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Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Gizmo Review


Headlamp

Click to enlarge
Price:   Varies from $15 - $20 online  —  Compare at 7 sellers
Pros:  Lightweight, small size, great price
Cons:  Much less brightness and battery life than alternatives
Editors' Rating:     
  • 1
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  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Overview

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

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Jediah Porter
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
May 10, 2015

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


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The Gizmo is a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive headlamp.

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.

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The Gizmo uses 2 AAA batteries.

Brightness


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.

Weight


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.

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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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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


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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.
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


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

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (3.0)
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)


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by Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier


Unbiased.