Lighting up the Darkness with the Petromax HK500 Paraffin Lamp – 400 watts of light in the darkness – Review

December 3, 2014 Off By Peter Carol

Petromax HK400 Lamp on a table

The Petromax Lamp is the best-known High-Pressure Light in the world. Its name originates from Max Graetz who invented the lamp at the beginning of the 20th century. Millions have been produced since then. Nowadays people are still fascinated by this lamp, which is handmade of more than 200 individual pieces. Fishing boats illuminate their catch with its impressive power of up to 400 watts and travellers tell their tales in its light.

Petromax lamps are made from solid brass. The cylinder consists of high temperature-resistant glass. Thus, you can efficiently use the lamp, regardless of wind and weather.

Technical details:
Height: 15.75 inches
Diameter: 6.7 inches
Weight: 5.3 pounds
Tank capacity: 1 litre
Burning time: 8-10 hours
Illumination: 400 watts
Material Brass and High Temperature Glass
Fuel: Kerosene or paraffin oil
What Results Can You Expect

We have had several happy customers come back to us soon after buying an HK500 for accessories who are very happy with the ease of use and exclaiming how bright the Lamp is. We have received one review for an online sale which gives the Petromax HK500 full marks, other product reviews mention the fantastic build quality and solidity of the stove, this is built to last a lifetime.

Here’s a comment from a Finnish user,

” I choosed to buy hk 500 to test light intensity and it is quit astonishing ! So bright that i couldn’t believe at from first start.”

First Impressions

I was a little daunted at first with memories of flaring Tilley lamps from my days as a scout, but with a quick read of the excellent instructions I found it easy to set the lamp up, burn off the mantle and pre heat the lamp with the fast pre heater, after a 90 second preheat the lamp burns brilliantly and cleanly with masses of light and a fair amount of warmth too, not a lamp for in the house or your tent, but out on your camp site or in the garden this is fantastic, masses of light, some heat, and an iconic look for the stylish glamper.
What to Watch Out For

The only niggle I had on first use was that I spilt a fair bit of Paraffin whilst filling the lamp. Petromax suggest their own paraffin fuel as it comes in litre bottles with a filling spout, if we import these to the UK the carriage makes the fuel expensive. The small funnel supplied with the lamp is easy to over fill from a 5 litre bottle of paraffin, so a smaller bottle or a jug to pour the paraffin from would make for less spillage, and solve this issue.
What advice can I offer you about buying a Petromax Lamp

Firstly the lamp comes without a reflector, so don’t forget to order one for your lamp. If you are travelling with your lamp then you can buy custom made carry case which also has a protector for the reflector.

If you replace the mantle holder then consider the stainless steel replacement as you get 20% extra light.

Service kits are available, but if you only use pure paraffin then you won’t need one very often, most problems are down to using the wrong fuel such as lamp oil, or dirty paraffin.

For in the house you can get either a table top or hanging electric HK500 Lamp.

Don’t use it inside buildings or tents.
My Verdict

The HK500 is an enthusiasts Lamp, easy to use when it works, and produces a massive amount of light, a product to be proud of, but there are reliability issues, with flaming as per other traditional designs.

Peter Carol
Founder of ProAdventure