MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights Review
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MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights
|Price||$44.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
$34.24 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
$29.95 at REI
|Pros||Solar powered, packs up easily, bright||Very long battery life, tough and durable, provides a nice soft diffused light||Affordable, several light tone settings, 360-degree kickstand, clever sundial||Compact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual use||Lightweight, small, gives off heat, same canisters as other backpacking accessories|
|Cons||Light array difficult to arrange, carrying case awkward to store||Glow-in-the-dark doesn't work very well, hook on the bottom is not very sturdy, hard to reattach bottom after replacing batteries||Not submersible, no USB output||Difficult to hang, need an outlet or battery pack to charge||Fuel required, cannot use in the rain, expensive|
|Bottom Line||These packable, convenient string lights are excellent for car camping or a summer cookout||A durable lantern with exceptional battery life for extended use that you can rely on when the lights go out||A lightweight, compact, and versatile lantern that is easy on your bank account||This pocket-sized, flashlight-lantern combo is a great option for personal use while car camping||For those in the market for a highly transportable fuel canister model, this is the one|
|Rating Categories||MPOWERD Luci Solar...||Ultimate Survival T...||BioLite SunLight||Goal Zero Lighthous...||Primus Micron|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||MPOWERD Luci Solar...||Ultimate Survival T...||BioLite SunLight||Goal Zero Lighthous...||Primus Micron|
|Weight (with Batteries)||11.4 oz||29.3 oz||3.4 oz||3.1 oz||4.0 oz|
|Manufacturer Listed Runtimes||Low: 20 hrs||Low: 30 days
High: 12 hrs
|Low: 50 hrs
High: 3 hrs + 4 hrs reserve mode
|Low: 170 hrs
High: 7 hrs
(One 4 oz fuel canister)
|Measured Runtime (Highest Setting)||5.0 hrs||9.0 hrs||4.5 hrs||3.75||1.5 hrs w/ 4 oz canister|
|Size (inches)||2 x 5 x 5 (Collapsed)||7.2 x 3.75||3.35 x 3.39 x .91||4 x 1.75 x 1.2||2.4 x 2.6 x 4.2|
|Number of Batteries||1||3||1||1||N/A|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable||D||Rechargable Li-Ion||Rechargeable||N/A|
|Waterproof Rating||IPX4||IPX4||IPX4||IPX6||Not specified|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Product Update Note — September 2022
MPOWERD updated the Luci Solar String Lights since our test period. The model we tested had an exposed USB charger at the end of the string, but the upgraded model moved to a built-in USB port and external charging cable (which is included in the purchase). You can note the differences in the photos above. The model with the exposed USB is on the left, and the latest model is pictured on the right with a small hook on the end, so you can wrap the string around a limb or post and connect it back to itself. We're linking to the updated lights in our review.
These lights really surround a space with a nice, even glow. The string puts out 100 lumens, which on its face, is not terribly impressive (it's easy to find personal headlamps or flashlights that are multiple times brighter). However, having a little light in a lot of places, as opposed to one highly concentrated beam, has the effect of illuminating a large radius well.
We also appreciate the light quality. Though they are advertised as warm white LEDs, relative to other models, this one gives off a glow on the yellow end of the spectrum, which feels like more natural light.
There are 10 light 'pods' total, each with 2 LEDs, one on each side of the pod, so no matter how you hang them, light shines in all directions. There is also an auxiliary light on the front of the carrying case. Its small size makes it a fine 'oops' option if you have to go back to check a picnic table in the dark to see if you left your keys there.
The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights are mainly designed for parties and ornamental purposes, not to be an emergency utility. So if you're looking for a lantern that you can stow away in a closet for power outages, you'll likely want to look at the other models with longer measured runtimes.
MPOWERD claims that these string lights will last up to 20 hours on their lowest setting, and we found that it lasts about five hours on their highest. This runtime is generally enough for a night's worth of camping or an evening deck party. We awarded the Luci Solar String Lights bonus points for its solar-charging capability. If you take this model camping, it will recharge itself during the day, leaving you worry-free while your friends fumble with power banks and disposable batteries.
Ease of Use
As with most lanterns, this model is fairly easy to use. There is just a single power button that can be pressed four successive times to cycle through the settings (auxiliary case light, low, medium, and high). There is also a separate battery charge indicator button that illuminates four tiny lights to show the approximate charge of the battery. The carrying case is super convenient for storage, and we were pleasantly surprised time and again that the lights actually wound around and fit inside of it with very little fuss.
The slightly more challenging piece is 'installation'. It depends somewhat on the structure that the lights are attached to, but finding the right place to secure the base is an important consideration. It comes with a loop of cord that can be hung from a hook or a branch. The case itself is big and flat, so it can sit on top of a railing, as well. It's not a huge deal, but there were a couple of times that we unwound the string to discover that we didn't have an awesome place to set the case down.
One of the slightly more annoying issues that we encountered was when we tried to wrap the lights around a thicker 'three-dimensional object.' We just wanted to use the lights on a porch, but many of the actual LED nodes ended up on the wrong side just by virtue of the distance between them.
This model has a modest number of features that are executed well. For starters, it is solar-powered, which, for a light that is designed to be hung up and remain outdoors, is ideal. It fully charges by solar with a full day's worth of summer sun (MPOWERD claims about 16 hours). If you get to camp late, you can also charge these lights along the way. They come with a USB as well, which fully charges the light in just over six hours.
In addition to multiple charging methods, the carrying case also has a USB charge-out port which can give a boost to the battery of a small device. It's definitely slow going — we found that it takes about two and a half hours to increase the battery charge of a smartphone by 50% — but it's better than nothing in a pinch. These lights carry an IPX4 water-resistance rating — which means that they can repel water splashing from all directions — and they work well in the rain.
These string lights weigh in at a little over 11 ounces. The majority of that, of course, is the carrying case that the actual lights are attached to. It is not possible to detach the lights from the base, but the reality is that for this particular style of light, the weight is much less important.
If you were inclined to pack them up and take them into the backcountry, they do travel very easily, and since they double as a device charger as well, the extra ounces might not be too bad.
Should You Buy the MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights?
The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights may not be the most practical model for backpacking, but they are great for car camping or backyard fun. If you want to add some festive flavor to your campsite or you're looking for some off-grid yard decoration, these string lights are the way to go.
What Other Lanterns Should You Consider?
The primary factor to consider when shopping for a lantern is what its main purpose will be. If you're looking for a model to store in a closet in case of a power outage, we highly recommend the Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro. A great car camping option that runs off an internal battery or AAs is the Black Diamond Apollo. If you like the idea of a solar-powered light for backpacking, check out the BioLite SunLight.
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