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Once the sun goes down, outdoor decorative lanterns can turn your backyard into a twinkling wonderland. Lanterns come with their own special ambiance. Candlelight, whether traditional or electronic, offers subtle illumination while creating a wonderful mood; what’s a romantic dinner under the stars without candlelight to complete the scene? For some, the lighting of an outdoor area is as important as the furnishings.

Besides their ability to create light and moods, outdoor lanterns offer a big advantage over other types of light in that they don’t need to be plugged into a power source, which also makes them energy efficient. Plus, they’re light and portable, so you can put them anywhere you want in your outdoor space, no outlets needed!

When considering outdoor decorative lanterns, you may need to ask some questions first. What are you using the lanterns for and where? How much light do you need? Traditional wax candles or LED/solar? Minimal design or something with wow appeal? Standing or hanging? Wood, metal, or something in between? So much to think about for such a simple item! Let’s do a roundup of things to think about before choosing an outdoor lantern with candles. Afterwards, we’ll review some of our faves.

Style and Size

Both of these considerations are largely contingent on your needs, tastes, and budget. When it comes to size, large outdoor lanterns made from metal are pricier and less portable, but they’re also more durable and weather resistant. Lighter, less heavily crafted lanterns offer better portability at lower prices, but they may not be as sturdy. Both have their advantages.

When choosing a style, you can run the gambit between simple and understated or fancy and ornate. Think about how the lantern will work with other furnishings and the natural environment first; you’ll want something that works with both. However, if you’re the type of person who wants to express themselves with something that looks like it could hang outside Buckingham Palace, go for it! Your backyard; your choice.

Durability and Materials

Since outdoor lanterns may be exposed to the elements for a large portion of time (if not all the time), durability and weather-resistant materials are essential. Sturdy cast iron or stainless-steel lanterns are the most durable, but they can be pricey. Wood has a classic look that’s affordable, but a wood lantern may need to be water-proofed if it’s going to stand up to the elements. Other material options include copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, or a composite mixture of plastics. Each has their pros and cons, and like size and style, your interest in them may be determined by your needs and budget.

Light Sources

Your main light source options are traditional wax candles or solar and LED candles, or rechargeable battery-operated candles or lights. Candles are more romantic, but they need to be replaced often and deal and you’ll need to deal with dripped wax. While traditional candlelight creates a wonderful atmosphere, take practicality and safety into consideration when using them. Battery-powered or solar flameless candles are also a popular low-maintenance, energy efficient option. Be aware, though, that some solar-powered candles or lights may be useless in the dark of night.

Top Outdoor Decorative Lanterns

#7 Vela Lanterns Moroccan Style Candle Lantern

Vela Lanterns Moroccan Style Candle Lantern

The Vela Lanterns Moroccan Style Candle Lantern will give your backyard an exotic look straight out of Casablanca. We thought the embellished glass (which is available in 9 different colors) was beautiful and we loved the cool patterns that developed when illuminated by the flickering light of tea candles or a single pillar candle. The glass looks just as impressive when lit by the sun. We got really creative by sticking solar lights inside of it for a cool, energy efficient look! Whatever type of lighting source you use will only enhance the beauty of this outdoor or indoor lantern. It’s built from a sturdy metal that conducts heat well, and we liked the door that swings open to reveal the interior. Best, at a terrific price point you can buy three or four in varying colors so you can rock your outdoor casbah in curious and colorful style!

Pros Cons
9 different color optionsGlass color can fade
3 style optionsNot solar or LED
Comes with remote control

 

Our Rating:

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

#6 Stonebriar Decorative Wooden Candle Lantern

We loved the classic nautical look of the Stonebriar Decorative Wooden Outdoor Candle Lantern. With its wood finish and swinging door design, we could see this by the pool, in a gazebo, or as the centerpiece for an outdoor dinner table. Made from beautiful distressed wood, clear glass, and a sturdy metal top, this lantern is as durable as it is gorgeous. We especially liked how the warm glow of a traditional, solar, or LED 3” pillar candle really highlights the beautiful wood finish. It’s available in three sizes, and at a terrific price point, we might want to consider buying one of each. The metal ring at top makes it easy to hang as a wall sconce or on a shepherd’s hook. Just as pretty indoors as it is outside, the Stonebriar Decorative Wooden Outdoor Candle Lantern offers classic style at a great price.

 

Pros Cons
Good value for moneyPaint flakes off in high heat
Portable & lightweightCandle Not Included
Comes in 3 sizes

 

Our Rating:

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

#5 S.H. Wooden Decorative Vintage Hanging Candle Lantern

A lantern that will give your outside space the feel of an Alpine villa, the S.H.Wooden Decorative Vintage Hanging Candle Lantern looks just as good as table centerpiece as it does hanging from a sturdy shepherd’s hook in a garden. We liked the rustic distressed wood, glass, and metal design and the criss-cross wooden accents. Best, the entire lantern takes on a rustic glow when illuminated with any type of traditional or electronic candle (not included). We felt the lantern was compact enough to act as a beautiful accent yet big enough to be eye-catching. It looks just as pretty when used indoors, especially at Christmas. Plus, the S.H.Wooden Decorative Vintage Hanging Candle Lantern comes at a very reasonable price point!

 

Pros Cons
Secure packagingFragile glass panels
Excellent craftmanshipDoes not come with candles
Unique Alpine design

 

Our Rating:

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

#4 Lights4fun, Inc. LED Flameless Outdoor Candle Lanterns

There’s a lot to like with the Lights4fun, Inc. LED Flameless Outdoor Candle Lanterns. First, the set comes with the two lanterns pictured above, each with its own flameless LED candle. Illuminating is easy; simply pop 3 AAA batteries (sold separately) into the base of each lantern. You can expect up to 200 hours of illumination before refreshing the batteries. If you’ll be using these lanterns a lot, rechargeable batteries are a greener option that could save you a lot of money in the long run. We liked the tall, hurricane lantern look, the sturdy metal construction, and how the top handles stay upright. We also liked handy features like remote control and the 6-hour timer. Don’t let the pricey cost hold you back; after all, you get two of them!

 

Pros Cons
LightweightFragile glass
Remote controlNot weather resistant
Timer function

 

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5.0 stars

#3 WRalwaysLX Decorative Outdoor Lantern w/Flameless Candle

Perfect as a table centerpiece, hanging in a garden, or illuminating an outside walkway, we loved the simple, understated Colonial design of the WRalwaysLX Decorative Outdoor Lantern. We also loved the battery-powered white pillar candle that casts a flameless light that’s as warm and glowing as a traditional wax candle. Slip 3 AAA batteries (not included) into the bottom panel and you’re ready to glow! Go green and use rechargeable batteries. We were just as jazzed for other features like a timer, the circular ring that for easy hanging, and beautiful bronze powder-coated construction. Imagine four or five of these gorgeous lanterns illuminating your backyard space at night. Best, an amazingly low price allows you to do just that!

Pros Cons
Pillar candle includedBatteries not included
Affordable
Classic Colonial design

Our Rating:

4.5 out of 5.0 stars

#2 JHY DESIGN Set of 2 Decorative Outdoor Candle Lanterns

If you’re looking for an outdoor lantern with real old world charm, we recommend the JHY DESIGN Decorative Outdoor Candle Lantern. Ideal for pathways, outside bars or tables, porches, or as hanging sconce, we liked the metal frame and tempered glass panes that were both sturdy and durable. But we especially loved the intricate design of the top section, and the cool patterns that danced on the ceiling above it when illuminated. The metal loop made it easy to hang from a wall or garden hook. Best, this set comes with two lanterns, one slightly taller and wider than the other. While it does not comes with candles, both lanterns are spacious enough to fit any size of traditional wax or electronic tea light or pillar candles.

Pros Cons
Timer functionCandles not included
Excellent craftsmanship
Unique top design

 

Our Rating:

4.8 out of 5.0 stars

#1 Bright Zeal 14” Vintage Outdoor Lantern w/LED Flameless Candle

The gorgeous Bright Zeal 14” Vintage Outdoor Lantern w/LED Flameless Candle marries beauty with practicality for a truly eye-catching outdoor lantern. We liked the classic design of this lantern and the sturdy black PP frames, ceiling, floor, and cross grids. We especially liked its resistance to corrosion and the weather. The 14” LED bisque pillar candle casts a lot of warm light without the smoke of traditional candles. The lantern is powered by AAA batteries. We felt the lantern drained batteries fairly quickly, so you might want to go with greener rechargeable batteries. The timer function is a great touch; we liked how we could program the lantern to go on and off at the same time every day. Plus, the Bright Zeal 14” Vintage Outdoor Lantern w/LED Flameless Candle is priced low enough that you can buy multiples for a unified, cohesive look.

Pros Cons
Lightweight but sturdyDrains batteries fast
3 AAA batteries included
Timer function

 

Our Rating:

5.0 out of 5.0 stars