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The Best Solar Lanterns

If you enjoy camping or being out in nature, why not use those rays to charge your lantern and leave the batteries at home? Check out these solar lanterns to start your next outdoor adventure right.

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  Top Choice Most Compact Most Decorative Best for Mounting Best Inflatable
LED Solar Camping Lantern
Collapsible LED Solar Lantern
Two-Pack Hanging Solar Lights
Solar Wall Lanterns
Solar Inflatable Lantern
Our SummaryThis solar lantern receives power from three energy sources, plenty to power up your phone with the included USB cord.This accordion-like collapsible solar lantern comes with LED light settings.This is a solar lantern that casts decorative LED-lit light patterns at night.This pair of solar wall lanterns frames a doorway or garage door, adding elegance and illumination.Light up your adventures with this versatile solar lantern that is perfect for any occasion.
Pros✓ Lantern and flashlight in one
✓ Has AC/DC power and dynamo crank
✓ 12 LED bulbs give off 200 lm
✓ 360 degrees for between four and 28 hours
✓ Rechargeable battery
✓ Very compact
✓ Collapsible
✓ Weighs less than one pound
✓ USB chargeable
✓ Three light modes
✓ Beautiful rustic style
✓ Batteries included
✓ Can last for eight hours or more when fully charged
✓ Waterproof for outdoor use
✓ Four built-in solar panels
✓ No wires needed
✓ Long-lasting light
✓ Anti-rust and waterproof
✓ Good color choices
✓ Up to 24 hours of light at a fully charge
✓ Recharge by solar or USB
✓ Lightweight
✓ Inflatable
✓ Portable
✓ Perfect for travel
Cons✗ May fail to charge electronic devices when fully charged✗ Not waterproof
✗ Dimmer light
✗ Not a good primary light source✗ Limited placement✗ Breaks easily
✗ May deflate on its own
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How Did We Research?

18 Models Evaluated

9 Hours Researched

44 Reviews Analyzed

The Best Solar Lanterns

Solar-powered camp lamp on the rocks next to a blue sea.
Suleyman Delil Karakurt/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Solar Lanterns

Horizontal photo of solar lamp on patio post with green trees in the background.

Why buy a solar lantern?

Solar lanterns save money over time. If you’re an avid hiker, camper, or general outdoor enthusiast, you’ll discover how much you spent on batteries. The same holds for decorative outdoor home solar lanterns. If you exchange the decorative lights with solar lanterns, you may see a considerable savings difference, as they’re lit constantly for longer. Consider a solar lantern for its lighter environmental and safer impact than electric lanterns.

What should you look for in a solar lantern?

  • Design: Not all solar lanterns are created equally. If you’re looking for a solar lantern to take on the trail, boat, or RV, you’ll want a compact, lightweight, and weatherproof design. But suppose you’re interested in a solar lantern to set outside your home. In that case, you’ll want to look for other features such as mounting type, noncorrosive material, look, and run-time. These home exterior solar lanterns should add a lovely accent and illuminate pathways or entranceways for as late into the night as you need them to.
  • Energy: Many portable solar lanterns turn solar energy into light and power to recharge electronic devices like cell phones and tablets. Ideally, these lanterns have large-capacity, built-in, rechargeable batteries to serve both purposes for as long as possible. Some camping-oriented models draw on other power sources, including solar, to ensure you have light if stormy weather occurs. You’ll also find dual energy-source designs in decorative, outdoor home solar lanterns. Typically, these lantern constructions make the most of any surface space with several mini solar panels plus a rechargeable battery so that no wiring is needed.
  • Waterproof: Your solar lantern will get wet unless you live in an arid environment. Some product descriptions use terms like weatherproof, splashproof, or waterproof to showcase how well they’ll hold up during the year. The level of actual proofing may be challenging to pin down. IPX4 waterproof rating, for example, indicates that the lantern has undergone a five-minute continuous spray test without harm and is splashproof. Solar panels, generally speaking, are completely waterproof or IPX8. The issue is that when looking for solar lanterns, you must check the waterproof rating for the whole product, not just the panel.

What should you know about LEDs and lumens?

How do you know how bright an LED bulb will be? You must look for the lumens (lm) and the amount of visible light. The higher the lumen rating, the brighter the light. It does take a little rewiring of our understanding of the relationship between Watts and light output. LED lights use less energy to produce light than conventional bulbs, about 87% less. Solar-powered LED lanterns can use unused power, like charging your phone. So, while shopping for a solar lantern, look for the LED lumen rating. If you want the brightness of an incandescent, 60-watt bulb, shoot for about 900 lm.

Our Picks for the Best Solar Lanterns

Top Choice

Mesqool LED Solar Camping Lantern

This solar lantern receives power from three energy sources, plenty to power up your phone with the included USB cord.

Pros: This impressive multifunctional solar camping lantern functions as a powerful flashlight, a winning combination when you’re off the grid. Charge the device with the following power sources: solar, AC/DC power, and dynamo crank (generator). The lantern has 12 LED bulbs that emit 200 lm of light, 360 degrees, for between four and 28 hours, depending on your chosen setting. The rechargeable battery-powered 3-watt 350-lm flashlight will cover you for 38 hours if you run out of solar energy. If your mobile phone dies, you can power it up by connecting it to the lantern with the USB cord. The solar lantern is also collapsible, lightweight, and compact.

Cons: There may be quality control issues. Some reported that the product did not charge their phones, did not turn on, or only worked when constantly cranked.  Additionally, it is noted that the product description on Amazon and the demo video may be misleading as they state that a 5V adapter charger is included when it is not. Even when fully charged, the lantern may fail to charge electronic devices.

Bottom Line: This solar lantern offers so much and comes at a low price. It’s worth consideration for its dual functionality and three charging options. Also, it comes in three colors—black, green, and yellow.


Most Compact

KIZEN Collapsible LED Solar Lantern

This accordion-like collapsible solar lantern comes with LED light settings.

Pros: This little guy has your back during emergencies and power outages with its built-in rechargeable 1200mAh lithium battery. This compact solar lantern-flashlight hybrid collapses from a full 3.5 inches to a tiny 1.7 inches and weighs only 9.6 ounces. You may want to pack it in your pocket to avoid losing it in your camping bag. Power it via solar energy within seven hours or USB within two. Choose one of three light modes—high, low, and SOS. On low, the lantern will shine for up to 10 hours. You can also use the handle to hang the lantern while camping or carry it as you walk along a wooded path.

Cons: The accordion feature of this lantern is flimsy, which will likely impact its long-term durability. The light the lantern provides is not the brightest, so it’s unreliable as a primary light source. Its solar-charging capabilities aren’t the best since it takes so long to charge fully.

Bottom Line: This compact, lightweight solar lantern is easy to pack and carry on camping trips. Not only can you charge the lantern via USB, but you can use the lantern to charge devices. It’s an excellent option if you need a small camping lantern or emergency backup light in inclement weather.


Most Decorative

MAGGIFT Two-Pack Hanging Solar Lights

This is a solar lantern that casts decorative LED-lit light patterns at night.

Pros: If you’re looking for a subtle and soft lighting option for your yard or porch, these solar lanterns may be great. Made of iron with an antique bronze finish, they feature warm LED lights that add a pleasant, firelight-like glow to any outdoor space. Since they’re powered by solar energy, they automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. As is fitting for outdoor lights, they’re waterproof to protect against the elements, though they’re also suitable for indoor decoration. You get two lanterns with your purchase, including a rechargeable battery that can last up to eight hours or more with enough sunlight. A white version of these lanterns is also available if you want a lighter color.

Cons: Even with their waterproof tendencies, these lanterns aren’t especially durable. It’s also important to note that they don’t provide very bright lighting but create a warm atmosphere; they’re more for decoration rather than practical lighting purposes.

Bottom Line: Overall, if you’re looking for a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing addition to your backyard or patio, these lanterns could be a good option. These solar lanterns are a great addition to any outdoor space, with their antique bronze finish and subtle warm white LED light.


Best for Mounting

PASAMIC Solar Wall Lanterns

This pair of solar wall lanterns frame a doorway or garage door, adding elegance and illumination.

Pros: These antique-looking solar wall lanterns feature tempered glass and bright LED Edison filament bulbs. The 5.5 x 5.5 x 9-inch pyramid-shaped lantern tops have four built-in solar panels for each side. With two solar lanterns, that’s eight solar panels. Use them as wall sconces, installing one on either side of a garage door or porch. All you need to install the lanterns are screws; no wires are necessary. In ideal conditions, the lanterns charge to full between six to eight hours and shine for eight to twelve hours. These solar lanterns are made to keep their appearance and performance with protective anti-rust and waterproof surface treatments and come with rechargeable batteries.

Cons: With only one mounting option, these lanterns limit where and how you place them. You’ll also need to place them only in areas with direct sunlight exposure, or they won’t be particularly bright or long-lasting. The batteries also need to be changed frequently.

Bottom Line: Illuminate your home or garden in a more permanent fashion with these antique-looking solar wall lanterns, featuring bright LED Edison filament bulbs and four built-in solar panels on each side. With so many color options, there’s a shade to match just about every decor style.


Best Inflatable

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern

Light up your adventures with this versatile solar lantern that is perfect for any occasion.

Pros: This solar-powered lantern is a versatile and durable lighting solution for indoor and outdoor needs. With multiple brightness settings and long battery life, it’s perfect for camping, hiking, emergency preparedness, and other similar scenarios. Its lightweight, inflatable, and waterproof design makes it safe for children and easy to use. Plus, it can be recharged by solar power or USB, so you can always have light when needed, even on overcast days.

Cons: This isn’t the most reliable solar lantern on the market, as it doesn’t always hold air well. You may also experience charging issues.

Bottom Line: Overall, this inflatable solar-powered lantern is a convenient and practical tool for camping, emergency preparedness, or even everyday use. Its lighter weight, collapsibility, and waterproof body make it easy to pack, carry, store, and use in different situations.

Final Thoughts

Take a solar lantern on your next outdoor excursion, or start a neighborhood trend with eco-friendly, stylish patio solar lantern lights. With incredible versatile features, you can power up your devices and provide light on the go with your solar lantern.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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