Black Diamond Recon X avalanche beacon review: a chunky choice for avy newbies

The Black Diamond Recon X is an affordable – though a bit big and heavy – beacon, ideal for beginners

Woman's hand holding Black Diamond Recon X avalanche beacon
(Image: © Berne Broudy)

Advnture Verdict

For avy beacon beginners, the Black Diamond Recon X is a great choice. Although a little larger and heavier than many others, with a slightly reduced and restricted range, it’s affordable, easy to use and boasts lots of excellent features.


  • +

    Bluetooth connected for software updates

  • +

    Compatible with iProbe

  • +

    Has a training mode


  • -

    Smaller range than other beacons

  • -

    Pieps /Black Diamond have had a number of beacon recalls recently

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    Smaller screen

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Black Diamond Recon X: first impressions 

The entry-level Black Diamond Recon X is a great choice of avy beacon for those who are operating on a budget, but still looking to keep safe in avalanche terrain. That’s why it earned a place in our best avalanche beacons buying guide.


• List price: $300 (US) / £280 (UK)
• Weight (including batteries): 217g / 7.68 oz
• Range: 60m / 197ft
• Antennas: 3
• Battery life: 400 hours 

Made for users who are new to beacon use, the Recon X wirelessly connects to the PIEPS App and your phone for diagnostic updates, to manage settings, and to access a mode that lets you train your beacon-search skills. The Recon X is compatible with PIEPS iProbe for added search capabilities. 

While the Recon X doesn’t have the range of other beacons, it does have a lot of things going for it: it self checks when you turn it on, and it has a flagging button to mark multiple burials.

Black Diamond Recon X: on the slopes

Black Diamond Recon X avalanche beacon with harness

The Black Diamond Recon X in its harness (Image credit: Black Diamond)

The Velcro-close harness makes the Black Diamond Recon X easy to get to, even with ski gloves on (but bear in mind Velcro can become ineffective if it gets packed with snow). 

The telephone cord-style tether has loads of stretch and on test I found that it didn’t get tangled as some other tethers do. The beacon claims to have interference protection, so a phone and other electronics won’t impact its performance. This is a claim we are still testing.

Front and back view of Black Diamond Recon X avalanche beacon

The Black Diamond Recon X, front and back (Image credit: Black Diamond)

This beacon is on the heavier side, and it’s also larger than many of the other transceivers I carried and experimented with while doing the group test. The advantage to all that, however, is it’s easy to hold onto.

The Recon X beacon has a more plasticky-feeling case than more expensive beacons. Whether it will be more prone to cracking remains to be seen.

Berne Broudy

Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.