Best Propane Lanterns Reviewed

green coleman propane camping lantern
One example of Coleman’s multiple outstanding lines of propane lanterns.

There are many different types of lanterns out there that are perfect for use whether camping, night hiking, night fishing, or even just being prepared for an emergency power outage at home. While there is a heavy focus on modern LED lights, finding an environmentally friendly rechargeable solar lantern that will last even when the clouds are out for long stretches of time, there are good reasons to go more old school and take a look at the excellent potential many good propane emergency lanterns offer.

These really bring back the memories of camping with Scouts for my brother and I since our Troop always had Coleman lanterns that used kerosene or propane.

Many of the top rated propane lanterns are also multi-fuel lanterns that can use propane or a lamp oil blend. This has been a smart move that makes propane lanterns a bit more diversified because sometimes it’s easier to find a camp fuel blend for lanterns as opposed to sheer propane. That being said, this means there are a variety of options that makes it easier to keep the lamps fueled. That being said, the pure propane lanterns that are still manufactured by Coleman are outstanding and definitely worth a serious look for the serious outdoor enthusiast and camper.

NameBrief DescriptionAvg CostAvg Grade

Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow Lantern
Top rated propane camping lantern from Coleman.$$4.7

Coleman NorthStar Propane Lantern
The official lanterns of the National Park Foundation.$$$4.5

Coleman Compact Propane Lantern
Very compact model still punches a punch of bright light.$$+4.4

Coleman Elite Perfectflow Propane Lantern
Versatile lantern with very adjustable light settings.$$4.2

Coleman Two Mantle InstaStart QuickPack Lantern
Convenient matchless ignition providing up to 810 lumens of light.$$+4.2

Top Propane Lanterns

One thing that will probably jump out right away with this article is the sheer lack of variety when it comes to what type of brands are available. The reason for this is fairly simple: not very many companies invest in creating quality propane fueled camping lanterns. This is due in part to a strong shift towards solar, electric, battery, and rechargeable portable camping lanterns as well as the fact that Coleman is heavily invested in propane lanterns and they by far and away have created all the top models currently in the field.

So enjoy this long list of the best propane lanterns by Coleman because Coleman is the company that has simply decided they’re going to own this market.

green 2 mantle propane lantern
This is truly top of the line: click on the picture for up to date pricing.

Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow Lantern

If you are looking for the best propane camping lanterns for camping then your search has to start with the classic PerfectFlow design from Coleman. The Coleman Deluxe PerfectFlow camping lantern is the top model put out by this company and while there are a couple other ones that compete with it, there’s no denying that this model is clearly at the top. Featuring a two mantle design, this model can be easily lit with matches and is the result of small changes that have been perfected over the years from the original quality design.

This look extremely similar to many of the lanterns that we used in Scouts 20 plus years ago, but slightly streamlined with a lot of little details changed to be a little bit more efficient, a little more effective. The pressure in this lantern is regulated to give a guaranteed even and level performance no matter what the overall weather condition is outside and the lantern is also much better than older models when it comes to working well, lighting easily, and staying consistent in the amount of light it gives out. These also hold lower light settings much easier/better than older models.

This lightweight 3 pound gas lantern also comes with a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, and if you like reliable camping lanterns you are really going to like what this sleek and effective lantern brings to the table.

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lit propane lantern in eveningColeman NorthStar Propane Lantern

While it’s true that Coleman’s PerfectFlow propane lantern design is heads and shoulders above the rest, the closest competitor it has is the NorthStar from the same company. These moderately priced propane lanterns have a consistent gas flow system, provide steady and impressive light, and comes with globes that are built to withstand high temperatures so there is no fear of cracking from heat.

One of the major features that really sticks out with this lantern is the InstaStart ignition which is Coleman’s speciality design that allows for matchless lighting of the lantern. In addition to this, there is also a dimmer knob that is adjustable and allows for the perfect level of outdoor light whether it is pre-dawn, dusk, evening, or even night. These are one of the brightest lanterns on the market and it only takes the push of a button to get it going.

Set your light level for camp and if you want it really bright then put it up to 1540 lumens at its max and good luck finding any LED camping lanterns or solar camping lanterns that can compete with that high end light!

The dimensions of this lantern are 12.9 X 8.5 X 6.5 inches and weighs a mere 3.6 lbs making it easy to move, set up, and otherwise work. This versatile Coleman lantern easily makes the top five when it comes to the best propane options available, and you won’t be disappointed with what it brings to the table.

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compact green propane lanternColeman Compact Propane Lantern

This is certainly a very unique design compared to the other camping lanterns you will see out there and this is often on the top five list of best affordable propane camping lanterns for good reason while providing something that is definitely a bit different from the other lanterns on this list. The Coleman compact propane lantern is small, powered by a single mantle that operates off of a single propane cylinder.

A chain handle allows for very easy carrying or hanging, and while this compact lantern might seem small in comparison it still uses the same powerful fuel system that feeds it a steady and on-going stream of propane to make sure you have all the light that you need.

Weighing a mere 1.2 pounds, it’s safe to say that reliable propane camping lanterns simply don’t get any lighter than this, and a large number of positive reviews shows that the diminuative size shouldn’t scare anyone off. With one mantle it does give off much less light than a two or four mantle setup, but it is still a very effective compact lantern that comes with a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
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heavy duty propane lanternColeman Elite Perfectflow Propane Lantern

Running a solid 8 hours on the 16 ounce propane cylinder that comes with this design, the Elite Perfectflow propane lantern is a great model that has its strong share of fans and positive ratings from campers and other outdoor enthusiasts who spend plenty of time out and about doing their thing. The outer porcelain veneer means that the metal of the lantern is protected from rain, moisture, and rust. This exceptional design is part of what really makes this style of Coleman lantern stick out.

This lantern is reliable, moderately priced, and can produce a massive amount of light that makes it ideal for a centralized light source at camp in the evening. The base design allows it to adapt in order to stand evenly and balanced even when placed on uneven surfaces as the extra level of support gets the job done.

Putting out up to 1000 lumens of light, this is a powerful lantern and one thing it’s important to note is not to touch the top after it has been running a while as the metal at the top can heat up over time and give a burn with contact. Other than this pretty common sense piece of advice the lantern is safe for use and one of the best propane powered models out there.
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unlit coleman camping lantern Coleman Two Mantle InstaStart QuickPack Lantern

Many people prefer their propane camping lanterns to have the non-match options for lighting, and the InstaStart lantern is one of the best that the Coleman company has to offer when it comes to a simple push button solution to light it. The trademarked “Perfect Flow” system that Coleman has developed is apparent in this portable lamp, as well, giving a solid steady stream of fuel to the lit mantles.

This is fairly affordable especially compared to the average price of a really good camping candle, and this is an option that will consistently comes up when talking about the absolute best inexpensive propane lanterns. Solidly built with a porcelain outer layer to protect against water and weather (and thus rust, the old enemy of so many different lanterns) this lantern can push out the highest level of light for seven hours at a time and is even covered with a 5 year warranty from the manufacturer.

That’s some serious protection on top of some serious quality.

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Propane Lantern Troubleshooting Solutions

While the traditional propane lanterns are known for being dependable and built to last when used in the great outdoors, like all pieces of equipment they sometimes run into problems and need some degree of troubleshooting to restore to working order once again. Even the top rated propane camping lanterns can end up having issues if they are not properly maintained. What’s this mean?

The good news is that if you are having some problems with lighting or keeping one of these propane lanterns lit then usually the problem can be narrowed down to just a few basic things and they are all quite easy to troubleshoot and fix.

Step 1: Check the really obvious.

This is true of customer service in any field, and all of us can think of a time where the fix was something ridiculously obvious but it took time to find it and thus fix the situation. The most common issues here are what you would expect. Is there enough fuel or do you need to refill? Are the mantles in good shape or has it been a while since they’ve been replaced? Are there any obvious potential issues that you’ve just been ignoring but might now be causing these particular problems? Always check the obvious potential issues first and go from there.

Step 2: Check for sediment build up.

This is one of the most common problems that occurs when using propane lanterns. This is especially true if they are not lighting up properly or they light up but just aren’t hitting the right level of light that you know the lanterns can put out. In this case you need to check for dirt, sediment, or other debris. These can build up within the lantern and throw off the mixture of gas and air needed to properly light and stay running at a top rate.

If you rinse out the lanterns after each camping trip or long use that will help to make sure you are always in good shape and that your Coleman propane lantern will continue to work when you need it most.

Step 3: Don’t discount the effect of temperature on your propane lanterns.

Colder weather affects propane in the same way it affects many other types of gas. At 0 degrees you are going to have a very hard time lighting the propane and it might be straight out impossible around that temperature. At -20 even when already burning there’s a good chance that a steady feed won’t be possible and because of that the lantern will go out and almost certainly not re-light again. Pay attention to when the temperature really drops.

Propane Lanterns FAQ

Q: Are propane lanterns safe?

A: As long as they are in fully working order, propane lanterns are perfectly safe. Not only have they long been a popular choice for camping or outdoor use but they work perfectly fine as emergency lanterns and there are millions of people who cook with propane inside. Now propane should never be used indoors and you need to make sure the lanterns are in working order, but the lanterns themselves are safe when they are well-maintained and properly used, although indoors you should still have at least a small amount of ventilation and/or air flow.

Q: What is the top brand of propane lanterns?

A: While it’s always possible new models and designs can make this answer change, as of this writing Coleman is a name that absolutely dominates the list and there’s a reason for that. We’re not paid sponsors for Coleman – they are simply one of the very few companies that focus on creating propane lanterns and they do it extremely well.

Q: Why won’t my propane lantern light?

A: There is a small list of reasons why this could happen. Generally speaking it means you should check your fuel supply, check to see if you need to change your lantern’s mantles, and then see if anything is preventing the proper mix of gas and air from coming together so you can light it. If you look at the troubleshooting solutions section above that lists all the most common solutions by far.

Q: Do propane lanterns work in all weather?

A: No. While propane lanterns work best for most outdoor camping situations and for emergency situations within a house it is important to know that propane isn’t an extreme cold weather gas. While it may work just fine on chilly fall days where it is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, propane generally doesn’t light once you get down around 0 and the ability for it to burn and provide light plummets at the temperature hits -10 or -20 so if you’re doing extreme mountaineering or winter camping, you need other options.

Q: How can I get more fuel for my propane lantern?

A: Coleman not only provides a wide array of high quality lanterns but also plenty of options when it comes to getting canisters of propane to refill any emptied lanterns. It’s always a good idea to have back up gas for your high quality Coleman propane lanterns so when one runs low you’re prepared to fill it right back up to the top.

Q: Is propane really “God’s gas?”

A: Well no holy scripture is really clear on that point, but according to fictional character and Assistant Manager of Strickland Propane Hank Hill is firm on that point. So points for the cultural reference from King of the Hill otherwise we’ll just laugh and move on to the conclusion.

In Conclusion

While there are definitely reasons many people like LED and solar lanterns for camping and emergencies, there are also good reasons to like propane lanterns and everything they bring to the table. Hopefully this article is as good a resource as you can find anywhere online on the best possible propane lanterns you can buy off of Amazon or anywhere else, for that matter. Coleman is a name that can’t be ignored when it comes to finding the absolute best propane lanterns available, so buy the ones listed in this top 5 article in confidence.

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