Best Inflatable Solar Lanterns - 2018 Buyer’s Guide

  • Sep 17th 2018

Inflatable LED lanterns powered by small solar panels and rechargeable batteries have become more and more popular. This is for a good reason since the inflatable design makes the lanterns very compact and portable and the best inflatable solar lanterns will give you free light for at least 12 hours from only one day of charging in the sunlight. This design also makes them an excellent choice for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, and backpacking or to be used as an emergency light in case of a power outage. They can also be a very good option to light up your porch, pathway or driveway at night. For this use case, we would recommend using several lights instead of just one to make the illuminated area large enough.

Quick Navigation

  1. The best inflatable solar powered lanterns on the market
  2. Things to consider when buying an inflatable solar lantern
  3. Comparison table
  4. MPOWERD Luci Pro Series Lux
  5. LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern
  6. Choreau Inflatable Frosted Cube
  7. MPOWERD Luci - Inflatable Solar Light
  8. Conclusion
Because of the rise in popularity, we have seen a lot of low-quality knockoffs hit the market this year. We want to bring out the high-quality inflatable lights in this buyer’s guide and help you make the right picks with the help of some good advice about what to consider before buying.

A closely related type of rechargeable solar lanterns are the collapsible solar lights, you can read our article about them to see if this is something that would suit you better. And for the more demanding we also have an article about the most powerful but still lightweight rechargeable solar lanterns suitable for camping and similar outdoor activities that would require brighter lights.

Things to consider when buying an inflatable solar lantern

Size and weight - The more compact and lightweight the solar powered lantern is, the better. Inflatable solar lights are by design very compact but size and weight still vary between them.

Quality - this is always on our list, a product of high quality will pay for itself in the long run. Your inflatable solar light should be made of high quality materials and the LED lamps should to be of the high performing kind.

Brightness - your inflatable lantern should be as bright as possible and this is where many solar charged lights fail to deliver. Often the solar panel is too small and the LED lights not powerful enough. A lights brightness is measured in Lumen. The more Lumen the lamp got the brighter it is, we recommend at least 50 Lumen.

Capacity - how long will your solar powered inflatable light shine? This does of course depend on how long the solar lantern has been charging in full sunlight. It also depends on the capacity of the built-in battery and the wattage of the LED lights. We think that an inflatable solar light that has been charging for a whole day under average conditions should at least be able to shine for 12 hours

Usability - extra features such as adjustable brightness, USB input for charging etc. Extra features that actually work and does not compromise the original design is a plus.

Weatherproof - The lantern should at least be able to withstand outdoor conditions such as wind and rain. Several of the inflatable lights in the article can survive being dropped or submerged in water. You can tell how well the solar lantern can withstand water by looking at it’s IP6X certification.

Comparison Table

MPOWERD Luci Pro Series Lux


Part of the Luci pro series lux, this lantern is currently the best inflatable lantern you can get. Several improvements have been made drawing on the previous models Luci lux, Luci EMRG, Luci Outdoor, and the original Luci light.

Like all Luci lanterns, this one has a very long duration. Twice as long as the original Luci light with up to 50 hours from only 14 hours of charging in the sun, this is for the low light mode, on medium and high, the duration is lesser.

We think this is the best inflatable solar lantern on the market right now because of the great performance and durability of the Luci Lux, but also because of its great design and usability. When inflated the lamp looks very nice and it has a very pleasant soft light. Lanterns in the Pro Series Lux also has a few unique extra features such as battery indicator and mobile emergency charger.

Specification

Weight: 5.5 ounces
Brightness: 65 Lumen
Duration: 50 hours on 14 hour charging
Modes: 4 modes: low, medium, high and flash
Waterproof: Yes, IP67

Pros

  • Very long duration
  • Battery indicator
  • Durable
  • Great design
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Not as bright
  • Pricey

Check out MPOWERD Luci Pro Series Lux on Amazon

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern


Like the Luci, LuminAID also comes in several varieties and sizes. The PackLite Nova USB is the one we think is the best all-round LumiAID lantern and its specifications are closest to its competitors in this article. This lantern has a nice durable design with a long-lasting built-in battery with a capacity of 1000 mAh. It can be fully charged by the built-in solar panels in 10 hours or with a micro USB in 2 hours.

LumiAID originally made their lanterns to be used in emergency situations as a tool for both first responders and those directly impacted. The lantern is also great for many outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, backpacking or even camping. If you want to illuminate a whole campsite we would recommend one of the more powerful versions of LumiAID, for example, the LuminAID PackLite 2-in-1 lantern which is 4 times as bright with 300 Lumen, but it is also bulkier and heavier.

Specification

Weight: 5 ounces
Brightness: 75 Lumen
Duration: 24 hours on 10 hours charging
Modes: 4 modes: low, medium, high and flash
Waterproof: Yes, IP67

Pros

  • Bright
  • Long duration
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Bulkier

Check out LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern on Amazon

Choreau Inflatable Frosted Cube


The Choreau inflatable solar-powered lantern is the brightest in this review, it got one high and one low mode. The high mode produce up to 90 Lumen which gives a bright but also soft light due to its frosted design.

On the low output mode, it can shine for 12 hours which is a bit worse than its competitors. Besides shorter duration the Choreau Inflatable Frosted Cube also lacks any extra features such as battery indicator, mobile charger and USB ports. We still think that this is a really solid and affordable solar lamp.

Specification

Weight: 3.9 ounces
Brightness: 90 Lumen
Duration: 12 hours from 8 hours charging
Modes: 3 modes: low, high and flash
Waterproof: Yes, IP68

Pros

  • Bright
  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Shorter duration
  • Worse design

Check out Choreau Inflatable Frosted Cube on Amazon

MPOWERD Luci - Inflatable Solar Light


This is the original Luci Lantern, the one that started it all. The Luci Original Inflatable Solar Light is a well-designed solar lantern with an impressive duration of 24 hours on the low setting. You only have to charge the lamp for 7 hours in direct sunlight to fully charge it, which makes this the fastest charging inflatable solar light on the market. The lantern is also very bright, 75 Lumen, and has a soft pleasant light due to its frosted design.

This lantern is durable and waterproof so it is good for hiking, fishing, backpacking, and other outdoor activities but it is also good to have in an emergency situation when the power goes out. And since we also think that it has a really good looking design, it works really well for illuminating your porch, pathway or driveway with.

MPOWERED have a wide variety of inflatable solar lanterns and we think this is the best iteration considering performance and price.

Specification

Weight: 4.4 ounces
Brightness: 75 Lumen
Duration: 24 hours from 7 hours charging
Modes: 4 modes: low, medium, high and flash
Waterproof: Yes, IP67

Pros

  • Bright
  • Long duration
  • Waterproof
  • Nice design

Cons

  • n/a

Check out MPOWERD Luci - Inflatable Solar Light on Amazon

Conclusion

Which inflatable solar light is best for you depends on your need for extra features and what kind of design and size you want. All the lanterns in this article are of high quality with high enough brightness and durability. Luci lights stand out in terms of durability, but the other lanterns all have impressive burn times too considering how small they are. All the inflatable lights are also waterproof with a certification of at least IP67 which means they can easily withstand rain and being dropped or even submerged in water.

As a premium pick, we recommend our favorite the MPOWERD Luci Pro Series Lux. If you want a well-designed lantern with the longest duration and the most extra features, this solar light is for you.

Best bang for the buck, and the inflatable solar lamp we think is overall the best is the MPOWERD Luci Original Inflatable Solar Light. The Luci Original does not have mobile charger, battery indicator or 50 hours burn time, but it is also cheaper and has the second longest duration compared to its competitors. It also has the same well-designed look-and-feel as the Pro Series lanterns

If a sleek design and extra features are not that important to you, we think that the very affordable Choreau Inflatable Frosted Cube could be the best pick for you. The Choreau is not as polished as the Luci lanterns and has lesser duration and no extra features, but its very high brightness and affordable price makes it a solid pick.