Best Emergency Lights
If an emergency were ever to happen the first thing that most likely would go out are the lights. Without light, we can get quite lost, as we as humans are not built to see that clearly in the dark. Having an emergency source of light stored in an area that is accessible in the event of an emergency.
Now if you have thought about this before then you most likely already have an emergency light. However, if you are looking to purchase a couple to put around your house to be prepared for any future emergency, then you have come to the right place. Scouring the web trying to find the best emergency light sources for your home can be overwhelming as there are so many options. Let us shine some light on your purchase options with our review of the top ten emergency lights.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
You can use either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline
Features a dial that allows you to adjust the brightness
Has a bail handle which makes it suitable for hanging
- Coleman Lantern
- MPowerd Luci Solar
- Streamlight Protac
- Oxyled Flashlight
- Streamlight Siege
- AYL Starlight
- Agptek Solar
- Etekcity LED
- Amerelle Slimline Lite
- Avalon LED
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top Ten Emergency Lights
1. Coleman Lantern
You can use either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline
Features a dial that allows you to adjust the brightness
Has a bail handle which makes it suitable for hanging
The glass globe is susceptible to cracking and damage
This is another unique design and instead of needing power from batteries or the sun, this dual-fuel lantern from Coleman can be run off of either Coleman liquid fuel (which is white gas) or unleaded gasoline. Then, to start, all it takes is a quick match strike.Read more
While you do have control of the brightness, thanks to the adjustable control knob on the front of the lantern, the maximum output this can achieve is 700 lumens of light.
After you have poured your choice of fuel source into the tank, all you need to do to power it is to use a quick match strike.
No assembly is required with this lantern and it actually comes with a hard carry case, which is a nice bonus. As for the design, it features all-season technology making it suitable for operation under any weather condition. But, the glass globe can be susceptible to breaking.
As mentioned earlier, the choice is yours from either unleaded gasoline or Coleman fuel (although the latter is more efficient). Using one gallon of fuel should net you over five hours of light on high and over 13 hours on low.
One could simply set this on any sturdy surface as it is a lantern. However, thanks to the bail handle, it is also feasible to hang this up to provide a wider illumination.
The fact that this utilizes fuel instead of batteries will either appeal to you or appall you. But, just know that no matter what your preference is on this there is enough quality to warrant an investment.
2. MPowerd Luci Solar
It is durable, reliable and also waterproof
Features 10 powerful LED lights
The use of batteries is not necessary as this is solely solar powered
It does take a considerable amount of time to charge
Who needs to worry about batteries when you have the power of solar energy? The Solar Light from MPOWERD is indeed powered by the energy from the sun and while it takes a decent amount of time to build up its charge, it is loaded with convenience.Read more
There are a total of 10 LEDs inside of this solar light. However, it is up to you how the light is outputted. There are modes for bright, super bright and one-second flashing.
Right next to the solar panel, you will see a battery level indicator. This allows you to monitor the battery level so you know exactly when you need more power from the sunlight.
The construction of this solar light is one of its bright spots, no pun intended. When it is not collapsed and is functional, it is both durable and waterproof. However, when not in use, it can collapse down flat to one inch.
Only the sun is needed to charge this device. The downside to this, clearly, is without the sun there is no way to charge it up making it ideal to charge beforehand when you do have access to the sun. It takes around seven hours to charge and can last up to 12 hours.
Indeed, this is perfect for emergency situations but it could even be used as a terrific light source for your garden, for camping, barbecues, and deck.
The naysayers out there will point to the issues of the long charging time and the lack of being able to charge the light without the sun. Granted, these are fair issues to bring up but when you look at the product as a whole, the good far outweighs the bad.
3. Streamlight Protac
The exterior is impervious to shock
It combines a small size with an impressive light output
There are three lighting methods (high, low and strobe)
Does not feature an indicator when the battery becomes low
Streamlight is a well-known manufacturer when it comes to flashlights and lanterns. They have designed some of the best models in the world and their ProTac 2L Flashlight is possibly the best product they have ever produced.Read more
Three different modes can be chosen from, high, low, and strobe, and each can better accommodate a certain situation. On high, you are provided with 260 lumens of light and on low, this drops down to 13 lumens.
A nice feature is the multi-functional push-button that allows you to operate this flashlight with only one hand. However, an issue that can’t be ignored is the lack of a low-battery indicator.
Good luck damaging this flashlight. Being built with an impact-resistant tempered glass lens and anodized aluminum, making it impervious to shock, it is beyond durable. In addition, it is O-ring sealed and waterproof per IPX7 standards.
Included with your purchase are two lithium-ion batteries that are required to power this flashlight. On high, they could run for three straight hours. But, using the low or strobe settings can get you up to 50 hours and 6 hours, respectively.
Due to the heavy-duty construction, this is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Yet, it is a flashlight and is primarily optimized for handheld use.
This light may not be able to illuminate an entire room but due to its durability and convenience, it can become a necessity in times where light is not an option.
4. Oxyled Flashlight
Is water-resistant per IPX-6 standards
The lithium-ion battery has built-in overcharge protection
Built with an anti-abrasive coating and anti-reflective coating
1800 mAh battery is not the most powerful
Another flashlight is up and to be blunt about it, it is built like an absolute beast. Due to its heavy-duty construction and water-resistance, this can handle any type of adventure that you take it on which can be ideal for emergencies.Read more
At its maximum, this flashlight can reach 500 lumens of light. Every situation may not require that much power, though, and that is why there are five different lighting modes to select from.
When you turn off this tactical flashlight and turn it on again, the system remembers the last lighting mode it was on. Past this, the integrated lithium-ion battery has built-in protection from overcharging.
The word tactical is more than apropos for this flashlight. It has an anti-abrasive coating, water-resistant level of IPX6, and a premium hard-anodized and aircraft-grade alloy build.
If the integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery runs out, you can also power this with three AAA batteries. The latter may be necessary as at 1800 mAh, the included battery is fairly weak.
Whether you want to use this indoors or outdoors, it is built to withstand both. But, past being used as a handheld, it does not do much else.
As soon as you hold this flashlight in your hands, you will begin to understand how indestructible it feels. The included lithium-ion battery could have been better but with the option for AAA batteries, you can look past this.
5. Streamlight Siege
Features a night vision mode
Is waterproof per IPX7 standards
The outer globe can be removed
In the dark, the on/off switch is hard to locate
Streamlight has made their way back onto this list and it did not take too long. This time, their Siege Lantern is under the spotlight and even though some users have complained about a poor battery life, it is well-received as a whole.Read more
With the reflector, this lantern is able to create an intense beam of light with a maximum output of 200 lumens. To maximize the battery life in a true emergency situation, there is a night vision mode. Also, in total, there are five different lighting modes.
Built into the on and off switch is a battery level indicator. When the batteries are nearly dead, the light will start flashing red. Additionally, the recessed power button prevents accidental activation.
Streamlight does not mess around when constructing their lights. This specific lantern is made with corrosion-resistant and abrasion-resistant anodized aircraft aluminum. Plus, it is waterproof and can be submerged in depths of one meter.
This has been designed to operate with the power of three D batteries. Yet, as a few reviewers have brought up, the battery life is not great and on high, a maximum of three hours is the best you will get.
Streamlight designed this lantern with an outer globe and it can be removed. When you do remove it, you can then presume to hang the body upside down from the D-rings.
If you stumble across a light that has been manufactured by Streamlight, you know that it has been designed with the utmost quality, generally speaking. Their Siege Lantern is built like a tank and loaded with design features.
6. AYL Starlight
Comes with three different lighting modes
The body is reinforced with plastic and rubber molding
Includes a removable convex reflector cap
Difficult when removing the battery compartment
The AYL Starlight Lantern deserves recognition for its performance alone. Add on to it the fact that it has plastic molding and rubber for maximum water-resistance, and it becomes clear that this is one of the best products of its kind.Read more
As most high-quality lights on the market, this lantern utilizes LED bulbs for its lighting. There are three different modes you can switch through (low, high and strobe) and at its peak, it can output 600 lumens of light.
To ensure you never lose this lantern, there is an integrated green LED indicator. In addition to this, a removable convex reflector cap comes with this lantern to provide 360-degree lighting. When removed, enhanced focus lighting can be achieved.
Because this design is reinforced with both plastic and rubber molding, it is able to maintain a water-resistant exterior. Also, the exterior is shockproof.
Utilizing a single set of three D batteries, this is advertised to run for six full days. Clearly, do not expect to run this lantern on high for that long.
Thanks to the hook that is implemented at the bottom of this lantern, it is simple and hassle-free to set it up in virtually any place.
While not everything is as good as it seems, with reported issues of sturdiness and a stubborn battery compartment, the lighting capabilities and sustained performance of the StarLight will appeal to any and all people.
7. Agptek Solar
Has an integrated USB charging port
Features built-in solar panels
Can be powered five different ways
Not the best for sitting at the table as the light shines horizontally into your eyes
Lanterns, in and of themselves, are great for emergencies. However, what makes this specific lantern stand out is its five different charging methods. As such, you should never be left without a feasible means of powering this lantern.Read more
There are two integrated brightness modes and each can adapt to different situations. You have a bright mode, which is ideal for normal use, and a super bright mode for times where you need more light.
Specific lights will indicate the current battery level of the lantern. Also, there is a USB charging port that allows you to charge your USB-enabled devices.
The main portion of this lantern is made from black ABS plastic, while the light housing is designed from chrome plastic. Finally, there is a matte texture finish.
Unbelievably enough, you have five different charging methods that you can use for powering this device. Either via solar energy, the integrated crank, a car adapter, an AC adapter, or with three AA batteries, you can power this lantern.
AGPtek designed a handle on top of their lantern and this easily allows you to hang it from above.
Even if you had no other means of charging this, you could power it with the hand crank. The ability to have five different charging methods is worth admission alone, there is no doubt.
8. Etekcity LED
Includes 30 LED bulbs and produces 360 degrees of light
Features a military-grade exterior
When in storage, its collapsible design takes up less space
Its lighting lacks some direction and depth
There is a reason why so many users have raved about their experiences with the Etekcity LED Lantern. It is not only capable of delivering a high-output of light but it can also withstand moderate abuse and collapse for storage.Read more
Every side and angle of this lantern is illuminated with LED bulbs providing you with 360 degrees of luminous light. All in all, there are 30 LED bulbs to deliver brightness.
While this lantern is not loaded with design features, when you pull up on the handles the lantern will turn on. If pulled up completely, you are then provided with 360 degrees of light.
Etekcity designed this with durability in mind and that is clearly evident when you address the military-grade exterior. It is built to withstand abuse but for more practicality, it is also water-resistant.
This runs off of three AA batteries and they are included with your purchase. As far as runtime, it is designed to deliver maximum brightness for eight hours and then low brightness for four hours.
As soon as you glance at an image of this lantern, it becomes apparent how easy it is to hang it up. Or, if you want, it can easily sit on a table. Also, when you are not using it, its collapsible design takes up less space.
This lantern may not initially strike you as one that is so masterfully designed but when you begin to analyze all its features and benefits, you will begin to understand. In fact, it is just about perfect for anything you can think of.
9. Amerelle Slimline Lite
The LED lights turn on when the power goes out
Can be used as a standalone flashlight
Has an exceptional battery life
Cou.d be built stronger
This next emergency light is almost a hybrid of different types of lights. It can be used as a flashlight, as illumination while it is plugged in, and features an incredible battery life.Read more
Using LED lights on both the top and the front, this will power on as soon as the power goes out. You can utilize both lighting methods once the unit has been unplugged from the wall.
The most noteworthy feature of this LED light is that once the power goes out, this will automatically turn on when it is plugged into the wall.
As one user pointed out, the illustration of this light may not be what it actually is. Unfortunately, they mention how the build quality feels rather cheap and that there is too much plastic.
Clearly, this is one of the highlights of the Slimline Lite. It has a built-in NiMH battery that can be charged via a wall outlet. On a full charge, you can easily get up to 24 hours of battery life.
Versatility is what this light is all about as not only can it be used as a light source as it is plugged in but it can also be utilized as a standalone flashlight.
In a perfect world, the build quality of the Slimline Lite would have been improved. Beggars can’t be choosers, though, so you must live with it. But, it is made easier because of the sensational battery life and features.
10. Avalon LED
Works great as a nightlight as it detects movement and powers on
Has LED lighting on the front as well as the top
As soon as the power goes out, this will power on
The motion sensor is not the best
Despite some design flaws that prevent it from ascending any higher on this list, the Avalon LED Flashlight is not your standard flashlight. It is not only a motion sensor, detecting movement and then powering on, but also highly versatile because of its integrated front and top LED lights.Read more
With integrated lights on both the front and the top, an optimal amount of brightness and lighting is provided for you.
Even though various users have questioned its accuracy, motion sensor technology is designed into this device. Once it detects movement, it will automatically power on.
Due to its lightweight nature and rounded shape, it fits comfortably in your hand. Additionally, the shell is made up of white and silver plastic.
You need to utilize the docking station to charge this LED flashlight. Unfortunately, some reviewers have claimed that the battery life leaves a lot to be desired.
When it is out of its base, the integrated lights on the top allow it to be used as a flashlight. However, there are also 15 LED light bulbs on the front making it suitable to work as a nightlight.
Some design flaws aside, this is a solid way to cap off this impressive list of emergency lights. It may not be the best but when you need it the most, it will deliver the goods.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If you have come here today looking for an emergency light, then you probably are seeking one that can deliver an optimal amount of light for you. Typically, you will need an emergency light that illuminates meters upon meters of land. But, you still want it to provide you with enough light as that is the entire point. A good reference for you is the lumen output that the light has. This is the metric that is used to determine the measure of visible light that a product can produce. Clearly, the higher the lumens the brighter the light but the intensity can also come in to play.
Would you rather have an intense beam of light or 360 degrees of light? Better yet, how about a light that allows for both? Also, how about the lighting modes that light has? You may not always want to use it on its highest setting so having the options for low and strobe, for example, can be beneficial. In addition, this can also allow you to maximize the battery life. Lastly, it is no coincidence that the emergency lights documented above utilize LED bulbs as they have clear advantages in durability, energy efficiency, and lifespan.
Any type of light will live and die by its pure performance as a light source. Thus, making the previous section arguably the most important out of this entire guide. However, with that being said, there is much more than goes into emergency lights. For starters, how about the types of additional design features that are integrated into them? A good example of a common design feature and one that can be extremely beneficial for you is a low-battery indicator light.
It can really be as simple as the indicator light changing from green to red when the battery gets low. Of course, more sophisticated models may have indicators for high battery, medium battery, low battery, and dangerously low battery. Without this, you will have no indication of how much longer your light can be powered. But, some emergency lights will be designed to automatically turn on when they either detect motion or the power goes out. These are two nice, albeit non-mandatory, features to have.
When you are gathering products and items to help you be further prepared for an emergency, you are probably not going to use them right away. In addition, when an emergency does strike, you want your equipment to be reliable. What are both of these points getting at? It is simple; you will want a light source that is durable and well-built. How do you ensure this happens? The first aspect you should analyze is if you accidentally drop the light, will it become damaged?
For example, if the light is designed with anodized aluminum and protected with an impact-resistant tempered glass, it will probably withstand your drop (depending on the severity). But, if it is constructed with cheap plastic, it may crack or even break. Next, its tolerability to water is also important. In some situations, you may need to use a light source in the pouring rain. Ensuring that your current light is sealed to be waterproof or at least designed to resist water is vital. Finally, you can also assess its portability and if it can be collapsed for easier transport.
There is more than one way to skin a cat and that expression personifies some emergency lights. In other words, some models will be designed with the ability to be powered by more than one power source. As an example, a light may have a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and when this runs low on battery, it may have an additional compartment for AA batteries. This then provides you with a backup power source. Speaking of which, there are different power sources that you can look out for.
Besides the two that were just mentioned, solar energy is also very popular. With this type of power, you do not need to store batteries and simply need the rays of the sun. Of course, the downside to this is you can’t charge the light if the sun does not come out of hiding (if it is the only power source). Yet, perhaps none of this matters if the battery life is not sufficient. Prioritizing a light source that has a more efficient battery may be in the cards, as well.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking for light during an emergency situation if you can have a lantern on hand, this will be your best way of illumination due to the fact that they do not need to be charged when the power is out. Granted, your lantern will be able to run only as long as you have fuel - so it's wise to store these two things together for easy access.
Other Factors to Consider
The last design aspect you need to pay attention to is the versatility of your emergency light. A flashlight is a terrific emergency light to have but sometimes, you need more than a handheld light. In this case, a lantern that can be sat on a table and hung from the ceiling may prove to be more beneficial to you. Say you wanted to use this light around the table, these capabilities would allow you to do so.
In addition to this, this is where the weather-resistance of lights comes into play. With proper waterproofness or resistance, they become suitable during a storm if you needed to use them outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are Tactical Flashlights Legal?
Even though some people may be scratching their heads that this is a question, others may not be 100 percent sure. After all, the word tactical is in relation to military use. So, one may think that only the military has permission to use them. However, this is far from the truth as tactical flashlights are most definitely legal for you to use. Do not get confused and think that these flashlights also possess the capability of firing off bullets. When flashlights are classified as being tactical, it just means that they are typically built to be stronger and more durable than standard flashlights.
Oftentimes, these are preferred for emergencies as they will stand up to abuse more than a regular flashlight will. Given that you never know what an emergency will have in store, this can be vital.
q: Will Emergency Lights Burn Your Skin?
The reasoning behind most, if not all, of the great emergency lights using LED lights, was briefly addressed earlier. However, this question is a grand example of why this happens to be the case. As opposed to other types of lights, LED lights emit little to no heat, even when they are running for a substantial amount of time. Now, they may eventually get warm but they will never be so hot that they could burn your skin.
However, does that mean that LED flashlights and lanterns are impervious to heat? No, it does not and there is still an area of concern. The LED bulbs may not be an issue but sometimes the casing on the outside can heat up on hotter days. In this case, especially with a flashlight, they may become a little too hot to handle.
q: Should You Keep Batteries Stored Inside of Emergency Lights?
Here is where knowing a little something about batteries and their nature is important. One may assume that they can leave their batteries inside of their lights without any negative repercussions. The problem is; this is not the way it works. Under no circumstance should you leave your batteries inside of your light for an extended period of time when you are not using it.
The reason for this is because batteries will self-discharge over time and in extreme cases, they could start leaking and begin to corrode the metal. Clearly, you want to avoid this happening. As such, what you should do is store your batteries in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. Better yet, keep the original packaging and keep them there. If you have already thrown it away, though, any place where they are not exposed to moisture and heat should be fine.
q: Can Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Weather?
Some of the lights that made their way on this list utilize solar panel technology. As you already know, this means they absorb the light from the sun and convert that light into usable energy and power. Because of this, they will need the sun to be exposed to gather the energy. Yet, this begs the question; can solar panels still gather that necessary energy if the sun is covered by clouds?
Obviously, it is optimal that you charge solar panels on a bright and sunny day. That does not mean, however, that they can’t charge on cloudy days. Unfortunately, though, you can expect them to produce around a third of what they would on a fully-sunny day. So, if it takes a light seven hours to charge on a sunny day, expect it to take around 20 hours on a cloudy day. Yeah, that is not exactly ideal.
q: What is the Lifespan of LED Lights?
The number one reason why people opt for LED lights is that of their lifespan. In the case that you are investing in any sort of light for an emergency situation, this becomes enhanced. The last thing you want is for your emergency light to die when you need it the most. Of course, other components will come into play in determining the shelf life (such as the battery and the internal design) but the bulbs do, as well.
You have probably heard this number before if you know anything about LED lighting. In general, it is said that LEDs have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours. That is a ridiculous amount of time but as you should know, this is not always going to be the case. A good example of a factor that can decrease this lifespan is if the LED bulbs have been exposed to hotter climates and environments. When LEDs are forced to withstand more heat than they were designed to, their lifespan will shorten.
q: Where Should You Store Emergency Flashlights?
Sometimes, it is the little things in life that make a difference. Such is the case with this next question as you should have a clear understanding of where to store the emergency light (or lights) that you buy. One may think anywhere would suffice but given that they are intended to be used for emergencies, you should store them in a location that is readily accessible at all times. After all, you may be stuck looking for it in the dark if the power goes out at night.
A few recommendations would be to either keep them in a separate closet or underneath your bed. The latter may be easier as not everyone will have empty cupboard space that they can utilize. Under the bed should work perfectly as you know it will never get misplaced. But, as was just mentioned with the batteries, you should store them in a dry and cool location.