Reviews You Can Rely On

The 7 Best Lanterns of 2024

We tested lanterns from Black Diamond, Goal Zero, Coleman, BioLite, Primus, and other top brands to find the best lights on the market
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Best Lantern Review (We tested fifteen models for our most recent update.)
We tested fifteen models for our most recent update.
Credit: Ross Patton
Friday April 12, 2024

Our experts have lit up the night for 10 years, testing over 50 of the best lanterns available. For this review, we purchased 24 top models to test side-by-side. We have traveled coast to coast with these lanterns, camping at state and national parks. We have hiked deep into the backcountry and sat through some power outages at home. We looked at several important qualities of each light, including brightness, battery life, features, and weight, to assess overall performance for ultralight backpackers and casual campers alike. Our comprehensive review highlights all-stars and budget-friendly bargains to help you find the best lantern for your needs and budget.

We also offer deep-dive reviews into other camping gear. Whether you're looking for the best camping chair, a highly-efficient camp stove, or a top-rated camping tent big enough for the whole family, we will help you choose the best gear to make the most of your next camping trip. We've also tested and outlined our favorite backyard fire pits to find the right one for your space.

Editor's Note: Our lantern review was updated on April 12, 2024, to include a new model from Goal Zero.

Top 24 Lanterns - Test Results

Displaying 1 - 5 of 24
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Awards  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award   
Price $15.00 List
$14.25 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$18.69 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$14.89 at REI$19.22 at Backcountry
Overall Score
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Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, lightweight, smallCompact and lightweight, charges other devices, versatile for individual useLightweight, compact, inexpensive, impressive burn time, charges quickly, durable, water-resistant, funSolar-powered, packs flat, lightweightCompact, lightweight, lantern doubles as a flashlight
Cons Questionable durability, limited light outputDifficult to hang, need an outlet or battery pack to chargeLower on lumens, small, limited featuresLow light output, compact but not smallShort battery life, limited features, no foldable legs
Bottom Line A compact lantern-flashlight combo that is convenient as an emergency optionThis pocket-sized, flashlight-lantern combo is a great option for personal use while car campingThis fun-size lantern has a go-anywhere design, but really shines when it comes to brightening up backcountry campsitesA durable lantern that is affordable enough for the average weekend camperA pocket-sized lantern that is more practical than its petite size suggests
Rating Categories UCO Leschi Goal Zero Lighthous... Goal Zero Crush Lig... Goal Zero Crush Light Black Diamond Zip
Brightness (45%)
5.0
5.0
3.5
3.0
5.0
Battery Life (20%)
3.0
6.0
8.5
6.0
5.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Features (10%)
6.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
Weight (10%) Sort Icon
9.4
9.3
9.3
9.2
9.2
Specs UCO Leschi Goal Zero Lighthous... Goal Zero Crush Lig... Goal Zero Crush Light Black Diamond Zip
Weight (with Batteries) 2.5 oz 3.1 oz 3.2 oz 3.7 oz 3.6 oz
Measured Runtime (Highest Setting) Not tested 3.75 7 hrs 6 min 3.5 hrs Not tested
Lumens 110 Lantern: 150
Flashlight: 120
60 60 Lantern: 150
Flashlight: 100
Rechargeable No Yes Yes Yes No
Manufacturer Listed Runtimes Low: 4 hrs
High: 2.5 hrs
Low: 170 hrs
High: 7 hrs
Low: 35 hrs
High: 3 hrs
Candle light: 3.5 hours
Low: 3.5 hrs Low lantern: 12 hrs
Low flashlight: 100 hrs
Size (inches) 5.2 x 1.3 x 1.3 in 4 x 1.75 x 1.2 4.5 x 4.5 x 3.6 (expanded) 4.95 x 4.95 x 4 2.125 x 3.25 x 1
Number of Batteries 1 1 1 1 4
Battery Type AA Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable AAA
Waterproof Rating IPX5 IPX6 IPX4 IPX4 IPX4


The Best Lanterns for 2024


Best Overall Lantern


Goal Zero Lighthouse 600


81
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 9.0
  • Battery Life 6.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Weight 6.5
Measured Runtime: 3.2 hours | Rechargeable: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Exceptionally bright
Rechargeable battery
USB charge port
REASONS TO AVOID
Questionable durability
Weak emergency lights

The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is the most consistent of all the lanterns we tested. This powerful, compact lantern is versatile for a range of activities. Its 600-lumen output is exceptionally bright and provides plenty of range to illuminate an entire picnic table for those late-night dinners when you return to the campsite after dark. This lantern eschews disposable batteries for a rechargeable battery, which can be charged via USB or hand crank – a feature that makes this model particularly useful as an emergency lantern. Since it is USB-charged, it can also serve as a power bank for your small electronics.

The Lighthouse 600 is compact compared to its power output, but it's too bulky and heavy to consider carrying on a backpacking trip. The outer light cover is relatively brittle compared to other models in our lineup, and we fear that it might crack if dropped or knocked too hard. Although this hand-cranked lantern is excellent for emergencies, the emergency-specific red lights are weak, especially compared to the output power of the white light. Lastly, the price is steeper than much of the competition. That said, considering its feature set and its versatile charging capabilities, this is the lantern we will reach for in most situations. If you're looking for a lightweight and compact model that won't take up a ton of pack space, the Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge is a highly portable pick that also charges via USB.

Read more: Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 review

lantern - the 600 lumens put out by the goal zero lighthouse 600 are plenty...
The 600 lumens put out by the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 are plenty bright enough for grilling on a patio or when car camping.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best Bang for the Buck


Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 3.5
  • Battery Life 8.5
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Weight 9.3
Measured Runtime: 7.1 hours | Rechargeable: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Solar or mini-USB charged
Very impressive battery life
Compact and light
Affordable
Color changing mode
REASONS TO AVOID
No USB output
No very large

The Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma weighs as much as a deck of playing cards, expands to the size of a grapefruit, and packs down as flat as a pancake. It's also one of the most affordable lanterns we tested. This pint-sized torch uses five LED lights to pump out 60 lumens of light on its highest setting. It certainly isn't the brightest burner in our lineup, but it glows well enough to liven up things when night falls on a high wilderness camp. Far more impressive is this little guy's run time. During our tests, the Chroma beamed steady (at its highest setting) for more than 7 hours, one of the longest burn times we've documented. It's also water-resistant, has the option of solar-charging, and it can go disco. It's also durable, and it has a built-in hanging arm.

Like we said, the Chroma isn't the brightest kid on the block. In fact, its lowest produces a mere six lumens. It also doesn't offer a flashing SOS setting, and there's a slight learning curve to its one-button operation. However, these issues are relatively minor and are easily excused when we consider the benefits of this well-priced pack buddy. Another well-priced lantern we like is the Lighting Ever Camping, which is a brighter, battery-operated lantern great for car camping or power outages.

Read more: Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma review

Gettin' jiggy with it alpine-style. This time lapse shows off this lantern's funnest feature.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Portable for Extended Power Outages


Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 9.0
  • Battery Life 9.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Weight 4.8
Measured Runtime: 9.0 hours | Rechargeable: No
REASONS TO BUY
Very long run time
Nice light quality
Inexpensive
REASONS TO AVOID
Difficult to replace batteries
Handle is not very sturdy

The Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro is a real marathon runner. While the manufacturer advertises 30 days of power, the lantern we tested ran for 33 days. Even on its brightest setting, it lasted nine hours – one of the best models in our assessment. It has a sturdy, heavy, rubberized, impact-resistant base. A nice addition is the frosted plastic cover that softens the light and makes it easier to look at (and the cover is removable when you need an even brighter glow). This model weighs just under two pounds with three D-batteries, making it a great choice for your picnic table lantern.

One disadvantage is that the battery compartment can be challenging to access, but hopefully, you won't have to access it often. We also found its glow-in-the-dark feature could be more robust, and the plastic handle is not the best quality. Even with these minor shortcomings, this is the light for you if your priority is runtime over anything else. It is best for extended car camping, RVing, or those living somewhere with frequent power outages. You may also want to consider a solar-powered option for power outages like the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma, which offers an impressive battery life. Just note that it is not nearly as bright. If you want to go big with your emergency preparations, the Goal Zero Skylight is super bright, and it doubles nicely as an emergency lighting system.

Read more: Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro review

lantern - the ust 30-day duro stays put, even on loose and soft surfaces.
The UST 30-Day Duro stays put, even on loose and soft surfaces.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Best for Basecamp


Goal Zero Skylight


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 10.0
  • Battery Life 7.0
  • Ease of Use 5.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Weight 1.0
Measured Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes (internal battery) | Rechargeable: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Very powerful
Sets up quickly
Stout tripod design
Metal frame
Extends to 12 feet
Weatherproof
Comes with carrying case
REASONS TO AVOID
Not lightweight or compact
Pricey
Optimal performance requires external power

Let there be light. When it comes to piercing even the darkest night with brilliant light, the Goal Zero Skylight does it easily and does it best. This massive lighting system is super powerful and offers four brightness settings (400 to 6000 lumens) that can drench any basecamp in 300 radial feet of soft 3250K light. Even better, the Skylight's 168 LEDs rest atop a steel mast that can be extended up to 12 feet in the air, so the light showers downward instead of directly into the eyes. This monster lantern is a perfect accessory for any basecamp environment, including campsites, emergency hubs, nighttime events, and small work sites. And, when not in use, it makes for a comforting accessory to have resting on the shelf at home as a backup light source for unforeseen power outages or natural disasters. This unit is larger and heavier than the rest of the models in our lineup but is surprisingly easy to carry and deploy, making it a viable option for more remote areas. It can even be powered from your car's auxiliary power source.

The Skylight sports its own built-in battery system that will allow it to produce 8 hours of light on its lowest setting; however, for true portability and optimal performance, you're going to have to shell out more money for one of the manufacturer's compatible battery banks — or keep it plugged into your car. Likewise, the Skylight's internal battery cannot be charged at a wall outlet, so your recharging options are limited. Lastly, this device is larger and heavier than your basic tabletop lantern, so it requires a bit more oomph to lug it around. That all said, this unit is one of our favorites. It's a solid performer and is built to last.

If you're looking for something that produces bright light but that is much more portable, we suggest the Coleman Deluxe Propane, Lighting Ever Camping, or the Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro. All three models can produce 1000 lumens of light.

Read more: Goal Zero Skylight review

It's bigger and heavier than your standard lantern, but the Skylight is several times brighter, and its setup is easy peasy.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Best Fuel Canister Model


Primus Micron


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 7.0
  • Battery Life 2.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Weight 9.2
Measured Runtime: 1.5 hours (on 4oz canister) | Rechargeable: No
REASONS TO BUY
Same canisters as backpacking stoves
Compact
Durable
Emits heat
REASONS TO AVOID
Not waterproof
Noisy
Mantle lifespan

If you like the idea of using backpacking fuel canisters for your outdoor lighting at night, go with the Primus Micron. Weighing a mere four ounces, you'll hardly notice this model is on your back, and you can clip it to the outside of your pack with its softshell case. For shorter excursions, you can use the same canister for your stove, so you won't be bringing anything extra to keep it burning. If you keep the Micron burning on low, it can last up to 24 hours on one can of fuel. Unlike many fuel-powered lanterns, you don't need a lighter or matches to fire up the Micron, thanks to its Piezoelectric starter. One of our favorite elements of this model, as opposed to electric lanterns, is that it emits heat, which is quite the luxury on those cold backcountry nights.

The Micron is not flawless. Fuel-powered models should not be used indoors or in tents, so they are limited to outdoor use. If you want a light to hang from the roof of your tent at night, this is not the right fit. Igniting this lantern is pretty easy, but it still requires more steps than simply pushing the button on an electric model. Also, this lantern is not waterproof. The hardware can most certainly get soaked and still dry out and function, but the mantle has to be dry to ignite. Also, the mantles have a limited lifespan. If you choose this lantern, we'd recommend buying an extra mantle or two before heading out on a multi-day trip. Despite the downsides, the Micron is your best bet if you want a super lightweight and super compact fuel canister lantern. Another lightweight and compact option to consider is the rechargeable Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge, which is waterproof and compatible with tent/indoor use.

Read more: Primus Micron review

lantern - 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

Best for Portability


Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 5.0
  • Battery Life 6.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Weight 9.3
Measured Runtime: 3.75 hours | Rechargeable: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Compact
Lightweight
Doubles as power bank
REASONS TO AVOID
Battery quickly drains on high
USB port is exposed to the elements

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge is a mini marvel. It functions as a flashlight but also can beam light down the mirrored shaft to emit 360 degrees of light as a lantern. It charges using an integrated USB plug, so there is no need to carry disposable batteries. We also love that it can charge other small devices in a pinch. It's the size of many power banks, so you could potentially just bring this highly functional lantern along instead. It is an excellent option for car camping and weekend backcountry trips and is a great size for children.

If we are getting down to the nitty-gritty details, the metal hanging loop really requires an additional carabiner to be truly functional. This model has a waterproof rating of IPX6, but the USB port and plug are fully exposed to the elements and prone to getting crammed with dirt and debris. This model doesn't have the longest-lasting battery in its highest setting, so keep it dimmed if you need it to last for several nights. Even with those minor inconveniences, this model is an excellent option when you need a compact light that punches above its weight class. Consider the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma if you desire a lightweight model with a prolonged battery life. Though it's not the brightest, it packs down well for travel.

Read more: Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge review

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

Best String Light


MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Brightness 6.0
  • Battery Life 7.0
  • Ease of Use 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Weight 7.9
Measured Runtime: 5.0 hours | Rechargeable: Yes
REASONS TO BUY
Lights stow away in carrying case
Solar-powered
Can charge other devices
REASONS TO AVOID
Carrying case can be clunky to hang with lights
String can be difficult to manage

The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights are great for any festive occasion outdoors. If setting the ambiance is your thing, this product should be in your camper or backyard for your next cookout. If you need to charge up the string in a hurry, it comes with a USB plug that can get the job done. The attached carrying case makes the lights easy to manage when not in use. The light also has a USB port that can charge other devices as well. Most importantly, the ten-node, 20-LED string is bright and brings plenty of light to a deck or campsite.

A few pings against this model are that it can be difficult to find the right spot to hang or rest the carrying case when the lights are strung up. The string itself is also sometimes difficult to manage (because, after all, they are string lights). Luckily, they have a case to keep them in order when not in use. There is so much to like about this set that it takes top honors as an excellent addition to a summer outdoor setup. Another fun and festive option we love is the rechargeable BioLite Alpenglow 500, which has several color options and is dimmable.

Read more: MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights review

lantern - the mpowerd luci solar string lights are bright, solar-powered, and...
The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights are bright, solar-powered, and practical.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
81
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
Best Overall Lantern
$70
Editors' Choice Award
80
Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro
Best Portable for Extended Power Outages
$60
Top Pick Award
78
Coleman Rugged Rechargeable
$65
76
Goal Zero Skylight
Best for Basecamp
$300
Top Pick Award
75
BioLite AlpenGlow 500
$80
75
Ledlenser ML6
$90
73
Lighting Ever Camping
$26
73
Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2
$40
72
Black Diamond Apollo
$70
66
MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights
Best String Light
$55
Top Pick Award
66
Goal Zero Torch 500
$50
64
Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Charge
Best for Portability
$30
Top Pick Award
64
Streamlight The Siege
$35
64
LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1
$80
60
Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma
Best Bang for the Buck
$25
Best Buy Award
60
Primus Micron
Best Fuel Canister Model
$60
Top Pick Award
60
Power Practical Luminoodle
$42
59
Black Diamond Zip
$35
59
Coleman Deluxe Propane
$75
55
MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0
$30
54
UCO Leschi
$15
52
Goal Zero Crush Light
$20
49
LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1
$50
47
Kizen Solar Collapsible
$30

lantern - the tiny uco leschi light provides plenty of illumination for a...
The tiny UCO Leschi light provides plenty of illumination for a two-person tent in the backcountry.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

How We Test Lanterns


For this review, we researched dozens of contenders and selected the most popular models to put to the test. We took them on camping trips, assessing how each performed for solo use, small groups of two to three people, and larger groups of more than four. We spent nights through simulated (and a couple of real) power outages, seeing how we fared with just the light of these luminaries. Brightness is the most important metric, accounting for the majority of each lantern's overall score – each lantern underwent eight specific tests to assess the brightness score alone. We measured battery life by timing how long each model could run on its highest setting. We weighed each model and also considered any bonus features or elements that add to their overall functionality. Finally, we consulted with a panel of professional gear testers to judge how intuitive each one is to use. By the end of our testing period, we have run 360 individual tests to assess our selection of the 24 best lanterns on the market.

Our overall score is based on five rating metrics:
  • Brightness (45% of overall score weighting)
  • Battery Life (20% weighting)
  • Features (15% weighting)
  • Ease of Use (10% weighting)
  • Weight (10% weighting)

See more info on our testing processes in our how we test article.

Why Trust GearLab


We've tested more than four dozen lanterns over the last decade. Our expert panel of testers is led by Ross Patton. Born in Salt Lake City, he spent his youth in the alpine of the Wasatch Mountains and frequently visited Southern Utah – he completed his first loop of the White Rim Trail at just ten years old. Ross has lived and camped across Montana, Colorado, Nevada, and California. Ross has reviewed an array of outdoor products for GearLab over the years, ranging from the best rooftop tents to top backcountry ski poles. Born with a sense of adventure and backed by a formal education in Environmental Science, you can trust that he is putting these products to the ultimate test.

We took each model camping to see how useful they are at the...
We took each model camping to see how useful they are at the campsite. The Goal Zero Crush is a great option to light up a tent.
The Luci Solar String Lights really served us well on warm summer...
The Luci Solar String Lights really served us well on warm summer evenings on the back porch.
It looks like it&#039;s sitting on a rock, but the Streamlight The Siege...
It looks like it's sitting on a rock, but the Streamlight The Siege lantern is actually bobbing around like a cork. We think flotation is a pretty sweet feature.

Review author Ben Applebaum-Bauch started his outdoor career as a guide, leading multi-week backpacking, canoeing, and cycling adventures throughout New England and maritime Canada. Over his 20 years of backcountry experience – and a decade of power outages that go hand-in-hand with winter storms in rural New England – he has grown to appreciate a good lantern. Whether it is thru-hiking the PCT or Vermont's Long Trail or paddling down New Hampshire's Androscoggin River, he is grateful for the warm glow of a lantern on a cold, rainy night (and a little power boost for his phone).

lantern - we found that battery-powered lanterns are the perfect tool for...
We found that battery-powered lanterns are the perfect tool for illuminating a job site that does not yet have electricity.
Credit: Ross Patton

Jason Wanlass has spent the last 20 years of his life exploring the outdoors. He's an avid trail-seeker who has hiked and backpacked hundreds of miles of routes in Iceland, Nepal, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, and the Patagonia Region of Argentina and Chile. Closer to home, he hikes weekly in the foothills above his home in Utah and has backpacked countless miles in nearly every Western state. Whether wandering vast U.S. mountain ranges like the Sierras, Tetons, and the Cascades or catching a plane headed for one of the remote corners of the world, Jason knows a thing or two about gear and the value a little bit of light can provide when you're far from home.

Doing a little spelunking. We found that rechargeable lanterns, like the LuminAid Packlite Titan, have internally sealed battery systems, and are generally the most water-resistant.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Analysis and Test Results


Every model we tested offers a slightly different set of features and very different designs. How much you want to spend on a new lantern will also largely depend on what purpose it will serve. If you don't expect to use it in the rain, then there's no reason to pay extra for waterproofing. But if you need a lightweight, durable, compact model for backpacking, it might cost you a few extra bucks. Keep in mind how you plan to use your lantern, including common uses like camping and as an emergency backup.


Value


Whether or not one of these lights makes it into your camping kit or emergency supplies may come down to the price tag. In order to better understand value, we compare a product's overall score against its price – the higher the score and the lower the price, the greater the overall value. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is bright, easy to use, has a backup hand crank, and also has a USB outlet for charging other devices. This model may be high-end, but it is certainly worth the investment. If you're looking for a battery-powered model to keep in the closet for a power outage or other emergency, the price of the Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro is totally reasonable. The Primus Micron is on the expensive side, but the overall performance and versatility of this gas-powered lantern justify the price tag.

lantern - don&#039;t let the black diamond zip&#039;s size fool you -- this lantern...
Don't let the Black Diamond Zip's size fool you -- this lantern shines. It lights up the corners of a tent enough for it to be a single, centralized light source in that kind of space.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Brightness


It probably comes as no surprise that a lantern's brightness is its most important factor. On our adventures, we used these lights across a variety of locations and settings, rating them according to how well and how broadly they illuminated a space. We consider that certain models are solely designed to be used in different applications. We also assess light quality: Is it smooth and consistent or rippled? Is the color a jarring, cold, fluorescent blue, or a cozy and warm yellow glow?


Another consideration is how well the user can control the brightness of the light. We love continuous dimming capabilities, which allow you to adjust the light intensity based on the group size and setting. When it's available, we use this feature quite a bit.

Heading back to camp. The Goal Zero Torch 500 allows you to control brightness settings on two separate lighting features. It easily switches from flashlight to lantern with a click of a button. It also can burn both light features at the same time.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

When it comes to pure power, the Goal Zero Skylight received the highest scores in our brightness metric. When fully equipped, this massive lighting system can produce 6000 lumens for several hours. Even better, its 168 LEDs project a softer, warmer 3250K light, which is easier on the eyes. Additionally, the Skylight's light source sits atop a sturdy tripod system that can be extended to 12 feet above the ground, allowing the light to cascade downward.

Using our Skylight's 6000 lumens to light up the dark as we make camp in the middle of some of Utah's remote sand dunes.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Heavy hitters above 200 lumens, like the 600-lumen Goal Zero Lighthouse 600, can really light up a room, and hanging options like the 360-lumen Power Practical Luminoodle can be strung up around a railing to liven up a deck or back porch. Models with outputs in the 200-lumen range are sufficient for both personal and small-group use, while the 100-lumen output of lanterns like the UCO Leschi, Goal Zero Crush Light, and Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma are best for personal use only.

lantern - a goal zero crush light chroma combined with a water bottle makes...
A Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma combined with a water bottle makes for an instant table lamp with plenty of ambient light.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

During testing, we also learned that there is such a thing as too bright for certain situations. Light diffusion, which is primarily affected by the globe or light cover, is critical. The opaque plastic used by the Black Diamond Apollo and Zip creates a lovely quality light that is non-invasive. We also loved the LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 for its ability to produce a soft, diffused light that is pleasant but still brilliant enough for reading or nighttime card games.

lantern - the luminaid emits powerful, soft light that is super bright but...
The LuminAID emits powerful, soft light that is super bright but also easy on the eyes.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The BioLite AlpenGlow 500 and Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma offer a candle flicker mode that keeps the vibe extra mellow. The Coleman Rugged Rechargeable has a low and a high setting, the higher of which puts out a mellow yet sufficient 400 lumens.

Using both sides of the lamp on the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2...
Using both sides of the lamp on the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 projects light in 360 degrees.
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 can conserve battery by only using...
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 can conserve battery by only using one side of the lamp.
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini gives you the option to light up both sides of the lamp (left) or conserve battery by only illuminating half (right).

At 750 lumens, the Ledlenser ML6 is the brightest compact model that we've seen to date. If you need a lantern bright enough to light up a room in the event of a power outage or to brighten up the whole campsite, the Lighting Ever Camping and Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro both put off 1000 lumens, making them the two brightest models in our review.

lantern - the ultimate survival technologies 30-day duro is ridiculously...
The Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro is ridiculously bright at its highest setting.
Credit: Ross Patton

For fans of fuel canister-style lanterns, we tested the Coleman Deluxe Propane and the Primus Micron. The Coleman lantern is certainly bright enough to illuminate a family-sized campsite with its dual mantles and tall construction. Designed to be ultra-light and portable, the Primus model produces plenty enough light for cooking or playing card games while you're backpacking.

lantern - 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


Some of these products boast a really impressive battery life, but the manufacturers generally refer to the amount of time the lanterns can last in their lowest settings. In our experience, we've found that sometimes the lowest setting is practically worthless, so we timed how long each lantern can last on its highest setting. For models with disposable batteries, we used standard Duracell brand batteries, and for lanterns that use fuel, we used the most commonly used canisters.


Disposable Batteries


It comes as no surprise that the models that dedicated the most area to large disposable battery compartments for D-sized batteries have the longest life. The Lighting Ever Camping is the longest-lasting model in our review, with a life of 10.5 hours. Not far behind is the Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro. While this model didn't last anywhere near its month-long low-setting life, when set to high, it lasted nine hours during this experiment.

lantern - the ultimate survival technologies 30-day duro uses three d-size...
The Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro uses three D-size batteries.
Credit: Ross Patton

Internal Rechargeable Batteries


Lanterns with internal lithium-ion batteries were once primarily geared toward avid backpackers and campers, and their battery life and brightness were not much to speak of. As the technology improves and more manufacturers jump into rechargeables, these versions are quickly becoming the norm for both experts and weekend warriors alike. The top battery life performer for this lantern type is the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma, lasting just a little more than 7 hours during our assessment. For its small size, we were highly impressed with its ability to produce sustained light for such an extended period of time.

We never worried about whether our Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma had enough juice. It was always ready for go time.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Both BioLite AlpenGlow 500 scored well during this experiment, lasting 5.1 hours. The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights died right around five hours, and the Ledenser ML6 and Goal Zero Torch 500 were the only other models to break the four-hour barrier.

Wrapping up the third hour of our battery-life testing, and our Goal Zero Torch 500 is still burning bright.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Fuel Versions


What was once the only widely available type of lantern now has a rough time keeping up with new tech in terms of longevity. Using a standard size 16-ounce propane canister, the Coleman Deluxe Propane lasted three hours while turned up to its highest setting. Our favorite isobutane model, the Primus Micron lasted 1.5 hours with a backpacking-sized, four-ounce canister.

Consider Your Fuel Options


Unlike battery-powered versions that are limited to their size of disposable batteries or integrated power banks, gas-powered models can be used with larger canisters. By purchasing the proper adapters, you can hook many types of propane lanterns to full-sized tanks rather than the smaller camping canisters.

Ease of Use


A good lantern should be intuitive to use. There is not a huge amount of variability between the lanterns in this review in terms of how easy they are to use, so this metric accounts for a comparatively small proportion of the overall score. However, there are a few different features to look out for that we found to be a value add. Considering that every lantern will require some sort of energy source before it can operate, we first considered how easy they are to power up.


We found that accessing the battery compartment of many models is more challenging than we would want or expect it to be. Some effort is required to install the batteries on waterproof models like Streamlight The Siege. In contrast, lanterns installed with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, like the Coleman Rugged Rechargeable, can be much easier to use.

lantern - string lights are just one of the many ways that you can light up...
String lights are just one of the many ways that you can light up the night on your next camping adventure. Here we have the Power Practical Luminoodle (left) side-by-side with the MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights (right).
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Collapsible, solar-powered lights like the MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0, LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1, and Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma don't require any batteries at all. However, these can take a while to fully charge, even in full sun.

A durable rubberized housing pops open in seconds, allowing the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma to go from being super compact to lighting up your tent in just seconds.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We particularly liked the LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 for its unique box design that expands from a thickness of 1 inch to a height of 6 inches by way of movement and air. Pop, twist, whoosh, snap, and you're ready to go.

We kept the volume on this video so you could get the full effect. Expanding the LuminAID Packlite Titan 2-in-1 is fun -- even a little addicting.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 utilizes an internal battery and a permanently affixed USB cord for charging, but it also has a hand crank for instances in which you're completely out of juice.

lantern - if you find yourself without a way to charge the goal zero...
If you find yourself without a way to charge the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600, simply start twisting the hand crank.
Credit: Ross Patton

Once fully powered up, we considered how easy they were to turn on and whether or not we needed instructions or time to learn the device. The models that are the easiest to illuminate are the ones with big, obvious knobs and buttons, like the Coleman Rugged Rechargeable and the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2.

lantern - the coleman rugged rechargeable is about as easy to operate as...
The Coleman Rugged Rechargeable is about as easy to operate as lanterns get.
Credit: Ross Patton

Beyond just powering on the device, other considerations include the size and accessibility of the power button and the intuitiveness of different light modes. After much comparison testing, we realize the importance of being able to hang our lights overhead easily. Heavier models prove to be much more difficult to suspend. We were confined to setting them on rocks, picnic tables, cars, or on the ground in treeless campsites. Small bases make it hard to stand some of them on uneven surfaces, while models like the Black Diamond Apollo use tripod-style legs with rubber, non-slip feet, making them easy to position. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 and Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini V2 also have wide stands but are slightly less adaptable to uneven surfaces.

lantern - streamlight the siege&#039;s illuminated power button is easy to find and...
Streamlight The Siege's illuminated power button is easy to find and adjust.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Comparing battery-powered models to fuel-canister models can get a little messy, but considering that many gas-powered models require a lighter or matches to start, we gave the Primus Micron bonus points for its Piezoelectric igniter.

lantern - 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


A model with an on/off switch and a handle is sufficient in most cases, but we appreciate those that offer a little more versatility and thoughtfulness. We rate each product based on how many features it has beyond the basics and whether they genuinely improve its overall quality. Some of the lights we tested have just a few features, while others include several that set them apart and increase versatility. We give lower scores to models with features that are unnecessary or aren't highly functional, while the ones with practical and useful features receive higher marks.


Many of the lanterns we tested – even small ones like Kizen Solar Collapsible – are able to charge a smartphone (or other small electronic devices). The Coleman Rugged Rechargeable lantern is one of the most user-friendly options we tested. It even features a compartment on the bottom of the lantern for storing the charger cube and cord, which we found particularly useful for a rechargeable model.

lantern - the coleman rugged rechargeable has storage space for the charger...
The Coleman Rugged Rechargeable has storage space for the charger cube and cord in the base of the lantern.
Credit: Ross Patton

Built-in ground stakes are one of our favorite features of the Goal Zero Skylight. These stakes tuck firmly onto the sidewalls of each of the Skylight's three tripod legs. We also love that each of the legs has an independent height adjustment for steadying the Skylight on uneven ground.

Testing our Skylight's ground stakes and adjustable feet. Both features are key to keeping this unit stable when its mast is extended to 12 feet above the ground.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We appreciate products with simple yet practical features. We love it when a lantern is dimmable, has a great hook for hanging to illuminate from above, and has a sturdy base for improved stability on uneven terrain. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is unique in that when it runs out of juice, there is a hand crank that generates electricity to recharge the light. One minute of cranking provides roughly 10 minutes of illumination.

lantern - we like that the charge indicator lights on the black diamond apollo...
We like that the charge indicator lights on the Black Diamond Apollo tell us how much juice we have left. This model has a built-in, rechargeable battery and the option for back-up, traditional batteries for the best of both worlds.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Fun features that brighten up camp are few and far between in the lantern world; however, the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma literally “crushes” it when it comes to providing a little levity. Although quite small, this pint-size expandable offers a rainbow of six fun colors. The colors can be selected individually or placed on rotation, where they slowly fade from one to the other.

A high-mountain time lapse of our Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma fading from color to color.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

The features on the Streamlight The Siege increase its versatility and value. For example, it's waterproof and floats, making it one of our favorites for boating or fishing trips. We also like this one for looking under the hood of a vehicle, where its magnetic base comes in handy to adhere to and hang from the underside. It has hooks on both ends of the lantern and has white and red light modes.

lantern - many lanterns are charged via micro usb, but some come with more...
Many lanterns are charged via micro USB, but some come with more functional cables than others.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

As they say, safety first. Lanterns that go beyond the basics of providing light are of particular interest to us. Specifically, we appreciate models that can be switched to a dedicated SOS mode. The LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 is an absolute standout in this function. When switched to this mode, the lantern repeatedly flashes SOS in Morse code. The user can beam their distress single in white or red light, and the manufacturer states that a fully charged Packlight Titan can continue in this more for 100 hours.

The LuminAID's SOS setting was our favorite feature. It's easy to turn on and it flashes continually for a very long time.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

We especially like the products with dimmable power outputs (as opposed to fixed settings like low, medium, and high). Many of the lanterns we tested have this feature, but the Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 and Lighthouse Mini V2 can also adjust to cast 180 or 360 degrees of light.

The BioLite AlpenGlow 500 has several light colors, a candle flicker mode, and a color cycle mode that is activated by physically shaking the lantern. This model also boasts an IPX4 water-resistance rating, meaning that it can withstand rain and splashing.

lantern - the biolite alpenglow 500 has a party mode that adds an element of...
The BioLite AlpenGlow 500 has a party mode that adds an element of fun to your campsite.
Credit: Ross Patton

The Primus Micron and Coleman Deluxe Propane both have dials for adjusting the fuel flow and brightness. The Primus has a steel cable for suspending the lantern from above without the risk of it burning or igniting something by accident.

lantern - the primus micron&#039;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

Lastly, we also consider durability to be a less flashy but equally important feature. One aspect of durability involves the ability to repel water. After all, lanterns are generally meant to be used in the great outdoors, and Mother Nature isn't always predictable. The Goal Zero Torch 500 is one of the more durable and water-tight lanterns on our list. The manufacturer states its IP67 rating resists dust, debris, and sand and also allows it to be submerged in 3 feet of water for at least 30 minutes.

Water, snow, dirt, mud... simply child's play for the super durable Goal Zero Torch 500.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

Weight


Weight is also a consideration that largely determines which activity each light is or is not suitable for. If you're looking for a model to take camping in the backcountry, then lightweight is the name of the game. You may also end up saving a little more weight in total if you opt for a version that also includes a USB charge port (assuming you are otherwise going to bring a supplemental battery pack).


On the other hand, if you are staying at base camp or car camping, you may actually want a little more heft in your lantern. The Ultimate Survival Technologies 30-Day Duro is the heaviest battery-powered contender. We really wouldn't consider taking it too far away from camp. The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 is pretty hefty, but considering it has a large internal battery and a hand-crank, we think its weight is reasonable. Among our heavy hitters (lanterns with our highest lumens ratings), we were impressed with the Goal Zero Torch 500's ability to pack 500 lumens into 13.1 ounces.

lantern - just hanging out. the goal zero torch 500 isn&#039;t the lightest of our...
Just hanging out. The Goal Zero Torch 500 isn't the lightest of our entire selection, but it's one of the lightest of the brightest.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

At 14 ounces, the BioLite AlpenGlow 500 is right on the edge of what we might consider light enough for backpacking. For gas-powered models, the Coleman Deluxe Propane weighs a whopping 38 ounces without a canister attached. This model is really not designed to take far from your vehicle.

Gettin' some sun: Making use of a bright day to recharge our LuminAid along the trail. It doesn't weigh the least, but it packs down tight and is easy to carry.
Credit: Jason Wanlass

If you like the idea of using the same fuel canisters for nighttime illumination as you use for your backpacking stove, the Primus Micron will only add 5.4 ounces to your setup or a mere 4 ounces if you ditch the case.

Even with the case, the Primus Micron is extremely light.
Even with the case, the Primus Micron is extremely light.
The Primus Micron is about as light as stainless steel lanterns get.
The Primus Micron is about as light as stainless steel lanterns get.
Weighing the Micron with its case (left) and without (right). It's quite lightweight either way.

The lightweights we would take a bit deeper into the backcountry include the Ledlenser ML6 and the Black Diamond Apollo. Also worth considering are the Black Diamond Zip or BioLite PowerLite Mini, both of which fit easily into almost any pocket and are competitively lightweight. Two other excellent lightweight options are the Goal Zero Crush Light and its colorful cousin, the Goal Zero Crush Light Chroma. Both are collapsible and don't take up a lot of pack space.

lantern - the dual-function, compact uco leschi fits in the palm of your hand...
The dual-function, compact UCO Leschi fits in the palm of your hand or in your pocket.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Conclusion


There are many high-quality lanterns on the market. However, different lights excel in different settings, so be sure to consider where and how you intend to use your lantern to maximize the value of your purchase. Throughout our testing, we were pleasantly surprised by how useful these products proved to be beyond their primary function as light sources. In some cases, we came to like them more than our beloved headlamps (gasp).

Jason Wanlass, Ross Patton, and Ben Applebaum-Bauch