The 8 Best Avalanche Beacons

video play icon

This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in January of 2018. Each year, over 150 people fall victim to avalanches. It is, of course, important to understand all the relevant safety procedures and possible signs before entering uncertain territory, but one of these beacons can help if you ever find yourself in danger on the slopes. At the very least, these transceivers will give you peace of mind and, hopefully, you'll never have to use it. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Mammut Barryvox S

2. Arva Evo5 Black

3. Black Diamond Guide BT

Editor's Notes

October 16, 2020:

Saw an upgrade to the Arva Evo4 in the Arva Evo5 Black, which is about the same size and weight, but which has increased its range from 40 to 50 meters. We also added the Black Diamond Guide BT, which is similar in build to the Pieps DPS Sport, which we removed to make way for the Black Diamond model. This was because the slide and lock mechanisms on the Guide BT were a bit easier to use, even though the overall performance of the antennas was similar.

We also added two models that aren't traditional avalanche beacons in the McMurdo Fast Find 220 and the Breitling Emergency, the latter of which was restricted to our special honors section due to its exorbitant cost. The McMurdo model is a solid transmitter you can use from just about anywhere on earth that can connect with a GPS satellite, and it requires no subscription to make use of one. And while the Breitling is a particularly capable luxury watch, it's also equipped with an emergency pull tab that will activate a GPS-connected distress signal no matter your location.

November 22, 2019:

While the highly regarded Pieps DSP Pro needed a replacement because it's no longer available, the Pieps DSP Sport is still on the list and it has many of the same functions plus the reliability of the Pieps brand, but it's still no match for the Pro's battery life.

Our replacement for the top spot is the Mammut Barryvox S, which boasts a more than 300 hour battery life and the ability to detect micro movements such as a heartbeat. We also chose this model because the basic functions are intuitive enough for beginners, while the advanced features can make a huge difference in multiple burial scenarios. Plus the display is so large it can be read with goggles on.

An avalanche beacon can be the difference between life or death but remember not to develop a false sense of security and forgo important planning and safety measures before embarking into the wilderness.

Special Honors

Breitling Emergency At first glance, this model seems an awful lot like the company's Aerospace offerings, which have made it all the way out into Earth's orbit. In terms of most functions, like dual digital displays set into an analog dial, and the ability to frack multiple time zones and run a 24-hour chronograph, they are identical. This offering, however, also houses a dual-frequency distress beacon that can relay your coordinates from just about anywhere in the world. There's even a compass etched into its bezel to allow you to find your bearings using nothing but the sun's position.

4. Ortovox Unisex 3+ Blue Ocean

5. Pieps Micro

6. Arva Neo+

7. Backcountry Access Tracker 3

8. McMurdo Fast Find 220

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.