Sky lanterns are the latest party trend and for a good reason. The safe and secure-to-use lanterns have a long history of decorating the night sky during Chinese lantern festivals, but now the lanterns have made their way to North America to bring an added touch of beauty to parties, weddings and memorials. It’s believed that messages written on the lanterns or whispered by users when releasing the lanterns make their way to heaven, which adds an emotional and sentimental touch to any event.
Sky lanterns are made from thin paper that is biodegradable, meaning your soaring sky lantern won’t leave a carbon footprint once it finally lands. The lanterns each come with an individual fuel cell that is ignited with a flame and uses the heat to open the lantern and send it flying, much like a hot air balloon. We love using sky lanterns for special occasions, either in addition to or as a replacement for firecrackers. Sky lanterns are a better alternative for people with sound sensitivities or sensory issues and they don’t require a permit or license to buy like fireworks do (check with your state’s rules as some areas don’t allow sky lanterns). We also like the added level of safety that comes with a sky lantern compared to fireworks, with the lanterns safe enough for children to use under adult supervision.
Sky lanterns can add a sweet touch to a birthday or wedding celebration and they’re also commonly used at celebration of life ceremonies to honor those we’ve lost. If you’re ready to light up the night sky, we’ve collected a list of the best sky lanterns available.
1. GOCHANGE Chinese Lanterns
Celebrate your event with the GOCHANGE Chinese Lanterns. The traditional white lanterns are made with flame-retardant, biodegradable materials. Each lantern has a wax block that should be lit on all four angles when users are ready to send their lanterns soaring, with the lantern filling up after about 30 seconds of heat. The GOCHANGE lanterns can fly close to a mile in total distance. We also like that the lanterns can be written on to allow users to include their special message or wish.
Pros: The GOCHANGE lanterns have an impressive flying time of 20 minutes, the longest of any lantern on our list.
Cons: Like all sky lanterns, the GOCHANGE should not be released near voltage lines, military areas, or within 5 miles of an airport.
2. BATTIFE Sky Lanterns
Send your wishes into the sky with the BATTIFE Sky Lanterns. The five-pack of lanterns arrive preassembled, making it easy for customers to use the lanterns as soon as they arrive. The BATTIFE can reach a soaring height of 3,000 feet to create a magical skyline. Each lantern is made from biodegradable rice paper, cotton string and a bamboo frame. BATTIFE notes that it’s a good idea to confirm sky lanterns are allowed in your area by checking with the fire marshall before releasing the lanterns.
Pros: BATTIFE makes it easy to use their product even if you’re new to sky lanterns. Each lantern comes with a clear, step-by-step set of instructions and the company offers an instructional video on their Amazon page to ensure users employ the safety steps necessary for using the lanterns.
Cons: The BATTIFE lanterns take approximately one minute to completely fill with air and become ready for flight, which is twice as long as the GOCHANGE.
3. Smeiker Chinese Lanterns
Decorate the night sky using the Smeiker Chinese Lanterns. The lanterns are 100% biodegradable and made with fire-resistant rice paper, fire-resistant string and a bamboo frame. The lanterns are powered by a cardboard wax fuel cell that is pre-attached to each lantern. Like all sky lanterns, Smeiker recommends using two people to light their lanterns, with one person holding the lantern from the top as the other person lights the wax fuel cell and waits for the lantern to fill up with air before taking flight.
Pros: The Smeiker lanterns come with one marker that can be used to write messages, wishes, and draw images on the inside or outside of the lanterns.
Cons: The BATTIFE lanterns are sold in a pack of six, which is ideal for small groups, but the company doesn’t offer larger sets.
4. SKY HIGH 20 Pack Colorful Chinese Lanterns
If you want a sky lantern that looks beautiful in the daylight and can be seen from a distance, we recommend the SKY HIGH 20 Pack Colorful Chinese Lanterns. The colorful pack of lanterns comes in bold hues, which adds versatility and gives users the option to release the lanterns at night or during daylight hours. The lanterns measure approximately 35” high and are made 100% biodegradable and with fire-retardant paper. The lanterns can fly for nearly nine minutes and reach a maximum height of 3,000 feet.
Pros: Each lantern comes fully assembled and individually packed, making them a great item to give out as gifts.
Cons: The SKY HIGH lanterns are sold in a pack of assorted colors and can’t be purchased in sets of one specific color.
5. All Natural Shop 25 Pack Chinese Sky Lanterns
If you’re looking to celebrate an event or milestone with a large group, we recommend the All Natural Shop 25 Pack Chinese Sky Lanterns. The most extensive set on our list, the All Natural lanterns are perfect for big gatherings, with enough lanterns to get everyone involved in the ceremony. The biodegradable paper lanterns can reach a soaring height of 3,000 feet to create a stunning sky filled with floating lanterns. Each lantern measures 32” high and is made with fire-retardant rice paper, fire-resistant string, a bamboo frame and wax fuel cell.
Pros: The All Natural set comes with three markers and two ebooks to help customers design artwork for their lanterns. One ebook focuses on 3D designs, while the second includes calligraphy examples that can be printed for users to practice with before adding their artwork to the lantern.
Cons: At 25 units, the All Natural is the largest set on our list and therefore has the highest price tag.
6. Just Artifacts 20 Eco Wire-free Assorted Chinese Flying Sky Lanterns
Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, Diwali, New Year’s Eve or even a wedding, the Just Artifacts 20 Eco Wire-free Assorted Chinese Flying Sky Lanterns are the perfect addition to your event. The large pack of biodegradable lanterns comes in an assortment of bright colors, as well as various shapes, including hearts, triangles and squares. The ECO-friendly lanterns are made with fire-resistant rice paper, a bamboo frame, a fire-resistant string and a wax fuel cell with Just Artifacts recommending using two people whenever lighting one lantern. The Just Artifacts lanterns have an impressive flying distance of 1,000 meters or almost 4,000 feet.
Pros: Because the lanterns are bright colors, they can be visible during daylight and at night, giving customers more options.
Cons: The Just Artifacts set is assorted, and customers can’t choose set amounts of specific designs or colors.
7. Smeiker Memorial Chinese Lanterns
For a lantern that is the perfect addition to any event honoring those we’ve lost, we recommend the Smeiker Memorial Chinese Lanterns. The 10-pack of lanterns each feature a beautiful message in scroll writing, which reads, “To those whose flame has been extinguished, let this light represent our love and compassion. We will never forget you.” The beautiful sentiment is printed underneath a space specially reserved for customers to write the name of the person or people they’re honoring, with these lanterns an excellent addition to any celebration of life ceremony. These lanterns are also a great compliment to plain lanterns and can be used at birthdays or weddings to honor the people who have passed on. Like the other lanterns on our list, the Smeiker Memorial Chinese Lanterns are biodegradable and ECO-friendly.
Pros: The Smeiker Memorial Chinese Lanterns have an impressive life span that includes a maximum flying distance of almost 3,300 feet and a flight time of up to 12 minutes.
Cons: Sky lanterns should not be flown in heavily treed areas or densely populated suburban spaces.