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Black Diamond Wiz Review

A reasonably priced light that is our Top Pick for Kids
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Black Diamond Wiz Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $30 List
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By RJ Spurrier ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 28, 2018
44
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#26 of 27
  • Trail Finding - 35% 1.0
  • Close Proximity - 20% 6.0
  • Battery Life - 15% 2.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

Wiz is our Top Pick for kids. Easy to use. Not too bright, diffused light at about half the brightness of the Flood mode of the Spot. Fun color mode. Dimmable, and remembers last setting to avoid blasting siblings eyes. It is hard for kids to get the batteries out, presumably to kid-proof them for safety, which seems like a great idea to this Dad.
REASONS TO BUY
Thoughtfully designed for use by young kids
Child-proof battery area
Not too bright
Fun color option
REASONS TO AVOID
Not a great light for grown-ups or even older kids
Poor battery life
For parents, the Wiz is a safer light for use by younger kids, that is fun and easy to use. See how it measures up versus competitors in our article on the best headlamps.

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$29 List
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Bottom Line Just the ticket for younger kids who want their own light, but would get in trouble with most lightsA good value that offers basic functionality, slightly better than average performance, at a good priceThe $20 Tikkina is a great light around the campsite, for general use, in your thingy drawer, or car glove boxOur favorite budget light if your needs are limited to close proximity workA good light, but not great, sold at an attractive price, but the Tikkina is a better value
Rating Categories Black Diamond Wiz Yalumi LED 140-Lumen Petzl Tikkina Black Diamond Astro Energizer Vision HD
Trail Finding (35%)
1
6.0
5.0
3.0
3.0
Close Proximity (20%)
6.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
5.0
Battery Life (15%)
2.0
6.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
9.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Black Diamond Wiz Yalumi LED 140-Lumen Petzl Tikkina Black Diamond Astro Energizer Vision HD
Measured Beam Distance 7 m 94 m 62 m 38 m 45 m
Claimed Distance 20 m 90 m 55 m 35 m 40 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI) 3.3 hrs 4.3 hrs 3.5 hrs 4.8 hrs 8.7 hrs
Claimed High Mode Run-time 5 hrs Not specified 60 hrs 20 hrs 8 hrs
Measured Low Mode Run-time 3.3 hrs 47 hrs 223 hrs 95 hrs 74 hrs
Claimed Low Mode Run-time 120 hrs 100 hrs 220 hrs 80 hrs 8 hrs
Measured Weight 2.3 oz, 65 g 2.7 oz, 77 g 2.9 oz, 83 g 3 oz, 86 g 3.1 oz, 89 g
Battery Type 2 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA 3 AAA
Water Resistance IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof IPX4 splash proof water resistant
Manuf Claimed Lumens 30 lumens 140 lumens 150 lumens 150 lumens 180 lumens
Beam Type flood flood/spot flood flood, dimmable flood/spot
Red Light kids multi-color yes no no no
On Switch Lock no, 2 hr auto-shutoff no no yes no

Our Analysis and Test Results

Many companies have tried to make a headlamp for kids, but in that past, that has largely translated into a low-cost product in your choice of fun colors. But the Black Diamond Wiz takes the idea of design for kids to a whole new level, by thinking through what goes wrong when kids have a grown-up light, and also added fun rainbow-color lighting. (And, not to be overlooked, it also comes at a low-price and in a fun section of colors).
black diamond wiz
Credit: OutdoorGearLab


Likes


Our favorite thing about the Wiz is that it offers a very diffused flood beam that is not too bright. Nothing is more of a buzzkill on your fabulous family camping trip, when you are just about to break out the Smores, than a sibling crying because their brother or sister blinded them with their headlamp beam on full-bright. And, this issue of one kid blinding another just keeps happening, more so now than ever before, because headlamps today are just so amazingly bright.

black diamond wiz
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Wiz is unique in offering a beam that is not very bright, only shining about 7 meters (or 23 feet) at its max setting, which is plenty bright for use around camp, yet not so bright that it hurts your eyes (much) if you look right into it. Even better, you can dim it a bit, and it remembers the dim level setting (which we definitely recommend for younger kids, since the default max level is brighter than necessary).

It is very easy to use, with a single large button and no fancy features. One click turns it on, and a second click switches it to color. Press and hold activates dimming, which is intuitive and easy. The one trick that you might not guess, is that if you switch to color lighting, a double-click activates a cycling through the full rainbow spectrum of colors; once you find your favorite color a single click locks it in. The Wiz remembers the dimming level and color you last used, making it easy to lock in the right brightness and color for your kids.



black diamond wiz
Credit: OutdoorGearLab

Dislikes


The biggest performance issue for the Wiz is battery life. It is powered by just two AAA batteries, which doesn't quite seem enough. Most lights offer a powerful spot mode with relatively short run-time and a low-intensity flood mode that offers longer battery life. The Wiz works only as a floodlight, and even when set to maximum brightness it puts out about the same brightness as other lights in their low mode. Yet while the Petzl Tikkina lasted an amazing 223 hours in low mode, we found the Wiz lasted only 3.3 hours in our low mode run-time test. That is a disappointing run-time any way you look at it and very poor when compared to other headlamps as you can see in the chart below. Bottom line: bring extra batteries.


black diamond wiz
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Another issue is the inability to use this headlamp as a kids nite light. We like to use a headlamp as a nite light by dimming it down to a low level, and/or switching to the red LED on lights that offer that feature, to provide a comfortable ambient lighting all night. The Wiz disables this functionality by building in an auto shut off after 2 hours. They do so, to avoid leaving the light accidentally on and draining batteries. But, for us, the issue of kids being afraid of the dark is a much bigger concern than the risk of dead batteries.

black diamond wiz
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Last, and really not a problem from our point of view, the Wiz weak beam throw, only casting a 7-meter beam. This is not so much a dislike, as a feature, since it is by offering a soft lower intensity and well-diffused beam that the Wiz spares kids from accidentally blinding each other's eyes. The light level is plenty bright enough for walking down a smooth path or taking the dog for a nighttime walk, but this does limit the Wiz from offering similar all-around that other low-cost general-purpose headlamps deliver. One implication is that your kids will outgrow the Wiz overtime, when they are old enough to responsibly use a more powerful headlamp (i.e. not blind the eyes of their siblings), they will both want and love to use a light with a more powerful beam.

black diamond wiz
Credit: OutdoorGearLab

Conclusion


The Wiz is not perfect if you consider it as a general-purpose headlamp. But, when you think of it as a light just for young kids, the Wiz is a tour de force of thoughtful design. It is a great choice, our Top Pick for Kids, that will make for happier family adventures such as camping, family travel, or sleepovers. Just bring some extra batteries.

RJ Spurrier