Reviews You Can Rely On

Pieps Pro BT Review

This professional-level beacon has a robust feature set and still remains one of the most user-friendly
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Pieps Pro BT Review
Credit: Pieps
Price:  $450 List
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Manufacturer:   Pieps
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 8, 2022
  • Single Victim Search - 25% 9.0
  • Speed - 20% 8.0
  • Fine Search - 20% 8.0
  • Multiple Burials - 15% 8.0
  • Range - 10% 9.0
  • Features - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Pieps Pro BT, which is functionally identical to the Black Diamond Guide BT, is a high-end beacon that is packed full of enough features to keep even the most demanding professional happy. It sports one of our favorite multiple burial functions, making it an ideal option for various transceiver drills and examinations. It has a super quick processor speed and precise bracketing, and it remains one of the easier high-end beacons to use. Some beacons with excess features become more complicated for a novice to use, but this is one of the few professional-level beacons that works extremely well even for less experienced users.
User friendly
Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app
Good range
Fast processor
Great multiple burial and flagging functionalities
Bulky for a pants pocket
Slider toggle is stiff
Harness tether a bit short

Voluntary Recall for Materials and Assembly — July 2022

PIEPS/Black Diamond issued an official voluntary recall notice for PIEPS and Black Diamond branded avalanche transceivers, as a follow-up for the Safety Check Notice the joint brand issued in April 2022. The issues in manufacturing are related to the device switch. PIEPS/Black Diamond states that these transceivers should be immediately retired, and they will issue a replacement free of charge.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Pieps Pro BT is one of the most capable models in our review and is functionally the same as the BD Guide BT but with different colored housing for branding and marketing purposes. The Pro BT proved to be one of the easiest beacons to use, even in the hands of novice and less practiced users. This is due to its lighting fast processor speed, precise bracketing, and intuitive user interface. This beacon is great for seasoned pros who will take advantage of its numerous features as well as novice users who are willing to pay for a higher-end beacon but still want a device that is easy to use.

Performance Comparison

pieps pro bt - the pieps pro bt is functionally identical to the black diamond...
The Pieps Pro BT is functionally identical to the Black Diamond Guide BT. The main difference lies in the plastic housing.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Single Victim Search

The Pro BT is on the faster side and, in general, was one of the best performers regardless of user ability. This beacon features five directional arrows, which can be displayed by themselves or in pairs to assist the rescuer in moving efficiently along the flux line. We found that when approaching the buried beacon over the final 2-3m of the search, the Pro BT consistently set people up more squarely over the buried beacon than the other pro-level beacons.

pieps pro bt - thanks to a combination of fast processor speed, precise bracketing...
Thanks to a combination of fast processor speed, precise bracketing, and above-average range, the Pro BT was among the absolute fastest at searching for a single beacon.
Credit: Ian Nicholson


Speed is an important consideration, and we weight this category quite heavily, accounting for 20% of each product's final score. Of the beacons in our test group, the Pro BT has a decently fast processor and didn't display any hiccups of note.

Fine Search

The Pro BT is one of the best overall beacons in the fine search. The arrows disappear at 2m instead of 3m, which helps set users up for success during the bracketing stage of the search. While bracketing, the Pro BT was consistently precise, frequently centering the buried model right in the center of the brackets regardless of user ability. It consistently had a smaller bracket, which means users were more likely to get a probe strike in only the first or second probe attempt, overall speeding the search up.

Arrows that disappear at 2m instead of 3m make it easier to come in...
Arrows that disappear at 2m instead of 3m make it easier to come in right over the top of the buried beacon, especially for newer or less practiced users.

Multiple Burials

The Pieps Pro BT is one of our favorites for complex, multiple burials. When the Pro BT sees multiple signals, it informs its user by displaying little “people” symbols in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

pieps pro bt - this beacon's display is easy to interpret. here, two "person" icons...
This beacon's display is easy to interpret. Here, two “person” icons are shown at the bottom left side of the screen, indicating that multiple signals are being picked up. When one of these signals has been “marked”, a box shows up around the “person” symbol.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

To mark/flag the closest signal, hold down the “flag” button and a box will be displayed around the person symbol. This beacon was one of the absolute best for differentiating signals, even in close proximity burials. It handled three signals really well but would start to struggle with 4-5 buried beacons if they were closer together. This is an unlikely scenario in real life but a quasi-common exam scenario for guides or other avalanche professionals. We also loved this model's “Scan Mode” to assist in getting the lay of the land and sizing up the scene for more complex burials.

Micro Strip Searching

We felt the Pro BT offered a nice balance of good signal lock to assist while bracketing with two beacons close together, but not so strong that we couldn't micro strip search during more complex scenarios where the flagging function might be compromised.

pieps pro bt - despite having a lot of features, the pro bt is still very...
Despite having a lot of features, the Pro BT is still very user-friendly.
Credit: Ian Nicholson


The Pro BT has a maximum range and search strip width of 60 meters. Pieps states this beacon has circular range. The idea behind this design is that it is able to maintain its maximum range regardless of beacon orientation (which would be the worst potential range in perpendicular alignment). We played with this extensively and didn't find much of a difference when compared directly with other beacons, but we should note that this model's 60m range is one of the best in our review. A 60m search strip width will allow rescuers to quickly cover more ground during the signal search stage of the rescue.

pieps pro bt - the pro bt (along with the bd guide bt) had our second favorite...
The Pro BT (along with the BD Guide BT) had our second favorite overall multiple burial performance and differentiated close proximity burials well.
Credit: Ian Nicholson


The Pro BT uses Bluetooth (hence the BT) that can connect to your smartphone via the BD/Pieps app. This is pretty much the basis for most of this model's unique features and is used to configure its settings.

Revert to Send

The Pro has a Revert to Send option that can be turned on or off using the Pieps smartphone app. You are not able to switch it manually without your phone.

Group Check Mode

Pieps/Black Diamond improved the “group check” function on this beacon which makes function/trailhead/beacon check with your group far easier, particularly if there are more than three people. The group check function is activated by holding down the flag button when “CH” is displayed on the screen while the beacon is booting up. You then can move relatively quickly from one beacon to the next while searching. With lots of signals nearby, the Pro BT can take a while (20-40 seconds) to jump from one beacon to another.

Scan Mode

Scan mode is one of the biggest differences between the Pro BT and the Powder and for professionals, it is easily one of the biggest reasons to upgrade. While a little tricky to use, Scan mode can be extremely helpful for getting a lay of the land during complex rescue scenarios or professional-level avalanche rescue exams. Scan mode allows the user to toggle through the buried beacons, supplying distance and direction for each one. Note that you can't flag/mark a signal while in this setting.

Analog Mode

The Pro BT has the ability to switch into an analog mode ahead of time via Bluetooth on the smartphone app. Once in the field, switch into analog mode by simply holding down the scan button. The analog mode can be helpful in complex rescue scenarios as it takes away any “signal lock” functionality. We wish this mode's analog provided the distance and direction, but unfortunately, it does not.

Alkaline or Lithium-Ion Batteries

This device will accept alkaline and lithium-ion batteries. However, you must select the corresponding battery type in the smartphone app in order for the beacon to accurately tell the remaining battery life. With normal alkaline batteries, this beacon already has an impressive 400 hours in Send mode, but with lithium-ion batteries, that time jumps to around 600 hours in Send.

Comfort to Carry

The harness on the Pro BT is one of the more comfortable we tested, and its molded foam pouch resisted pressure points and proved to stay in place better than most other models when adjusted appropriately. This is one of the thicker beacons we tested and is a bit bulky to fit comfortably in a zippered pants pocket.

pieps pro bt - this professional-level beacon is stacked with features while...
This professional-level beacon is stacked with features while remaining easy for casual backcountry travelers to operate. Few beacons can match its balance of speed, performance, features, and overall ease of use.
Credit: Ian Nicholson

Should You Buy the Pieps Pro BT?

The Pro BT is an ultra-capable, professional-level beacon. It boasts one of the faster processors and among the most consistently precise bracketing of any of the models we tested. It also featured one of our favorite multiple burial functions. It is packed full of features and is capable enough to keep any professional or trip leader happy, but isn't so cumbersome that a novice user would have trouble operating it.

What Other Avalanche Beacons Should You Consider?

The Pieps Pro BT is an incredible beacon, but most recreational users would be spending more money than they need on features that they will never use. Most novices (read: not avalanche professionals) would be well suited with a BCA Tracker4, Black Diamond Recon BT, or Pieps Powder BT. However, if you are in the market for a professional-level beacon, we think this is one of the best you can get, along with its functionally identical twin, the Black Diamond Guide BT. The Mammut Barryvox S is another advanced beacon that we love for its capabilities in multiple burial scenarios, long range, and added pro-level features.

Ian Nicholson