Manually operated and solar-powered capability prevents light from going out. Offers 10 minutes per single manual wind-up. Produces a massive amount of power. Very portable with intuitively designed base legs for security and stability.
Built-in USB port may lack the same durability as the rest of the lantern.
Offers several convenient features like various brightness levels, streamlined design, and SOS function. Budget-friendly price point.
Battery operated, but only requires 3 D batteries.
This lightweight, portable camping lantern not only produces light, but it can be used to charge your mobile devices as well. It features an impressive 20-hour runtime on low (5 hours on high).
Some users actually found this lantern to be too bright on the high setting.
A good choice for very dark settings thanks to the 1,500 lumens. Great for use around the house during blackouts. Also has 3 other light settings for when you need dimmer light.
Some of the parts feel flimsy, including the battery door that's prone to jamming or breaking. Takes 4 D batteries.
Produces soft, reliable light with 3 spring-loaded candles that last up to 9 hours. Effective for outdoor and indoor use. Available in 5 colors.
The unit gets a bit warm during use and the light output isn't too bright.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Whether you want a little extra lighting for your backyard oasis or some additional light to guide your outdoor adventures, there's a lantern to suit your needs. Lanterns come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from old-school kerosene lanterns to modern inflatable lanterns that are powered by the sun.
It’s wise to keep at least one lantern in your home and another in your garage. Having emergency lanterns in your car and basement could also prove useful.
There are various types of fuel-powered lanterns available. If you want a fuel-powered lantern, you’ll need to decide whether you want a lantern that runs on liquid fuel, propane, or butane. The first two are more fuel-efficient, but butane is more compact and easier to use. When making your selection, consider whether any other equipment you’ll be using takes fuel. For instance, if you’ll be using a camping stove powered by butane, it may make sense to purchase a butane-fueled lantern.
While a fuel-powered lantern has the advantage of producing a powerfully bright light, this type of lantern is quite noisy, and it carries safety risks. Note that a fuel-powered lantern should never be used inside of a tent or other enclosed space, as fuel-fed lanterns create heat and exhaust which could create a potentially dangerous situation.
Battery-powered lanterns are a safe alternative to fuel-powered lanterns. If you travel anywhere with a battery-powered lantern, make sure to bring extra batteries along. And if you purchase a lantern with a built-in rechargeable battery, take note of how long the battery is supposed to last. If you’ll be out in the wilderness for a while, bring a solar charger along.
Notably, battery-powered lanterns are not a good choice if you’ll be spending time in freezing temperatures. If you’re heading out for a wintertime adventure, a fuel-powered lantern is probably your best bet.
If you’re using a battery-powered lantern, it is very important to make sure you use the correct type of battery. You could damage or completely ruin a lantern by placing the wrong batteries (for example, lithium instead of alkaline) in it.
For those who are concerned about the environmental impact and safety risks associated with fuel-burning lanterns, solar-powered lanterns are a great alternative.
They're an excellent choice for outdoor adventures since all you need to power them is the sun. And for most outdoor experiences, there's plenty of sunlight to harness. Also, most solar-powered lanterns can run on backup battery power if needed.
Solar lanterns usually feature some kind of indicator to let you know they have reached a full charge. Solar lanterns also happen to be a lot lighter in weight than other options.
In addition to determining whether you want a lantern powered by fuel, battery, or the sun, keep the following factors in mind when shopping for a new lantern.
If you'll be using your lantern during different times of day or want to use it for various purposes, such as reading and lighting up a whole tent, make sure you have a way to dim the light.
An adjustable lantern is preferable, but some lanterns only come with an on/off switch.
Depending on your situation, you may have limited space to carry a lantern. If you're portaging or fastpacking, a compact, lightweight lantern is likely your best choice.
Some lanterns are inflatable. Some can be collapsed down for easy packing and transport.
The weight of your lantern matters most if you need it while you’re walking or hiking. If you’ll be traveling by car, a heavier lantern may not bother you.
Consider how much a lantern weighs before ordering or purchasing it.
If you're heading out for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to make sure the lantern you choose can run for as long as you need it to. Yes, you could keep spare fuel or batteries around just in case. But for most people, the best scenario is one in which the lantern that will run for as long as needed without adjustment.
You should overestimate the amount of time you'll need your lantern to run; better safe than sorry.
Keep in mind, the brighter the light you end up using, the less time your battery or fuel will last.
The following lantern features may not be absolutely necessary, but they are certainly nice to have.
For those who want to pack their lighting, a collapsible lantern is the best option. Some lanterns collapse entirely, while others may have folding handles that make them easier to store.
Some lanterns are waterproof or water-resistant. If you're heading out on a body of water or plan to hike in heavy rain, go for a waterproof model. Otherwise, a lantern that is water-resistant would probably work just fine.
Most lanterns come with a top handle that allows you to hang the device from a tent or other hook. An easy-grip handle is especially nice to have if you’ll be walking with it at any point.
Some lanterns come with tripod-like legs which makes the lantern easy to set anywhere.
For the rugged adventurer, clumsy outdoor-type, or child, a shockproof or shock-resistant lantern will ensure the lantern stays intact even if dropped, tossed, or otherwise mishandled.
How much should you expect to pay for a new lantern? That depends on the type you buy.
Battery operated LED lanterns are a good budget option. Some models cost less than $20.
Fuel-powered lanterns tend to be more expensive than battery-powered lanterns; these products usually retail for over $50. It's important to factor in the cost of fuel when budgeting for a fuel-powered lantern.
Most lanterns less than $10 and more than $200. Lanterns with a longer runtime, waterproofing, and shock-proofing will have higher price tags. Larger lanterns also tend to cost more.
Handled correctly, a lantern is a perfectly safe lighting option for camping and other outdoor activities. Keep these safety tips in mind when using a lantern:
If you want a lantern that you can use indoors or inside a tent, opt for a battery-operated model.
Avoid using a fuel-powered lantern near flammable materials.
Kids and fuel-powered lanterns don't mix.
With any fuel-burning option, be aware of the risk of fire. Use with care.
For battery-operated lanterns, make sure you’re using the right kind of battery for your device. Not all lanterns work with rechargeable batteries, and inserting the wrong kind of battery could damage or break your lantern.
Fuel-powered lanterns create dangerous exhaust and should not be used indoors. Use these lanterns in well-ventilated areas only.
Q. What's the advantage of a fuel-burning lantern over a lantern that uses battery power to run?
A. Fuel produces a stronger light, and there's no need to think about buying batteries or charging a fuel-fed lantern.
Q. Why use a lantern and not just a flashlight?
A. Unlike most flashlights, you can hang up a lantern, which allows for hands-free use. A lantern also produces a different pattern of light with a wider spread than a flashlight. The light of a lantern is not a concentrated beam, so it's perfect for illuminating larger areas.
Q. What about candle-powered lanterns? I've seen those sold at my hardware store. Are they useful?
A. Amy says that candle lanterns, though they may be aesthetically pleasing, don't produce enough light to be of much use in most situations. They also carry a higher fire risk than other options. Candle lanterns are best reserved for decorative purposes or for creating a relaxing backyard ambiance.
Q. What's an LED?
A. LED stands for “light emitting diode.” This type of bulb produces bright light without a yellow tint and requires less energy. LEDs won't burn out quickly like typical incandescent bulbs do, so you don't have to worry about your lantern burning out.
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