In my experience, it seems like a power outage is one of the most effective ways to discover just how many dead batteries there are in my house. It’s amazing how many flashlights we have stowed around the house that suddenly don’t work when we need them most. At the same time, I’ve been hesitant to use candles during outages because of the risks posed by open flames.
To me, some of the best products are the ones that seem so obvious in their design and function that you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. The UCO Candlelier struck me exactly this way. It avoids the problems of run-down batteries by using candles, and it limits the problems of open flames by putting candles in a sleek 8” tall glass and aluminum lantern.
The Candlelier goes further than just putting candles in a lantern, though. The candles are inserted into reloadable spring-powered aluminum tubes that keep them at a constant height while simultaneously protecting the candles.
I’ve used my Candlelier for hours at a time and I’m amazed at just how steady the light is, and how it doesn’t make any wax mess at all. A thoughtfully designed viewing window on each candle tube lets you see how much of the candle life (which starts at about nine hours) remains.
Of course, the heat the candle lantern produces can post certain risks – at least on top (it stays remarkably cool on the bottom). One of the great design decisions in this product was to place a flat heat shield on top that doubles as a tiny stove-top. To be clear, you shouldn’t expect this lantern to replace your camp stove – even with 5000 BTUs, it isn’t fast.
A couple of times I have brewed coffee inside on the Candlelier in my 1 cup Moka pot (similar to this one). It took about an hour for the coffee to brew. On the other hand, I have also tried making coffee outside while there is snow on the ground (about 30° F) and although it had gotten hot, it still hadn’t brewed after three hours.
So, moderated expectations are in order for the stove function. Still, I find it to be a thoughtful and useful function. For one, it’s a good reminder that the lantern is hot while you’re using it. And, the fact that you can brew coffee or warm food on it helps explain to kids the importance of being careful about the heat.
As a lantern, the Candlelier is very useful. It produces a modest 60 lumens, which I found was enough to comfortably function in any room in my darkened house. The light is gentle and I was able to read by it, although two lanterns used together would help with the inevitable shadow of a single light source.
It resists being blown out by the wind, but is easy to light and extinguish. The handle on the bail stays cool when placed to the side, and it carries comfortably. One of the best things about the lantern is that it is so quiet: it makes no noise. And, since the lantern is powered by candles, there are no propane or butane fumes.
The Candlelier is also a decent option for a gentle light while camping. Weighing only 18oz, it can be packed in the optional UCO Cocoon for safe transport after it cools down – which it does quickly. Replacement candles are easy to purchase and come in plain, insect repellant, and natural beeswax options. I’m glad to have the Candlelier handy.