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Black Diamond Sprinter

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Sprinter has been discontinued. It was replaced by the Black Diamond Sprinter 500.

photo: Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp
Version reviewed: 2011

One of the best running headlamps out right now, with a few quirks.


  • Lightweight
  • Balanced
  • Well-designed beam


  • Odd cord sleeve
  • Default "flashing" back
  • Cost

Winter in Montana makes it necessary to have some kind of illumination for your runs... unless you are ready to subject yourself to the treadmill for every run. Daylight hours are at a premium, so the search for a premium running headlamp is on.

The Black Diamond Sprinter stood out from the field as soon as it was released. It was reviewed to much acclaim on several running websites and, at the time, certainly seemed worth its rather steep MSRP of $80.  So, I sprang for it.  And, then I ran with it... a lot.

The Sprinter stands out in several aspects for runners. Black Diamond nailed the beam. It gives enough throw for all but the most technical of trails (which one probably shouldn't be running at dark anyway). And, at the same time, it is diffuse enough so that you don't get motion sick from a bouncing light.

The balance and weight of the headlamp is perfect. It goes on the head, stays there, doesn't bounce and one soon forgets that it is there. I have strapped it on my head early in the morning and, after the sun rises, forget that it is there until I yank my hat off (it's durable too!).

But, there are downsides to this headlamp. The light weight is accomplished through an irreplaceable battery pack. While it is light and slim, it is going to go belly-up some day.  Replaceable batteries really should be the order of day anymore.  

Another issue is the routing of the power cord. It goes through a sleeve on the head strap that you cannot remove it from. So, if you need to clean the band deeply (which my sweaty head needs), you have to work around it.

One final pick is that the flashing red light on the back is "on" by default. I'd rather choose to turn it on, rather than have to remember to turn it off. Probably just my preference.

Overall, the headlamp is an excellent running headlamp. I have used it for over a year without incident.  It doesn't show any significant wear on its working parts.  It does what it is asked to do and does it well.

And, Black Diamond is offering an updated 2012 version at a lower MSRP, which solves at least one of my concerns (power cord routing).  If they figure out how to make that battery pack replaceable, they would have an undeniable winner on their hands.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Throws out lots of light. Comfortable and stable while running.


  • Lots of light
  • Comfortable fit and stability
  • Solid build quality


  • Strap difficult to clean

I wanted a headlamp that would throw enough light and not bounce around while running. The Black Diamond Sprinter is great on both counts. It actually illuminates far more than I expected — I have no problem seeing any obstacles on the trails and roads that I normally run on.

The headlamp is very comfortable and stable. I always recharge it fully after each run, but it's probably not the headlamp you want for a multi-day trip. I haven't tried to really clean the strap yet. It looks challenging to disassemble.

Source: bought it new

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Price MSRP: $79.95
Historic Range: $44.95-$79.99
Reviewers Paid: $80.00
Lumens 200
Weight with Batteries 105 g / 3.7 oz
Max Distances 50 m 2 m -
Max Burn Time 4 H 42 H 24 H
IPX Rating x4
LED Type 1 TriplePower
Batteries Rechargeable lithium polymer

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