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Lanterns can light up anything from a small corner to an entire room. They can help you find your way to the breaker box or generator, and, in the case of a prolonged power outage, they can be used as a light source to cook by and to ensure you can carry on with some semblance of normality. They obviously need to be powered by a battery or rechargeable and provide enough lighting according to your needs, all while remaining reliable.
There is a large selection of camping lanterns that are fit for a specific purpose, as well as those designed specifically for use during power outages at home. Below, you will find reviews of 10 of the best lanterns for power outages, including a good variety of budgets, lumen output levels, and other features.
|Vont LED Lantern Pro||
|Gold Armour 4 Pack Portable LED Lanterns||
|Goal Zero Lighthouse 600||
|Etekcity LED Camping Lantern||
|Light life:||Up to 100 Hours|
The Vont LED Lantern Pro is a four pack of collapsible, battery-powered LED lanterns. The product can be used as a lantern, offering 300 lumens, or as a direct flashlight with 100 lumens of light output. They also have a red night-vision mode and a strobe SOS option. The Vont lanterns will run continuously for 16 hours using carbon batteries and as long as 100 hours with alkaline batteries. A magnetic base means that they can sit securely on any metal surface, and there is a strong hanging hook that will take the weight of the lantern.
The Vont lanterns are reasonably priced, especially when purchased as a multipack, but despite offering considerably more runtime on alkaline batteries, they only include carbon batteries. If you’re buying emergency lanterns for a potential, prolonged power outage, you should upgrade to alkaline batteries. And, while 300 lumens will be enough to give a reasonable amount of light, a single lantern is unlikely to provide enough light for an entire room. However, the combination of low price, water resistance, and a handy magnetic base makes this the best lantern for power outages.
|Light life:||12 hours|
Like the Vont lanterns, the Gold Armour4494 4 Pack Portable LED Lanterns are collapsible for easier storage. They are also battery powered, using 3 AA batteries for each lantern. When bought as a pack of four they are among the cheapest emergency lanterns around. The Gold Armour products have a strong magnetic base and not only does this mean they can be secured to a horizontal surface, but the magnets are strong enough to use as wall lanterns. They also have a hanging hook.
Although the Gold Armour lanterns boast 500 lumens, it is a warmer light, which doesn’t project light over as long a distance, and the 12-hour maximum light time is lower than the previous option. It also lacks the lighting features of some other models, but its low price and decent quality make the Gold Armour Lantern the best lantern for power outages for the money.
|Light life:||36 hours|
The Streamlight 44947 Super Siege 1100 Lumen Rechargeable Lantern is a premium lantern made from polycarbonate thermoplastic. It is waterproof and even floats so is suitable for outages caused by flooding and for outdoor activities. It is a rechargeable lantern that is charged via the USB port, which also doubles up to allow you to recharge other items like mobile phones from the port. It projects a massive 1,100 lumens and has multiple lighting options including white, red, medium, and low light. When used in low-light settings, the lantern will last up to 36 hours on a full charge. Although the base isn’t magnetized, it is rubber, so it will stay steady and firm on most uneven surfaces.
The Streamlight is expensive and while it will run for 36 hours on low light, or even for 140 hours on the red light. If you want the full 1,100 lumens, a charge will deplete in less than 6 hours. This is obviously greatly reduced if you use the lantern to charge another device. The lantern does allow you to choose between high, medium, and low light settings so you can decide whether you need extra illumination or longer light life.
|Power source:||Rechargeable, solar|
|Light life:||3 hours|
The Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Camping Lantern is another expensive lantern, although cheaper than the Streamlight above. It also has a mediocre light life of about 3 hours at full lumens and 360° lighting. However, it does have some very useful features that make it a good choice in an emergency.
The Goal Zero can be recharged via USB cable or it can be recharged using solar, so you can recharge it after each use, ready for the next power cut. It also has an emergency crank. One minute of hand cranking will provide light for about 10 minutes. Users can choose the light setting, with lower light settings lasting longer, and you can further increase the light time by reducing the angle of lighting down from 360°—especially useful if it is going to be kept in a corner. Another useful feature is that it has folding legs. By lifting the light a few inches off the ground, it does help project light better, so it bathes an area well.
Although the Goal Zero isn’t suitable for providing high light levels for a full night or in circumstances where you can’t charge it between uses, it is a very handy lantern should you require a couple of hours of lighting or if you don’t need full light.
|Light life:||30 hours|
The Etekcity LED Camping Lantern is an affordable lantern that can be collapsed for convenient storage and also allows you to control the amount of light emitted, although this doesn’t increase the life of the light. The lantern is powered by three AA batteries, is waterproof, and weighs just 10 ounces, so it is lightweight and convenient for carrying. It also has a small storage compartment on the top of the lantern where you can stow a key or other small item.
As well as being cheap, the Etekcity LED Camping Lantern has a good light life of 30 hours with continuous use. However, it does only offer 60 lumens, which is bright enough as a bedside lamp or to find your way to a generator, but it won’t offer enough light for multiple people and won’t illuminate a large area.
|Light life:||30 hours|
The Lichamp LED Camping Lanterns include four, 250-lumen lanterns. The lanterns take three AA batteries, offer 250 lumens, and the company claims that they will run for up to 30 hours of continuous use. This is another flashlight that can be collapsed for storage and offers full 360° illumination.
Although you can partially close the light to dim how bright they are, the lights still use maximum power, which means that dimming does not help conserve power. The Lichamp lights are cheap, but with standard carbon batteries, you will only get around 5–6 hours of use. The lantern itself feels of lesser quality than a lot of other alternative models.
|Light life:||200 hours|
The Enbrighten Nickel Brushed LED Camping Lantern is a battery-powered lantern that is around average price. It is powered by D batteries, which offer a higher current output and typically last longer than AA, although they can be more challenging to find and more expensive to buy. The Enbrighten will run on three of these batteries, or you can add six to ensure that your light won’t cut out when you need it. Using a full quota of six batteries, you can expect up to 200 hours of light.
The lantern also has three light output settings and a carabiner-style handle. Although appearances aren’t necessarily that important with an emergency lantern, the brushed nickel finish is attractive. As well as being more expensive than a lot of other models, it can be difficult to change the batteries, especially in low-light conditions. While 550 lumens is a decent light setting compared to the cheapest alternatives, there are more powerful storm lanterns for similar money.
|Light life:||12 hours|
The LE LED Camping Lantern is a 1,000-lumen camping lantern that is powered by D alkaline batteries and offers up to 12 hours of use even at full power. The lantern has three settings: daylight white, warm white, and combined. As well as a handing handle on top of the device, as is typical with such products, there is a small hook on the bottom. Remove the cap from the device and you can hang the light upside down.
The LE LED Lantern is reasonably priced for a powerful, 1,000-lumen lantern thanks to its use of D batteries. However, the batteries are difficult to get to and change and the battery cover doesn’t fit snugly. Also, when turned off, there is a blinking light on the power button, and you need to completely remove the batteries to prevent this flashing.
|Light life:||5.5 hours|
The Internova LED Camping Lantern is one of the most powerful lanterns available, providing up to 1,700 lumens of illumination in a 360° arc. It has a full power mode as well as low lighting, red night vision mode, and red emergency blinking mode.
It is powered with four D batteries, meaning that the lamp will last for 31 hours at low light setting, which offers a reasonable 270 lumens. But, even D cell batteries struggle when in full power mode, and you will only get between 5–6 hours of light. The light can be dimmed to any level between 270–1,700 lumens to meet your requirements. The base is rubber so will grip to most textured surfaces and the price is reasonable for a lantern so bright.
In most cases, you’re unlikely to need the full 1,700 lumens of power, and although 30 hours of use at 270 lumens is a decent amount of time that will at least give you the opportunity to get out and buy more batteries, there are lanterns with a similar lumen output that can outlast that multiple times.
|Light life:||19 hours|
The Core 500 Lumen CREE LED Battery Lantern is a battery-operated lantern with a maximum output of 500 lumens and a lower output setting of 200 lumens. It runs using three D batteries, which means it can operate for up to 19 hours at full power or 65 hours at low light settings, both of which are generous runtimes.
This is a good quality light with adequate lumens for most tasks, but it is quite expensive for a 500-lumen option and is limited to just two light settings. However, the lantern is very small, and its hard top prevents light from being projected upwards, which means that it doesn’t spread light out as well as some other lanterns.
Emergency lanterns, or lanterns for power outages, are one of those items that a lot of people don’t think about until they need them. But, if your power goes out and you don’t have a backup generator, a lantern is a better option than searching kitchen drawers in the dark for candles. Because a lantern projects light at a 360° angle, it is more beneficial than a flashlight. When buying a lantern for use in blackouts, you need to consider the following features.
There are two primary options when it comes to a power source:
Other options include:
Light output is measured in lumens, with more lumens providing a brighter light. To light an entire room, it typically takes between 500–5,000 lumens. But in an emergency situation, you will be limited to the things you can do and the amount of light you need. For one person, and for a blackout lasting an hour or so, as little as 100 lumens might be enough. If you need to provide lighting for a handful of people overnight, then you will want something offering 1,000 lumens or more.
Batteries, whether rechargeable or not, deplete according to the amount of power your lantern is using. Some lanterns have a single lighting setting which means that the batteries will deplete at the same speed no matter how much light you require. Others have multiple lighting settings and may even allow you to dim the light according to your needs. Dimmer lights typically use less power so you can conserve battery power. However, this isn’t always the case.
Some battery lanterns can be partially closed to dim the light, but they still use full battery power. Other light modes that might be available include night vision mode, which is a dim red light that uses much less power than white light, or an emergency SOS setting that blinks SOS in morse code. For emergency lighting around the house, you will typically want a full power and low-light setting.
Runtime is the amount of time that the lantern will operate on a single charge, whether that charge is a full set of batteries or a fully recharged power unit. This can vary according to the power of the torch and the setting you use and is heavily dependent on the type and number of batteries used. If you only intend to use the lantern to get to a fuse box or generator, runtime won’t be too much of a concern. Otherwise, a runtime of 6 hours should be enough to get you through an evening, while lanterns with a runtime of hundreds of hours are unnecessary except in the most extreme of circumstances.
The best lantern for power outages is determined by how many people will be using it, the kind of space that needs illuminating, and whether you will be doing anything more than reading or finding your way to other rooms. Above, we have listed 10 of the best lanterns for power outages, including reviews, and a buyer’s guide to help ensure that you choose the right one for you.
The VOD VED Lantern Pro offers up to 100 hours of battery life, although you will have to upgrade to better batteries than come with the device to achieve this, and projects 300 lumens with multiple lighting settings. If you’re looking to spend a little less, the Gold Armour Portable LED Lantern actually offers slightly more illumination, but it has fewer options and less runtime.
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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