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Thread: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Target

  1. #1

    Default Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Target

    Heads up for the bargain hunters:

    I Went to Big lots looking for the $3.99 compact Fluorescent lantern from the other thread and struck out. But I did find another lantern there for only $6.99. It looks like the brand name is Expeditions and it comes in a blister pack. I couldn't find any pictures at all online and I don't think I can upload pictures to the board so I'll have to describe it the best I can.

    The lantern itself is about 8 inches high and 3 inches in circumference. It's close to traditional lantern shape. The bottom is a combination of metal and plastic. The handle is metal with an added plastic grip. Attached to the plastic grip is a metal hook that flips up so you can hang the lantern up. Another thing it has is what they call a 'compass' on top of the lantern. I think this is the reason it ended up at big lots. The compass sucks, plain and simple.

    I'm a CPF newb so please forgive me for not being able to describe the technical aspects of the light and test things like runtime and lumens. The package says the tube is 5W. It's U shaped and about 3 to 4 inches tall. It runs on 4C batteries but the package doesn't list any runtimes.

    Quality of light: It's brighter than my flip up energizer fluorescent lantern with both bulbs on. Good enough to read by with the light nearby to you and acceptable for quick reading at around 12 feet. The quality of light seems to be smother than the energizer, maybe since the glass housing is round. Another good thing is that you can unscrew the useless compass which casts more light onto the ceiling and lights up the room a little more.

    I was happy enough with the lantern to buy another. I told my wife the second one was for her. One thing to watch though is that some of the lanterns I picked up rattled like something was loose. The bulb in my wife's new lantern also occassionally flickers when warming up.

    I was ready to buy one or two more (Help me, I have a problem) but then I went to target and found the Coleman Twin Tube fluorescent lantern (looks exactly like this one) on clearance for only $9.98. The local target is clearning out a bunch of their camping stuff and this was one of the things marked down. I didn't let the fact that it required 8D batteries deter me. It was only $9.98. I would have been a fool not to buy one for that price!

    The box claims 18 hours run time on 1 tube, 12 hours with both, and that it can light up 1,200 square feet. Unfortunately my house has these pesky walls so I can't test that claim. But this sucker is bright. My only complaint besides having to use 8 D batteries in it is the glass / plastic housing has vertical grooves etched into it on the corners, and that hampers light quality a little bit. But for $10 I'm not complaining.

    The brightness list right now, from low to high:
    Energizer on single tube
    Energizer on two tubes
    Expeditions lantern
    Coleman Twin Tube on single tube
    Coleman Twin Tube on two tubes

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Tar

    $10 for a twin tube lantern that uses 6watt or larger tubes is a good deal. I can't remember if it is lowes or home depot but one of the two here has 6watt tubes for $1.00 each in the lighting area at the back of the store. If you can find tubes that fit your lantern at that price I would pick up at least two of them for spares. What I think would be neat is a flourescent lantern that can put out like a 3 way 50/100/150 watt CFL bulb. One nice thing about a 12v lantern is if it isn't adapted for car use you can still wire it up to do that with some work, and/or even run it off other 12v SLA cells. One of my plans is to get a 12v high output CFL lantern and pick up a 12v car battery. During a power outage I can run it full blast for a long time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default Re: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Tar

    I believe walmart is worth a look too. I recall seeing similar lamps there in the camping section. I have had floursant battery powered lights and my experience is rather negative. Unlike the regular bulb lights that fade, the flousant ones start to dim, flicker and go out. They almost seem to use more power than a regular bulb. I have both a multifunction flashlight and one of those table like lamps that uses an 8 watt bulb and 8 D cell batteries.

    Last three battery powered floursant lamps I bought was the energizer one with an led light and ccfl tube, the radio shack pocket floursant light and one of those stick up in a closet lights that uses a tube. The energizer I gave to my dad, but from what i hear it works pretty good compared to our past experience with flousant lamps. I believe it has a 50 to 100 hour run on the led and around 15 hours on the ccfl. THe radio shack pocket light uses a U tube and last 2 hours and a few minutes before it dims and fails. I went through two sets of batteries during huricane gaston as i assumed i had a bad cell, I would of never bought it if i knew the run time was just a bit over two hours. The closet sick up light fades and fails too after 2 hours. Seems regardless of the batteries I put in there, one cell dies early. Ive used fresh new batteries, recharage ones, but not the DC socket. I have quite a few SLAs laying around here and 4 70 amp ones in my two wheelchairs, so I have some power to run them in a power failure.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Tar

    I found that anything over 4-5 watts requires more than AA cells for useful runtime. The price of 8D alkaline cells gets expensive to the point you want to consider external battery power from SLA or auto plugins for often use. I have several 4AA 4 watt flourescent lights including some CCFL ones and they are useful for area lighting and close in reading. As for the light that lasts two hours, you should check the current draw of it while running. Most of my AA powered lights run about 280-320ma (4AA). It could be your light is just drawing so much current it uses the batteries up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    New Hampshire

    Default Re: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Tar

    Just picked up a Coleman mini fluorescent lantern ($3.99) that is powered by 4 AAs, and then saw another Coleman "Retro" lantern powered by 8 Ds with a 15W spiral tube for $15. Both at BigLots. I got the last retro I think. It is very bright and really cool (no pun intended). It has a small "nightlight" bulb where the filler cap would be on a normal oil lantern.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fluorescent lantern bargains at Big Lots & Tar

    I am thinking about getting one of those nightlight lanterns and modding the nightlight for LED instead.

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