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Black Diamond Astro Review

Offers great close proximity lighting at a budget price
Black Diamond Astro
Photo: Abriah Wofford
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Price:  $20 List | $19.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, small size, excellent flood beam, great price
Cons:  Too weak a beam for trail finding or distance viewing
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 3
  • Close Proximity - 20% 7
  • Battery Life - 15% 6
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9

Our Verdict

If weight and price are key considerations for you, then the Black Diamond Astro may be just the ticket. It's not bright for distance viewing, but has a low price and great battery life. If this doesn't make it into your pack, consider one for the glove box of your car, or your thingy drawer at home. It stands just behind the similarly priced and Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina. The Tikkina is a much better trail finding headlamp and is brighter. The Astro has a better close proximity beam. Both offer excellent battery life, are quality lights, and sell for less than $20. For those looking for an inexpensive lamp to primarily provide close proximity flood lighting, the Astro is an ideal choice.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Black Diamond Astro
Awards  Best Buy Award   Top Pick Award 
Price $19.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$19.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$19 List$25 List$24.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Lightweight, small size, excellent flood beam, great priceSuper easy to use, inexpensive, solid performance, compact, and reliableAttractive price, good flood lighting, easy to useLight, small, relatively inexpensive, good battery lifeThoughtfully designed for use by young kids, child-proof battery area, not too bright, fun color option
Cons Too weak a beam for trail finding or distance viewingGood but not great spot beam for trail finding, slightly below average flood beam opticsBelow average spot beam, below average qualityBelow average lightingNot a great light for grown-ups or even older kids, poor battery life
Bottom Line Offers great close proximity lighting at a budget priceFor $20, the Tikkina offers impressive performance at a great price, that will meet most people's needsGood enough performance, at a good price, but the Tikkina is a better long-term valueA good quality & lightweight product, but wedged in between the ultralight e+LITE, and the better TikkinaA reasonably priced light that is our Top Pick for Kids
Rating Categories Black Diamond Astro Petzl Tikkina Energizer Vision HD Black Diamond Ion Black Diamond Wiz
Trail Finding (35%)
3.0
5.0
3.0
3.0
1.0
Close Proximity (20%)
7.0
4.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
Battery Life (15%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
2.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
6.0
9.0
Specs Black Diamond Astro Petzl Tikkina Energizer Vision HD Black Diamond Ion Black Diamond Wiz
Measured Beam Distance 38 m 62 m 45 m 44 m 7 m
Claimed Distance 35 m 55 m 40 m 38 m 20 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 4.8 hrs 3.5 hrs 8.7 hrs 7.4 hrs 3.3 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 20 hrs 60 hrs 8 hrs 6 hrs 5 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 95 hrs 223 hrs 74 hrs 115 hrs 3.3 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 80 hrs 220 hrs 8 hrs 180 hrs 120 hrs
Measured Weight 3 oz, 86 g 2.9 oz, 83 g 3.1 oz, 89 g 1.9 oz, 53 g 2.3 oz, 65 g
Battery Type 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA 2 AAA 2 AAA
Water Resistance IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof water resistant IPX8 waterproof beyond one meter IPX4 splash proof
Manuf Claimed Lumens 150 lumens 150 lumens 180 lumens 100 lumens 30 lumens
Beam Type flood, dimmable flood flood/spot flood/spot flood
Red Light no no no yes kids multi-color
On Switch Lock yes no no no no, 2 hr auto-shutoff

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Astro is a high-quality headlamp that is reasonably priced, compact and simple-to-use, yet offers performance for close proximity work that is better than you might expect.

Performance Comparison


Photo: Abriah Wofford

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 (5 of 10 score) as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below.

Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Black Diamond Astro
Beam photo of Petzl Tikkina

Black Diamond Astro
Petzl Tikkina

However, the Tikkina works OK at distance, certainly passable, where the Astro is not a headlamp we recommended for serious nighttime hikes or any situation where a long-distance beam thow is required.


Close Proximity


Close proximity is the Astro's strongest feature. Not only did it score well with an 7 of 10, it scored better than some headlamps that cost 3 times as much. It casts a nicely diffused, wide, evenly lit beam.


Battery Life


The battery life is above average, scoring 6 of 10. It lasted 4.8 hours in high mode, which is only OK for a beam with under-par brightness like the Astro. But, low-mode output lasted 95 hours, an impressive amount (although far outdistanced by the Tikkina's >200 hours).


The Astro uses (3) AAA batteries, which are easy to replace.

Photo: Abriah Wofford

Weight


At 3 ounces the Astro is light and small, typical of the lower cost lights. It is not nearly as lightweight as the Petzl e+LITE (1 ounce, 27 grams) but it also costs less, is easier to use, and offers better overall performance.


Ease of Use


The Astro is quite easy to use for basic functionality with a single button that has a nice tactile feedback. It has a nice feature of remembering its last brightness setting, so if you turn it off, it turns back on at the previous level of brightness. It also offers the ability to lock the on switch, which is neat, but we found it a bit tricky to access without referring to the manual since a long button press operates both the dimming feature and the on-switch lock.


The Astro's large single button is easy to use with gloves on.

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. If your main use will be close-proximity, the Astro is an excellent choice that will serve you well. It is not the headlamp you want for following a difficult and confusing trail at night or going cross-country.

Value


The Astron is an excellent value at $20 list, and often available for less online. It was a contender for our Best Buy award. But, the Petzl Tikkina beat it out as our Best Buy winner because at the same price it offers a stronger beam, that shines nearly twice as far, and much better battery life.

Conclusion


While this is not quite the Best Buy winner, we recommend the Astro without hesitation for those who are primarily looking for excellent close proximity flood lighting at a reasonable price. It is just so compact, easy-to-use, and exceptional at close proximity applications.

RJ Spurrier