There’s no mistaking the beauty that solar house lights add to your landscaping. People often use them to spotlight a feature. They often serve that function themselves.
Advances in technology and improvements in design make the best outdoor solar lights more affordable than ever. And you’ll find plenty of different types for capturing the right mood and ambiance you desire.
If you haven’t considered them before, now is the time. We’ll walk you through the details of getting these lights for your home. We’ll also provide some excellent choices to make your shopping easier.
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What Are the Advantages of Using the Best Solar Lights?
Let’s first discuss outdoor lighting in general. These products offer a convenient way to illuminate a pathway or other feature in your backyard. They are aesthetically pleasing, especially if they have a softer glow. Many are unobtrusive and won’t steal the spotlight from other objects or sites.
You can also use solar lights for safety for preventing falls when you or others are outdoors at night. You can find products with motion sensors if you don’t have a free hand to flip a switch. They can also alert you to people—or wildlife—entering your space. You’ll see items that run the gamut from practical to plain fun. The switch from electricity or alkaline batteries adds to their usefulness.
Now, let’s consider the solar advantage and what makes these products worth a look.
What the Best Solar Lights for Garden Bring to Your Yard
Specifically, solar-powered lights offer several significant benefits over conventional ones. Frankly, they often take the latter off the table. The primary edge they have is no unsightly cords. That fact also ramps up the safety factor for preventing falls.
Most yard solar lighting work automatically. They turn on when dusk approaches and switch off when the sun rises. You can set them and forget them for the ultimate in convenient lighting solutions. The ambient light acts as the trigger. That means they’ll also turn on if it is overcast. Many also have an ON/OFF switch so that you can use them when you need them.
Many use rechargeable batteries and virtually take care of themselves. Most types you’ll find also have LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs. The former optimizes energy use to get the most out of the power source and cut heat loss. LEDs also dim as they reach the end of their life cycle. That gives you ample notice to change them and avoid being caught in the dark.
And if these things weren’t enough to convince you, then, how about the price? You can find excellent products well under $100. The other factor in their favor is versatility. The use of LEDs opens up all kinds of design options which you’ll see in our 10 best outdoor solar lights.
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Features to Look for in the Best Solar Yard Lights
The first thing you need to think about is the intended use of the lights. You’ll see them in all different kinds from spotlights to motion sensors to path lighting. Many work for certain purposes with features that are specific to that function. You’re more likely to get optimal satisfaction with your buy if you keep that in mind.
Some things to consider include:
- Size and number
- Type of light
- Customer satisfaction
Materials of the Best Solar Lights for Yard
The adage of getting what you pay for applies to solar lights too. Often, it’s a balance between price and durability.
You’ll find products made of ABS plastic on the low end. There are also different types of metal on the opposite side of the spectrum. The kind affects the item’s durability and lifespan. Don’t forget to look at the covering for the fixture too. Quality varies here. Our advice is not to skimp. After all, these products take a lot of punishment for staying outdoors in the elements.
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Size and Number
Solar lights go the gamut. You’ll find compact devices you’ll attach to a wall of your home to classic lantern shapes to strings of lights for your patio or porch. We suggest that you always measure the space before you buy.
When researching products, look for details about the brightness. You’ll see this spec listed as degrees Kelvin. The lower end of the range includes soft lighting with a yellowish tinge. It’s a smart choice for the garden because it isn’t as garish as a stark, blue hue one. The latter is an outstanding option for spotlights where safety is the primary concern.
The size and scope of an individual light also come into play with path lighting. Most may have a radius of around 3 feet, depending on the wattage and voltage. Make sure to buy enough to illuminate your entire walkway. Inevitably, you’ll find it difficult to add to your set if you find out later that you need a few more.
Aesthetics of the Best Solar Powered Outdoor Lights
You’ll find a plethora of styles of outdoor solar lights. Ironically, many strive to replicate old-fashioned designs. Some products are plain without any embellishment. You’ll see some with patterned coverings that can add interest. If possible, find out what the solar lights look like when they’re lit to help you decide. It may put one in the game changer category.
Type of Light
LEDs are the way to go as we alluded to earlier. The energy efficiency of these lights makes them an ideal choice. You’ll get a decent return on your investment. And they will continue to work long after you’ve bought them. You’ll see that many last 30,000 hours or more which is about five years.
Most products of this kind have many LEDs. The reason is that an individual diode points in one direction only. Having several replicates the effect of an incandescent bulb. It increases the scope of light.
We always like to touch on the elements outside of the product itself that affect your purchase. Always buy solar lights with at least a money-back guarantee, preferably, one with no questions asked. Sometimes, you won’t know if something isn’t right until you see it in place for yourself.
We also appreciate sellers who offer some type of warranty with our purchases. Life happens. You may not find out that the workmanship is faulty until you’ve had your lights outside during a heavy rainstorm. Read the terms carefully, especially if the description contains the word, limited.
What Else Do I Need to Know About the Best Outdoor Solar Lights?
Many product descriptions address the question of the elephant in the room. If not, it’s wise to find out before you buy. We’re talking about weather resistance or waterproofing.
We find it most helpful if there is an IP-rating. This two-digit number tells you what to expect with durability with solids and moisture. We consider it quality assurance that it’ll last.
The first one goes from 1 to 6 and rates the light for protection against any solid matter. A figure of 6 tells you that it’ll do fine outside. The second ranges from 1 to 8. A number of at least 5 is a good sign that it’ll hold up to rain, sleet, and snow.
Reading Between the Lines of Solar Landscape Lighting Reviews
The last point we want to discuss is essential since it can sway your buying decision. The crucial thing to remember about solar house lights is that they need an adequate amount of direct sun exposure. It’s necessary so that the battery can charge to work that night.
That’s why proper placement of the fixtures is imperative.
Overhanging branches or other obstructions are a problem. They will interfere with the amount of light the solar panels receive. Otherwise, they may not stay on the stated amount of time. If it’s especially poor, some might not even switch on at all. There are also seasonal variations in sunlight that can also affect performance.
Keep these facts in mind when reading reviews. Sometimes, solar-powered devices are not the right choice if sunlight is an issue. It’s not unlike trying to grow sun-loving plants in a shady garden. Once in a while, it doesn’t work. And it’s not a problem with the product.
Our Roundup of the 10 Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Lights
Now that we’ve piqued your interest, let’s run down our list of the first-rate yard solar lighting. We’ll highlight the pros and cons of each, with a discussion about its use.
Tom Care Solar Tiki Lights
The TomCare Solar Lights grab your attention right from the start. The black design with the yellow-orange flames is striking. The set includes four lights that stand about 43 inches tall each. The height is decent to keep it over any plants that may shade them. That makes them more like tiki torches. The nifty feature about them is that they flicker like flames.
The charge time is about eight hours and will provide up to 10 hours of light during the summer and five in the winter. They have a good IP rating of 65, making them a smart choice for waterproof solar lights. The illumination is bright enough to light up a patio or deck. The business end measures 4.7 inches long by 4.7 inches wide.
The lantern has a flat area on the top for the solar panels. The solar lights are a decent size for recharging the batteries. It would have been nice if a strip of them were along the top. It would increase the surface area for capturing sunlight. They could take advantage of their greater height.
Overall, the TomCare Solar Lights are attractive. They are a worthy addition if you’re going for a beach theme with your landscaping. They provide a pleasant light that will fit the decor. The solar lights are well-made and weatherproof. All that’s missing are the tiki drinks with umbrellas in them.
LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights
The LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights offer a smart way to illuminate several features in your yard. You can place them at the base of a tree or other decorative objects. You can get them in a two- or four-set package. Each one is just under a foot tall. The light has 12 LEDs, delivering 600 lumens of light. The output is bright with an illumination angle of 120 degrees.
The high lumen solar lights are well made from high-impact ABS plastic. They also have a superb IP rating of 67. The second figure means that they can withstand immersion in up to 1 meter of liquid. You won’t have an issue with water getting inside of them. The head pivots so that you can use them to point up or attach them to a building to point down.
There are two brightness modes, low and high. The different settings allow you to maximize the light you get from them for up to 12 or six hours, respectively. They work automatically, turning on at dusk and off at dawn. You can use them as path lighting. Their best use is as spotlights because of a lack of textured covers over the LEDs.
Overall, the LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights provide excellent light. It is bright enough to illuminate spots in your yard tastefully. They are well-made to last, albeit, a bit short if you want to use them in the winter. Their real value lies with the aesthetic elements that add to your yard.
Brightech Ambience Pro Outdoor Solar String Lights
Best String Lights
The Brightech Ambience Pro Outdoor Solar String Lights offer an ideal way to illuminate your porch or patio. The lighting is soft, giving off a warm glow that is inviting. The bulbs also have a vintage appeal with their Edison design. You will want to stay outside and enjoy the ambiance they bring to your home. You can choose either 2700K or 3000K for the perfect brightness.
The string is 27 feet long, ample for most uses. They contain a solar panel with 12 S14 lights, spaced 20 inches apart. We liked this design. It allows you to place the charging device where it will receive the most sun exposure. The lights come on automatically. The sockets are durable and made of plastic to keep the weight in check.
The product description says that the solar lights are waterproof. However, it does not have an IP rating, only testimonials from unidentified buyers. That said, the manufacturer backs up their products with a guarantee and three-year warranty. The bulbs have a 20,000-hour lifespan. That figure is in line with what we’d expect from LEDs.
Overall, the Brightech Ambience Pro Outdoor Solar String Lights are so pretty and romantic. If you entertain a lot or spend plenty of time on your deck, you’ll get your money’s worth and more with this product. While charming, they don’t lend themselves to spontaneous use. You have to remember to put them up in the sunlight to recharge. Otherwise, they are a worthwhile purchase.
LITOM Premium Motion Sensor Solar Lights
Best Wide-Angle Solar Light for Home Use
LITOM Premium Solar Lights are one of the brightest solar lights on the market. The package contains four lights, each with 30 LEDs and 550 lumens. You can get either cool or warm white lights. They have an impressive 30,000-hour lifespan. You’ll likely get more use out of them because they go on for such shorts periods.
They use motion sensors to turn on after dusk or when the ambient light is low. They can detect activity up to 26 feet away from the source. They will stay on for 30 seconds, long enough to find your keys and unlock your front door. The lights are a compact size with dimensions of 7.01 inches long by 3.35 inches wide and 1.97 inches high.
They are easy to install. You can put them near a door or along a fence to provide path lighting. The ratio of solar panels to lights is high, so you likely get a lot of use from them. There is only one lighting mode. Otherwise, it works automatically when triggered. And as we always like to see, the manufacturer stands behind their products. And there is a 24-hour customer service available.
Overall, the LITOM Premium Solar Lights are an excellent value if you need to place motion sensors in several places in your yard. The wide illumination range adds to their value. The thing to remember is that you must install them where they’ll get direct sunlight year-round. That’s how to take advantage of the benefits that they offer.
Moonrays Solar Path Light
Best Path Lighting
The Moonrays Richmond Solar Path Light offers a pleasing way to illuminate a walkway. You can also use them to flank your porch to create an inviting entrance. The metal and plastic units measure about 18 inches high. They have an attractive lantern shape what provides 360 degrees of light. The covers are textured to provide interesting patterns within its four-foot radius.
The lights come in a two pack. The stake portion has a rubbed bronze finish. It will make an excellent addition to any landscaping them. The end of it is plastic for placing it into the ground. They are 14 inches high once you get them in place. The product description states that they are weatherproof without an IP rating. We suggest storing them indoors if you live where it snows a lot.
The design and high-quality construction may them a great buy for solar lights for outdoors. They work automatically and provide adequate light over a relatively large area. We could easily see them at the end of a driveway for a good-looking alternative to reflectors.
Overall, the Moonrays Richmond Solar Path Light offers value with a well-made design. It is sturdy unlike a lot of cheaper models we see. They are more expensive if you need several of them to line a walkway. If you need this type of lighting, it’s worth considering the investment.
Pandawill Color-Changing Solar Glass Ball
We’ll admit up front that the Pandawill Color-Changing Solar Glass Ball is a whimsical choice for our top 10 outdoor solar patio lights. But no one said that you couldn’t make lighting fun. Unlike the previous products, this one is a table lamp. It measures just over 5 inches high. As the name implies, it casts a 360-degree glow all around.
You can choose between multi-colored and stars for color options. Mosaic glass pieces decorate either type. There are three lighting modes, monochrome, color-changing, or off. We prefer the first one. A white LED provides the light. The globe provides protection to keep it safe from the elements. This product isn’t going to illuminate an entire space. Its purpose is merely decorative.
The description states that it is waterproof. However, without an IP rating, we can’t be sure. It’s not a deal breaker because we think it’s too cute to leave outside, anyway. After all, it is made of glass. The table light will stay on for up to eight hours once fully charged. The fact that it’s portable makes it easy to ensure it gets enough sun exposure to stay lit.
Overall, the Pandawill Color-Changing Solar Glass Ball is likely an impulse purchase. It is cute and certainly a conversation starter. But that’s where it’s usefulness will probably end. You’ll get your money’s worth out of it. We like the amusing factor it’ll bring to your outdoor entertaining.
Sterno Outdoor Solar Street Light
Best Front Yard Lighting
The Sterno Outdoor Solar Street Light is another product that serves brings both usefulness and aesthetic value to the table. It is just over 6.5 feet tall. The lantern portion measure 8.75 inches across. The design resembles that of a period gaslight lamp post from the Victorian era. The bulb hangs down and casts a full 360-degree light all around.
The light is made of cast aluminum and is rust-resistant. The finish is black, in keeping with the style. It has four solar panels that are angled to optimize sun exposure. It has 12 LEDs that provide 50 lumens of light. The color leans toward the daylight end of the spectrum. The proper placement is vital to avoid disturbing household members or your neighbors.
However, it is a smart buy for those looking for bright solar lights. This one will fit the bill and then some. It’s easy to install. We suggest anchoring it onto some type of heavy base to prevent it from toppling over on a windy day. Like the other product we reviewed, this one turns on automatically at dusk or overcast conditions.
Overall, the Sterno Outdoor Solar Street Light is probably one of the most useful products in our roundup. It’s also more of an investment than the others. However, the lamp post adds both aesthetic value and security to your yard. Its classic design is a winner too in our books.
GIGALUMI Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights
You’ll forgive us for choosing another entertaining pick with the GIGALUMI Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights. We couldn’t resist, especially when we considered how practical they are. We think that the concept is brilliant. The set includes six pint-sized mason jars rigged with fairy string lights. They give the lanterns a unique look that made us forget what they actually are.
You can hang the lights singly or in a group, using the included handle. You can also use them for a standalone table lamp or on your steps for porch lighting. The use of mason jars means that they will keep out moisture and debris to protect the inside fixture. While the glass is sturdy, it’s not indestructible. Weatherproof is one thing. Staying intact on a windy day is something else.
The other concern we have is the fairy string lights. We did not find a figure for lifespan or if you can buy replacements if needed. While they’re not spendy, it’s still on our radar of things to consider with this purchase. They look great and are a fun addition to a country-themed setting. Their versatility only adds to points in their favor.
Overall, the GIGALUMI Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights are definitely unique. They are a fun riff on the theme with the added value of being useful for several purposes. They are attractive and truly waterproof. Our concerns rest with how long they will last without breaking. Otherwise, they are a set of good-looking lights.
GIGALUMI Solar Deck Lights
Best for Decks
The GIGALUMI Solar Deck Lights offer two options for adding bright outdoor solar lights to your stairs, fence, or deck. You can mount them horizontally to point down, or place them vertically. We love the multiple options that they offer. The fact that there are 12 in the package is a bonus. You’ll likely have enough with one purchase.
The pieces are made of ABS plastic which does a decent job of holding up to the elements. Each light measures 3.46 inches long by 1.77 wide by 1.85 inches high. The LEDs emit 3 lumens each. The glow is on the warm side, so it’s not glaring but still serves the purpose adequately. We can say the same about the design. They fit in nicely and don’t detract from the decor.
They are easy to install. They work automatically like other solar lights. And the same tips apply for ensuring that they get enough light to recharge during the day. It’s too bad that the batteries are included. The manufacturer provides a 180-day warranty on the product. That will give you plenty of time to see if they’ll work for you.
Overall, GIGALUMI Solar Deck Lights are an excellent choice for illuminating just about any place where you need some extra light. The design is tasteful no matter where you decide to put them. Having 12 is useful from the start to ensure you’re not scrambling to find extra pieces to fill a space. Their true value lies with the fact that they provide sufficient light unobtrusively.
AmeriTop Solar Motion Sensor Lights
Best Security Spotlight
The AmeriTop Solar Motion Sensor Lights are undoubtedly the brightest solar landscape lights. They are excellent if you need for a security spotlight for your home or yard. The light is bright at 6000 K. That figure puts it in the daylight range. It’s more than enough to illuminate an area. And you’ll know when these lights are on the job.
There are several features which speak to the manufacturer’s attention to detail for creating a useful product. All make it an excellent value whether you use it for security purposes or not. And it has an OFF switch if you want to suspend this function.
First, you can place the fixture where you need the light to shine. And you can install the solar panel where it’ll get the most sun exposure. Second, you can adjust the radius for the motion sensor at 20, 33, or 49 feet (6, 10, or 15 meters). That option truly puts it in the security realm. Finally, you can set the time you want it to stay lit from 30, 60, or 120 seconds.
That can give you plenty of time to get into the house from your car or patio without feeling like you have to rush. We also like the fact that other things like rain won’t trigger the device. Its IP rating is 65 which is sufficient to ensure that it is weatherproof. The light measures 13.5 long by 3.5 inches wide by 12 inches high. It’s not the best looking solar light, but it works as described.
Overall, the AmeriTop Solar Motion Sensor Lights ticks off a lot of boxes for a practical and useful security spotlight. The customization options struck a chord with us to make them a worthwhile buy. The lackluster design is a bummer, but its convenience puts them in the win column. The detached solar panel is brilliant to ensure that it’ll work for its intended purpose.
Final Thoughts About the Best Solar Garden Lights
As you can see, you have numerous options for finding solar lights for yard use. That makes it hard to pick our favorites among them. For aesthetics, we like the Brightech Ambience Pro Outdoor Solar String Lights and GIGALUMI Solar Deck Lights. Both are decorative and add to the ambiance of a deck or patio that we found irresistible. They are outright gorgeous.
For security, AmeriTop Solar Motion Sensor Lights take top honors, hands down. The light is bright enough with options to set it up as you want including the adjustable fixtures. It isn’t the prettiest one out there, but it’s certainly functional.
The best outdoor solar lights offer a set-it-and-forget way to illuminate your outside living spaces. The solutions are convenient and reliable. Advances in technology have made them affordable. And thoughtful manufacturers have responded to customer feedback. They have improved the design and added features to make them more useful. They are an outstanding way to enhance your landscaping.
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