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When a power cut hits, most people desperately try to remember where they put the candles. However, this is 2019 and frankly, technology has progressed to the point where this is simply unnecessary. Instead, why not prepare by buying a powerful yet inexpensive LED lantern?

The only problem is that there are so many to choose from. There’s no need to worry, though; we’ve combed through the best products available and categorized them for easier searching. Below, you’ll find the highest-quality LED lanterns on the market right now. Take a look!

Zoom Out: The 12 Best LED Lanterns For 2019

Let’s not be too hasty. Before we jump right into our product reviews, let’s take a second to discuss the differences between similar products. This can not only help you better understand what you’re buying but can stop you paying extra for features you probably don’t need.

Power Sources

The least expensive LED lanterns almost always use standard AA or AAA batteries. That said, some of the more expensive models come with built-in rechargeable batteries, not unlike your cell phone. These can either use a proprietary DC charger or a 5V Micro USB cable, each of which has their own advantages.

For instance, if it uses a Micro USB, you can charge it with the same cable you use for your tablet or phone. On the other hand, DC chargers usually fill batteries faster. There’s a bit of a trade-off to be made here: convenience vs. prep time.

How Many Units To Buy?

Again, if a lantern costs less, it’ll usually include at least two units. This can be particularly useful if you’re camping with friends but in the case of an outage, sometimes one powerful lantern is better than several dimmer ones. Make sure to consider your needs before paying any money.

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Best Budget LED Lanterns

If you only intend to use your lantern for emergencies, you’ll probably be alright with a less expensive model. With that in mind, we’ve found the LED lanterns that offer the best performance and versatility for the least amount of money. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.

We’ll begin with the GYMAN Camping Lanterns. You can get two of these for less than $10 which is already a bargain, but this does come across as a bit suspect. After all, how good can they be with an average price of $5? Suffice it to say, we were pleasantly surprised and we think you will be too.

outdoor led lanterns

Each of these lanterns contains 30 (admittedly fairly dim) LEDs. They’re powered by three AA batteries and claim to offer up to 12 hours of light before the batteries need to be replaced. The first set of batteries is included so you don’t have to spend any extra money in a pinch, which is nice.

Despite their low price, these lanterns are pretty versatile. They have a magnetic base for stability and are both sturdy and water-resistant. It’s important to note the distinction between water-resistant and waterproof, though: you won’t want to take these out in a rainstorm.

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The GYMAN lanterns can handle their fair share of use, but they’ll likely leave more adventurous users feeling disappointed. That said, if you’re only planning to use them when it all goes wrong, they’ll get the job done. Also, at less than $10, what do you have to lose?

If you’re looking for something with a little more practicality, look no further than the Swiftrans Camping Lantern. A two-pack of these will set you back around $15 so they’re still not particularly expensive. They are, however, far more durable, and do everything they can to make your life easier.

battery lantern lights and remote

The body of the lantern collapses down into itself and can be used as a torch in a pinch. Additionally, because the body is made of ABS plastic, it’s far less likely to shatter than a glass lantern. This model comes with six AA batteries, each lantern taking three at a time. So just how bright are they?

They’re rated at 60 lumens. That’s roughly the same as the flash on your cell phone – it’s not going to be any replacement for the big light in your home, but it’s certainly enough to read by. Given the small size of these lanterns, it’s actually a considerable amount of light so credit to Swiftrans here.

white candle lanterns

Like the previous product, these are shock and water-resistant. Plus, with a one-button control scheme, you won’t struggle to turn them on when surrounded by complete darkness. They’re simple, powerful, and affordable – in other words, all but perfect.

Unlike the products before it, our final budget pick contains just one unit. The Jakemy LED flashlight, however, incorporates a greater amount of features and costs less than $15. If you don’t need multiple lanterns, this could be just the thing you’re looking for.

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Let’s start by highlighting the differences. This lantern comes with five different light modes. You can choose to have a red light (easier on the eyes), or a strobe, among others. This can help you signal for help if you’re stranded – that’s right – this lantern might save your life one day.

It has an output of 90 lumens. That’s 1.5X as bright as the last model, plus it’s completely waterproof so you can leave it out in the rain if you wanted. Basically, you’re going to have a hard time breaking this product. That’s not something we often say about budget models, so it’s clear this one is a cut above the rest.

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You will need three AA batteries, though. These aren’t included and only last for around ten hours instead of the twelve we’ve seen in other lanterns. Still, with a brighter light, that’s a fair compromise. This is better suited to people who like camping or hiking than casual users, so consider that before buying.

Since this lantern is waterproof, it can be used while you’re relaxing in your inflatable hot tub while watching the stars without worrying that you’re lantern might get wet or sprinkled. You don’t have an inflatable hot tub yet? We created a list of the best inflatable hot tub today, check this out!

Best Mid-Budget Lanterns

If you’re willing to expand your budget a little bit, you can really increase the range of products available. Some of these offer better performance, brighter lights, and enhanced reliability. One thing the best mid-budget lanterns all have in common? We’ve listed them in the section below.

The AYL StarLight is far brighter than any of those we’ve seen so far. It has an output of 600 lumens – roughly equivalent to that of a 40W light bulb. It takes three D batteries, so it’s a little more expensive to run but this also allows it to run for six days straight, so we think it’s worthwhile.

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This lantern also allows you to switch between three lighting modes. There are low and high settings, as well as a strobe for when you need to signal over long distances. The bulb itself is rated for more than 100,000 hours too, so it’s not going to break anytime soon.

The StarLight has a few features that make it ideal for camping. First, there’s a hook that allows you to hang it overhead. It’s also shock and water-resistant, so unless you’re in a very damp location, you should be fine. So what are our final thoughts?

best led lantern reviews

Ultimately, this lantern is perfect for those who don’t want to worry about battery life or mess around with dim bulbs. Despite its strength, it’s very affordable and is sure to make a welcome addition to your kit the next time you want to get out of the city.

The GE 6D Enbrighten is one of the most durable LED lanterns we’ve ever seen. It costs less than $30 and is capable of handling rain, dust, and of course, all the rough and tumble stuff that comes with hanging out in the woods. Even if you only need it for emergencies, it has a lot to offer.

led outdoor wall lantern

It has unparalleled battery life, for a start. You have the option to use either three or six D batteries for a maximum runtime of almost two weeks straight. These batteries aren’t included but it’s a small price to pay for such reliability. What else is good about it? We’re glad you asked.

The body is made of nickel instead of plastic. This helps protect it during rough journeys and ensures you’ll never accidentally crack it, potentially breaking the LEDs inside. Plus, with 550 lumens, it’s more than bright enough for just about any purpose, whether you’re relaxing outdoors or trying to find the breaker switch.

led lanterns for outdoor use for camping

As if that wasn’t enough, this lantern comes with a three-year limited warranty. Sure, you could buy several less expensive lanterns for the same price but if you want one that’ll go through the ringer and come out on top, choose the GE 6D Enbrighten.

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Rayovac Sportsman. This lantern costs around $30 and includes a couple of features that you might not have thought about before. Intrigued? You should be – this is a product you won’t want to miss out on.

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Let’s say it’s 3 AM and you hear a noise. Unfortunately, it’s too dark for you to see the lantern. Fortunately, this model has a green blinking light on it that flashes every five seconds when the main light is off. Turn it on and the 4W bulb lights up everything in your immediate surroundings. So far, so good.

Believe it or not, it gets better. The Sportsman comes with a lifetime warranty and has a 15m beam distance, making it one of the brightest lanterns on the market. Additionally, it’s been drop-tested from three feet, can handle light rain, and has three modes to choose from.

battery powered lanterns

This lantern is one of the few that’s actually better used within the home or garage. It’s rugged enough to withstand any bumps and provides enough light to work by during a power cut. Like the others, it requires three D batteries to work, but that’s to be expected of a model this bright.

Best Premium LED Lanterns

If you’re looking at this category, you want the best of the best and aren’t afraid to spend a little extra to get it. This section is devoted to the LED lanterns that, while a little more expensive, offer greater functionality and a higher performance than any of those that came before.

Let’s open with the Streamlight 44931 Siege. This lantern retails for around $30 and features a powerful, 540-lumen bulb that’s capable of handling all even the complete darkness. Don’t want to stun yourself with a bright light? There’s also a smaller, red LED to help preserve your night vision.

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Like some of the others we’ve seen, this model uses three D batteries. It can be suspended from either end and can survive a fall from up to two meters in the air. When you consider how rugged its construction is, it’s plain that this lantern is more durable than most. So what else is good about it?

Unlike most, it has a battery power indicator built in. Usually, you have to estimate how much time you have left based on the brightness of the bulb, but happily, this model removes the guesswork. Even if you leave it too long, the battery door is designed to be easily accessible even in total darkness.

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Further, this product is completely waterproof. It can be submerged in up to a meter of water before its performance is affected. It even comes with a lifetime warranty so you really don’t have anything to lose by trying it out.

Our second premium pick is the Tough Light Rechargeable Lantern. As you might expect, this is a product designed to be as durable as possible. It has been drop-tested to five feet, is water-resistant, and even has a rubber-molded construction to protect against smaller bumps.

rechargable camping lantern

The main attraction here is the rechargeable battery. It can be recharged using a standard Micro USB cable – the same kind that your cell phone uses. It has a maximum battery life of 200 hours (on the lowest setting) and there’s a battery indicator so you’re never caught short. But wait, there’s more.

This lantern also functions as a power bank. This allows you to charge your other devices at the cost of battery life. With a built-in red light and SOS function, Tough Light ensures you’ll never be stranded in need of help. There’s even a two-year warranty period in case of any defects.

best led lantern buying guide

Look, this lantern isn’t for everyone. It’s intended for those of us that spend a lot of time in remote locations. When fully charged, it ensures you can keep your phone on, the darkness away, and remain safe away from camp. $30 isn’t a lot of money in exchange for peace of mind, so we recommend this wholeheartedly.

Lastly, let’s examine the UST 30-DAY Duro. This model costs a little over $30 but is well-known by campers thanks to its long battery life (up to 30 days)  and very bright LEDs (700 lumens on high). Simply, there’s a lot here to like and we’re sure you’ll agree.

solar powered led lanterns

This lantern is available in three colors and is extremely lightweight at just 1.13lbs. Sure, it’s not as water-resistant as some of its rivals but as long as you look after it, it’ll look after you. The SOS signaling feature alone is proof of this, but it’s far from this model’s only strength.

Now, this lantern doesn’t come with rechargeable batteries. However, as you’ll know, these batteries can lose their effectiveness over time. By relying on three D batteries, however, you’re guaranteed at least a full day of use every single time. With that in mind, here are our final thoughts.

envirolite outdoor led lantern

Essentially, this lantern delivers everything you’ll need in those sticky situations. It’s far brighter than most of its rivals and while lacking in a few areas, its exceptional battery life is a testament to what can be done with the same power source as lesser models.

Best Lanterns for Camping

We’ve seen a lot of lanterns so far that are recommended for camping, but the following two stand above the rest in terms of versatility. Take the MalloMe Lantern, for instance: a four-pack cost less than $20 and each produces more than 146 lumens, which is excellent.

tall metal lanterns

While other products rely on the more expensive D batteries, these ones use standard AAs. This helps keep costs down and ensures you can find a replacement no matter where you are. After all, even gas stations sell these batteries. These lanterns are weather and water-resistant too, which is good to hear.

Now, MelloMe doesn’t offer any indication of how long each set of batteries last. However, we’ve found that you can count on at least three days of constant usage before there’s any noticeable difference in brightness. Simply put, this is exceptional compared to similarly priced products.

brightest led lantern

Sure, these lanterns don’t offer some of the more advanced features. That said, they’re an inexpensive way to ensure you’re never left in the dark. Plus, they come with a smore recipe book which, while a little strange, can help you keep the kids occupied during a camping trip.

Let’s say you’re planning an extended camping session. In this case, the Suaoki lantern is perfect. It has a battery that can be recharged using a USB cable or its built-in solar panels. It’s probably expensive, though, right? Actually, it costs less than $20 and that’s just the beginning of the good news.

best collapsible lantern

It uses a collapsible design to fold down into a disc. This makes it excellent for those that want to travel light, plus there’s no reduction in functionality here; with three distinct light modes, you can choose the right one for any situation. It’s a little dimmer than some, sure, but it’s far more versatile.

You can sacrifice some of the battery life to charge your phone or tablet. There’s even fancy tech built in that allows you to prevent overcharging so it’s among the safest lanterns on the market. Now, it’s water-resistant not waterproof. This means you will have to carefully consider how you use it.

collapsible lantern solar

All in all, the Suaoki lantern is ideal for backpackers, hikers, and campers. It’s less suited to use in the home but only because you wouldn’t get the full benefit of the product. Again, for less than $20, this lantern is an absolute steal.

Editor’s Pick

Each of the products above excels in a specific set of circumstances. However, we’ve also found one that is a strong all-rounder – the Internova Yeti 800 Monster. Sure, it costs around $40, but the benefits of choosing this lantern over a cheaper alternative are numerous, as we’ll explain below.

tactical lantern reviews

Simply, it’s brighter, at 800 lumens. It’s durable too, although not completely waterproof. There’s even a five-year warranty period so you can be sure your investment will be well protected. That’s not even mentioning the four different lighting modes you can choose from.

Now, you’ll have to come prepared. This model takes four D batteries and offers up to five hours of light at its highest setting. In most cases, however, this will be unnecessary. Even the medium and low settings offer extremely bright light. That alone is great but coupled with this model’s other features, makes it absolutely unmissable.

Now that you’ve read the best LED lantern, take time to read our best expandable garden. You might consider to buy after you read our guide. Read it here!

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Dean is a freelance copy-editor from Utah, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. His garden is a place to relax after a stressful day of work, have a beer and play in the pool with his girls.