The best outdoor solar lights enjoy several benefits over their wired cousins. Running extension cords through the yard is a pain, and thereâs always that danger of forgetting about them when it comes time to mow the lawn. You might even need to hire an electrician to run wire to add lights to a detached garage or shed, adding serious cost and time.
Solar lights are a low-cost alternative that donât need any wiring, only take a few minutes to install, and run off free electricity. Seems almost too good to be true, right? Itâs not!
Whether you need to increase security around your home, create a relaxing ambiance on your porch, or simply light up your sidewalk, you can find the exact solar light to fit the bill.
We have chosen seven types of outdoor lighting â from spotlights to fairy lights and everything in between â and have found the best outdoor solar light for each category.
Each product that we have chosen is cost competitive, enjoys great reviews, and can withstand all that nature throws its way. Hereâs a quick look, with more detailed descriptions below:
Quick Look: A bright, wide angle light perfect for general purpose lighting
If youâre looking for an outdoor solar light for your driveway, garage, or side of the house, Litomâs wide angle solar light is a well-priced and well-reviewed option.
Each light contains 24 large LED bulbs, with 18 on the front and 3 on each side, to provide 270Â° of illumination around the fixture. Together, they produce 420 lumens â about as bright as three or four high-powered, quality headlamps â with a range of 200 square feet. Thatâs more than enough to help you unload the car or find your keys, but if youâre looking to illuminate a large parking area, you might need to buy a couple or move up to a more powerful option.
The Litom Solar Light has three modes:
When the motion sensor is activated, the light will shine brightly for 20 seconds then return to whatever standard brightness youâve chosen.
Homeowners whoâve purchased the Litom Wide Angle Solar Light praise the productâs brightness âespecially considering the fixtureâs small size and price â as well as the quality of the lithium-ion batteries.
If youâre looking for a general-purpose solar light to brighten up your driveway or walkway while you fumble for your keys, the Litom Wide Angle Solar Light is one of the best-reviewed, cost conscious options out there.
Quick Look: These solar spotlights include a separate solar panel, sturdy aluminum components, and a beautiful warm white color temperature.
Are you particularly proud of the beautiful tree in your yard or the front of your house? Maybe youâve got a gazebo in your backyard that you want to draw attention to?
Installing a solar spotlight is the perfect option! These small, powerful lights shoot a concentrated beam of light into a single area. And unlike a âstandardâ spotlight, with solar you donât have the headache of running extension cords to that perfect installation spot in your yard!
Solar Light Martâs MINI Solar Spotlight is discrete, powerful, and sturdy. The kit includes two individual mini spotlights, each rated at 60 to 100 lumens (depending on the mode), connected to a single solar panel. The spotlights are connected to each other by a 16 foot cable, with a single 16 foot cable connected to the solar panel.
With the solar panel independent from the actual lights, this allows you to place the lights in the perfect spot, regardless of whether itâs perpetually shaded or not, and install the solar panel in a nice, sunny area.
You can choose between three brightness levels (low, medium, high) and the lights will run 5 to 15 hours depending on your setting.
Unlike many yard lights with flimsy plastic stakes, the MINI Solar Spotlights are made of sturdy aluminum, so you donât have to worry so much about breaking one with an unfortunate misplaced footstep. Each light can be rotated 45Â° on its axis, allowing you to raise or lower the beam as needed.
You mightâve noticed that some of the cheaper LED lights give off a bluish-white hue, but not so with the MINI. Instead, these spotlights have a nice warm white color â 3,000 K on the Kelvin scale (a measure of light color).
Customers are continually surprised by the MINIâs beautiful, warm light, with many noting that they donât look like âtypicalâ solar lights (ie the bluish-white hue that is so common). Several homeowners also praise the extreme durability of the aluminum housing and spikes, in stark contrast to the cheap, flimsy equipment of the âone seasonâ plastic solar lights that break immediately when they meet the weed wacker.
While these arenât the cheapest solar spotlights on the market, theyâre still well-priced, especially considering the excellent quality and great reviews. If youâre looking for solar spotlights that can withstand several years of use, youâve found them.
Quick Look: An ultra-powerful â and ultra-adjustable â solar security light.
Yes, the companyâs name is ludicrous, but their product is anything but. If youâre looking for a security light thatâll scare away the baddies, take a look at Lovin Productâs ultra-bright 1,000 lumen security light. Yes, you read that right. 1,000 lumens. Thatâs on par with any hard-wired security light, without any wiring at all and for a reasonable price.
If thereâs one description for this light, itâs adjustable. The light includes 182 LEDs across 3 fixtures that can be adjusted to illuminate almost any direction: up, down, wide angle, straight forward, and everything in between. On top of that, you can adjust:
Obviously, with a light this powerful, youâll need a bigger solar panel than others. This lightâs solar panel is 8â in each diameter and composed of aluminum and glass for both strength and durability. It comes with a pre-attached, adjustable mounting arm so you can screw the solar panel to your wall or roof and angle it towards the sun. The kit comes with 8 screws as well as a 16.4 foot cord so you can find the perfect, sunny location.
Homeowners whoâve purchased this security light are overwhelmingly satisfied with both the price and quality of the product, with most particularly praising the lightâs brightness and ease of installation.
If youâre looking to buy a powerful, easy-to-install solar security light at a good price, Lovin Productâs offering is top-notch.
Quick Look: A sleek, low-cost solar pathway light with a warm white hue.
Path or walkway lights mix functionality with style. Sure, they light up your sidewalk, but they also need to look good in your yard. With that in mind, the âbestâ solar pathway light is really more of a personal decision.
Still, we took a crack at it and have chosen Welightâs Stainless Steel Solar Pathway Lights as the best in class, thanks to their excellent price point and overwhelmingly perfect reviews. Their aesthetic is simple, sleek, and unassuming, so youâd be able to add them to your yard without drawing too much attention.
Each order comes with 12 staked fixtures, and each fixture comes with 8 LEDs and a small solar panel on top. Thereâs no on/off switch, but the lights turn on automatically at dusk. Charging time is 5-6 hours and the lights will remain lit for 6 to 8 hours.
Instead of the typical bluish-white hue common among cheaper LEDs, Welightâs solar pathway lights offer a pleasant, warm white that buyers find inviting. Homeowners also report the lights are long-lasting and offer the perfect amount of light â bright enough to see by but low enough to create a pleasant aesthetic in the yard.
Great quality and a decent price? If youâre looking for a whole set of solar pathway lights, you canât go wrong with Welightâs offering.
Quick Look: Durable string lights with extra-large bulbs to turn your patio into a classy cafe.
Patio lights. Some say theyâre overused and cheesy. We say they bring instant class and warmth to any setting.
If you want to spruce up your patio without the hassle of running extension cords outside, Brightechâs solar patio lights can help out. Each strand is 27 feet long and includes 1 bulb every 20 inches, for a total of 12 bulbs (thereâs 6 feet between the solar panel and the first bulb, and 3 feet at the other end to help hang the wire).
Each LED is wrapped in silicon and each 2â bulb is made of strong, waterproof plastic. The small solar panel comes with both a stake and a clip so you can easily set up and remove the lights when needed.
At 3,000 Kelvins (a measurement of the color of light), the light provides a warm white hue, not a bluish-white like so many LEDs. Charge time is 6 hours, but Brightech warns that the switch needs to be in the on position for the battery to charge. (In the on position, the photosensor will automatically turn the lights on at dusk.)
Customers report that Brightechâs lights are heavy and sturdy and that the solar panel and clip, while plastic, is quite durable. Set them up in the backyard and leave them out year around.
Quick Look: A well-reviewed solar version of the low-cost fairy light.
Fairy lights are similar to the standard string lights above, but with one important difference: these are all about ambiance. They give off virtually no usable light. Instead, they lend a fairy-like appearance to your backyard.
Because theyâre purely aesthetic, manufacturers can use very small LEDs, so most fairy lights are pretty cheap compared to other solar lights.
If youâre wondering which ones to order, take a look at AMIRâs Copper String Lights. Each strand is 33 feet long and includes 100 LEDs along the flexible copper wire. You can choose between a white hue or warm white (more like an incandescent bulb). At the end of the wire is a small solar panel with stake to easily install it in the sun.
Since the wire copper will hold itâs shape, you can easily wrap it up deck posts, around umbrellas, or along railing. And since itâs completely waterproof (like all the lights on this list), you donât need to worry about bringing it inside when youâre ready to go to bed.
Quick Look: These solar sconces offer bright, clear lighting in a sleek package.
InnoGearâs Solar Gutter Lights are a sleek, modern take on the outdoor solar light. Attaching directly to the wall with two screws via an aluminum mounting pole, these solar lights can be used where other solar lights that sit closer to the wall would be shaded by the roof eaves.
Each order comes with two lights, each of which produces 450 lumens with the 36 super bright LEDs. In full sun, the battery will charge in 8 hours and provide 10 hours of light. The motion sensor, which is discretely placed on the underside of the fixture, can detect motion up to 26 feet.
Installed at the recommended 8 to 10 feet high, InnoGearâs light will provide 270Â° of light, which will turn on automatically depending on which of the four modes you choose:
The color temperature of the lights is 6,500 Kelvins, so expect a clear, whitish-blue hue akin to daylight.
Customers frequently install these lights on garages and barns thanks to brightness of the light, high build quality, and the ease of installation. If you like the style of the lights, but donât need the aluminum pole, Innogear also sells them without the extension.
Here are a few tips to help you out when choosing and installing your outdoor solar light.
If youâre looking for a light to brighten up your driveway, yard, or pool youâll need to make sure your light is powerful enough to illuminate the entire area. Solar lights usually arenât as powerful as their âstandardâ cousins, so read up on the lightâs brightness before purchasing. Most manufacturers publish the lightâs lumen count (ie, how strong the light is) and some publish the square footage of the illumination.
Standard âgeneral purposeâ solar lights are usually around 450 lumens and can illuminate around 200 square feet of space. If thereâs no info from the manufacturer, previous buyers will often note how bright the light is and often upload photos of the lights in action, so take a few minutes to look them over as well.
Hereâs another quick tip. If youâre worried your driveway is too big, you can easily go and find the approximate size of the area. The average stride is about 2 1/2 feet, so just take a walk across each side and multiply!
Taking a couple minutes to plan before you purchase your light can save you time down the line. Who wants to wait for an order, install the light, then realize the lightâs not bright enough as you fumble for your keys?
This should go without saying, but solar lights need sun! Youâll want to install your solar panel in an area where it can enjoy max sunlight throughout the day â at least 5 to 6 hours. If the solar panel is integrated into the light fixture itself, this limits where you can install your solar light. If the solar panel is separate from the light fixture (like the string and spot lights above), you can install the solar panel wherever makes sense and simply run the cord to the lights.
Donât be nervous if youâre not quite sure where to install your solar panel. All the solar lights above are very easy to install and most just require you to stake the solar panel in the ground. If your battery isnât charging enough in your current location, just move it somewhere else and try again. Trees, bushes, fences, houses, and all other opaque objects can easily shade a small solar panel, so take a look around if youâre having problems.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best outdoor solar lights:
Keep in mind, these arenât the only solar lights out there. If you donât see any lights that match your particular style, just look around. Youâre sure to find something that is! All the lights above though are cost-effective, well-made, and have many happy customers. Youâd be in good hands with any of the best outdoor solar lights above.
Image Credit: CC license via Flickr and Amazon.