Alternative Lighting Sources for When the Power is Out

People require a source of light when things go wrong and life changes unexpectedly, leaving them without power for a considerable amount of time. Planning to live off-grid is the best way to minimize the difficulties of a power outage, thus having an emergency light source on hand is crucial for the survivalist. 

What emergency light source will best suit your needs will be determined by several circumstances, though. The ideal source of emergency illumination will vary from person to person depending on location and personal preference. Here is a selection of the best emergency light options when the power is out.

pocket LED flashlight lies on a sand

1. Flashlights

The common alternative is a flashlight. Many people have these in their survival kits since they are simple to obtain, simple to use, and typically brighter than candles. These are often battery-powered, whether they be headlamps or handheld devices, but they can also be run on wind power or stored solar energy. There are techniques for diffusing or amplifying smaller lights in addition to the usual basic flashlights. Light can be made more abundant by using mirrors. You may light a bigger area by attaching a light to water bottles or jugs and pointing it inside.

Battery-Powered Flashlights

Disposable batteries are used to power standard flashlights. Batteries for AA or AAA-sized flashlights are widely used, accessible, and reasonably priced. Larger C- or D-cell batteries, which are more expensive but normally have longer lives, may be used in some flashlights. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are compatible with several flashlights. These are more expensive than disposable batteries but can be used again. Remember that they will eventually need to be replaced and that correct disposal calls for special consideration.

Rechargeable Flashlights

Rechargeable flashlights could come with standard batteries that can be changed or have built-in rechargeable batteries. These flashlights may be charged via a wall outlet or a USB port, and frequently come with an AC adaptor. They could be recharged with crank generators or pre-charged power banks.  Some portable device chargers and rechargeable LED torches offer the option of using throwaway batteries.

Solar-Powered Flashlights

A photovoltaic cell transforms sunlight into energy to power solar-powered flashlights. These are typically silicon semiconductors, and as they absorb some of the gathered sunlight, they release electrons. The flashlight’s battery cell or set of rechargeable batteries is subsequently charged by the electric current created by those electrons. Recent developments in LED technology have made solar illumination brighter and more accessible than before, making it useful for a variety of applications. For more information on what specific type of flashlight is suitable for you, read our Ultimate Guide to Selecting Flashlight.

2. Candles

If there is a power outage, candles are yet another effective light source. In addition to being affordable, they also have a long shelf life, with some emergency versions having a 36-hour shelf life. They do, however, have some drawbacks, including the fact that they are a fire risk and cannot be recycled. When stocking up on candles, get sturdy metal pots and holders to keep the flames away from drapes, rugs, and furniture.

There are some essentials that most people thought to bring with them when preparing for an emergency. One may immediately think of a first aid kit, batteries, flashlights, non-perishable foods, and water. However, you’ll want to consider every possibility in case of an emergency. An emergency candle is one such item that can be more useful than you believe.

Pillar Candles

These candles can stand on their own, however, they should be set on a plate or other holder so that any wax that may drip can be caught. They are a well-liked option for emergency candles because they last a long time and give off a lot of light.

Container Candles

Candles can be found in compact containers that make them simple to store and put out when done. To utilize all the wax, many have numerous wicks. These are also the types that are the simplest to produce on your own.

Homemade Candles

An immensely useful tool in a long-term disaster situation can be knowing a few inventive ways to keep your family’s lights on. After all, we are all much more susceptible to catastrophic events than we may realize. You’ll eventually run out of candles and need to produce fresh ones, even if you stock up for emergencies.

Disaster Preparedness

3. Lanterns

Lanterns are available in a range of sizes and forms. Others run on lamp oils, while the remainder burns kerosene. Some rely on citronella oil. Kerosene has some smell when lit improperly and produces darker smoke than oil-based variants. 

There are even some models out there that can run on all of these oils. Typically, larger retailers or drugstores are where you may buy fuel. Choose a solar light instead, which is environmentally beneficial and can recharge itself during the day, if you want to avoid using gasoline. If homeowners keep these lanterns in a cool, dry area, they will last for many years.

Oil Lanterns

These lights mimic grease lamps in that they burn oil and fire. However, because they are protected by glass, they pose less fire risk and are more waterproof. Lamp oil, liquid paraffin, or kerosene can all be used to light an oil lantern. Vegetable oils can also be used, but not as successfully. Just be careful not to fill the tank with alcohol, paint thinner, Coleman fuel, lighter fluid, gasoline, white gas, or other similar low-flash point liquid fuels or the lamp will catch fire.

Battery-Powered Lantern

Modern battery-powered lanterns have the same appearance as oil lanterns but without the fire risk, and some even have added features.

Solar-Powered Lanterns

When purchasing a new lantern or flashlight, it’s important to consider factors like mobility, weight, brightness, and storage life. In all of these capacities, solar lamps may excel. They are the most dependable lighting source you can have, first and foremost. All you need to do is charge it in the sun, so you never have to worry about batteries. Because of this, solar lanterns are perfect if you’re thinking about going off the grid or getting ready for an emergency.

4. Glow Sticks

Although they are sometimes offered as amusing camping accessories or party handouts, they do provide a decent amount of light. In circumstances where there is insufficient electricity, there are additional heavy-duty versions that are sold to provide illumination. One can be sufficient to allow a person to read or walk around the house, even though they are unlikely to illuminate a full room. The absence of a fire hazard is a major advantage of using glowsticks, especially if there are young children around.

5. Headlamps

In essence, headlamps are just a flashlight with a headband. Headlamps are quite useful because you won’t have to hold a flashlight in one hand while working. Different light levels and modes are features of a high-quality headlamp. For safety, look for a device with both bright and dim lights, as well as flashing modes. Remember to keep your headlamp charged or keep extra batteries on hand, just like you would with a standard flashlight.

6. Mirrors

Mirrors are useful for a lot more than just getting ready in the morning. Bringing light into the house is one of their best qualities. If people have mirrors, they can put them in front of lights to reflect more light. Many rooms in the house might use a little lighter than a mirror reflects in. It is best to utilize one in typically dark areas like corridors and entryways. Living and dining rooms with little natural light are also common settings. But of course, a lot depends on your personal preferences and the design of your house. You could prefer some spaces to be lighter than others.

7. Christmas Lights That Run on Batteries

Naturally, having extra batteries on hand or having a battery recharger and rechargeable batteries will be necessary for this, but hanging several strings of Christmas lights around a room, tent, or other places will still provide a respectable amount of usable light.

8. Solar-Powered Lamps

Lights that are powered by the sun’s rays are known as solar lamps. They are typically small, portable fixtures with an LED battery and a solar panel on top. By capturing and storing solar rays during the day, the battery is charged. These lights then automatically turn on at dusk and switch off in the morning as the sun rises again.

Outdoor Solar Lamps

For emergency or power outage use, outdoor solar lights might be a smart solution depending on your needs and location. In the summer, most solar lights may operate for 6 to 8 hours on a single charge, while they may only work for 4 hours in the winter. Even in the cold, certain motion-activated solar lights can run continuously all night on a single charge.

While solar lights are often kept outside, if you require lighter inside, you can bring them in. Several of you likely already own solar garden lights. If you don’t have an inside solar lamp or oil lamp, a large vase can hold several of these with ease and produces concentrated light.

Indoor Solar Lamps

An indoor solar lamp typically emits light with a 40-watt equivalent in brightness. Both a desk light and an accent light can be made from it. To fully charge one of these indoor solar lamps, position it in a window that gets at least six to eight hours of daily direct sunlight.

9. Kerosene Lamps

For decades, people used kerosene lamps for lighting their homes. Though they use a flame, like candles, their flames are much brighter, allowing a whole room to be lit by one lamp. Because they use a flame, they also present a fire risk. 

It can be a larger risk due to the larger flame and the fact that it is connected to a fuel container, but it can also be less risky because there are fewer needs and because they are generally enclosed to some degree. They are made to be more stable than the average candle, with a flat bottom to the lantern so it is more difficult to accidentally overturn.

10. Propane Lamps

These lamps, which are typically used outside or while camping, can also be used indoors, but only in well-ventilated spaces. These must be maintained away from anything that could catch fire since they pose a fire risk. On the plus side, propane is comparatively simple to store for extended periods, and they do emit a lot of light. It is best to use a gas lamp outside or in an area with good ventilation. Make sure you have a couple of extra gas bottles on hand if you choose to use a propane lamp so you can keep the light on.

11. Batteries and Solar Power

A solar panel and battery bank may be an option if you are serious about being prepared for power interruptions. Consider smaller solutions that combine a straightforward solar panel, battery, and light in one unit instead of larger setups that can be expensive and require professional installation and maintenance.

12. Generator

You might want to think about having a gas-powered generator ready for prolonged power outages. Even though you generally wouldn’t want to operate a generator constantly, you might effectively do so in the nighttime to charge your equipment, particularly rechargeable lights. Compared to battery or solar-powered lighting, generators have a greater number of inherent risks.

man with flashlight in winter night

We are so accustomed to the light sources in our houses that we are unaware of how dark it is until the electricity fails. When the power goes out, there are several simple ways to light your home so that you aren’t left in the dark. Having several sources of light for your house in case the power goes out would make life much more joyful.