Black Diamond Iota LED Headlamp

The manufacturer provided this product for the purpose of this review.

 By Jenn K.

The Iota LED Headlamp arrived in the denim color (blue) and right off I noticed how compact the Iota is. It fits in the palm of my hand. I have some older models of headlamps by various manufactures and any that are smaller than the Iota do not have as many lumens. The Iota packs a punch in a small package with a maximum light output of 150 lumens and a minimum of 4 lumens. The manufacturer indicates on the packaging that this is “a tiny rechargeable light for morning runs or post-work scrambles”. The Iota weighs in at 52 grams.

The Iota has many features in its compact design. First off it has a rechargeable/integrated Li-Ion battery. On one hand I find this to be a good feature to eliminate the use of disposable or rechargeable batteries, but I feel uneasy heading out into the wilderness for an overnight trips without extra batteries or a way to charge my light source. I usually bring extra batteries or another small headlamp. The Iota came with a USB cable that can be attached to my car, my laptop, or an outlet (with a plug) for charging. It would also charge with my phone back up battery. I am curious to see how long it takes to fully charge the Iota from various power sources. The packaging indicates there is a 3-hour charging time to become fully charged and there is an indicator light on the face of the Iota that it is charged or the charging status. A solid green light means it is charged and the light will flash green while charging. The indicator light on the face of the Iota also indicates how much juice it has. It comes on for a few seconds after the Iota is turned on. A green light means good to go, orange means there is 25-50% remaining, and red is the danger zone with less than 25% remaining. Maybe with the battery indicator I will be more at ease not having the ability to charge it in the field. My other headlamps did not have a battery indicator.

Some additional features the Iota hosts are a 20-hour burn time on the low setting and a 2-hour burn time at the maximum setting. Also the viewable distance indicated by the manufacturer to be 8 meters on the low setting and 40 meters(oval beam) on the high setting. It will be interesting to see burn time and general illumination distance. The on/off switch is located on the top of the headlamp and this also operates the dimmer if pressed down continuously, activate the strobe by pressing it three times, and the lock/unlock function is activated if the button is held down for three seconds. This is helpful so the Iota is not accidentally turned on inside of a pack. I know that has happened to me many times in the past with other headlamps. There is also a feature that is called PowerTap. This activated by pressing the side of the headlamp. This is designed to allow fast and simple transitioning between full and dimmed power in order to instantly increase illumination in distance or proximity modes-per the manufacturer. Both switches are easy to operate and press without excessive force.

The Iota has an adjustable headband, can be tilted via a hinge on the Iota headband attachment. The hinge appears sturdy and the headlamp stays in position when tilted. The headband can also be hand washed if needed.

This headlamp is not waterproof; it is listed as being splashproof. It has a IPX4 rating to protect against splashed water from any angle. The recommended temperatures for use is between 110 F and 0 F.

Update April 1, 2017

The Black Diamond Iota LED Headlamp has been used over the past month while walking at night in the neighborhood, walking my four-legged friend, after mountain biking, and towards the end of a hike when it became dark. The 150 maximum lumens proved to be sufficient light for these tasks. The low setting is perfect for close reading and for viewing objects at a close range. The light is non-yellowing; it is a whiter color; this is even noticeable at far objects. It was very difficult for me to measure the distance of the beam of light from the headlamp on the high setting. With a friend we estimated the distance to be over thirty feet. The beam is oval in appearance and was adequate for me to see when I was walking in pitch-blackness and allow illumination for my pet when walking him at night.

I will say that I really like the lock feature and the ability to quickly switch from a low to high light setting to conserve some battery life. The rechargeable battery was a concern to me as in the field there would not be a way for me to carry extra batteries while taking this headlamp with me. However, with that said the battery indicator light helped me determine if and when the Iota would need to be charged. When the battery indicator was red when turning on the headlamp I charged it and it took just over 2.5 hours to charge.

I definitely noticed the difference between the battery life between the low and high settings. The high setting (used alone) lasted just under 2 hours. When I toggled between the low and high settings I was able to have enough juice for 10 hours. I documented the battery life on a log between charging.

Final Update May 4, 2017

The Black Diamond Iota LED Headlamp has been used over the past two months and it is a durable and good light for the value. I wish it came with a red light for reading at night. However, on the low setting I was able to read without straining my eyes.

High setting

Low setting

When I hold the Iota in my hands for illumination I noticed that occasionally I bump the PowerTap button. The PowerTap button allows the illumination to be changed from full power to dim and vice versa. I do not have this issue when wearing the headlamp only when holding it in my hands.

The headband fits perfectly on my head and over a hat. I even tried it on a climbing helmet to determine if the headband would fit. No problem. Also when the Iota is adjusted it does not stretch out easily. The headlamp can also be tilted from the headband via the connection hinge and it stays in place. I splashed some water on the Iota to see if there was any adverse reaction or performance with the light-there was not.

So far I had no issues with the Iota headlamp. It is perfect for when you don’t need more than short distance illumination or to use while hiking, at the camp site, walking your four-legged friend, and much more. Personally it would be perfect for my needs if it had a red light feature. I really like red light for reading at night.

The Iota LED Headlamp retails for $39.95 and is available in the following colors: salt water, denim, octane, nickel, and black. For more information please visit BlackDiamondEquipment.com. The manufacturer also honors a 3-year warranty.

Update May 23, 2017:

The Iota LED was exposed to light rain and functioned perfectly well.