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Black Diamond Cosmo Review

A good light, but caught in a no-mans land between better lights and cheaper lights
Black Diamond Cosmo
Photo: Abriah Wofford
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Price:  $30 List | $29.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, small size, excellent flood lighting
Cons:  Below average spot beam, disappointing low-mode battery life
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier  ⋅  May 28, 2018
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 4
  • Close Proximity - 20% 9
  • Battery Life - 15% 5
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6

Our Verdict

While this is a good headlamp, we implore you to spend another $10 and get something like the Black Diamond Spot which has much better beam brightness and quality combined with a very respectable battery life. The Cosmo is a middle of the road kind of light. It offers average performance and average battery life at an average price. If you are on a budget, look to the Petzl Tikkina which scored slightly better for a fraction of the price.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Black Diamond Cosmo
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $29.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$39.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$29 List$19.75 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$19.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
58
70
63
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56
Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, small size, excellent flood lightingExcellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most waysGood performance for the price, 94 meter beam throw, easy to useSuper easy to use, inexpensive, solid performance, compact, and reliableLightweight, small size, excellent flood beam, great price
Cons Below average spot beam, disappointing low-mode battery lifeBelow average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofingAverage in most waysGood but not great spot beam for trail finding, slightly below average flood beam opticsToo weak a beam for trail finding or distance viewing
Bottom Line A good light, but caught in a no-mans land between better lights and cheaper lightsA quality, durable, and bright light that hits the sweet spot for most people's needs, despite dubious marketing claimsThe Yalumi is a good light, at a good price, that provides basic functionalityFor $20, the Tikkina offers impressive performance at a great price, that will meet most people's needsOffers great close proximity lighting at a budget price
Rating Categories Black Diamond Cosmo Black Diamond Spot Yalumi LED 140-Lumen Petzl Tikkina Black Diamond Astro
Trail Finding (35%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
Close Proximity (20%)
9.0
9.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
Battery Life (15%)
5.0
4.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
6.0
6.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
Specs Black Diamond Cosmo Black Diamond Spot Yalumi LED 140-Lumen Petzl Tikkina Black Diamond Astro
Measured Beam Distance 66 m 94 m 94 m 62 m 38 m
Claimed Distance 65 m 80 m 90 m 55 m 35 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 3.9 hrs 2.9 hrs 4.3 hrs 3.5 hrs 4.8 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 45 hrs 30 hrs Not specified 60 hrs 20 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 39 hrs 9.7 hrs 47 hrs 223 hrs 95 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 180 hrs 175 hrs 100 hrs 220 hrs 80 hrs
Measured Weight 3 oz, 86 g 3.1 oz, 89 g 2.7 oz, 77 g 2.9 oz, 83 g 3 oz, 86 g
Battery Type 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA
Water Resistance IPX8 waterproof beyond one meter Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim) IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof
Manuf Claimed Lumens 200 lumens 300 lumens 140 lumens 150 lumens 150 lumens
Beam Type flood/spot, dimmable flood/spot flood/spot flood flood, dimmable
Red Light yes yes yes no no
On Switch Lock yes yes no no yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Cosmo is a solid headlamp with good performance overall, and excellent flood lighting for close proximity use. At $30 list, it falls into a tough price range where a little more money gets you a much higher performance headlamp, like the Spot, and products like the Tikkina offer better overall performance for 33% lower price.

Performance Comparison


Photo: Abriah Wofford

Trail Finding


A score of 4 for trail finding is disappointing for a $30 headlamp, and most similarly priced competitors offer significantly better performance.


Beam Distance Photos
Beam photo of Black Diamond Cosmo
Beam photo of Black Diamond Spot

Black Diamond Cosmo
Black Diamond Spot

In comparing the Cosmo (above left) and Black Diamond Spot (right), two products from the same manufacturer and priced just $10 apart, it is remarkable that they can vary so much. The Spot casts a much superior distance beam.

Close Proximity


The strongest performance from the Cosmo is when used around camp, or in the tent, for close proximity work. The flood beam is one of the very best of all headlamps we tested, wide, evenly lit, and dimmable from nice soft lighting for use in the tent, and brighter for use in the camp kitchen. It is worth noting that the Black Diamond Astro offers a flood beam that is nearly as good, at a price 33% lower.


Photo: Abriah Wofford

Battery Life


Battery life is where the Cosmo edges slightly ahead of the Spot.


Photo: Abriah Wofford

Weight


At 3.0 ounces or 86 grams, this is a compact but not ultralight headlamp. It is about the same weight as the Spot. For comparison, the featherweight champion Petzl e+LITE is less than a third the weight at 27 g.


Conclusion


This is a solid light but tough to justify buying. At $30 list it is wedged between competitors that either score much better for another $6-10 or offer the same or better performance for lower cost. The BD Spot, for example, performs significantly better for only $10 more. It has a nearly identical form factor and mass with a much better beam. On the low-end, the Petzl Tikkina offers better all-around performance at 33% lower cost.

Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier