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Which Chinese sky lantern is best?

As long as all the proper precautions are taken and the meaning of their use is understood, Chinese sky lanterns can be beautiful expressions of emotion and human connection. However, If they’re carelessly thrown into the wind they can cause horrific damage. If you’re considering using Chinese sky lanterns for your next event, do your part to protect the environment.

The best Chinese sky lanterns for any event are the Maikerry 20 Handmade Chinese Lanterns. These are ecologically friendly with a biodegradable construction, and they have rich colors and large bodies that are perfect for handwritten messages.

What to know before you buy a Chinese sky lantern

What is a Chinese sky lantern and how do they work?

Chinese sky lanterns essentially are miniature hot air balloons made from rice or tissue paper and held together with wires. They have deep meaning to Asian cultures, where they originated, and in Western cultures, celebrants may use them during special events.

To use them, light a flame underneath the sealed paper. This heats the air inside the lantern and causes it to eventually rise. At a certain altitude, the density of the air inside and outside of the lantern will reach equilibrium. The light will remain until the flame burns out, at which point the air inside the lantern cools and it will begin to fall.

Local laws

Check your local laws before you use Chinese sky lanterns. You may be held liable for any damages caused by the lanterns or any fees associated with putting out a fire they start. 

Color symbolism

Chinese sky lanterns come in a variety of colors, which all have meanings:

  • Red is for positivity and good luck.
  • Orange is for spontaneity and change.
  • Yellow is for honor and power.
  • Green is for harmony and healing.
  • Blue is for relaxation and optimism.
  • Purple is for spirituality and immortality.
  • Pink is for love and nurturing.
  • White is for mourning and purity.
  • Gold is for wealth and prosperity.

What to look for in a quality Chinese sky lantern


Chinese sky lanterns are constructed using paper, wiring and a fuel source. For more information on how construction affects the usage of Chinese sky lanterns, visit the Chinese sky lantern buying guide from BestReviews.

Paper: Chinese sky lanterns typically use rice, tissue or coated papers. Some manufacturers market their lanterns as durable enough to be reusable but most prefer to use lanterns that are just strong enough not to fall apart to improve biodegradability.

Wiring: All Chinese sky lanterns contain wire which makes them not fully biodegradable. Some limit wiring to only what is required to hold the fuel source, using bamboo to hold the form of the paper. Others use more wiring for the form factor.

Fuel: The most dangerous part of the Chinese sky lantern is the fuel. This is typically just a tiny little square made from materials such as cotton and paraffin to ensure minimal burn time.

How much you can expect to spend on a Chinese sky lantern

Chinese sky lanterns cost about $1-$2 each, occasionally higher. Your price will depend on how many you’re trying to buy at once.

Chinese sky lantern FAQ

How long can Chinese sky lanterns stay afloat?

A. Chinese sky lanterns can stay afloat for up to 20 minutes.

How high and far can a lantern go?

A. The height depends on the manufacturer, but you can expect a Chinese sky lantern to reach up to 1,000 feet or more. The distance is wholly dependent on the weather conditions at the time you use it. On calm nights, you could follow one on foot, but more blustery conditions could send them as far away as five miles.

What’s the best Chinese sky lantern to buy?

Top Chinese sky lantern

Maikerry 20 Handmade Chinese Lanterns

Maikerry 20 Handmade Chinese Lanterns

What you need to know: These Chinese sky lanterns are a popular bulk-order pick because of their high-quality and eco-friendly construction.

What you’ll love: Each lantern is individually bagged so you can use what you need without opening spare ones. They also come with a pen for writing messages.

What you should consider: These lanterns come in a pack of 20, so they may be more of an investment if you won’t use all of them at once.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Chinese sky lantern for the money

Swenafer Multicolor Chinese Sky Lanterns

Swenafer Multicolor Chinese Sky Lanterns

What you need to know: This six-pack of Chinese sky lanterns is best for small ceremonies and celebrations.

What you’ll love: These are biodegradable and ecologically friendly, plus they’re very easy to light and send skyward.

What you should consider: This pack does not come with a pen or marker, so if you want to write on the lanterns you need to find something that will work without ripping the paper.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Nuluphu Biodegradable Chinese Sky Lanterns

Nuluphu Biodegradable Chinese Sky Lanterns

What you need to know: A very popular choice for those using Chinese sky lanterns for the first time, these are large and easy to use.

What you’ll love: Add a personal handwritten note before you let them take flight.

What you should consider: Some of these sky lanterns have arrived with tears and holes that prevent them from floating.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jordan Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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