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LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger Solar Lantern Review: Is It Worth Buying?

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Living through constant power outages caused by extreme weather conditions (similar to what happened in Texas in February) made me much more aware of all the creature comforts I take for granted.

Being left without power for two days straight was no walk in the park, especially once my phone battery drained and I realized I have no way of communicating with others.

Once life went back to normal, I started researching alternative sources of energy. That’s when I came across the LuminAID PackLite solar lantern. I’ve been testing it for a couple of months now, and here are my impressions. 

What Is the LuminAID Packlite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger Solar Lantern?

The LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in1 phone charger lantern is an inflatable solar lantern.

The inventors, Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork debuted the product on Shark Tank. [1] Since then, LuminAID has been declared as one of the best products featured on the show.

This solar inflatable 2-in-1 phone charger lantern is a great lighting alternative in a natural disaster. You can also use it on your camping adventure or to add some ambiance to your backyard.

It comes flattened in a box. To use one, you just have to charge it, blow it up by twisting, and turn it on.


It’s extremely lightweight and collapsible — it’s only 8.5 ounces and packs down to just 1 inch tall. Simply twist to compress it.

This means you can carry it with you wherever you go or store it in your car’s glove compartment, backpack, or any drawer in your home in case of an emergency. No wonder it brought down the house on Shark Tank.

The lantern can be charged by solar power in 12-14 hours or by USB in 1-2 hours, and it lasts 44-50 hours on low mode and 2-5 hours on turbo mode.

LuminAID PackLite Max Benefits

Design

What I like best about the LuminAID lantern design is that it’s eco-friendly. Compared to other lanterns out there, LuminAID is 100% PVC-free. It’s made of waterproof and shatterproof heavy-duty thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

Hands holding up a solar lantern that is lighting up the night

I can vouch for it being shatterproof — it survived being accidentally thrown from my third-story balcony without a scratch (although I did get some weird looks from my neighbors).

This one also has a rating of IP67, which is a great feature if you’re into water sports, as this phone charger lantern is submersible up to 1 meter.

It has an orange adjustable strap, which makes it easy to hang from a branch or a tent when you’re on a camping adventure. You can also daisy-chain multiple lights together for backyard lighting.

Brightness

This is probably the most important feature in solar lanterns — brightness. And the LuminAID doesn’t disappoint.

It allows you to choose between 5 LED light brightness settings:

  • Turbo — 150 lumens
  • High — 75 lumens
  • Medium — 18 lumens
  • Low — 15 lumens
  • Flashing — 15 lumens

This feature is great because it means you’ll have enough light whether you want to stay up playing UNO with friends or just add some ambiance to your space.

Charging Options

LuminAID lanterns have a built-in 2,000 mAh lithium-ion battery, which has two charging options:

  • Solar panel — Charges in direct sunlight. Fully charged in 14 hours.
  • Micro USB input access — Fully charged in 2 hours.

One of the best features of these LuminAID lights is that they’re a phone charger lantern.

They have a USB input port, which charges phones or other products such as a tablet, and gives then a 75 to 100% boost in just 2 to 4 hours.

Being able to reach someone in a crisis can be a matter of life and death, and with these devices, I feel safe knowing I’ve got a source of light and energy for my phone during emergencies or power outages. [2]

They’re also easy to charge while out on an adventure.

A woman holding a bright solar lantern while she's looking out over the sea

Just use the adjustable strap to attach these lanterns to your backpack, and they’ll charge while you’re hiking.

Or you can leave them out in the sun at your campsite.

Ease of Use

Gray background with a flattened solar phone charger lantern

LuminAid lights has one main button. Press it once to turn on the lantern at the highest setting. Each successive press will make the light go dimmer, and the sixth and last press will turn the light off.

There’s also a secondary power level indicator button. When pressed, 1-4 green LED lights will appear, which will show how much charge is left.

A red LED light lights up when the lantern is receiving solar lights. This option was my favorite because it allowed me to know if the product was getting enough exposure to solar light for charging.

PROS

  • Compact build
  • Two charging options
  • Five lighting options
  • Recyclable
  • Waterproof and floatable 
  • Easy to use
  • Holds charge for a long time
  • Two-year storage life

LuminAID PackLite Max Shortfalls

While I am a fan of this solar product, there are a few downsides that should be addressed.

There’s a rapid flicker when I you’re looking directly at its light, which can be a little disorienting. However, if it’s overhead, as I usually kept it most of the time, the light quality is smooth, and the opaque vinyl gives even light, which helps offset the LED whiteness.

Another thing I wasn’t a huge fan of, especially at the start, is the valve. As this is an inflatable product, the valve can be pushed in so that it’s flush with the surface, but mine popped out quite a lot, which I found a little annoying.

You inflate the lantern by pinching the valve with your teeth, which was a struggle sometimes. However, with time, the valve became less stiff.

Also, LuminAID isn’t as bright as other, bigger lanterns. This is due to its ultra-compact design.

CONS

  • Long charging speed when charged by the sun
  • Can’t sit evenly on a table

Other People’s Thoughts

To give you an objective view of LuminAID lanterns, I’m including other people’s reviews, some of them my friends:

Because it breaks down, it’s perfect just to throw alongside everything else in your bug-out bag and squeeze into a pocket.


Nate, Reviewer at Bug Out Bag

I bought this product for a camp with friends; everyone was amazed at how useful this product is.


Silvia, LuminAID user

Works great, a little heavy for backpacking but has lots of other uses. I've used it several times during a blackout and it's been real lifesaver.


Amat Brewer, LuminAID user

On the original PackLite products, the strap popped off because you had to wrap it around, but this product you can strap right on to the ridgeline with the adjustable strap.


Ben, Founder of Living Survival

Things to Consider Before Buying a Solar Lantern

Charging Options

Lanterns need between 6 and 8 hours of direct sunlight to be fully charged, some even more. Do you have this much sunlight in your area?

If not, invest in products that run on a combination of solar energy and batteries, or in the case of LuminAID, solar lights and USB charging, to make sure your products never run out of juice.

Use

Think about what you’ll be using the lantern for. Are you looking for products that are reliable companions on your next adventure? Or are you looking for lights that will spell the difference between life or death during an emergency?

Before you make a purchase, ask yourself these questions. Some lanterns are made only to give out ambient light, while other lanterns can be both an addition to the ambiance and an emergency source of light.

Emergency Situations

Do you live in an area frequently battered by storms? Then, you’re no stranger to blackouts in your life.

Yes, using candles and oil lamps is a temporary alternative. But, apart from being inconvenient, they are also a fire hazard.

On the other hand, solar lanterns are portable, safe, and a great choice in desperate times.

The LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger Solar Lantern: Should You Buy It?

You should buy the LuminAID PackLite max 2-in-1 phone charger solar lantern If you’re looking for a product to give you peace of mind during extreme weather events and blackouts.

This one is compact, lightweight, and can fit anywhere. Its USB and solar charging options mean you’ll never be left in the dark in a life-threatening situation.

By buying LuminAID lanterns, you can also sign up for Give Light, Get Light program, which sponsors a light for families in need.

Considering all this, I would recommend getting a LuminAID lantern for your next camping trip, or as an addition to your home’s emergency kit.

We Recommend

THE LUMINAID PACKLITE MAX 2-IN-1 PHONE CHARGER SOLAR LANTERN

A mobile phone being charged by two inflatable solar lanterns

References

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/09/mark-cuban-backed-start-up-luminaid-helps-first-responders-in-an-innovative-way.html
  2. https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/inno/stories/news/2017/02/07/shark-tank-startup-luminaids-new-device-brings.html


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