Nuwai CK-120 12 LED Lantern, retail $39.95 (
Manufactured by Nuwai (
Last updated 01-28-12

The Nuwai CK-120 12 LED lantern is what you think it is - a 12 LED lantern. But this lantern has a few differences from others that you ought to know about.

The 12 white LEDs are inside a diffusing cylinder in the center of the lantern, and the brightness is continuously variable, using a single knob on the lower front part of the lantern. The entire thing needs 4 D cells, with an advertised runtime of 40 hours on high, and over 10 days on low.

The lantern has a handle so you can carry it around, and doesn't use fire, so if you knock it over, you just stand it back up and go on about your business.

It's supposedly water resistant, but since it's too big to fit in my toilet, I haven't done any water testing on it.


To use the lantern, first you need to feed it 4 D cells (see below).

Turn the knob on the front of the lantern all the way clockwise to get maximum power; the power can be adjusted down or back up as you see fit.

To turn the lantern all the way off, turn the knob counterclockwise until it clicks into the "off" position. The lantern can be stored this way, but remember, if you intend to store it for more than 30 days, you should take the batteries out.

To change the batteries, turn the lantern upside down, and unscrew the bottom cap. Set it aside. Remove the battery carriage by lifting it straight out of the lantern's "gas tank", and set the lantern aside.

Remove the dead D cells from the battery carriage, and dispose of them properly (or throw them in the dead battery box if your community has a battery reclamation program). Insert four new D cells into the carriage, following the polarity indicators at the back of each chamber. The negative (-) flat side of each battery faces a spring, so if the polarity labels come off, you can still get the batteries in right.

On the top edge of the battery carriage (where the two metal contacts are), there will be one flat side; line this up with the flat edge in the lantern's body, and lower the battery carriage back in place. The battery carriage will not spin when it is in correctly.
Screw the lid back onto the bottom of the lantern; tightening it only firmly; do not use strap wrenches or anything else to tighten it farther. Turn the entire lantern back over (turning it off if necessary) and you're done with it.

The CK-120 lantern is surprisingly well-made and feels stout and sturdy, like a good lantern ought to feel. You aren't supposed to run over lanterns or try to flush them down toilets, so I'll spare this one those indecencies.

The LEDs are arranged in four banks of three, each bank 90 away from one another, and they all point outwards through a diffuser. Additionally, there is a plastic cylinder (like the glass cylinder/globe in a gas lantern) on the outside, so the LEDs have two levels of protection from prying screwdrivers or from becoming squished in your camping gear.

The lantern also features a continuously variable brightness control, so you can set it at the exact brightness you want just by turning a dial on the lantern's front. I've never seen an electric lantern with this continuously variable brightness adjustment (let alone an easy to use one), so this is something it definitely has going for it.

A handle on the lantern's top can be swung up easily to carry the lantern or to hang it from something. Wherever you might hang up a gas lantern, you ought to be able to hang one of these up instead.

The lantern has three skid-resistant rubber feet on its base, so if you set it on a flat place like a picnic table or a deck, it should stay put even if it becomes windy and things like paper plates and styrofoam cups go flying everywhere.

The lantern is supposed to be water resistant. Rain resistent is more likely. There is a wide plastic "shade" covering the top of the lantern, so the LEDs shouldn't get wet. And there is a large gasket between the screw-on base and the "gas tank", so that should keep water out of the battery compartment if where you set it becomes wet. One place where water might get in is behind the brightness dial on the lantern's front. So I'd probably keep it away from ponds, lakes, rivers, pools, and other bodies of water, but I don't think a little rain will hurt it. But if it's too wet outside for you, it's probably too wet for this lantern too. You probably don't want to knock one of these things off the side of a boat, because it'll probably go "blub blub blub" all the way to the bottom and have some water in it when you fish it back out.

Lantern at 100%, lighting up a bathtub at some flashlight tester's home.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this lantern.

Spectrographic plot
Same as above; newer spectrometer software & settings used; maximum intensity.

Spectrographic plot
Same as above; minimum intensity.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this lantern; spectrometer's response narrowed to a band between 430nm and 480nm to pinpoint the LED's peak native emission wavelength, which is 458.99nm.

USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

Unit was received on 08-15-03, courtesy of Lifestyle Fascination, after a Candlepower Forums member told them about The LED Museum.

Product was almost certainly made in Taiwan.
A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE: 08-20-03
According to a lantern owner, you can unscrew and remove the entire top and side window assembly, and tape a piece of thin, white plastic garbage bag over the central LED assembly. This is said to diffuse the LED light even more, without sacrificing the total brightness too much. With accurate cutting and taping, and placing the edges toward the back of the lantern (between rows of LEDs), it is said you can't notice the modification at all, even when the lantern is on.

This same person also says you can turn the knob to the 5 O'clock position, and get 85% of the light with only 50% of the power usage, when compared to full power. This knob position is about at the "r" in "LED Lantern" on the label, or right where the graduated brightness marking to the right of the knob ends.

UPDATE: 09-29-03
Today, I received a special acrylic diffusing lens to place over the lantern's central LED column. Here's the diffuser by itself:

As you can see, it's frosted on the inside and shiny on the outside.

And here are two pictures of the lantern (sans globe), showing first the regular LED column, and the same shot with the diffusing lens over it. These pictures work like "before" and "after" pictures, and everyone's seen those. :-)

These diffusers are being made by Paul Y. ("Otokoyama") at Candlepower Forums

UPDATE: 11-21-06
When I came home from the store today, I noticed that the power was off. So I successfully used this lantern to go to the bathroom and to scan the foods & drugs I brought (I use the Homescan scanner from AC Nielsen).

UPDATE: 12-23-09
There was a 45 minute power failure here yesterday between ~11:15am and ~12:00pm PST, and my stepmother used this lantern in the windowless downstairs bathroom to clean her dentures; needless to say it performed quite admirably.

UPDATE: 12-22-10
The product was used during a recent 21-hour electrical power failure.

UPDATE: 01-29-12
This product was used during a recent extended (over 90 hours!) electrical power failure.

Reasonably durable construction
Has a hefty, lantern-like feel to it when carried
Nice looking device - for a lantern :-)
Adjustable light output with easy-to-use knob

Probably not waterproof
Not as bright as a regular Coleman lantern
Has some hot spots (see 09-29-03 update for one potential fix for this)

    MANUFACTURER: Nuwai (lantern is sold by Lifestyle Fascination)
    PRODUCT TYPE: LED camping lantern
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm white LED
    No. OF LAMPS: 12
    BEAM TYPE: 360 mainly diffused
    SWITCH TYPE: Rotary on/off on lantern's base
    BEZEL: Diffuser plus plastic screen
    BATTERY: 4x D cells
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    WATER RESISTANT: Splash/rain resistant
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

Nuwai CK-120 12-LED Lantern *

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