Updated May 2017
This spring we got our hands on the new Streamlight Siege and it impressed us enough to win a new award: Top Pick for Tough. We also ordered all the new versions of the old award winners. Those test results should be out in June.
Best Overall Lantern
Black Diamond Apollo
Legs feature rubber tips
Ability to dim
Dual metal hanging hooks
Cool innovative design
Easy to use & durable
Not quite as bright as we'd like
Battery life is lacking
With an innovative design and reliable performance, the Apollo
rose to the top. It's versatility instantly made it our go-to on camping trips and during power outages. Though not the lightest or brightest, it makes an excellent multipurpose option without sacrificing quality. Our favorite use was camping, but it's also ideal for larger backpacking groups or as a base camp light. Also, Black Diamond offers an eco-friendly and money saving Black Diamond NRG Rechargeable Battery Kit
and Black Diamond NRG / NRG2 Car Charger Kit
that recharges the battery similar to a cell phone charger. If you are looking for a product that excels in every category, we highly recommend the Apollo.
Read full review: Black Diamond Apollo
Best for Budget-Minded and Eco-Friendly
MPOWERD Luci Original
Needs no batteries - runs on solar
Inflatable, waterproof, & floats!
Ease of operation
The Luci Original
is the lightest product that we tested and it's solar powered. It only costs $15, and we took it camping, backpacking and just used it around the house. Several Lucis together make great backyard party decorations. It takes a full eight hours to charge but the charge lasts about 12 hours on high. This light packs down to a think disk when deflated. The Luci is also waterproof and floats.
Read full review: Luci Original
Top Pick for Backcountry Enthusiasts
Black Diamond Voyager
Light modes are adjustable
Easy to hang
Can be used as both a flashlight and a lantern
Difficult to open at times
Low distance in flashlight more
is light and extremely compact. As the little brother to the Apollo
, we found ourselves reaching for the Orbit
almost as much as the Editors' Choice winner. The Voyager also conveniently offers the Black Diamond NRG2 Rechargeable Battery Kit
sold separately. We loved the flashlight feature on this product and the fact that it is small and lightweight. Before embarking on this review, we had never backpacked with lanterns, preferring headlamps for our evening activities. Though we still bring headlamps, this review demonstrated the beauty of collecting around a central light source, particularly in areas where fires are prohibited. Of all the products we tested, the Voyager is the only one we would take into the backcountry.
Read full review: Black Diamond Voyager
Top Pick for Tough
Streamlight The Siege
Water resistant & floats
Light output isn't full adjustable
Limited amount of settings
If you want to punish your camping lights, get The Siege
. It's waterproof, floats, and just generally takes a beating. It's constructed with polycarbonate thermoplastic and has a rubberized base, bottom and top. It has three LEDs; one white and two red. The outer globe is removable so you can hang it upside down for lighting larger areas. It's also magnetic.
Read full review: Streamlight The Siege