By January 30, 2008

North Point Crank-powered LED Emergency Lantern Review

Sometimes you just have to see WTF is going on. There’s been a wind storm, you forgot to test your Maglite ahead of time, and now you’re in the dark with your woman. Normally this would be awesome, but you’re right in the middle of Ticket to Ride and you’re about to win. What do you do? Reach for your trusty crank-powered LED lantern made by North Point. North Point lantern has a few nifty features that impressed me right out of the box. It’s lightweight, has a rubberized body, and a plastic handle with a folding hook on it so that you can hang the lantern. Operation is simple: there’s one button that turns on four, eight, all twelve lights, and then turns all of the lights off. There’s a gimmicky compass on the top of the lantern hood. I guess it works well enough, but I’m not entirely sure why it was included. There is a plug for an AC adapter, but again I’m a bit baffled by this product feature. If there’s power, wouldn’t one use more powerful lights instead?

I like hand-cranked gadgets, because no matter how out of shape you are you can always turn a plastic handle for sixty seconds. The product packaging reports twenty minutes of light for every minute, but as with my other hand-crank emergency goodies the run time is usually under-estimated on the product description. My lantern ran for over two hours before the LEDs completely died out.

Unfortunately, the North Point lantern may run so long because the light output is very, very, low. Even with all twelve LEDs on, the lantern didn’t give off enough light to read by, even at distances as close as two feet. I would rate the output of the lantern as “useless” unless you are afraid of the dark and just need a comfort light. I wouldn’t count on the lantern to illuminate anything, even at full brightness. Looks like we’ll use our Braille skills to finish that game of Ticket to Ride.

I bought two of these from Tanga for about $15 each after shipping. I don’t think these are worth even fifteen dollars. The light output is too low, and I would have MUCH rather had more light than a longer run-time. I don’t need an hour of dim light; I want twenty minutes of bright light. After all, I’m about to claim a route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Posted in: preparedness, review

10 Comments on "North Point Crank-powered LED Emergency Lantern Review"

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  1. Ed says:

    Yep, I got the same thing. Good light if a complete power outage and you keep cranking while it is on, but that is useless.

    Cannot read with it.

    Have you found a good crank lantern yet?

  2. drfaulken says:

    Damn, you bought one too? I was too late to warn you 🙁

  3. Ed says:

    Yep, it is a weirdly low light. You actually can’t really use it for anything. But, if you crank it while it is on it is bright enough to read by. Damn irritating. I suspect that means that it has the ability to be bright enough, just badly designed maybe?

  4. David says:

    Thanks very much for the review! Tanga’s got these up now and I figured I had better do a little research before buying, and I’m glad I did. I’ll save my money.

  5. Matt says:

    Thanks very much for the review! Tanga’s got these up now and I figured I had better do a little research before buying, and I’m glad I did. I’ll save my money.

    Ditto. Thanks for the warning.

  6. Rebecca from Remodeling and Construction says:

    I live in the SF bay area and in early Jan I was without electricity for four and a half days following a wind storm…I used candles mostly but the cordless stickup bulbs that you see on the tv commercials actually work pretty well for providing light…and they were fairly cheap too. That might be something to consider for next time.

  7. Joyce says:

    It’s sad that these are so crappy. Outside of using candles, which can be trouble with large dogs who aren’t in control of their limbs any more than a small child, and small children who want to touch everything, we just always used rechargeable flashlights.

    I have a couple from work that I keep with my uniform and, of course, would be at home with me when I’m home. The led lights are the brightest; I think we use the “Stinger.” They last forever and cast off a great deal of light. We prop them up or wedge them between a couch cushion and they brighten up the whole room. You can read by them.

    You probably couldn’t go for days and you need to charge them, so they still aren’t totally green, but they don’t suck! 🙂

  8. Rob Wallace says:

    I live in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, I’ve tried this light and I was very dissapointed. Think it’s the altitude. (kidding)

  9. Sally says:

    Geez, sure wish I’d run across your review of the North Point crank powered lantern before my parents went and got one… I would have steered them away because as you and others have commented, it’s not a decent piece of equipment by any stretch – my Dad is not very happy with this thing. As for what you say is a plug for an AC adapter, the one we have says it’s for a DC adapter for a 6V power supply. No biggie…

    Thanks for a solid review.

  10. Carl says:

    I bought one of these lamps and I do find it quite good. It does give of enough light to read. I tried it in my garden at night time and there was very little light from surrounding sources.. Perhaps it has been improved?

    Its light weight and seems quite sturdy. This one has 4 settings, off, 4 LED’s, 8 LED’s and 12 LED’s. 12 LED’s is enough.

    I’ve not yet found an adapter which will fit. The ones I have seen are over $20 so its probably not worth it.