Kerosene oil lamps have been around for many years, and with good reason. They provide a lot of light when electricity is not available and can be filled with low-cost kerosene.
They are easy to use, and come in a variety of styles that can fit into any type of decoration aesthetic that you have in your home.
In this article, we will go over the top 7 kerosene oil lamps on the market, as well as going over their history and offering a comprehensive buying guide. All of these products are made from high-quality materials and will be great additions to your home.
In a hurry? We collected the top kerosene lamps here:
Most Compact – Purism 3 Pack Antique Style Miniature Kerosene Oil Lamps
Budget Choice – Purism Style Porcelain and Glass Aladdin Kerosene Oil Lamp
Good Use for Indoor and Outdoor – Hurricane Lantern 15-inch Large Oil Lamp
Luxurious Looking – KMYX Old Fashioned Kerosene Oil Lamp for Indoor Use
What Is a Kerosene Lamp?
Sometimes referred to as a paraffin lamp, kerosene lamps have been used for hundreds of years, and are still popular to this day. They use kerosene as fuel, which is a byproduct of both coal and petroleum.
These lamps will have a chamber for the oil, with a wick and a glass chimney scaling up towards the top of the lamp. These were invented in the late 1800s as an alternative for oil lamps because they burn brighter.
In most regions of the world, the invention of electricity would make these types of lamps less necessary, although they are still used as an alternative.
These lamps are portable and easy to use, making them a great option for camping or when the power is out. They can also be used if you are in a remote region of the world or are trying to cut down on electrical costs.
With advances to the base design, we are also used to seeing pressurized kerosene lamps that use a gas mantle, and although they function on a similar principle, they are more expensive to purchase and use. That said, they do provide more light than traditional kerosene lamps as well.
Why Buy a Kerosene Oil Lamp?
In addition to being easy to use and cost-effective, there are many benefits to buying and using kerosene lamps around your home. They are highly versatile and last a long time on little fuel, use no electricity, and are cheaper to use than other sources of fuel. In this section, we will be going over the various benefits associated with kerosene oil lamps.
The Don’t Use Electricity
One of the major benefits of using kerosene oil lamps is the fact that they don’t use any type of electricity to operate. This makes them great options for when you are out in nature camping and hiking, or when the power goes out at your home.
Because they don’t use electricity, you can use them as ambient lighting as well without worrying about your electric bill going up. This also makes them great options if you are planning on going somewhere more remote and need to have a reliable source of light.
Kerosene is Cheaper than Oil
Because kerosene is a byproduct of petroleum, it is relatively cost-effective to buy and use. It lasts a long time, and it costs less than oil does for oil lamps. Kerosene lamps will also burn brighter than traditional oil lamps will, which gives you even more light for the money that is spent.
Kerosene Is Safe to Store and Use
Compared to other lighting sources that don’t use electricity such as oil and gasoline, kerosene is by far easier and safer to store in your home.
Additionally, it is safer to burn than other alternatives. While it may carry a smell when used, as long as you are in a ventilated area it shouldn’t bother you too much.
Kerosene also has a much higher shelf life compared to oil and gas, making it cost-effective to use.
What Are the Types of Kerosene Lamps?
Kerosene lamps, sometimes called paraffin lamps, have been around for many years and are still used to this day as an alternative to electricity. They provide more light than traditional oil lamps, and use resources that are a byproduct of petroleum.
They are cost effective and great products to have on hand around the home and on camping trips. In this section, we will be going over the three different types of kerosene lamps: Flat Wick, Central Draught, and Mantle Lamps.
This type is not commonly used today, and uses the same principal as candles. There is a wick that is drenched in oil at the base of the lantern, which siphons the kerosene to the top of the wick and when lit produces a flame used for light.
These were some of the first type of kerosene lamps that were used in the 1800 and 1900’s, most commonly used around railways and trains.
Another reason that you don’t see these too often today is because they were more flammable due to their design than other varieties. They are more industrial types of lamps, and that is why you would see them around businesses and railways.
Central Draught (Tubular Round Wick)
This type works similarly to the flat wick varities, although it is more suited for use at home and you will still see these in circulation. These have a tall glass chimney and a base that is filled with oil, with a round wick. To burn right, these need a longer chimney, or neck, to get the proper air circulation.
You will see these more commonly used today, and when you conjure an image of an oil lamp in your head, this is probably what you are thinking of. If you are looking for a kerosene oil lamp, you will generally be looking at these for purchase.
This type is not commonly used today, and is a pear-shaped lamp that is generally placed over a fire source. These will have a higher amount of light, but also provide more heat.
There is not much odor that is associated with these lamps, and they were great light sources before electricity and electric lamps were invented.
These could be used to heat small rooms, because of the amount of heat they produce. You will generally not see these around anywhere by today’s standards, as they are fairly antiquated in design and practicality.
Reviews of the 7 Best Kerosene Oil Lamps
1. Most Compact – Purism 3 Pack Antique Style Miniature Kerosene Oil Lamps
What We liked
- Comes in a set of three
- A great buy for the quality of product
- These look great with any type of home decor
What We Didn’t
- These are fairly small products
Coming in at a great price, this set of three kerosene oil lamps feature an elegant design that is always in style. These will look great in any room in your home and have a decent-sized oil chamber that you won’t need to change often. They are easy to use and clean and are great for using when there is a power outage in your home.
They have a good standing height of 4″, and are lightweight which makes them easy to carry around with you when in use. These are handmade and made from high-quality glass and brass that will last a long time. You can adjust the size of the flame even when it is lit, giving a level of versatility.
2. Budget Option – Purism Style Porcelain and Glass Aladdin Kerosene Oil Lamp
What We liked
- Easy to use and looks great
- Priced great to fit in with most budgets
- Stands tall and offers a decent amount of light when lit
What We Didn’t
- For larger rooms, you may need more than one
This vintage style kerosene lamp is a great buy that will look fantastic with any decor. This is easy to use with a glass top and adjustable wick that gives you the versatility to adjust the flame level. The bottom oil chamber is made of elegant porcelain which is both durable and lightweight.
This comes in at a great buy and is a sound product that is essential for use when you have a power outage. When not in use, it is nice looking and can go with any type of aesthetics that you have in the home. This kerosene lamp is a good size, standing at 5.75″ tall, and has a sturdy, wide base.
3. Good for Indoor and Outdoor – Hurricane Lantern 15-inch Large Oil Lamp
What We liked
- Great looking design
- Comes in at an affordable price
- Made from high-quality durable materials
What We Didn’t
- Not really suitable for decorating your house
If you are looking for a larger kerosene compatible oil lamp at a great price, this is worth looking into. You can use either traditional lamp oil or kerosene, making this affordable.
This is a great looking product that will last a long time and can go with a wide range of interior decoration aesthetics. It can be used indoors or outdoors and is a good height.
This is a easy to use a product that will add some ambiance to any room and can be a great option for when the power is out. With a timeless design, you can’t go wrong with this product and it is made from durable materials as well.
Overall, this is a great product for the price and will be invaluable during power outages or when outside enjoying nature.
4. Hanging Varieties – Valley Industries 4 Pack Navy Blue Hurricane Kerosene Oil Lanterns
What We liked
- These look great and come in at a decent price
- Come in packs of 1, 2, 4, or 12
- Has a decent amount of height and provide a lot of light
What We Didn’t
- You need to buy by pack
These smaller hurricane kerosene oil lanterns from Valley Industries are available in various sizes and moderately priced. They are a decent size, each standing at 12 inches tall, and have a timeless design.
These have a large wick that is easy to light, and a thick glass globe that is easy to work with. These are available in navy blue, which is a good color for any type of decor.
These are good budget-friendly options that you will save more money on the more you buy in bulk. The glass chambers of this product allow for a lot of light to shine through, and this is a great option for any time you need an alternative source of light in or around your home.
5. Luxurious Look – KMYX Old Fashioned Kerosene Oil Lamp for Indoor Use
What We liked
- Lasts a long time without needing to be refilled often
- Easy to use with an adjustable flame
- The design of this product will look great in any room
What We Didn’t
- The glass is opaque
This beautifully elegant glass oil lamp from KMYX will be a great addition to any room it’s in. Filling up the chamber with oil is easy, and one fill can last for a full 48 hours.
This is a great product for practical decoration and is essential for anywhere that you have a power outage. This comes with a wick adjuster that is easy to use and allows you to adjust the height of the flame.
The antique design of this lamp fits in with any room in your home and adds a versatile element that you will happy to have. The glass is thick and made from durable materials that make this a great option for both indoor and outdoor use.
This is a decent size, being small enough to fit on a counter easily and large enough to provide a decent amount of light.
6. With Chimney – NeeFoor Red Kerosene Oil Lamp with Wick
What We liked
- Easy to fill with oil and light
- Will look great with antique furniture
- Practical for power outages and seeing at night
What We Didn’t
- Only available in red, which may not be ideal for some
This red kerosene oil lamp from NeeFoor is a sound product that features a red glass and is easy to use. This is an antique style lamp, and can go tastefully with your modern decor. This is great for outdoor use or when there is a power outage, and has a wick adjustment knob to adjust the level of flame.
This practical decoration piece is made from a transparent glass, and even though it is red tinted it is easy to see from. It is easy to fill the oil in the chamber, and stands at 8″ high to provide a decent amount of light.
History of Kerosene Lamps
We have used oil lamps for years and years, although when we first started using them they were not as bright as what we are used to now. It wasn’t until 1846 that Abraham Gesner would find a solution to our lighting problem at the time. Doctor and Geologist, Gesner discovered that by distilling coal there is a clear fluid byproduct.
This discovery would spark the flame of what would be the most common types of lamps that we have used in history around the world. When this fluid burns in a lap with a wick, it produces a much brighter light than oil does.
This is how kerosene was invented, and taken from the Greek word “keroselaion”, it literally translates into “wax oil”.
After this discovery, kerosene would retain a high price point. It wasn’t until later that we would discover this wax oil could also be produced as a byproduct of petroleum, making it much more affordable.
From a historical point of view, this is also where we can see the need for oil across the globe, and when the prices for oil would start to become a matter of debate and in some cases more extreme measures.
The first lamps that were specifically designed for use with kerosene were created by two people from different areas of the world, in the year 1853.
These inventors are Ignacy Lukasiewicz from Poland, and Robert Edwin Dietz from the U.S. (It should also be noted that these two inventors did not collaborate, and made their inventions separately from each other.) It just so happens that the term “great minds think alike” is especially true in this case.
There are three types of kerosene lamps in circulation: flat wick, tubular wick, and mantle lamps. The most common form of kerosene lamp that is still used today is the flat wick varieties, as they are easy to carry around with you and have a low-burning wick. However, all types are great for providing light in a portable fashion that is still used today.
After we began to use electricity, the use of kerosene lamps would start to decline.
However, they were still used around the world in more rural areas that would not have access to electricity until much later. They are still used today in some places because of the benefits that they offer, and they do not use any type of electricity.
1. Can Kerosene Be Used in Oil Lamps?
Yes, kerosene can be used in oil lamps. In fact, there is a lot of different oils that can be used in oil lamps; such as olive oil and lamp oil.
Some types of oil will burn faster than others, although kerosene will last a long time when burning and emits a brighter yellow flame for seeing. That said, kerosene does have a stronger smell compared to others and you will want to make sure that you are using it in a well-ventilated area.
2. Are Kerosene Oil Lamps Safe to Use Indoors?
While kerosene lamps are safe to use indoors, you will want to make sure that you are using the right type of kerosene and you have it lit in a well-ventilated area of your home.
There are more refined versions of kerosene used today that do not have any type of smoke and are free of odor. Another thing worth mentioning is to not use red kerosene indoors, as the dye in it has harmful substances that when lit can be released into the air.
3. How do Kerosene Oil Lamps Work?
Kerosene oil lamps will have two main chambers. The oil chamber on the bottom houses the oil as well as most of the wick, with a dial on the side that allows you to adjust the flame size.
On top, there will be a glass chamber or chimney that allows the flame to breathe and the clear glass allows the light to shine through.
Directly in the middle starting from the bottom will be the wick, which is soaking in the kerosene and allows the flame to stay lit. To use, you will light the wick like a candle and this will allow the flame to shine through the glass chamber, illuminating the room.
I hope this article was helpful, and that you can take the information listed above to find the perfect kerosene oil lamp to fit in with your needs.
All of these products are great for providing an alternative source of light. Additionally, they are going to look great in your home and are practical products for power outages or using outdoors.
|Best Compact - Purism 3 Pack Antique Style Miniature Kerosene Oil Lamps||Buy On Amazon|
|Best Cheap - Purism Style Porcelain and Glass Aladdin Kerosene Oil Lamp||Buy On Amazon|
|Best for Walls - Valley Industries 4 Pack Navy Blue Hanging Hurricane Kerosene Oil Lanterns||Buy On Amazon|
|Best with Glass Shade - KMYX Old Fashioned Kerosene Oil Lamp for Indoor Use||Buy On Amazon|
|Best for Indoor and Outdoor - Hurricane Lantern 15-inch Large Oil Lamp||Buy On Amazon|
|Best with Chimney - NeeFoor Red Kerosene Oil Lamp with Wick||Buy On Amazon|