The Black Diamond Spot is the by far the best value for money headlamp we have tested, earning it 4.5 out of 5 stars and the Editor’s Choice award in our best hiking headlamps review.
This light weight headlamp finds the perfect balance between durability, brightness and price. At an average price of only $40, the Spot produces a maximum of 300 lumens that can reach up to 80m.
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Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Spot boasts a water- and dust-proof rating of IPX8 (the highest available) making it perfect for rainy hikes. It can be submerged 1 meter underwater for 30 minutes. This makes it one of the most durable headlamps we have reviewed.
The Black Diamond headlamps come with a brightness memory feature, which is one of the big advantages to this lamp. Brightness memory means that when you switch the headlamp off and on again it will remain on the setting it was originally on.
This means that if you have found the perfect setting for a hike you won’t have to search for it each time you turn it on.
It also saves your eyes from the blinding full power function each time you turn on your lamp.
The biggest problem with the Black Diamond Spot are the controls. There is a single button to access three different bulbs, in four possible configurations, a strobe setting and a lock setting.
To switch between these, you must tap the button once, twice or three times, or hold it in for a few seconds.
With this many modes, this system can be very confusing and frustrating.
After a few uses it becomes easier to navigate these controls but if you are not planning on using the lamp regularly you will lose touch with them quite quickly.
For this reason, we do not recommend this light for trail running as the difficult operation can pose more of a problem.
Best Hiking Headlamps
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The Black Diamond Spot features 3 different bulbs:
- QUAD power LED (high-powered white light)
- DoublePower LED (low-powered white light)
- SinglePower red LED
The QUAD power LED and DoublePower LED can be used in unison to provide the maximum brightness of 300 lumens.
When used in unison, the maximum beam distance is around 80m but the low output setting can reach around 10m. The Spot’s improved lighting profile increases the overall brightness and improves peripheral lighting for close-up, campsite activities.
The red light comes in handy when you what to navigate a campsite but don’t want to disturb the people around you. The Spot’s red light has a strobe and dimming function and it can be accessed without switching to the bright white light first.
The headlamp is powered by 3AAA Alkaline batteries. Black Diamond claims that the batteries last between 25 and 180 hours, however this is tested under perfect conditions in a lab and these times may vary.
From what we have seen, the batteries will last you a minimum of 10 hours and even hold their own in below-freezing conditions.
There is a battery level indicator on the side of the lamp which allows you to get a rough idea of how much battery-life you have left and when to change them.
Comfort and Design
The Black Diamond Spot has a very sleek design and comes in practical, discreet colors. It is on the lighter side of the spectrum of headlamps we have tested.
The batteries are housed in the front of the headlamp just behind the bulbs themselves, but the headlamp doesn’t feel unbalanced or move around because it is so light.
This also means that although it only has a single strap it is still comfortable, also owing partly to is compact design.
The strap is unfortunately not easy to adjust and sometimes the buckle lets the strap slip during use so it must be readjusted every now and then. When you want to look at your feet while navigating rough terrain the light can be tilted from a horizontal to 45° angle to give you better lighting.
As we have mentioned before, the single button operation is fussy and difficult to use. If you are wanting to quickly change between your current setting and a brighter ‘turbo’ mode to see something further away and then return to your previous setting, all you need to do is tap the PowerTap on the side of the headlamp.
This function is useful but the technology has not been perfected yet and is hypersensitive resulting in the PowerTap being quite finicky and clumsy to operate.
Because the PowerTap is on the side of the lamp we also found that it was easily pressed when adjusting the strap or angle of the light and this led to a decrease in the battery life.