Fenix CL28R Rechargeable Lantern Review

A Fenix CL28R Lantern superimposed over an image of a forest

Fenix CL28R Rechargeable Lantern Review

I've been on a quest to find the perfect lantern for years. Yes, that's probably a little sad, but I really dig this stuff so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What does the perfect lantern look like? For me it's:

  • Compact
  • Great light output (both candela and lumens)
  • Long lasting
  • Rechargeable
  • Adaptable
  • Durable

I think I've finally found one that not only covers each of those categories, but does it in ways that exceed my expectations.

Yes, we're talking about the Fenix CL28R rechargeable lantern. This little wonder of light is like having a mini-sun in your pocket, ready to banish the darkness wherever you go. 

Th CL28R is packed full of features that put other lanterns to shame.

Let's dive in and discover what makes the Fenix CL28R shine brighter than the rest. 

Fenix CL28R from the top sitting on the ground

The Importance of Having an Emergency Backup Light

It's a quiet evening, you're halfway through your favorite book, and suddenly, darkness. Not the romantic, candlelit kind, but an unexpected blackout. That's where the need for having an emergency backup lights really shines (warning, puns ahead.)

Can you use candles? Sure, but they are dangerous - especially now a days when most people don't know how to use them as a light source anymore, and they are consumed during use, meaning your supply will eventually diminish. 

That's why I consider electric lighting superior. It's safer, can be used in all types of weather like rain and wind, and tend to last for years if not decades. 

Rechargeable or battery powered? Both, ideally. Flexibility is important when we are talking about emergency lighting. 

Overview of the Fenix CL28R Lantern Features

Ok so what makes the CL28R so special then?

Is it really that different from other lights on the market? In so many ways, yes. 

Impressive Light Output 

With a maximum output of 2000 white light lumens, the Fenix CL28R lantern isn't just a dim, atmospheric glow. It's a brilliant beacon in the dark, casting wide-angle, uniform illumination that makes it perfect for lighting up entire rooms or campsites. 

There are two lighting modes: white and red. We love red lights at night. We can do a lot with them and it keeps our eyes adjusted to the darkness around us. 

The red lighting of the Fenix CL28R in a kitchen

The white light has a color temperature adjustment too, which is just incredible and a feature we wish all lights had. You can go from a nice yellow incandescent 2700k color, to a bright white of 6000k. 

It has variable lighting output, thanks to a rotary knob which controls how much light output the CL28R produces. That range goes from 10 lumens (3.8cd) to 2000 lumens (880cd) in the white light mode and 9 lumens (4.6cd) in the red light mode. 

An image from above showing the beam pattern of the Fenix CL28R light
A nice wide beam creates the ideal dispersed area lighting you'd want from this type of light. 

Remember candela (cd) is intensity i.e., it measures the brightness or the amount of light emitted by a source in a specific direction. Lumens measure the brightness or the total amount of light that is perceived by the human eye. When comparing light sources, the lumen rating is a useful metric to determine the brightness or intensity of the light emitted.

The beam emitted by the COB LED is very wide with no hot spot, and can illuminate objects nearly 200 feet away. 

Fenix CL28R runtime chart

Rechargeable and Power Bank Functionality 

I love it when my gadgets multitask. The Fenix CL28R doesn't just provide light - it also has a built-in USB-A charging port, allowing it to double as a power bank.

There are two 5,000mAh batteries on board, which give you plenty of power to charge your phone and keep the light running for the weekend. 

I personally prefer to keep my lamps batteries as lamp batteries, but it's a nice feature to have. And if you have a small foldable solar panel along with you, you can keep it topped off easily off-grid as long as you can supply 2 amps of power to the unit when charging.  

The CL28R charges with a USB-C cable, which means quick charge times when on grid, and means I don't have to lug around a million different cables anymore for my USB powered devices. 

In low power mode the lantern can run for up to 360 hours. At high you get about 9 hours. In real world uses you are probably mixing the modes you are using, so in my experience expect about 12 hours or so of use before running it dry. 

Fenix CL28R runtime chart

Waterproof and Impact Resistant 

The CL28R is impact resistant from up to 1.5m, or just under 5 feet. 

This lantern is not just sturdy; it's also waterproof up to IPX 66 standards, meaning it can withstand heavy rain and accidental splashes. along with being dustproof.

Fenix CL28R sitting on a rock with the bracket holding it up

The unit itself is made of A6061-T6 aluminum with a type HAIII hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish.

So, whether you're on a rainy camping trip or clumsily spill your drink, the Fenix CL28R has you covered. 

Compact and Portable 

With its small size Height: 3.96” (100mm) Width: 3.82” (97mm) Depth: 1.61” (41mm) and a weight of just 13.26 oz (376 grams) the Fenix CL28R can easily be tossed in a backpack or carried by hand.

Its magnetic bottom and hanging loop make it easy to attach to metallic surfaces or hang from a hook, freeing up your hands for other tasks. 

There is also a tripod socket on the bottom of the stand, so you can position the light anywhere you need to with a tripod. Very helpful in places that might not have trees to hang things from, or around the house if you need a work light to get tasks done at night. 

In a nutshell, the Fenix CL28R is a lantern that's designed to be as versatile and reliable as possible. Whether you need a light source for an outdoor adventure or an emergency backup at home, this lantern has you covered.

How to Use the Fenix CL28R Lantern

The CL28R is really easy to use. There is one rotary knob for on / off. It also adjusts the brightness. 

The second rotary knob adjusts the color temperature when using the white light mode. 

To switch the red light on / off, the orange button on the top is pressed for 1 sec. The white light must be off first. 

Fenix CL28R from the top, showing the charging port and lighting controls

To switch the stead red light to blinking mode, quick press. To get back to steady, quick press. 

To turn the red light off press the orange button again for 1 second, or you can switch on the white light. 

To use the on-board USB charger just plug your device into the USB-A port and it will start charging automatically. The 4 blue LED lights on the front of the unit will blink in sequence to let you know that it is working. 

Where to Get One

Fenix CL28R hero image

FENIX CL28R Rechargeable Lantern With Color Adjust

Typical Price: $99 

Pros: The Hazard 4 Air Support takes the number one spot for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, it has wheels which means it will be much more manageable for folks who need to carry more than 25lbs of gear.

You can add pouches to the outside thanks to the MOLLE attachment points. It will fit into an overhead compartment on a plane should you need to fly with it.

1000D Cordura and ruggedized wheels and base means it is durable. Supplement your space with a small backpack if desired.

External Size: 22.8"(L) x 14.2"(W) x 9.1"(D).

Cons: Not a fan of the laptop sleeve - we cut it in half and use it as a smaller storage pocket. Reciprocating handles sometimes make me nervous, I've seen them break on other suitcases.


Complete CL28R Operation Instructions

Operating Instruction 


The top Rotary Switch A is for white light mode and the Rotary Switch B is for color temperature selection, the orange Button is for red light mode.


On: with the lantern switched off

1. Rotate the Switch A clockwise, the rechargeable lantern will enter the white light mode, and the brightness will change from low to high;

2. Press and hold the Button, the lantern will enter the red light mode: the default mode will be Red Light.

Off: with the lantern switched on

1. In white light mode, rotate the Switch A counterclockwise to the OFF state to turn off the lantern.

2. In red light mode, press and hold the Button to turn off the rechargeable lantern.

Mode switching 

In the red light mode, rotate the Switch A clockwise to exit the red light mode and enter the white light mode.

Note: In white light mode, the red light mode cannot be selected.

Output Selection

1. In white light mode:

  • Rotate the Switch A clockwise to change the brightness from low to high, and rotate counterclockwise to change the brightness from high to low.
  • Rotate the Switch B clockwise to change the color temperature from warm to cold, and rotate counterclockwise to change the color temperature from cold to warm.

2. In red light mode:

Click the Button, to select between red flash and red constant-on.

Intelligent Memory Circuit (for the color only) 

The rechargeable lantern memorizes the last selected color temperature. When turned on again the previously selected color temperature will be recalled. Each time the lantern is switched on on Low mode of white light.


  1. Open the top anti-dust cover to reveal the USB Type-C charging port and plug the USB-A socket of the charging cable into an electrical outlet, then connect the USB Type-C socket of the charging cable to the lantern. 
  2. When charging, the charging indicators will flash from left to right to display the charging status. 
  3. The four indicators will be constant-on after charging is completed.


  1. The rechargeable lantern is available while charging.
  2. Once charging is completed, be sure to close the anti-dust cover to maintain the dustproof and waterproof ability.
  3. The normal charging time of the lantern is approximately 4 hours from depletion to full charging.
  4. Supports fast charging protocols: PD3.0/PD2.0, QC3.0/QC2.0.

Power Bank Function 

  1. Open the top anti-dust cover and plug the USB-A or USB-C socket of the charging cable into the rechargeable lantern, then connect the other socket of the charging cable to the digital device. 
  2. When discharging, the indicators will recede from right to left to display the status.
  3. The lantern stops discharging when the battery level is too low, i.e. less than 2.9V.


  1. The rechargeable lantern is available while discharging.
  2. Supports fast discharging protocols: PD3.0/PD2.0, QC3.0/QC2.0.
  3. Discharging performance: 5V/3A (max), 9V/2A (max), 12V/1.5A (max).
  4. The USB-A and USB-C discharging ports cannot be discharged simultaneously.

Battery Level Indication 

With the lantern switched off, single click the orange Button to check the battery status, which will last for 3 seconds. 

  • Four lights on: 100% - 80%
  • Three lights on: 80% - 60%
  • Two lights on: 60% - 40%
  • One light on: 40% - 20%
  • One light flashes: 20% - 1%

Intelligent Overheat Protection            

The lantern will accumulate a lot of heat when used on Med or High modes for extended periods. When the lantern reaches a temperature of 54°C or above, the lantern will automatically decrease a few lumens every 1 second to reduce the temperature. When the temperature drops below 54°C, the lantern will automatically increase a few lumens every 1 second, it will then allow the user the reselection of Med or High modes. 

Low-voltage Warning

When the voltage level drops below the preset level, the battery level indicator constantly blinks to remind you to timely recharge the battery. To ensure normal use, the lantern will not turn off automatically and will work till the battery level runs out.

Usage and Maintenance 

  • Disassembling the sealed head can cause damage to the lantern and will void the warranty.
  • Rotate the lantern handle over the orange Button to prevent accidental activation during storage or transportation.
  • Recharge a stored lantern every four months to maintain optimum performance of the battery.
  • The lantern may flicker, shine intermittently or even fail to illuminate for the following reasons:
    A: Poor battery level.
    Solution: Recharge the battery.


  • Do place this lantern out of the reach of children!
  • Do NOT shine the lantern directly into the eyes of anyone!
  • Do NOT shine flammable objects at close range, to avoid burning objects or causing danger due to high temperature!
  • Do NOT use the lantern in inappropriate ways such as biting in the mouth, to avoid personal injury or life threats when the lantern or internal battery fails!
  • This lantern will accumulate a lot of heat while working, resulting in a high temperature of the lantern shell. Pay attention to safe use to avoid scalding.
  • Turn off and lock the lantern or remove the battery from the lantern to prevent accidental activation when the lantern is placed in a closed and flammable environment such as pockets and backpacks!
  • The LED of this lantern is not replaceable; so the whole lantern should be replaced when the LED reaches the end of its life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the battery life of the Fenix CL28R? 

The Fenix CL28R has a variable battery life depending on usage from anywhere to 360 hours on low power to around 9 hours of full power. 

What is the battery size of the Fenix CL28R? 

The Fenix CL28R has dual 5,000 mAh hour batteries. 

Can the Fenix CL28R be used as a backup USB battery charger? 

Yes. It comes with a USB-A port which allows you to charge USB powered devices. 

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