Last Updated: June 19, 2020

Petzl Vs. Black Diamond (Who Makes The Best Headlamps?)

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, Black

If you are hunting for the ultimate headlamp, there’s a good chance you are overwhelmed with all the possibilities. That is why I’ve decided to show you what some of your best headlamp options are – in terms of quality.

Petzl and Black Diamond are both great brands, when it comes to outdoor equipment. They have been around for a while, and they have no intention of going anywhere.

In our review today we will take a look at the top sellers from both of these brands, and examine them in detail. We’ll check out everything there is to see about them, so that you can make an informed decision about purchasing any one of them.

So, let’s dive straight into this detailed comparison of the best Petzl and Black Diamond headlamps for 2018!

Featured Favorites Of The Review


Petzl vs. Black Diamond: The Consistent Differences

Overall both of these brands make good, high quality headlamps. They might not be the brightest headlamps available, but they are certainly the ones that you will use for years to come.

That being said, there are a few design features where these two manufacturers constantly differ, so let’s check out those first.

Waterproofness

If you are looking for a waterproof headlamp, you will have to go with Black Diamond. Petzl’s headlamps are water-resistant at best, which means that they will work perfectly fine in the rain or snow, but no further than that.

If this is your main concern, jump to the Black Diamond section of the review.

In addition to that, the IP water resistance rating of each headlamp will be listed in the specs table. So, be sure to check it out before deciding firmly on anything.

Night Vision Modes

Both Petzl and Black Diamond have included the red light strobe into all of their lamps. However, if you are looking for a few more night vision options, Black Diamond has more options.

Their headlamps (all in this review) feature 3 different night vision modes. You can choose between red, blue and green light, and opt for the one that is best for your surroundings. If this is your main concern, also jump to the Black Diamond section of the review

Rechargeable Batteries

Petzl tries really hard to make its headlamps compatible with its own Core rechargeable battery. You can charge this battery directly via the headlamp's USB port. And it will last you hours and hours on end.

In addition to that, most Petzl headlamps often come with rechargeable batteries and also the option to switch to AAAs when you need to. 

On the other hand, Black Diamonds prefers to use alkalines in their headlamps. And even the headlamps that come with rechargeable batteries will perform better and brighter when you put AAAs in them.

So, if you would prefer to get a headlamp with rechargeable batteries and save some money on the AAAs in the long term, something by Petzl will be a better fit for you.

Petzl Headlamps

Let’s start this review of the best headlamps with the top sellers from Pretzel Petzl! :>

The headlamps that we will review in detail are TikkaActik Core and Nao+. You can read about the first two in even more detail in some of my former reviews, and see how they compare to their lower budget versions! But now, you’ll get to see how they compare to each other and their Black Diamond rivals.

The Tikka headlamp is one of Petzl’s most popular models. It is a long-lasting one, and you can see exactly what you’ll get with it in the table below:

PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black

 Dimensions

2.5 x 2.2 x 1.5 inches

 Weight

2.88 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

60 meters (197 feet)

Maximum Battery Life

240 hours

Lumen Output

200 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IPX4

Battery Type

AAA (compatible with Petzl Core)

PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black
PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black

There are three light settings for the Tikka headlamp; low, medium and high. The low setting will give you a beam distance of some 10 meters, but the battery can last for an incredible 240 hours on it. On the other hand, on the high setting you will get 60 meters of beam distance, but with (only) 60 hours of battery life.

In terms of the bean length, the low setting is perfect for any activities where you are focused on your immediate surroundings. The medium settings will be great if you are moving around a lot, and the high setting will allow you to see almost 200 feet in front of you.

This headlamp is water-resistant, so you will be perfectly fine in the rain and snow. However it’s not fully waterproof, so it’s not really suitable for deep-sea diving or similar activities.

But it’s a perfectly fine lamp for any activities on dry land. With the lower lumen output and long battery life, I would say that this lamp is a particularly good fit for camping, or overnight hiking. Basically it’s great for everything where you prioritize the burn time over brightness.

And the Tikka is also compatible with Petzl’s Core rechargeable battery. If you already own the Core battery then great; if not, you will have to get it separately, and it will set you back some 30 bucks. But, it is definitely worth it because you will save money in the long run.

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Compatible with Core battery
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Low lumen output
  • Main power source are AAAs
  • Not waterproof

If you don’t think Tikka is bright enough for you, then the Actik Core will probably look like better choice. Check out its main specs below:

PETZL - ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 350 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Red

 Dimensions

4.7 x 0.4 x 4.7 inches

 Weight

3.36 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

95m (311 ft)

Maximum Battery Life

160 hours

Lumen Output

350 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IPX4

Battery Type

Core rechargeable (also compatible with AAAs)

PETZL - ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 350 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Red
PETZL - ACTIK CORE Headlamp, 350 Lumens, Rechargeable, with CORE Battery, Red

As the very name of this headlamp suggests, the Actik Core comes equipped with the Core rechargeable battery. So, that is a good thing when you think about all the money you would waste purchasing AAAs again and again. But it also had a big effect on the price of the headlamp because the Actik Core costs twice as much as the Tikka, and them some.

But this headlamp is also twice as bright as the Tikka, so the steeper price is not really a surprise. Overall, it is a better and more stronger lamp, and more suitable for some really strenuous activities in the dark. And the two light modes (wide and mixed) will really allow you to customize the direction and width of the light beam.

I would say that the Actik Core is a great lamp for mountaineering, night skiing and backpacking. The lumen output on this thing is really high, but it also means that its maximum battery life is much shorter. However, this headlamp is also compatible with AAAs, and you can always switch to those if your Core battery runs out of charge.

Then again, 160 hours on low light setting is a pretty good burn time. However, if you set it to the highest brightness setting (350 lumen), the difference is drastic. In fact, the Actik Core has a battery life of only 2 hours on this setting, which is somewhat disappointing.

Related Post: Actik vs Actik Core

Pros

  • Comes with a rechargeable battery
  • Very bright (350 lumens)
  • Two lighting modes

Cons

  • Shorter battery life (particularly on high)
  • Expensive
  • Not waterproof

The Nao+ is the brightest and smartest lamp out of the bunch. Before we get into the details, check out the main features of the headlamp below:

PETZL, NAO+ Headlamp, 750 Lumens, Bluetooth Enabled

 Dimensions

2.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 inches

 Weight

6.4 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

140m (459 feet)

Maximum Battery Life

15 hours

Lumen Output

750 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IPX4

Battery Type

Nao+ rechargeable pack

PETZL, NAO+ Headlamp, 750 Lumens, Bluetooth Enabled
PETZL, NAO+ Headlamp, 750 Lumens, Bluetooth Enabled

If brightness is your one and only concern, then the Nao+ was built for you. With 750 lumens, this is one of Petzl’s brightest lamps to date. But it’s also one of the most expensive ones, and you will have the shell out a couple hundred bucks for it.

But there are many benefits to this headlamp. I for one thing love that it has integrated Bluetooth. That allows you to control the Nao+ via an app for your phone (compatible with both iOS and Android), and the possibilities are endless. For example you can tell the lamp that you need it to burn for 4 hours and 15 minutes, and it will adjust its brightness accordingly.

The headlamp also has an integrated brightness sensor. This allows it to work in two different modes, reactive lighting and constant lighting. If you set it to reactive lighting, the lamp will autonomously adjust the brightness level and put out the optimal amount of light for your surroundings. But you can also set it to constant lighting, which means that it will shine as bright as you want it for as long as the battery allows it.

There are actually 4 different lighting profiles that you can set the Nao+ to:  trail running, mountaineering, trekking and backpacking. And you can do that with a few taps on your smartphone screen!

The downside of this headlamp is its short battery life. The Nao+ is compatible with only the 2600 mAh Li-ion battery it comes with, unlike its predecessors. This means that you should use it wisely, and only set it to maximum lumen output if you really need the added brightness.

Pros

  • Very high lumen output (750)
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • Several different lighting modes and profiles

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Short battery life
  • Not waterproof

Black Diamond Headlamps

In this section of the review we will check out Black Diamond’s top rated headlamps. Namely the ReVolt, Storm and Icon. All three are great choices, and you really can’t go wrong with either one.

Spoiler alert: the icon is my absolute favorite because it's really top-notch.

Before we get into the detailed characteristics of this headlamp, here is a breakdown of its main features:

Black Diamond ReVolt Black One Size

 Dimensions

7.9 x 7.9 x 2.4 inches

 Weight

3.4 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

80 meters (262 feet)

Maximum Battery Life

175 hours (on alkalines)

Lumen Output

300 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IPX8

Battery Type

Rechargeable batteries included (compatible with AAAs)

Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp, Denim
Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp, Nickel

The ReVolt headlamp comes with rechargeable batteries, but it is also compatible with AAAs. Now, the rechargeable ones are more convenient to use, but the Alkalines will give you a brighter light. And funnily enough, the Alkalines will also last longer than the included rechargeable batteries. I would say that this is a downside; why would they make a rechargeable headlamp that performs better on non-rechargeable batteries?

But, you could also just consider that a benefit, I guess. You can get the most out of the regular batteries, and when you need a stronger performance of the ReVolt, just put 3 AAAs in it. In addition to that, there are 3 different night vision modes on this headlamp, which is a really cool feature.

Another incredibly important benefit of this headlamp is that it is fully waterproof. It can be submerged up to 1 meter into water, and you can then use it for about 30 minutes. This makes is a great choice for diving, and basically anything where you need a waterproof headlamp.

So, the lumen output and the battery gimmick are not really impressive. But the battery life is; you will get 30 hours of battery life on high light setting, and up to 175 hours on low light setting. But keep in mind that those numbers refer to the battery life of Alkalines – there is no information about the ReVolt’s battery life on its own rechargeable batteries.

Related Post: Black Diamond Revolt vs Storm

Pros

  • Compatible with both rechargeable batteries and AAAs
  • Waterproof
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Performance is better on alkalines
  • Longer burn time with alkalines

The Storm headlamp is about one class above the ReVolt. It is also one of Black Diamond’s most popular models ever, and it’s great for all kinds of activities. You can also see how the Storm compares to the Spot, but first check out its main specs in this table:

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, One Size, Octane

 Dimensions

1 x 2 x 1 inches

 Weight

3.9 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

85 meters (278 feet)

Maximum Battery Life

120 hours

Lumen Output

350 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IP67

Battery Type

Alkalines

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, One Size, Dark Olive
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp, Aluminum

The Storm actually features two LED bulbs; one is a QuadPower LED, and the other one is a DoublePower white LED. When combined, these bulbs are able to produce a lumen output of 350. Therefore, this lamp is great for activities where you need close-range light, but also for the ones where you need a longer range.

Its maximum beam length is 85 meters, which is plenty for hiking, trekking, skiing and pretty much all other outdoor activities. Additionally, it is also waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes at a time. Just make sure that you let the batteries fully dry, once you take it out of the water!

You can switch between lighting modes with PowerTap technology, and choose between full power and dimmed power. The former setting will drain your batteries faster, which is something to keep in mind.

In terms of night modes, this Black Diamond headlamp allows you to choose between red, blue and green night vision modes. That’s pretty cool, and it’s also a feature that we find often in the BD lamps, but not in the Petzl ones.

So, the Storm headlamp is just a tad more powerful than the ReVolt. But funnily enough, since it is much more popular than the ReVolt, it’s also more affordable. So, if you can compromise on the lack of rechargeable batteries in the Storm, I would say that it’s the better out of the two.

Related Post: Black Diamond Revolt vs Storm

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Several different night vision modes
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Uses AAAs
  • Medium brightness with 350 lumens

The Icon headlamp truly is iconic. It is BD’s brightest lamp that we are checking out today, but it’s still below $100! You can see what its main specifications are in the table below:

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, Black

 Dimensions

1 x 2 x 1 inches

 Weight

10.6 ounces

Maximum Beam Length

100 meters (328 feet)

Maximum Battery Life

175 hours

Lumen Output

500 lumens

Red Light

Yes

Water Resistance

IP67

Battery Type

AAAs

Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, Black
Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, Black

So, what makes this lamp iconic? Well, for one thing it’s the battery life. Although it uses alkalines, the Icon headlamp can last you up to 175 hours, on the low light setting. This is a drastic improvement over Petzl’s Nao+. Yes, the Nao+ had 250 more lumens, but the battery life difference is still more than 150 hours!

Granted, all of the headlamps last longer when they are on the low light setting. That is why it’s iconic that this headlamp will last you some 70 hours even when it’s emitting all 500 lumens!

In terms of the beam length, you can set it to as low as 2 meters – for when you are reading or cooking during a blackout. You can also get it to illuminate 100 meters of path in front of you, which makes it great for all kinds of adventures in the dark.

Just like the previous BD headlamps it has 3 different night vision settings, and it is waterproof. You can submerge it approximately one meter in the water and it will work perfectly.

There several different lighting modes to which you can set this lamp, as well as an indicator of remaining battery life. Additionally, the Brightness Memory will allow you to set a particular level of brightness to which the lamp will revert to when you turn it off and then on again. Pretty cool, right?

Pros

  • Great brightness
  • Great battery life
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Uses only AAAs

Petzl vs. Black Diamond: Which Headlamp Should You Buy?

It’s hard to pick just one headlamp because all of these are really good and high quality. The one that you should get depends on a few different things. And the main thing is, what exactly are you looking for in the perfect headlamp?

If you are mainly concerned about getting the best battery life, then the Petzl’s Tikka is the way to go. With a burn time of some 240 hours on the lowest light setting, it is definitely the champion of battery life in this review. However, it is also the least bright lamp, so get it only if you are okay with its 200 lumens output.

PETZL - TIKKA Headlamp, 200 Lumens, Standard Lighting, Black
  • LIGHT UP YOUR ADVENTURE: With its easy-to-use design, the TIKKA is perfect for camping, trekking, or household use.
  • BRILLIANT BEAMS: Features a wide, uniform beam with white and red lighting for nocturnal stealth.
  • CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT: Features a single on/off button, which easily selects the lighting mode of your choosing.
  • DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE DARK: Phosphorescent reflector allows the lamp to be located in the dark.
  • FULLY CHARGED: Every TIKKA includes three standard batteries, and is also compatible with the CORE rechargeable battery (sold separately).

But, maybe you don’t care that much about battery life. Maybe you prioritize brightness, and in that case, get the Petzl’s Nao+. With 750 lumens, this is the brightest headlamp of the review. But, it comes with a few downsides – it’s expensive, not waterproof and it has a maximum battery life of 15 hours. If you can deal with all of that, you will love the light range of the Nao+, as well as the fact that you can control it with a smartphone app.  

PETZL, NAO+ Headlamp, 750 Lumens, Bluetooth Enabled
  • LONGER BURN TIME: Enhanced visual quality, and reduced to a minimum manual intervention, thanks to the REACTIVE LIGHTING technology. The luminosity and shape of the beam to be adjusted automatically via a brightness sensor to optimize battery life.
  • CONSTANT LIGHTING: It is also possible to use the lamp with the CONSTANT LIGHTING technology, which guarantees a constant luminosity during the entire lighting period.
  • MULTIPLE LIGHT CONES: Combination of a wide light cone for close-up vision and a focused light cone for long-distance vision.
  • RECHARGEABLE BATTERY: Lithium-ion battery 3100 mAh with charging via USB port, and charge indicator and a blue LED when activated the Bluetooth Smart.
  • USES PETZL MY LIGHT APP: Shape of the light cone, light duration and luminosity can use the mobile application MyPetzl Light for Smartphone and Tablet (a free download from the App Store and Google Play).

My overall favorite is definitely the Icon headlamp by Black Diamond. Not only does it have an excellent lumen output (500), but also an outstanding battery life. Even on the brightest setting this lamp has a burn time of 70 hours, which is more than enough for all kinds of activities. And to top that off, it’s also waterproof and really affordable. So if you are looking for an all-in-one kind of headlamp, you definitely can’t go wrong with this one.

Sale
Black Diamond Icon Headlamp, Black
  • One Quad Power LED spotlight and 1 Double Power white LED emit 500 lumens (max. setting)
  • Brightness memory allows you to turn the light on and off at a chosen brightness without reverting back to full power
  • Red, Green and Blue night vision modes cover the spectrum of night vision needs
  • Three-level power meter shows remaining battery life for three seconds after switching on headlamp
  • IP67: waterproof and dust proof-best for saltwater and extremely wet or dusty environments. Unit is completely sealed and tested to operate up to 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes

If none of these are bright enough for you, then check out my review of the brightest headlamps money can buy. How does 10,000 lumens sound?

But if you are familiar with what Petzl and Black Diamond bring to the table, in terms of quality and durability, then go for any one of these. And you’re in luck – they’re all on sale on Amazon, so head over there and snag an awesome deal!

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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