Black Diamond Ion Review
Cons: Below average lighting
Manufacturer: Black Diamond
Compare to Similar Products
Black Diamond Ion
|Price||$25 List||$89.00 at Amazon||$50 List||$28.00 at Backcountry||$28.74 at Amazon|
|Pros||Light, small, relatively inexpensive, good battery life||Bright wide beam, good battery life, durable design, rechargeable||Excellent trail finding and close proximity beam, waterproof, above average battery life||Excellent spot light capability, wide evenly lit flood beam, above average in most ways||Excellent brightness and beam control, often available online at discount|
|Cons||Below average lighting||Expensive, 18650 Li-ion battery is not included, heavier than average||More expensive, heavier than average, claimed battery life is very misleading||Below average battery life, claimed battery life is wildly misleading, single button hard to use, lame waterproofing||Average battery life, heavier and bulkier than most|
|Bottom Line||A quality & compact light that is relatively lightweight, but the Tikkina and e+LITE are strong competition||A stunningly bright light that offers impressive battery life. If you can afford it, it won't disappoint||You can't go wrong with the Storm, high performance, quality optics, and durable design||Offering excellent optics, a bright wide beam, and strong performance for the price, the Spot is one of our favorites||We used to love the Coast, but competing lights have stepped up, while the HL7 is unchanged|
|Rating Categories||Black Diamond Ion||Zebralight H600w Mk IV||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Coast HL7|
|Trail Finding (35%)|
|Close Proximity (20%)|
|Battery Life (15%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Black Diamond Ion||Zebralight H600w...||Black Diamond Storm||Black Diamond Spot||Coast HL7|
|Measured Beam Distance||44 m||121 m||91 m||94 m||112 m|
|Claimed Distance||38 m||Not specified||85 m||80 m||119 m|
|Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)||7.4 hrs||3.1 hrs||5 hrs||2.9 hrs||3.1 hrs|
|Claimed High Mode Run-time||6 hrs||2.9 hrs||40 hrs||30 hrs||1.5 hrs|
|Measured Low Mode Run-time||115 hrs||232 hrs||42 hrs||9.7 hrs||25 hrs|
|Claimed Low Mode Run-time||180 hrs||203 hrs||120 hrs||175 hrs||70 hrs|
|Measured Weight||1.9 oz, 53 g||4.5 oz, 127 g||4 oz, 112 g||3.1 oz, 89 g||4.5 oz, 127 g|
|Battery Type||2 AAA||18650 rechargeable Li-ion||4 AAA||3 AAA||3 AAA|
|Water Resistance||IPX8 waterproof beyond one meter||IPX8 waterproof to 2 meters, 30 minutes||IP67 waterproof to one meter and dustproof||Splash proof (dubious IPX8 claim)||water resistant|
|Manuf Claimed Lumens||100 lumens||1400 lumens||350 lumens||300 lumens||285 lumens|
|Red Light||yes||no||yes, red/green/blue night-vision modes||yes||no|
|On Switch Lock||no||yes (tailcap lockout)||yes||yes||no|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Diamond Ion is a good quality light, that comes in a compact size that is easy to pack, and relatively lightweight.
This light does not have the most impressive score, until you consider how small it is. As compared to larger lights like the Petzl Tikkina, the Ion's trail finding performance is lackluster. But, it trounces on the ultralight Petzl e+LITE.
The Ion offers below average close proximity lighting. This is an area where the e+LITE stands out, and is a much better choice.
The Ion is above average on battery life earning a 6 of 10 score.
The Ion is relatively light at 1.9 ounces or 53 grams, and compact.
Ease of Use
The Ion is fairly easy to use, but only a bit better than average. Basic functionality is easy enough, but we found accessing advanced features switching between red and white lighting easily confused with lock-out and dimming functions, and thus a bit hard to get right even with practice.
The Ion is a good light that comes in a small and lightweight package. Overall, in compact emergency lights, we prefer the Petzl e+LITE because it is just that much smaller, and thus a better choice for those looking for an ultralight solution. If you are on a budget and don't mind a slightly larger headlamp that weighs another ounce, we would go with the Best Buy winning Petzl Tikkina which offers better performance at a lower price, and yet is still pretty darn small and light.
— RJ Spurrier