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What good can a solar lantern do for your household, be it an urban home or an off-grid cabin in backcountry?
“Go green!” “ Use solar power!” I hear these words a lot as of late. Okay, everyone knows that solar power is a renewable, eco-friendly source of power, it reduces your carbon footprint, etc. But does it offer some tangible benefits to me as an individual, besides being environmentally friendly? Well, some solar-powered gadgets and products might be overhyped. A solar lantern, however, is a convenient, useful, and cost-effective item.
Why It Is Great to Have a Solar Lantern
Let’s be honest, a solar lantern isn’t a necessity in our lives. However, it comes in handy in many situations. It depends a little bit on your lifestyle, but if you’re an outdoor person, you will want to have one of these. So, here are a couple of situations where lanterns are convenient and useful.
- Emergency power outages. You may have an earthquake- or hurricane resistant house, but in case of power outages, you’ll be sitting in the dark. Solar lanterns have provided a little bit of relief to thousands of households after hurricanes Irma, Maria, Harvey, and others, as well as after earthquakes in Haiti, Nepal, India, and worldwide.
- SHTF events. Natural disasters are the most common, but not only disasters you may face. Your prepper gear must include sources of light. A solar lantern with multiple ways of charging is a great choice.
- Camping, hiking, fishing trips. When camping, you’d probably prefer a campfire, but what to do if it’s not allowed? Anyway, you can’t have a campfire in your tent if you want to read your favorite survival books before sleeping. The same goes for fishing and hiking trips.
- Patio and garden lights. You want to enjoy the evenings in your backyard without increasing utility bills? Your garden or patio can be illuminated and look beautiful with solar lanterns. There are countless styles and designs to choose from.
The Best Outdoor Solar Lantern for Emergency, Camping, Hiking, Fishing
Sifting through an overwhelming number of options can be frustrating. So, we have compiled a list of best solar lanterns to help you narrow down your choice. It is difficult, though, to call any lantern the best overall. They are designed for different purposes to fit the different needs of customers. So, our list comes in no particular order. We were guided by lantern quality and functionality. As for styles, it is entirely up to you, of course.
1. AGPTEK Solar Lantern – The Most Versatile Solar Lantern
This is what I call a true “emergency lantern”. While it is not exclusively a solar lantern, versatility is its major asset. Besides solar power, there are four other charging methods to keep this lantern going. You can use three AA batteries, an AC adapter, a car adapter, and a crank dynamo. One minute of cranking can provide about 20 minutes of light.
Furthermore, it has two brightness modes, the brighter one being almost too bright! Dim light has been a major problem of solar lanterns. Well, not with this one.
Also, you can use it as a power bank to charge your smartphone or other small gadgets. It is a sturdy and durable lantern as well. Smartly designed and reinforced with a steel ring it should shine brightly for years to come.
Pros of This Solar Lantern
- Excellent brightness
- 5 charging methods
- Strong and durable
- Outstanding emergency and camping lantern
Cons of This Solar Lantern
- It isn’t waterproof
2. SUAOKI Led Camping Lanterns for Lighting – Best Camping Solar Lantern
While this model doesn’t really look like a lantern, it offers versatility and practicality. It has a sort of funny accordion-shape design. But, it’s the design that allows modifications for different uses. It is a pretty bright lantern with at least 65 lumens on high setting. The lantern becomes ridiculously small when folded. You can use it as a fleshlight or fit it anywhere in your backpack.
It has three lighting modes: high, low, and flashing SOS mode. A single charge will provide 5 hours of light in high mode and more than 10 hours in low mode. A dual charging method is another useful feature. And you can use it as an emergency phone charger as well.
- Flashlight and lantern modes
- Very compact and easy to fit in anywhere
- Two charging methods – USB and solar power
- Excellent for all outdoor activities
- Emergency power bank charger
- It is not for decorative purposes
3. MPOWERD Luci Original Solar Inflatable Light – Most Durable Light
A major concern with solar lanterns is the fact that the light may fade away while you still need it. Well, not with this one. Luci Original can last up to 24 hours on a single full charge! It takes 7 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge it.
However, the list of great features of this lantern doesn’t stop there. It has an inflatable design that makes it very convenient. When folded, you can pack it easy and it only weighs 4.4 ounces.
If that’s not enough for you, it is waterproof with an IP67 rating. It means that it offers full protection from dust and dirt particles and you can submerge it into up to 1-meter deep water for half an hour!
- Extremely lightweight
- Inflatable design allows portability and easy packing
- 7 hours of direct sunlight provides 24 hours run time
- It is durable
- 10 LEDs and 4 lighting modes
- Battery level indicator
- Waterproof (IP67)
- No backup charging method
4. LED Camping Lantern by Lighting Ever – Brightest Solar Lantern
“Let there be light!” Some solar lanterns produce so little light that you can only use them as decorative items. Well, this one is the opposite. 280-lumen output in full brightness mode makes it the brightest solar lantern. You can enjoy the light for 5 hours in full brightness and up to 11 hours in half brightness. It is also very compact and lightweight.
This lantern comes with two magnets and two metal loops on the base. It’s a simple but ingenious addition to make it so convenient and easy to attach it and use it in so many different situations.
Moreover, it is water resistant. It will withstand light rain easily, but don’t push it. With IPX4 rating it is water resistant, but not waterproof.
- Very bright
- Magnets and loops for easy placing almost anywhere
- Emergency power bank
- USB for backup charging
- Supports 5V DC charger adapter
- Water resistant (IPX4)
- Not the best to decorate the garden
Best Garden Solar Lantern
While there’s a lot to compare when it comes to camping lanterns, with garden lanterns it pretty much comes down to beauty. And you can’t really measure it. Generally speaking these lanterns provide less light. Their purpose is to adorn your backyard or patio and not to lighten your way.
Besides beauty, I’d recommend looking for waterproof models so you don’t have to worry if it rains when you’re not at home. Of course, durability and affordable price are always on our wish list. So, here are just a couple of top models to give you a glimpse into the garden lanterns realm.
5. TomCare Solar Lights
This lantern is made of high-quality rust-proof metals with the bronze finish. Flickering flames are a lovely sight and a gorgeous addition to your garden or patio. It is waterproof so you don’t have to put it away when it rains or snows.
6. MAGGIFT 2 Pack Hanging Solar Lights
This rustic lantern has fantastic user ratings. It takes 6 to 8 hours to charge and in return you will enjoy the play of light for 8 to 10 hours. A beautiful retro design makes it a great choice not only for your garden. You can use it as a centerpiece for your celebrations.
7. Solar Lights Outdoor Hanging Solar Lanterns by esgarden
Made of stainless steel, it is a weatherproof and waterproof solar lantern. It comes with soft and warm LED lights to create a beautiful ambiance. Bronze color and flower patterns provide a gorgeous effect. It will charge even on a cloudy day.
Bonus – Honorable Mentions
8. LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern
Another excellent choice. It didn’t make it to the top of the list for one reason – there’s a very similar counterpart above there. Luci Original has almost the same features as LuminAID. It is just a little bit more reliable.
9. Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern
It is another compact and functional emergency or camping lantern. It looks pretty much the same as SUAOKI. And the features are very similar, too. So, it is a water resistant, collapsable, and versatile solar lantern. It comes with a lifetime warranty, which clearly shows the manufacturer’s confidence in this product.
10. SOS Solarlight Solar Flashlight with Compass and Dual Battery
Strictly speaking, this is a solar flashlight and not a lantern. However, it is a convenient, durable, and shock-resistant gadget. It comes with long-lasting lithium backup batteries. The addition of a compass and waterproof design are useful features as well.
Conclusion About Best Solar Lantern
Solar power has come a long way in the last couple of decades. With improved efficiency, we are finding more ways to use it. From heating our homes to cooling it with solar fans, from phone chargers to camping lanterns we are using solar power more and more.
Hopefully, solar power will become our major energy source in the future. Until then, you can enjoy evenings in your garden with a solar lantern, while another one will be stashed and ready for emergency cases. Who says preppers weren’t meant to enjoy their retreats?