< Go to Headlamps

Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Gizmo Review



  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: May 10, 2015
Price:   $20 List | Varies from $14 - $20 online
Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, small size, great price
Cons:  Much less brightness and battery life than alternatives
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
Review by: Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 10, 2015  
If weight and price are key considerations for you, then the Black Diamond Gizmo may be just the ticket. It's not bright, but has a low price and great battery life. If this doesn't make it into your climbing pack, consider one for the glove box of your car. It stands just behind the similarly priced and Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina. The Tikkina is a better trail finding headlamp and is brighter. The Gizmo has a better close proximity beam and is 25 percent lighter. So for $20, depending on your needs, the Gizmo may actually be the best headlamp value for you.

New Version Update - February 2016
The Black Diamond Gizmo - 2016 has been updated. Keep reading to find out more!

RELATED: Our complete review of headlamps

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The New Version of the Black Diamond Gizmo vs. The Older Version

Still retailing for $20, the Black Diamond Gizmo - 2016 has been upgraded. Though we have not tested this headlamp, it is complete with 90 lumens and no frills, and appears to be similar to the older version that we tested; we have contacted BD for confirmation. This headlamp is available in four colors: Aluminum, Octane, Matte Black, and Powell Blue.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest model shown on the left (in the color Matte Black) and the older model pictured on the right.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge 

Hands-On Review

Occasionally marketed to kids, the Gizmo is a compact and simple product that should have broader appeal.

Performance Comparison

Click to enlarge
The Gizmo is a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive headlamp.
Credit: Micah James

Trail Finding

This is not the best trail finding headlamp - it just doesn't have that much umph - and only gets a 3 of 10 score. This is the main advantage of the Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina (4 of 10 score) as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below. Neither is inspiring compared a heavyweight like the Coast HL7 (8 of 10 score). However, the Tikkina is passable where the Gizmo is not recommended for serious nighttime hikes or rides in the woods.

Beam Distance Photos

Black Diamond GizmoPetzl Tikkina

Close Proximity

Close proximity is the Gizmo's strongest feature. Not only did it score well with an 7 of 10, it scored better than some headlamps that cost 3 to 5 times as much. Check out the photo below, the Gizmo casts an even beam where the Energizer just has a spot in the middle. The Energizer 3 LED, though less expensive, is more tiring on your eyes and makes it harder to find items when they are near you.

Close-proximity Beam Pattern

Black Diamond GizmoEnergizer 3 LED

Battery Life

The battery life is below average, scoring 2 of 10. The first version we tested had a measured high mode run time of 25 hours compared to the Energizer with 27.3 hours using the ANSI scale (learn more about the ANSI scale in the headlamp review. However, for 2015 the Gizmo was changed to automatically turn off after 2 hours. This means that our ANSI coffin test cannot work adequately. Also, as compared to the Energizer, we cannot make a perfect apples to apples comparison: it last a little longer and does so with a high beam mode that shines 33 meters to the Gizmo's 15 meters. If we assume that the battery life is actually similar to the previous model, the Gizmo has great battery life, but keep in mind this is at a very low beam output.

Click to enlarge
The Gizmo uses 2 AAA batteries.
Credit: Micah James


This was one of the least bright headlamps we tested. It shined just 15 meters in high beam mode and got our lowes score, a 1 of 10. By comparison, the Top Pick winning Petzl e+LITE, which is less than half the weight of the Gizmo and not exactly a beam-throwing powerhouse, shined almost twice as far with a 28 meters.


At 64 grams this was one of the top four lightest weight headlamps in our review. It is not nearly as lightweight as the Petzl e+LITE (30 grams) but it also costs less, is easier to use, and has a better close proximity score.

Ease of Use

It does't get much easier to use than this one. One easy to use button that intuitively turns the light simply on and off.

Best Applications

This could be the ideal headlamp for you for around home and camp. It casts a soft, even light which not only makes it easy to find things, you won't be blinding your fellow campers. It is not the headlamp you want for following a difficult and confusing trail at night or going cross-country.

Click to enlarge
The Gizmo is lightweight, easy to use and offers good close proximity lighting. For packing up things in the dark, it can be just the ticket.
Credit: Jediah Porter


This is one of the best values in headlamps we have seen, and was a strong contender for the Best Buy winner. The Petzl Tikkina beat it out because at the same price it offers a stronger beam power (31 meters) which gives it more versatility, but the Gizmo is lighter weight.


While this is not quite the Best Buy winner, we highly recommend it. It is just so compact, easy-to-use, and exceptional at close proximity applications. If you're doing more trail finding and hiking at night, then we recommend the Petzl Tikkina or that you upgrade to the Black Diamond ReVolt, our Editors' Choice winner. The ReVolt costs an extra $40 but is a powerhouse and makes up for all the Gizmo's shortcomings with great brightness and trail finding as well as the capability of recharging the batteries.

Other Versions

Click to enlarge
Black Diamond Spot
  • Cost- $40.00
  • Weight with batteries- 3.4oz
  • Measured Max Distance- 71m
  • Measured Run-time- 3.7 hours
  • Excellent all around, general use headlamp, from camping to alpine climbing

Click to enlarge
Black Diamond Sprinter
  • Cost- $70.00
  • Weight with batteries- 3.7oz
  • Measured Max Distance- 39m
  • Measured Run-time- 5.1 hours
  • Rechargeable battery with red blinking rear light
  • Top Pick award winner for runners

Click to enlarge
Black Diamond Icon
  • Cost- $90.00
  • Weight with batteries- 8.2oz
  • Measured Max Distance- 82m
  • Measured Run-time- 9.4 hours
  • Contender for Top Pick for Trail Finding due to beam distance and excellent battery life

Click to enlarge
The compact headlamps we tested, from left to right: Black Diamond Gizmo, Petzl E+ Light, Princeton Tec Byte, Black Diamond Ion.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

Where to Buy?

Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: May 10, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

Have you used the Black Diamond Gizmo?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Black Diamond Gizmo
Credit: Black Diamond
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Cabelas $13.88  -  31% off!
REI $14.73  -  26% off!
Eastern Mountain Sports $14.96  -  25% off!
Compare prices at 5 sellers >

*You help support OutdoorGearLab's product testing and reviews by purchasing from our retail partners.
Related Review
The Hunt for the Best Headlamp

The Hunt for the Best Headlamp

Looking for the perfect headlamp? Find it here. We have gone through extensive and rigorous testing to sort through exaggerated manufacturer claims and find the truly great products.
Helpful Buying Tips
How to Choose the Best Headlamp - Click for details
 How to Choose the Best Headlamp

by Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier