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Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl Tikkina Review

Best Buy Award
Price:   $20 List | $14.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, compact, good battery life, excellent value
Cons:  Not as bright as alternatives
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Petzl

Our Verdict

Looking for something with a little more oompf?
For $40, Petzl Tikka Plus offers a little more light for a pretty competitive price. While Petzl claims a 140-lumen output for the Tikka Plus compared to the Tikkina's 80 lumens, the battery life is only 100 hours and the light only operates in flood light mode. If you're looking for a bright light for short missions, the Tikka Plus, the baseline model of the Tikkina we tested, might be the right headlamp for you!


The Tikkina is clearly the best value in small headlamps we have seen. For around $20 you get a solid light performance and long battery life. In our battery testing, as well as in normal use, this headlamp went on and on. While many headlamps fell short of battery life claims, this one outperformed what Petzl said it could do. This headlamp outscored any other headlamps that were $20 or less. Yes, there are cheaper headlamps out there, but with these less expensive models we generally found a dramatic drop in quality. Spend less than $20 for a headlamp and you get what you pay for.

New Version Update - May 2016
Petzl has updated this award-winning headlamp for 2016! Keep reading to find out more.


RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamps

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Score Product Price Measured Max Beam Distance Claimed Distance Measured High Mode Run-time (ANSI)
72
$50
Editors' Choice Award
131 m 152 m 3.4 hrs
68
$60
Editors' Choice Award
56 m 70 m 10.6 hrs
68
$100
82 m 100 m 9.4 hrs
67
$50
78 m 70 m 7.8 hrs
67
$40
71 m 75 m 3.7 hrs
66
$100
Top Pick Award
157 m 153 m 1.8 hrs
65
$35
73 m 90 m 4.6 hrs
65
$185
113 m 135 m 2 hrs
62
$64
66 m 0.6 hrs
60
$110
102 m 110 m 1.8 hrs
59
$55
60 m 50 m 3.1 hrs
58
$40
49 m 73 m 6.4 hrs
56
$60
75 m 85 m 2 hrs
56
$20
Best Buy Award
31 m 30 m 14.7 hrs
56
$80
Top Pick Award
39 m 30 m 5.1 hrs
55
$89
42 m 3.5 hrs
55
$40
41 m 60 m 3 hrs
53
$50
58 m 90 m 3.2 hrs
53
$30
30 m 58 m 6.3 hrs
51
$25
34 m 38 m 7.3 hrs
51
$18
33 m 10.3 hrs
49
$23
39 m 30 m 1.9 hrs
47
$30
Top Pick Award
28 m 29 m 9.4 hrs
47
$45
40 m 40 m 3.2 hrs
46
$80
52 m 65 m 3 hrs
45
$30
29 m 50 m 7.1 hrs
44
$20
15 m 15 m 2 hrs
42
$45
27 m 30 m 4.2 hrs

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results


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Review by:
Jediah Porter
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
May 10, 2015

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The New Petzl Tikkina vs. The Older Version


Petzl has updated this Best Buy award winner for 2016. Still retailing for $20, the new version is significantly brighter at 80 lumens according to Petzl versus 60, which was the case with the older model that we reviewed. This headlamp has also gotten an update in terms of design; it has a washable headband and a gradual decrease in the output of lumens over battery life. There are two modes: one mode uses 20 lumens for longer use and the second mode blasts out 80 lumens over a shorter period of time. To ensure that you are purchasing the newest version, look for a label on the box that says 80 lumens, Tikkina on the headband, and two lighting modes. We are currently testing this new version, and feel our review of the older model below will still give you a good feel for the latest version of this headlamp.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest version pictured on the left and the older version shown on the right.
Petzl Tikkina
 

Hands-On Review


The main competition for the Tikkina is the Black Diamond Gizmo that is close to the same price, 25 percent lighter, and scored very high for close proximity. The Tikkina scored higher for trail finding, battery life, and brightness. Their scores are so close you should really look at the rating metrics and beam comparison tests and see what looks best for your needs.

Another close competitor is the Black Diamond Cosmo, which for another $10 scored higher for trail finding, battery life, and brightness. But once you start getting into the $30 range, you might as well upgrade to the $50 Editors' Choice Coast HL7, which is often found on sale for $30 or even less!

The Tikkina is our favorite headlamp for $20 or less  and it wins our Best Buy Award.
The Tikkina is our favorite headlamp for $20 or less, and it wins our Best Buy Award.


Performance Comparison


The chart below sums up how the Tikkina fared against its competition in our headlamp review.


Trail Finding


A score of 4 is not exceptional when compared to top headlamps, but it is exceptional when compared to most other $20 headlamps that usually received a 2 or 3. This is probably the main reason you would buy the Tikkina over the Gizmo: more brightness as demonstrated by the side-by-side photos below. Neither is that impressive compared a top scorer like the Coast HL7. However, the Tikkina is okay where the Gizmo is underwhelming.


In any event, with a budget headlamp like the Tikkina, the user is not apt to be logging miles of action out in the wild. This is the sort of headlamp one purchases for mild backpacking, or for keeping in one's car or kitchen drawer. Any dedicated hiker, one who will log miles and miles in the dark, knows to investigate further and choose a light with more robust trail finding abilities.





Close Proximity


This score is above average and even better than the more expensive Cosmo. However, this is where the Gizmo is much better. Check out the chart below to see where the Tikkina lands in this metric as compared to the other headlamps in the review.


As you can see in the photo below, the Gizmo gives a very even and expansive beam where the Tikkina just has a spot in the middle, making it hard to see everything nearby in your full field of vision. In actual usage, users' eyes seem to adapt while fatigue and distraction are this somewhat underlying, unseen force. Again, as little as a light like this will actually get used, the relatively poor performance of the Tikkina can be forgiven. If you will spend hours making close up repairs or even reading with your light, then yes, we recommend a more expensive, higher performing product. But for backup purposes or occasional use, the lower scores of the Tikkina will win out.





Battery Life


The battery life of the Tikkina is impressive and, in some ways, leads the pack. In a back-up or emergency product like the Tikkina you want it to last while using it, and you want to be able to forget about changing the batteries for weeks and months at a time. The battery performance of the Tikkina is the primary reason it wins an award. Indeed, the price is low, but what you get for that price is the impressive part. You get a light that will last for hours and hours. If you are stingy about using the high mode, you can count on it going more than twice or three times as long as our objective testing indicated.


This battery life vs. beam distance shoot-out against the Energizer 3 LED shows the two more or less neck and neck with a evenly degrading high beam over about fifteen hours. It has a slightly higher ANSI measured time than the Energizer 3 LED (14.7 hours vs. 10.3) and the Tikkina starts with a higher output. Read more about ANSI in the main Headlamp Review

The claimed low mode time, which we did not measure, is an impressive 180 hours. Energizer makes no claims of their low mode run time while Black Diamond claims their Spot will run 200 hours and the Cosmo will go 250.

The Tikkina uses 3 AAA batteries.
The Tikkina uses 3 AAA batteries.

Brightness


The brightness score is near the bottom of the pack. However, it is much brighter than many other more expensive headlamps.


For a $16 dollar light, the Tikkina is a powerhouse. This is another main reason it stood out and won our Best Buy award. Its beam distance measured 31 meters which is solid for its price range. Of course, it is well short of a beam distance champion like the Coast HL7 which shines over 131 meters.

For something upwards of 90% of camping tasks  an inexpensive light like the Tikkina is perfect.
For something upwards of 90% of camping tasks, an inexpensive light like the Tikkina is perfect.

Weight


This is a compact but not ultralight headlamp. The Gizmo is 25 percent lighter, and the Top Pick for compact headlamp, the Petzl e+LITE, is 1/3 the weight. Most people, except for maybe ultralight backpackers, will be happy with the weight. The name is actually a little misleading: Tikkina implies a smaller version of the Tikka, but the difference in weight is only a few grams. All Tikka style headlamps from Petzl seem to have similar forms. Perhaps the diminutive sounding label is a reference to the price. Indeed, while the weight is about normal for a compact light, the price is quite tiny.


Ease of Use


This is one of the easiest headlamps in the entire review to use; only a few headlamps scored higher. Like all Tikka headlamps, it has one button. Unlike the other Tikkas, it only has a few modes to cycle through, which makes it quick and easy to find the one you want. It also scored above average for gloved use.


Best Applications


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. That said, for serious nighttime running, hiking or biking we would choose a light with better trail finding and brightness scores. It's an ideal headlamp for children because it's so easy to use, lightweight, inexpensive and has a long battery life if… err, when… it's accidentally left on.

The Tikkina is excellent for all-around tasks  including toothbrushing.
The Tikkina is excellent for all-around tasks, including toothbrushing.

Value


This is the Best Buy winner because it was the highest scoring headlamp for $20. We found that any headlamp that cost less was so low scoring that it didn't warrant a purchase.

Petzl Tikkina in action in an early season desert snowstorm.
Petzl Tikkina in action in an early season desert snowstorm.

Conclusion


While this is the Best Buy winner and highly recommended, you might also consider the Black Diamond Gizmo. The Gizmo scored similarly in a lot of categories, is lighter and is available at the similar great $20 price. The Gizmo would be our top choice if size and a close proximity even beam diameter is a priority. Otherwise, the Tikkina gives you better trail finding, battery life, and brightness. If you are willing to spend more, we recommend checking out two Editors' Choice winners that are both in the $40-$60 range: Coast HL7 and the Black Diamond ReVolt.

We do feel that if you are going to spend any more than you would for the Tikkina and start really shopping by performance over price, it's time to look to the Coast and Spot which have much better beam qualities and can be found for $30-40.
Jediah Porter and RJ Spurrier

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 14, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (1)
4 star: 50%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jul 14, 2015 - 03:06pm
tolmark12 · Backpacker · Idaho
Lightweight, great adjustability. So far I love it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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