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Petzl Tikka Plus Review
Cons: Not the best value considering the competition, low brightness score
Bottom line: A compact, light package and a good battery life set this model apart.
Claimed Distance: 60 m
Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI): 3 hrs
The Petzl Tikka Plus is a solid but not exceptional performer in most of our headlamp tests. Like every headlamp in the venerable Tikka line, it comes in a compact and durable package with good battery life. Of all the Petzl Tikka models, the Tikka Plus traces the most direct lineage to the original pioneering, mass-produced LED headlamp from the late 1990s. In general, however, with their Tikka line Petzl has fallen behind their competitors lately. Case in point, from our test, for the same price or less, we recommend looking at the two Editors' Choice winners: The Coast HL7 and Black Diamond ReVolt both of which scored the same or even much higher on everything except weight.
RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamps
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
New Version - January 2017
This headlamp has been replaced by the new ACTIK. Check out a comparison of the two headlamps below, with the ACTIK on the left and the Tikka Plus on the right.
Petzl's deep line of headlamps deserves some demystification. For 2015 we reviewed 7 Petzl products. At each end of the extreme lie the Petzl NAO and Petzl e+LITE. The NAO is a huge, full-function trail blazer. The e+LITE is a tiny, emergency back-up product. In between, most recreational users will choose one of the all-purpose Tikka models. All the Tikka models are a simple head unit containing batteries, bulbs, and switches attached to a single headband. The Petzl Tikkina is the simplest, with one LED and just a couple brightness settings. The next step up is the Tikka Plus, reviewed here. The LED is brighter and the control over its brightness is greater. Those lights with the R designation come with Petzl's proprietary rechargeable battery pack and can be recharged with a standard micro-usb cord. They also feature Petzl's Reactive technology. The Tikkas with the XP designation are at least a little brighter than those without that designation.
The trail finding score was only slightly above average: 6 of 10. As you can see below, it does not show many of the fence posts clearly on the right, especially when compared to the Editors' Choice winning Black Diamond ReVolt (7 of 10).
And as you can see below, the beam is a little spotty; it concentrates light in the middle making it less ideal for scanning in the 20-50 foot range.
The score for the Tikka Plus is above average but not exceptional. The beam is much more focused than the Spot, which is not ideal. For close proximity, you want broad, even light.
The battery life in the Tikka Plus is about average and about the same as the other Tikka models and the Black Diamond Spot. The ReVolt is much better, especially with rechargeable batteries in it. In our ANSI measured high mode runtime test, the Tikka Plus lasted 3 hours (learn more about ANSI in the Headlamp Review ). But when compared to the $12 Energizer 3 LED, it comes up way short as shown in this battery life versus beam distance graph.
This is where the Tikka Plus really comes up short. For its price, it scored very low with a measured max beam distance of only 41 meters. The ReVolt shined 56 meters and the Coast HL7 went 131 meters.
This is a relatively compact headlamp at 84 grams, but not a featherweight champ like the Petzl e+LITE at 30 grams.
Ease of Use
Both ease of use and gloved use scores were high. It uses a simple and intuitive one button click system.
This is the ideal all-around headlamp. It doesn't excel in any one category but gives above average lighting in a small package.
There are a lot of other great headlamps that scored higher for less money, and the Petzl Tikkina scored overall better for about half the cost, earning it the Best Buy award. There are just so many great headlamps now for under $45 that it is hard to call the Tikka Plus a great value.
Perhaps the biggest competition for the Tikka Plus is its sibling, the Petzl Tikkina. The Tikkina outperformed the Tikka Plus (and nearly every other headlamp) in battery life. Most importantly, at $20 the Tikkina is half the price.
Compared to the Petzl Tikka XP, we would rather spend the extra money to get the reactive lighting on the Tikka XP. The XP was much better for even lighting at close distances. But the real competition comes from the Black Diamond Spot which is about the same price and scored higher in just about every category. We would get the Spot if battery life and a compact package are important and the Coast HL7 if you don't mind burning through batteries and want the best lighting power and quality for the money.
— Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier
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