Reviews

For Under $30, This LED Lantern Lights the Way

With its ample brightness and light modes, the Lepro LE LED lantern proved to be a top choice during a recent camping trip.
Tony Carrick Avatar
The Lepro LED lantern on a grassy spot in the woods
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

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Whether camping in the woods, dealing with an unexpected power outage, or facing some other dimly lit situation, it’s crucial to have a quality battery-powered lantern at the ready. To help consumers find the right one for their needs, I recently spent hours in deep, dark woods and pitch-black rooms testing a variety of LED lanterns. With its exceptional brightness, portable size, and versatile light modes, the Lepro LE Super Bright LED lantern proved to be the best of the bunch.

I tested the Lepro LE lantern in a dark, heavily wooded area to determine how well it functioned as a task light as well as for providing more nuanced illumination for reading and relaxing. I also subjected it to abuse to determine how well it could endure wet weather and rugged conditions. Read on to learn how the Lepro LE Super Bright LED Lantern performed.

Lepro LE Super Bright LED Lantern: At a Glance

The Lepro LED lantern on a rocky spot in the woods
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

Rating: 9.3/10

SPECS

  • Max brightness: 1000 lumens
  • Power source: Rechargeable battery (USB)
  • Dimmable: Yes

PROS

  • One of the brightest rechargeable LED lanterns at 1000 lumens
  • Ability to dim light and change light temperature makes it versatile
  • Hooks and handle allow for multiple ways to use the lantern

CONS

  • Rechargeable battery doesn’t last as long as those on some LED lanterns
  • The lithium-ion battery cannot be removed and replaced when it wears out

Get the Lepro LE LED lantern at:

What is the Lepro LE LED lantern?

The Lepro LE is an LED lantern that’s useful when camping or for emergency lighting during power outages. Its LED bulbs put out 1000 lumens of light, making it one of the brightest LED lanterns on the market. It comes equipped with four light levels: cool white, warm white, combination, and blinking. A single button lets users turn the unit on and off, cycle through its four light modes, and dim the lantern.

A foldable handle allows one to carry the lantern, while a hook on the base is useful for hanging it upside down from the roof of a tent. The lantern’s shade can also be removed to create an even brighter light.

The Lepro LE uses a rechargeable battery, which can be recharged via the included micro USB charging cable. There’s also a USB port that allows the lantern to double as a charging station for a smartphone.

A person holding the Lepro LED lantern by its hook to show how it hangs
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

Is the Lepro LE LED lantern durable?

The Lepro LE is not the most durable lantern we tested. (Check out the Streamlight Super Siege rechargeable LED lantern to learn about a lantern that can take a licking and keep on lighting.) However, the Lepro LE is tough enough to handle the hard knocks that typically come with camping in the great outdoors, and it costs considerably less than the Streamlight. An abundance of thick rubber around the top and base of the Lepro LE helps absorb impacts should it be dropped or kicked over, and I intentionally did both during testing.

While my durability tests caused the handle to pop out of the lantern frame on one occasion, it was easy to pop it back in. Other than that minor issue, the Lepro LE suffered no more than a few scuffs on its rubberized exterior.

Along with making the lantern more impact-resistant, the rubberized coating around the base has the added advantage of making the Lepro LE easier to grip and less likely to slide off a smooth surface, reducing the odds that it will suffer a fall.

Lepro tags the LE with an IP44 water-resistance rating, which means it can survive being splashed with water. The lantern lived up to that rating during my testing, as I sprayed it several times with a garden hose, and it suffered no ill effects. However, it doesn’t have as high a level of water resistance as some of the other lanterns I tested; some had IPX7 ratings, meaning they could be submerged underwater for up to 30 minutes and still work.

A person using the light from the Lepro LED lantern to see where to light a camping stove
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

How does the Lepro LE perform?

The Lepro LE tops our list of the best LED lanterns because of its brightness and versatile light modes. Simply put, as LED lanterns go, you won’t find a much brighter one. With its whopping 1000 lumens, the Lepro LE produces ample lighting to illuminate a dark campsite or room.

During my tests, the LE produced ample illumination in a dark wooded area, providing enough lighting for such tasks as cooking on a camp stove and setting up a tent. While the LE’s lumen output was indeed impressive, a super-bright light can sometimes be overkill, so I loved the fact that the Lepro LE is dimmable down to more nuanced levels.

What’s more, the LE’s light modes include a 6000K cool-white light, a 3000K warm-white light, and a mix between the two (“K” stands for “Kelvin,” which represents the light’s coolness or warmth). I could foresee setting the Lepro LE to bright white light for prepping meals, then dimming it down and using its warm-light mode for reading or relaxing around the campsite.

I like the fact that the Lepro LE runs off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. It recharges via a micro USB charger, which is included and fits conveniently in a small compartment under the lantern’s base. I found the Lepro LE’s runtime to be good, though not fantastic—I got a max of 12 hours while using dimmer light settings. It lasted about half that time when I had it set to max brightness. While that pales in comparison to the 36 hours of runtime the other lanterns I tested have, it’s important to note those lanterns are heavier and come with higher price tags.

Although the Lepro LE’s runtime is sufficient during a power outage or for weekend camping trips, it probably isn’t enough for longer off-grid journeys into the woods.

Is the Lepro LE easy to use?

Operating the Lepro LE is simple. Pressing its power button repeatedly cycles through its four light modes. Once it’s in the desired mode, simply press and hold down the button to bring the light level to the desired brightness.

The Lepro LE also has some convenient additional design features that allow usage in different ways. The foldable handle can be flipped up with ease, so folks can carry the lantern while navigating through the darkness to the electrical panel or for a short nocturnal hike in the woods. Since the Lepro LE weighs a mere 19 ounces, it’s easy to tote around.

I also liked being able to remove the lampshade for maximum brightness by simply giving it a half-counterclockwise turn. I found this shadeless option to be ideal when using the hook on the bottom to hang the Lepro LE from the roof of a tent for overhead lighting.

While the USB port for charging a smartphone is a nice extra, though I’m not sure I’d want to sacrifice the lantern battery to use it for this purpose.

The Lepro LED lantern on a grassy spot in the woods
Photo: Tony Carrick for Bob Vila

Is the Lepro LE LED lantern worth the money? 

As lanterns with built-in rechargeable batteries go, the Lepro LE is among the more affordable options, costing around $32 (or $56 for a pack of two). And since the Lepro LE proved to be one of the brightest and most versatile lanterns I tested, I consider it an excellent value. Shoppers won’t find many rechargeable LED lanterns at this price point that can do what the Lepro does.

There are certainly cheaper camping lanterns out there; however, most use disposable batteries (an ongoing expense) or lack the brightness and/or light modes the Lepro LE offers. That said, it does have its drawbacks. Its 4,400mAh batteries don’t have as long a runtime as other lanterns I tested, nor does the Lepro offer the same level of water resistance with its IP44 rating.

Is the Lepro LE lantern right for you?

Whether the Lepro LE lantern will suit your needs depends on what you’ll be using it for. It puts out very bright light compared to other lanterns. It’s also dimmable and offers light modes to change its color temperature, giving it the ability to function as a reading light, night-light, or task light. It’s also compact and lightweight enough to serve as a light source for nighttime hikes or navigating through a dark home.

While I highly recommend the Lepro LE, it does have its limitations. The Lepro LE’s size and weight make it a poor choice for backpacking, and the palm-size Black Diamond Moji lantern is a better option for backwoods trips.

Since the Lepro LE has a maximum runtime of 12 hours on a full charge, it’s not ideal for longer off-grid camping trips where there’s no power source for recharging its batteries. On those occasions, it’s best to go with a lantern that uses disposable batteries, such as the Coleman 390 lumen twin LED lantern, or a lantern that uses solar power to recharge, such as the Mpowerd Luci outdoor 2.0 inflatable solar light.

Where to Buy the Lepro LE LED lantern

Get the Lepro LE LED lantern at:

Meet the Tester

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer specializing in home improvement, landscaping, technology, home security, and design. His articles have been featured on such sites as Angi, Popular Science, Futurism, 360 Reviews by U.S. News & World Report, Domino, and more. Carrick has conducted rigorous product testing on everything from power tools to home security systems to backyard grills. He’s also spent an extensive amount of time in the woods camping and RVing. With each review, his goal is to help readers determine whether a product meets their needs and if it is or isn’t worth its price tag.

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Tony Carrick

Contributing Writer

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer who has contributed to BobVila.com since 2020. He writes how-to articles and product reviews in the areas of lawn and garden, home maintenance, home improvement, auto maintenance, housewares, and technology.

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