10 Best Solar Camping Lanterns in 2020 (Review)
Nothing beats a hassle-free camping experience. To enjoy a beautiful evening with friends or family, you need to have the right camping gear.
Among the products that you’ll need, you must include a solar lantern for camping. This product will give you the option to light up your camping tent, but it can also act as a portable light source or an emergency light for irregular situations in which no power source is available.
In this buying guide, we will talk about the best solar camping lanterns in 2020 so you can make a well-informed decision on which one to buy. We will discuss key features and specs, along with multiple facts and details that you need to consider when purchasing one of these products.
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The Best Solar Camping Lanterns
1. SUAOKI Solar Camping Lantern
The SUAOKI solar lantern is the perfect gift for any person that loves to go camping.
This collapsible lantern has two main charging options: solar power and USB port charging. It is easy to carry and transport, thanks to the plastic handle that is integrated into the lantern’s design.
The Suaoki solar product features three lighting modes including high (over 65 lumens), low (over 25 lumens), and SOS flashing (mainly intended for emergencies). The integrated 800mAh lithium battery, when fully charged, is able to provide more than 10 hours of battery life when it’s active in low mode, up to 5 hours when activated in high mode, and up to 6 hours when active in flashing mode.
Among other features, you will find that the Suaoki lantern has a USB output and a micro USB input suitable for charging mobile phones. Finally, there is also a charge indicator that turns on whenever solar energy is used to power the LEDs.
2. AGPTEK Solar Camping Lantern
The AGPTEK 5 mode hand camping lantern uses 5 charging methods to power 36 LED lights inside the curved shape lantern.
This unique feature ensures that your LED camping lantern will never run out of power and that you will always be able to have the AGPTEK model at its fullest.
The first option is logically solar energy, thanks to a polycrystalline solar panel located on top of the lantern. The second option features USB charging, and the third one considers a car adapter charger for instantaneous charging.
The fourth option is manual. By using a hand crank dynamo that you will have to spin with a hand lever, you will be able to manually power the LEDs. This would be the last option that you would try, but it ensures that no matter what happens, you will always have a source of light. Finally, all of these options can be integrated with a set of 3 AAA batteries to store the generated renewable energy.
The LEDs are designed for low energy consumption in order to maximize the available power from any of these sources. Two brightness modes are available: Simple bright mode (for reading mostly) and super bright (extended vision).
3. Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro Flash Lantern
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Micro charge flashlight is a very valuable resource for your next camping trip. It only weights 3.2 ounces and is easy to carry everywhere
Designed by one of the most important brands in the sector, the flashlight has a beautiful design that integrates a 2600mAh/9.62 Wh. battery capacity that allows you to run the light for over 100 hours. The built-in battery indicator allows you to visualize at all time the remaining energy stored in the battery.
The best thing is that it also integrates a 5V/1A USB port that allows you to charge the flashlight using a USB cable in just about 3.5 hours. Now as a lighting resource, this product comes with a maximum brightness of 150 lumens in lantern mode, and nearly 120 lumens in flashlight mode. Besides, the device also has different brightness modes including low and high settings that allow you to adapt the lighting levels to the particular needs of the occasion. And of course, compatible with Goal Zero Nomad 7.
4. Goal Zero Crush Light
The Goal Zero Crush Light is a beautiful and small collapsible solar lantern that has the power to provide up to 60 lumens of usable light, which can be active for over 35 hours.
The product comes with multiple lighting modes available including high (60 lumens), medium (25 lumens), low (6 lumens), soft, and even a candle flicker that can provide a more relaxing ambience. Moreover, the light integrates a small solar cell that allows it to charge it anywhere during daylight (takes about 20hr). The light can also be charged with a small solar panel like the Nomad 7 Plus from Goal Zero in less than 2.5 hours. The product also integrates a USB port that you can use to connect to a USB port to charge the light as well.
One of the greatest things of this product is that it is collapsible, meaning you can take it anywhere and it will not occupy space and weight almost nothing. The device has also an IPX4 weatherproof rating, meaning that it can be used in outdoor conditions without any issue.
5. Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Lantern
Maybe the most adequate product for a camping experience or any other activity in the outdoors. The lighthouse mini rechargeable lantern is perfect to be placed nearby the tent in a camp.
The LED light provides up to 210 lumens (3500K) which is considerable for a portable lighting source. Moreover, it also features two lighting modes (low, high), both dimmable. The lantern is very small and can be placed on the ground or hung on a tent.
Furthermore, the light integrates a 11.1Wh/3000mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery which provides enough energy as to run the light under low mode for over 500 hours and nearly 7hours under high mode.
Moreover, this product can get charged either by using the integrated 5V/1AUSB port (taking nearly 4 hours to completely charge) or by using a compatible solar panel (like the Nomad 7) to charge the device in between 4-6 hours. The battery can also be replaced with another spare model (18650 Goal Zero Lighthouse battery).
One of the most valuable features of the product is its integrated battery management system for charging and low battery protection.
6. LuminAID Lantern
The LuminAID Lantern is possibly one of the best solar lanterns on the market.
The stylish solar lantern has been designed with a total white color structure that provides up to 5 lighting mode options. The PackLite Nova USB portable LED camping lantern will allow you to use a turbo setting that will provide up to 75 lumens of light over 3-5 hours and illuminate a 125sq.ft area.
If you are looking for a less intense, but extended source of light, then you will also be able to use other three operating modes: high (50 lumens, 6-8 hours), medium (25 lumens, 12-14 hours), and low (12 lumens, 18-24 hours). Finally, for an intermittent light, you will be able to use the flashing mode for up to 48 hours.
The PackLite Nova USB camping lantern uses a 1,000mAh rechargeable battery that can be charged via USB port or solar energy. Moreover, the product is 100% waterproof and is even able to float on the water, making it perfect for fishing, paddle boarding and other activities performed on water.
The best from LuminAID is that there are multiple model options similar to the PackLite Nova USB product.
7. D.Light S30
The D.Light S30 is a solar rechargeable LED lantern that can be used for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, or climbing.
Featuring an interesting design that resembles the appearance of a water bottle, the solar lantern features two brightness settings with a 360 degree lighting exposition.
The d.light S30 is able to provide up to 12 hours of light using a single charge, which is more than enough to light up a night picnic or a camping experience. This lantern can also be included as part of your home emergency kit, so you always have a light source whenever the power goes out.
Furthermore, in order to detect if the LED lantern is getting charged by solar power, the product features a Smart Solar Indicator light that turns on whenever the solar panel located on top charges the battery.
The d.light S30 also features additional charging options related to an AC charging port, which will give you the chance to completely charge the solar lantern while you are still at home.
8. MPOWERD Luci EMRG
The MPOWERD Luci EMRG lantern lights come in an all-in-one package, designed to act as the perfect emergency lights.
These solar lantern lights work by using the PV cell located on the bottom side that can be placed facing direct sunlight to charge the battery that is integrated inside. As renewable energy power sources, these solar powered camping lanterns generate 25 lumens of cool white light through its three bright LED bulbs.
The Mpowerd Luci model also features a red color LED light that has multiple lighting modes: low, medium, high, 1-second flashing, S.O.S, and a steady red functionality as well (for emergency situations like a car malfunction on the road).
Moreover, the charging time of this inflatable solar light reaches 8 daylight hours and is able to provide light for 7 hours on a single charge. On the other hand, there is also a convenient battery level indicator that is located close to the PV cell and that lets you know the remaining charge on the battery.
Finally, thanks to its lightweight and water-resistant feature, the Mpowerd Luci is the perfect companion for paddle boarding, canoeing, and other aquatic activities.
9. Kizen LED Lantern
The Kizen solar LED camping lantern is an amazing rechargeable product that uses solar energy to recharge a built-in battery and provide a portable LED source of light.
The Kizen solar lantern features a compact design that allows you to expand the lantern when used and to compress it while the solar panels charge the battery during the day.
This Kizen product features amazing versatile options that make it one of the most valuable solar lanterns out there. To get started, the LED camping lantern features three lighting modes for multiple applications: High, low and SOS. You will love to have an emergency light like this when there are power outages of any kind.
Besides acting as an LED light, you will also be able to use the Kizen solar lantern as a portable power bank that can charge your mobile phones while you enjoy your camping experience.
Finally, the Kizen solar lantern is fully waterproof and is protected against hot or cold weather, making it perfect for sailing or fishing activities.
10. Odoland USB Rechargeable Light
The Odoland USB rechargeable light has received multiple positive solar camping lantern reviews thanks to its beautiful aesthetic design and valuable features that are integrated into the lantern.
To get started, the lantern features two charging options either by solar power or by a USB plug. You will enjoy multiple brightness modes. If you are looking for high lumens output, then you will be able to choose the cool white LED lantern which will provide 150 lumens and can be used for up to 5h with a single charge. There will also be the high warm white (90 lumens output and 7h lasting) and low warm white (20 lumens and 20h performance) light. A flashlight option (intermittent) and a luminous lampshade (green color) mode are also available.
The solar lantern features a collapsible design as well that can be adjusted to any space needs specially intended for camping, hiking, emergency situations and also the perfect additional companion for a solar backpack.
Among other features, the Odolan lantern will also have a charging indicator to make a reference when solar energy is charging the battery.
3 Features to Look for When Buying a Solar Powered Camping Lantern
The first element that you must look for when selecting solar powered camping lanterns is the lighting modes that the product offers.
Brand specifications will generally show the available lighting modes for every model. Among these specs, you will find the lumen output of every lantern under every lighting mode.
The lumen output is a parameter that you can compare among solar powered camping lanterns, to find out which is the brightest option. Keep in mind that warm or cool light colors will also influence your perception of brightness, so making your selection according to lumens and color of light is highly recommended.
You will generally find references in the manufacturer’s data related to the number of hours of light that the powerful LED lantern is able to provide. This will show you how long you can keep the LEDs ON under every mode of operation.
Keep in mind that to completely light a tent you will need around 100 lumens. Meanwhile, for other activities such as hiking, backpacking, and trekking during the night, you will need between 50-100 lumens. For reading in a tent you will need nearly 50 lumens, and to light up a complete campsite you will need several lanterns that reach around 300 lumens in total.
Another important factor that you should take into account is the charging operation modes that are available for each product.
Despite that the basic requirement is that the camping light gets powered by solar energy, having other charging options such as DC, car plug-in, USB port or even with a hand crank dynamo, are always desirable to increase the reliability of the camping lantern.
The more charging modes available, the better the solar lantern will be.
Design and Miscellaneous
Finally, additional factors such as the design can also influence your decision. Selection of lighting and design colors, multiple hanging options such as hooks, metal handles, suction cups, and other factors must also be balanced.
Having a durable design and a strong water-resistant performance is also very important, especially if you regularly perform activities such as paddle boarding in mountain lakes. Taking a look at the warranty terms might also help you decide which option is best for you.
What are the Different Types of Solar Camping Lanterns?
Solar powered camping lanterns can be classified according to multiple factors.
One of them can be related to the structure of the lantern itself. Some solar lanterns have a fixed design that does not compress and that needs to be carried everywhere. These lanterns may perform just as good as other models, but the storage and portability get drastically reduced.
Meanwhile, there are also collapsible solar lanterns. These models are mainly intended for camping and backpacking, as they can be easily stored in any small compartment and then expanded when used. Many of them will include a hook or metal handles suitable for clipping onto a backpack and for hanging in a tent.
On the other hand, we can also classify solar powered camping lanterns according to the charging modes as USB solar lanterns (if the USB port is available) or single-charging solar lanterns (if they only charge batteries through solar energy).
How Many Hours of Light Can You Expect to Get from One Charge?
The answer to this question is highly variable.
The hours of light that you will have available will depend on the capacity of the battery bank and the selected lighting mode of operation.
Lanterns for camping will generally have between 500mAh and 1,000mAh of energy capacity available in the battery. As you can imagine, the longer capacity, the brighter and longer hours of light will be available for you. However, the solar panel will need to have greater performance and efficiency. It is not the same to select solar panels for charging a small power bank as selecting solar kits for charging an RV battery.
Lumens output according to the lighting mode is also widely variable among products. For super bright output performance, the typical range is between 50 and 150 lumens, but for low light conditions and even SOS lighting modes, lighting intensity can be as low as 10 lumens.
Despite this wide difference between lumens and battery capacities, manufacturers tend to design their product to provide an average range of hours. In other words, the product that features 500mAh will probably have a lower lumen output than the lantern with 1,000mAh.
Therefore, we can establish an average range based in recommendations from multiple manufacturers that fluctuates between 2-5 hours under super bright conditions and between 10 – 20 hours under low light conditions. The best way to accurately know this fact is to check the manufacturer’s specs.
How Will the Lanterns Perform in Various Weather Conditions?
Since we are working with solar camping lanterns, the performance will be directly related to the weather conditions available in the campsite.
Cloudy conditions can reduce drastically the performance of any solar powered generator, and that includes solar lanterns for camping as well. If the sunlight is not optimal, it will probably take an entire day (and maybe even more) to completely charge the built-in battery.
On the other hand, most camping lanterns are designed with high IP_XY protection ratings. The IP protection rating is a universal standard that classifies the performance of any product against dust and water conditions. The first number (X) will indicate the minimum size of the object that could enter inside the lantern (an indicator of performance against dust) while the second number (Y) will indicate the performance against water environments.
Most solar camping lanterns will have an excellent performance against raining and wet conditions as they will be typically placed in campsites. Nevertheless, some of them will even offer complete protection against water, allowing immersion in water for at least 30 minutes (submersible IP67 rating) or even continuously (IP68).
This will be most valuable for all those campers and customers that would love a source of light while practicing paddle boarding, fishing, or sailing.
Where Should You Place the Lanterns around a Campsite?
Solar camping lanterns can be placed in many spots.
The first solar lantern that you should consider is the one that will go inside the camping tent. This one should have a high lighting mode that reaches between 70 -100 lumens to get a good source of illumination. The medium or low brightness modes should be enough (40-50 lumens) to allow you to read a book or talk with someone else inside the tent. You can hang this solar lantern on the top side of the tent.
Furthermore, placing other solar camping lanterns in the campsite is valuable in enhancing your evening experience in the outdoors. You can use a string fishing line to wire up or connect multiple solar lanterns, and then hang them between two trees to provide a good decoration and source of light at the same time.
If you have an RV, you can place some of them on the windows of the RV by using suction cups (Longans’ model), and if you go into the wild with a car, you can also use magnets located on the bottom of the solar powered camping lantern to attach them to the roof of the car (Tansoren model).
Finally, if you have a table for dinner, you can also place a couple of these camping lanterns with colors to provide a beautiful evening ambience.