Front view of Tikka packaging

PETZL® TIKKA® Review

Winter time is coming closer this year. And as days are getting shorter many of you may be thinking this is the right time for a new headlamp. So we decided to check out one of the new PETZL ® headlamps for you.

Which model shall we look at? We decided to pick the regular TIKKA ® model. It’s probably one of the more interesting models this time of the year. Simply because fall/winter is a time where most customers are looking for a basic headlamp for simple everyday stuff and daily routines. Like walking a dog in the evening or a quick run in the park…

The PETZL® TIKKA may be just perfect for that, so let’s jump right into it. The TIKKA uses 3 AAA batteries, it’s weight is 85 grams (2.9oz) and it’s IP X4 water resistant (splashing water). It currently comes in a couple of colors like black, red, brown and white. So, you’re able to color match it to the rest of your gear.

PRICING

TIKKA EUR 29.95 / US$ 29.95. Regular price. Online, you may find it for less.

(as of fall 2015)

front view of Petzl Tikka headlamp

APPEARANCE

Well, the over all first appearance is good. The style is very typical for PETZL. We dare to say, their products never stand out for great product design. And so we think there are much nicer headlamps out there. But hey, that’s only our opinion. And to be fair, a lot of customers must actually like the PETZL products. Otherwise this brand wouldn’t be so successful.

Now, let’s have a look at the head band. Remember the colorful woven head bands of older head lamps? Where did they go? Apparently it’s much cheaper now to apply the artwork by print. So we’re looking at an all synthetic head band which has printed graphics on it. Which looks ok at first, but becomes quite ugly when you stretch the band. The print “brakes” open and you can see the white elastics underneath.

stretched Tikka head band

We’ve seen nicer stuff, so we think this is not the right way to go. Plus, this sort of head band doesn’t take up your sweat too well. And that doesn’t feel very comfortable on your forehead.

Now, the plastic parts make a good impression. They feel like good quality. Only that translucent housing is catching our attention. Through that part you can see the PCB board and the inner guts of the product. That’s ok and can look quite cool if it’s done right. Unfortunately not in this case. So we think there’s some room for improvement.

View of transparent Tikka enclosure
Looking through the transparent Tikka housing

PETZL, please take our advice here: If you’re working with translucent housings, please apply some design to the inner parts too. Otherwise it does not look very good.

HANDLING

What we like a lot is, how the battery compartment opens. It works absolutely nice and firm. How it’s made is a very smart solution. So there’s no fumbling around when the batteries need to be changed. Plus, the lid of the battery compartment is not a separate part which can get lost. Like dropping it into the snow or inbetween some rocks. That’s great!

open battery compartment of Petzl Tikka headlamp

Loading the batteries is quick and easy under light. In the dark it’s hard to see in which direction the batteries need to be inserted. Loading them the wrong way won’t short circuit the lamp, but it can apply extra stress to metal contact plates. Like it did in our tests. However, no need to worry now. Just try to not insert them wrong all the time and your contact plates will last for many years.

Petzl Tikka swiveled downwards

When it comes to adjustability of the lamp, we think everything’s done all right here. The adjustment angle of the light is approximately 45 degree – done in 4 steps, each 12 degree. Which is a standard range and plenty for almost any activity.

THE PUSH BUTTON

The ON-OFF switch has a nice feel. It feels like an actual push-button with a distinct travel. We like that a lot! Much better than the feel of tactile switches built into most head lamp products or other electronic devices like cameras or cell phones.

pressing Tikka On-Off button with a glove

Just as we expected it, this switch performed great when we tested it with thick winter gloves. Through the thick gloves we could perfectly feel the actuating of the switch. And that makes a difference.

And since we have an actual switch here, the TIKKA seems not to need any special feature in order to prevent it from turning on by accident. Like when stashed in a tight backpack. The chance that this switch tuns on by accident is almost not existant.

SPECIALITY

The TIKKA comes with a special feature called “Glow in the Dark”. Meaning, some areas next to the LED are made from fluorescent material. Which produces a green glow after the headlamp has been turned off. Just like a watch with fluorescent hands, which lets you read the time in the dark.

Petzl Tikka with fluorescent glow in the dark

Well, we definitely agree that this comes handy in dark situations when the lamp has been turned off and you need to re-find it in the dark. Like in a tent for example…

In our tests we where able to see the glow for more than 30 min after turning the light off.

Another speciality worth mentioning are the accessories. For the TIKKA you can get a special pouch, or a helmet adapter kit. The adapter kit mounts your TIKKA to almost any helmet, without stretching the head band all around it. The adapter uses adhesive tape to stick the TIKKA to your helmet. We like that!

APPLICATIONS (…or: what can I use it for?)

PETZL says the TIKKA is the perfect light for everyday activities as well as for occasional outdoor excursions. It’s meant to be a good companion for sports, camping, hiking and also all kind of work around the house. They say their strength is the the wide beam which produces comfortable and efficient light.

Storage box with tools
Alpine map illuminated by headlamp

Needless to say, we agree! This is a great headlamp for every day stuff.

The Performance of the PETZL® TIKKA

It’s about time to write about the actual performance of the TIKKA. As most headlamps on the market (from various well known manufacturers) there’s a huge gap between what’s promised on the packagings and what you really get.

In some of our Blog entries we’re already (and in future) writing about how we’re measuring the performance of headlamps and why most manufacturers are massively cheating with their promises. If you’re interested in learning about this dirty game, please check these posts.

Fact is, we certainly want to show you how the TIKKA performed in our tests:

Backside of Tikka packaging

The TIKKA has one central LED. I can be run in two different modes of brightness. PETZL says both modes are meant to produce a smooth and usable light for proximity lighting.

What the Manufacturer promises and what we measured:

Proximity Light Low: 25 meter reach, 180 hours runtime (we measured: 20m, 29:25 hours)
Proximity Light High: 55 meter reach, 120 hours runtime (we measured: 47m, 5:21 hours)

Below the actual performance in diagrams:

Performance graph of Tikka headlamp

See the full graph below:

full performance graph of T-Trail headlamp

The “end of light output” is reached, when 10% of the initial brightness are left. This rule is defined in the worldwide “FL1 Standard” for flashlights and headlamps.

You may not yet be aware of it. But headlamp beams shrink over time. A lamp with full batteries produces a full length beam. But the beam shortens as the batteries drain. So, the beams do not only get dimmer but also shorter over time.

Beam length of Tikka headlamp

In the diagram above,  we calculated the length of the beams over time. For that calculation we used the standard formula of the worldwide “ANSI FL1 Standard”. According to that standard, the end of light output is reached when 10% of the initial brightness are left. Most manufacturers usually use their own rules for calculation, simply to make you believe their light would run much longer.

OUR OPINION

So, what’s our impression? Can we recommend the Tikka? Oh yes, definitely! The price is ok, the quality is good and the sort of smooth light output is absolutely perfect for a “every day headlamp”. PETZL clearly says that it’s meant to be a practical light for everyday activities. And that’s what it is.

We think the TIKKA is a very well engineered product with some very smart features. So we believe, that this is an absolute hassle-free product throughout it’s entire life. Personally, we don’t like the style too much, but we would definitely buy it again.

We think it’s only natural that there are a few points of criticism. Most critical probably, the misleading specs of the manufacturer. Specifically regarding the battery runtimes. But we can tell you: Almost all manufacturers are playing the same game here. So, as long as you don’t believe in any of the claimed specs and rather check the actual performances above, you’ll be absolutely happy with your new TIKKA.

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