Believe it or not, camping lanterns used to require fuel to operate. Most of you youngsters aren’t going to remember these traditional camping lamps, which also featured burdensome materials like glass and steel. These lanterns were heavy & expensive, and if you were out of fuel, then you were out of luck. Fortunately, like any good dinosaur, these lanterns are almost completely extinct, as a new generation of camping lamps have arrived to shake things up.
The best camping lanterns of 2023 are not only lighter, cheaper, & brighter than their more traditional counterparts, they are also rechargeable. This means that no fuel is required to achieve lighting times of up to 200 hours on a single charge. Furthermore, the rechargeable nature of these batteries allow them to double as power banks, meaning that you can use the lantern itself to charge up your smart phone or tablet, wherever you are. Now that’s what we call a bright idea.
Our team has combed the shelves in search of the best and brightest rechargeable lanterns, and we’re here to present you with what we’ve learned. Take a look at our in-depth guide to the 8 best rechargeable camping lanterns of 2023, then stick around afterwards as we fill you in on exactly how to choose a camping lantern for yourself.
|Best Feature||Brightness||Battery Life||Weight||Waterproof||Dimensions||Pros||Cons|
Best for Hiking Trips
|600 lum||200 hrs||1 pounds||Resistant||4 x 4 x 7.2 in||
Best to Keep in the Car
|185 lum||15 hrs||1.36 lbs||Resistant||4 x 4 x 6 in||
Best Compact for Camping
44947 Super Siege
|1100 lum||35 hrs||1.88 pounds||Resistant||4 x 4 x 7.2 in||
Best Collapsible Lantern
Suaoki LED Lantern
|65 lum||10 hrs High||0.34 pounds||Resistant||3.7 x 3.7 x 2.2 in||
Best Emergency Lantern
Halo 180 Extreme
|180 lum||5 hrs||0.3 pounds||Resistant||3 x 2 x 3 in||
Best with Detachable Flashlight
LED Camping Lantern
|600 lum||5 hours||1.8 pounds||IPX4||4.5 x 4.5 x 8.1 in||
Most Durable Lantern
Kyng Bolt Lite
|600 lum||250 hrs||1.8 pounds||IPX6||3.8 x 3.8 x 7.2 in||
Best Overall Value
Tough Light Rechargeable
|400 lum||200 hrs||1.8 pounds||IPX6||3.5 x 3.5 x 7 in||
Best LED Lantern for Hiking Trips – AYL Starlight Water Resistant LED Lantern for Camping & Hiking
|BATTERY LIFE||~ 200 hrs|
|LIGHTING MODES||Low – High – Strobe|
|BEST FEATURE||Light & Compact|
One of the most compelling reasons that we were super stoked to try out AYL’s new lightweight camping and backpacking lantern was the small, compact design that allows it to pack nicely into any long-distance hiker’s backpack. There are a lot of lanterns out there that are significantly larger than this one, and while they may be brighter or have longer lasting batteries, the STARLIGHT has them all beat on sheer portability and design.
In fact, it was even a touch smaller than we had expected it to be, but we were not going to let that color our view too much. What we really wanted to know what kind of brightness and light color we would get out of this little thing.
In terms of brightness, there is simply no way that the STARLIGHT actually hits 600 lumens. When we compared it side-by-side to some of our favorite rechargeable lanterns, it seemed to us that it was probably closer to 450 or 500 lumens. Don’t get us wrong … that is still a lot of light. But it seems like AYL might have gone a touch too far when advertising this product’s brightness.
There is another flaw that is significant enough to mention, and that is the harsh glare that this lamp can produce. While LED lights are known for their sharp light, many of them utilize frosted or colored glass in order to more efficiently diffuse the light. The STARLIGHT, on the other hand, has a clear LED bulb that produces a glare that can hurt your eyes if it’s at the wrong angle. But all in all this is a great little backpacking lantern that is light enough to be hardly noticeable … we recommend it for long distance adventurers.
Best Rechargeable Lantern to Keep in the Car – SUBOOS Ultimate Rechargeable LED Lantern & Powerbank
|BATTERY LIFE||15 hrs / charge|
|LIGHTING MODES||Bright – Dim – Red – Flashing Red|
|BEST FEATURE||On-board 5200mAh power bank|
We’ll just come right out and say it: we we’re floored at how well the on-board power bank functioned on the new SUBOOS Ultimate Rechargeable lantern. First off, it’s not a feature that comes standard in camping lanterns (although it certainly is becoming more popular). Secondly, many of the smaller power banks out there usually cannot hold a very good charge. We are very proud to announce that this one might be the winner.
I mean, think about it. If you are going to be carrying around a rechargeable lantern, it means that you are also carrying around a rechargeable battery.
So why not make it possible to access that power for other things, such as your cell phone?
But as the old saying most certainly does not go, you can’t judge a lantern by its phone charging capabilities. So let’s get down to business and talk about light.
We are not going to try and convince you that 185 Lumens is super bright by any means, but it is certainly enough to get the job done for most emergency applications. In addition, you are getting a true and effective 360 degree light, which makes this lantern perfect for any group campsite.
Our biggest qualm with the SUBOOS Lantern was that the power bank takes such a long time to charge. We timed it at about 9 hours, which means that if you don’t have the capability to charge this thing overnight, you might not be able to get a real good charge out of it.
In addition, the battery panel is also a bit weakly produced and looks as if it’s not very durable. However the incredible price on this unit make it a great budget pick.
Best Compact Lantern for Working, Cooking, & Camping – Streamlight 44947 SUPER SIEGE Ultra-Compact Work Lantern
|BATTERY LIFE||~ 35 hrs|
|LIGHTING MODES||Low – High – Red – Red Strobe|
|BEST FEATURE||8800 mAh Power Bank|
Because our team was so impressed with the Streamlight Siege D-Battery model, we were happy to take a closer look at the rechargeable model, a model that is significantly more expensive only when you forget about how much money you will be saving on buying those big old D batteries, one of the most expensive disposable batteries that you can get. In addition, you are making a commitment to reducing waste by going with the rechargeable model.
The SUPER-SIEGE is also a touch smaller than its traditionally-powered counterparts. When you pair that with the remarkably light carry weight of 1.01 lbs, you end up with one of the best rechargeable LED lanterns for backpacking that you can purchase anywhere.
One cool thing that we haven’t seen on any other lanterns is a backlit power button which actually changes color based on how much battery power is left. This is the kind of battery indicator that we want to see on more products moving forward. Red for low battery, yellow for medium battery, and of course, green for a mostly charged battery.
However this kind of battery style can get confusing when you are using the red light or red strobe setting. When the light is red (a nifty little feature intended to preserve night vision) then it can become quite easy to not notice the fact that the battery is getting low. However this is such a small issue that we are hesitant to even call it a defect, just one of those funny little quirks that can become an annoyance if you are not paying attention. One thing that it does fall clearly short on is lighting radius. Try as it might, this little camping lantern is not going to be able to illuminate an entire campsite, depending on the size of the campsite of course.
Best Collapsible LED Camping Lantern – SUAOKI LED Collapsible Camping Lantern for Outdoor, Hiking, Tent, Garden
|BATTERY LIFE||Low: 10 hrs High: 5 hrs|
|LIGHTING MODES||Low – High – SOS Strobe|
|BEST FEATURE||Included Solar Panel for charging|
Ladies and gentleman, in the blue corner, your featherweight contender, the SUAOKI LED Collapsible Camping Lantern. This thing is so light and breezy that you can practically carry it in your pocket. It weighs in at a scant 5.6 ounces, which is light enough to earn it the title of the most lightweight camping lantern on our list. So anyone looking for an emergency lamp that can fit in the glove box, or perhaps a campsite illuminator that won’t take up much space in your backpack, look no further.
Beyond the light weight nature of the thing, we’d have to say that our favorite feature is the included on-board solar charging panel. This is something that we don’t often see on camping lanterns, though it is slowly becoming more popular. One of the reasons that you don’t see a whole lot of solar panels on lightweight electronic devices is that it takes a long time to fully charge the battery, and in many cases, it is near to impossible to actually achieve a 100% full battery.
We have to give props to SUAOKI, however. They are perhaps the only manufacturer to admit this outright, and not only that, they even included some estimated run times based on solar charging. According to them, 1 hour of solar charging equals 15 minutes of lighting on high mode, or 30 minutes of lighting on low mode. While that may not seem like much, it could be exactly the amount of lighting needed to get the job done, whether it is a roadside emergency or cooking beans over a campfire.
While the light, paper-weight construction may feel a bit under-engineered, you can rest easy that it is far more durable than it looks. Our chief complaint: After getting home from a weekend of camping with this thing, we noticed a pretty significant amount of bigs and gnats had entered the interior of the light somehow. This is not a problem that we have seen on other units, which are much more well sealed off.
Brightest Handheld LED Emergency Lantern – Supernova HALO 180 Extreme Rechargeable LED Camping & Emergency Lantern
|BATTERY LIFE||~ 5 hrs|
|LIGHTING MODES||5x (low to high)|
|BEST FEATURE||Retractable Hanging hook|
You’ll have to forgive us for lying when we said that the SUAOKI LED lantern was the most lightweight unit on our lists. When we were writing that part, we had no idea that a product like the Supernova HALO would find its way to our desk. Once we saw it we realized the mistake we had made. This one weighs in at a bulimic 3.04 ounces, which is about half the weight of the other lantern that we had mentioned.
There are a couple of thigs that make this lantern ideal for constant glove-compartment storage. The first is a sturdy retractable hook which actually makes it a great light for hanging under the hood in case of unexpected car trouble. The other is a whopping 5x brightness settings, more than any other lantern that we have reviewed thus far.
There is one big problem with this lantern’s construction that has us a little worried, and that is the mini-USB port. It works just fine up until a point, but due to what we believe is a poor soldering job on the main circuit board, the port can become disconnected, and once that happens it doesn’t want to charge unless you hold the cord in tightly against the unit, which is not conducive for anyone. Unfortunately, this is a criticism that we have heard from other people as well, suggesting that it might be high time for Supernova to take another look at where they are sourcing their soldering from.
Best Rechargeable LED Light for Your Emergency Kit – LIGHTING EVER LED Rechargeable Camping Lantern
|BATTERY LIFE||5 hours|
|BEST FEATURE||Detachable Flashlight|
The first thing that anyone will tell your about the Rechargeable LED Emergency light from the folks over at LIGHTING EVER is that it is one of the most unique designs in the industry, offering not one, but two detachable flashlights in addition to the build in rechargeable light. While these flashlights operate off of separate (not included) AA batteries, it is still an incredible handy feature for emergency situations such as floods, hurricanes, and other natural not-niceties.
The other big feature that we haven’t found anywhere else: the ability to switch to disposable D-type batteries if the on-board rechargeable battery runs out. And unfortunately, that is almost an inevitability if you are spending any length of time greater than a few hours away from a power source.
While the product specifications list the battery run time at 5 hours, we found that number to be a stretch. While on low-lighting mode (one of four modes that are available) we are able to keep this thing running for about 4.5 hours. But if the setting is on high, which is what you need to use if you hope to have any kind of decent lighting, you are looking at something closer to 2 hours. That’s not a whole lot of time, but it might be just what you need to get you and your family out of that unexpected sticky situation , such as a power outage during a storm. The detachable flashlights are a great feature, of course, but they leave something to be desired in terms of their beam focus. The light that is emitted is a bit wide and scattered, as opposed to the kind of narrow, pinpointed beam that we prefer in our light apparatus.
Most Durable LED Camping & Backpacking Lantern – KYNG BOLT LITE Rechargeable LED Lantern for Camping, Emergency Use, & Outdoors
|BATTERY LIFE||~ 250 hrs|
|LIGHTING MODES||High – Medium – Low – Red Flashing (high)|
|BEST FEATURE||3-Year 100% warranty|
Other manufacturers take note: if you use durable & shock resistant rubber on the exterior of your lantern, it will greatly reduce the likelihood that the unit is going to break. And if you’re like KYNG BOLT LITE and you offer a 3-year product warranty, then you are going to want to make sure that as few units as possible are breaking . They seem to have succeeded to this effect; this is one of the more durable units that we had the opportunity to look at.
The price point here is totally reasonable. Not a budget pick by any means but also nowhere near the high-end prices that some people are trying to charge these days. In terms of an all-around great value however, this might be it.
This is a camping lantern that actually comes quite close to living up to its advertised luminosity. We are unsure if it actually hits a full 600 lumens, but it certainly cannot be far off. This is one of the brightest lanterns that we included on our list. There is a strange quirk to this lantern that we have to mention. It seems to us that if you leave this lantern on “high” mode, it will gradually reduce its light output until it is actually performing closer to “low mode”. The quick fix is to shut the whole unit off and turn it back on again, and then the brightness will be back to normal. But it can be somewhat annoying…
Best Overall Value Rechargeable Camping Lantern – TOUGH LIGHT LED Rechargeable Lantern
|BATTERY LIFE||~ 200 hrs (low)|
|LIGHTING MODES||Low – High – SOS Beacon – Red Hazard|
|BEST FEATURE||Holds charge for 9 months|
There are very few people who would disagree with the assertion that a rechargeable LED lantern is a great thing to have in an emergency, whether it’s a flash flood, tornado, or a simple power outage. But the one problem with this is that if the battery is not fully charged, then you might be plum out of luck. To make things worse, many of the rechargeable batteries on the market are not long enough to hold a charge for any significant amount of time. Even when not being used, these batteries will naturally lose their ‘juice’ over time. This means that a camping lantern that has been sitting in your emergency bag for the last year might not have any power when you actually need it.
The TOUGH LIGHT rechargeable lantern addressed this problem with one of the best on-board batteries that you can buy, and this one can actually hold a charge for up to 9 months, making it particularly suited for emergency situations.
In addition to the great battery life, the TOUGH LIGHT also features a small red flashing indicator light that will continue to operate for as long as there is battery left in the unit. While the constant flashing of this light might be somewhat bothersome for the average user, it can be a real life saver when your power goes out in the middle of the night and you have no way to even find the emergency light.
There is only one flaw with this lantern that we want to tell you about, and that is the intensity of the light. There seems to be a distinct blue twinge to the light, and it is certainly not comfortable to look directly at. This is one of the major drawbacks of LED technology, and unfortunately not something that can be easily fixed. Fortunately this isn’t much of a problem unled you are looking directly at the bulb, which certainly do not recommend. There is some assembly that needs to be done to get the unit up and working, and the included instructions are of little help. Fortunately, some YouTube users have put together a little instructional video on that exact topic.
It turns out that it isn’t just our glowing personality that is responsible for all the light in the room. The rechargeable camping lanterns that we looked at today not only provide more brightness than traditional gas-powered lanterns, but they do so while managing to be lighter, brighter, and more versatile than ever before.
So what’s the best rechargeable lantern of 2023? That’s a difficult call to make, but we are going to give it a shot, just for you.
In terms of overall value, the TOUGH LIGHT LED is one of the best camping lanterns that you can find, and we are particularly impressed by its ability to hold a battery charge for so long.
But if we’re talking sheer lumens, then it would be tough to beat the STREAMLIGHT SUPER SEIGE. While it doesn’t get quite as bright as the manufacturer suggests, it is still one of the brightest camping lanterns that you can get.
How to Choose a Rechargeable Camping Lantern
Choosing the best LED lantern for camping or traveling can be a bit tricky considering just how may options there are. That’s why we are going to use the rest of our article to go over exactly what makes a great camping lantern.
The most obvious thing that you want to look for in a good lantern is its ability to produce light. The measure of a lantern’s total output is most often measured by something called LUMENS. So what exactly is a lumen?
To put it very simply, lumens are to light what
- Gallons are to water
- Ounces are to gold
- Pounds are to onions
In other words, it is a simple measurement of how much light is being output by a particular source. If you are interested in learning more about lumens, head on over to Energy.Gov and check out their Energy 101 video on Lumens.
One of the most popular uses for a rechargeable LED lantern is for camping and backpacking, so it is perhaps no surprise that these lantern have only become smaller and smaller over the years. They have also become more lightweight, which has allowed them to travel farther than ever before without taking up too much room.
So how much should your next camping lantern weigh? That depends on what exactly you will use it for. If you need a light for long distance backpacking trips, then considering something like the SUPERNOVA HALO, which weighs in at only 3.04 ounces.
However if you are looking for a lantern that is a bit more suitable for emergencies, then you should expect a bit of extra weight with the deal. For instance, the LIGHTING EVER LED lantern is about 1.5 pounds, however it has an on-board power bank as well as detachable flashlights, making it an ideal candidate for emergency situations.
Without question, one of the biggest benefits to having one of these new rechargeable LED lanterns is that the internal battery doubles as a power bank, which is basically another way of saying that it is possible to access that power for other uses, such as charging your device. Power banks can be incredibly helpful in a number of situations both out of doors and in, allowing you to power such devices as:
- Smart phones
- GPS Units
- Small electronics
- USB-based applications
- Laptop computers
As is the case with most electronics and consumer goods, a camping lantern’s ability to protect itself against water damage is rated on something called the IP System, which factors in things like water pressure and depth. For a more complete understanding of how the IP system works, check out this handy guide on waterproof ratings.
For some customers a model with an on/off switch and a handle is enough in most cases. If you are not this type you would be interested in reading this paragraph.
The other part of customers appreciates products that offer more functions and versatility. When in search for the best camping lantern there are always more than lumens and price, and WPG suggest to estimate each product based on how many features a lantern offers beyond the basics and if they really provide more value to a product. Some of the lights in our list have just a few insignificant features, while others include extra features that set them apart increasing versatility or making more valuable in certain conditions. And always estimate the purpose of the feature by considering when and where you are going to camp, what environment and weather it would be. What seems useless for one person will be practical and useful for another.
However, both types of customers appreciate models with features that are simple yet practical.
We made a list of the most searchable lantern features in Google search and numerated them from the first the most to least:
-easy-to use dimming
Frequently Asked Questions
While most, if not all of the lanterns that we looked at today feature some degree of water resistance, none of them are completely waterproof in the strictest sense of the term. This is because there are other variables that will affect how & how much water is able to enter the device.
Want to learn more about how waterproof and dustproof ratings work? Check out this handy guide from Reactual.com
The durability of one lantern over another is going to depend on a number of different factors, including weight and construction materials. There are some lanterns that are designed to take more of a beating for instance, and these tend to also feature higher degrees of waterproofing and dustproofing. However the smaller rechargeable lanterns that are designed for hiking and backpacking tend to be more lightweight and less sturdily constructed.
When a rechargeable lantern has the ability to charge external devices, it is often known as a power bank. This is usually a simple USB type input that allows you to use the stored power to charge things like cell phones, laptops, and tablets. However, just because a lantern is rechargeable does not mean that it will automatically be able to charge your phone. Be sure to check the product specifications to make sure you are getting all the features that you are looking for.