Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Lightweight, compact, good battery life, excellent value.
Cons: Not as bright as alternatives.
Best Uses: Anywhere you might need a light, put one in the kitchen drawer, your car, and camping.
The Tikkina 2 is nearly the best value in small headlamps we have seen. For only $20 you get solid light performance and long battery life. This headlamp went on and on. While many headlamps fell short of battery life claims, this one outperformed what Petzl said it could do. This headlamp outscored any other headlamps that were $20 or less. Yes, there are cheaper headlamps out there, but with them we generally found a dramatic drop in quality. Spend less than $20 for a headlamp and you get what you pay for.
It was not surprising that the more expensive Petzl Tikka XP 2 scored higher. It had better spotlight and close proximity light (due to the diffuser) and it comes with a red light option. However, the Tikkina battery lasted longer and it performed in the same league at about a third the price. Surprisingly, the Tikkina scored the same as the more expensive Petzl Tikka Plus 2 and Tikka 2 due to its longer battery life.
The main competion for the Tikkina is the Black Diamond Gizmo that is the same price, 25 percent lighter and scored very high for close proximity. The Tikkina scored higher for trail finding and brightness. Their scores are so close you should really look at the rating metrics and beam comparison tests and see what looks best for your needs.
Another close competitor is the Black Diamond Cosmo, which for another $10 scored higher for trail finding, battery life and brightness. But once you start getting into the $30 range, you might as well go to the Editors' Choice Black Diamond Spot.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
A 5 score is not exceptional when compared to top headlamps, but it is exceptional when compared to most other $20 headlamps that usually received a 2 or 3. This is probably the main reason you would buy the Tikkina over the Gizmo: more brightness as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below. Neither is that impressive compared a top scorer like the Coast HL7. However, the Tikkina is okay where the Gizmo is underwhelming.
This score is above average and even better than the more expensive Cosmo. However, this is where the Gizmo is much better. As you can see in the photo below, the Gizmo gives a very even and expansive beam where the Tikkina 2 just has a spot in the middle, making it hard to see everything nearby in your full field of vision.
The battery life is impressive and above average. This battery life vs. beam distance shoot-out again the Energizer 3 LED shows the two more or less neck and neck with a evenly degrading high beam over 27 hours. It has a lower ANSI measured time than the Energizer 3 LED (20.6 hours vs. 25.6) because the Tikinna 2 starts with a higher output. Read more about ANSI in the main Headlamp Review
The claimed low mode time, which we did not measure, is an impressive 190 hours. This is compares to 28 hours for the Energizer 3 LED, 200 hours for the Black Diamond Spot and 250 hours for the Cosmo.
The brightness score is right in the middle of the pack. However, it is much brighter than any other $20 headlamp. This is the main reason it stood out and nearly won our Best Buy award. Its beam distance measured 27 meters which is 5 meters better than the best buy winning Energizer 3 LED but well short of a beam distance champion like the Coast HL7 which shines over 250 meters.
This is a compact but not ultralight headlamp. The Gizmo is 25 percent lighter and the Top Pick for compact headlamp, the Petzl e+LITE, is 1/3 the weight. Most people, except for maybe ultralight backpackers, will be happy with the weight. The name is actually a little misleading: Tikkina implies a smaller version of the Tikka, but the difference in weight is only a few grams.
Ease of Use
This was one of the easiest headlamps in the entire review to use; only a few headlamps scored higher. Like all Tikka headlamps, it has one button. Unlike the other Tikkas, it only has a few modes to cycle through, which makes it quick and easy to find the one you want. It also scored above average for gloved use.
At $20, this is the type of headlamp you could justify buying more than one of. Stash one in the glove compartment and one in the kitchen drawer so you will always have access to light if the power goes out or you need to get in the attic. It is also capable when hiking at night or backpacking. That said, for serious nighttime running, hiking or biking we would choose a light with better trail finding and brightness cores. It's an ideal headlamp for children because it's so easy to use, light, inexpensive and has a long battery life if err, when it's accidentally left on.
This is the Best Buy winner because it was the highest scoring headlamp for $20. We found that any headlamp that cost less was so low scoring that it didn't warrant a purchase.
While this is nearly the Best Buy winner and highly recommended, you might also consider the Black Diamond Gizmo. The Gizmo scored similarly in a lot of categories, is lighter and is available at the same great $20 price. The Gizmo would be our top choice if size, battery life, and a close proximity even beam diameter is a priority. Otherwise, the Tikkina 2 gives you better trail finding and brightness. If you are willing to spend more, we recommend checking out out two Editors' Choice winners that are both in the $40 range: Coast HL7 and the Black Diamond Spot.
The Tikkina just narrowly missed the Best Buy award because the Energizer 3 LED gave almost as much performance and only costs $10-12. The Tikkina 2 is a better light, but the Trailerinder is a better value. We felt that if you going to spend $20 for the Tikkina and start really shopping by performance over price, it's time to look to the Coast and Spot which have much better beam qualities and can be found for $30-40.
— RJ Spurrier and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 1, 2014
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