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Comparison Review: Petzl MYO RXP and Black Diamond Icon

Posted Dec 16 2009 12:00am

Before today’s post, a couple of reminders about recent posts: the sweet Black Diamond Icon sale at Wilderness Running Company – free rechargeable battery pack with discounted purchase of the lamp – expires on Friday 12/18. Also, you’ve got until 7PM Thursday 12/17 to comment on this post for a CLIF goodie box drawing. Get a move on, people.

As for today’s review, it’s another Petzl-versus-Black Diamond comparison like the one I did for the Tikka XP2 and Spot headlamps – and it’s another incentive to check out This time, the comparison is between two external battery pack headlamps, the Black Diamond Icon and the Petzl MYO RXP. I’ve already posted an Icon review here, and a MYO RXP review on Feed The Habit. So let’s follow the same procedure as last time:

1) Go read my Petzl MYO RXP headlamp review on, then…
2) Return here to read the comparison between the MYO RXP and the Icon.

See you when you get back.


Hello again! As was the case with the smaller headlamps, both Petzl and Black Diamond perform very well overall, and have areas of relative strength. Here’s how they measure up:

Weight (with batteries):
Icon: 187g/6.6oz
RXP: 175g/6.2oz
Advantage: RXP. Additionally, its external battery pack is more streamlined, and the whole unit just feels a bit less bulky than the Icon. I wouldn’t say the Icon is uncomfortable, just that the RXP has a better overall feel.

Bulb Type:
Icon: separate LEDs for spot and flood modes
RXP: single high-power LED
Advantage: RXP, but only if the Icon's “you have to power off when switching from spot to flood mode” issue annoys you like it does me. Petzl’s single bulb allows you to switch from flood to spot modes by flipping a diffuser lid up or down. The Black Diamond setup isn’t really a performance issue, just a pet peeve.

Icon: 100 lumens
RXP: 140 lumens
Advantage: RXP. Petzl clearly enjoys a huge advantage in overall candle power, and even has a boost mode that can briefly shine at 160 lumens. Overall brightness is one of the RXP’s strengths, as well as …

Brightness levels:
Icon: 6 (3 in spot mode, 3 in flood mode)
RXP: 10, plus boost mode
Advantage: RXP again, which can go both brighter and dimmer than the Icon – which really only has 3 functional degrees of brightness, despite what the specs say - or burn at several different levels in between. Throw in the fact that brightness levels are customizable, and this category isn’t much of a contest.

(And again, it seems like Petzl is kicking Black Diamond’s butt to this point. As you’d suspect, things get a bit more complicated as we continue …

Maximum beam distance (spot mode, high setting):
Icon: 100m
RXP: 77m
Advantage: Icon. I’ve joked with training partners that my Icon can double as a star pointer, because its spot beam penetrates so sharply and prominently over such a long distance. Black Diamond’s entry has lower candle power, but shoots its beam farther. However, since I typically use the flood setting for trail running, this is more of a cool trick than practical application for me.

Battery type and lifespan:
Icon: 3AA, 80 hour lifespan on high setting. Compatible with rechargeable batteries as well as the NRG rechargeable battery pack sold separately.
RXP: 3AA, 50 hour lifespan. Compatible with rechargeable batteries.
Advantage: Icon, and it’s a much bigger advantage than the numbers reflect at first glance; this is where the Icon starts making up a lot of ground in a hurry.

Remember how much brighter the Petzl burns? Well, all that candle power is a complete battery killer. The 2 highest settings are unregulated and only burn for about an hour at full strength. The highest regulated settings burn for 10 hours before shifting to a much dimmer reserve mode for the remainder of the battery life. So while the Icon can’t approach the top end brightness of the RXP, it can maintain a higher level for a much longer period of time.

While it’s great that both lamps use rechargeable batteries, Black Diamond scores a bonus point here for the NRG rechargeable battery pack, which can be recharged without removing the pack from the casing. It’s a separate cost, but the total cost of lamp plus battery pack is still less than the RXP. Speaking of which …

Icon: $65
RXP: $99
Advantage: Icon. Just as the Black Diamond’s Spot is the most affordable option for basic road and trail use, the Icon gives you the most bang for your buck in this category. Even if you shell out 30 bucks for the rechargeable pack, you’re still coming out ahead.

(This is even more reason to promote Wilderness Running Company’s extreme discount offer this week: Buy an Icon for $54 - $60 list price minus 10% with my R&R10 coupon code - and they throw in the NRG pack at no charge. Believe me, you’ll probably never see a better deal on this lamp.)

As usual, the final decision on which one is best will vary based on your preference. The Icon gives you very strong performance for a price that’s impossible to beat. If you'd like something more lightweight and versatile, with significantly more brightness and a wide range of customized settings for variable conditions, the RXP is an ideal choice.

*Petzl MYO RXP provided by Petzl America
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at

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