BioLite PowerLight Mini: Definitive Review (2020)

A Compact Lighting Solution to Beat the Darkness And It’s Super Light

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Table of Contents

36

Models Reviewed

22

Hours Of
Research

31

Field Test
Hours

72

Users
Surveyed

TopNotch Outdoor is independent – we research, test, and rate the top products to help you make the right buying choice. We sometimes use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on your purchase. Learn more…

This is the Ultimate TopNotch Review of the BioLite PowerLight Mini 2020…

At TopNotch we understand the importance of finding the right portable lighting solution for your outdoor trips.

To help you make definitive buying decisions, we’ve tested all the popular camping lanterns on the market.

The result is our comprehensive list of Top 10 Best Camping Lantern: Definitive Buyers Guide 2020.

This compact light from BioLite PowerLight Mini is a handy solution for multipurpose use. 

It performed well on a range of important metrics against other contenders in its class. 

If you want to know how exactly it performs against the other lanterns, keep reading… 

In this comprehensive review we’ll cover:

  • How does this light perform on camping trips?
  • Is it worth the price?
  • Features, durability
  • Lots more…

If you want to know about this tiny light in more detail, you’ll love this guide.

Let’s get started.

Brightness
7
Durability
6
Features
7
Ease of Use
6
Weight
8
Overall Score
68
  • Manufacturer: BioLite Manufacturers
  • Power type: Rechargeable Battery
  • Weight: 3.1 Ounces
  • Lumens: 135 Lumens
  • Run time: 52 Hours

Bottom Line : The lantern’s versatility is its key appeal

Pros


  • Handy lantern
  • Durable
  • Well-designed

Cons


  • Lowish lumen output
  • Not waterproof

Our Verdict: BioLite PowerLight Mini

To start with…

Versatility and portability are the two strongest points of this BioLite PowerLight Mini.

Need a hands-free light for late-evenings on the campsite?

This light will serve you fine. Fix it on your jacket while walking or mount it on your bike, it’ll light up your way perfectly.  

It’s a fantastic headlamp alternative and doubles as a portable charger.

Yes, you heard us right!

This camping lantern doubles as a solar charger and will give a quick boost of juice to your mobile or other small devices. Now that’s pretty useful when you’re out on a trip, right?

This is one of the reasons this mini light caught our attention. 

And it doesn’t stop there.

It has 4 different lighting modes, including a red lantern and white point light.

Need a bike light for evening rides? Use the bike mount to fix the light and you’re ready for an evening jaunt. 

In case you’re wondering whether there are any downsides, let me tell you

It isn’t the most durable and even at the maximum brightness setting, it works best for individual use only really.

So, if you’re going camping with your family or a group of buds, this one isn’t the only light to bank on – though of course you could always carry a few along at the same time.  

However, it would still be a really handy addition to your camping kit.

One more thing we noted – the light can be prone to overheating.

We used it continuously for around an hour, and the outer surface was a little hot to touch.  

This light missed our top awards but came out to be a close contender on the scoreboard. 

How?

Let’s get into the details to find out… 

Related: 10 Best Camping Lantern

The PowerLight Mini is an all-in-one charger, personal lantern, and bike light small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. A 1350mAh USB rechargeable battery provides up to 52 hours of light or a backup boost to your phone.

Analysis Comparisons and Test Results

Brightness

This mini light packs efficient LEDs, giving 135 lumens of light at max bright setting. The multiple dimming modes were helpful to get the level exactly right for our nighttime reading.

But, it wasn’t enough to light up our two person tent, sadly.

BioLite PowerLight Mini

Brightness Rating

AGPTEK Solar Lantern
8
UST 30-Day Duro LED Portable 700 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook
8
Black Diamond Apollo
7
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
7
BioLite Powerlight Mini
7
Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Cordless, 7.25
6
Black Diamond Voyager Lantern
6
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case
6
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
5

The other feature we found useful is the white point light, it worked well to get a distant night vision.

The 1350mAH rechargeable battery holds around 52 hours of charge in the low mode. On high, it came down to around 3 hours. 

However, the lithium-ion battery did drain quite quickly when we used it for charging a mobile. We loved the red lantern mode. This makes a pretty good rear light for your bike.

Handy, right?

Use the white or red strobe for night parties or to grab attention in the dark.  

Hold on though.

Our mini lantern is missing an opaque cover. 

If you prefer warm light, it’s just not for you. It emits a typical LED grade blue-white light.

We gave it a 7 in the brightness metric – this lantern’s actually pretty effective for personal outdoor use.

Durability

We liked the stainless steel on the back cover.  But the hard plastic front could use some more thought. It survived a few normal knocks and drops but not without a scratch or two.    

However, we added marks for the stainless steel wire stand which rotates 300 degrees.

BioLite PowerLight Mini

Durability Rating

Black Diamond Apollo
8
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
8
AGPTEK Solar Lantern
7
Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Cordless, 7.25
7
BioLite Powerlight Mini
6
UST 30-Day Duro LED Portable 700 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook
6
Black Diamond Voyager Lantern
6
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case
5
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
5

Want to know the best part?

It has IPX4 rating, meaning it can withstand water splashes from all directions. For increased waterproofing, the outer ports are covered with a plastic cap.

But, keep in mind – it isn’t fully waterproof.

It’ll survive light rain but not a dip in a puddle. 

To put it straight, durability is not this lantern’s strong suit.

For heavy-duty outdoor and camping use, Black Diamond Apollo is a better choice.

Features

As a function of size, the features are simply amazing.

The BioLite PowerLight Mini has four different light modes. Just hold the power button to set the light intensity or click it to change between the modes quickly. 

We liked the red light lantern and strobe

BioLite PowerLight Mini

Features Rating

Black Diamond Apollo
7
Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Cordless, 7.25
7
AGPTEK Solar Lantern
7
Biolite Powerlight Mini
7
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
6
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case
6
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
6
UST 30-Day Duro LED Portable 700 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook
5
Black Diamond Voyager Lantern
5

The bike mount was lightweight, easy to attach and remove. It made the light really versatile.

Best of all,

It comes with a USB charge out to quickly add some power to your mobile when you need it.

We used the rotating wire stand to place the mini light straight on the camp table, to clip it onto my jacket, and also to hang it over the kitchen area. 

While clipping it onto the jacket was a breeze, the design’s not best suited for overhead lighting.

Nevertheless, we gave it the top score in this metric.

Want to know why?     

We loved the multiple effective features packed in such a simple and compact design.

Ease of Use

So – the one point this light failed to impress me…

Ease of use.

It could really use a little more work here.

There is a single power button to change the modes, and dim/bright the light and It was slightly annoying when we tried to set the mode at night.

BioLite PowerLight Mini

Ease of Use Rating

AGPTEK Solar Lantern
9
Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
8
Black Diamond Apollo
7
Black Diamond Voyager Lantern
7
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case
7
UST 30-Day Duro LED Portable 700 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook
7
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
7
Biolite Powerlight Mini
6
Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Cordless, 7.25
6

However, there’s a silver lining.

It remembers the last mode setting you used. If you switch it on in the middle of the night, it won’t blind you with bright light. It starts in the mode you left it.  

Charging the internal battery or using the USB out to share power is pretty straightforward.

Four power indicators clearly show how much charge is left or how much more charge it needs. So, no issue there either.

We did find it difficult to place straight on the table.

Reason?

The super flexibility of the stand.

In addition to that, focusing the light on a point just in front can be quite difficult.

Weight

In the weight metric, this light simply nailed it.  

Why?

It’s one of the lightest camping lanterns we tested.

It measures just 3.4 x 2 x 0.6 inches.

Yes,  it’s pocket sized.

And, the weight – just 3.52ounces.

BioLite PowerLight Mini

Weight Rating

Goal Zero Crush Light Solar Powered Lantern
8
Biolite Powerlight Mini
8
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
8
Black Diamond Voyager Lantern
8
Black Diamond Apollo
7
AGPTEK Solar Lantern
7
UST 30-Day Duro LED Portable 700 Lumen Lantern with Lifetime LED Bulbs and Hook
6
Streamlight 44931 Siege Compact, Cordless, 7.25
6
Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case
6

No wonder we gave it the TopNotch best score in this metric. 

Carry it in your pocket or backpack, this white lantern is the lightest you’ll find.

It weighs even less than many headlamps. 

The compact design and its super-light weight makes it an ideal piece of kit for your backpacking trip.

Final words: if you’ve been looking for the lightest weight lighting companion, your search ends here.

The BioLite PowerLight Mini has great versatility. In the front country, it comes in handy on nighttime walks, car emergencies, power outages.

Our Final Verdict: BioLite PowerLight Mini

AGPTEK Solar Lantern
76%
Goal Zero Crush
74%
Black Diamond Apollo
72%
BioLite Mini Powerlight
68%
Streamlight Siege Compact
64%
UST 30-Day Duro
64%
Black Diamond Voyager
64%
Coleman Premium
60%
Black Diamond Moji
60%

Conclusion: BioLite PowerLight Mini

Let’s sum up the review right now.

This tiny light didn’t make it to the TopNotch Top 3 choices of Best Camping Lantern 2020 but it finishes 4th, which is very good overall.

The overall score clearly puts it as a great contender on the list.

It has some unique features, even our top rankers lack….

…a bike mount

…a red light

…an extremely compact design and

minimal weight

That’s not all, it gets better for our BioLite PowerLight Mini.

Clip it onto your jacket, shirt, or bag strap for hands-free use.

Press the power button to change to the red light when you need it.

Bonus features: Use it as a power bank for your small electronics or fix it to your bike.    

Finally, it’s a great portable light for personal use with good versatility and all for a pocket-friendly price.

That’s all from us – now it’s over to you to make your choice, below are out top recommendations.

Other Versions: BioLite PowerLight Mini

This clippable and rechargeable lantern is available in 4 different colors – Yellow, Teal, Red, and Grey.

topnotchoutdoor award

AGPTEK Solar Lantern
topnotchoutdoor award

Black Diamond Apollo Lantern
topnotchoutdoor award

Goal Zero Crush Light