In the past, we considered the Petzl Tikkina to be merely a "budget headlamp" that was a good option to have in the kitchen thingy drawer, for occasional use around the house or camping. But, improvements to LED technology have dramatically increased the lighting firepower offered by the Tikkina, which now delivers double the lighting performance of past models. And, all that while keeping the price the same wallet-friendly $20 list that it used to be.
Today's Tikkina is an impressively capable headlamp — one that we consider it a great choice for general use — that will meet or exceed most people's needs.
The main competition for the Tikkina is the Black Diamond Astro that also sells for $20 list and offers similar, but slightly lower, overall performance. The Tikkina scored higher than the Astro for trail finding, battery life, and ease-of-use. The Astro scored better for close proximity use. Their scores are so close you may want to compare their beam photos, ratings and specs using our handy beam comparison pages and see which is best for your needs.
A score of 5 is not exceptional when compared to top headlamps, but it is exceptional when compared to most other $20 headlamps such as the Astro that received a 3.
The brighter and better trail finding spot beam on the Tikkina is a key motivator to buy it over the Astro: more brightness as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below. While neither is as impressive as a top scorer like the BD Spot. However, the Tikkina is pretty darn good, whereas the Astro is underwhelming.
Beam Distance Photos
Black Diamond Astro
Selling for twice the list price of the $20 Tikkina, the $40 BD Spot offers a significant step up in trail finding firepower as can be seen below.
Beam Distance Photos
Black Diamond Spot
This score is below average at 4 of 10 because the Tikkina does not offer as evenly lit a flood beam is competitors. The flood beam is bright, but it tapers off to the sides. This is where the Astro is much better, earning a 7 of 10. Check out the chart below to see where the Tikkina lands in this metric as compared to the other headlamps in the review.
The battery life of the Tikkina is impressive in low-mode at 223 hours run-time. The high mode run-time is more average, at 3.5 hours, which is not bad when compared to other lights offering similarly performing spot beams.
Petzl markets the high mode run-time of the Tikkina at 60 hours, a figure which we found preposterously exaggerated based on our hands-on testing (we used the industry standard ANSI FL1 lighting spec to guide our run-time measurements, while Petzl ignores that industry standard, despite having helped develop it, and uses their own approach).
The claimed low mode run-time is an impressive 220 hours, which is the kind of claim that we usually roll our eyes at. But in the case of the Tikkina we were amazed to find that our measured low mode run-time was nearly identical at 223 hours! Battery run-time claims are an area where we often find manufacturers stating wildly exaggerated estimates, but in close-proximity mode, we found the Tikkina to do just what they said it would. Impressive.
This is a compact but not ultralight headlamp. The Top Pick for Ultralight headlamp, the Petzl e+LITE, is half the weight. That said, at 2.9 ounces or 83 grams, the Tikkina is lighter than most competing lamps, and most people, except for maybe ultralight backpackers, will be happy with the weight.
Ease of Use
This is one of the easiest headlamps in the entire review to use; earning a perfect 10 of 10 score. It has a single button interface that we found simple to operate, even with gloves on. But, unlike the other lights, it has only three modes to cycle through, which makes it quick and easy to find the one you want.
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 into the attic. It is also capable when hiking at night or backpacking.
The Tikkina is a terrific value, selling for $20 list, and often found online for $16-18, it delivers a lot of performance for a very attractive price, and earned our Best Buy award.
The Tikkina is not just an attractively priced light, but an impressive performer that will meet or exceed most people's needs. It is one of the easiest lights to use, and at a price you can afford to put one in your pack, one in the kitchen drawer, and one in your car's glove box.
While you may want to step up to more lighting power, such as the $40 BD Spot or $50 BD Storm, the $20 Tikkina is likely to offer all the power most people really need in practice, and that is why it is the headlamp we consider to be the best choice for general purpose use.