Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Good trail finding and close proximity beam, easy to use, waterproof to 1 meter
Cons: More expensive and heavier than the Spot that scored higher
Best Uses: Bad weather lighting
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
The Black Diamond Storm is a robust and full featured headlamp that offers a bright beam, a fully waterproof enclosure, and provides good close proximity and trail scores. It is Black Diamond's most durable headlamp using 4 AAA batteries (the top-of-the-line Black Diamond Icon using 4 AA batteries and is considerably heavier). In our tests, we found it performed well but not as well as its sibling, the Black Diamond Spot that also costs $10 less.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The score of 8 of 10 it top notch, but this light does not perform quite as well in the trail finding as the Coast HL7 or Black Diamond Spot which both cost $15 to $10 less, respectively. The comparison photo below shows the similarity in the beam performance of the Spot and Storm.
Compared to the Coast, the Storm beam is not quite as even and wide as the Coast.
A score of 8 of 10 is solid, but behind the Spot (9 of 10) and Coast (10 of 10). Below, you can see how the Storm compares to the Spot.
The ANSI measured high mode runtime of 6.1 hours is about an hour better than Spot (5.2 hours) and much better than the Coast (3.3 hours). This battery life vs. beam distance chart shows how the two perform.
The measured max beam distance of 60m is a bit behind the Spot (70m) and well behind the Coast (128 m). The Storm's score, 5 of 10 puts it behind both the Coast (9 of 10) and Spot (8 of 10).
At 112 grams, this is the 25% heavier than the Spot (93 grams) and just a little lighter than the Coast (124 grams). It's one of the heavier compact headlamps.
Ease of Use
This scored a perfect 10 of 10 for ease of use. This is one of the few places it outscored the Spot, which scored 7 of 10.
This is one of the few headlamps to rated IPX 7 (waterproof to 1m). By comparison, the Spot is IPX 4 (splash proof). This is the more burly and waterproof version of the Spot.
At $50, this is a premium priced headlamp. Both the Coast and Spot performed better for less. This is really for the Spot lover who is willing to pay more for the waterproof features.
For a cheaper alternative, consider the Black Diamond Spot, $36 or Black Diamond ReVolt, $60. The spot wins our Editor's Choice Award because it had the best beam performance and battery life for a compact headlamp that only costs $40. Many headlamps that cost more than $80 couldn't match its brightness and close proximity scores. No headlamp tested had a better trail finding score while still delivering a long battery life and weighing less than 100 grams. The Revolt can charge off just about anything with a USB adapter and wins our Top Pick award as the best rechargeable headlamp.
For those on a tight budget, you may want to consider the Black Diamond Gizmo for $20. If weight and price are key considerations, then the Black Diamond Gizmo may be just the ticket. It's not bright, but has a low price and great battery life.
The Storm scored in the top 5 but did not win an award because of some stiff competition. The Black Diamond Spot performed better, is lighter, and $10 less expensive. The Coast HL7 has a much more powerful beam and is $15 less expensive. If you are going for a burly weather proof headlamp that shines far, we would get the Black Diamond Icon. The Stom is for Spot lovers who want burly water protection.
— RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 27, 2014
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