If you’re only going to buy one mini-latern then the Lighthouse Mini by Goal Zero is the one to buy. This portable light has it all!
Dual dimmable LED lights, up to 500 hours runs time and it doubles as a power bank for your phone or external USB device. Plus a bunch of other handy features.
There are a lot of great lanterns on the market and they all have their pros and cons, but the Lighthouse mini is my absolute favorite. I love it and I think you’re going to love it too.
In this Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Review, I’ll show you all the ins and outs of this lantern as well as compare it to some others on the market. After reading this you’ll know exactly whether or not this device is right for you.
So You’re Looking To Buy A Lantern
So you’re looking to buy a lantern for your camping trip, hike, van life or some other sort of adventure. Well there are LOADS of lanterns to choose from. Finding a lantern isn’t the hard part, choosing the right one to buy is.
If you just want a little light for reading, or finding your PJs after the lights go out then a cheap under $10 lantern could do the trick for you.
If you’re trying to light an entire cabin then a larger 1,000 lumen light that is a bit more bulky might be right up your alley.
The thing that makes the Lighthouse Mini stand out to me is that it isn’t just 1 type of lantern.
It’s super compact which makes it great for the back packer or hiker, but it also outputs over 200 lumens which is a lot of light. This makes it useful for van dwellers and campers who could potentially store something larger but don’t really need to.
Instead of wasting your time trying to put this lantern into a category let me just tell you what it does and why I love it and you can decide for yourself if it’s right for you.
It’s Super Compact
The Lighthouse Mini is super compact for a lantern. At 4.15 inches (10.55 cm) high it is about the length of the palm of your hand and easily packs away into a backpack.
It only weighs 8 oz (227 g) which is only slightly heavier than an iPhone 7 Plus or other large smartphone.
Basically for a lantern this thing is small.
Generally, in the world of lanterns, small equals crap and small also means you’re not going to get much light. This is where Goal Zero break the boundaries of what we think a mini-lantern is.
You’ll be surprised at what the Lighthouse-Mini can do.
It’s Super Bright (For It’s Size)
The Lighthouse Mini has a maximum output of 210 lumens, which is pretty bright.
But talking in “lumens” isn’t super useful for most of us as we aren’t sure how bright a lumen is.
Let me put it this way. Me and my wife can have dinner in our Sprinter campervan using nothing but the Lighthouse Mini for our light.
It’s not a bright light like you’de experience sitting around the dinner table at home, but it’s comfortable.
I would say you could use this light for a table of 4 people (it’d be a bit dim but doable). Extend beyond that and you’de need 2 of these lights for people to feel comfortable.
In fact more often than not lighting up just 1 of the 2 LED lights provides us with enough light to be comfortable at night.
So if you’re camping with a friend, or hiking by yourself this light should be bright enough for any need you might have.
It Packs Awesome Features
I could spend all day talking about every feature of this latern. But to save you time I’ll simply highlight the key, gamechanging, features you’ll want to know about.
Dual LED Dimmable Lights
Rather than just a single LED light the Lighthouse Mini has 2 LED lights. This means you can turn on both to get 360 degrees of light or you can turn on just 1 and get only 180 degrees of light and a longer run time.
The light switch is actually a dial on the front. Turn to the right and you get both LED lights, turn to the left and you get just 1.
The dial also makes it really easy to dim the lights and adjust their brightness. Other lanterns I have seen have a single button that you hold and it cycles through the different brightness settings. These work fine but can be annoying.
The dial on the other hand is absolutely perfect, it’s like turning the volume up or down in your car, super easy.
On full brightness, you get 210 lumens that lasts for 4 hours. Lighting just 1 of the LEDs to full brightness gives you 7 hours of run time and lighting just 1 LED on the lowest setting gives you 500+ hours of run time. That’s over 20 days of continuous emergency lighting!
The lowest setting is too dark for reading but it’s great mood lighting for lovemaking (I tested it, purely for review purposes only of course) or would be fine as a pure emergency light or child’s nightlight.
This means you’ll likely need to charge the device once every 1-3 days depending on how much you are using it and on what brightness. For me, I’ve got a Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator so this is no biggie, but if you don’t have regular access to power (ummmm get a solar panel so you do) then this could be a problem.
You can charge the device fully in 4 hours using a USB source (I’ve actually found it to charge faster) or in 4-6 hours using a solar panel like the Goal Zero Nomad 7.
The most cost effective and compact way to extend the run time of the device is to purchase an extra 18650 battery which costs around $19.99 – see latest price. This will give you 8 hours of light on it’s highest setting or 14 hours when using just 1 LED.
Charge External Devices
No other lanterns (apart from other Goal Zero ones) have this feature. You can actually use the Lighthouse Mini to charge an external USB device like your phone.
There is a USB port on the front and simply plugging your device in will activate it and removing the device will deactivate it so it doesn’t waste battery.
The 3000mAh battery should be enough to give most phones a full charge. But be aware that using the battery to charge your device will give you less runtime at night when using it as a light.
Fold Down Legs
The Lighthouse Mini has fold down legs that tuck away when not in use.
The legs have rubber covers which makes them grip to surfaces really well. It’s a bit rickety but as long as you’re not bumping it around too much it should stand upright fine.
They also tuck away so well you hardly even know they are there, which helps to make this product that much more compact and useful.
Hang It 1,000 Ways
Goal Zero have thought of almost everything when it comes to hanging this lantern. Whereas other lanterns have a single hook and maybe some legs this lantern has 1,000 ways to hang it.
Ok ok, it has 5 different ways to hang it. But that’s pretty good for such a small lantern.
On Top – You’ve got a fold out metal hook for hanging and you’ve also got an eyelet loop so if you wanted to run this along a rope you could easily do that.
On Bottom – On the bottom you’ve got a strong magnet in the middle which is great for sticking this to any part of your car or other metal surfaces. You’ve also got a 1/4-20 tripod thread so you could mount this on a tripod for extra height when you have nowhere to hang it.
Plus the Leg – The legs can also act as a way to hang this lantern. Thread them over a small branch or hang them from a hook.
I’ve already mentioned it in other sections but I’ll talk quickly about it here. The Lighthouse Mini uses 1 x 18650 rechargeable battery which stores 3000mAh of energy.
The battery can easily be removed through the cover on the bottom of the lantern but please note you don’t need to remove this battery to recharge it. Instead you charge it through the built in USB cable in the Lighthouse Mini.
You can purchase extra batteries for $19.99 a piece if you want to extend the run time of your lantern, or these batteries are so small and light to carry that you could use the second one primarily for recharging your phone or something.
Built-In USB Chord
To recharge most lanterns you have to take out the rechargeable batteries and place them in a separate recharger, then put them back in the lantern.
This means if you forget your recharger you’re stuffed and as well you can’t use the lantern while your batteries are recharging.
The Lighthouse Mini has a built-in USB cable that wraps around the centre of the lantern and tucks away using a magnet. The cable wraps up so well you don’t even notice it’s there.
It is so convenient always having a charging cable on you and I also love that I can charge my Lighthouse Mini whilst using it as a lantern and charging my phone all at the same time.
Charge Via Solar
When combined with a Goal Zero solar panel you can charge your lantern from the sun, which is a pretty cool feature to have.
With the Nomad 7 Plus solar panels (the smallest Goal Zero makes) you can charge this is 4-6 hours. So it’ll easily charge fully during the day for use at night.
Battery Level Indicator
The Lighthouse Mini has 4 blue LED lights in the center of the dial which illuminates whenever the lantern is turned on, charging or being used to charge an external device.
So you can quickly at a glance know if you have 100% or power or 75%, 50%, 25% or 0%.
This comes in really handy at night.
When the night is going a bit longer than expected as the beers are flowing. You notice you’re down to 50% of battery life, lower the brightness so your light will last you longer.
Most other Lanterns out there run off multiple batteries. That might be 4 x AA’s or maybe D or C sized batteries. Sure these can be recharged, but to do so requires you to remove the batteries and have an external battery recharger to charge them in (see my Guide 10 Plus Battery Recharger Review).
This means you either need to carry a packet of batteries with you, or you need to carry a 2nd device specifically for recharging whatever sized batteries you might have.
The great thing about the Lighthouse Mini is you don’t have to remove the battery to recharge it.
There is a built in USB chord that wraps around the middle of the lantern and stays in place magnetically. To recharge your lantern simply unwrap the USB chord and plug into an USB wall outlet. Most of us are already carrying these for our phones/tablets so we have one with us anyway.
The fact that you don’t need to worry about an external charging device, carrying a packet of batteries or even having the right charging cable makes this one of the easiest lanterns to recharge.
Goal Zero builds it’s products tough. Like really tough.
Customers take Goal Zero products to the most inhospitable places in the world. We are talking the extremes Mouth Everest Base camp and the heat of the desert. Goal Zero can handle it all.
The Lighthouse Mini is no exception. This thing is built to last, and take a beating in the process.
Everything from the frosted plastic around the LED lights to the base stand to the dimming switch has a superior build quality that you just don’t find on other cheaper lanterns.
It’s Just Down Right Impressive
The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini is one of those products where you’re excited to show your friends or other people you meet on your adventures.
“Check out this light I’ve got” I say to anyone who will listen. “It’s super bright, it’s dimmable, it can charge my phone for me, it’s got hooks and feet and magnets and check out this built in USB chord for charging.”
And the reaction I always get “That’s awesome!” or “That so cool.”
People have seen battery powered lanterns for 20+ years. Generally speaking lanterns aren’t something to get excited about.
I feel the Lighthouse Mini is different.
It’s just so versatile. It’s useful in so many different circumstances that it’s hard to recommend any other product.
Check out more reviews and the latest price using the link below[amazon asin=B016UQNGMG&template=button]
What About Competitors Lanterns?
There are a lot of lanterns on the market so it makes sense to look at what else is out there are whether or not you can get something better for your money.
Black Diamond Apollo – This is my #2 mini-lantern pick. It retails at the same price as the Lighthouse Mini ($49.95) and has similar functions. Output of 200 lumens, a dimmer option, fold down legs and hook on top. It lacks the multiple hanging methods of the Lighthouse and can’t charge external devices. It also runs on 4 x AA batteries. It does have a pull up shade to make it larger but all in all it’s like a Lighthouse but not as good.
Streamlight The Siege – About half the price of the Lighthouse Mini this lantern is compact and outputs 200 lumens. It runs off 3 x AA batteries. Runs 7 hours on it’s brightest light and 15+ hours on half brightness. It also has red emergency lights (0.7 lumens) which can run for 8 days (192 hours) continuously.
Some Cheap $10 Lantern – It’s actually only $6 as I write this. This could be a review for any cheap lantern. Uses 4 x AA batteries giving you 70-lumen output at a 70 hour run time. Great for reading lights, or for kids these are cheap and replaceable for when they inevitably break due to their poor build quality.
Rayovac Sportsman – A slightly bigger lantern than the others with an output of 240 lumens. 40 hour run time on high and 90 hours on low. This uses 3 x D batteries which are less common so that’s slightly annoying and it’s priced similar to the streamlight. Good if you want more runtime for your light.
Are Any Competitor Lanterns Better Than The Lighthouse Mini?
There are definitely lanterns that are brighter, or smaller, or have longer run times. So it really depends on your criteria for “better”.
But I can not find a lantern of a similar compact size with the same lumen output and immense feature set of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini. I think it just doesn’t exist.
Other lantern makers give you 1 hook while Goal Zero gives you 1 hook, a loop, fold down feet, a magnet and a tripod mount.
Other lantern makers expect you to sort out the battery situation yourself. Goal Zero takes care of it for you with a replaceable rechargeable battery that can be charged with the attached USB chord. No battery removal required.
And no other lantern maker sat down to think “Hey maybe we could use the battery for something other than providing light”. Goal Zero did and now you can charge your phone with it.
Price: $49.95 RRP (cheaper on Amazon)
Battery: 18650 Battery with 11.1 Wh (3.7V, 3000mAh)
Lifecycles: 300+ with recommended use
Run Times Both Side Lit: 4 hours (high), 400+ hours (low)
Run Times One Side Lit: 7 hours (high), 500+ hours (low)
Brightness: 210 Lumens, 5W max, 3500K LED’s
Weight: 8oz (226.8g)
Dimensions: 2.91 Dia x 4.15 in (73.8 Dia x 105.5mm)
Warranty: 12 Months
Lighthouse Mini Review Summary
When it comes to the “mini-lantern” category the Lighthouse Mini does everything other lanterns do and then some.
It has a great brightness for it’s size, multiple hanging options, fold down feet, battery level indicators and can charge your phone if needed.
It’s major downside is the limited run time of just 4 hours when on high or 7 hours on half light. If you need something with a longer run time then I suggest one of the competitors I mentioned above.
But seriously, I love this lantern and if there was any point I’de own more of them. The fact I only need 1 should say something.
I highly recommend this latern.
Read more customer reviews of this lantern and see the latest price using the link below[amazon asin=B016UQNGMG&template=button]
Thanks for reading this Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Lantern Review. I hope it helps you start a solar powered life.