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Petzl Tikkina Review

Petzl Tikkina
Best Buy Award
Price:   $20 List | $14.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, compact, good battery life, excellent value
Cons:  Not as bright as alternatives
Bottom line:  Our Best Buy winner, this option is light, compact, and has powerful batteries, all at a good price.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor
Saturday

Our Verdict

The Tikkina is the cream of the crop in terms of value. For 20 bucks you get an impressive 150 lumens of light output and a solid 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 2017
Petzl updated this award-winning headlamp in 2016 and then again in 2017! Keep reading to find out more.


RELATED REVIEW: The Hunt for the Best Headlamps

Our Analysis and Test Results

The New Petzl Tikkina vs. The Older Versions


There have been several changes to this product since we last reviewed it. In 2016, the Tikkina was updated to put off 80 lumens (versus 60). It was also upgraded with a washable headband and a gradual decrease in the output of lumens over battery life. For 2017, Petzl updated this Best Buy award winner again. Still retailing for $20, the new version is significantly brighter at 150 lumens and there are three lighting modes: movement, proximity, and distance vision. While the new model weighs just a gram less than the measured weight for the 2016 Tikkina, the size of the headlamp is smaller and slimmer in profile. The 2017 model is a HYBRID headlamp which allows it to run off Petzl's CORE rechargeable battery, or three AAA/LR03 batteries. The 2017 model looks sleek, stylish, and comes in red, black, blue and pink.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest version of the Tikkina pictured on the left, the 2016 model in the middle, and the version we reviewed shown on the right.
Petzl Tikkina
Petzl Tikkina


Here's a summary of the key differences between the 2017 Tikkina and the model we reviewed:
  • Increased Lumens — The new Tikkina features 150 lumens (compared with 60 lumens in the model we tested).
  • New Color — The 2017 model is available in red, black, blue and pink.
  • Re-designed headband — The newer 2016 and 2017 Tikkina models feature washable headbands.
  • New HYBRID technology — The latest model features HYBRID technology which allows users to take advantage of the rechargeable CORE battery system, or three AAA's without needing an adapter.
  • Three Lighting Modes — There are now three lighting modes: movement, proximity, and distance vision.
  • Lighter Weight — The 2017 model weighs in at 85 g which is a smidgen less than our measured weight for the older model (86 g, 3 oz).
  • Smaller Profile — The new model looks to have a smaller, slimmer and sleeker profile than it's predecessors.

Since we've yet to get out hands on the latest version of the Tikkina, the text and ratings below refer to the original model.

Hands-On Review of the Older Petzl Tikkina


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.


Beam Distance


Petzl TikkinaBlack Diamond Gizmo

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.


Close-proximity


Petzl TikkinaBlack Diamond Gizmo

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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