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#293131 - 08/29/19 04:14 AM Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED
Tirec Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Rocky Mountain West
With the acquisitions of a couple of Coleman products recently, and seeing a fancy LED lantern at Costco yesterday, I got to wondering just how expensive these things were to purchase and operate. Coleman likes to tout the efficiency of their liquid fuel lanterns, but I didn't trust the sales hype.

I checked the Coleman Dual Fuel Lantern, about $85 (with Coleman brand and Crown brand fuel at Wally), Propane Lantern, about $50, and the Enbrighten LED Lantern, $28.

I figured out how much it'd be to run it per hour based on runtime, BTU, and fuel cost.

For the Coleman Dual Fuel, cost per hour on bright was 28¢, on dim was 7¢. Using the Coleman fuel at $12.92/gal, gives you an hourly cost of 40¢ for bright, and 10¢ for dim.

Propane in the 1lb cylinders going for about $3/lb gives you an hourly cost of 43¢ bright and 21¢ dim.

Now, an Enbrighten 8D LED lantern at Costco, using Duracell batteries at $1.21 each, costs 97¢ per hour on bright, but 2¢ at the dim mode.

So, I then ran the numbers based on the mid power level for an average usage, I ran it for using the lantern for 5 hours per day for 7, 14, 31 and 62 days.

Boy, was I surprised!

For 7 days, Crown fuel $6.06, Coleman fuel $8.82, Propane $11.21, and the LED $17.33!!

For 14 days: Crown $21.11, Coleman $17.66, Propane $22.43, and LED $34.66.

31 days: Crown $26.82, Coleman $39.11, Propane $49.66, LED $76.75.

Running them for 2 months, 62 days: Crown $53.64, Coleman $78.23, Propane $99.31, and LED...$153.49!!!

Now, the nice thing about the Dual fuel lantern is that...it can also run on Unleaded gasoline. That takes it down to not quite a quarter of the cost of the Crown fuel, and 1/5 the cost of Coleman fuel.

When you compare the cost of the Coleman Lantern running on Unleaded for 2 months vs the cost of the LED, the Coleman Lantern cost $15.50 for 6.3 gallons of gas compared to $153.50 for 126 batteries.

The chart below shows how I came up with some of these. The fuel cost is roughly how much it cost to fill the tank, attach a cylinder, or use 8 D batteries. The cost per hour is based on the manufacturers information for how long they'll run at the various output levels.

Other factors not included:
20lb propane cylinders with adapters or refilling 1lb cylinders from larger tanks, replacement parts (mantles, globes, etc) would have to be added, or get/make a wire mesh globe that lasts nearly forever.
Using unleaded fuel requires careful cleaning or replacement of the generator.
Storage of fuels requires a safe space, or shelf space. For 2 months, you'd need about 6 gals of Coleman fuel, 33 propane cylinders or 126 batteries.
Proper ventilation, if used indoors, is critical for the Coleman or propane lanterns. There are calculators for figuring that out.
The LED lantern has a USB charging port, but that'll drain the batteries a little faster.
The Coleman lanterns will put out heat. In winter, that may help your situation.
Getting a solar charger for the batteries would help, but the batteries and charger will change the costs.
Precautions must always be taken with flames or flame based lighting, heating or cooking sources, and a fire extinguisher should be handy.
Keep away from children.
Use common sense.


YMMV!


Attachments
Coleman Calcs.JPG




Edited by Tirec (08/29/19 04:17 AM)

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#293135 - 08/29/19 07:17 AM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tirec]
Tjin Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1762
I personally don't like disposable batteries unless required (like avalanche beacons, because of the battery test function or Hazloc/ATEX certification requirement).

With rechargeable NiMH's; a recharge is dirt cheap. I have been using the same Sanyo Eneloops for a decade now.

The issue with liquid and gas lanterns are not safe to use indoors, the fragile mantel, fragile lantern glass, safety of storing fuels, large and heavy. But I do like that little sizzle sound and that incandescent light for the ambiance.

LED lanterns are totally safe indoors, can be much smaller and lighter, a good one doesn't have many fragile bits (some battery carriers look cheap), batteries are fairly safe to store, on rechargeables dirt cheap to run. There are different color white LED's, but generally the ambiance of a white fluorescent tube.
_________________________


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#293138 - 08/29/19 01:02 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tjin]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7051
Loc: southern Cal
I grew up learning to use Coleman lanterns and stoves properly. Those have all gone away now in favor of LEDs. I, too, am a fan of rechargeable batteries; why anyone persists in using alkalines (alkaleaks) is beyond me.

Several of my lights also function as modest power banks, allowing me to keep my phone (camera etc.) charged. Moving and storing electrons is now the name of the game.

I can recharge batteries from the grid, either of our vehicles (one of which is a Prius - no worries there) or from portable solar panels.

This is a much safer and convenient source of power than white gas or similar.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#293140 - 08/29/19 01:17 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tirec]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2097
Loc: Colorado
Quote:
Running them for 2 months, 62 days: Crown $53.64, Coleman $78.23, Propane $99.31, and LED...$153.49!!!

Taking your numbers as gospel, I'm assuming that this must be running things on high. Using your numbers again, both liquid fuel and propane use about 1/4 as much on dim, and LED's use about 1/50th as much.

So on dim, your numbers would work out to about:

Crown $13, Coleman $20, Propane $25, and LED...$3

That right there would make LED a clear winner in my mind. And I assume you calculated these numbers using disposable batteries. Rechargeables would bring the cost down to next-to-nothing (you could buy a solar panel to charge the batteries with the money you saved from not buying the other lanterns and fuels). Most of the jobs to be done in a disaster situation could probably be handled on dim, with occasional use of high. Flame-based light is not safe indoors or in a fabric tent, and I sure wouldn't let a small child carry around a Coleman lantern using liquid fuel. I have seen one of those things go off in a flameball that totally consumed a jeep (the lantern was being handled by an adult). And the mantles are oh-so-fragile once they've been lit.

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#293141 - 08/29/19 01:20 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tjin]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2097
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Tjin
But I do like that little sizzle sound and that incandescent light for the ambiance.

When your lights start making that little sizzle sound, make sure you know where your breaker box is, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. eek

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#293145 - 08/29/19 01:55 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: haertig]
Tjin Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1762
Originally Posted By: haertig
Originally Posted By: Tjin
But I do like that little sizzle sound and that incandescent light for the ambiance.

When your lights start making that little sizzle sound, make sure you know where your breaker box is, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. eek


Is a classic lantern light not referred to as incandescent light type? (English is my third language).
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#293147 - 08/29/19 02:41 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tirec]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7051
Loc: southern Cal
I believe the term "incandescent light" generally refers to the electriclight bulb typically used in the 20th century, which used the electric current to heat a filament wire, thereby emiting light. Iam not an electrical engineer, so Imight be off on the details....

Your command of English is quite satisfactory, better than quite a few native speakers.
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Geezer in Chief

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#293154 - 08/29/19 08:43 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tirec]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1576
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
after the first of the 2004 hurricanes I switched to Sanyo/Panasonic AA Eneloops for all my storm LED area, task, and headlight, along with weather alert radio

I had switched to propane from Coleman fuel 20 years prior, and recently switched to an Asian style flat single burner stove that uses both butane cartridges and 1# propane

I have a couple of Dietz and Feuerhand wick style kerosene lanterns, but they are back up to the LED area lanterns

an older KMart Dietz fueled with a citronella based tiki lamp oil is used outdoors in the non attached garage to help with mosquitoes

I do have a dual fuel Coleman stove that can run on unleaded gasoline as a back up to the several propane stoves and fish cooker appliances

if you are new to the hurricane event, and don't have a generator to power a small air conditioner for you bedroom, make sure you get some form of battery powered fan... my Ridgid contractor fan easily runs at a USPSA match for 4 hours without denting the battery life

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#293157 - 08/29/19 09:28 PM Re: Lanterns: Liquid fuel, Propane or LED [Re: Tirec]
chaosmagnet Online   content
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3214
Loc: USA
Tjin,

hikermor is correct. An “incandescent” light uses an electric current through a filament held in the vacuum of a bulb to create light (and plenty of heat). While a physicist would agree that a classic mantle lantern gives off “incandescent” light it is colloquially incorrect. At least in the USA.


Edited by chaosmagnet (08/29/19 09:28 PM)

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