Scrambling round the house during a power cut searching for candles… getting back from a hiking trip later than expected and wondering how you’ll find your way home… trying to make it to the campsite toilets without falling over in the mud… there are so many scenarios that an LED lantern can help make that bit brighter.
Lanterns have come a long way since the old-fashioned glass lanterns that used to have flickering candles inside. Now, you can get different levels of brightness and various colors all from the same lamp. LED lanterns are the next step in the evolution of lanterns, with durable bulbs that can often have lifetimes so long they’ll never need to be replaced. They don’t waste energy by creating unwanted heat either, making them a much more efficient and eco-friendly option than other types of bulbs.
At A Glance: Our Top 3 Choices For LED Lantern
The current generation of LED lanterns ranges from your basic camping lamp to multicolored garden lanterns you can control from your phone. But don’t worry, we’ve scoured the options to bring you the best LED lanterns currently on the market to help you find the one that’s right for you.
Best Home Lantern
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Best Camping Lantern
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Introducing one of the most high-tech LED lanterns available, the BioLite BaseLantern. Say goodbye to the memory of old-fashion lanterns lining a dimly lit street… and hello to a new generation of lanterns.
This lantern is an excellent choice for home use thanks to the app that comes with it. This nifty feature lets you use your phone to choose from a range of lighting settings, including reading and kitchen, as well as a full spectrum of colors. Not only that, you can also add sleep timers and make the most of proximity activation so that you can control the light without even getting out of your sleeping bag. Don’t worry about draining your phone charge though, the app itself is low energy and you can charge your phone from the LED lantern itself since it doubles up as a 7800 mAh powerbank with two USB outlets (if you want a larger battery life, then opt for the XL model).
The appearance of the light is sleek and understated, and we love that the stainless-steel legs can fold away if they aren’t needed, adding to the simplicity of the design. This isn’t the lightest or most compact option out there, however, so it’s better suited to outdoor events and car camping trips rather than backpacking ones. It’s a little on the expensive side too, but this lantern really is one-of-a-kind and it’s easy to see why we think it’s one of the best LED lanterns out there.
We absolutely love the traditional design of the WeatherRite Lantern. With its wire-guarded glass globe and antique copper appearance, this LED lantern makes it a great addition to garden parties, weddings, and other outdoor events. Alternatively, you can take it away with you to create the perfect glamping vibe. The LED lights themselves are battery powered and are operated by a dimmer switch, so you can set the perfect ambiance wherever you are.
Although it isn’t waterproof and might not be designed for backpacking-style trips, it still has a decent run time of up to 48 hours and it’s surprisingly lightweight for its style. If you’re after something glamorous that will give you a decent amount of run time and won’t break the bank, then look no further than this.
Introducing the first of our best camping LED lanterns, the LUXPRO Waterproof Lantern. This LED lantern is the perfect companion for all the adventurous types out there. Nice and sturdy with a durable rubber base, it can handle being chucked in a backpack. It won’t weigh you down either, seeing as weighs in at less than half a pound. Fully waterproof, this lantern is perfect for those kayaking missions, boating adventures, or fishing trips that might go on until dusk. And don’t worry if your lantern takes a tumble overboard, not only is it waterproof but it floats too so you’ll be able to find it again no problem.
The LED light itself emits 360-degree light with 340 lumens of power behind it on high mode, which is more than we’d expect for its tiny size, and this can be reduced by switching to the medium or low mode if you want to save on power. Now comes one of our favorite parts… this lantern has a detachable flashlight built into the top that emits 145 lumens on high mode – not bad eh?
With a lanyard ring, magnetic base, metal hooks for hanging, and a carabiner ring, you can string this lamp up pretty much anywhere you like. It’s powered by four AAA batteries that come with the lantern saving you some pennies, although the lantern is very reasonably priced anyway. We definitely recommend this if you’re after something small, lightweight, and incredibly durable.
The Rayovac Sportsman LED lantern is available in both green and blue (we prefer the blue) and is a solid option for outdoor adventures.
It has three light modes – high, low, and strobe – and is made from 4 watt LEDs that can last for up to 100,000 hours before you need to think about replacing them. At its maximum, it emits 305 lumens of light and the beam distance is 18 meters. The battery life on high mode is pretty impressive at 70 hours – long enough for most trips – and this can be extended to 140 hours by switching to energy saver if you need to, making this a very versatile lamp.
Compact, durable, and water-resistant too, this lantern is travel-ready. Extra perks include a blinking green light so you can be sure to find your LED lantern if you misplace it around the camp or need it during a surprise power outage. Oh, and it comes with a lifetime warranty too. Unlike some of the other models we’ll look at, this lantern runs off battery power only and you can’t use it as a power bank. Other than that, we think this lantern is a top find and it has safely secured a spot in our list of the best camping LED lanterns.
The LE LED Camping Lantern is a fantastic option for outdoor trips. With warm light, white light, combined light, and flash mode options, you’ll be able to find the right lighting for the occasion – whether that’s a nice glow for the campsite or a flashing LED light to draw attention. The light also comes with a handle for when you’re on the go as well as hooks for when you’re setting up camp. There’s even a hook on the underside so you can hang it from a tent and maximize the light that shines down, and with 1000 lumens of brightness behind it, this will be all the light you need.
One of the things we like about this LED lantern is that it doubles up as a power bank for any other electricals that might need some extra juice. With a water-resistance rating of IP44, this light can withstand some splashes, but make sure you don’t leave it outside in a downpour. It does come with a 2-year warranty though in case you run into any other mishaps.
Overall, its high-end features and a lack of a high-end price tag are what have earnt it a place in our list of top camping LED lanterns.
We love this compact little number by Goal Zero for so many reasons. With 400 lumens of light behind it, this lantern is surprisingly bright for its size and offers 360-degree light. This can be reduced to 180 degrees though if you’re keen to save power, resulting in a run time that ranges from 2.5–48 hours.
The internal 4400mAh lithium battery can be charged via any USB port, but this is a two-way street and you can also use the LED lantern to charge other gadgets using a USB cable. Uniquely, this lantern also has an in-built hand crank that lets you charge it up manually, so you’ll never get caught in the dark – perfect for remote situations where electricity might not always be available. The handle is ideal for carrying and hanging too, and the legs can make a useful stand or be folded away for storage or travel.
At 1.1 lbs, the Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern isn’t as light as you might expect for its size, but we think it’s worth it for a compact lantern that will charge your phone, and even tablets, that you can rely on even under no-electricity circumstances.
We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the price tag of the Tansoren Camping Lantern, and that was before we realized it was a 2-pack… but don’t be suspicious of the price, this LED lantern really is a great addition to your camping gear.
Its major selling point is the fact it can be charged in not one, not two, but three different ways. Yes, that’s right, it features a solar panel for those off-grid situations, can be charged via USB, and can also run off three AA batteries. The 360-degree light runs for about 8 hours and there aren’t any low-power settings… but with so many options for charging this isn’t likely to cause you much trouble.
You can shave more than 5 inches off the height of this LED lantern thanks to its collapsible design and it also has a foldable handle, is water-resistant, and has hooks for hanging around the campsite, making it a great companion for outdoor trips. However, it’s also suited to home use during power cuts and is even wall-mountable.
A minor complaint is that there’s no light to indicate when the lantern is fully charged, which can be a bit of a pain sometimes. And bad luck Apple users… although most electronics can be charged from this lantern, sadly it isn’t compatible with Apple phones or tablets.
The Streamline Seige compact lantern uses four white and one red LEDs to bring you a range of light modes. With 340 lumens of light in high mode, 33 lumens in low mode, and 10 lumens on red mode, you can select the brightness you need. This also helps you to save power, with the switch from high to low light mode giving you an extended run time of 295 hours.
It’s also waterproof up to 1m, so you don’t need to panic if you get caught in a downpour, and is 2m impact tested. We also like that, unlike some other models, this lantern has a battery life indicator integrated into the power button, so you won’t find yourself in the darkness unexpectedly. Weighing just under a pound, this lantern is suitable for backpacking trips, and it has a super comfy handle so you can use it on-the-go too. It also has D rings positioned at the top and bottom so you can choose how you hang it around the campsite.
It would be nice if there was an additional way of charging this LED lantern, but otherwise, we think it’s a great bit of gear and it’s certainly one of our favorite camping LED lanterns.
Solar or battery powered? Low weight versus lots of lumens? Can you charge your phone from your lantern? Can you hang it up easily? Can you choose the brightness? We know there are lots of things to consider when choosing the right LED lantern for you, so we’ve put together a list of some key things to weigh up when you’re making that big decision.
Personally, this is one of the first things I look for in a lantern. I tend to go for options that have at least two ways of being charged because you never know when the electricity might cut out or one of your batteries might turn out to be a dud. Solar is a great eco-friendly option but is obviously dependent on the weather. Charging via USB is handy and barely costs you anything, but if you’re in an off-grid situation and your LED light cuts out then you could be in trouble. Battery-powered lanterns have the advantage that you can take spares with you, but this adds to the weight and you never know exactly how many you’ll need. You’ll have to have a think about the situations you’re likely to get yourself into, but there’s no harm in choosing a lantern with two charging options – better safe than sorry after all.
It’s great to have a lantern with various lighting modes. Some have dimmers, some have predefined ‘high’, ‘medium’, and ’low’ settings, and others have a full spectrum of colors available. If you’ll be using your lantern to trailblaze as well as set the mood around the campsite in the evening, you’ll want both a high and low setting. If your lantern is intended for use at garden parties or other outdoor events, you might want to go for something that a range of funky colors available so you can use it at multiple events. But if all you’re after is something to hang from the top of your tent at night then this becomes less of an issue, so you’ll have to decide how important this is.
If you’re going to be lugging your lantern around on your back its size and weight are likely to be a big factor when you’re shopping around. Alternatively, if you’ll be using it at home or taking it on vehicle-based trips it’s probably less important. If you’re shopping online, make sure you check the weight properly, as sometimes even the smallest lanterns are excessively heavy. If you want something you can use on-the-go as well as when you’re stationary, keep your eye out for decent handles as well as lanterns that have detachable torches.
As you’ve seen, there’s often more to a lantern than meets the eye. If you’ll be using your lantern on camping trips, two of the most obvious extra features to look for are some kind of water resistance and lamp that double up as power banks for your phone and other gadgets. If you want something to use at parties, then you might like a lantern you can control from your phone – some even have in-built speakers – or something with a unique design. With such a range of lanterns out there, choosing one can be overwhelming. We’d recommend having a think about your top priorities before you start window shopping.
So you’ve seen a selection of lanterns, and you know what to keep your eye on when you’re shopping around, but which lanterns would we go for?
Our top pick if you’re on a budget is the Tansoren Camping Lantern. The fact it can run off three different power supplies makes it an absolute winner in our book – something not even some of the most expensive lanterns can boast. By using the solar and USB rechargeable options you’ll save some extra cash by avoiding buying batteries too. We also love that its collapsible to make it more compact for backpacking. And if that wasn’t enough… it’s two for the price of one!
Our best LED lantern for use at home is the BioLite BaseLantern. Yes… we know it’s a little on the expensive side, but we just can’t resist. With an entire color spectrum available, you can switch from orange on Halloween to green on Christmas to red on Valentine’s day… we could go on forever.
We also love that you can program it using your phone, so if you want to dim the lights you can do it nice and subtly. It certainly isn’t a small lantern, but why would you want it to be? Surely you want to show off something this nice. Just don’t try and pop it your backpack…
Our absolute favorite LED light for camping is the LUXPRO Waterproof Lantern, which is coincidentally also one of the cheapest – proof that you shouldn’t judge quality by a price tag. It’s super lightweight and very small, so you can pop it in the side pocket of your backpack and not even know it’s there… except for the light radiating from it of course.
It’s entirely waterproof so makes for one less thing to worry about if you’re caught in torrential rain, slip in a river, or capsize your kayak. And if you need to sneak to the toilet in the middle of the night you can pop out the flashlight built into the top for a more discreet light beam. It also comes with an elaborate set of implements to hang it with, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding where to place it around the campsite.
Our only complaint is that it runs off batteries only… but all things considered, there is absolutely no way we’d let this stop us from purchasing one of these.