Top critical review
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Good, but Handles *WILL* break
on July 5, 2012
PROS: Bright and adjustable light intensity.
CONS: BE WARNED: Handles *WILL* come loose. What this means to you is that your lantern can drop anytime and break and/or fall on your feet!
I bought two of these lanterns and have had them for a year. I take very good care of every product I own. I clean the dust, don't toss things and don't keep them in the rain. I've used them maybe half a dozen times. After 3 camping trips (2+ nights) or so, one of the lantern's handle became loose on the sides where they attach to the top of the lantern. Shaking the lantern a little, I was able to hear a little rattle. In addition, a little tiny part came out. The manufacturer must have tiny parts holding the handle to the lantern itself. What this means to you is that the handle bar spreads out and becomes loose, ultimately disconnecting from the lantern. Consequently, your lanterna can drop and break while you're carrying it! I've had to take out the handle bar, squeeze it so that they come back closer together (kinda like squeezing a set of tongs). But you have to do this multiple times during a camping trip.
Sadly, after a dozen camping trips, the second lantern experienced the exact same problem on one side of the handle. I expect the other side to have this problem very soon. What interested me in buying this lantern was the number of lumens it was advertised as having. However, if I knew the handles would break with only after a few camping trips, I would have never bought them. Other Coleman lanterns I've bought in the past (390 lumens) have not broken yet like this. I am disappointed that although I am cautious when I carry the lantern, at any moment, someone else could be carrying my lanterns, the handles come loose and the lantern falls and breaks. I just wanted you all to be aware of this problem prior to buying the lanterns.
**** UPDATE 4/27/2013 ****
One of the lantern's LED started going out. I tested both rechargeable Ternergy D batteries and two brand-spanking new Duracell battery packs, and the light coming out from this one lantern was maybe (eyeball guessing) 10-15% of the normal brightness. The same batteries worked on my second lantern. My trusty red Coleman 8D Classic Family style lantern is still as bright as I remembered. I've had it 2 years or so longer than the Twin High Power version ones.
**** UPDATE 5/13/13 ****
I've changed the review from 3 stars to 1 stars. I've give zero if I could. Here is my review for all the lanterns I've purchased:
Listen up boys and girls. I love to camp, so I've acquired many light-emitting devices during my time. Discouraged at some of the products, I decided to purchase a light meter (DrMeter Digital Illuminance/Light Meter LX1330B, bought here on Amazon, at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005A0ETXY/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i03?ie=UTF8&psc=1). This device pretty much matched and confirmed what my eye measurement assumed. I've listed the items I've purchased below. Next to the product name is the tested lux (which is the amount of light shined on a given surface area). It doesn't matter how many lumens a product claims. All that matters is how much lux there is. The higher the lux, the brighter things appear to be. For example, if you have a super bright light source rated at 10,000 lumens, but it shines like a ball, it won't be as bright as something that is rated 1,000 lumens and shines in only one direction simply because all the light photons are pointed toward a common direction. I tested all products at the same distance between light source and the light meter. The lux numbers are pointless by themselves. But compared to different products, it gives you a good idea of what's brighter than what.
Solar Lantern Ultimate - 104 lux - I originally purchased this product from an unknown online company called World Green Products. I am glad they have their products on Amazon now. Unlike typical lanterns that shine 360 degrees, this lantern only shines about slightly less than 180 degrees. In other words, you can point the light source to a direction of your choice, without blinding you in the process. As a result, this light is much brighter than any non-propane lantern I've ever owned. Ever. It is solar powered, and uses a 3 watt solar panel (included with the lantern purchase) to charge a sealed lead acid battery, meaning you don't need to purchase batteries. It charges even when the sun is blocked behind clouds and the solar panel is inside my house, about 1 foot from the sliding door. It can take 12+ hours to charge, but this thing lasts for a minimum of 2 camping nights, depending on use. This product seems super well made. I even dropped it from a 2 feet height once and I saw no signs of damage. Did I say this thing is friggen bright? This is the brightest lantern I've ever seen. Period. It has an AC adapter to charge via a regular wall outlet too.
Coleman 8D Batteries Lantern - Red - Model 5329 - 57 lux - This product was purchased from Walmart and takes about 2 mins for the light intensity to increase. It is the second brightest lantern I own. I've had this thing for 7-8 years, and it still works like a champ. I use Tenergy D rechargeable batteries. This product seems very well made. The only thing is I need to charge these batteries, 8 at a time (using two chargers that do 4 batteries each). And the rechargeable batteries are not cheap.
Solar Lantern Perfect - 21 lux - Solar powered, from World Green Products, with the same 3 watt solar panel as the Solar Lantern Ultimate and also using a seal lead acid battery. It has an AC adapter to charge via a regular wall outlet too. This product seems very well made.
Camp Chef Summit Solar Lantern - 13.1 lux - This item was purchased from Amazon, located at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008M9SHLU/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. It is basically the same as the Solar Powered Camping Lantern. Best brightness. 10" of Height, located at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CSKJV2/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1. However, it has a built in USB port, and is slightly brighter. However, it doesn't last as long. Doing some research, it looks like the manufacturer built a 2W and 4W LED model. The 4W is brighter, but doesn't last as long. For the life of me, there are no markings for me to tell what's what. Your guess is as good as mine.
Coleman Twin High Power LED Lantern - 11.3 lux - I originally purchased two of these lanterns (not from Amazon, but from a different source about 2 years ago... Amazon has them at http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Twin-High-Power-Lantern/dp/B001O3F5Y8/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1368506577&sr=1-1&keywords=coleman+twin+high+power). I'm disappointed to say I lured by the promise of 580 whopping lumens, which Coleman at the time claimed was the brightest in the world. WOW!!! Right? NOT!!! These lanterns have been the worst ones I've owned. EVER. The handles broke, on both of them. I took VERY GOOD care of my stuff. The light on one started dimming and eventually I tossed it out. Even before the LEDs started to die out, the light output was slightly less (measured by my eyeballs, without equipment) than the Coleman 8D Batteries Lantern - Red - Model 5329. Recent tests confirm it to be much less. I'm sure it has to do with the LEDs dying out too. But even then, this item is NOT WORTH my time or money. I have the high powered version of this lantern. 580 lumens? The claim of lumens is worthless.
Solar Powered Camping Lantern. Best brightness. 10" of Height. - 11.1 lux - This item is basically the same manufacturer as the Camp Chef Summit Solar Lantern. However, it has an included little cord to convert from DC(?) to USB. Kinda annoying to keep with the lantern in my opinion. Item is located at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CSKJV2/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I gave it 3 stars because I docked off one star for lack of brightness as compared to other products around the same price you can purchase, and a second star for a goofy cord you need to plug into the lantern to use USB. The USB port should have been built in.
So I've taken a picture of all my lanterns that are worth testing, which I've uploaded to Amazon. The lux meter I'm using to test my light products is in the background. The solar panel that comes with the World Green Products is the one in the background. Unfortunately it is a separate piece so I'm keeping everything in the box they came in.
**** UPDATE *** 3/9/2015
I now have 3 of the Solar Lantern Ultimates (which now Green World Products sells on Amazon as this item in the link below). I have dropped two of them from a height of 4-5 feet and they are still perfectly functional without any problems whatsoever.