Propane lanterns have been used for many years by campers, hikers and fisherman due to their powerful burn and bright light that can illuminate vast areas.
Gas lanterns in general have even been used for hundreds of years, although gas technology has certainly evolved since its humble beginnings. Kerosene lanterns are also a popular choice, but propane is preferred by many as it offers a cleaner burn and is more readily available.
Coleman propane lanterns are certainly fan-favorites in the camping community, and certainly make up most of the brightest camping lanterns on the market, but we want to dive further. We’ve chosen 10 of the best propane lanterns to narrow down the choice and help you find the perfect one. With a variety of brands and designs, these outdoor gas lanterns are the best of the best on the market today.
10 Top Propane Lanterns Reviewed for This Year
1. Coleman Northstar Propane Lantern
Lumens Count: 1540
One of the most well-known on the market, the Coleman Northstar features a user-friendly design and comes apart for easier storage. The plastic base is sturdy and keeps it stable on uneven surfaces, while the upper section dismantles quickly for a simpler set-up process.
Integrated with the PerfectFlow system, this model keeps a consistent flow between gas and light, regardless of the conditions or amount of leftover fuel. InstaStart ignition gives you the convenience of matchless lighting, so you’ll never have to worry about lost matches.
To prevent any cracking, the globe is specifically built for high temperatures . Controls are straightforward as they’re all located on the front – these include the InstaStart ignition button and the temperature knob which lets you adjust brightness levels. Speaking of brightness, we’re impressed with just how bright it gets considering it only uses one mantle.
This model also made it on our Brightest Camping Lanterns review – check that out to discover the other brightest lanterns on the market.
- Durable Materials Include High-Temp Globe, Metal Guard & Porcelain Ventilator
- Integrated PerfectFlow System, InstaStart Ignition, Compatible with Insta-Clip Mantle
- 4oz Propane Cylinder Gives 4.3h on High & 9.25h on Low
2. Coleman Deluxe Propane Lantern
Lumens Count: 1000
This Deluxe model from Coleman is equipped with two mantles, a long runtime, and simple controls. Much like the Northstar, this is great for car camping and family trips as it illuminates a broad space without the hassle of a complicated set up. Its 360° beam reaches a massive 75ft, so it will effortlessly light up your entire site.
One of the main reasons this is considered Deluxe (apart from dual mantles) is that it has a lengthy runtime when compared to some other models. It lasts 7.5 hours on its highest setting using just one 16.4oz cylinder. To adjust brightness levels, you still get a front turning knob that will alter the size of the flame in seconds.
To last you several years on the road, it’s constructed with a double-tier porcelain coated ventilator, which is rust and corrosion-resistant. The globe is built for high-temperature tolerance so that the glass won’t crack from intense heat. For simple storage, the base feet collapse inwards.
- 75ft Reach & Long Burn Time of 7.5h on High
- Wide-Length Wire Bail Handle Offers Comfortable Carrying & Easy Hanging
- Pressure-Control Technology & Rust-Resistant Materials
3. Coleman Elite Perfectflow Propane Lantern
Lumens Count: 1000
The Elite Pefectflow has one of the longest runtimes out of all the Coleman models, clocking in at 8 hours on its highest flame setting. We love the sleek design of this model with its vibrant lime-green InstaStart ignition button, easy-to-read controls, and smooth hard-plastic base with ergonomic feet that rapidly collapse in and out for storage.
It requires one 16.4oz cylinder, which is sold separately, and has the PerfectFlow system built-in. This creates a consistent output of light no matter the weather conditions, altitude, or remaining gas levels. Dual mantles ensure a bright burn, while a porcelain ventilator prevents rust or corrosion overtime, making it ideal for wet conditions during fishing or hunting.
With the long wire handle, you can carry it around or hang it up with ease. We like that it can be removed, because it takes up less space when storing for travel.
- Long 8h Runtime on High with 2 Mantles & Rust-Resistant Porcelain Ventilator
- 75ft Light Beam with Low, Medium & High Controls
- Foldaway Black Plastic Sturdy Base & Long Wire Handle
4. Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern
Lumens Count: 700
Perfect for survival camping, the Premium Dual Fuel model is designed for all-seasons thanks to its hard-wearing build. While 700 lumens isn’t the brightest you can find, it will actually burn longer using less fuel. This means you’ll be saving on fuel costs, as well as weight in your gear as you can pack less for the same impact. Essentially, 1 gallon of their Liquid Fuel will last you as long as 4.5 cylinders of propane.
Using this special Liquid Fuel that comes in a 20oz cylinder, this model will last for 5.25 hours on high mode or 13.5 hours on a low flame. It generates a 360° glow reaching over 50ft, so it will still illuminate your whole campsite despite its more compact size.
After installing the included dual string-tie mantles, matches are used for ignition. Inside, the globe can resist high-temperatures without breakage and the ventilators are coated with porcelain to stop rust build-up. Our favorite part is the hard carry case which makes it highly portable and keeps your gear protected.
- High-Temperature Globe & 52ft Beam Lasts 13.5h on Low & 5.25h on High
- Adjustable Brightness Indicator & 2 Mantles Included
- Convenient Hard Case with Carry Handle Included
5. Stansport Compact Propane Lantern
Candle Power: 200
This single-mantle model is extremely simplistic in design and is also rather lightweight, weighing in at just 1.41lbs. At 8” in height and 4.5” wide it’s also compact which makes it ideal for backpacking if you pack it in a hard case (not included).
One of the standouts of this model is how much control you have over the flame and brightness levels. The front knob appears overly simply at first glance, but gives you full control over the brightness, rather than just having a few modes to choose from. The base features four protruding feet that stabilize the body well, even if it’s placed on an irregular surface.
As well as backpacking, this is a top pick for remote camping, hunting or fishing where you need something rugged enough to handle the conditions. This is made from highly durable steel on the hood, a heat and crack-resistant globe, and a baked enamel top layer. The handle is also steel and has a slight bump in the center to prevent tipping when it hangs.
- Rugged Construction with Steel, Heat-Resistant Globe & Baked Enamel Finish
- Compact 8” x 4.5” Size & Lightweight 1.4lbs
- Tip-Resistant Base Holds 16.4oz Cylinder
6. Texsport Propane Lantern
Candle Power: 300
This light from Texsport is another minimalistic model that makes an impact with high brightness levels and a long burn time. With a single mantle, it can adjust to 300 candle power, making it extremely bright and able to illuminate large surfaces. Brightness is adjusted using the front knob, which also controls the On and Off features.
A brass pressure regulator valve is durable enough to withstand rough conditions, as well as the heat-resistant globe that prevents cracks from forming in high heat. We’re pleased with the long runtime, which tops 8 hours at its brightest setting.
The black plastic base has a paddle-foot design, meaning that it will stabilize the 16.4oz cylinder and upper section without tipping over. At the top you’ll find the steel carry handle, which is wide-length to make it more comfortable to hold.
- Heat-Resistant Globe Prevents Fractures & Temp-Control Knob
- Paddle-foot Base Stabilizes 16.4oz Cylinder
- Burns For Up To 8 Hours on Max Setting
7. Coleman Compact Gas Lantern
Lumens Count: 300
One of our go-to picks for rough camping and survival conditions, this is a highly compact 300-lumen model that is designed to burn longer. Specifically, it runs for 11 and a half hours on high, which means it will last you all night if needed. Igniting using matches, it’s compatible with a 16.4oz cylinder, and the overall pack weight comes in at just 1lb.
A built-in pressure regulator utilizes pressure-control technology to ensure a consistent flame and brightness, irrespective of the weather or other exterior elements. In fact, this particular model has been constructed to withstand extreme conditions, so you can use it in all seasons.
A small knob at the front lets you control brightness, while the globe and casing are protected by an impact-resistant metal guard. For carrying you’ve got a metal chain that can be removed and attached with two small carabiners.
- 5h Runtime on High Using 16.4oz Cylinder
- Robust Metal Guard Designed for Extreme Conditions
- Built-In Pressure Regulator & Brightness Dimmer
- Ultralightweight at 1lb & Compact Design
8. Docooler174 Mini Portable Propane Lantern
Lumens Count: 80
Much as the name suggests, this model is a mini lantern that can sit in the palm of your hand. This means it’s a popular choice for those that are conscious of their pack weight, so we can see this working well for backpackers, hikers, mountaineers, and so on.
Despite its miniature size, it remains robust and durable through its aluminum and nickel alloy build. This means it is able to withstand high temperatures, allowing the brightness is reach 80 lumens. While this isn’t super bright, it’s perfect for survival situations where you need a long-running light source.
In addition to the aluminum and nickel alloy materials, the chimney section is built from intensified stainless steel. These elements not only enhance its durability, but also its transmittance. Since it is so small, we like that the ignition system is designed for an effortless ignition every time – it consists of a high-energy ceramic piezo-electric system.
- Crush-Resistant & Durable Aluminum, Nickle Alloy & Stainless Steel Build
- Extremely Compact 2.4”D x 3.7”H & Lightweight 5oz
- Long 18.1” Carry & Hanging Chain
- Hard Case Included for Transport
9. Primus Micron Backpacking Propane Lantern
Lumens Count: 235
Designed specifically for backpackers, the Primus Micro light weighs just 4.2oz and measures 4.2” in height. Emitting up to 235 lumens, you can conveniently adjust the brightness with the simple knob feature above the canister.
Lighting it up is fast and effortless with the piezo ignition, meaning you don’t need matches or a lighter. The gas canister is not included, but it does fit perfectly on their Primus gas 3.5oz or 8oz cylinders. We like that the flame is shielded with the stainless steel mesh cage – this not only protects the flame from debris, but also protects you from the flame itself.
There are no pieces to assemble, as it attaches directly to the gas cylinder for a user-friendly set up. The hanging system comprises of a flexible wire, which has a hook at the end of it for easygoing hanging.
- Ultralight 4.2oz & Portable 4.2”H x 2.6”D
- Rugged Stainless Steel Materials to Withstand Rough Weather
- Easy-Ignite Piezo System & Adjustable Brightness Levels
- Carry Case Included
10. Coleman One-Mantle Kerosene Lantern
Lumens Count: 700
Lastly we’ve chosen the One-Mantle, which (as the name implies) is a one-mantle model that reaches up to 700 lumens in brightness. With a strike of a match, it lights up with ease, and the front dial lets you alter the intensity across 6 different levels.
In terms of design, we’re loving the vintage look of this model, with its glossy forest-green coloring and classic bail wire handle. It certainly feels sturdy in your hands as well as when you set it down. In order to hold up against rough environments, the porcelain-coated ventilator eliminates rust build-up. Also, the globe won’t crack as it’s made from high-temperature resistant materials.
On 32oz of kerosene, this model will run for close to 6 hours on its highest intensity. For added convenience, the mantle is already installed and there is a bottle included in the package that helps you fill the pre-heater.
- High-Temperature Glass Globe Resists Cracking
- Brightness-Control Dial & Heat-Shield System with Porcelain Ventilator
- 75h Runtime on 32oz of Kerosene
Buyers Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Propane Lanterns
What Are the Types of Propane Lanterns?
It’s easy to assume that all gas lanterns are the same, when in fact there are different types of gas that can be used to power them up. Different fuels will produce varied effects. Thus, it’s important to understand each type before choosing one that will suit your needs.
- Propane – These are some of the most widely used due to their convenience and availability. This gas is also rather inexpensive, making it a popular option for those on a budget. Another benefit of this gas is that it is able to provide you with an extremely bright light. While the canisters can be a little loud when set at their highest mode, they are seamless to ignite and suit first-time users. As well as being cost-efficient, this fuel burns efficiently because it burns clean.
- Kerosene – This is another cheap option and is often viewed as safer than white gas/camp fuel (which you’ll see below). That’s because it has a clean burn, reducing the risk significantly of any type of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also quite low maintenance.
- White Gas – While this type of fuel is more expensive than the other two options, it is still cheaper than a lot of batteries in the long-term. It generates a warm, pleasant light that can illuminate large spaces at a time. Much like propane, it also burns very brightly and has a rapid ignition time. White gas is odorless and can reach high temperatures for a long burn.
What do You Need to Use a Propane Lantern?
There are several essentials you’ll need before powering up your light. These include:
- Fuel – It won’t light up unless it has some sort of gas to power it, so make sure you have your gas cylinder ready to go when you’re setting it up. These can include propane, kerosene, or camp fuel/white gas.
- Mantles – Unless it already comes with pre-installed mantles, or mantles in the box, you’ll need to purchase your own before you can light it up. Mantles are ceramic fabric mesh sacks that enclose over the flame. Due to the large surface of the sacks, they are efficient at generating light and keeping the flame lit.
- Matches or Lighter – Some models come with their own igniters (like the Coleman InstaStart feature or piezo ignition), however most times you’ll need to light up using a match or lighter.
8 Safety Tips for Using a Propane Lantern
You’ve got all the gear, now it’s time to get things going. But before you do anything, there are some crucial safety precautions you need to know before lighting up.
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
- Use a fuel canister that is from a reputable seller to ensure that it is clean and doesn’t have any nasty additives.
- In the case that any fuel lands on your skin, make sure to wash it off immediately before continuing with the set up process. Also, don’t light any matches or turn on the lighter near open gas cylinders or fuel spills.
- Always clean a lantern that hasn’t been used for a long period before igniting it.
- In addition to purchasing fuel from renowned sellers, also make sure to use mantles from well-known manufacturers.
- Never ignite it indoors and ensure that you fill the fuel using a funnel to prevent leaks.
- Make sure that the filler cap is wound tightly and that the valve is off before pressurizing.
- ALWAYS follow the laws and precautions set by your local council to ensure that every person stays safe and that no animals or precious habitats are harmed.
How to Light a Propane Lantern (6 Easy Steps)
- Open up the cap on the fuel and listen for any pressure that gets released – this is to see if there is any pressure within the cylinder.
- In order to make pressure in the cylinder, rotate the pump counter-clockwise. Then, open it and pump it between ten and twenty times.
- Turn the dial about a quarter of the way open.
- Use a lighter or match (if there isn’t an automatic igniter) and place the flame in the hole underneath the globe, where it will instantly light.
- The prick cleaner can be rotated a full 360° if it doesn’t light up. It may take several tries, and don’t forget that the prick cleaner needs to be pointing downwards.
- Now that the mantle is ignited, rotate the dial until it’s fully opened.
4 Propane Lantern Insights to Remember
- If the pump on the gas canister isn’t generating pressure then you can try saturating the leather in some olive oil.
- When you’re securing the bolt at the top of the lantern, avoid screwing it in all the way or overly tight. This will reduce the risk of the paint in that area cracking, as the lid will swell when it gets hot.
- Never apply any kind of wax to it as the heat will simply melt it away and damage it.
- Take great care when handling the mantle and avoid touching it. If it is damaged, the flames will be transmitted towards the glass globe, which can lead to cracks.
Are Propane Lanterns Worth It?
Having any type of lantern with you while camping is going to keep you safe by ensuring that your area is lit, but a propane model in particular has its vast advantages:
- They eliminate the need for an external power source (like your car or a power bank) which you’ll need for battery-powered or rechargeable models
- They burn extremely bright and can illuminate a whole campsite
- A comforting, inviting and warm light is produced
- They are reliable over long periods compared to a regular flashlight or the light from your mobile phone
How Long do Propane Lanterns Last?
The burn-time length will depend on the brand, design, and type, but there is somewhat of a general scale that ranges between 5 hours to 15 hours when set on high. A high setting means that the flame is at its brightest and most intense.
Can you Use a Propane Lantern Indoors?
You should never use this type of lighting indoors as it can generate excessive amounts of carbon monoxide and heat. This can then lead to the combustion of flammable materials that are frequently found indoors, such as wood or fabrics.
Conclusion on Propane Lanterns
Propane lanterns for camping aren’t going to be everyone’s go-to, but they are extremely popular with so many campers due to their simplicity, long runtimes, bright burn, and portability. They have definitely become our personal favorite lighting devices for hiking and fishing since they perform so well in tough conditions and are typically quite compact.
As you’ve seen from our list, we’ve narrowed down the best outdoor propane lanterns on the market to help you pick the perfect one for your next trip. Remember to always follow the safety rules when setting up and running these fixtures, and also remember to dispose of the gas cylinders ethically.