.


The Actik Core also has a signal whistle on the headband. This is particularly practical if you want to communicate or actually get into an emergency situation. Otherwise, many practical accessories can be purchased. For example, mounting systems for attaching to the bike or helmet or a protective case or a combination of protective case and tent lantern.

Pros and Cons of Both Models in Direct Comparison

Since both models have a lot of similarities with each other, the respective strengths and weaknesses will be presented in a direct comparison. It should be noted that a supposed weakness in this comparison, such as the higher weight, would not result in a deduction in the individual rating. After all, 86 g are heavier than 75 g. Nevertheless, the weight is low for a powerful headlamp.

Pros and cons of the Petzl Actik


  • easy handling
  • 3 light modes, red light and signal light
  • Hybrid Concept
  • 5 years warranty
  • handier than the Actik Core
  • cheaper than the Actik Core


  • slightly heavier than the Actik Core (86 g)
  • slightly less luminous range than the Actik Core (80 m)
  • no CORE battery included
  • Not waterproof

Pros and cons of the Petzl Actik Core


  • 75 g
  • Illumination range of 90 m
  • easy handling
  • 3 light modes, red light and signal light
  • Hybrid Concept
  • 5 years warranty
  • Signal whistle on headband


  • Not waterproof
  • somewhat more unwieldy than the Actik
  • more expensive than the Actik

Further Information

Hybrid Concept

Rechargeable battery and batteries have their advantages and disadvantages. The rechargeable battery can be charged and provides a constant luminosity. Batteries generally last longer, but the luminosity decreases towards the end. The Hybrid Concept from Petzl is particularly practical for multi-day tours. On the one hand, you can use a rechargeable battery, which ensures a constantly powerful luminosity even when discharged. On the other hand, it is possible to switch to spare batteries at any time if there is no possibility of recharging.

Headlamp weight

For a headlamp, the lighter and easier to handle, the better. Especially when climbing, you don’t want to be weighed down unnecessarily. In addition, a higher weight has an unpleasant effect on the wearing comfort.

Number of light cones

Multiple light cones are important for athletes and people who tend to move quickly outdoors. These need to see both the near and far range well.

Red light mode

Red light is particularly practical when you have to cover long distances through the dark (dark adaptation) or when you are traveling in groups and do not want to blind anyone.

Related Questions

What does lumen mean?

Lumen (short: lm) is the unit for the luminous flux. The higher this value, the more light is emitted to all sides. In turn, the more light is emitted to all sides, the brighter the lamp appears to us.

What is the dark adaptation?

In dark adaptation, the eye becomes accustomed to darkness. The sensory cells become sensitized and the stimulus threshold decreases. Red light can support vision in the dark better than bright light, which has a disruptive effect on adaptation.

What is IPX?

The letters “I” and “P” stand for International Protection and are part of the code of a protection class. IPX” is followed by a number. This indicates how tight a product is. The “4” means that the product is protected against splashing water from all sides. In total, there are the values IPX0 to IPX 8.


Petzl Actik Core* is clearly an upgrade of the Petzl Actik*. In terms of light modes, both headlamps have a lot in common, only diverging in Max Power mode. 

Here, the Actik Core with 100 lm and 10 m on it simply has more power. Otherwise, they are almost the same in terms of workmanship and handling. Unfortunately, the upgrade is not yet waterproof. But in normal cases, this is not absolutely necessary for a mountain tour. The Actik Power is slightly larger in terms of its dimensions, but weighs 11 g less. 

The CORE battery included in the delivery of the Actik Power is very practical. Should the purchase price difference remain so small, the purchase of the Actik Core is worthwhile for this reason alone. 

Because the purchase of a CORE battery is also in this price range. However, this argument only counts if you really use the headlamp more often. Otherwise, both have the well-known Petzl Hybrid Concept and can be used with batteries. Another advantage of the Actik Core is the signal whistle on the headband. 

There are no major differences in design, apart from the different colors. All in all, we can recommend buying both headlamps. The Actik Core has more advantages overall. The Actik is cheaper in terms of purchase price.

Attention: You have to take care of your safety when climbing! The information on only helps you to learn. Before you climb, you should make sure that you have been properly instructed by an expert and that you follow all safety precautions.

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