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Black Diamond Spot 400 Headlamp Review

The Black Diamond Spot 400 is one of our favorite headlamps for backpacking because it’s bright, has a long burn time, and it’s full of convenient features. And at only $45, the Spot is a steal for such a powerful and durable headlamp. We named the Spot 400 the best value on our Best Headlamps list.

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PHOTO CREDIT: CASEY HANDLEY (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Quick Specs

Black Diamond Spot 400

Best value headlamp

Price: $50

Weight: 2.7 oz.

Max Lumens/Beam Distance: 400 lm./328 ft. (100 m.)

Burn Time Low/High: 200 hrs./2.5 hrs

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Long burn time
  • Bright
  • Comfortable
  • Waterproof
  • Battery mete
  • Locking feature

Cons

  • Slight learning curve for the different modes
PHOTO CREDIT: HEATHER ELDRIDGE (CLEVERHIKER.COM)

Pros

GREAT VALUE

The Spot 400 boasts a lot of power, efficiency, and features for a very reasonable price. Comparable headlamps cost $10-$20 more, so we find the spot to be a really great value.

EXCELLENT BATTERY LIFE

With an impressive burn time of 200 hours on the lowest setting and nearly two and a half hours at its brightest, the Spot 400 has a better battery life than many other headlamps on our Best Headlamps list. Because you have full control over the brightness of the headlamp, it’s easy to find the best balance of light output and battery efficiency for the task at hand. We trust the Spot for reliable light on any trips that include a lot of night hiking

BRIGHT

The Spot 400 is incredibly bright, and though it may not have the absolute highest lumen output on our Best Headlamps list, the beam type makes it look brighter than some others. Its beam distance at max brightness ranks among the best and even beats out some headlamps with higher lumen outputs. This is thanks to its spotlight feature, which is a second lamp inside the lens with a bright, focused beam.

RECHARGEABLE OPTION

The Spot 400 can run on either regular AAAs or a rechargeable battery (sold separately). This gives you options for keeping it topped up in the field with traditional cell batteries or a power bank. If you know you’ll be using the rechargeable function, you may want to go with the Black Diamond 400-R, which includes the rechargeable li-ion battery. It costs $20 more, but will save you $10 in the long run versus buying the regular 400 and BD 1500 battery kit seperately

FEATURE-RICH

The Spot 400 is packed with useful features. Some of our favorites include the battery indicator, the ability to lock it from turning on accidentally, the Power-tap feature (sets it to full brightness with one touch), and the ability to precisely control the brightness by holding the power button.

The Spot has a locking feature that prevents it from accidentally turning on when not in use
The beam type of the Spot makes it appear brighter than some headlamps with higher lumen outputs

Cons

MORE COMPLICATED THAN SOME

If you’ve never used a Black Diamond headlamp before, you’ll find that there’s a slight learning curve to figuring out how to control all of the functions. Having so many features may be a little overwhelming for those who prefer a simple light for tasks around camp.

Battery

The battery life is longer on the Spot – 200 hrs. (low)/ 2 hrs. 30 min. (high) vs. 130 hrs. (low)/ 2 hrs. (high) for the Actik. The Black Diamond 400-R (rechargeable version) also has a longer burn time on high (3 hrs. 45 min.). If you have a power bank to recharge on trail, the Spot 400 with the BD 1500 battery, the 400-R, or the Actik are all great for extended backcountry trips. Headlamps that come with rechargeable batteries cost a bit more upfront, but you’ll be saving money on single-use batteries in the long run.

Brightness

The Actik has a higher lumen output (450 lm.) than the Spot (400 lm.), but the difference is barely perceptible. Both headlamps are plenty bright for nighttime navigation.

Durability

The housing of the Spot is slightly more durable than the Actik, so you may like it more if you’re tough on gear. But both headlamps are tough, and we’re not worried about durability issues for either of them.

Features

The Spot 400 has a lot more features, like a full range of dimming capabilities – as opposed to the preset levels on the Actik – and a battery life indicator. That said, many users could find the Actik to be a little easier to navigate as it only has one button that controls color and brightness of the light.

The Spot gives you more control over the brightness of your light than the Actik Core does

Bottom line

The Black Diamond Spot 400 is an excellent value, and it’s got a longer burn time than many headlamps on the market. Its bright beam makes it a great choice for night hiking, and the full dimming range allows you to quickly and easily optimize brightness with battery usage. See how the Spot 400 compares to our other favorite headlamps on our Best Headlamps list.

The Spot gives you full control over the brightness of your headlamp so you can optimize light output with battery life.