Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini Review (Bought & Tested!)

This is my Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini lantern review. I put it through many different tests, all of which you’ll find below in this post.

Quick Summary

Overall, I felt that the Lighthouse Rechargeable Mini Lantern is a very solid, tiny light, with all the basic features in place. However, while I liked it, I have quite a few other rechargeable lanterns for camping that I’d rather use instead.

1. In the Box

Here’s everything I got in the box after buying the Lighthouse Mini Core lantern:

  • The Mini lantern; and

  • A user guide.

The author unboxing the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
I’m holding the user manual, and you can see the Mini to my left.

The lantern also includes a built-in charging cable, allowing you to plug into any USB port for recharging.

The Mini lantern comes in demo mode. To take it out of demo mode, just plug it into any powered USB port.

2. Hanger

The first feature is the built-in hook at the top, which is a three-quarter hanger. This makes it easy to slide into any circle lantern loops at the top of your tent, like this.

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini hanging from a tent's lantern loop
My Mini hanging from a tent’s lantern loop.

It’s not a full loop though, so it’s not the most secure.

3. Carabiner Loop

Alternatively (and what I’d recommend instead), use this loop for your carabiner. There’s just enough space for a standard one. This is much more secure than the three-quarters hanger loop.

The carabiner loop of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
What the carabiner loop looks like.

4. Charging Cable

The Lighthouse Mini Core has a pre-attached charging cable, which is exactly 10 inches long. It also features a built-in USB port, allowing you to charge small devices conveniently.

The pre-attached cable of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
Measuring the length of the pre-attached cable.

It loops back around the lantern very easily, and there’s even a tiny magnetic strip at the front that helps clip the USB head in place.

5. Charge Time

To charge the Lighthouse Mini Core, just plug the pre-attached cable into a USB port. You can also recharge it from the sun by connecting a compatible solar panel.

One of the battery lights will start blinking, followed by two, three, and four lights. When none of the lights blink, that means the lantern is fully charged.

Mine took about 5 hours to fully charge.

6. Adjustable Brightness

For adjustable brightness, you can turn the knob to the left for half the lantern. To light up the full lantern, turn the knob to the right instead.

The author adjusting the light of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
Me adjusting the brightness of the Mini. You can tell I’m using the half-lantern setting in this photo.

All instructions are on the lantern itself.

7. Lumen Output

The marketed specs by Goal Zero on the lumen output is that this lantern puts out a bright LED light of 210 lumens.

However, when I actually tested it using my own lux meter, here are the outputs I got:

  • Maximum brightness: 530 lumens

  • Minimum brightness: 0 lumens

8. Shine Radius

Using the same lux meter, the shine radius of this Lighthouse Mini Core on the brightest setting came in at 7.0 feet, or 2.1 meters, which can easily illuminate a small room or tent.

The Mini at its brightest.

9. Light Color

The color temperature of the Mini is 3,500 Kelvin, which is on the warmer side.

However, I would have liked the frosted globe to have been a little more frosted. I could easily see the LED lights inside the lantern, and it felt a little glaring on the brightest setting.

10. Run Times

I actually got slightly longer run-times than I was expecting, and here are my results:

  • Run time on dimmest (half lantern): 616 hours

  • Run time on brightest (full lantern): 3.5 hours

11. Battery Life Indicator

The Lighthouse Mini Core has 4 blue lights that serve as a battery life indicator. I found these to be accurate on most tests, but the run time on the dimmest setting test was a little off.

The battery indicator lights of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
A fully charged Mini with all 4 indicator lights on.

12. Mobile Charging

The Lighthouse Mini Core also functions as a phone recharger with its built-in USB port.

The 5-volt 1-Ampere output can power small devices like mobile phones. The capacity of the Mini comes in a 3,200mAh.

Here are my test results when I charged up my iPhone 12 on a full charge of the Mini:

  • Total iPhone 12 charge: 74% (from 17-91%)

  • Time taken: 2 hours

  • Leftover light: None

13. Collapsible Legs

The Lighthouse Mini Core has fold-down legs, which are designed for maximum light dispersion.

I also liked that I could stand the Mini on uneven terrain.

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini on a slope.
The Mini on a slope.

However, the legs aren’t the best I’ve seen cos they can be pretty flimsy compared to a three-legged lantern like the Apollo, or even a two-legged lantern like the Lighthouse 600.

14. Tripod Thread

The Lighthouse Mini Core also has a tripod thread at the bottom of the lantern. This is a standard tripod thread that you can use almost anywhere to get the Mini further off the ground.

the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini on a tripod
The Mini on my tripod.

15. Magnetic Base

There’s a single magnet on the base of the Mini, which you can use to hang it almost anywhere, like on a car.

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini hanging sideways on a car
The Mini hanging sideways off a car.

16. Waterproofing

As for waterproofing, this Lighthouse Mini Core doesn’t have an IPX rating, and that’s because pre-attached USB cable and USB port are fully exposed to the elements.

17. Drop Testing

Another test here is the drop test from about my hand height, which is about the height that I usually drop my stuff. The Mini lantern has held up fine every single time.

18. Warranty

Goal Zero gives you a 2-year warranty on this lantern.

19. Portability

For weight, we’ve got this lantern weighing about 8.04 ounces, or 228 grams.

And for its dimensions, that comes in at about 2.9 by 2.9 inches at the top of the lantern, and the length of it is right around 4 inches. That’s 7.4 by 7.4 by 10.2 centimeters.

The author measuring the packed size of the Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini
Me measuring the packed size of the Mini.

Pros, Cons, Recommendations

Pro 1: Cute, portable tiny size

For pros, this Mini is just so cute. It’s a little smaller than I thought it would be when I first bought it, and I love the cute, tiny size of it. It fits into the palm of my hand very nicely, and it’s definitely one of my more portable rechargeable lanterns.

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini in the palm of the author's hand
The Mini compared to my hand size.

Pro 2: Very feature-rich

On top of that, there’s loads of physical features for such a tiny light, you have:

  • Collapsible legs for all-terrain use,

  • Tripod thread so you can get it off the ground more, and

  • Built-in hook and magnets for versatile mounting.

Pro 3: 0 to 530-lumen brightness control

The max brightness of this USB rechargeable lantern has a much higher lumen output than I expected, and I love the 0-lumen output on the dimmest setting too.

The Goal Zero Lighthouse Mini at its dimmest setting
The Mini at its dimmest setting.

Coupled with the completely adjustable knob, this gave me total control over how much light I wanted and needed.

Pro 4: Impressive run-time on dimmest setting

And the Mini also has a much longer than expected run-time on the dimmest setting, coming up to over 600 hours, which is very impressive.

Con 1: Battery no longer replaceable

As for cons, I think the biggest one is that the newer Mini model is a little bit of a downgrade from the older model.

In the older model, you can swap out the internal battery. With the newer model I have, you can’t do this.

Pro 6: Improved battery capacity

One improvement from the older model though, is the slightly improved cell capacity, up from 3,000 milliampere-hour in the older model to 3,200 milliampere-hour in the newer model that I have here.

Con 2: Not waterproof

Another con I wish they could improve on is the waterproofing. It would be great to have a plug that seals off the USB output here, and they could just give us a non-pre-attached cable, that would be great.


Other than that, it’s a very solid tiny light, and I quite liked mine. Do I recommend it though? Well, there are still quite a few other rechargeable lanterns in the market that I think do better than the Mini, so I’d recommend reading this blog post here before making your decision.

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