Last updated: August 10, 2021

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The beginnings of lantern lighting go back a long way. At that time, lanterns were still illuminated with gas, paraffin or a simple candle. In recent years, however, LED lanterns have become increasingly important and today it is impossible to imagine the market without them. Especially in terms of brightness and additional features, they dominate their forerunners and offer a number of other advantages.

With our LED lantern test 2021, we would like to introduce you to these advantages, among others, and help you find the ideal lantern with LED lighting. We have looked at different types and modes of operation of LED lanterns and compared them with each other in the following.

The Best LED Lantern: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for LED lanterns

If you have never dealt with LED lanterns in detail, the abundance of features listed by some manufacturers may seem overwhelming at first. To give you a small overview of which purchase and evaluation criteria you should pay particular attention to, we have listed them below.

In summary, LED lanterns can be compared with the following criteria:

Power supply

LED lanterns can be powered in different ways. Depending on the use you have for your LED lantern, certain types of power supply can bring advantages. For the power supply there are the following possibilities:

  • Battery-powered: With battery-powered lanterns, the batteries must logically simply be replaced. Always check which batteries are needed, as this can vary from model to model. Buying batteries once may be cheap, but buying new ones all the time could be more expensive in the long run. If you are looking to be more environmentally conscious, battery-powered lanterns may not be the best solution.
  • Rechargeablebatteries: Battery-powered LED lanterns are charged using a USB charging cable. All you need is a power outlet. If no power source is available nearby, there are always alternatives to charge the lantern using other devices such as a power bank, your own PC or a connection in your car.
  • Solar-powered: This method is known to generate energy through solar radiation, which is then converted into heat. This energy supply is definitely more environmentally friendly than using batteries or accumulators. Note, however, that solar cells are dependent on daylight and charging the solar-powered LED lantern could be difficult if the weather does not cooperate and, for example, it is only cloudy for days.

Light duration

To avoid annoying and frequent recharging or changing the batteries of the LED lantern, you should also be sure about the lantern's burn time. Especially on camping trips, you depend on a longer light duration.

Depending on the type of battery or rechargeable battery, the light duration of the LED lantern differs.

If the light duration plays a more important role in your purchase decision, you should ideally opt for lanterns with a rechargeable battery.

They are not only more environmentally friendly, but also last longer than batteries.

With solar power, the lighting time can vary from model to model, but this is usually specified in the features and is usually 6-8 hours (depending on the weather).

Brightness/light modes

Depending on the use, the brightness and the possible light modes of the LED lantern can play a role in the purchase decision.

The brightness ultimately determines how brightly the lantern can shine. The light modes additionally determine which different brightnesses and effects the lantern can assume. These are mainly the change between cold and warm white light, but also the dimmability of the lantern or other colour-changing effects.

For the use of a lantern in the garden, high brightness does not necessarily play a major role, as warmer colours are usually preferred there. Accordingly, most garden lanterns are also available in warm white light.

The alternation between cold and warm white light is less common in garden lanterns, but they often have other extras such as flame effects that revive the old-fashioned effect of a candle.

In contrast to garden lanterns, camping lanterns sometimes have the function of being able to switch between different light modes. You can usually switch between warm and cool white. In addition, functions such as flashing lights or a dimmable lantern are also available and sometimes also the ability to switch between different light colours.


The weight of garden lanterns does not play an important role, as they are usually hung up or placed on the ground. With LED lanterns for camping, however, this factor is very important because the lanterns have to be carried over a distance. Too heavy a weight in this case could make the trip more strenuous than it needs to be.

So before buying, don't forget to take a look at the weight in the features.


If it rains or snows, the LED lantern should also be well protected against it to avoid damage later on.

When it comes to protection against water, always take a look at the second digit of the IP value.

A so-called "IP" value (=Ingress Protection) tells you to what extent the LED lamp is waterproof. This IP value usually consists of two digits, while the first digit provides information about the protection against foreign bodies and the second digit about the protection against water.

Often you will find an "X" instead of the first digit, as the first digit does not provide any information about the waterproofness.

The scale ranges from 0-9, with 0 indicating no protection at all and 9 indicating maximum protection against water.

Whether an LED lantern is waterproof can usually be seen in the description. However, the search for waterproof lanterns will not be too difficult, as most LED lanterns today provide good protection against water, some more and some less.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a LED lantern

Before buying a LED lantern, you will certainly have some questions. We have summarised and answered the most important questions here.

What is special about LED lanterns and what are their advantages?

While lanterns used to be operated with gas or paraffin or were equipped with a simple candle, LED lanterns, as the name suggests, are operated with LED lights. LED lamps are generally very popular on today's market and have established themselves on the market in recent years, mainly due to their energy efficiency.

Generally, LED lamps are only sold in energy efficiency class "A" (A/A+/A++), so you can always be sure that your LED lantern is really energy efficient.

So you don't have to worry about cold weather. The regulation of different light colours is also a great advantage of LED lamps and cannot be realised with conventional lanterns.

In general, they have a very long service life and electricity costs can be saved enormously.

If you want to use the LED lantern for a camping or hiking trip and are not a fan of insects, there is good news: Insects are less attracted to LEDs than to conventional lamps.

Another positive factor that is becoming more and more important, especially nowadays, is that LED lamps are very environmentally friendly. Please note, however, that LED lamps should never be simply thrown into the rubbish, but should be disposed of at waste collection points.

How are LED lanterns operated?

As already described in the evaluation criteria, LED lanterns can be operated in different ways. They can be powered by batteries, rechargeable batteries or solar energy.

While batteries have to be bought and changed from time to time, rechargeable LED lanterns can be easily recharged with the help of a USB charging port.

All you need is a USB cable, which is included in most cases, and of course a power source. If you are going camping or hiking, it is best to always carry a charged power bank with you.

Solar-powered lanterns are charged by the sun's rays and usually have an "automatic charging" function, where integrated photocell sensors detect the light and ensure that the lantern is switched on in the evening and off in the morning.

Ultimately, it depends on your use which type of power supply you choose.

Especially if you have several lanterns in your garden, you can avoid the hassle of switching the lantern on and off.

What types of LED lanterns are there?

When it comes to LED lanterns, you can easily distinguish between garden lanterns and camping lanterns. Both have different advantages because they are made for different needs.

We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each type below.

LED garden lanterns

The LED garden lanterns are exclusively suitable for garden, balcony or veranda use and are often simply used as decorative objects. Be it lanterns hanging on the veranda or a tree, standing on the ground and illuminating the way to the front door or even normal stand lanterns, they definitely add a beautiful and warm flair to the garden.

In this category, there is a large selection of different shapes and patterns, but also some effects. The most popular is the flame effect, which makes the lantern appear as if there is a candle in it.

LED Laterne-1

LED lanterns can be perfectly integrated into the garden. They come in many different patterns that add an extra touch.
(Image source: Anthony Cantin / Unsplash)

LED garden lanterns are relatively inexpensive to buy. However, if you need more than one for the garden, the purchase can be a bit more expensive.

Especially in the field of garden lanterns, there is a wide range of LED lanterns powered by solar cells. This can be very practical, as it saves on battery costs and also electricity costs, as you do not have to charge the lantern from a power source.

However, please note that garden lanterns are usually not very bright and are therefore only suitable for garden use and not necessarily a substitute for camping lanterns.
If you want your lantern to be suitable for both situations, there are some manufacturers who have combined both types and sell lanterns for both garden and camping use.

  • Cheap
  • Decorative
  • Wide variety of designs
  • Wide range of solar-powered lanterns
  • Decorative purpose only and mostly unsuitable for other purposes such as camping
  • Few offers of lanterns with different light modes

LED camping lantern

As the name suggests, LED camping lanterns fulfil a practical use for a camping or hiking trip. The optics play a subordinate role and should basically fulfil a practical use, such as a high brightness level.

The purchase of camping lanterns can actually be inexpensive. Since only one lantern is needed per person on a camping trip, you will most likely only be stuck with the cost of a single lantern.

LED Laterne-2

LED camping lanterns illuminate the dark paths on your camping trip and at the same time provide a cosy ambience in the tent
(Image source: Tommy Lisbin / Unsplash)

In most cases, an LED camping lantern does not necessarily score points visually, but it can still be used in the garden if you do not attach too much importance to its appearance and only want it to serve the purpose of illuminating the garden a little. While the garden lantern only has a limited use, the camping lantern can also be used in other areas.

  • High brightness
  • Can also be used for other purposes
  • Mostly possible to switch between light modes
  • Visually not very appealing, Smaller selection of lanterns with solar cells

What do I need an LED lantern for?

An LED lantern can be used in many areas: in the garden or on the balcony, camping, hiking or even simple night-time walks.

If you are going camping and use gas anyway, you can of course also operate a lantern with gas.

However, if this is not the case, the LED lantern will benefit you especially with its high brightness.

If you would like to buy a lantern for your garden, it is advisable to depart from the conventional methods such as candles, oil or gas and really buy an LED lantern.

How much does an LED lantern cost?

LED lanterns for garden use can actually be purchased for as little as about 2 euros. Of course, with prices like that, the quality can leave a lot to be desired. If you are looking for quality, the lantern should cost at least 10-15 euros.

You can also buy LED camping lanterns for as little as 4 euros, but you shouldn't expect too much because they are usually small. Especially with camping lanterns, you should pay attention to good quality and invest at least 20 euros.

Type price range
LED garden lantern approx. 2-500€
LED camping lantern approx. 4-120€

What extras are there with LED lanterns?

The manufacturers of LED lanterns like to add some extras to the product.
We have listed some examples of the extra functions offered by LED lanterns:

Function Features
Remote control The brightness and the light modes (if available) can be regulated with the help of a remote control. An off and on button is also available. Especially practical when the lantern is attached.
Flame effect Visually gives the appearance of a candle being lit in the lantern. Suitable for those who like it old-fashioned and do not want to do without the candle effect.
Automatic brightness adjustment brightness of the environment is detected and the lamp automatically adjusts its own brightness. (Compare: smartphone)
Timer Integrated timer ensures that the lamp switches itself off after a certain time. This saves energy.

What alternatives are there to lanterns with LED lights?

  • Gas lanterns: Gas lanterns are operated with a replaceable cartridge and the brightness can be regulated with an integrated regulator. Gas lanterns also have the advantage that they provide heat. So you have two important functions combined in one object.
  • Candle lantern: You can also put a candle in a garden lantern the old-fashioned way and thus conjure up a cosy warmth in the garden. The disadvantage, however, is that you have to keep cleaning the lantern and keep replacing the candle.
  • Petroleum lantern: This type of lantern consists of a tank that is filled with petroleum or lamp oil, a glass bulb and a wick that is lit. This way is relatively old-fashioned and is nowadays on the one hand less used and on the other hand less often sold. The pioneer in this market is the company "Feuerhand", which still sells these lanterns today.

Image source: nevodka/