Author Topic: What is the best lantern - my research included  (Read 6930 times)

Offline derajer

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
  • Karma: 8
What is the best lantern - my research included
« on: August 23, 2016, 09:10:56 AM »
I have spent a lot of time, probably too much time, thinking about the best possible emergency lighting solution. I did some searching on the forums and it's surprising quiet on the subject.

I put together this spreadsheet to consider the "facts" of lighting.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UXKJh0lsrAF9yEQhgoNIXaZ__-aCuBV4KN0LAcSKsPU/pubhtml

I was hoping to come up with something very cut and dry, but there isn't enough data about some of the lanterns. Also, the amount of light you want makes a big difference.

Aladdin lamps are cool, but I think they're one of the worst options. They're fragile, complicated, and expensive to buy and run.

Battery lanterns seems like the best option to me, with virtually no risks (other than maybe an EMP), the best durability, the smallest fuel storage footprint, and huge run times at low output.

Dual fuel (gasoline) lamps are better than I thought they'd be.

Kerosene lamps are cheap all around and the fuel doesn't take up too much space, but their light output isn't great.

Propane lamps are a great option if you want really high light output and don't care about the noise.


Offline derajer

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
  • Karma: 8
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 09:12:28 AM »
Also, if anyone has any lanterns they think should really be included, I'd be happy to add them to the sheet, assuming data is available on them.

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 10:13:42 AM »
The low cost of LED lights are a game changer. 

No more fire risk, light weight, reliable...

Their is some risk of RF noise with LED lights, but unless you're into amateur radio you likely won't notice or care.


Offline xxdabroxx

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 598
  • Karma: 28
  • Dave's not here.
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 10:54:12 AM »
I've always been a fan of coleman propane lanterns for camping.  They can be a little loud on high, but I don't find it to be a nuisance, I usually run them lower so they aren't blinding and they are pretty quiet when turned down.  A propane tank lasts quite a while so long as they aren't on high too, usually get a couple camping trips out of one bottle.  They are also handy for warming up a tent on a cold night before hitting the sleeping bag too, just have to be careful. 

I've always wanted a kerosene lantern, my grandma and my mom were really into the crystal looking oil lamps in the 90's and I have fond memories of them.  I still want to pick a couple up, I could see myself using them from time to time instead of electric lights around the house. 

I've never been a big fan of battery lanterns, they don't have the benefit of producing heat which could be a benefit in the summer I suppose.  They take batteries which can be expensive and can leak if you leave them in the unit for extended periods.  Some things will die even without use if you leave batteries in them too. 

You can also use the propane tanks for many uses, torch, stove, bbq, etc. so I find having them around generally useful. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

  • Survival Veteran
  • ********
  • Posts: 7172
  • Karma: 334
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 11:08:11 AM »
I have a $6 kerosene lantern from walmart.  I bought it after coming into possession of several gallons of kerosene.  It works fine, but it's a bit sloppy to refuel compared to alternative lamp styles.

I do a lot of camping with kids, specifically boy scouts who have to pack their own gear.  LED lights remove a ton of risk.  No spilled fuel in pack, no glass, etc.  There's already enough hassle mustering dozens of middle school age boys :)

As far as batteries, I have a decent sized household investment into rechargeable cells, chargers, battery banks and a couple ways to charge off grid.  Under normal circumstances, I can get AA batteries in a lot more retail locations compared to propane or other camping fuel.  I still store a good supply of propane though.

For personal car camping, I use a propane lantern as it's much better at illuminating a larger space.  Typically I set at a picnic table at the center of the campsite.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 716
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 12:13:10 PM »
It is my opinion that FIRE is for cooking and is best avoided for lighting. I use EVERREADY 4 "D" cell and 4 or 8 "AA" powered lanterns with easy to recharge or replace cells and get well over 100 hours from the "D" cell light and TWO to 50 Hours from the BRIGHTER "AA" powered lamp and the dimmable light works fine at a usable light level for 50 hours or so with 6  of the "AA" ENELOOP rechargeable cells in it.

Original post is here: http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=37805.msg614303#msg614303

and I must add that ENELOOP "AA" cells are a real BUDGET DECISION as I have used some for almost 7 years and they still perform (even in remote controls and wall clocks)
They have NEVER LEAKED for me and hold their charge for YEARS when not being used ,but are capable of powering high power lights and radios as well or better than alkaline
cells and at a price where I figure thw fourth recharge is FREE compared to disposable cells.

Offline derajer

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
  • Karma: 8
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2016, 01:01:39 PM »
I've always been a fan of coleman propane lanterns for camping.  They can be a little loud on high, but I don't find it to be a nuisance, I usually run them lower so they aren't blinding and they are pretty quiet when turned down.  A propane tank lasts quite a while so long as they aren't on high too, usually get a couple camping trips out of one bottle.  They are also handy for warming up a tent on a cold night before hitting the sleeping bag too, just have to be careful. 

I've always wanted a kerosene lantern, my grandma and my mom were really into the crystal looking oil lamps in the 90's and I have fond memories of them.  I still want to pick a couple up, I could see myself using them from time to time instead of electric lights around the house. 

I've never been a big fan of battery lanterns, they don't have the benefit of producing heat which could be a benefit in the summer I suppose.  They take batteries which can be expensive and can leak if you leave them in the unit for extended periods.  Some things will die even without use if you leave batteries in them too. 

You can also use the propane tanks for many uses, torch, stove, bbq, etc. so I find having them around generally useful.

If you look at the spreadsheet I built, you'll see that batteries are actually one of the cheapest options to operate.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 716
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 01:21:57 PM »
And even less costly when rechargeable batteries are used. :)

Offline gundog10

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2016, 07:57:19 AM »
I have been testing my Ryoby lantern over the past few days.With the 2ah (small battery) my lantern lasted 50 hours of continual use.  The 4ah (large battery) is still going strong.  The small battery recharges in one hour and the large battery recharges in two hours.  The batteries are not new as we have used them in or fans for the past 4 years and the are still going strong.  The use on led bulb.   

Offline Beetle

  • Proud Grandpa
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2001
  • Karma: 83
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2016, 07:01:23 PM »
I like the Coleman gas lanterns.

Offline Captain Obvious

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: 5
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2016, 10:42:46 PM »
I am not able to answer this initial question (what is the BEST lantern), but here are my opinions.

I have an aladdin lamp and I love it.  It can get VERY bright.  That is my main source of light should the power go out.  I like the idea of led lanterns and will probably get one soon (not sure which make/model).

One thing I can contribute to this thread is an idea I've gotten from Jack's show:  Function Stacking. 
I have a handful of DeWalt Tools and also four 18v batteries.  DeWalt makes this floodlight that uses their 18v batteries: https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW919-18-Volt-Flexible-Floodlight/dp/B0000222ZP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476679012&sr=8-1&keywords=dw919
It just makes sense to get something like this since I always have 4 fully charged 18v batteries.  If for some reason the batteries went dead I could connect the battery and charger to the inverter in my car then we are back in business.



Offline Marinesg1012

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
  • Karma: 15
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2016, 01:06:15 AM »
I have and use this one, a small tea candle powers it and there is enough light for eating around a table or reading or anything else you would need to do with the power out. I have three and have used them all for the last few years when the power goes out.
http://www.leevalley.com/us/garden/page.aspx?p=68887&cat=2%2C40731&ap=1

Offline Greekman

  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 4050
  • Karma: 207
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2016, 02:03:40 PM »
I have a handful of DeWalt Tools and also four 18v batteries.  DeWalt makes this floodlight that uses their 18v batteries: https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW919-18-Volt-Flexible-Floodlight/dp/B0000222ZP/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476679012&sr=8-1&keywords=dw919
It just makes sense to get something like this since I always have 4 fully charged 18v batteries.  If for some reason the batteries went dead I could connect the battery and charger to the inverter in my car then we are back in business.

exactly....at taht price it would be foolish not to buy it. let alone it is useful in the work shop and car.

Offline Carl

  • Mr HamTastic!
  • Forum Veteran
  • *********
  • Posts: 13105
  • Karma: 716
  • COW?...No ,I haven't seen your cow.
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 03:17:41 PM »
I have a Streamlight 44931 The Siege Lantern after suggested at TSP,using 3 TENERGY LSD "D" cells . 
The three "D" Streamlight I just got ,'cause Jack said so and it is built like a tank and I put about $20 worth
 of Tenergy 8 Amp "D" cell LSD crlls in it to always be good to go.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DII7CTI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1


and some Energizer Weather Ready Folding Area Lanterns,using 4 TENERGY "D" cell low self discharge cells
as the last a really long time and charge up in just a few hours when used on my Radio Shack  charger
that plugs in to my solar power setup that runs my Ham radios.

https://www.amazon.com/Energizer-Weather-Ready-Folding-Lantern/dp/B001D937SY/ref=sr_1_37?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1477170058&sr=1-37&keywords=led+lantern


and some Energizer LED 2 in 1 Handheld Flashlight and Area Light with Light Fusion Technology using EIGHT AA ENELOOP cells
that last about 5 hours on HIGH and over 50 hours on bright enough and the same Radio Shack charger can charge them ,
eight at once,in 5 hours,when used attached to my solar power system.

https://www.amazon.com/Energizer-Folding-Lantern-Fusion-Technology/dp/B00B0EZWCG/ref=pd_sim_468_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JF5QMKATEWAB086QNZSM

The 8 AA is the brightest ,though the 3 "D" SIEGE is tougher built and almost as bright,followed by the 4 "D: that just runs and runs
at a bright enough to read and cook near in the dark level.

Offline machinisttx

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 847
  • Karma: 48
  • yay
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 11:43:08 AM »
The best? The one you have that works when you need it to.  :)

I have liquid fuel(gas), propane, and battery operated lanterns. Any of them can fail. Propane has the advantage of the ability to connect to a large fuel source for longer run times. The little 1lb cans don't last all that long. I suppose you could also connect a larger capacity power source to the battery versions, but that isn't as easy or convenient.

I wouldn't consider kerosene lamps simply due to fuel cost.

Offline Hurricane

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 596
  • Karma: 18
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 12:56:01 PM »
No recent hands-on experience, but as I recall the old coleman liquid fuel types, the mantles were fragile.
Still have one around somewhere.

Presently I prefer LED. Keeping the fluorescents I have, tho.

Offline r_w

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1270
  • Karma: 35
  • On my way
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2016, 06:10:48 PM »
The best is the one that works when you need it and you have enough fuel/batteries to keep using it as long as you need it.

Mantels are fragile on any pressurized lantern.  Always have spares. And seals! Pressurized lamps really need regular use or maintenance to be safe. Not really for novice users.  But put out enormous amount of light.

Wick lanterns are stupid simple.  I love them, since I don't have young children or big dogs or carpet in the house.  They are not fuel efficient or bright, but make a great lights for the the bathroom or hall, up on a shelf out of the way. Also very handy as supplemental heat for people whose power goes out in the winter.

LED are stupid safe, don't add heat for those that lose power in the summer, and relatively cheap to buy and run.

I have used all of them for daily use at one time to milk in a off grid barn.  My favorite was the propane double mantle hooked up to a 20 lb bottle.  Nothing else gave enough light to WORK or was as simple to fuel.


Offline N8TV Whisker Biscuit

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: 0
  • New TSP Forum member
Re: What is the best lantern - my research included
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2019, 04:34:21 PM »
Goal Zero solar gear has been good to me, great products worth checking out.