Inflatable solar lanterns have many advantages over the traditional type. They are lightweight, easily packable, waterproof, and floatable. They can be used in many activities and settings such as camping, emergency lighting, SOS signaling, outdoor dining, and swimming pools. The selection of inflatable lanterns run the gamut from the very affordable to the rather expensive. Here are the most useful inflatable solar lanterns that are likely to fit most people’s needs.
MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Solar Light
Best Cheap Inflatable Solar Lantern
Mpowerd is known for its popular Luci solar lanterns and is a good budget choice for keeping several around the house and in vehicles. The Luci Outdoor 2.0 is one of the most affordable solar lanterns and provides 75 lumens of cool white light with 10 LEDs. The lantern has a fixed top strap and an openable and adjustable base strap. It weighs 4.4 ounces with a 5 inch diameter and 4.25 inch height that collapses down to 1 inch for easy storage. The lantern has four modes (low, medium, high, flashing) and lasts up to 24 hours. The 1,000 mAh battery takes seven hours to recharge in the sun. The Luci Outdoor 2.0 is recommended for those who don’t need the option of charging by USB or the ability to charge other devices. Several lanterns should be used if more than one person requires light.
Mpowerd also a variety of lanterns and lights for home use at the Mpowerd Store on Amazon.
MPOWERD Luci Pro Inflatable Solar Light and Charger
Best Value Inflatable Solar Lantern
Compared to the Outdoor 2.0 model, the Luci Pro offers twice the power and battery size at 150 lumens and 2,000 mAh and is slightly taller (at 5 inches) and thicker (1.5 inches) when collapsed. The Luci Pro can also be used as a USB charger for other devices. With its larger battery, the Luci Pro gets up to 50 hours of battery life and recharges in 14 hours through the solar panels or by USB cable in 2-3 hours. There are two versions of the Luci Pro, one with cool white LED lights and one with warm white LED lights for a softer home-like style of lighting.
LuminAID PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger
Best Bright Inflatable Solar Lantern
LuminAID is another one of the top inflatable light companies and has an interesting backstory. It was founded by two graduate students, launched its first product as a crowdfunded project on IndieGogo, and appeared on the Shark Tank television show, where it closed an investment deal with Mark Cuban. The company has also done a lot of charitable work by helping to donate lanterns to people in need.
The PackLite Hero 2-in-1 Supercharger is LuminAID’s flagship product and the best overall inflatable solar lantern. It is a lot brighter than the typical inflatable light with up to 300 lumens. It can also act as a USB power bank with its 4,000 mAh battery, which is enough for a 100% charge on most phones. The lantern has five modes (SOS, low, medium, high, turbo) and can last up to 100 hours in low mode. In addition to solar charging which requires 20-30 hours for a full charge, the lantern can be charged by USB in 4 hours. The lantern also has a Velcro strap/handle, which makes it more adjustable than the usual snap-type handles.
The PackLite Hero is recommended for those who want the brightest light possible, such as those who may want to use the lantern for reading. The more affordable PackLite Max version Amazon link) has half the power and battery size (and a snap handle instead of Velcro).
The PackLite Hero is quite pricey for an inflatable lantern, but LuminAID also has other more affordable and basic lanterns available at the LuminAID Store on Amazon.
Ztarx Solar Lantern + Waterproof Bag
A Versatile Inflatable Solar Lanern
The Ztarx Inflatable Solar Lantern serves as a 3-in-1 device with a lantern, phone charger, and waterproof bag. The lantern is chargeable by solar or micro USB cable. The 3-liter frosted bag can hold personal items likes phones and compact cameras. The top snap handle can be used to hang the lantern or folded around the other side to secure it to objects while charging. There is also a clear handle on the bottom side. The lantern has 10 LED lights providing up to 90 lumens, and there are four LED modes: sleep, bright, super bright, and SOS. The 1,000 mAh battery life is 4-10 hours depending on usage, with 100 hours for sleep mode and 8 hours for SOS mode. While the Ztarx lantern doesn’t provide a large amount of light, its low price and versatility make it an attractive option.