Humans trigger above 90% of avalanche tragedies or disasters, causing premature deaths yearly. Most are snowmobilers, climbers, and skiers. Learning about avalanches, and its causing conditions can help humans recreate more safely and confidently in the backcountry. Avalanche is a falling masses of ice & snow. They pose a disaster and threat to everyone on snow mountainsides. Though it looks beautiful to the observer from afar, Avalanches can be fatal because of their unpredictability and intensity. Due to this avalanche disasters, people had adopted a shovel, a probe and avalanche beacon for snowmobiling, skiing, and split-boarding.
These gears are certified and approved. An avalanche transceiver or avalanche beacon is a gadget that discharges a pulsed radio wave or signal. On the other hand, another avalanche beacon receives this signal. They are used for locating avalanche victims buried beneath the snow. The victim’s device sends the signal to rescue the team’s equipment to enable them to find the exact location where the avalanche disaster has occurred. The suitable beacon that can be seamlessly and competently used in a high trauma situation because you’re well used to its quirks and operation. Besides, choosing the right one is not that easy. Below are a few points to consider:
List of 10 Best Avalanche Beacons in 2020
#10. Black Diamond Guide 60-meter circular range BT Avalanche Beacon
Check out this avalanche beacon by Black Diamond. It includes a full list of features to fit a mountain professional’s needs. Firstly, its housing features soft contact points that provide a secure feel when holding it. Secondly, it comes with a three-antenna design to get rid of spikes. Also, the antennas help avoid scenarios where the beacon wrongly points to a different location other than your victim’s.
Thirdly, its remarkable 60-meter circular range allows you to pick up a signal of your victim from a distance. This helps you save yourself some time. It also comes with a continuous carry mode, which allows locating analog beacons if a victim had one. Next, it will enable you to pair with your phone through Bluetooth to check for software updates and manage settings. Unlike other beacons, the Black Diamond avalanche beacon also picks up a TX600 signal.
#9. Ortovox Zoom plus Avalanche Transceiver
Next on this list is the Ortovox Zoom avalanche beacon. By analyzing the antennas’ positions, it switches to the antenna with the best signal automatically. Another key feature is how it automatically switches to transmission mode after searching and registering no movement for over 2 minutes. Also, it comes with a visual plus acoustic search. This includes LEDs that show the distance between you and the victim. It shows the direction, as well. Note that its large LED supports easy reading in dim conditions.
Equally important, its fast and higher sounds help you know when approaching the victim. Lastly, it’s easy to operate. With just two buttons, you can switch between search and transmission modes.
#8. Pieps Powder BT Avalanche Beacon
This avalanche beacon by Pieps displays a high performance for avid split boarders and skiers. As expected, this avalanche beacon comes with all the essential features for an organized search. Other than that, its design is user-friendly. On top of that, it features a 3-antenna design. For this reason, you can experience a more accurate search when compared to a 2-antenna beacon. Also, with a 60m search range, you can pick up a victim’s signal from a long distance and get on track.
Besides, the Pieps Powder avalanche beacon also includes the multiple burial function. It receives signals from buried victims who are in range and also contains a flagging feature for marking the victims. To sum up, this beacon automatically switches to send mode a few minutes after sensing you are no longer moving.
#7. Arva Neo+ Avalanche Beacon
The Arva Neo+ is an outstanding avalanche beacon. To begin, it features a digital range of up to 70m. This makes it one of the burliest beacons in the market. Moreover, it has three fine-tuned antennas for maximum efficiency in transmission. Furthermore, the Arva avalanche beacon includes a search/send switch and a button for burial marking. Unlike other beacons, it comes with a harness. This is a plastic housing that prevents turning off of the beacon when tucked away.
Like other beacons in this list, it also includes a motion sensor. To elaborate, the beacon switches from search to send after sensing zero mobility for 4 minutes. Finally, it alerts you when you pass by a beacon you are searching for to avoid backtracking.
#6. Mammut Barryvox Avalanche Beacon
If you are a backcountry split boarder or skier, the Mammut Barryvox avalanche beacon could be ideal for you. Remarkably, it features an intuitive design for quick mastering. Further, it boasts of its notable 70m digital range and three antennas. It can be a top-end receiver in the market. It shows distance, number of burial victims as well as the direction in its goggle friendly display.
Also, when the beacon senses zero motion for four seconds, it switches to send mode. It’s also straightforward, with a single switch, a single button, and a distinct flagging button for proper handling. In conclusion, the package includes alkaline batteries and a carry case.
#5. Artex Personal Locator Avalanche Beacon
The Artex avalanche beacon works with an officially and highly recognized satellite network. Since governments fund this network, there are no subscription fees or charges to use the service. Furthermore, this beacon features an LED strobe light and is waterproof. It also has a 66-Channel GPS receiver. This helps pinpoint your location during distress.
More importantly, it’s effortless to operate. You only need to deploy the antenna and press the ON button. In the event of distress, the beacon transmits your ID and location to a rescue coordination center via the satellite. The package also includes a free pouch and a mounting clip. All materials used can endure harsh conditions.
#4. Tracker DTS Avalanche (Beacon +Probe) from BCA
This avalanche beacon by BCA is believed to be one of the first beacons to start a digital revolution. Since 1997 this tracker has been in the market and has displayed a good track record for durability, reliability, and value. It features bright red LEDs that show both the distance and direction of victims in its real-time digital display. To clarify, the indicator lights show the direction of nearby beacons, and the range is in meters.
Besides, this avalanche beacon features two antennas. It also includes a 260cm rapid aluminum probe. Besides, this beacon boasts of its notable 60m digital range and uses three AAA alkaline batteries.
#3. Pieps DSP Avalanche Sport Beacon from Black Diamond
Sometimes when having fun in the backcountry, events turn from fun to scary. With the Pieps DSP avalanche beacon, you have high chances of being rescued during distress scenarios. This beacon features a one-button interface with three options. These include search, send, and flag. By just sliding the switch, you can toggle between receiving and sending, and the flag button helps mark burial points.
Another thing is its clear and simple display. With a direction arrow, a distance readout, battery life, and burial indicators, it’s easy to operate. Like most avalanche beacons, this beacon by Black Diamond has a 50m digital search range. Into the bargain, it includes a smart transmitter to minimize signal traps and dead spots. Also, it features three antennas and uses three AA batteries.
#2. Backcountry Access Tracker 3 Avalanche beacon
Backcountry access decided to step up with the new Tracker 3 avalanche beacon. Compared to the previous version, the Tracker 2, the Tracker 3 is lighter and smaller. What’s more, this beacon features a real-time display showing the direction and distance of transmitting beacons. On top of that, it automatically switches from search to send when it senses zero motion for one minute.
Outstandingly, it plays a warning tone 30 seconds to the switch. Forbye, it includes multiple burial indicators. Just like the Tracker 2, the Tacker 3 has a search range of 50m and three antennas. Last but not least, this avalanche beacon uses three AAA alkaline batteries.
#1. acr ResQ Link PLB-375 avalanche beacon
Lastly, on this list is this avalanche beacon by ACR. It’s a standard accessory among pilots, anglers, and backcountry athletes. First, this beacon is very small, topping just 3.9 inches. Only weighing 6.5 ounces, it’s lightweight as well. Strikingly, it includes GPS and also features three levels of integrated signal technology. As a result, it accurately and quickly relays your position to search and rescue network satellites.
Over and above that, its built-in strobe light ensures excellent visibility during low light rescues. Even in the event of harsh conditions, this avalanche beacon activates quickly. Press the ON button after deploying the antenna to start transmitting. To summarize, its powerful 66-channel GPS narrows down the search range to 100m or less.
Even though avalanche beacons incorporate different features and functions, the best one for you should operate very well. More than just operating at home, you should put all the avalanche safety gear into practice in a real setting. Most avalanche beacons are easy-to-operate and work similarly, particularly in a sole victim search. For multiple burials, various devices will display, and ‘flag’ or mask found victims differently. The above information is useful and well detailed to make a choice easier.