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Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge Review

This pocket-sized dual-use flashlight/lantern is a great option for personal use while car camping
Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge
Credit: Goal Zero
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $30 List | $29.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Compact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual use
Cons:  Difficult to hang, need outlet or battery pack to charge
Manufacturer:   Goal Zero
By Ben Applebaum-Bauch ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 20, 2022
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 20
  • Brightness - 45% 5.0
  • Durability - 20% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9.0
  • Features - 10% 7.0
  • Weight - 10% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge is a personal all-purpose pocket light with a rechargeable battery. It deserves praise for its compact yet powerful package. It's bright, with both flashlight and lantern modes, and is a versatile option for camping or keeping stowed in a car or emergency kit. It charges via USB, making it possible to charge via an external solar charger. It also has the ability to charge other small devices, and it packs away discreetly, making it a great 'just in case' piece of equipment. We would definitely keep this one close at hand for the next time you venture into the darkness.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award   
Price $29.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Compact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual useSuper bright, three light tones, dimmable, rubberized base, affordableAffordable, several light tone settings, 360-degree kickstand, clever sundialCompact, lightweight, inexpensiveCompact, lightweight, inexpensive
Cons Difficult to hang, need outlet or battery pack to chargeHeavy, not waterproof, lacks USB output, poor battery lifeNot submersible, no USB outputNot very versatile, no legs or standDurability questions, limited brightness
Bottom Line This pocket-sized dual-use flashlight/lantern is a great option for personal use while car campingA great option if you're looking to keep a lantern stored in the closet for emergency outagesA lightweight, compact, and versatile lantern that is not rough on your bank accountA simple, easy-to-use, quality light for individual useThis super-compact lantern/flashlight combo is convenient for a glove compartment or emergency kit
Rating Categories Goal Zero Lighthous... Lighting Ever Camping BioLite SunLight Black Diamond Moji UCO Leschi
Brightness (45%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
5.0
Durability (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Ease of Use (15%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Features (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
Weight (10%)
10.0
5.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
Specs Goal Zero Lighthous... Lighting Ever Camping BioLite SunLight Black Diamond Moji UCO Leschi
Weight (with batteries) 3.10 oz 14 oz 3.4 oz 4.37 oz 2.47 oz
Rechargeable? Yes No Yes No No
Manufacturer run time (hours) Low: 170 hrs
High: 7 hrs
12 hrs Low: 50 hrs
High: 3 hrs + 4 hrs reserve mode
Low: 70 hrs Low: 4 hrs
High: 2.5 hrs
Lumens Lantern: 150
Flashlight: 120
1000 100 100 110
Size (inches) 4 x 1.75 x 1.2 3.7 x 3.5 x 7.2 3.35 x 3.39 x .91 3 x 3 x 2.5 5.2 x 1.3 x 1.3 in
Number of batteries 1 3 1 3 1
Battery type Rechargeable D Rechargable Li-Ion AAA AA
Waterproof rating IPX6 IPX4 IPX4 IPX4 IPX5

Our Analysis and Test Results

This mighty mini light combines a 150-lumen lantern with a powerful personal flashlight. Not only is it compact, but it also comes to your aid when you need to charge another device. With one flashlight LED and up to four lantern LEDs, it won't overwhelm anyone, but it will get the job done.

Performance Comparison


Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - this is a great little light for a weekend of camping.
This is a great little light for a weekend of camping.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Brightness


This lantern is meant for one (maybe two) but puts out plenty of light to do almost any task around camp. The flashlight is practical for illumination on the move and the lantern is super solid for a night of cards, reading, or journaling in your tent. We like the even light quality that it gives off in lantern mode.


It has a fairly wide range of brightnesses. The flashlight can dim to 20 lumens and the lantern can go down to 10. In terms of runtime, the lantern technically puts out about a week's worth of continuous light on its lowest setting (the flashlight can go for about four days). However, in practice, we found trying to maximize runtime in either mode meant the light was too dim to see comfortably or be very useful. For most applications, we could count on about 24 hours worth of light before it needed a recharge.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - in lantern mode, this miniature light is a pretty powerful ally in...
In lantern mode, this miniature light is a pretty powerful ally in the darkness.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Durability


The biggest durability concern that we have is with the exposed USB charge port. We shock-tested the light casing up to 10 feet, and it came out fine on the other side. Though the plastic will get nicked up on abrasive surfaces like gravel, it won't affect performance.


We noticed that as the light spent more time in or around dirt surfaces (i.e., the forest floor), we ended up picking pieces of leaves and blowing dirt out of the USB charge-out port. We didn't end up having any issues charging devices as a result, but we could easily imagine that it could become an issue over time. The device has an ingress protection rating of IPX6, which means that it can prevent jets of water (as opposed to just splashes) from entering the battery enclosure. However, the issue with the USB port remains.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - overall, durability is good, but we are a little dubious of the...
Overall, durability is good, but we are a little dubious of the exposed USB components in the long run.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ease of Use


The light is as easy to use as a flashlight. There is just one button for the whole device. Pressing it once turns it on, and successive presses cycle it from flashlight mode to 360-lantern to 180-lantern and off again. You can also hold down the power button in any mode to brighten or dim the light. As a side note, the dimming feature has no 'memory'; each mode always starts at full power, and you can dim it from there.


The power button is on the small side and is somewhat oddly located, so it might be slightly more difficult for people with big mitts to get at. The USB charger rotates more than 180 degrees so that you don't get trapped with a light that you can't charge just because the outlet geometry is weird. We like that it isn't dependent on disposable batteries, but it does require a USB port to charge, so you either need to be near an outlet or have an additional battery pack when it's time to recharge. You can know that the light is actively charging because the blue charge indicator lights will blink (and then turn solid once fully charged).

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - charging is easy -- just plug the light into a usb port. also...
Charging is easy -- just plug the light into a USB port. Also visible are the blue charge indicator lights and the green power button.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Features


The features of this light are minimalist but helpful. The shape and feel are like that of a traditional flashlight, but it comes with both flashlight and lantern modes. The USB charger tucks away at the base of the light. We most often charged the light from the USB port of a laptop and found that it charged faster than the advertised 3.5 hours when paired with a Goal Zero solar pad. This model also has a small handle for hanging the light if it's in lantern mode. The 'handle' itself is very small and not terribly practical on its own. However, ours came with a nifty little carabiner that made it much simpler to hang and hook from, say, the gear loop in a tent canopy. The light also has four blue charge indicator lights that show you approximately how much battery is left.


We are pleased that a light this small comes with a USB charge-out port, useful for giving a modest jolt to other electronic devices like a GPS or smartphone. We found that if fully charged, it gives a 50-60% boost to a phone in about an hour before the battery is depleted. It fell short of what is advertised, but we were a little skeptical of the claim to begin with and are pleasantly surprised by the actual result. There is no switch to turn on the 'charge' mode — it just starts as soon as you plug in a device. It also proved to be consistent — there was no having to jiggle around the wire to get the other device connected. However, this port lacks a cover, so it is susceptible to moisture and debris getting trapped inside.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - the usb charge port at the base of the light is a super practical...
The USB charge port at the base of the light is a super practical feature that works consistently (which is not always the case for small lights like this).
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Weight


Registering at 3 ounces, this light shines bright for its feathery weight and portability. It is one of the lightest lanterns in this review, which makes it great for speedy travel.


It is also four and a half inches long, making it perfect to tuck away in your pocket, a glove compartment of a car, or an emergency box at home. Its size and weight make it a decent backcountry companion, but just keep in mind that it requires a USB to charge. We also think that it is a good option for children if they are looking to pull their weight around camp.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - the micro charge compared to a tube of chapstick. the light is...
The Micro Charge compared to a tube of chapstick. The light is compact and lightweight.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Should You Buy the Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge?


This model is a great choice if you're looking for an ultra-compact flashlight/lantern combo that doubles as a power bank. The Lighthouse Micro would be the perfect device to accompany a solar charger on a backpacking trip or keep on-hand in your vehicle for emergencies.

What Other Lanterns Should You Consider?


The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge is relatively versatile but still limited in a few key ways. If you prefer a compact model with an integrated solar panel, we recommend the BioLite SunLight. If you want to be completely sure that your lantern will have juice when you need it, the Black Diamond Apollo has an internal lithium-ion battery but also room for auxiliary AAs. If you're a fan of fuel-powered lanterns, the Coleman Deluxe Propane is great for car camping, and the Primus Micron is the way to go for backpacking.

Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge lantern - this compact light earns a place in our hearts for its compact...
This compact light earns a place in our hearts for its compact, practical package.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Ben Applebaum-Bauch
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