The 9 Best Inflatable Lights

Updated April 05, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. What should you do when you're in need of gentle illumination, but have limited space and weight capacity? An inexpensive solution is to get one of these inflatable lights. They're not just great for taking with you on camping and hiking trips, but also make for good decorations around a patio or pool deck. Our selection includes a mix of products intended for both utility and ambiance. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best inflatable light on Amazon.

9. Ivation Cube

Go ahead and toss the Ivation Cube into the pool or hot tub, as it's completely safe for use in and around water. It can be used to read during a nighttime dip or just as a fun toy, and is easy to blow up in seconds with your mouth or a pump.
  • works for 12 hours on a full charge
  • glows in seven different colors
  • battery indicator can be glitchy
Brand Ivation
Model PL-Cube
Weight 4.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Mpowerd Luci Candle

The Mpowerd Luci Candle lives up to its name thanks to a flame-like flicker setting and an amber glow. It boasts a semiopaque finish that keeps its illumination soft, perfect for a romantic dinner among the trees or reading in your tent.
  • collapses flat for storage
  • safe to leave outdoors
  • a bit dim for emergency uses
Model 1010-002-001-002
Weight 2.9 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Minion Stuart

If you're looking to make a particularly unsubtle statement with your lawn decor and showcase your love for both Christmas and the "Despicable Me" franchise, consider the 3.5-foot Minion Stuart. Your kids will love it, and it's certainly an attention-grabber.
  • self-inflates in seconds
  • includes stakes and tethers
  • can malfunction in snow
Brand Gemmy
Model G-38291
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Aidier Ztarx

The black leatherette strap of the Aidier Ztarx snaps closed around its plastic body when collapsed to keep it folded up tight, ideal for when it's attached to your pack for charging. It can shine for up to 30 hours on its dimmest setting after a full day of sun exposure.
  • available clear or frosted
  • flashing mode for emergencies
  • some units do not hold a charge well
Model pending
Weight 3.7 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Mokie Venus

The Mokie Venus features a winter-inspired snowflake pattern on its exterior that makes it a perfect choice for nighttime walks in fresh snow. Since it's intended for cold weather use, it eschews the solar panels used by many others in favor of battery power.
  • runs on a set of three aaas
  • up to 60-hour battery life
  • deflation can be difficult
Brand Mokie
Model pending
Weight 3.5 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Solight Solarpuff

Weighing in at just 2.6 ounces, the Solight Solarpuff is true to its name. It features a semitransparent webbed cover design that casts some cool-looking geometric shadows, and it is easy to toggle between its high, low, and flashing modes, depending on your needs.
  • charges in just a few hours
  • quite bright for its size
  • a bit on the pricey side
Brand Solight Design
Model Puff1A
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. FreeBex Lantern

The clear PVC enclosure of the FreeBex Lantern ensures that you'll get the maximum illumination out of its 10 LEDs, regardless of where you need it. It's water-, dust-, and snow-proof, making it a great choice for outdoor installation or as a camping nightlight.
  • runs on solar power
  • loop for easy backpack attachment
  • shines upward when hung from strap
Brand FreeBex
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

2. LuminAid PackLite 16

The LuminAid PackLite 16 will shine on its low setting for up to 16 hours when fully charged, keeping you safely lit through the night. It features a snap closure to stay folded when not in use and works well to keep you visible while you change a tire or go for a jog.
  • waterproof down to one meter
  • size of a deck of cards when folded
  • multiple hanging options
Brand LuminAID
Model LUM-PL16
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Luci Lux Pro Outdoor 2.0

The Luci Lux Pro Outdoor 2.0 is perfect to take along on camping trips. It's so lightweight you won't notice it in your pack, and it can hang easily in a tent. Charge it up by day by strapping it to your back, and then use it as a backup USB power pack if necessary.
  • 10 bright white leds
  • two brightness settings and strobe
  • can also be charged via usb
Model 1404-001-001-000
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Inflatable Lights Versus Traditional Options

You’ve probably heard about inflatable lights, which are becoming more and more common all the time. Looking at them, you can quickly see that they are different from flashlights and lanterns, but you might wonder how they measure up against these more traditional tools. As it turns out, inflatable lights offer quite a range of benefits over standard portable lighting.

To begin with, nearly all use rechargeable solar-powered batteries instead of traditional primary batteries. This gives them the eco advantage; instead of throwing battery after battery away, you can keep recharging the device via the solar panels, thereby reducing your impact on the environment. Some of these lights can handle up to 1,000 charges, in fact, so you’ll be using them for years. You’ll find that you get a benefit over standard rechargeable batteries, too, since the batteries used in these lights are not as heavy. On a long hike, when every ounce can add to foot or back pain, this lightweight option is definitely welcome.

Of course, not all standard lanterns are battery-powered. You might use a kerosene or propane lantern, especially if you don’t have to schlep your gear too far. Consider, though, that these devices carry a risk of fire that’s not present with an inflatable light. You’ll find that these inflatables usually stand up to the weather better, as they’re designed to be waterproof, not just water resistant, like most lanterns or flashlights. And inflatable lights float, so if you drop one over the side of a water vessel, there’s no harm done.

Then, think about how much room your lighting device requires. Not only are inflatable lanterns lighter, but they pack up smaller, as well. Most collapse down nearly flat, which saves you precious space. Where you might only have room for one lantern, you could bring a handful of inflatable lights — perhaps one for every person in your party. When you’re finished, just deflate them for hassle-free storage.

Finally, inflatable lights offer a softer aesthetic presence than bulky lanterns or flashlights. Most are gently glowing cubes that can create a mood without drawing unnecessary attention. And if white light isn’t your thing, there are even inflatable lights in a variety of colors, from fun and funky reds and blues to mild off-whites.

Uses For Inflatable Lights

Along with the obvious use of inflatable lights for camping or backpacking, there are plenty of ways to employ this versatile lighting option. This is doubly true since inflatable lights are highly affordable, so investing in a range of them is relatively painless. And since they come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, there’s one for every application.

For instance, you could use inflatable lights to spice up your next nighttime pool party; toss three or four in the water to contribute to both atmosphere and safety. You might use one to add to the ambiance of a hot bath or your Jacuzzi, as well.

If you’re having any kind of event that will last to dusk and beyond, then inflatable lights provide an excellent way to keep the party going. You can place them on tables or even hang them, as many have handles built in. This option is simpler than running strings of lights and safer than using candles.

Inflatable lights aren’t just about fun, however. They make a perfect addition to emergency readiness kits, including those that you keep in your car, perfectly complementing other crucial items such as water, survival foods, and a hand-crank radio. If you know anyone heading off to college, an inflatable light makes a good preparedness gift that he or she can use in the event of dorm power outages. Keep in mind that you’ll need to occasionally check the charge on your emergency solar inflatable light; many manufacturers recommend doing so every three to six months.

Inflatable lights also make great gifts for outdoor enthusiasts, whether they enjoy camping, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, or whitewater rafting. You won’t even need to purchase extra batteries to go along with the gift, a hassle no one wants.

Brightening Our World

When you think about how many benefits inflatable lights offer, you can easily see why they’ve become so popular. But these nifty devices have another application, which is in disaster relief. In fact, most people became familiar with inflatable lights through the LuminAID, which was originally envisioned as just that — a way to bring light to those suffering through the aftermath of a catastrophe.

If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, you’ll probably remember the LuminAID pitch from season six, which introduced the brainchild of Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. As graduate students, they designed their solar-powered inflatable as part of a challenge that asked them to create a product that could help in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. On the show, all the Sharks loved the product, especially since it can be deployed in a wide range of natural disasters, but Stork and Sreshta decided to accept an offer from business mogul Mark Cuban. In 2017, they announced that their sales had grown considerably since the show and that they’ve been able to visit areas in need of relief and distribute many lights.

After LuminAID captured both the Sharks' and the internet’s fancy, inflatable lights have become more and more affordable, popular, and prevalent. A range of companies, following the humanitarian lead, have begun to offer solar inflatable lights with a unique “buy one, get one” twist — when you purchase one, they send one to a location in need of aid. Some companies also let consumers buy lanterns for a reduced price to send as a charitable gift. This way, you can provide help to areas in distress, even if you personally have no need for more than one or two of the devices.

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Last updated on April 05, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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