Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge Review
Compare to Similar Products
Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge
$29.95 at REI
$26.99 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
|$18.88 at Amazon||$13.00 List|
$14.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Compact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual use||Super bright, three light tones, dimmable, rubberized base, affordable||Affordable, several light tone settings, 360-degree kickstand, clever sundial||Affordable, compact, easy to use||Inexpensive, lightweight, small|
|Cons||Difficult to hang, need an outlet or battery pack to charge||Heavy for its size, not waterproof, lacks USB output||Not submersible, no USB output||Lacks versatility, no legs for elevation||Questionable durability, limited light output|
|Bottom Line||This pocket-sized, flashlight-lantern combo is a great option for personal use while car camping||A great option if you're looking to keep a lantern stored in the closet for emergency outages||A lightweight, compact, and versatile lantern that is easy on your bank account||A durable, compact lantern that is a great option for small backpacking groups||A compact lantern-flashlight combo that is convenient as an emergency option|
|Rating Categories||Goal Zero Lighthous...||Lighting Ever Camping||BioLite SunLight||Black Diamond Moji||UCO Leschi|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Goal Zero Lighthous...||Lighting Ever Camping||BioLite SunLight||Black Diamond Moji||UCO Leschi|
|Weight (with Batteries)||3.1 oz||14.0 oz||3.4 oz||4.4 oz||2.5 oz|
|Manufacturer Listed Runtimes||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
|Measured Runtime (Highest Setting)||3.75||10.5 hrs||4.5 hrs||Not tested||Not tested|
|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|
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.
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 output options, all of which are increased by the mirrored backing of the lantern body. The flashlight can dim to 20 lumens, and the lantern can go down to 10.
Rather than blindly accepting the manufacturer's runtime claims, we tested them ourselves. We timed each lantern on its highest setting mainly because the lowest setting is often too dim even for simple tasks like reading a book in a tent.
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge has a fairly decent runtime of three hours and 45 minutes on its brightest setting. While this doesn't compare to the larger, heavy-duty models, it's very impressive considering this lantern's tiny size and light weight. We also appreciate the battery level indicator, a simple feature that seems to be missing from many micro-sized lanterns.
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 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).
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. The device has a waterproof rating of IPX6, which means that it can prevent jets of water (as opposed to just splashes) from entering the battery enclosure. However, the charging port lacks a cover, so it is susceptible to moisture and debris getting trapped inside.
Registering at three 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 4.5 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's a good option for children if they are looking to pull their weight around camp.
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.
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