We looked at the 20 most popular lanterns on the market and considered them for ease of use, amount of light they provide, efficiency, style, extra features and other considerations. The three camping lanterns that we have reviewed below came out head and shoulders above the rest. Any one of them would be an excellent addition to your camping supplies.
Introduction to the Lanterns
If you love camping under the stars it is crucial that you get a good camping lantern so you can see what you’re doing. Lanterns are an essential both inside and outside the tent and there is a variety of camping lanterns available to choose from.
There are two basic types of camping lantern: battery powered camping lanterns and fuel powered camping lanterns. In these reviews and the following buyer’s guide, you will learn the differences and benefits to each type as well as other factors that you need to take into consideration when you are looking for the right camping lantern for your needs.
Choosing the best camping lantern for your needs doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. When you know what to look for and what factors to compare, you will be able to sort through the different choices and decide on the one that will meet your needs when you are out camping.
Top Ranked Lanterns
Coleman Quad(TM) LED Lantern
Coleman is one of the most well known names in camping equipment. This Coleman Quad LED Lantern is an excellent way to get the light you need and want at the campsite and inside the tent as well.
The Quad has 4 removable LED panels that hold a total of 24 LED lights. Campers can remove any one of the 4 and use them independently.
This is perfect if one camper needs to walk to the bathroom or go inside the tent and the rest of the campers are still outside.
All four of the panels together produce 190 lumens of light. Each panel of the Quad acts like an independent light with 6 – 5mm white LEDs, an independent on/off switch, rechargeable NiMH battery and a convenient top handle for carrying.
The LEDs remain cool to the touch so there is no danger or anyone getting burned. This lantern is water-resistant against rain and splashing but should not be submerged.
The battery recharges when it is stored in the lantern base. It provides up to 1 ½ hours of light by itself. The base of the lantern takes 8 D-cell batteries (these are not included) and has its own on/off switch as well that is on top of the lantern. Other features include a light range of 26 feet, and a run time on the whole lantern of 75 hours. This product comes with a limited 5 year warranty.
Streamlight 44931 The Siege Lantern
This rugged, cordless battery operated camping lantern will provide campers with 360 degrees of soft, steady light that will light up a large area. This makes it perfect for lighting up the campsite or the tent.
Features of this camping lantern by Siege include 5 c$ powered LEDs, 4 white and 1 red. It has 5 output modes along with a battery level indicator that is built into the on/off button for added convenience.
Other features include floating ability when the outer lantern globe is in place. The camping lantern can be used with or without the globe cover. If you take off the cover and hang the lantern upside down by its large D-ring and you will have plenty of light for your campsite.
Changing the battery in the Siege is a breeze with the center post helping to orient the battery cover so it fits properly every time. The recessed power button prevents accidental turning on of the light. The glare-reducing cover is made of polycarbonate, making it durable.
This camping lantern can be used indoors with no issues and no problem with impairing the vision. The ergonomic handle makes it easy to carry and can be hooked onto an edge or bar easily. It is IPX7 rated for waterproof operation to 1 meter submersion and is 2 meter impact resistance tested as well. Campers will get about 295 hours of low, white light and uses three D batteries. Each light setting has different levels of lumens:
High – 340 Lumens
Medium – 175 Lumens
Low – 33 Lumens
Red – 10 Lumens
Red SOS flashing mode
AYL StarLight – Ultra Bright LED Lantern
The AYL Starlight Ultra Bright LED Lantern is the most reliable camping lantern on the market. The LED bulbs it is equipped with provide 600 lumens of light and over 100,000 hours of use making it the perfect camping lantern for lighting up the campsite, your tent and anything else you need outside. This lantern provides 6 full days of power on a single set of 3 D batteries.
Features of the AYL Starlight include a lightweight and shockproof design, water resistant, 3 lighting modes (low, high and strobe) and much more.
It is truly the last camping lantern you will ever need. The removable convex reflector cap provides 360 degrees of lighting and can b e removed to allow more focused lighting as well.
The hook at the bottom of the lantern makes it easy to set up anywhere you go. The watertight body of the lantern has plastic molding and rubber that provides the ultimate water resistance.
The green LED indicator allows campers to easily find it, even in the dark. It takes 3 D batteries and also comes with a money back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
Top Rated Lanterns Summary
A camping lantern is a necessity for all campers to provide light when camping outside under the stars. There are many different styles and types of camping lanterns on the market to choose from. All three of the camping lanterns featured above have tons of great features and offer plenty of light for illuminating your campsite and tent.
The Coleman Quad offers campers the ability to have 4 separate lights if needed and has a stylish and flashy look to it. The Streamlight Siege has 4 different light settings to choose from, as well as other features, and the AYL is jam packed with features and offers 600 lumens of light as well as being water resistant and durable too.
If none of these choices are quite what you were looking for, read our buyer’s guide below to learn more about what you need to look for and consider when choosing a camping lantern. The information contained in this guide will help you sort through all of the choices so you can make a decision much easier.
Compare: The 10 Best Rated Lanterns
|1st Place||2nd Place||3rd Place||4th Place||5th Place||6th Place||7th Place||8th Place||9th Place||10th Place|
|Battery||8 D||3 D||3 D||3 AA||3 AA||3 AA||3 AA||18650|
/ 3 AAA
|3 D||3 AAA|
|75||295||144||12||12||12||15 – 30||6 – 24||32 – 720||24|
|190||340||600||60||146||30||230||29 – 300||100|
|12.88 x 7.75 x 7.69||4 x 4 x 7.2||7.2 x 4 x 4||3.8 x 5.4 x 7.6||3.62 x 3.62 x 5.28||5.6 x 7.2 x 7.4||3.39 x 1.93 x 3.39||1.89 x 4.33 x 4.33||7.25 x 3.5 x 3.5||2.45 x 4.8 x 5|
Lantern Buyers Guide
The weight of a lantern, the power supply it uses, how long the power supply will keep the light working and how bright the light is are just a few of the factors that are involved in choosing the right camping lantern. You will also want to take into consideration the weather conditions you will be camping in and the temperature as well.
Other things to think about are whether you will be camping with children and if you want to have light inside the tent. These last two factors in particular will determine whether you should get a battery powered camping lantern or a fuel powered one. Fuel powered lanterns are not very safe around children and de finitely are not a good idea to have inside your tent.
This buyer’s guide will help you choose the right camping lantern for your needs. Finding the lantern that will provide the performance and other features you need and want does not have to be a difficult endeavor. When you have the right information, it becomes much easier to sort through all of the choices available and make an informed decision that will provide you with a great lantern that will last a long time.
Types of Camping Lanterns
There are two basic types of camping lanterns:
- Battery Powered – This type of camping lantern is probably the safest you can purchase. They can be brought into the tent with no worries about tipping over and spilling fuel everywhere and catching fire. They are the perfect choice for family campouts and any camping that will be done around or with children present.
They do not produce as much light as a fuel powered lantern and could be affected by cold weather if you are camping in the cold months. Depending on the type of lantern, it could be one that has rechargeable batteries or one that uses non-rechargeable ones. It is always better to be prepared and carry along extra batteries and bulbs in case the lantern runs out of juice or blows a bulb.
These battery operated camping lanterns are very light and tend to be made of mostly plastic. They weigh hardly anything and come in a multitude of colors, styles and sizes. They are a good choice to carry in your backpack and usually have enough light to illuminate a family size tent.
- Fuel Powered – Fuel powered camping lanterns use propane, butane, dual fuel, or kerosene. Despite the fact that fuel powered camping lanterns provide m ore and brighter light, there are inherent risks in using fuel powered lanterns. They are much more prone to causing burnt fingers, or starting a fire in the tent or wherever you are using it.
Camping lanterns that are fuel-powered have glass globes which can break if care is not taken with them. If you are not camping with children, and you have decided you want to use a fuel-powered camping lantern, just be extra careful to ensure no tip-overs occur and be careful handling the lantern as well. You will also need to ensure plenty of ventilation is present and never use them inside the tent.
Comparing Different Lanterns’ Performances
When looking at different camping lanterns, there are some performance things that you want to considering, especially when you are comparing different types of camping lanterns against each other.
- Maximum Light Output – Lumens are the form of measurement that determines the amount of light a lantern puts out. The higher the lumens the brighter the light will be. Another thing to keep in mind is the wattage of the lantern. Higher wattage will often mean that the lantern is lower in efficiency. That will result in a shorter burn time and/or shorter battery life.
- Light Duration – Light duration will be listed one of two ways. For gas camping lanterns it will be the burn time of the lantern. In battery powered models, it is referred to as the average run time. For either type, these phrases refer to the amount of time you can expect the lantern to be lit and providing light for your campsite on 1 tank of fuel or 1 set of batteries respectively.
The majority of models offer both a high and low estimate to give you more of a range rather than an exact. Run times will vary a lot according to many factors, so never count on the lantern to stay lit the entire run time or burn time it states. These estimates are given under perfect circumstances.
Other Things to Consider
Below we have outlined other things that you will want to consider when you are researching and sorting through the different camping lanterns.
- Batteries – You will not be using lithium or lithium-ion batteries in any camping lantern unless they already come with them. You can damage or possibly ruin the lantern by using lithium batteries with it when they are not specified.
The disadvantage to using alkaline batteries, which is what is most often used in these lanterns, is that they do not perform well in extremely cold temperatures (such as below 20 degrees). You can extend the life of alkaline batteries by carrying them under your clothing during the day and sleeping with them inside the sleeping bag at night. This will keep their temperature up.
- Mantles – In a fuel-powered lantern, there is something called mantles that provide the glow that makes the fuel burning lantern function. Once the mantle has been burned, it becomes very fragile and you must handle it with extreme care. You will want to carry several replacement mantles whenever you go on a camping trip.
- Size and Weight – If you are taking a camping trip where you can drive the car all the way up to the campsite, the size and weight of your camping lantern will not really be an issue. If you will be backpacking to your campsite, ounces can add up, so you want to keep things as light as possible. The best camping lantern to bring if you are looking for something with little weight is the LED lanterns.
A camping lantern comes in many differ sizes, weights, fuel types, shapes and even colors. Looking for the right camping lantern for your needs is determined by how it is used, who will be using it and how often.
Regardless of whether you are going on a backpacking camping trip or going to a drive up campsite, you are going to want to ensure that you get a high quality camping lantern. The great news is that there is a camping lantern for every person’s needs.
Whatever you choose, if you take the time to match up your specific needs with the types of camping lanterns available, you will find that perfect one that will give you exactly what you are looking for in terms of function and performance.