Top 10 Best LED lanterns Reviewed In 2017
№1 – Coleman Micro Packer LED Mini-Lantern
A convenient and powerful Coleman Mini-lantern. It is smaller in size than many other available designs, but it never disappoints. It is easy to carry so you can always have in your car. It is battery powered, and when fully charged you will get almost 15 hours of light. Its 2 0.5 mm LED are durable, sufficiently and conveniently bright, offering you enough light in any dark setting. Interestingly, you can use it also as a flashlight, from the other side. Its design is collapsible, and you can seamlessly fold it into a half, hence easy to carry and store. When you buy this product, you get a year full warranty.
№2 – iStarty Camping LED lantern
This Camping LED Lantern just as named is rated as the best lantern to us during camping, fishing, hurricanes, emergencies and other outdoor activities. Its battery will serve you for a longer time, more than other brands. It has good design making it convenient to store and carry around. It is constructed from military grade materials making a durable product. It is also water resistant, making it a good option to use in wild areas. It has thirty single LED bulbs, for maximum light and made to last long.
№3 – WeatherRite (5572) LED Lantern
The 5572 by WeatherRite is designed resembling a traditional lamp. Its construction is metallic resembling copper. It uses batteries, although they are not included when buying it. It has a convenient handle for proper handling. It produces sufficient light to illuminate large areas than many other brands courtesy of its design. It is best used at home or during camping trips.
№4 – Energizer Weatheready LED Area Lantern
The weatheready LED lantern from Energizer is made of a plastic material making best to use at home or in camps. It is waterproof and runs on 3 AA or 3 D batteries. It can operate in 3 modes, a 55 lumen white when high, 28 lumens while at low setting and amber nightlight. It has diffused lens that spreads light in all directions, either amber or white. Its base is made of impact resistant rubber and comes with a handle for proper handling.
№5 – Rayovac (SE3DLNACOM) Sportsman 240 Lumen 3D LED Lantern- Green
The Ravoyac Sportsman LED Lantern is a high-quality product with a durable construction. Its body construction and it being water resistant makes of the best lanterns for use in wild environments and areas that are rugged. Its LEDs are very tough; hence, they can’t easily break. It has 4W LEDs that can serve you for more than 100,00 hours without thinking of any replacements. It has optimized beams, a rubber grip, and tactical buttons. It has a special feature where when it is in a dark place, the LED blinks after 5 seconds; hence locating it in a dark place is easy.
№6 – Supernova 300 Lumen Ultra-Bright, LED Lantern
The Supernova 300-Lumen lantern comes with the latest LED lighting technology, with a unique and an unmatched design. It is a good option during hiking expeditions, during camping and when there is an emergency. It is impact and water resistant features that add to its durability and performance. It can provide sufficient light for 6 days continuously. The lantern itself is made to be durable, using sturdy rubber and plastic moldings of high quality. With this lantern, darkness won’t worry you again, while all your camping and hiking expeditions experiences are made better.
№7 – Coleman Quad LED Lantern
This is another one from Coleman that is a best seller. It has 4 separate panels whose light can be operated individually without affecting the others. When the lantern is completely assembled, it can offer you up to 75 hours of light. It comes with a good handle that you can use to suspend on a surface. Additionally, each panel of the lantern has its handle. Its design is unique and special making it a favorite LED lantern for those going for nature expeditions and camping trips.
№8 – Coleman CPX 6 LED Lantern
The Coleman CPX 6 is another from the leading and reputable manufacturer Coleman. Its construction is metallic with green elements while other parts are made of aluminum. It comes with a diffuser tube that produces a beam pattern of light, reducing the glare. You can be able to adjust the light intensity. When you are using the LED lantern on low battery, you will get almost 50 hours of light while when on the high battery setting you get half of that. The lantern has a grip handle, adding to its safety handling and convenience.
№9 – Ultra Bright LED Lantern
Another top spot contender is this product from DIVINE LEDs. On Amazon, it is tagged as the brightest of all LED lanterns on sale. It enjoys more than 6,000 reviews from genuine customers. It is made with military grade material, making it one of the most durable LED lanterns you can buy. It has a unique design that you can be able to collapse it, for easy storage and carriage. Its battery has a super long life, and you can use rechargeable batteries. When you want the best LED lantern to use during camping, storms, during power outages, hurricanes, emergencies and during hiking, consider this lantern. When you buy, you get a 10 YEARS WARRANTY!
№10 – Coleman Twin LED Lantern
The best seller and most positively reviewed LED lantern is this one from Coleman. It brings outs the manufacturers commitment to provide quality products. Under normal circumstances, when on low setting, this LED lantern can serve you for not less than 299 hours. It’s overall capacity when on low setting is 100 bright lumens. When operating in the highest setting, it has 400 extra-bright lumens. Another best feature with this lantern is that you are able to adjust the intensity of light to suit your preference, through the brightness setting. When you buy this lantern, you are assured of efficiency, value, and convenience, anytime you need lighting.
Three years ago
We’ve been using our pick occasionally over the last six months and it’s performing just as well as the first time we used it. We’re still quite happy with the 30-Day and continue to stand behind it as our favorite LED lantern.
The coziest lanterns and a can of O’Doul’s, for scale. From left to right: Coleman Twin LED, Goal Zero Lighthouse 250, Mr. Beams, UST 10-Day. Lanterns producing softer, more pleasantly dim light are farther to the left.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Unbeatable as the 30-Day is, it isn’t perfect. Screwing on the bottom battery lid can require a couple seconds of futzing. You have to line up two little red stickers with arrows, which can be difficult to see in the dark. But you’re hardly ever changing the batteries, so this is rarely a problem. And anyway, the only other cozy lantern with a more convenient battery enclosure, the Mr. Beams, is only an OK lantern.
A USB-charging option
Goal Zero 3200Lighthouse 250 Portable Battery Charger USB Power Hub and Lantern
The Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 is also Also Great. If you’re a techie who already owns a USB battery, an aid worker living in the developing world, or someone who hates disposable batteries, then you’ll love just about everything about the Lighthouse.
So even if you fully charge it for seven hours one night, you won’t have enough bright light to last through the next night—let alone three more nights, like our main pick.
The crank worked better than expected. We ran the Lighthouse to empty, cranked vigorously for a minute, and turned it on again at a medium setting. It ran for 2minutes. That’s a lot of runtime for a little cranking.
Since dimming to a cozy level turned out to be the biggest challenge for 250-lumen lanterns, I’ll list the competition from coziest to least cozy.
And that—our main pick, runner up, step up, and those two competitors—are the only lanterns that dimmed to a really cozy level.
When nature calls or you can’t find your air mattress pump, you’ll be pleased that you packed a torch. A torch really is a camping essential: it’s portable, durable, and some models are even water-resistant. Lightweight and simple to aim, torches easily outshine the competition when it comes to pointing a light beam with precision and dexterity.
When you’re trying to put up a tent in the pitch black, nothing comes in handier than a hands-free head torch. With both of your hands free to use, head torches allow you to easily perform many different camping tasks in the dark. Look for adjustable models that allow you to widen the beam into more of a flood, and consider the comfort of the headband for periods of extended use.
If you’re looking for a way to light up your whole tent, you can’t go wrong with a traditional-style lantern. Lanterns throw out a 360-degree flood of light, and most include a built-in hook or handle so that you can conveniently hang them from the roof of your tent. Some models even feature a remote control – useful for when you’re all tucked up in your sleeping bag. You can still buy the traditional gas lanterns, which offer a brighter, more natural light and longer burn times, but if you’re worried about safety you may want to opt for an LED model.
The incandescent bulb has been around the longest and still offers benefits that other bulbs cannot. For instance, incandescent bulbs reach full brightness immediately and produce a warmer-coloured light. They also provide a steady beam of light that doesn’t flicker.
Many utility and camping-style fluorescent lights are quite durable and provide ample light for camping. They do tend to be larger than other types of camping lights, so consider your packing space.
The new kid on the block, LED lighting is incredibly rugged and uses very little power. They are also the safest form of lighting, as they only generate a minimal amount of heat. What’s more, it’s rumoured that LED lights are also a great way of warding off bugs!
Liquid Fuel Lanterns
These camping lanterns may not all be as bright as a cannister lantern, however, they are more efficient with fuel and fuel is cheaper, but they do require a mantel replacement when needed.
They are made to be used with either unleaded fuel, Coleman fuel or kerosene.
Many Coleman lanterns are duel fuel types that use Coleman’s fuel or unleaded gas. Coleman fuel is available from most camping stores.
These are a great option for cold weather camping and can be used with the fuel for a camp stove to save taking various types of fuel.
Refilling and spillage can be a disadvantage for liquid fuel lanterns;
Also, safety is an issue compared to a battery operated lantern because these have a flame rather than bulbs.
You will need to make sure a flame is allowed in the camp area, some areas have restrictions.
Not many campers use the kerosene lamps now due to the better options available. Kerosene can smell, and is quite a dirty fuel. Although, widely available and an option for emergency circumstances.
Liquid fuel lanterns also need cooling before refilling for safety reasons, that can be a pain during the night. Best have your torch!
Some consumers complain amount the noise a fuel lantern can make, which doesn’t happen with electric or canister models.
Camping Candle Lantern
The Camping candle lantern can be bought very cheap. They are basically a lantern or tube that just protects the candle from going out and a place for it to reside.
These are never going to give the same output as battery operated lanterns or fuel types.
A good option for backpacking and hiking because they weigh as little as ozs without the need for carrying fuel, or spare bulbs and batteries.
Note: Whatever lantern you choose, keep in mind the safety of you and your family with the flame types. It’s not a good idea to use a flame type inside a tent, for obvious reasons.
Any of the lanterns above either may need replacement bulbs, cannisters, batteries or fuel, that needs to be part of your camping kit to be prepared before setting out.
Other Things to Consider
Below we have outlined other things that you will want to consider when you are researching and sorting through the different camping lanterns.
Batteries – You will not be using lithium or lithium-ion batteries in any camping lantern unless they already come with them. You can damage or possibly ruin the lantern by using lithium batteries with it when they are not specified.
The disadvantage to using alkaline batteries, which is what is most often used in these lanterns, is that they do not perform well in extremely cold temperatures (such as below 20 degrees). You can extend the life of alkaline batteries by carrying them under your clothing during the day and sleeping with them inside the sleeping bag at night. This will keep their temperature up.
Mantles – In a fuel-powered lantern, there is something called mantles that provide the glow that makes the fuel burning lantern function. Once the mantle has been burned, it becomes very fragile and you must handle it with extreme care. You will want to carry several replacement mantles whenever you go on a camping trip.
Size and Weight – If you are taking a camping trip where you can drive the car all the way up to the campsite, the size and weight of your camping lantern will not really be an issue. If you will be backpacking to your campsite, ounces can add up, so you want to keep things as light as possible. The best camping lantern to bring if you are looking for something with little weight is the LED lanterns.
Battery Powered Camping Lanterns
This category has the safest lanterns that can never cause fire inside the camp tent. Being that safe, the battery powered camping lanterns are the most ideal for use in an environment that includes children. However, despite the safety, these lanterns do not produce brighter light as compared to the fuel powered ones. When it comes to durability, it is true to state that most of the lanterns in this category are long lasting owing to the tough plastic material that forms the most parts of the gadget.
Electric Camping Lanterns
Electric camping lanterns are a great choice among campers given that it is also a safe model. This brand runs on a fluorescent or xenon bulbs. Most of the brands in this category in the market today have a dimmer light option that helps in saving power.
LED Camping Lanterns
The Light emitting diodes, LED, are the most current revolutionized camping lanterns that operate with a lot of efficiency without harming the environment. They have the highest degree of eco-friendliness given that they do not have the filaments. Most of them are built on unbreakable, clear, and solid resin panel design. However, the bulbs have a specific accumulative usage lifespan, mostly 100,000 hours.
Fuel Powered Camping Lanterns
Fuel powered camping lanterns mostly utilizes kerosene, butane, or dual fuel t power up. Since these lanterns produce flames, they are not safe and can burn the tent. Opting for the fuel powered lanterns may be economical in case the campers go for the ones that use the same fuel as their cooking stoves. Despite the fact that it is unsafe, the fuel-based lanterns illuminate with brighter light compared to the battery powered.
Gas Camping Lanterns
There are also the models that use gas to light up. This model, however, tends to be expensive and noisy. A lot of care is needed with its use especially when refilling the lantern. It is one of the models that are not recommended for use by campers who are accompanied by children. They are, therefore, non-economical, given that they also produce some heat. However, gas camping lanterns are the best for outdoor camping activities.
Solar Powered Lanterns
Solar powered lanterns are the most efficient eco-friendly lanterns. They operate on solar energy from the sun, therefore, no need for fuel. In the market today, you can also find a solar powered lantern that also utilizes an AC rechargeable battery. Such models are recommendable since you are assured of light even on a sunless day.
Energizer Weather Ready Folding Area Lantern
Energizer camping lantern product is a ready made LED folding lantern with three separate modes: featuring high, low and nightlight. It has light pivots that provide 180 degrees to 360 degrees of lighting and also folds for easy, compact and storage. This lantern is powered and energized by 4D batteries which are not included in the package. Using the batteries, it can last for up to 13hours of use. This camping lantern product is made up of plastic with the intention of easy storage and portability. At the same time, it includes a built-in carrying handle with a light output of 200 lumens. You can have the great night out in your camping site for this camping lantern product can give you enough light in your surrounding. This camping lantern comes in a red color and weighs only 0.7pounds making it easy to carry anywhere. With this product, you are ready to light an entire room with area lights and lanterns when the power goes out.
Lithium batteries outperform alkaline batteries in cold conditions, but if you’re mostly a desert or temperate camper or backpacker, alkaline batteries work fine. Just remember to remove them at the end of your trip so you don’t have to worry about contact point corrosion from the inevitable leak of an alkaline battery.
Rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries are another option, and perform equally well in hot or cold weather, but do tend to drain power when not in use. Be sure to pack along some backup alkaline batteries even if you choose to use NiMH batteries.
If you’re spending a lot of time backpacking in wet or snowy weather, or plan to camp near water, consider a lighting unit that can tolerate the exposure, as well as a brief unexpected dunk in shallow water (you know, just in case.)
Weighing about the same as a lantern or torch, these are strung through the interior of your tent, like Christmas lights. Much like inflatable lanterns, they’re more about chilling than illuminating a work area. And they absolutely will not help you navigate a guy-wire strewn camp to take a leak in the middle of the night. Keep in mind, as well, that the batteries run out much quicker than most are rated (many say 7hours, but the ones we tested lasted 25% less than that so it’s a crapshoot). If you don’t mind carrying the extra weight of AAA batteries, than go for it.
The most complicated choice of all—simply because there are so many iterations available—is the headlamp. By far, it’s the most versatile, and offers the most stable, focused lighting. Prices tend to track inversely with weight. For the most part, the heavier the handlamp, the less you’ll pay. In the end, for many, it comes down to price point. If you’re an ultralight weeklong backpacker, you’ll likely be happy to pay more to carry less weight. For shorter trips, where weight isn’t as crucial, a low-priced headlamp will do just fine.
Some headlamps come with optional beam settings including wide, also called “flood,” for reading, camp tasks or nighttime elimination trips; or spot (also referred to as focused or narrow beam) for long-distance viewing or night time hiking.
Look for one with multiple lumen settings as well as a red light if you plan to camp with a group. Bright white (LED in particular) light makes pupils shrink and will temporarily blind your camp mates (especially on high lumen settings). Red light doesn’t do that, making them a more considerate choice for groups. Everyone can still see what they’re doing but without all the blaring and glaring “light” noise.
Six months ago
We added a running pick to our lineup this year, the Black Diamond Sprinter. It’s lighter and more adjustable than our top pick, which makes it a bit more expensive, of course, but if you’re a regular runner we think you’ll appreciate the extra features.
One year ago
We are currently updating our picks in this guide for 2016, and we’ve tested more than 30 brand-new and redesigned headlamps for backpackers, runners, and anyone who needs a lamp around the house. If you can’t wait for the update, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the redesigned Black Diamond Spot, a new version of our current top choice that has a brand-new, easy-to-operate on/off button—a major improvement over earlier models. Just make sure you’re getting the newer model, as the older model (which we link to throughout this guide) is on deep discount and easy to find on sale. They are not the same lamp.
Two years ago
After logging an additional 1hours of testing, the rechargeable Black Diamond ReVolt is our new favorite headlight. We will continue to recommend the Black Diamond Spot too, but it runs via battery power only. In addition, the Coast HL7 also made the cut. It has manual controls, instead of buttons, a really efficient way to focus the beam from broad to narrow.
Four years ago
We spent just shy of four hours with 2different headlamps, followed by 2hours of head-to-head testing with the Black Diamond Spot and Princeton Tec Remix on a trek in the Oregon backcountry. The Black Diamond Spot came out on top.
This light has red and white LEDs that you control with separate buttons, making operation intuitive and frustration-free.
If the button on the Black Diamond Spot were as easy to use as those on the Vitchelo V800, it would be near perfect. If you’re not bothered by the fact that Vitchelo isn’t a huge brand name, the separate buttons the V800 has for its red and white LEDs are so rare (and so gloriously easy to operate) that we think they make this headlamp worth the purchase alone.
In fact, this light is bright, easy to use, lightweight, and pretty cheap—and we almost made it our top choice, until we vetted the quality of its user reviews on Fakespot. Unfortunately, according to that site, most of this model’s 3,000-plus glowing reviews appear to be fake. That might not matter so much if you’re planning to use your headlamp only in the garage or for walking the dog, but it doesn’t inspire confidence if you intend to take it into the backcountry. Even so, we tested the V800 ourselves, and for now we’re convinced that it’s a good option for casual use.
Black Diamond ReVolt
A full charge on the ReVolt with a Micro-USB cable gives you the perfect amount of juice to get back to the car after dusk.
If you’re a frequent day hiker or a dedicated weekend warrior, having a rechargeable headlamp that you can juice up in the car on the way to the trailhead can be liberating. We looked at nine rechargeable models, and we think the Black Diamond ReVolt is better suited for the beating you’ll give it than any other option. Most important, it can operate on AAAs if the rechargeable battery happens to die when you’re nowhere near a USB outlet, a feature that most rechargeable headlamps don’t have. Rechargeable models are the way of the future, and that’s a great thing, but we’re hesitant to make such a headlamp our top recommendation until they can hold a more reliable, powerful charge for longer.
More lumens and higher-quality optics, but at the expense of battery life.
Of all the headlamps we looked at that use higher-quality optics, the Coast FL75 was our favorite. This model has both a red LED and a white one, and just like our runner-up, it has two separate buttons for those colors, which makes turning it on and toggling through modes unusually, gloriously straightforward.
This is a 405-lumen light, and such bright lights—the kind that spit out beautiful, even beams—can suck a battery dry in no time. They often need specialty battery sizes to maintain that level of output, too. The FL75, however, runs on AAAs and can go for two hours on high and up to 1hours on low, longer than other lights in the category. The only bummer is that it’s slightly heavier than the Black Diamond Spot, the main reason we often reached for our main pick instead, in spite of how much we love the FL75.
Black Diamond Sprinter
Bright, easy to adjust, and very lightweight, this USB-rechargeable headlamp is comfortable enough to wear for several miles.
If you run at night, the Black Diamond Sprinter is not too heavy and has a 200-lumen beam—enough to illuminate a sidewalk or city street. It’s easily adjustable, too; being able to quickly adjust the beam angle lets you adapt to rain or other changing weather conditions. It also features a rear blinker so you can be seen more easily. Unlike the Spot, the Sprinter has a built-in battery that charges over USB. You’ll need to remember to charge it since you can’t replace the batteries, but during our runs the battery life was plenty for 20 miles of testing. You can find lighter-weight headlamps, but they don’t provide enough light to really be usable. And although the rear light could connect better to the strap, the way the one on the Foxelli 500x does, overall the Sprinter was the best of all the running headlamps we tested.
Shining Buddy LED Headlamp
Our kid testers loved the flashing red light on this inexpensive option for families.
Though we made sure all of our headlamps “for adults” had a red LED for practical purposes, we weren’t shocked to find that kids were drawn to headlamps with red flashing lights, too. The kids we know seem to like it mostly so that they can pretend to be red-eyed monsters or aliens. And why not let them? The Shining Buddy LED Headlamp is easy to adjust and operate, equipped with both red and red-flashing modes (in addition to a white light for utility), and inexpensive enough that everyone can have their own.
If you want to commute by bike, the picks here could work, but you might have a better option; see our helmet bike light recommendation. If you want to canoe or kayak, the picks in this guide are weatherproof and splashproof but not meant to be submerged in water. If you take it, don’t drop it!
The headlamps in this guide are not recommended for mountain biking (you need something brighter) or hunting, nor are they appropriate for military purposes, tactical use, or rescue (you need something with colored LED lights, and color temperature might matter, too). And they are not the right choice for caving, diving, or underwater photography (you need something seriously waterproof).
How we picked and tested
What Customers are Saying
The LED bulb is extremely bright, which makes it reliable for when you need it most. For the price, you are purchasing a product that is superior in quality to others of the same price range.
The Streamlight 88040 ProTac offers incredible brightness from the LED bulb, which is assembled specifically with CLED technology in order to preserve battery life, making it extremely reliable. Along with its sturdy aircraft aluminum body and waterproofing, it will not break easily and leave you in the dark when you need it most.
SOLARAY PRO ZX-Professional Series Bright LED with Max 1200 Lumens
The SOLARY PRO ZX-is an extremely reliable tactical flashlight ideal for anyone working in security or someone who spends a lot of time in survivalist environments, hunting or extended camping trips in the wilderness.
The standout feature of this product is the dependable quality of the huge lumen output. At its maximum setting, it can expel a massive 1,200 lumens. The Ultra Bright XM-L TCree Super-Silicon Carbide Single Die LED Chip is one of the best LED bulbs on the market, making for amazing brightness, ideal for security and many other purposes.
The reflector has a parabolic shape and concentrates the light from the LED bulb, creating a direct beam. The reflector is a very important component as it enhances the power emitted from an already powerful bulb.
Many brands allow for the adjustment of the reflector to create a wider or narrower scope.
This is useful for moving in large areas of darkness, such as forestry or open land, as well as using it in more confined spaces such as a building.
Generally they are made of polished metal, glass or aluminized plastic. Some manufacturers also use a pebbled finish on the reflector to give uniformity to the beam that is being omitted.
The tail switch is essentially the button that turns on the light. Its location is not just random placement. It is specifically placed at the butt to allow for optimum control over the direction in which you are aiming the beam.
By holding the flashlight with your arm in an upright position, in a so-called “icepick” grip, you can direct the beam with the twist of your wrist as opposed to your entire arm. This is useful for stealth operations when the beam is necessary one moment and detrimental the next. Being able to switch between high visibility and no visibility at the quick push of a thumb has aided stealth operations for decades now.
The Pocket Clip
The pocket clip holds a similar function to the lanyard clip. It’s a piece of metal that runs down the body that allows you to easily clip the light onto the exterior of your pocket.
This is probably more useful, in terms of easy access, than the lanyard attachment. In a situation of high intensity when you’ll need your flashlight, you don’t want to be fumbling with a lanyard clip.
With the pocket clip, you can easily grab the flashlight in one hand and bring it to your aid immediately. The only downside is that if you’re moving a lot, jumping or sliding down steep trenches, the flashlight could slip from your pocket grip and fall to the ground without you noticing. This is why both pocket clips and lanyard clips are necessary.
The tail cap offers grip at the tail of the flashlight when it is being held in the aforementioned “icepick” grip. Grip at this part of the flashlight body is incredibly important, as one false move and a dropped flashlight could lead to a heightened intensity situation and or death. The tail cap also secures the battery compartment adequately to the body of the flashlight in order to power it. Again, it may seem like a moderately irrelevant component of the tactical flashlight, but it’s a very important one. Grip and control are essential in high intensity situations and the tail cap offers extra grip and control, thus making it an essential component.
The Head or LED Housing
The head, or LED housing, is the compartment in which the LED flashlight bulb is stored. This is an important component of the tactical flashlight as it provides protection to the bulb.
With tactical flashlights, the head will be exceptionally sturdy in order to give optimum protection for the high intensity activities that security.
In August of 2009, the American National Standards Institute approved a standardization specification for flashlight performances. This was developed by a committee of flashlight manufacturers known as the Flashlight Standards Committee of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The standards fell under headings.
The light output is the measurement of luminous flux within the sphere and is essentially a measurement of energy.
The run time refers to the nearest quarter hour of output before it drops to below 10%.
In a military situation, where everyone is equipped with an assault rifle, should you come across a stranger in darkness, you will need to identify them. This is safer with a quality flashlight. If that person is an enemy, they may well be able to mimic and pretend to be an ally.
Before you know it, you are confronted with a very real threat. In a burning building, you simply won’t be able to find an exit without a powerful flashlight. Smoke and debris will block out most of your senses, the least of which you will need is your vision. As an excursionist, losing anything relatively small in the dark is potentially dangerous; be it keys, a water bottle or even your tent, you can become disorientated and lost. A tactical flashlight will help you find what you’re looking for.
As a self-defense device, walking home at night is made all the much safer with a flashlight. With a tactical flashlight, any offender will be disorientated and temporarily blinded by the LED beam shone in their face as they approach you. Because of their sturdiness, should an intruder catch you off guard, a tactical flashlight will also serve you well if it comes to hand to hand combat. A swift blow to the head will knock just about anyone out. Having said that, you’d rather it didn’t come to that, so it’s best to simply disorientate them and use the time to run and escape.
If you are a collector of gadgets or tools or various electronics, a tactical flashlight is the height of electronic technology, the efficiency and craftsmanship that goes into the making of a tactical flashlight is remarkable. No stone has been left unturned and no scenario has not been thought out when considering the many uses and benefits of owning a tactical flashlight. They are versatile tools for excursionists and soldiers alike. Anyone in the military, police force or fire department will tell you how useful a tactical flashlight is.
If you need to use your hands a lot, like rock climbing through caves, you should opt for a headlamp, rather than a handheld flashlight. You’ll be putting yourself in danger by occupying your hands in a situation in which you need them. Also if you are taking on an activity in which you are moving a lot, or running, your hands won’t be able to stay steady and aim correctly, limiting your vision and making you disorientated.
But if you need more control and precision with your aim of the flashlight, you should opt for a handheld flashlight. If it’s a slower paced activity, like hiking, hunting or camping, you will need a handheld flashlight to aim. Handheld flashlights will provide you with a broader scope of vision, which will benefit you greatly in these conditions.
As a hunter, you may also need a weapon mounted flashlight. Not only will this improve your vision, and thus your aim, but also with a tactical flashlight, you may stun the animal and prevent it from running making for an easier shot and therefore a quicker kill
Disposable Lithium Batteries
Disposable Lithium batteries should not be confused for Lithium Ion batteries. Disposable Lithium batteries are almost the exact same as disposable alkaline batteries except they’re more powerful, store more energy and are lighter. They will last longer as well. These are favored by survivalists for these reasons. However, they are more expensive.
Rechargeable cells come in a variety of sizes. Specialized sizes for tactical flashlights include 18500, 18650, and RCR123A. They offer a very good output and the ability to recharge makes them more environmentally friendly. However, rechargeable flashlights are more expensive and require the purchasing of a decent charger as well.
The kind of material that you choose for your flashlight to be made of will have an effect on its durability and its weight. Tactical flashlights come in three different materials.
Plastic or composite flashlights are generally of a lower quality, although Pelican is a good company for producing quality flashlights that uses plastic or composite materials.
Anodized aluminum is the most common material used for quality flashlights. Make sure to have at least type II anodizing, but type III is the best.
Stainless steel is a strong and durable material, but its downside is that it is heavy.
Light Pattern Spread
You should also consider the light pattern spread that you’re going to get from your bulb. Consider the setting in which you will need it. A burning building will have significantly different needs to a big open forest. Or climbing a rock face compared to a dark alleyway.
It comes down to the design of the reflector and the LED being used. Generally speaking, flashlights that are more floody are best suited for close and isolated inspections of objects. Flashlights that are more throwy are better for closer up inspections of things, or for lighting up a greater area. Before you make the decision, you’ll need to consider the activity you’re undertaking and think about when and why you will need your flashlight.
Battery life and brightness are things you will need to consider here. Do you need a flashlight that will maintain its maximum brightness for 30 minutes and then dim significantly? Or do you need something to maintain its maximum brightness for or hours?
Battery life versus brightness is one of the biggest debates surrounding flashlights, but it’s really a subjective matter, and wholly dependent on the activity taking place. Many smaller flashlights can produce a huge amount of Lumens but, due to their small size and thus smaller battery capacity, they won’t last very long. Larger flashlights can fit more and stronger batteries and thus can produce a higher level of Lumens and will last longer.
A Lumen is a unit of luminous flux and the measurement used for the total quantity of light that is visibly produced by a source, such as a bulb. A flashlight’s Lumen measurement will be referring to the flashlight on its highest setting with new batteries or fully charged. Although the Lumen is a good tool for comparing flashlights, it does not tell the entire story behind brightness.
Beam distance is measured in meters and should not be neglected. This will measure the distance the light ejected from the flashlight will reach before it diminishes to the equivalent of the light that comes from a full moon, which is generally considered to be safe to travel in outdoors. Obviously, the distance varies depending on the setting. But depending on the location of your activity, distance may or may not be of great importance, so you should consider this before you make a purchase.
Candela refers to the intensity of a Lumen (ie, 1,000 lumens). It is similar to radiant intensity, the main difference being that instead of combining the contributions of each wavelength of light within the spectrum, it is weighed by the luminous function, which means it is measured by the human eye, essentially.
The ranges of lighting are an important factor to consider, and these range from to over 700 Lumens. This will vary depending on the battery and bulb being used. It also comes down to the vision of the person using the torch. But any quality tactical flashlight will come with a brightness adjuster or multiple brightness levels. These usually come as one of either a head/tail twist, a body switch or a tail switch.
A lot of tactical flashlights have a simple on/off switch, which only gives you the option of one brightness level. These are generally the small flashlights, as they don’t have the capacity to encompass the necessary setting for brightness adjustments. If purchasing one of these, you should ensure that the level of Lumens are adequate enough for the activity you are undertaking.
More advanced or larger flashlights will have two settings: high and low. The lower setting will use less battery but omit a lower level of Lumens, resulting in reduced visibility. High settings will omit the maximum level of Lumens and use up much more of the battery life, and so you should save the higher setting until natural light has decreased dramatically.
Better tactical flashlights will have or more settings from low to high. This gives you more variety when deciding on which is the best light to suit the moment and also which one will give best lighting while preserving the most amount of battery as possible. You can alter the lighting to the amount of natural light you have available in order to save battery.
Special Light Modes
Many tactical flashlights will offer special light modes. There are three special light modes that come with a tactical flashlight.
Despite your initial assumptions, the Strobe light mode is not meant for raves in the forest. It was designed to disorientate people. It is a very fast flashing of the brightest level on the flashlight that changes patterns to confuse people. It’s a feature that has many uses, but most notably, police officers would consider it very important when making raids.
The strobe light causes what is known as the Bucha effect (also known as A Lumen), whereby the person experiences dizziness and confusion when exposed to a strobe light. Dr. Bucha realized this in the 1950s when asked to explain why there had been an increase in helicopter crashes.
Survivors of the crash had explained that they had become dizzy from the strobe-like effect of rotating blades of the helicopter. This was later incorporated into the tactical flashlight, among other things, to disorientate and confuse suspects during a raid.
The SOS or Morse code mode is very important and useful. It’s used for emergency purposes. Originally a naval term for “save our ship”, it became synonymous for any kind of distress signal. Morse code transmits text as a series of tones or flashes that can be understood to anyone who knows Morse code.
The Beacon mode on a tactical flashlight simulates a lighthouse; it blinks beautifully in the darkness at full level brightness signaling a distress signal, or a warning signal if you assume the position of a lighthouse. It’s a survival feature, just like the SOS mode. It’s more useful than the SOS mode for when you’re in a locality closer to civilization. The Beacon mode will alert nearby aid, as opposed to the SOS which will reach further distances.
Water Resistance Ratings
Many don’t consider water resistance when purchasing a tactical flashlight, but if you’re the survivalist type, or in the military, or a policeman, or a fireman, you inevitably going to be put to the test in wet conditions, be it rain, swamp or fire hose, there is going to be water around at some point.
You need to be prepared for this. Come unprepared to an flight or fight survival situation, the last thing you need is a flashlight that is water damaged; fail to prepare, prepare to fail. The water resistance of a flashlight comes in three grades: IPX4, IPXand IPX 8.
IPXmeans that your flashlight is water resistant at the most basic level; splash level, in fact. This may be all well and good for a kiddy camp out in the back garden, or as a toy for a young teenager just getting into the great outdoors, but it’s not going to help you when you’re lost in the wilderness for four days, searching for a route back home.
IPXis a little more reliable and is up to meter of submersion water resistant. This is ideal for the survivalist who might be catching trout from a flowing river. You can rest assured that if a flashlight of IPXis lost in the foliage at some point, it will survive the morning dew as well. This is a more reliable flashlight altogether. It will even survive the relentless spray of a fire hose if it happens to come into the direct line of fire. This is a much more reliable level of water resistance.
IPXis the most reliable water resistance level. If can be submerged in up to meter of water for over four hours. This essentially makes it completely waterproof. The length of time in the water is not truly of concern, but the pressure created by the depth is. Spearfishing at meters for 20 minutes would give the same results as meter for hours, and so a tactical flashlight with an IPXmarking is going to be an extremely reliable flashlight in wet circumstances, such as a boat at rough sea.
Light filters can be put over the top of the lens in order to change the coloring of the light beam. Changing the color of the light offers a different function depending on the color. For example, red is very useful for night vision, which would often be adopted by the military and SWAT teams advancing upon an enemy. Hunters tracking an animal over long distances through the night would also use night vision. Blue and yellow light filters are used a lot for tracking blood.
These colors will illuminate the red of blood in dark conditions, making it easier for hunters to track a wounded animal. Police may also adopt this method for tracking a wounded criminal who has been shot but escaped from a shoot out. Green is a very useful light filter that is often used by hunters.
Green will not frighten animals and so you can preserve your location and vantage point while maintaining a track on them. Green cannot be seen from peripheral vision either, which makes it useful for military purposes as well. Typically, only the best police flashlights will have these filters.
Dedicated RGB LEDs
Dedicated RGB LEDs can come built into the flashlight, as opposed to offering the same functions as above from a light filter. You may, for some reason, require that the light filter be incorporated into the flashlight, rather than attachable. The only downside to the dedicated RGB LEDs is that the level of brightness will not be the same as if from a light filter attached to the head of the camera. The advantage of dedicated RGB LEDs is that, because they’re incorporated into the flashlight, they won’t come lose in action and fall off, leaving you stranded.
Pocket or Belt Clips
Pocket or Belt Clips are useful for keeping your tactical flashlight in a convenient and easy to reach position. In any given situation you will need your flashlight at intermittent moments. You don’t want to be packing it into your rucksack or forcing it into your pocket every so often, only to need it again moments later. A pocket or belt clip eliminates this problem with a rather simple addition. Some flashlights have much better clips than other, like the Sunwayman Mr. Elfin M11R has a deeper pocket clip than most, which ensures that it is totally secure and won’t come loose when in a moment of high activity, such as crawling across the ground or down trenches.
Some lights come built specifically to be attached to a gun, while others will come with adaptors to attach them to a gun. Those made specifically to be attached to a gun will be much more secure with less movement. But a mounting bracket has a more versatile function and is ultimately cheaper. Mounting brackets are incredibly useful for hunters and police officers alike. A mounting bracket combined with a red light filter will make for optimum vision when tracking and aiming at an animal. Similarly it would be useful for police and military forces for maintaining aim on a target in dark conditions.
A pressure switch is another utensil for mounting to a weapon. Mounting your light to a weapon may require you to move the on/off switch to a different position. A lot of manufacturers will offer a pressure switch that replaces the tail switch of a flashlight with a pressure pad, allowing you to move the on/off switch to anywhere you want on the weapon. This is useful for long weapons like a rifle, so that you can keep the switch comfortably next to your hand as you aim. This means you don’t need to break your focus in a high pressure moment, such as taking aim on an animal when hunting, you covering a military or police partner as they enter dangerous territory.
Knurling refers to the grip on the handle or body of the flashlight. Some prefer a smooth, ergonomic handle while others prefer the surface to be knurled for extra grip. Your preference should be based on the activity you are taking on and the environment in which you will find yourself. Wet conditions will favor a knurled handle for sure, as a smooth surface will become slippery when wet. But overall knurling really just comes down to personal preference and will not dramatically affect the light’s functioning.
A standard set of 100 led solar fairy lights should have a minimum of 200 mAh or milliamp hours this could also be expressed as 0.watts. This requirement increases as the number of led’s and therefore the cable length increases, as it takes more and more voltage to push the power through the cable.
So for example a set of 200 led lights needs at least watt of solar panel power. PowerBee are famous for going even further than this basic requirement. Take for example the standard 100 led warm white lights, these actually have a 300 mAh panel.
This is part of the reason that in their class the Endurance range are the best solar powered lights you can buy and will outperform any other set by some degree.
Spot lights need to produce quite a powerful light, it needs to be intense so as to light up the selected location to at least some useful or pleasingly aesthetic degree, for this reason a solar spot light needs to have a good quality high watt panel, to produce enough voltage, and a decent battery capacity to allow the light to emit a good amount of lumens for a prolonged period of time.
The number and type of LEDs is also an important factor, as this will determine the light output, this is nearly always expressed in lumens, we would recommend that the minimum lumen’s output for a half descent solar spot light should be 80. If the spotlight does not inform you of the lumens value then you can almost be certain it will be far lower than this value, some ‘spot lights’ we tested were around lumens output, which really should be sold as a novelty light.
There are really two very different categories for solar power spotlights: • There are small plant type highlighters which do produce a large amount of light and need to be placed very close to the plant or shrub in question, these lights will certainly highlight part a small bush during summer, but will not work during winter, or on cloudy days. • The second type of solar spot light is what we regard at powerbee to be a true spot light, it depends on what the customer wants at the end of the day, however we certainly feel that a spot light should work during winter, to at Least some degree, and should have the flexibility to be located away from the tree, bush or feature wishing to be highlighted, if you take for example the custodian, you will be able highlight a small to medium size bush or tree, from 1feet away, nearly all year around (in winter operation will be limited but if the panel is facing south without shade then this will be on average – hours every day ).
The smaller plant type highlighters will operate in average for around – 20 minutes during UK winter time if you can see them at all, it’s such a waste because it’s a real treat to have light in your garden in winter and truly can cheer you up no end!
We’ve included pictures of all the beam patterns to show how the light falls on the trail. Hot spots and hard focused lines at the edges of the beam are distracting and make it more difficult to use peripheral vision when riding. You want soft transitions and edges, and a pool around the front wheel for picking your way through technical terrain.
The lumen is a measure of light output — the higher the number, the brighter the light. Some manufacturers quote measured lumens, but obviously they’ve done all the measuring themselves. We’ve printed quoted lumens, but we have measured all the lights, and if there’s a big discrepancy between the two figures, we’ve said so in the test.
An O-ring makes a lot of sense because it can be removed easily, expands to accommodate different diameter handlebars, including 35mm, and the lamp can be angled up or down easily. Clamp-on mounts (aluminium or plastic) are better for heavy lights because they’re rattle-free and more secure. However, often only a 31.8mm is included, so if you’re running 35mm bars you may need to buy an additional clamp.
An all-in-one design is where the battery and lamp are contained in a single unit (see left). There are fewer parts in the box, you don’t have any flapping cables, and the system is lighter, with less battery mounting issues. The whole thing can be removed quickly for charging and storage as well.
Usually helmet clamps are plastic and held in place with twin Velcro straps that loop through the helmet vents, although Exposure employs a clamp that bolts through a single vent. It needs to pivot, so you can adjust the angle, and be secure, so the light doesn’t fall out if you catch it on a low branch.
How we test
Testing lights is a solitary business, because having other riders around interferes with the beam pattern and output. For accuracy, we mapped out an 18-minute test loop and conducted dozens of solo runs with all the lights.
To make it as fair as possible we tested all the powerful lights on their own, the helmet lights with a Hope Rbar light fitted, and the mid-range lights with an Exposure Joystick up top.
We toggled between the dimmer settings for the climbs and full power on all the descents.
To measure the light output, we also plugged all of the test lights into an integrating sphere, which is a scientific instrument that measures lumens.
Lights come in many shapes and sizes. Handheld flashlights are the most common. They are versatile because you can easily direct the light and focus it closer to the ground when hiking.
Headlamps are like flashlights you wear on your head. Headlamps are the standard for any outdoorsmen who need to have their hands free for climbing and handling gear.
Battery-powered lanterns are used to light up larger areas for cooking and hanging around camp.
With traditional gas camping lanterns, light output could only be regulated by shielding the light with a shutter, or trying to carefully adjust the gas output of the flame. Today we’re fortunate enough to have LED lanterns with variable outputs and functions.
Look for LED camping lanterns with adjustable light levels. You may want to search for lanterns with emergency strobe or SOS output functions as well. You never know when you’ll need it!
As the portable lighting industry changes rapidly today, you’re unlikely to find many camping lanterns still sporting incandescent bulbs. Just to be sure, thought, make certain that you’re getting a camping lantern with good LED lighting.
LED’s are lighter, smaller, more efficient, and cooler-running than incandescent and will make your batteries last so much longer! It just doesn’t make sense to use an incandescent bulb.
If you’re taking the lantern camping, there’s a pretty high probability that you’ll have to carry it on your back at some point. After all, many camping trips involve hiking or, at the very least, carrying gear from the car. For this reason, it just makes sense to keep your equipment lightweight.
Avoid huge lanterns when possible as they’ll take up extra room in the trunk. If you’re hanging your lantern from the tent, you’ll want one that’s compact and lightweight anyways – so it doesn’t collapse the tent.
With the prevalence of portable electronics like phones, tablets and portable GPS mapping units having a way of recharging them is a very convenient option. The Goal Zero is a great option in this case, it has a USB output that will recharge just about any electronic device. If you pair it with a solar panel you will have a constant source of power.
Dive torches come in different sizes, specs and price tags. Every model is designed for a particular use in mind so finding what you need can be overwhelming.
Here at The Adventure Junkies we like keeping things simple. Think about what type of diving you plan to use your light for, how much you want to invest and what features you would like to have. Then check out the models that fill those needs best.
MalloMe LED Lantern
Not only are these lanterns handy, but they also provide a kind of ‘campsite aesthetic’ for those who like the look of old oil lamps. These MalloMe lanterns come in a pack of four, and provide a 360 degree span of light.
They’re perfect to set up on a picnic table, or inside your tent if you’re doing a bit of late-night reading. As for their power source, they take only two AA batteries per lantern and provide more than 1,000 hours of light.
Lightweight but still durable and weatherproof, MalloMe makes a strong contender for the best camping flashlight.
Even for the experienced hiker, traveling the trails and mountains at night can be a brand new adventure. If you’re looking for the best hiking flashlight, this product will definitely shed some light on your night time paths!
With a beam distance of 25meters and five different brightness modes to choose from, including strobe and SOS, this flashlight packs a lot of power into a small package.
It comes with a carrying strap, which can be wrapped around the wrist and make it impossible to drop or lose. If an emergency happens at night, one of the last things you want to misplace is your flashlight!
Mifine LED Headlamp
We’ve all been in a situation where we try to juggle a flashlight and some tent poles. Rather than putting the flashlight between your teeth, consider Mifine’s adjustable LED headlamp!
One of the best camping flashlights to choose from, this lamp has zoom capabilities and a rechargeable lithium battery. Completely waterproof and weatherproof, this headlamp comes with two extra beams on either side of the main bulb.
It produces a max of 3,500 lumens, which makes it brighter than most handheld flashlights on the market. The efficient inner wiring allows an efficient transfer of the battery power, which gives you the full extent of its battery life!
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your LED lanterns wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP10 of LED lanterns
- №1 — Coleman Micro Packer LED Mini-Lantern
- №2 — iStarty Camping LED lantern
- №3 — WeatherRite (5572) LED Lantern
- №4 — Energizer Weatheready LED Area Lantern
- №5 — Rayovac (SE3DLNACOM) Sportsman 240 Lumen 3D LED Lantern- Green
- №6 — Supernova 300 Lumen Ultra-Bright, LED Lantern
- №7 — Coleman Quad LED Lantern
- №8 — Coleman CPX 6 LED Lantern
- №9 — Ultra Bright LED Lantern
- №10 — Coleman Twin LED Lantern
by Reginald Meyer | Last Updated October 1, 2017