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Battery-Powered Lanterns

Top Picks

How we choose: The best battery-powered lanterns highlighted here were selected based on 410 reviews of 71 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a battery-powered lantern that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

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BioLite AlpenGlow 500

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

BioLite's AlpenGlow 500 is a reliable and rechargeable 500-lumen lantern that offers a wide range of color options from bright party colors to a subtle candle-like feeling. The simple one-button design takes a little time to figure out how to access each mode, but once figured out, is easy to operate. A smaller 250 lumen option is also available from the manufacturer.

Reasons to Buy

  • Wide range of color mode options
  • Long battery life
  • Charges other devices with USB output
  • Easy to find single button
  • Durable
  • Integrated hanging hook
  • Easy to replace charging cable

Reasons to Avoid

  • Coveted by small children (good luck getting it back)
  • No focused light option
  • Not exactly small or lightweight

Conditions: What started out as a car-camping lantern quickly turned into a back porch lantern and eventually my daughter’s favorite light that she plays with all the time and permanently resides on her bedside stand. Purely from an hours-used perspective, my daughter has spent far more time with the AlpenGlow 500 than I have, as she regularly plays with it in her bedroom, enjoying the various color modes and finding places to hang it from. Other than being a much-loved toy, I’ve used the lantern for two-and-a-half months, mostly while camping as a family and while sitting on the back porch as the day fades into night.

Read more: BioLite AlpenGlow 500 review (1)

Black Diamond Apollo

user rating: 5 of 5 (6 reviews)

It does weigh a bit for backpacking, but I like to car camp too. The light can be very bright, but is almost infinitely adjustable. It is built well and has a split ring mounting hook on top.

Reasons to Buy

  • Adjustable light output
  • Compact, Lumens-per-size ratio is high
  • Good light dispertion, very diffuse
  • Great battery life
  • Super easy to use. No secret codes on the buttons
  • It has cool battery level lights

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit heavy for ultra light backpacking (but maybe worth it)

I got this as a Christmas present from my daughter. I did hint just a bit. I love this light. I have replaced the florescent light on my desk with it. I am writing this review by Apollo light. If you want to be green buy this light, get 4 rechargeable AA batteries and a solar charger. With this setup you can replace a light in your house with a sustainable light (Very Eco friendly). This light can easily replace a reading light or a desk light. Outdoors the light gives out very even light cast. Walking about I can see a good 20'(7m) around the light. I will add to the review after spring camping. 

Read more: Black Diamond Apollo reviews (6)

BioLite TravelLight 135

user rating: 4 of 5 (2 reviews)

Conclusions: The BioLite Powerlight Mini provides reasonable light for use around camp, with the additional benefit of recharge capacity for a cell phone, inReach, handheld GPSR, or small camera, and at a reasonable price. It is readily recharged with a small solar panel, making a total of just over a pound, which is reasonable for a backpacking trip. Heavy use as a night or hiking light or as a recharging source for frequent cell phone or inReach tracking use may require extra backup battery storage.

Reasons to Buy

  • Flexible lighting combined with electric storage.
  • Storage capacity enough to accommodate a 3 or 4 day trek (52 hours on reading level white light)
  • Red and white emergency strobe beacons
  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Beamspread is wide enough for night-time trail hiking

Reasons to Avoid

  • Switching from one of the 5 modes to another can be complex
  • No true spotlight mode – not very good for pre-dawn approaches to climbs
  • Storage capacity is skimpy for someone making heavy use of recharging the cell phone or inReach
  • May require auxiliary recharge sources (solar panel, large battery storage) for long trips

Background: Whether you spend a long day hiking, months on a through hike, or a multi-day hike, sooner or later you run into a situation where a dependable source of illumination is needed. Over the years, I have used candles, a candle or kerosene lantern, carbide headlamps, butane-powered lanterns, solar-charged lights, and a variety of electrically-powered devices, along with cozy (and not-so-cozy) wood campfires. All have their strong points, and all have their flaws. Major steps forward over the last couple of decades include halogen lamps and LEDs.

Read more: BioLite TravelLight 135 reviews (2)

UCO Pika 3-in-1 Rechargeable Lantern

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

I love my Pika lantern, which I use in both flashlight and lantern mode. It is a small, lightweight, and dependable light for use in camping, or as an emergency light. It is easily re-charged, and also can be used to charge other devices. I have used this reliable light for two years on frequent canoe camping and winter cabin camping trips, and would definitely recommend it to others.

Reasons to Buy

  • Three functions
  • Variable beam
  • Bright LED
  • Durable
  • Water resistant
  • Reasonable price

Reasons to Avoid

  • The little caps on USB ports can be tricky to put in place

While on a recent solo canoe camping trip, I had to pack up my gear in the pre-dawn hours, while a steady rain was beginning to fall. I needed illumination that I could carry around with me, yet which provided bright lighting, and was resistant to the falling waters from above. Well, the maneuver was successful, as my trusty UCO Pika 3 in 1 LED lantern provided just what I required.  I have used this lantern on every camping trip for the past two seasons, and have come to depend on it both for its use as a tent lantern, a hand-held flashlight, and as a short term charging device for my cell phone and other LED lights.

Read more: UCO Pika 3-in-1 Rechargeable Lantern review (1)

MPowerd Luci Original

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (4 reviews)

A lightweight, easy to carry, waterproof solar-powered lantern useful in the backcountry or at home during emergencies.

Reasons to Buy

  • Solar powered
  • Lightweight
  • Low cost

Reasons to Avoid

  • Very bright even on dim setting

I saw this while standing in the checkout line at a local Eastern Mountain Sports, and figured "what the heck, it's only $15!" Then I figured "what the heck, it's only $30!" and got one for a friend as well. Meet Luci: Luci weighs 4 ounces and collapses to a disc that's 1" thick and 5" in diameter. Luci's LEDs are powered by a rechargeable 3.7V lithium battery and have a bright, dim, and flash setting, each successive push of the switch (in the middle of the PV panel) will change the setting.

Read more: MPowerd Luci Original reviews (4)

Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Core Lantern

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

A compact, lightweight, and versatile camp lantern suitable for short-to-medium length backpacking trips.

Reasons to Buy

  • Compact, light, and bright enough for outdoor camp use
  • Versatile light settings and standing/hanging options
  • Rechargeable and replaceable Li-ion battery
  • USB in and out, can be used as a backup battery

Reasons to Avoid

  • No stop for minimum power on control knob

What weighs 8 ounces, fits in the palm of your hand, throws enough light for cooking and reading, and will burn for hundreds of hours? Not so many years ago the only thing that would meet those specs would have been an old-fashioned candle lantern (with some extra candles), and the cooking and reading part might require some close maneuvering. But nowadays there might be a few contenders for that title, and the Goal Zero (GZ) Lighthouse Mini leads the charge. The lantern has two basic modes, full-on where both sides light up, and half-on where only one side lights.

Read more: Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Core Lantern reviews (2)

Nite Ize MoonLit LED Micro Lantern

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

With very little modification, this has become my "go to" light source.

Reasons to Buy

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Bright enough

Reasons to Avoid

  • Without modifications, glows back in your face

Over the years I've found that I'm needing less and less light when in camp. I don't backpack in the dark, so a bright light isn't needed...just something to allow me to find things in my tent on moonless nights or to get me far enough away from camp in the middle of the night when nature calls. I've gone from carrying a 5-D cell Maglite and 2-D cell cheapo backup flashlights when I was a kid, to smaller flashlights, to fewer flashlights, to a Solitaire Maglite and a lantern light lid for my 1 liter Nalgene bottle and now to this little beauty.

Read more: Nite Ize MoonLit LED Micro Lantern reviews (2)

MPowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (2 reviews)

To sum up this light in one word...fantastic!

Reasons to Buy

  • Fast charge
  • Long lasting light
  • Lightweight
  • Collapsible
  • Bright
  • Charge level indicator

Reasons to Avoid

  • None

I have owned two of these lights for several years, and they are FANTASTIC. They weigh next to nothing. I clip one to the top of my pack lid and it recharges while I'm hiking. They have a charge level indicator (which my first solar light did not have), and a loop on top to hang it in my tent using the mini-biners that clip it to my pack. On low power it puts out enough light to see to set up my tent, read a book, or any other task that you would perform at close range. On low power it will run all night and still have power in the morning.

Read more: MPowerd Luci Outdoor 2.0 reviews (2)

Ledlenser ML6 Connect WL

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

I’ve been using Lupine LED light systems for night MTBiking and other activities for more than a decade. It’s hard to beat the Germans when it comes to high-end LED equipment in terms of performance, quality, versatility, and reliability. When it was time to shop for a new camping lantern, I decided to choose one from Ledlenser, another German manufacturer with similarly good reputation, but in camping/backpacking light equipment.

Reasons to Buy

  • Elegant
  • German engineering and design
  • Amazing illumination
  • Powerful: 750 lumens
  • Warm light: comfortable K temp color
  • Packs small
  • Tough, well built
  • Awesome app to control everything from smartphone or tablet
  • Remote control (maybe a gimmick, but nice and works well)
  • Common, easy to find battery (18650)
  • Versatile: has an USB port to function as power bank
  • Various mounting options
  • Too many functions

Reasons to Avoid

  • Proprietary “magnetic” charging cable is gimmick and limits functionality
  • App will disconnect from lantern when closed or phone is locked
  • Too many functions

These high-end lighting German manufacturers have great pride in their engineering and craftsmanship, and above all the quality, performance, and design of their devices. I can attest to that 100%: my Wilma, Piko, and Rotlicht bike light sets from top brand LUPINE are still performing strong after a decade of hard and frequent use. I’ve been wanting to try Ledlenser for some time, so when shopping for a new camping/backpack/survival lantern, I decided to take the plunge and go with the flagship model, the ML6 WL Connect.

Read more: Ledlenser ML6 Connect WL review (1)

BioLite SunLight 100

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

A nifty little light that works great for small campsites, travel, and where a larger lantern might not be practical. Solar or power charging options eliminate the need for batteries.

Reasons to Buy

  • Two charging options
  • Light enough for most trips
  • Various light options/color modes
  • Moderately water resistant

Reasons to Avoid

  • Flashing indicator when charging
  • No memory of last color mode

Why did I buy this light? I really enjoy my BioLite AlpenGlow 500 lantern, but for some trips, it just doesn’t make sense to lug around just a big lantern. So I started looking for a smaller, lighter option that would be able to slid into a pack without taking up much room but still provide similar results (i.e. a campsite light or small reading light in a tent), without the need for extra batteries. After doing a little research, I came across the BioLite SunLite 100 at my local outdoor gear shop and have been using it for 8 months now.

Read more: BioLite SunLight 100 review (1)

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