Best LED Lanterns
Whether you are planning a camping trip, want to be prepared for all emergencies, or simply require a reliable means of lighting, lanterns can be a godsend to mankind. But, let’s be honest, there is nothing that quite tops a LED lantern. LEDs hold so many advantages over the competition, including safety as they are much cooler than incandescent lights, more durable, and have an extremely long lifespan.
The days of fuel-burning lanterns and unscented candles are long gone. Step out of the darkness and into the light with an LED lantern. LED lanterns can be beneficial, and sometimes even necessary, in a number of situations. Be it a power outage caused by weather, a downed cable line, or camping in the wilderness. Some people think that a light is just a light, but you will soon learn, with our list, of all the innovative and techy workings of modern-day lanterns. Of course, each LED lantern will possess differing lighting capabilities, battery life, and compactness. As such, there are several that stand out and the following ten exuberate that very well. If you still find yourself feeling in the dark after checking out our list of the top ten LED lanterns, take a look at the Criteria section and FAQ.
- Streamlight Siege
- Removable outer globe
- UST 30-day
- Removable globe
- Impact resistant
- Optimal lighting
- LED indicator
10 Best LED Lanterns
With a max light output of 540 lumens and 360 degrees of light covered, the emanating light that this lantern produces is phenomenal. All in all, there are four white C4 LEDs and one red C4 LED lights.
Construction and Durability
No doubt, this lantern is designed to take a beating and remain functional. It has been tested to withstand impacts of two meters, has unbreakable polycarbonate lenses and is waterproof per IPX7 standards.
As a total, there are five different lighting modes for you to utilize. This includes high (540 lumens), medium (275 lumens), low (55 lumens), and red and SOS flashing modes. The red, or night-vision mode, can be used for emergency situations as it hardly sucks any juice.
To power this LED lantern, you will need three D-Cell Alkaline batteries. On the interface of the lantern is a battery level indicator which will inform you of your current battery level (either green, yellow or red). If used on low, you could feasibly get up to 295 hours of use.
As compared to other portable lanterns, this could be classified as a little large. However, at 1.9 pounds and 4 x 4 x 7.2 inches, it will still make for easy transport.
When it comes down to it, the Siege LED Lantern combines all the good things that you look for in this type of product. This includes its high-degree of lighting prowess, a plethora of lighting modes and highly-durable workmanship.
- The D-Rings on both the top and bottom allow it to be hung up
- The outer globe can be removed if needed
- Features a nearly unbreakable polycarbonate lens
- The opaque lens can deter the vividness of the LED light
Indeed, at its highest setting, this can produce 700 lumens of light which is highly impressive. This is achieved via the three, 1.4-watt LED bulbs.
Construction and Durability
UST ensured that their series of Duro Lanterns, with this being the 30-day version, would hold up to the elements. Thanks to the rubberized ABS housing, impact-resistance, and IPX4 water-resistance, this is designed to last.
Besides providing you with the standard modes of high, medium, and low, there is also an SOS flashing mode. In an emergency situation, this will signal your location. In addition, it has a built-in recessed hook that allows it to be hung as a downlight.
If you really needed to, you could run this lantern on low for up to 30 days. Of course, the higher the setting the lower the battery life will be. High could get you up to 22 hours, while medium up to 106 hours. Also included is 3 LED light bulbs that will never burn out. This lantern is powered by 3 D-Alkaline batteries, which are not included.
Much like the previous lantern, there are not specific design integrations that account for compactness. But, its natural size of just over a pound and five inches all around, it would still qualify under the word “compact”.
It is times like these where you just sit back and marvel at what you are looking at. A few minor, and yes, they are incredibly minor, caveats hold this back from the top-spot but alas, it is as amazing as it gets.
- Features a built-in recessed hook
- Includes a removable globe
- Built to last with its impact-resistance and rubberized ABS housing
- The on/off button can easily be switched on by accident
- Inserting the batteries can prove a hassle
There are a few different options at your disposal; including maximum lumen outputs of 300, 350 and 500. No matter which, each lantern sports a convex reflector that provides optimal lighting and reflection.
Construction and Durability
For the utmost durability and long-lasting nature, this light features a sturdy rubber and plastic molding. Even more so, the lantern is water-resistant.
Not only are there three different settings for light output but there is also an energy-efficient mode. In addition to all this, the top can be removed for forwarding lighting.
For the 300 lumens version, the LED light can be used continuously for up to six days. Of course, the 350 and 500-lumen version will feature a slightly shorter time.
The Supernova LED Lantern is a little bit smaller than other lanterns at just under one pound and 3.2 x 3.2 x 7.2 inches in dimensions.
It is worth noting that various users have questioned the actual output of light emitted from this lantern. Perhaps, it may be a little less than advertised but, it still remains one of the best options out there.
- The 300-lumen lantern can run up to six days
- Features a slow-pulse LED indicator light to be seen during an emergency
- Its convex reflector provides both optimal reflection and lighting
- Some users have claimed the lantern does not deliver its advertised brightness
Black Diamond Apollo
Given the fact that at its peak, this can only produce 250 lumens of light you may think this is only average in this respect. But the unique design casts an even, warm glow which lights an area well but is comfortable enough to look at.
Construction and Durability
The Apollo is definitely sturdy and well-made. It is splash resistant and will even stand up to some light rain.
The Apollo runs off of a rechargeable internal 2600 mA battery with an extra compartment for 3 AA backup batteries. There are two sets of "charge remaining" indicators that is helpful to for monitoring your charge. At maximum brightness, the lantern runs for 6 hours off of the internal battery and then will switch to AAs and run for another 18 hours. This is a great feature that allows you to recharge via an included micro-USB cable
The idea of combining four portable lanterns into one is resourceful. However, this is a bit on the heavy and large side. At over two pounds and 7.7 x 7.8 x 12.9 inches in dimensions, you can see why.
The Apollo is a solid purchase for those looking for a long-lasting and durable LED lantern. It will last you a while with its great battery life, additional battery pack, charging port, and great durability.
- Rubber-tipped legs
- Dimming feature
- Easy to Use
- Able to charge via USB
- Hook for hanging
- Could be brighter
Goal Zero Lighthouse 400
Due to its design, you can utilize 360 degrees of bright LED light. At its peak, this is capable of outputting 400 lumens of light.
Construction and Durability
The overall construction seems to be up-to-par but it is worth noting that the charging handle can be concerning in terms of durability. As one user noted, a heavier duty version would have been appreciated.
In times where you do not need all 400 lumens that this lantern dishes out, you can opt to merely illuminate only half of the lantern. You can make this adjustment in either the high or low setting.
When both sides of the lantern are emitting light, it can last up to 2.5 hours on high and 24 hours on low. This total gets more than doubled when only half of the lantern is illuminated.
Because of the collapsible legs, it is easy to stand this lantern up and to store it away. As it folds down, it is also an ideal travel companion.
If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind LED lantern, this may be the lucky ticket. After all, its unique collapsible legs, the capability of charging your USB devices, and ability to emit only half the lantern all combine to make it stand out from the rest.
- Features both turbo and dimmable settings
- The USB power bank is capable of charging USB devices
- A hand-crank is included and it can power the lantern for a brief moment
- Not the longest charging cable
- The charging handle could have been built better
When you need the most light this lantern can emit, it can dish out 400 lumens. While not the brightest on the market, it should suffice for most situations.
Construction and Durability
Being designed with military-grade rubber and plastic molds, this LED lantern can withstand drops of up to five feet in height. In addition, it is also water-resistant per IPX6 standards.
To maximize the battery life, you can run this lantern on low. Past this, there are also built-in emergency features such as an SOS beacon light and a red hazard light.
Even when you are not powering this light source, it can hold its charge for up to nine months. If need be, you could extend the battery life for up to 200 hours on the lowest setting (and 526 hours with the red hazard light). One negative point of this light is that it can not be used while being charged.
Overall, the weight and dimensions make this a highly-portable lantern. It will not reduce in size, but this is not too big of a deal. The lantern itself only weighs 1.3 pounds.
For whatever reason, the charger that is needed to provide battery life to this device is not included. Problem is, it is needed as this does not accept disposable batteries. Notwithstanding this, given you buy the charger, everything should be right as rain.
- This can be charged from any USB charger
- The USB ports can also charge smartphones
- It is both water and drop-resistant and built like a beast
- You can’t use disposable batteries
- Does not include the charger
There are 30 individual LED light bulbs inside of this lantern and overall, it can emit 100 lumens of light. Some users have claimed that the light is actually too bright to look directly at, but who turns on a light to stare at it? This device is not capable of lighting a forest but it will suffice for small needs.
Construction and Durability
Despite its limitation when it comes to lighting, the construction is as good as it gets. Being designed with military-grade materials, it packs a punch and can handle most backcountry endeavors. There is also a foldaway handle at the top, for easy carrying or to hang the lamp from a tree.
There are actually no buttons on the interface of this lantern. Instead, you manually control the brightness level based on the height. The more you raise the lantern, the more light will be produced.
Admittedly, this is another area where this light source is limited. As there are no lighting settings for you to select from, this will last around 12 hours of continuous use, no matter what.
Thanks to its ability to be collapsed, traveling with this light is simple and one of its biggest selling points.
The simplicity of this lantern must be marveled at but naysayers will state, it is too limited when it comes to its lighting capabilities. There is no argument here but the reality is, it is almost perfect for minimalists.
- Features highly efficient LED lights
- Includes a foldaway handle
- The brightness can be adjusted via the height
- Limited in its lighting capabilities
Black Diamond Titan
Both the dual reflectors and frosted globe manage to effectively capture and emit LED lighting. At its maximum, this can produce 250 lumens of light.
Construction and Durability
To prevent this lantern from moving or slipping, the base has rubber accents that stabilize it. Also, it is water-resistant per IPX4 standards meaning it is suitable for light rain and splashes.
With an integrated dimming switch, which is simply activated by holding down the on/off power button, you can fine-tune your lighting. Also, there are modes for high and low.
It is required to buy 4 D-Cell batteries separately to power the Titan Lantern. Doing so will provide up to 24 hours of runtime on high and 168 hours on low. While it is more expensive at first, we recommend rechargeable batteries. Having two sets is ideal so that you can use your light for your entire excursion without worry.
This is a bit heavier than other portable lanterns but even so, its collapsible design is one of its most noteworthy features. When traveling, this will reduce the bulkiness of the lantern and protect it from accidental activation.
Honestly, it is difficult to question the brilliance of this product. Perhaps, you may be worried that there are not enough lighting modes but that is a matter of your preference.
- Features a collapsible design
- Integrates a double-hook hanging system on the top
- The battery life indicator informs you of the current level
- Is heavier than other models
- Can be limited in terms of lighting modes
Black Diamond Voyager
When in lantern mode, the dual reflector system maximizes the amount of light output. Overall, while not amazing, you could get up to 140 lumens of light on the max setting.
Construction and Durability
Some users have stated that they worry about the durability in the long run; but, its IPX4 water-resistance and rubber feet for stabilization are certainly nice additions.
Not only is there a dimming option available for you, you can utilize this is either a lantern or standalone flashlight. The LED lights on the bottom act as your flashlight and produce 50 lumens of light.
On high, the lantern will last around 13 hours and the flashlight for as long as 65 hours. However, these numbers are enhanced to 100 hours when used in low-mode.
Black Diamond ensures that their Voyage Lantern is easily transportable. This is thanks to its collapsible design as it can be reduced to 105 millimeters in terms of height.
Several features make this a go-to lantern including its collapsible design and use as a flashlight. It is an ideal light to keep in your garage, car, backpack or office.
- Has a dual reflector system which captures and maximizes light
- Can be used as both a lantern and a flashlight
- Features a collapsible design for easy transport
- One could be worried about the build quality
With the 30 LED bulbs inside of this device, it is capable of releasing up to 60 lumens of light at its maximum setting. As such, it is ideal for small tents and areas.
Construction and Durability
Yet again, for its small shortcomings in terms of maximum lighting, the build quality is superb. With military-grade material and a water-resistant exterior, it is suitable for outdoor use.
This is another lantern that is designed without button operation. Once again, you merely control the brightness of it by adjusting the height.
Do not expect this to run as long as the top-end models on this list. If you were to use this until the battery died, it could last up to 12 hours.
Being both collapsible and highly-portable, this is one of the high-points of this lantern. Seriously, this is ideal for camping, backpacking, hiking, and many other adventures.
This is one of the cheapest lanterns on our list and it is obvious why. This product may not wow you, but that does not insinuate it is a low-quality product. Calling it so would be doing it a disservice as for what it is, and was built to be. It is a great light source.
- Is backed by both a 90-day return and two-year warranty
- Features omnidirectional LED lighting
- The brightness can be controlled by adjusting the height
- With a max output of 60 lumens, it is not going to produce too much light
- The battery life is a bit limited
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
How Much Light They Can Emit
Depending on your needs, the single most important design aspect for a LED lantern just might be the maximum amount of light it can emit. But, what indicates this amount and what do you need to know about it? Several people may have been confused about why there was no mention of wattage in this guide. The reality is, as LED lights become more popular it makes more sense to analyze them based on their lumens. A lumen is defined as a measure of the total quantity of light that is released from a source. As such, this is the unit you want to become knowledgeable of.
But, what does 150, 200, 60, or 400 lumens mean to the average person? Could they not just tell you how much space it will cover? Well, they may even do this for you but just know, if you are looking for a ton of light than this number needs to be high. A good reference is to take around 30 to 50 lumens per square feet that you wish to be lit up. If you are seeking a lantern to read in your tent at night and want it to light your entire tent up, figure out the square footage and assume you need around 30 lumens per each foot.
The Overall Construction and Durability
While this section does not pertain to the lighting capabilities of LED lanterns in any way, it glances at the bigger picture. No matter how great a light source is, if the housing that conceals it is vulnerable to damage, it may not last as long as it should. To no one’s surprise, this means that the construction is as important a design factor as any. Look for LED lanterns that possess a tough and rugged housing. For example, sturdy rubber and plastic molding. If it is capable of withstanding average-sized drops and bumps, this will pay off in the long run.
However, it is a safe assumption to believe that you will be utilizing a LED lantern outdoors. They are not really designed to be used as a household item, even though there is no reason they can’t be. Therefore, it may also be worth your while to assess the water-resistance rating (if it is water-resistant). Most will simply be designed to withstand small splashes and light rainfall. In a downpour, these same lanterns may be vulnerable.
The Various Lighting Modes
LED lanterns are not just designed to output one type of light. Instead, most will come with a plethora of alternate lighting modes. Of course, this all starts with low, medium, and high lighting modes. Now, not every lantern will possess each of these modes but if they do, they allow you to fine-tune the light to fit your needs. But, modes such as SOS and night-vision can lead a helping hand in times of an emergency. Typically, a night-vision mode will consume less battery and an SOS flashing mode will indicate your position.
It does not stop there as sometimes, you can get LED lanterns that have special features such as an integrated flashlight and removable panels that act as individual light sources. If you had several people who needed light, having a lantern with removable panels would be ideal. Even with a flashlight, this would allow you to ditch your old one and use the lantern as one for convenience.
The Battery Life
There is no debating the fact that some people will feel that the battery life of their LED lantern is the most important aspect. Admittedly so, this is not a bad mindset as you may not always be in a situation where you can recharge the lantern or may not have any other batteries. But, when it pertains to battery life a lot of it is under your control. Clearly, you can only run it for so long before the battery dies. Though the longer you run it on its maximum setting the quicker you will deplete the battery.
Hence, utilizing the low setting whenever you can is ideal to maximize the battery life. From lantern to lantern, no matter, this time will differ so choose a lifespan that better suits your needs. In addition to this, also assess how the lantern is powered. Some will utilize disposable batteries while others will simply need to be charged via USB. This can be important as you may not have the means of charging it a specific way in the wilderness.
Their Compact Nature and Ease of Transport
Again, LED lanterns, or any other lantern for that matter, are specifically designed to be taken with you on your adventures. Due to this, it is important that they remain as compact and portable as physically possible. Even more so, if you plan on using one for backpacking or hiking and are required to pack it in a backpack. There are two huge factors that will determine this. Firstly, is the weight. This is something that can’t be adjusted (unless you leave the batteries out and carry them another way) and if you are aiming for the lightest lantern possible, prioritize it.
Then, there is the bulkiness. As opposed to weight, this can be easily adjusted but it depends on if the lantern is collapsible. Such lanterns are extremely convenient as some can collapse to half their size.
Q: How Long Do LEDs Typically Last?
If you have ever talked to your friends about LED lights and the topic of their advantages has ever been brought up, somebody has probably mentioned that LED lights have this benefit. Indeed, there is a high probability you have heard that LED lights last longer than any other light in the world, especially when compared to incandescent light bulbs and halogens. As with anything, the lifespan of LED bulbs will differ a little. However, with that being said, many LEDs are rated to last an utmost of 50,000 and sometimes 100,000 hours.
Doing a little math, if they are used eight hours a day they would last 17 years. Clearly, you will not use a lantern to that extent so it presumably will last you a lifetime (at least the LED lights themselves).
Q: Do LEDs Attract Insects?
One of the biggest caveats to using a light source outdoors, specifically at night, is you will attract several bugs and insects. However, because LED lights are so different than anything else, do LEDs have a so-called protection against attracting insects? Well, yes and no. As opposed to other sources of light, LEDs do not give off ultra-violet rays. Why is this important? Many people may not know that it is not necessarily the light that insects are attracted to, but more so the ultra-violet rays that are emitted from the light source.
As LEDs do not give this off, insects will not be as attracted to it. Is it guaranteed that it will literally not attract a single insect? Maybe not but it will be significantly less than any other light source that is emitting ultra-violet rays.
Q: How Do You Prevent Leaking Batteries?
As a quick note, this is only in reference to LED lanterns that utilize disposable batteries. This is often a concern for people who use devices with disposable batteries. After all, they will discharge over time and they may also start leaking. Is this under your control and can you take precaution to prevent this from occurring? The answer to both of these questions is yes, but with some limitations. Here is the deal, when the batteries are not inserted into the lantern ensure that you are not doing the following things.
Firstly, do not recharge batteries that are not meant to be recharged as this can rupture the battery and lead to leaking. Another classic mistake to avoid is placing batteries in hot locations as exposure to warmer temperatures will increase the self-discharging. Also, avoid mixing old and new batteries together as this can also lead to potential leakage. Lastly, do not carry them in your pocket with other metal objects as this can short-circuit the batteries.
Q: How Much Heat Do LED Bulbs Generate?
When you research the best-LED lanterns on the market, oftentimes, manufacturers will market their specific lantern as being impervious to heat. Problem is, this may not exactly be 100 percent true. It is a fact that LED lights will generate heat less than bulbs such as incandescent and halogen bulbs because they consume less energy and are more efficient with the energy that they use. As such, this will result in LEDs producing much less heat than the aforementioned light bulbs.
Here is where the marketing can be wrong, though. Because LED lights generate electricity, just like anything else that does, they will produce heat over time. The reason that this misconception probably exists is that as opposed to other types of lights, the heat is significantly less.
Q: Do LEDs Lose Their Brightness Over Time?
Speaking of misconceptions, let’s address this common one. Many people are probably under the assumption that as soon as LEDs need to be replaced, they will immediately shut off and no loss of brightness will result. Well, as you guessed, this is not the case and it actually can be tricky to determine when the LEDs need to be replaced or disposed of. Remember, their lifetime is incredibly long so this may not ever be an issue for you.
But, the reason why it is so troublesome to determine this is LEDs feature a rating system that determines their lifespan when they only can achieve 70 percent of their initial lighting. After which, they are considered burnt out. Even though you may not be able to tell, the brightness will deplete eventually. Thankfully, because lanterns are not meant to be used on a daily basis (although they can be) the LED lights should never decrease in their brightness during their lifespan.
Q: Is It Necessary to Wait for the LED Lights to Achieve Max Brightness?
What is interesting about this question is you will already know the answer as soon as you turn on your LED lantern. But, in case you were wondering, as soon as you turn it on, the maximum amount of brightness is emitted. At least, the maximum amount on the current setting (high, medium, low, etc.). Here is why it works; LED lights endure a one-step process that is called electroluminescence. Basically, it is a technology that does not require the light to need time to reach its max output. Other types of lights will work on discharge technology and thus, require them to take a few minutes before they are as bright as they can be.
Lanterns by themselves are helpful tools that not only can assist you in situations where you require a light source, but also in emergency situations such as power outages. But, even though this guide was not created to debate the fact, LED lanterns are clearly the way to go. Of course, selecting the right model goes far and beyond simply the integrated lights. Durability, battery life, and portability also come into play in a big way. Bottom line, there are several factors and all of which, determine the greatness. Good luck!