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Black Diamond ReVolt Review
Cons: Medium length distance beam
Bottom line: Our Editors' Choice winner, this model is rechargeable and a high-performer across the board.
The ReVolt wins our Editors' Choice award as the best rechargeable headlamp by far, and an overall excellent product. While other than in battery life it does not stand out for any one attribute, it is a solid performer all around. Additionally, the battery performance, both in our objective testing and in terms of versatility and usability, is head and shoulders above the competition. Get this model if your top priority is to avoid the waste and time of constantly replacing batteries while using a headlamp in all but the most extreme situations. It's also a great option for extended trips where you don't want to carry extra batteries, as the ReVolt can charge off just about anything with a USB adapter: a solar panel, car cigarette lighter, a laptop, external battery, or a 110 wall outlet with a usb adapter (not included). You can top off the charge every day if you wish, and start each activity with a full charge and piece of mind of how much battery life you have. With most non-rechargeable headlamps, there is no way to tell how close you are to running out of juice. This an ideal feature for heavy headlamp users.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The New Colors for 2016
This Editors' Choice award winner is now available in new colors: Spectrum Blue, Vibrant Orange, Matte Black, Titanium, and Ultra White. Black Diamond did confirm that the color update was the only update to have taken place since we last reviewed this headlamp. Check out the side-by-side comparison; the headlamps (and their colors) are pictured below in the order mentioned above.
With rechargeable batteries, excellent battery life, bright-enough beams, and a totally reasonable weight, the primary competitor to the ReVolt is the Petzl Tikka RXP. As we'll outline below, the ReVolt overall exceeds the RXP's performance, as well as surpasses most of the rest of the field. Only the Coast HL7 scores better overall in our rubric. Because of the depth of this field, the variety of applications people find for head-mounted lights, and the basically tied performance of the ReVolt and the Coast, we have given an unprecedented two Editors' Choice awards. While comparing the ReVolt to the RXP, we will also sprinkle in occasional comparisons between the Black Diamond and the Coast.
With a 7 of 10 score, the ReVolt was a solid, but not exceptional, performer in the trail finding metric. It has a nice, even beam for seeing what's directly in front of you, but does not excel once looking out more than 50 feet. In this case, the Petzl Tikka RXP edges slightly ahead, with a score of 8 of 10. The beam distance photo below shows how the RXP has similar optics but simply a brighter light.