TAOTRONICS LED CAMP LANTERN REVIEW
Article Written By; Tim Collins,
Good afternoon, today I will be reviewing (2) TaoTronics portable safety LED camp lanterns. Unfortunately, I am still buried under 3 feet of snow and I am not able to get out for camping yet. However, I am still able to show everyone how the lanterns look, function and perform. One is the model TT-CL001 and the other model is the TT-CL003. Both models are made out of ABS plastic so they may not be as sturdy as some camping lanterns but they both seem to be pretty sturdy to the touch. Both models are lightweight, (model TT-CL003 comes in at under 13 oz. without the batteries and the model TT-CL001 comes in at just under 9 oz. without the batteries). The model TT-CL001 requires (3) AA batteries and the model TT-CL003 requires (3) D batteries. I will let others who feel like it argue about which is better, batteries or charged lanterns. Instead, I will focus on the positive aspect of batteries. I always have spare batteries on hand when out in the field, water or camping so it is not an issue to me and the camp lanterns will always be operational to me. The model TT-CL001 has an ultra bright LED bulb that provides 60 lumen and the model TT-CL003 has a CREE LED bulb that provides 300 lumens. The model TT-CL001 is water resistant while TaoTronics states the model TT-CL003 is not waterproof and to avoid using it in the rain but a splash of water will not harm it.
Enough of the technical aspects of the camp lanterns, lets talk about how they perform for practical uses.
Inserting the batteries for the model TT-CL001 is very easy. Merely un-screw the bottom and the layout for the batteries is right there and easy to install. Screw the bottom back on and you are good to go. The model TT-CL003 however is a different story. You turn the bottom counter-clockwise ¼ turn and the bottom comes off exposing the battery compartment. Now the difficulty begins. First, there are no clear markings to indicate how the batteries should be placed in via the +/-. Now I know I should be able to look at it and figure it out without a problem, but not everyone can or simply will. Second, the battery cover (bottom of the lantern) has arrows that line up with the lantern showing you where it should be to install the bottom back on. This would be helpful accept that the part where the they need to match up rotates independently from the bottom. Since you need to bottom to line up with the lantern to get the cover to push down, the battery line up is constantly moving out of place creating a frustrating time to get the cover back on. I do not recommend someone with little patience to use this lantern. You will get mad and probably break the model TT-CL003 or even destroy it for revenge.
The model TT-CL001 is very simple to use. You grab the (2) metal handles and pull up while holding the bottom. This will expose the lens and turns on the bulb. You can then use the (2) metal handles to hang on a branch, inside the tent or camp or simply leave it set on the picnic table or camp table. The model TT-CL003 has a push button on the front of the lantern that cycles to (3) different modes. The (3) modes are low, high and flashing. It has a single metal handle you can use to hang from a branch or inside the tent.
The model TT-CL003 also has the ability for you to detach the top and lens from the battery compartment and bulb so you can expose the bulb away from the lens making it even brighter. There is also a little plastic hanger on the bottom that you can use for hanging as well. Simply turn the lens and top a ¼ turn counter-clockwise and remove it from the bottom and you are set. The model TT-CL003 has a flashing light above the on/off button indicating you still have battery life. The model TT-CL001 however has no indicators for battery life. This is where the extra batteries will earn their keep because you won’t know you need them until you go to use the lantern.
Both, the model TT-CL001 and the model TT-CL003 are extremely bright. When I received them for review I remember installing batteries and turning them on inside during the daylight and darn near blinding my family. My wife and son both was looking directly into the lanterns when I turned them on and this created spots in front of their eyes for a while. So, I recommend you do not look directly into the bulb when turning on.
These photos were taken at 4:50am on a plowed woods road for the railroad. As you can see, there was no external light and I used no flash. The close-up photos were from about 3 yards away and the further ones were taken about 20 yards away. I did this to show the lanterns ability to shine.
Overall I am very pleased to have the model TT-CL001 and model TT-CL003 camp lanterns and I recommend them to everyone. Accept for the battery installation on the TT-CL003, they are bright, lightweight and small making them very handy. I think if you are going to use them solely for camping, you will be under-utilizing them. Some other uses for the lanterns include:
1.)They will be great for your house if the power goes out.
2.)In your car in case you break down.
3.)In your hunting truck or hunting pack for tracking game.
4.)On the riverbank when fishing at night.
The possibilities are endless. The TT-CL001 is being sold on Amazon for $19.99 while the TT-CL003 is being sold on Amazon for $45.99. I have provided several links in this review that you can click on that will take you where you need to go to make a purchase. I also provide a couple links that will take you directly to the TaoTronics home website. In fact, just click on the TaoTronics word with a link and you will go to their home page.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review of the TaoTronics portable safety LED camp lanterns. If you enjoyed the review and found it useful, please share it with your friends and spread the good word.