Allsop successfully merges Technology with Art in their Solar Tea Lanterns.
One of my favorite activities has become camping with my two cub scout sons, aged 8 and 5. When you tent camp/primitive camp, you must rely on the gear that you can carry with you. Do not get me wrong, I am not talking about the ultralight backpacker. They are a completely different extreme, to what I am referring to. We will typically have a tote of gear that we can get to a camp site, from a parking area (not too far away). Even though this feels like roughing it, we still have some creature comforts.
One of the survival items that I typically have is a solar light. I have found that these serve multiple purposes and have the dual benefit of recharging during the day and provide light at night. This is incredibly helpful. Utilizing the sunlight allows you to not have to lug around heavy batteries and you do not have to find some other power source to charge your item. Thus, dollar store solar lights (usually 4-5) are packed into my tote. During the day, I stake them around my camping area. In the evening, I may leave a few out, to show tent stake locations, or I may even bring some into the tent for lighting.
I currently live in the midwest and we had the experience of a rather large storm 2/28/17. Specifically, we experienced 110 mile per hour winds in Western Kentucky last night. I was working on the review of the Allsop Solar Tea Lantern, while under Tornado Watch, Thunderstorm warning etc. It was not until later in the night that our area lost power, affecting ~5000-7000 people. As the weather worsened, I brought in my cushions and my outdoor lights. The Tea Lantern was hung from the door of my hutch, as a temporary light. What better test for the tea lantern than an emergency situation?
The product arrived in a very colorfully decorated box with numerous varieties of blown glass lanterns. The design has a solar cell on the top and a glass blown bowl at the bottom, to diffuse the light. There is a carry handle along the top, which is metallic and well secured. The plastic screw on top contains the solar charger/coin battery/LED. The glass bowl has a flattened base, which helps it to rest on flat surfaces. The packaging promises warm romantic light in nearly any place you can imagine. You have the ability to hang these in your garden or on your deck, rest them flat on a tabletop, patio or stairway or you can carry the lantern by hand.
A quick review of the packaging shows that each device is hand blown. This means that every one of the lanterns will be unique. There are 3 main colors to choose from, white, saffron yellow and mint blue/green. Each color provides an ambiance of its own. The white lantern that I received measures 5″ wide by 6.5″ tall and weighs 10.8 ounces. With a full day of outside charging, you can expect roughly 4-5 hours of light from the lantern (it has an on/off switch inside if you want to turn off power). Additionally, the website claims a minimum of 1 year of battery life from each device. They have a very useful FAQ section on their website as well. The packaging is relatively devoid of technical data and there is no included instruction manual.
Included inside of the solar topper is a 1.2V 40mAH rechargeable coin battery. These are changeable by removing the top and unscrewing the small screws that hold down the battery compartment. After you have unscrewed the solar piece, you will notice the on/off toggle. The solar sensor inside of the device helps to keep the product charging by day and on by night. It is actually quite sensitive to ambient light and will not turn on unless you place something over the photocell.
If we lose power at our house, our solar lights migrate indoors and actually become our accent lighting to save our flashlights. It is convenient to have an off feature (like the Allsop lantern) as you can conserve that power for later. Although the intended purpose is to have beautiful outdoor lighting, these devices do serve multiple features. I would highly encourage you to take a look at the Allsop Tea Lantern if you are interested in garden lighting. Their lights are extraordinarily made and with the ability to update the battery, will last you a long time. Do not forget, they are glass. I would protect them during bad weather as they will shatter. I have not broken one, and thus am not certain if they will splinter or turn into shards.
I am pleased with the product and with the customer service. I could not find a few answers (Lumen output, solar charging cell capabilities) and reached out to them via email. It has been about 2 days and I have yet to hear anything in response. Despite the response to my email, the product has worked well over the past 1.5 weeks.
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