You need to have the right gear in your arsenal. Food, clothing, bedding, and first aid supplies are all important things, but so is lighting. Many people will just bring a couple of flashlights along.
However, batteries die, and then you are left literally in the dark. A good way to go is with a lantern that can be charged using solar energy. They are efficient, effective, very useful in a tight spot, and they usually do not even cost that much. Let’s go over some different options right now and find out what is the best solar lantern. We will also be doing a little FAQ section and a short buyer’s guide, just so you know what to look out for before you buy a solar lantern.
1 – AGPTEK Solar Lantern – Best Overall
If you need a very affordable handheld solar lantern that is lightweight and super portable, the AGPTEK Solar Lantern is a great option to look at. It’s very bright, has a fairly long-lasting battery, and can be charged in multiple ways, one of which is of course through solar power.
One of the neatest parts about this particular lantern is that it can be charged in many different ways. First of all, it features a hand crank which you just have to turn to charge it. A single crank will provide up to 20 minutes of light. You can also use a car adaptor and an AC adaptor to charge it. Moreover, you can also insert 3 x AA batteries as well. Finally, this is of course a solar lantern, which means that you can place it in direct sunlight to charge it. This is neat because it is ecofriendly and efficient too.
Do keep in mind that the AGPTEK Solar Lantern needs to be charged for around 7 hours in direct sunlight. This will provide you with about 3 hours of continuous use. It does take a while to charge with solar; it needs bright sunlight, and the battery life from solar charging is not the best. However, with that being said, this is a cheap and efficient way of charging the AGPTEK Solar Lantern, and it’s more than enough for a couple of hours at the campsite or for a bit of reading.
The AGPTEK Solar Lantern features 36 separate LED lights and 2 brightness settings. You can turn it on the normal setting for some reading, or turn it on high for group activities. Beware that the battery doesn’t last that long when it’s set on the super bright mode. One of the other really neat aspects is that the AGPTEK Solar Lantern comes with a USB charging port that can be used to charge your phone and other such small devices. It’s a cool, little, portable, and energy-efficient solar powered lantern.
What we like about the AGPTEK Solar Lantern is that it is solar powered and that it even comes with a USB port that can be used to charge phones and such. It’s also convenient that it can be powered in many other ways, just in case there is limited or no sunlight. Also, the fact that it is small, portable, and easy to transport is another big bonus as well.
One thing which we don’t like about the AGPTEK Solar Lantern all that much is the battery life in terms of solar energy.
- Charges in multiple ways
- Solar charging
- Money saving and energy efficient
- 2 brightness modes
- Limited durability
2 – SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern – Best Value
This is another cool little solar powered camping lantern to consider. It is super affordable, it can transform into a neat little package for transportation, and it can be charged via USB port or by solar energy too. It even has pretty decent battery life, something which is hard to come by when it comes to this kind of lantern.
One of the best parts about the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern is that it is very small and lightweight. It is so small and lightweight that you should be able to fit it in pretty much any backpack you bring to the campsite. It’s also very easy to store. The reason for this is that it can actually collapse down into a very small little package.
When you want to use it, simply unclip and expand it, then when you want to put it away, push it together like an accordion and engage the clips. It really does not get any easier than that.
What is also quite impressive here is that the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern does have pretty decent battery life. Ok, so to be noted, this item does require strong and direct sunlight for the solar panels to actually work right and for the battery to charge. On that same note, the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern comes with 3 brightness modes. These include a normal mode, a super bright mode, and a strobe flashing mode too. The normal mode is great for single person use, while the bright mode is great if you are in groups.
One single hour of charging in bright sunlight will provide you with 15 minutes of use on the high mode and 30 minutes of use on the normal mode. If you fully charge the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern, it can last for 5 hours on the bright mode and 10 hours on the normal mode. However, beware that it will take all day in bright sunlight to fully charge.
Thankfully, it can also be charged with a micro-USB port, in which case it will have about 4 hours of runtime, although it also takes a long time to charge. It’s surprising that this lantern is as bright as it is, although also not super durable or weatherproof.
The good part about the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern is that it does actually have a pretty good battery life, which is true when charged with either solar energy or with the micro-USB cable. We also like how it is so small and portable, and how it can fold down into a small package for easy transportation. The fact that it comes with 3 light modes, and is fairly bright, are both great features.
The bad part about the SUAOKI LED Camping Lantern is that it is not very durable. It won’t handle too many bumps very well, and it certainly cannot be left out in the rain either. Also, the batteries, while the runtime is decent, it does take quite a while to charge, plus a cloudy day won’t do you any favors.
- Folds down for easy transportation
- 3 light modes and fairly bright
- Charges with solar energy or USB
- Pretty good battery life
- Takes a long time to charge
- Needs direct sunlight
- Not too durable or weatherproof
3. Falove 4PACK Vintage Waterproof Outdoor Solar Powered Twinkle Warm White LED Candle Light
Now, these are not really camping lanterns as the other ones were. These solar lanterns, a pack of 4, are best used for hanging on umbrellas, lighting up patios, driveways, and other such areas. Although lightweight and small, they are not really meant to go camping or to be moved all that much. With that said, they are inexpensive and work pretty well for what they are designed to do.
What is cool here is that you get 4 Falove Vintage Solar Lanterns in a single package, and they do not even cost that much. They are very small solar lanterns, ones that are best used for hanging on umbrellas or placing on patios; they come with little clips which can be used for hanging. Seeing as there are 4, they work well to illuminate a space such as a patio or driveway. What is also neat is that the light looks like candle light, which can add ambiance to the mix.
Now, they are not super bright, but bright enough to illuminate an area, especially seeing as you get 4 of them in a single package. What you should also know is that they cannot be charged in any other way other than solar energy. They need about 4.5 hours of strong and direct sunlight to charge, and on a full charge, the lights will last about 6.5 hours. Beware that they will not work well if there is not much sunlight, especially seeing as they cannot be charged any other way.
The Falove Vintage Solar Lanterns are heatproof, so they won’t melt, they are fairly rugged, and they are waterproof too, making them perfect for outdoor use. They also come with an auto sensor so they will automatically charge during the day and turn on when it gets dark.
The good part here is that the Falove Vintage Solar Lantern are great for illuminating patios, plus they have a long runtime on a single charge, and you get 4 of them in a single package.
The fact that they can only be charged using solar energy is a bit of a drawback, plus they are not designed for being on the go.
- Fairly durable and waterproof
- Great to illuminate patios
- Have a fairly long runtime
- Not really designed for portability
- Not all that bright
Yes, there are lots of different options out there in terms of solar lanterns. This means that you don’t want to buy the very first one you see. Here is a list of considerations to keep in mind before you buy any solar lantern.
Battery Life and Charging Time
One of the main things to look for before you make a purchase is what the battery life on the solar lantern is. Some solar lanterns will only last a few hours on a single charge, and others can last for up to 10 or 12 hours. On a side note, some solar lanterns have different brightness settings which will also affect run time. Moreover, some solar lanterns will take just 5 or 6 hours to charge, while others might take longer.
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Another thing to look for is how the solar lantern is charged. Yes, they all use solar energy for charging, but some also come with other charging methods. It is convenient if there is no sunlight for the day, if the lantern can be charged via USB or Micro USB, through a DC power outlet, and some can even run on normal batteries too.
The solar lantern in question should also be durable. Now, the fact of the matter is that none on these lanterns have super high impact resistance; LED lights and solar panels will break when dropped. However, the really important part here is that they are waterproof, especially if you plan on taking them outdoors for camping.
Having a small, lightweight, portable, and collapsible solar lantern is always important too. You don’t want something huge that is cumbersome to carry around.
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Another feature that tends to come in handy is an outgoing USB port that can be used to charge phones. If you are stuck or have an emergency, being able to charge your phone or other devices can be useful.
Solar Lantern FAQ
How long will a solar light run?
When it comes to solar lights, when charged with the sun, they can last anywhere from 5 to 15 hours depending on the sunlight they have gotten and what kind of battery they have.
When do solar lights work the best?
The best time to use solar lanterns is on sunny days during the summer. Summer days have the most sunlight, the sunlight is directly above and at its strongest too. Using solar lights in the winter probably won’t work too well.
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Are solar lanterns waterproof?
The fact of the matter is that most solar lanterns do not appear to be waterproof. Yes, there are some that are, but many or not, so take this into consideration when making a purchase.
Do solar lights come in different brightness modes?
Yes, most solar lights and lanterns will have different brightness settings. Most will come with 2 or 3 settings which include a normal light mode, a bright mode, and an SOS mode. The SOS mode can come in handy in an emergency.
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Are solar lanterns cost effective?
Yes, they are cost effective. For one, most tend to be quite inexpensive, especially the ones we looked at above, plus solar energy is free to harness, which helps cut down on costs.