LED lanterns are making a big dent in the market as they provide a viable option to their fuel-burning counterparts.  They can produce a good amount of light for a decent amount of time, they are easier to carry around, and they can be cheaper than old fashioned lanterns as well.  However, LED lanterns also have some drawbacks that should be considered before incorporating them into your survival bag of tricks.

The Good

LED Lanterns, especially the collapsible ones, are ideal for storing in a survival kit or bug out bag because they tend to be lightweight and take up a minimal amount of space.  They also don’t require fuel or parts like traditional lanterns.  This also makes them safer to use, as you don’t need to worry about accidental fires or excessive heat that can cause injury.  Finally, you can find LED lanterns that are designed to withstand considerable forces, and many are either water resistant or waterproof as well.

Good lanterns also don’t require a lot of power to keep them going.  For many models, all you need is a couple of AA batteries to generate 12 or more hours of continual lighting.  If you have rechargeable batteries, along with a portable charging unit, you can give yourself a virtually unlimited supply of lighting.

The Bad

Traditional lanterns tend to be durable and forgiving.  You can easily improvise repairs and use various materials to obtain and keep a flame burning when necessary.  Chances are that when your LED lantern breaks, you will need to replace it, which may or may not be a reason to consider including some kind of backup on hand just in case.

The quality of the light produced can also be limited when compared to a regular lantern.  While LED bulbs are powerful, they tend to emit light in specific directions instead of filling a room.  Consequently, you may need to hold or position the lantern at a certain angle in order to direct the light where it needs to go.  While quality lanterns address this by using special bulbs or reflectors, you will most likely notice a difference.  LED lanterns may only be able to project suitable light over short distances as well.  While they can be seen from up to a few miles if conditions are right, they may not have enough projecting capability to provide ample reading or ambient light.

Quality Matters

Make sure that you choose LED Lanterns that will get the job done based on the conditions that you expect to encounter.  If you plan on using them in the home during a power outage, or as a work light, then strength and durability may not be that important.  However, if you are planning on using one for bugging-out or wilderness survival situations, you definitely want something that is designed to withstand the elements, drops and other forms of wear and tear.

The best advice is to do some research, shop around, and test the lanterns so you can know what to expect if you need them during an emergency.  At the end of the day, you want lanterns that will work when needed, while also providing you with the necessary amount of light at the same time.