The most important factor when considering a lantern is the intensity of its emitted light. This intensity is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the more intense, and brighter, the light. Lumens are a useful measurement when comparing battery lanterns with fuel lanterns. The power source of a lantern does not necessarily determine its lumen level. Battery of fuel lanterns can be bright, weak, or average. Pick the one that is best suited to your needs. Lanterns are powered in one of two different ways: either via battery or via fuel. Both options have their benefits and drawbacks. We at Gator are somewhat old-school when it comes to our light sources, and we personally love fuel-powered lanterns. Of course we have to be careful in our handling (an accidental spillage can be dangerous), and weight is a major concern. A battery powered lantern will be lighter, safer and easier to place in different positions. A fuel lantern however can be dimmed much more easily than a battery powered alternative through the simple use of a dampener dial. Battery powered alternatives can also be dimmed, but the level of control does not match the fuel lanterns. We also feel that the light emitted by fuel lanterns feels warmer and more natural than the light from battery lanterns. In our opinion, nothing matches sitting around a fuel powered lantern late at night. Whether you choose a fuel or a battery lantern, rest assured that the choices on these pages offer you the best currently available.
When it comes to lanterns, we have to confess we are slightly old-school, and we love the Coleman Premium Dual Fuel. This lantern pumps out a massive 861 lumens, making this fuel lantern capable of competing with the brightest LED lanterns on the market today. The Coleman achieves this impressive figure by employing two discrete mantles (the element of the lantern which emits light). Not only does the Coleman offer an incredibly bright light, the use of two mantles ensures that the light is dispersed regularly through 360 degrees. At the highest level, the Coleman can burn for seven hours, which is sufficient for nearly every conceivable use. The light can be dimmed to your personal requirement through a simple turn of a dampening knob. The Coleman gives a wonderfully warm light, even on the lower levels, and of course the lantern will burn even longer at a lower setting. The Coleman can run of two different fuel sources. You can either use Coleman’s proprietary liquid fuel, or you can use unleaded gasoline. Should you use to swap between the available fuels, ensure you clean out the lantern before using the new fuel.
The Black Diamond Apollo replaces the venerable old Black Diamond lantern. The first thing we noticed was the brightness, which has jumped from 80 lumens to 225. This figure is lower than some of the other options in this review, but we found that the Black Diamond’s brightness was sufficient for normal use. The plastic covering surrounding the LED produces a clouded effect, dispersing the light nicely but dimming it slightly. If you need a light for a very large tent, you might be better off considering a stronger model. You can dim the lantern easily, and we liked that the lantern remembered the dimming level when it was turned on again.The Black Diamond is made from polycarbonate and is available in different colors. The lantern can run either on a Lithium ion battery or on 4AA batteries. It comes with a USB port that can your phone. The USB cord included but there is no charger included. This will have to be purchased separately. The lantern comes with a strobe mode, which we have to confess we found no use for. It also has some very useful collapsible legs, which allow the lantern to be positioned safely on uneven surfaces. It can also be hung using the handle.
Goal Zero is probably better known for its solar chargers and battery packs, and they have leveraged their expertise in those areas to produce a very nice batter lantern. The Lighthouse outputs a very impressive 400 lumens, which will be sufficient for most cases. The lantern can be recharged from a USB port or from solar panels from Nomad (these are sold separately). Alternatively, and we loved this feature, you can use the built-in crank in order to charge up the lantern. We liked the directional lighting option of this lantern: the bulb consists of two LEDs, which allows the Lighthouse to run from either both LEDS or from one, should you wish to save some power and direct the light. Even better, whether you use one LED or two, you can dim the light on both settings. Like the Black Diamond, you can charge your phone through the lantern, and it comes with collapsible legs that allow you to position the lantern on uneven surfaces. Alternatively, you can hang the lantern using the hanging hook.
The original MPOWERD Luci established a reputation for being the go-to, no frills, lightweight lantern, and the Luci 2.0 builds and improves upon its predecessor. The Luci 2.0 is great for the environment: it is completely solar powered and does not run off batteries. This obviates the need for expensive, heavy batteries and smelly and hazardous fuel. The Luci packs down incredibly well (it deflates in around 12 seconds) and inflates easily for use. In order to charge the lantern, leave it out in the sun for around 7 hours. The charge lasts for around 24 hours. The lantern has four settings: low, medium, high and flashing. By pressing the power button slightly you can cycle through the settings. At 75 lumens, the light is not going to be very bright. The lantern is best suited for one-person and possible two-person tents. Any larger, and it will struggle to make an impact. If you are a weight conscious trekker looking for lantern for basic purposes, this lantern is ideal. You can hang the lantern using the handle, but we found that the handle had a snap in the middle, so when hanging it leans to one side slightly.
Ultimate Survival Technologies (UST) produce a number of Duro-brand lanterns whose selling point is the long battery life. The UST 30-Day lasts, as the name implies, for a whopping 30 days. Be aware however, that this Is only on the low setting of 30 lumens. If you run the lantern at its highest setting of 700 lumens, you will still get a very respectable 22 hours. The lantern also comes with a third medium mode, which offers 106 hours at 140 lumens. Nevertheless, our tests found that the 30-day claim was actually on the conservative side. The lantern runs on 3 d-cell alkaline batteries (these are not included). There is no USB port on the Duro, so you can’t charge your phone on the go, but we did like some of the lantern’s other versatile features: for example, you can remove the plastic housing with a simple twist in order to expose the lamp. The lantern can then be used as a forward area light. There is also a hanging hook integrated into the base of the lantern, which allows you to hang the lantern upside down. As well as being water resistant the lantern also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and is available in a number of colors, including a Glo option, whereby the lantern glows gently in the dark and helps you locate it.
What’s better than a battery lantern? Four battery lanterns! And that is exactly what you get with the Coleman Quad LED. The Quad has four individual lanterns attached around a central charging dock. You can use the lantern with all in position when you wish to provide 360 degree lighting, or you can detach the individual lanterns and use them separately as a flashlight. Each lantern has six 5mm LEDs and the light for each is enough to navigate safely in the dark. The main charging body comes with a handle, so you can hang the lantern with any of the four panels attached, but you can also detach the panels and hang them separately, since they also have a handle. The LEDS do not replacing and the lantern comes with a five-year limited warranty. The lantern takes 8 D-cell batteries, which are the sole power source for the 4 mini-lanterns. The Quad does not come with a USB socket. Those 8 batteries add considerable weight to the lantern, so the Quad is not one for those packing light. Instead, this lantern is ideal for families, as each adult and the kids can each use a lantern for personal use.
The MalloME LED Flashlights package consists of 4 lanterns. The lanterns are described as flashlights, but don’t be confused. Each of the four provides full 360 degree lighting. Each lantern takes 3 AA batteries, and MalloMe claims that the LEDs have a life span of over 100,00 hours. When not in use the top section can slide down in order to save space. The lanterns themselves are made of plastic but feel solid. The manufacturer claims the lanterns are water resistant, but we noticed there was no seal for the battery container. Each lantern comes with a handle for easy hanging. We found the light emitted by the LED to be slightly too diffuse for our liking, but it does the job if you need to navigate or locate something in the dark. The build quality Is not the greatest, but if you are a family or a group on a budget and you are looking for some value-for-money lanterns, the MalloMe Flashlights are worth investigating.
The Black Diamond Moji is an extremely small, extremely light lantern that is perfect for the solo trekker. The Moji runs off 3 AA batteries, located in the base of the lantern. The frosted plastic globe around the LED produces a diffuse, pleasant light that will allow to locate items or read a book. The radius of the light is around 3 feet, perfect for a one-man tent. The lantern comes with a dim switch, so you can adjust the intensity to your needs. It also comes with a collapsible double-hook, so you can attach the lantern to your tent top if you wish. The Moji has an IPX 4 rating, which means that it will withstand water splashes and light rain. It’s an incredibly simple but pleasing design, and with so few parts and a battery life of 70 hours, the Moji will provide plenty of reliable service.
The Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact is a rugged lantern designed for heavy use. It comes with four power settings: High (540 lumens), medium (275 lumens) and low (55 lumens). When set to medium, the lamp emits 275 lumens of light. When set to low, the Siege Compact can run for 295 hours. It comes equipped with a red C4 LED, which can be set to blink an SOS signal. To switch between these various modes, you simply press the lantern’s front button. Talking of the button, you will quickly notice that it is the only one on the lantern. We liked this minimalist, easy-to-use design. The lantern can be used either with or without the outer globe. You can remove the outer globe of the lantern and hang it upside down. We were impressed with the build quality of the Siege. It has a rubber base that, although not as versatile as the extended legs found on other models, did provide stability on wet or uneven surfaces. It has been tested for impact resistances of up to 2m, so if you find yourself dropping it for any reason, its polycarbonate body and lenses should still be in one piece afterwards. The lantern runs on three D-cell alkaline batteries, which, as is the norm with most lanterns, are sold separately. We really liked the Siege and could not really choose between it and the very similar UST 30-day Duro. The latter has better low level battery life, but the Streamline is more durable and easier to use.
If you are looking for a budget lantern, then the Etekcity 2 pack portable may be of interest. There are two lanterns included in this package, and batteries are also provided. Each lantern runs off 3 AA batteries, which give 12 hours of light (note however that for the last 4 hours the lanterns emit light at a reduced lumen rate, so that the light for these 3 hours will be noticeably less bright). The body is made of aluminum, and it can collapse into the base when not in use in order to save space. Each lantern comes with a fold-out handle that can be used to either carry or hang the lantern. The build quality is not as good as some of the other lanterns we have tested, but the Etekcity lanterns are aimed at the lower end of the market. If you are looking for a lantern for casual, emergency or backup use, they fit the bill perfectly.