Reviews You Can Rely On

Primus Micron Review

For those in the market for a highly transportable fuel canister model, this is the one
primus micron lantern review
Credit: Primus
Top Pick Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $60 List
Manufacturer:   Primus
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 2, 2022
60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 22
  • Brightness - 45% 7.0
  • Battery Life - 20% 2.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6.0
  • Features - 10% 6.0
  • Weight - 10% 9.0

Our Verdict

When it comes to gas-powered models, it's hard to top the Primus Micron. This lantern is as compact as can be. It has a Piezoelectric starter that will ensure you get your camp lit up in a snap — sans lighter. Constructed of stainless steel, it's substantially more durable than other travel-style lanterns on the market. It's incredibly easy to use, and it weighs next to nothing. The Micron is perfect for setting up camp, warming up your hands, playing cards, or serving as the social centerpiece of the night in the many wilderness areas where open fires are not allowed.
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight
Small
Gives off heat
Same canisters as other backpacking accessories
REASONS TO AVOID
Fuel required
Cannot use in the rain
Expensive
Editor's Note: We updated this article on December 2, 2022, with additional testing information related to battery life.

Compare to Similar Products

 
primus micron lantern review
This Product
Primus Micron
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $60 List$70 List
$69.95 at REI
$60 List
$34.24 at Amazon
$20.00 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$30 List
$29.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
60
79
78
68
64
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, small, gives off heat, same canisters as other backpacking accessoriesBright, USB charge port, no disposable batteriesVery long battery life, tough and durable, provides a nice soft diffused lightAffordable, several light tone settings, 360-degree kickstand, clever sundialCompact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual use
Cons Fuel required, cannot use in the rain, expensiveDurability concerns, hard to look atGlow-in-the-dark doesn't work very well, hook on the bottom is not very sturdy, hard to reattach bottom after replacing batteriesNot submersible, no USB outputDifficult to hang, need an outlet or battery pack to charge
Bottom Line For those in the market for a highly transportable fuel canister model, this is the oneThis powerful lantern with a rechargeable battery (via electricity or a hand crank) is our top choice for camping trips and power outagesA durable lantern with exceptional battery life for extended use that you can rely on when the lights go outA lightweight, compact, and versatile lantern that is easy on your bank accountThis pocket-sized, flashlight-lantern combo is a great option for personal use while car camping
Rating Categories Primus Micron Goal Zero Lighthous... Ultimate Survival T... BioLite SunLight Goal Zero Lighthous...
Brightness (45%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
5.0
Battery Life (20%)
2.0
6.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
Weight (10%)
9.0
5.0
3.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Primus Micron Goal Zero Lighthous... Ultimate Survival T... BioLite SunLight Goal Zero Lighthous...
Weight (with Batteries) 4.0 oz 19.8 oz 29.3 oz 3.4 oz 3.1 oz
Rechargeable? No Yes No Yes Yes
Manufacturer Listed Runtimes 12-24 hrs
(One 4 oz fuel canister)
Low, one side: 320 hrs
Low, both sides: 180 hrs
High, one side: 5 hrs
High, both sides: 2.5 hrs
Low: 30 days
High: 12 hrs
Low: 50 hrs
High: 3 hrs + 4 hrs reserve mode
Low: 170 hrs
High: 7 hrs
Measured Runtime (Highest Setting) 1.5 hrs w/ 4 oz canister 3.2 hrs 9.0 hrs 4.5 hrs 3.75
Lumens 235 600 1000 100 Lantern: 150
Flashlight: 120
Size (inches) 2.4 x 2.6 x 4.2 4.5 x 5 x 6.5in 7.2 x 3.75 3.35 x 3.39 x .91 4 x 1.75 x 1.2
Number of Batteries N/A 1 3 1 1
Battery Type N/A Rechargable D Rechargable Li-Ion Rechargeable
Waterproof Rating Not specified Not specified IPX4 IPX4 IPX6

Our Analysis and Test Results

Primarily designed for backpacking, the Primus Micron runs on the same propane/isobutane blend canisters that are used to fuel best backpacking stoves. This model has a runtime of 12 to 24 hours, so if you're going on a shorter trip, you may be able to get away with only taking one fuel canister for both your cooking and your camp lighting. One of our favorite elements of the Micron is that it gives off heat, making it the ideal accessory for those crispy fall nights in areas where open fires are not allowed.

Performance Comparison


primus micron lantern review - the primus micron is a light and compact gas-powered lantern that...
The Primus Micron is a light and compact gas-powered lantern that works with the same canisters as most backpacking stoves.
Credit: Ross Patton

Brightness


We kicked off our review process by considering the amount of light emitted by each lantern. With a maximum light output of 235 lumens, the Primus Micron isn't the brightest lantern on the market. However, we've found that the ultra-bright 1000-lumen models are way overkill for camping and are more suited for a power outage or illuminating a workspace.


The amount of light emitted by the Micron is more than enough for cooking or playing a card game in the dark, and the light tone is mellow on the eyes. The gas regulator dial allows you to turn the lantern down to a dull glow if you so desire.

primus micron lantern review - the primus micron illuminates a relatively large area considering...
The Primus Micron illuminates a relatively large area considering its size and weight.
Credit: Ross Patton

Battery Life


Since the Primus Micron does not use batteries, we instead studied the length of time it will last on a single, four-ounce isobutane fuel canister on its highest setting. We opted to test all of the lanterns in our lineup on their highest setting because we've found that some of the electric lantern manufacturers will design their products to emit a useless amount of light in order to claim a longer battery life.


The Primus Micron only lasted an hour and a half with a miniature backpacking canister. But as a nice surprise, this lantern still emitted a sufficient amount of light on its lowest setting. While we chose to test this butane-burning model with a small, four-ounce canister, isobutane canisters are widely available in sizes up to 16 ounces. So if you aren't worried about packing the extra weight, a larger fuel canister will certainly lengthen the Micron's runtime.

primus micron lantern review - how long the primus micron runs can be greatly lengthened by using a...
How long the Primus Micron runs can be greatly lengthened by using a larger fuel canister.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ease of Use


For this section, we discuss how intuitive each lantern is to use. We considered how hard they are to turn on, how intuitive the controls are, and whether or not we could figure out how to ignite them without instructions or even in the dark.


The Primus Micron is incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is turn the dial and press the igniter lever, and it fires right up. We didn't give this model a higher score for this section because it takes a minute or two to install the mantle before the lantern's first use, and it takes a few seconds to screw the lantern and a fuel canister together.

primus micron lantern review - the piezo lever on the primus micron ignites the fuel without a...
The Piezo lever on the Primus Micron ignites the fuel without a lighter or matches.
Credit: Ross Patton

Features


Lanterns can have quite a list of bells and whistles. Some have integrated solar panels, some have the capability to charge phones, and some have a variety of brightness or color settings. Certain models include magnets for attaching them to the underside of car engine hoods, while others have feet or tripods that fold out to elevate them off a table to illuminate more of the area.


Because it is powered by fuel, the list of extra features offered by the Primus Micron is fairly short. However, some of the elements offered by this model are what we consider to be the most important. First and foremost, the Micron puts off heat. If you've ever been camping on a chilly night, you know how hard it is to get up and get going in the morning. With the Micron, you'll be warming your hands up in a matter of seconds to make tasks such as brewing coffee or tearing down camp a lot more enjoyable. Unlike many fuel-powered models, the Micron has a Piezoelectric igniter that allows you to start the lantern without a lighter or matches. Lastly, it has a metal cable to allow you to hang the lantern without the risk of the flame igniting a branch or your valuable paracord.

primus micron lantern review - the primus micron's steel cable provides ample room between the open...
The Primus Micron's steel cable provides ample room between the open flame and whatever you choose to hang it from.
Credit: Ross Patton

Weight


For the last portion of our overall score, we consider each model's weight. If you're shopping for a lantern to store in the basement for emergency power outages or a large version that will be used near a vehicle to illuminate a campsite, weight might not be much of a concern to you. Heavier models tend to have a longer runtime and are often the brightest options. On the other hand, if you're shopping for a backpacking lantern, weight is a critical factor to consider. As the old saying goes, "every ounce counts."


The Primus Micron is one of the lightest lanterns in our review. Weighing a mere four ounces without its case, you'll hardly notice this model is in your pack. If you decide to use the case, it still only weighs 5.4 ounces. The weight of the fuel canister will depend on the size that you decide to haul along, but if your trip is only a night or two, you can use the same canister for your camping stove as well as your lantern, in which case it wouldn't add any extra weight at all.

The Primus Micron is about as light as stainless steel lanterns get.
The Primus Micron is about as light as stainless steel lanterns get.
Even with the case, the Primus Micron is extremely light.
Even with the case, the Primus Micron is extremely light.
The Primus Micron includes a water-resistant pouch that easily clips...
The Primus Micron includes a water-resistant pouch that easily clips to the outside of a backpack.

Should You Buy the Primus Micron?


This model is an awesome choice if you're looking for an ultra-light, ultra-compact model that uses the same fuel canisters as your packable stove. It starts in an instant and is plenty bright enough for activities around a small camp. One of our favorite features is that the Micron emits heat, making it an accessory that can both light camp up as well as keep you warm on a cold night.

What Other Lanterns Should You Consider?


In comparison to other lanterns, the Primus Micron has some strengths but also some shortcomings. Many people may prefer a battery-powered model that can also charge a phone, such as the Black Diamond Apollo. If you like the idea of your lantern charging in the sun while you hike, the BioLite SunLight is a solid option. Lastly, if you love gas-powered lanterns and you want a large version that will light up the whole campsite, check out the Coleman Deluxe Propane.

primus micron lantern review - the primus micron is a great addition to a backpacking kit.
The Primus Micron is a great addition to a backpacking kit.
Credit: Ross Patton

Ross Patton
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More