As someone who lives by the premise that you can never have too many head torches, this Petzl Aria 2R headtorch has been put through its paces for a few weeks of hard graft

Product Overview

Overall rating:


  • Impressive battery life, rechargeable core cell charges quickly, easy to toggle through light settings


  • could do with a little more padding for better comfort when wearing for a long duration, better identification for which way is up/power button, no red light


I got down and dirty with boat maintenance testing a Petzl Aria 2R headtorch

Petzl Aria 2R headtorch

Functions: white light low, mid, high
battery level indicator
Power source: Petzl Hybrid Concept, includes: Petzl core cell (can also use 3 x AAA batteries not supplied)
Luminosity: 450lumens
Range (max.): 100 m
Waterproofing: IP67
Weight: 106 g

The Aria 2R headtorch looks quite chunky from the outset. But with the yellow housing I’m guessing this wasn’t designed to be subtle.

There’s very few frills to the Aria 2R, it simply lights the way. Click once for low power which is enough to just illuminate a modest area such as a low level cabin light in the dark. Useful if you are wanting to avoid dazzling those around you trying to sleep if you’re getting up to use the heads.
Then there’s the second lighting level which is 100 lumens. I found this to be the best balance for battery life and sufficient amount of light to see well enough in a confined space.

With a third press of the power button we get the brightest setting at 450 lumens. This was too bright for a confined workspace but ideal for illuminating a sail at night, though beware you’ll lose your night vision if you do this. I used the highest power setting when antifouling my boat with black antifoul in the dark. It really helped me pick out where I had and hadn’t covered and meant I could keep working after sunset.

Whilst usually I steer clear of headtorches that lack a red light function, I have found myself going back to this one time and time again. The battery life is impressive and when it’s getting ready for charging it gives a single flash on and off warning to let you know which is handy.

I used this head torch almost exclusively while I worked for a week in a tight confined cupboard doing a dirty cutting, grinding and epoxying job for a new rudder tube. The battery life lasted the whole day, meaning I could just plug the core in to charge at the end of the day, ready to go again within a couple of hours.

Two less great points to be aware of: after an hour of wearing it, I got a bit of a ache in my forehead from where it was pressing. I had to adjust the torch regularly to avoid this becoming more painful. There was a tendency for the head strap to feel a bit snug.
The second niggle is that I often picked it up, put it on then realised it was upside down. The power button isn’t as tactile as some other head torches so knowing which was is up requires a visual check rather than just by feel.

It handled everything I threw at it. Clouds of fibreglass dust, a wet bilge, rain, accidentally dropping it on the floor, accidentally getting epoxy on it and scraping that off when it set. It’s been through the wringer and I still keep reaching for it. So much so that I’ve repacked it in my kit bag ready for a race to France. Whilst I might not use it on night watch, as I prefer a red light for that, the Aria 2R being as chunky as it is, works really nicely as a portable cabin light too. If I put a coloured sock over it, I can get a lovely ambient light that doesn’t disturb anyone else around me.

Light Modes:

Mode one: White – 7 lumens, 100 hours
Mode two: White – 100 lumens, 7 hours (reserve 2 hours)
Mode three White – 450 lumens, 2 hours

Results of testing:

Battery life and recharging time 5/5
Full beam illumination 5/5
Low level light for reading 2/5
Red light NA
Water proofing 5/5
Eco (recyclable packaging and ability to replace head strap) 4/5
Weight and comfort 4.5/5

to read more about other headtorches, there’s my buyers guide with a range of some of the best head torches on the market: Best head torch for sailing – Gear Test