Camping & Hiking Tech

We Tested the 6 Best Solar Camping Lanterns of 2019

The 6 best solar camping lanterns

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We put six of the greatest solar-powered tenting lanterns to the check. After over three months of experiments and real-world testing, the MPOWERD Luci Professional Outside led the pack as our prime decide. It was shiny, long-lasting, fast to cost, and its cellular charging capability was respectable.

The Aim Zero Crush Mild and the MPOWERD Luci Outside have been tied for runner-up. Each charged shortly, have been extraordinarily lightweight and compact, and produced nice mild that we beloved hanging out beneath.

Learn on for our full critiques, and details about how to decide on the proper solar-powered lantern in your wants.

The 6 best solar camping lanterns

The 6 photo voltaic tenting lanterns we examined.

MPOWERD Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0The Luci was the unique collapsible photo voltaic lantern, and in our opinion, it’s nonetheless the greatest. The MPOWERD Luci Professional Outside was our prime all-around decide.

This mild has all of it: nice options, wonderful ambiance and lightweight high quality, a quick-charging and environment friendly photo voltaic panel, and surprisingly respectable cellular charging capabilities.

At 150 lumens, the Luci Professional was the brightest lantern that we examined. Nevertheless, we discovered ourselves utilizing its decrease settings extra typically, particularly in the tent. Its heat white LEDs put out a cushty, subtle mild with nice ambiance.

We have been additionally impressed with how shortly its photo voltaic panel charged. It might cost itself up sufficient to run for a couple of minutes simply from ambient mild and oblique daylight indoors.

We additionally beloved that its deal with can unsnap, permitting for simpler hanging.

Whereas the cellular charging capabilities can’t actually examine to a devoted photo voltaic charger or moveable battery pack, it nonetheless impressed us. When absolutely charged, the Luci Professional gave a 34% increase to a telephone in 1 hour and 32 min earlier than being utterly drained.

That will not sound tremendous spectacular, however it’s twice what the different cellular charging lantern (the Suaoki) might deal with. Even when utterly drained, the Luci Professional might cost a telephone from daylight alone.

Its cellular charging might be somewhat finicky, and there have been a pair of occasions, charging underneath the solar, the place we couldn’t get it to register on our telephone. We suspect that it was as a result of it wasn’t drawing sufficient energy from the weak early-winter solar at the time.

If you wish to have the functionality to sometimes prime up your electronics all through a visit, the Luci Professional’s charger does the trick.

The cons? It’s heaviest lantern we examined. It’s additionally the priciest at $34.95 retail as of this writing. However contemplating that you simply get a photo voltaic lantern and a photo voltaic charger in a single, it’s not a nasty deal.

General, we have been impressed with this mild, stoked on its cellular charging, and would advocate it to anybody on the lookout for an superior, sturdy, high-quality photo voltaic lantern.

The MPOWERD Luci Pro Outdoor 2.0 collapsed

MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0What the MPOWERD Luci Outside lacked in options, it greater than made up for in high quality, efficiency, and ease.

Some may see the lack of any USB port as a damaging, however we truly favored the simplicity of this mild. A real photo voltaic lantern, it runs 100% off of the solar, and it does it properly.

Its 75 lumens have been greater than vibrant sufficient for cooking or establishing camp, whereas its low setting was good for studying or hanging out in the tent.

Absolutely charged, the Luci Outside lasted simply over 6 hours on excessive in our exams, and has a claimed runtime of as much as 24 hours on low.

Its three-light battery indicator tells you roughly how a lot cost it has. Plus its photo voltaic panel charged extraordinarily effectively.

In our testing, we positioned every mild beneath daylight and synthetic lights for the similar quantity of time, then measured how lengthy they stayed on in excessive energy. In each exams, the Luci Outside lasted the longest out of all the photo voltaic tenting lanterns whereas nonetheless placing out usable, shiny mild.

Like the Luci Professional Outside, our prime decide, it has an adjustable strap to make it simpler to hold up with no hook or carabiner, a function which we liked.

The one cons we will provide you with are that it’s a bit on the heavy aspect, at four.four oz. And the snaps on its adjustable strap may be troublesome to open and shut.

Its mild was additionally a barely harsher, cooler white colour than the Luci Professional. We didn’t thoughts the cool white LED mild, however most popular the hotter tones of the Luci Professional and the Objective Zero Crush Mild (reviewed under).

These complaints are minor, although. At slightly below $20, the MPOWERD Luci Outside is a discount. No frills — only a sturdy, high-quality, solar-powered camp lantern. We can undoubtedly get behind that.

The MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 collapsed

Goal Zero Crush LightWeighing solely three.2 oz, the Objective Zero Crush Mild was not solely the lightest photo voltaic lantern that we examined, but in addition one of our general favorites.

This lantern had quite a bit of positives. For us, the largest promoting level, aside from its mild weight and compactness, was the mild high quality.

Its heat, yellow-orange colour blended proper in with the campfire and by no means felt jarring or out of place round the campsite like the brilliant white LED lights typically did.

This was the mild we most frequently discovered ourselves reaching for to prepare dinner dinner or hand around in the tent, purely as a result of of the heat, cozy mild.

The candle-light mode, which sparkles and dims the mild randomly to imitate a candle, was a nifty concept. It’s fairly unconvincing, although.

After enjoying round with the setting for a pair of minutes, we discovered that we had zero purpose to truly use it. Nonetheless, it does nothing to decrease the relaxation of the mild’s superior properties, so we’re detached to it.

Though the Aim Zero Crush Mild had general shorter runtimes than most of the different lights in our checks, it truly stored a superb bit of energy in reserve after it shut off.

As soon as the different lights shut off, they have been utterly finished, drained, and unable to show again on till they have been recharged. As soon as the Objective Zero shut off on excessive energy, we might flip it again on and often get one other hour or extra out of it on low energy.

Particularly since the Crush Mild doesn’t have a battery indicator to inform you when it’s getting low, it’s good to know that it gained’t simply abruptly shut off and depart you utterly in the darkish.

Its photo voltaic panel labored remarkably nicely, contemplating that it was the smallest panel of all the lanterns in our check. The Crush Mild charged up pretty shortly in direct daylight.

There actually have been just a few negatives with this mild. First, it could possibly be troublesome to truly crush, requiring some coaxing for all of the folds to snap into place.

Second, it lacked any sort of battery indicator, leaving you guessing as to its state of cost. It does have a light-weight subsequent to the USB port that turns purple when it’s charging (both via USB or daylight) and inexperienced when it’s absolutely charged.

Lastly, it was the solely lantern with out some type of backside or cowl. When you occurred to have it hanging in your tent instantly above you, the LEDs might be slightly binding once you seemed up.

We’d advocate this mild only for the ambiance alone, because it had such a comfortable, pure high quality to the mild.

Mixed with the proven fact that it was the lightest and most compact mild we examined, and that it carried out very nicely in out checks, we expect this can be a best choice not just for backpackers, however for anybody in search of a easy photo voltaic lantern to deliver a bit of mild to your nights in the backcountry.

The Goal Zero Crush Light collapsed

Evaluations of the three Different Solar Camping Lanterns We Tested

LuminAID PackLite Nova USB

LuminAID PackLite Nova USBThe LuminAID PackLite Nova USB had quite a bit of good qualities, however sufficient unfavorable ones that it didn’t make it into our prime picks.

Like the two MPOWERD Luci lanterns, it has a battery cost indicator and an adjustable strap to make for simpler hanging.

It additionally lasted impressively lengthy in our runtime check, getting beat out solely by the BioLite SunLight (reviewed under).

It feels well-built and sturdy, and the snaps on the adjustable strap have been a lot simpler to make use of than the Luci’s straps.

Its photo voltaic panel didn’t impress us although. It commonly took over an hour in direct daylight to get sufficient energy to even activate. To be truthful, as soon as it did construct up sufficient energy, it stayed on for a good quantity of time.

We might excuse its sluggish cost time, contemplating that it outlasted many of the different photo voltaic lanterns when it got here to runtime. Sadly, this lantern places out a harsh white fluorescent mild reminiscent of the flickery workplace lights we choose to flee once we go backpacking. It was by far the least nice illumination for our tent and campsites.

Should you don’t thoughts the harsh white of its LEDs, the LuminAID PackLite is a strong, well-constructed tenting lantern. Our three award winners, although, offer you somewhat extra bang in your buck, and are general rather more gratifying to mild up your campsite with.

The LuminAID PackLite Nova USB collapsed

BioLite SunLight

BioLite SunLightThe BioLite SunLight was the solely non-collapsible photo voltaic lantern that we examined, and it had some of our favourite options.

The colour and ambiance of the mild was superior. We liked the dimmable white mild, and the capability to select from a spread of totally different lights.

Its “party mode”, the place it slowly cycles by means of totally different colours of mild, was a enjoyable function once we have been hanging round camp after an excellent dinner.

It’s extraordinarily compact, light-weight, and lasted an unimaginable 13 hours and 10 minutes in our runtime check. As a chargeable USB tenting lantern, we completely liked it.

Sadly, its photo voltaic panel was one of the weakest in our check, and since this can be a evaluation of photo voltaic tenting lanterns, that weighs fairly closely.

It took three hours underneath full daylight for the BioLite to even have sufficient energy to activate in reserve mode, a low-power mode that limits its performance to only a dim white mild.

For reference, each Luci lights and the Aim Zero mild turned on inside a minute, and often inside seconds, of being in daylight.

Even after greater than 5 hours in full daylight, it didn’t have sufficient energy to get out of reserve mode. Nevertheless, once we plugged it right into a USB charger for a pair of seconds after which disconnected it, it instantly turned on in full energy mode and labored for over an hour.

We discover it arduous to think about that the photo voltaic panel, in 5 hours of full solar, couldn’t generate the quantity of energy produced by a pair of seconds on a wall charger.

We’re unsure if we obtained a lemon with some bizarre glitch that requires a lift of USB energy to get out of reserve mode, or if the photo voltaic panel is simply extraordinarily inefficient. No matter the cause, we have been disenchanted.

In the event you plan to primarily maintain the mild charged by way of USB and use the photo voltaic panel to provide it a lift once in a while, that is nonetheless an excellent choice, and an all-around enjoyable mild to have.

We appreciated it, and would advocate it with the caveat that, based mostly on our checks and expertise, it’s tremendous inefficient at charging with daylight alone.

The BioLite SunLight charging in sunlight

Suaoki LED Camping Lantern

Suaoki LED Camping LanternWe needed so as to add a price range decide into our check. The Suaoki LED Camping Lantern, with principally good on-line critiques, appeared like a superb guess.

Sadly, this was by far the poorest high quality and worst performing lantern that we examined.

A budget supplies began to point out put on virtually instantly, with the plastic crinkling and beginning to tear after the mild was expanded just some occasions.

The photo voltaic panel appeared to work sporadically. Throughout our check, it charged the lantern up sufficient for round half an hour of runtime in 90 minutes of daylight.

In one other occasion, although, the Suaoki sat in full daylight for over three hours with out build up sufficient energy to activate.

The Suaoki's crinkled plastic

The Suaoki’s plastic began to crinkle and tear after we expanded the lantern just some occasions.

Though its general runtimes look fairly good based mostly on the numbers alone, it misplaced brightness in a short time. Most of its runtime was mild that may barely be usable for close-up duties like studying, not to mention cooking or establishing camp.

This lantern options cellular charging capabilities, nevertheless it solely gave our telephone an 11% increase earlier than it was utterly drained. It additionally was unable to cost the telephone from solar energy alone.

We did like that when it was collapsed, the mild was channeled right into a targeted flashlight beam, which was a neat function.

This lantern — and numerous duplicates — litter Amazon and can be found for reasonable. Even at the Suaoki’s low worth, we expect anybody interested by photo voltaic lanterns can be higher off spending a couple of additional dollars for the Aim Zero Crush Mild or the MPOWERD Luci Outside

With its flimsy construct and poor efficiency, and with so many higher choices on the market in the similar worth vary, we simply don’t see any cause to advocate this mild to anybody.

The Suaoki LED Camping Lantern collapsed


Listed here are the greatest photo voltaic tenting lanterns:

  • MPOWERD Luci Professional Outside
  • MPOWERD Luci Outside
  • Objective Zero Crush Mild
  • LuminAID PackLite Nova USB
  • BioLite SunLight
  • Suaoki LED Camping Lantern

How one can Select the Best Solar Camping Lantern for Your Wants

Varieties of Solar Lantern

Compressible: Some inflate like a balloon, some squish like an accordion, however compressible lanterns are the commonest sort. They will collapse right down to lower than half an inch thick.

Fastened: There are numerous varieties of “fixed,” i.e. non-compressible, lanterns. They vary from conventional lanterns to small blocks like the BioLite SunLight.

String lights: Comparatively new on the scene, solar-powered string lights are like a string of Christmas lights. They allow you to unfold the illumination out round your campsite.

USB rechargeable: Once they first got here on the scene, photo voltaic lanterns have been 100% solar-powered. The development has moved towards lanterns that may be charged up both by way of photo voltaic panels or a USB port. Many photo voltaic lanterns that one can find are USB-rechargeable along with solar-powered. These lanterns might be compressible, fastened, or string lights.

Solar Charging Time

Most lights cost inside a pair of hours on a wall charger. Beneath the solar, although, it’s a special story. For those who plan on utilizing your photo voltaic lantern primarily off the grid, then you have to understand how lengthy it’s going to take to replenish these photons.

Most producers will state how lengthy the mild takes to succeed in full cost in daylight. Nevertheless, that doesn’t inform the entire story.

We have discovered that some lights might take a very long time to succeed in their full capability, however inside lower than an hour can decide up sufficient cost to run on low by way of a night. Different lights take hours to even cost up sufficient to activate.

Mild High quality

The lights we examined ranged from heat and mushy to chilly and harsh. All different traits apart, this was one of the largest elements in how a lot we truly appreciated utilizing these lights.

We advocate making an allowance for the high quality of mild that you simply choose (heat or chilly, subtle or sharp) and ensuring the mild you get fits your preferences.


Lumens are a measure of how a lot mild a lantern produces at its mild supply. The lights we examined ranged from 60 to 150 lumens.

We discovered that 60 lumens was greater than enough for cooking, hanging out, and doing numerous duties round camp. The additional brightness is good to have, however definitely not essential.

Cellular Charging Capabilities

Some photo voltaic lanterns even have the capability to perform as a photo voltaic charger on your cellular units. Whereas this can be a neat function to have, it’s necessary to comprehend that their charging capability could be very restricted.

They’re nice for sometimes topping up your cellular units, however not adequate for normal heavy use.

How We Tested

Testing the Goal Zero Crush Light in our tent

Testing the Objective Zero Crush Mild in our tent.

Runtime Check

We gave every mild a full cost after which used a timelapse digital camera to measure how lengthy they lasted on their highest setting.

Solar Panel Testing

Testing the solar charging abilities of each lantern
We needed to understand how effectively the photo voltaic panels charged the lanterns. We made positive that every mild was absolutely drained, positioned them beneath direct daylight for 90 minutes, then measured how lengthy they lasted on their highest setting.

We additionally carried out the similar check underneath the managed setting of synthetic mild (full spectrum fluorescent plant lights).

Testing notes:

  • Of its 95-minute runtime after charging underneath daylight, the Aim Zero Crush Mild lasted 5 minutes on excessive and 90 minutes on reserve low lighting
  • The Suaoki LED Camping Lantern emitted a particularly dim mild when charged underneath daylight and synthetic mild. Most of its runtime was mild that might barely be usable for close-up duties like studying, not to mention cooking or establishing camp.
  • We left the LuminAID PackLite Nova USB beneath synthetic mild for a further eight hrs. It lasted round 45 min.
  • We additionally left the BioLite SunLight underneath synthetic mild for a further eight hrs. It nonetheless didn’t activate.
  • All of our testing was carried out in late autumn and early winter. We suspect that underneath a lot stronger summer time daylight the lanterns would have longer runtimes relative to their time in daylight.

Cellular Charging Check

Two of the lights had two-way USB ports, permitting for cellular charging capabilities. We needed to understand how nicely they might cost a telephone from their inner reserves alone.

We made positive each lanterns have been absolutely charged, and measured how a lot of a lift they gave a telephone earlier than the lantern was absolutely discharged.

Cellular charging outcomes from full cost:

  • MPOWERD Luci Professional Outside 34% increase in 1 hour 32 min
  • Suaoki LED Camping Lantern: 11% increase in 47 min

We additionally needed to understand how properly these two lanterns might cost a tool off of daylight alone. After the lanterns have been absolutely drained, we introduced them out to a sunny spot.

Cellular charging outcomes from daylight:

  • MPOWERD Luci Professional Outside Virtually instantly started charging our telephone, though at a slower fee and infrequently dropping charging capability
  • Suaoki LED Camping Lantern: Didn’t cost our telephone in any respect

Subject Testing

We used these photo voltaic lanterns to mild up our nights for over three months on numerous tenting and backpacking journeys all through the Southwest, and infrequently round house for some additional mild.

We put every one by means of a number of cost and discharge cycles, on each USB and solar energy, over the course of our testing.

Using a lantern to light up our campsite at night

Utilizing a lantern to mild up our campsite at night time