A trail runner’s ideal headlamp is one that punches a big hole through the darkness without tearing a big hole in your wallet.  Black Diamond’s Spot is one of the better combinations of high power and affordability on the market today.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp Specs

  • Bulb type: 1 1-watt LED and 3 high-power LED
  • Beam type: Flood or spot
  • Brightness (high setting): 47 lumens
  • Weight (with alkaline batteries): 85g/3.0 oz
  • Dimensions: 2.27” x 1.7” x 1.4”
  • Maximum beam distance (spot mode, high setting): 70m
  • Brightness levels: 6
  • Strobe: yes
  • Battery type: 3 AAA
  • Battery life (high setting, at 70 degrees): 100 hours
  • Retail price: $39.95

Black Diamond Spot Review

I’ve always been a fan of Black Diamond’s style, and the Spot is a perfect example why: simple black-and-silver color scheme, smoothly curved surfaces to minimize its overall dimensions, and the simplicity of an all-in-one control button on the top casing that’s big enough to use with gloved fingers.

A clean, stylish profile ... plus a disembodied shot of your reviewer

A clean, stylish profile … plus a disembodied shot of your reviewer

The Spot performs as well as it looks, whether using the super-penetrating (up to 70m) spot beam, or the more battery-efficient LED bulbs which function as a flood light.  Each lighting method has three different brightness settings and a strobe, giving you eight functional modes to select from based on necessity.  The beam is held with a ratcheting tilt mechanism that stays firm even with moderate bouncing.  Harsh weather isn’t a problem either, with IPX4 water resistance to keep out rain or sleet.

As the name might imply, the spot function of this lamp is more impressive than its flood mode; the 3 LEDs produce adequate light for fire roads or smooth trails, but their distribution of light is noticeably diminished in the periphery.   Like other compact lamps, the overall brightness (in spot or flood mode) is on the low end of adequacy for highly technical trails.

Front view: 3 super bright LEDs below, 1 1-watt bulb centered above

Front view: 3 super bright LEDs below, 1 1-watt bulb centered above

Another potential difficulty is that changing from spot to flood mode is impossible without turning the bulb off – so if you’re trying to switch on the fly, you may need to stop and make sure of your footing first.

Good Spot

  • Compact size, rounded design for easy storage
  • Long battery life
  • Headband detaches from casing for easy cleaning
  • Water resistant for stormy excursions
  • Very competitive retail price

Bad Spot

  • No red LED mode
  • Flood setting slightly weak in peripheral vision
  • Can’t switch from spot to flood mode without turning bulb off
Removable strap for easy cleaning

Removable strap for easy cleaning

Bottom Line: Black Diamond Spot

You’d be hard pressed to find higher performance lamp for a lower price than the Black Diamond Spot.  It’s a very solid multi-purpose headlamp to help you tack on as many extra miles as you want before sunrise.

Buy Now: Black Diamond Headlamps at Backcountry.com

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

6 Comments

  1. Colin – I based that statement on the manufacturer specs online, as well as the owners manual, as neither one mentions lithium compatibility (it’s typically listed as a spec). Thanks for letting me know that you’ve had success with it; I’ve since revised the post and taken that statement out for lack of certainty. I’ll also confirm this with BD and post the update here.

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  4. The Spot puts out a lot of useful light in bright mode, and a modest amount with the three smaller leds. I’ve used lithium batteries with success. Unfortunately, the case is thin plastic and cracked early on. Now it’s broken completely, and the light is now unreliable (works intermittently).

    Too bad.

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