It’s always a good idea have a powerful light source on hand for those times when the power unexpectedly goes out. The best lanterns for power outages produce at least 400 lumens of light, are water-resistant, and use either replaceable or rechargeable batteries.
Lumens, a measurement how much light a bulb produces, can range from 100 to over 1,000 in lanterns. Deciding the number of lumens you need depends on how you plan to use your lantern. If you want to light a whole room as bright as it would be with power, you’ll want a lantern with 1,000 lumens, but if you plan to light a smaller area for simple tasks like reading, 400 lumens is a good baseline.
Battery-powered lanterns are the best choice for indoor use because unlike many outdoor lanterns, they don’t produce fumes. Lanterns with replaceable batteries tend to be more dependable since you don’t have to charge them in advance, but lanterns with rechargeable batteries often have power banks that can be used to charge other essentials, like cellphones.
You don’t want to discover in an emergency that your lantern has water damage, which is why the best lanterns have some level of water-resistance. Lanterns with an IPX4 rating will not be damaged by water splashing in any direction, which should offer sufficient protection for indoor use. You may also want to look for additional features like multiple light modes, long run times, collapsible designs for easy storage, and battery guards that better preserve battery life.
If you’re tired of waiting out storms with just the glow of your phone, check out this list of the four best lanterns for power outages.
1. The Best Overall
- Light emitted: 1,000 lumens
- Battery type: 4 D batteries
Made by Coleman, this battery-powered lantern can produce 1,000 lumens and shine up to 16 meters, so it can light your whole living room, kitchen, or bedroom. This lantern can run for 14 hours straight on its highest setting, and even longer on the medium, low, and flashing modes in part thanks to the special Battery Guard design, which extends battery life by up to 25%. Made with an ABS plastic frame, it has an IPX4 water-resistance rating and lifetime LEDs that never need to be replaced. You can also store batteries in this lantern for years without worry, so it’s ready whenever you need it.
One fan raved: “Arrived quickly, works great. Love the fact that batteries won’t corrode inside. Has several light levels and gives enough brightness to see and read in a blackout which is why I purchased it. Easy to put in the batteries and use.”
2. The Best Budget Lantern
- Light emitted: 1,000 lumens
- Battery type: 3 D batteries
This budget-friendly lantern costs just $20, but it still produces 1,000 lumens, which is enough to cast an impressive glow over an entire room. Powered by three D batteries, it can run for 12 to 25 hours, depending on which of the four light modes you use. Like the Coleman lantern, this lantern has an IPX4 rating, so it can stand up to leaky basements and stormy weather. It has over 18,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers who love to use it for power outages, camping trips, and more. You can also remove the cap and use the bottom hook to hang it.
One fan raved: “These lamps are everything they claim to be! During a recent power outage we used them on the lowest light level for over 36 hours with out changing batteries, intermittent use on the high level. The three different light levels are very nice as is the light color on the second level. LED rocks! At the brightest level our 15' x 18' master bedroom was well lit. Hanging bracket on the bottom is very convenient and adds to the versatility. Very light weigh and handy to carry around in the otherwise dark. We have a generator, however, for lighting in rooms we don't use much when the power is off (several times each winter) these lamps are handy and much easier to use than running extension cords.... We now have six of these kept in strategic locations.”
- Available options: 2
3. The Best Lantern Set
- Light emitted: 140 lumens each
- Battery type: 3 AA (included)
This set comes with four battery-powered lanterns, so you can give one to each person in your home to keep everyone safe. Each lantern has 140 lumens, which combined will give you 560 lumens, enough light to give your living room or bedroom a comfortable glow. This set has rating of IP44, so it can withstand water splashes. While these lanterns don’t have different modes, they do have a collapsible design that allows you to adjust the amount of light it gives off. This collapsible design is one of the features Amazon reviewers love, which is part of the reason this set has over 28,000 five-star ratings.
One fan raved: “I have numerous products that use CREE LED. I see all these flashlights at high end retailers going for 60-70$ and I can't understand how people buy this stuff when CREE technology is so cheap. This thing is BRIGHT. I have one for backup lighting in power outages in the house. I liked it so much, I bought one for every close relative for an emergency backup light. The ability to collapse the lantern gradually and decrease the light intensity with it is a brilliant function. The bang for buck you get with this item is awesome. I am very pleased with this and so are the relatives I've given multiples away to.”
4. The Best Rechargeable Lantern
- Light emitted: 400 lumens
- Battery type: rechargeable lithium-ion
If you’re as worried about charging your phone and other essentials during power outages as you are about lighting, this rechargeable Coleman lantern is the pick for you. It not only provides 400 lumens of light, but it also has a power bank that you can use to charge other electronics with the included USB cord. Powered by a lithium-ion battery, this lantern has a low light mode that can run for 20 hours and a high light mode that can run for five hours. When you recharge it using the included 120-volt charger, simply wait for the green LED light to turn on, and you’ll know it’s fully charged. This lantern has an IPX4 water-resistance rating, and it comes with a three-year limited warranty.
One fan raved: “This is the 2nd Coleman CPX lantern we've purchased. We live in Jersey (the new tornado alley) and lose power quite a bit due to high winds. Having 2 of these, we know we're good to go when the power goes out. The 2 settings (high/dim) are really nice to have and we appreciate having the charger as well as USB port in them. We tried one of those cheaper hand crank lanterns and it couldn't hold an LED candle to these. We LOVE these.”