Lighting up the driveway, stairs, and other outdoor areas of the house will not only improve aesthetics but prevent accidents. Poor lighting can lead to tripping on toys or unintentionally trampling on plants in the garden by guests. However, adding a bulb to every area of the home quickly reflects on your electricity bill. You certainly don’t want that. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why many families are switching to outdoor solar lights. Also, outdoor solar lights add interesting features to outdoor landscaping.

Make no mistake, solar lights have numerous other benefits leading to a boom in their purchase. Solar lights are available in varying designs. Therefore, finding the best outdoor solar lights for different outdoor areas of your home can be a huge challenge. This is because you have to find the right design and brightness for each area. From wall lights to floodlights, and spotlights, we have sieved through hundreds of solar lights to find the most suitable option for different parts of your home.

How do solar outdoor lights work?

Solar outdoor lights have solar panels on the top and built-in rechargeable batteries. When sunlight hits the panels on these lights, they generate electricity through the PV effect. The electricity charges the battery. When evening comes, the sunlight starts to fade, and eventually, the solar cells stop converting them into energy. A built-in photoreceptor detects darkness and turns on the light. The stored energy is used to power the LED (light-emitting diodes) bulbs. The LED bulbs will continue to glow until the stored energy is used up. Also, the photoreceptor can turn off the light when daylight appears.

What are the types of outdoor solar lights?

Manufacturers of solar lights often design them with intended use in mind. In other words, it is easy to determine where you are meant to use your outdoor solar light simply by looking at them. Thus, we have various types of solar light namely;

  • Outdoor solar lanterns: as their names suggest, they are often designed to mimic the shape of a lantern. Modern lanterns look like a fireplace. They are most suitable for patio and deck.
  • Lighting for driveway: they are usually mounted on the ground on both sides of the driveway. They literally lead you into or out of the garage. The best driveway lights are so tough that a car can climb on them without harming them.
  • Pathway lights: they are usually mounted on poles and line the pathway. One of the major characteristics of pathway light is its dim lighting.
  • Security light: they are designed to be mounted on the walls of the house.
  • String lights: they are designed for decorative purposes making them suitable for treetops and gardens. They add a romantic ambiance to the surroundings.

Review of the best outdoor solar lights

There is a popular saying that if you judge a fish by the ability to climb a tree it will spend all its life feeling useless. It is almost impossible to judge all solar lights using the same criteria. So, when searching for the best outdoor solar light, it’s best to focus on the intended use. The use will also guide you when choosing the brightness and design, bearing the position of the solar panel in mind. Without further ado, here is our list of the best outdoor solar lights.

URPOWER Solar lights 2-in-1 – Best solar lights for signs

  • Battery capacity: 2200 mAh
  • Charging time: 6 – 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: 10 hours low light mode and 6 hours high light mode

Lighting up signs makes them visible at night. URPOWER solar lights will not only light up your signs but intentionally draw people’s attention to the sign. It comes with wider solar panels that charge the battery faster. Also, the solar panels can be adjusted 180 degrees for maximum sun exposure. However, the most remarkable feature of this solar light is the 2-in-1 installation. You can either stick it into the ground or mount it on the wall using screws.

As wall lights, you can use them to light up signs. With this product, you don’t have to worry about switching on your lights at night. It has photo sensors that automatically turn on the light at dusk and turn it off at dawn. In terms of quality, URPOWER solar lights are made of high-quality plastics that can withstand harsh weather. With the IP64 rating, you don’t have to worry about water ruining your lights.

The LED lamp head can be adjusted 90 degrees making it easier for you to light up your sign. Before using it for the first time, it is advised that you let it charge for two sunny days first. This can be a huge limitation for those who want to start using their lights immediately. Also, multiple users complain that their lights stopped working after a few months. You should weigh your odds and make sure you are buying from a reputable seller.

Pros 

  • Larger solar panel for faster charging
  • Can be installed in 2 different ways
  • IP64 waterproof rating
  • Lamp head and panel are adjustable

Cons

  • You need to charge for 2 days before use
  • Durability is questionable

Lemontec Solar Lights – Best solar light for yard

  • Battery capacity: 1800 mAh
  • Charging time: 7 hours
  • Lighting duration: 12

There are tens of reasons why Lemontec solar lights are the best solar light for yards. Most solar lights only last 8 hours which is not enough to carry you through the night. With Lemontec solar lights you should get 12 hours of uninterrupted lighting for your yard. It turns on automatically at night and turns off in the morning.

You can use it in three different modes namely strong long light mode, dim light sensor mode, and strong light sensor mode. This solar light is weather resistant. It has 62 big LED lights that are hard to beat in brightness. Thinking of security? This should be a good pick. It has a PIR motion sensor that gets activated when movement is detected within 10 to 26 feet. It turns off automatically if there is no motion for 10 seconds after coming on.

Lemontec solar lights have an IP65 waterproof rating and heatproof plastic construction. Multiple reviews show one of the two sets of light comes defective. Likewise, the sensor of one of the lights doesn’t work as it should. Also, customers have reported condensation on the LED and solar panels. Apparently, this product is better for those in warmer climates. Nevertheless, it is still a great deal at the price.

Pros

  • Lasts up to 12 hours after full charge
  • PIR motion sensors with a 10 to 26 ft. range
  • Contains 62 big bright LED bulbs
  • IP65 waterproof rating
  • Decent pricing

Cons

  • Potential condensation on the solar panels and LED screen
  • Sensor range is questionable

Aityvert Solar lights – Best solar patio lights

  • Battery capacity: 2200 mAh
  • Charging time: 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: 12 hours when fully charged

This solar lamp perfectly mimics the flickering of live flame. The LED bulbs in the torch cast a mood-enhancing glow. The height of the solar torches has been upgraded to 42.9 inches. Besides aesthetics, another good reason why this is the best solar patio light is because of the long battery life. After a full charge, this torch can light up your patio for 12 hours.

If that doesn’t sway you, then the daylight sensor should. Like most solar lights, it has a photosensor that detects the presence of darkness and turns the lights on and vice versa. Due to the lack of wires, the installation process is a breeze. All you need do is place the torch where you want them to be and you are done.

Aityvert is durable and has an IP65 waterproof rating. The icing on this product should be the 12-month support offered by the manufacturers. However, it is far from perfect. One of the biggest challenges that customers have faced is the premature death of the lights after a few weeks of use. Also, it seems they don’t last up to 12 hours like promised. Perhaps, this is an issue with quality control because when they work, they are awesome.

Pros

  • Flickering that mimics real flame
  • IP65 waterproof rating
  • Easy to install
  • Aesthetically appealing with cool ambiance glow

Cons

  • Slightly pricey
  • Battery duration is questionable
  • Fragile and breaks easily

Azirier Solar Lights – Best solar garden lights

  • Battery capacity: 600 mAh
  • Charging time: 6 hours
  • Lighting duration: 8 to 10

Azirier solar lights don’t come with the strongest batteries on the market but they still deliver in terms of performance. Also, if you are on a tight budget, this will make a good option. For less than $50, you will get a pack of 12. The manufacturers say that you can get 8 to 10 hours of light at night if you charge it for 6 hours during the day. According to them, the secret is the use of high-quality materials in their production.

This product is backed by 1-year service and the manufacturers assure their customers that all their queries will be answered within 24 hours. Since most solar outdoor lights are problematic, this is soothing. It has a beautiful design too. So, in addition to lighting up your walkway, it also adds some glamor to your landscaping.

Azirier solar lights are really beautiful when they work. However, there have been myriads of complaints that they stop working after a while. Also, when they work, some bulbs in the set appear to be brighter than others. Generally, the brightness is too low. However, considering the battery capacity, that seems to be the only way to make them last through the night. Nevertheless, it’s not bad for the price.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Up to 10 hours of night light when fully charged
  • Beautiful design
  • The manufacturer is offering 1-year service

Cons

  • Low battery capacity
  • Lighting is dim
  • Durability is a source of concern

LITOM solar landscape spotlights – Best solar landscape lights

  • Battery capacity: 1,800 mAh
  • Charging time: 6 to 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: 12 hours on low light mode and 6 hours on high light mode

At a glance, the solid build of the LITOM solar landscaping spotlight will grab your attention—but it offers so much more in terms of performance. Firstly, it has 2 installation modes. It can be wall-mounted or pinned into the ground using a pole. The absence of wires and the presence of an adjustable neck make installation a breeze. One feature that makes this product stand out is the superior waterproof rating (IP67).

Like all the best outdoor solar lights, this one has energy-saving features. It automatically turns on at night and turns off in the morning, thanks to the inbuilt photoreceptor. LITOM solar landscaping spotlight has 2 lighting modes; the low light mode which you get by pressing the power button once and the high light mode which you can switch to by pressing the power button twice. The low light mode is still bright enough—and that is due to the 12 high-quality LED bulbs.

It will interest you to know that the appearance of this product is patented. That means you will be using a unique product. The price is, perhaps, the first setback that can hinder you from buying this product. Also, the battery capacity seems small for 12 LED lights. Therefore, you have to keep it on dim most of the time—to last longer. There are also cases of flickering. Yet, the brightness is great when they are in perfect working condition.

Pros

  • Offers 2 installation modes
  • Superior IP67 waterproof rating
  • Two operating modes for flexible usage
  • Comes with 12 bright LED bulbs

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Occasional flickering
  • Battery capacity is low for 12 LED bulbs

TomCare Solar lights – Best solar lantern

  • Battery capacity: 2000 mAH
  • Charging time: 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: Not indicated

Hang this on your patio or lawn to create a welcoming ambiance. These lamps have realistic flickering that will make you think there’s a real fire burning underneath. Before hanging them, make sure they are turned on if not, they will not charge. Also, don’t hang two lights too close to each other or they will not work. The solar panels have been upgraded to be larger than others for faster charging of the battery.

This solar lamp is made of durable and waterproof ABS plastic with an IP65 rating. So, you never have to worry about rain or snow when you hang it outdoor. The manufacturers are confident of their product. Therefore, they are offering a 45-day money-back guarantee as well as 12 months warranty. It doesn’t have wires so you can hang it just anywhere.

One of the biggest setbacks with this product is the huge price. It costs a premium to get a set of two lamps. Although it has a flexible and durable hanging clip, you may have to take it out every morning for it to charge under the sunlight if you use it in patios. When you need a lamp that will add beauty to your lawn or patio, this will be an easy pick.

Pros

  • Beautiful and creative design
  • Life-like flickering
  • Upgraded solar panels for faster charging
  • Up to 12 months warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Design restricts where you can use it

Aootek 182 LED solar outdoor motion sensor light – Best solar fence lights

  • Battery capacity: 2200 mAh
  • Charging time: not indicated
  • Lighting duration: not indicated

The first feature that we found interesting with this product is the wide-angle lighting. It has three operational modes namely ‘security mode’ where the motion sensor turns the lights on, ‘permanent on all night’ which keeps the light on all the night, and ‘smart brightness control’ which keeps the light on but turns brighter when motion is detected. Its PIR motion sensor has been upgraded so that it can detect people up to 26 feet within 120 degrees.

Aootek outdoor solar lights contain 182 LED bulbs which make them brighter than most of the solar lights on the market. This stunning product comes with a 1.2W monocrystalline silicon solar panel with PET lamination and a 20.5% conversion rate. It has an IP65 waterproof rating making it suitable for exterior use. It should be able to hold up against harsh weather.

Compared to other solar lights from the same manufacturer, this is by far the most expensive. However, like most outdoor solar lights, cold weather is bad for this one. The battery seems too small to handle 182 LED bulbs. At full glow settings, you should get no more than a few hours. Considering that the switch is in the back, you need to take it off the wall each time to change the settings.

Pros

  • Offers three operating modes
  • Brighter than most solar outdoor lights (182 LED bulbs)
  • Great for security
  • Comes with a superior monocrystalline solar panel

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • Battery could be better
  • You must unscrew from the wall to change lighting mode

Ring solar step light – Best for outdoor step

  • Battery capacity: 1,800 mAh
  • Charging time: not indicated
  • Lighting duration: not indicated

Steps can get really dangerous in the dark. People can easily trip and fall. This is why it is paramount to install step lights. Ring solar step light is not your regular product. With this innovative product, you can control your light with your voice, thanks to its Alexa compatibility. You will need a Ring Bridge (sold separately) to enable smart features. Like every other security light, it has a motion sensor that shines 50 lumens of light whenever motion is detected.

The Ring App allows you to customize your settings and get notifications when motion is detected or schedule the time for the light to turn on and off. One thing you will find fascinating is that if one light detects motion, it can tell the others in the group to turn on and tell your Ring doorbells and cameras to start recording.

All these interesting features come at a huge price. The high price is definitely enough to deter budget buyers from giving it a try. Also, the sensors are not as great as advertised. The majority of the experience is that you will almost be standing in front of it to trigger the sensors. Besides that, this is a perfect light for security that you can chain with other devices.

Pros

  • Smart solar step light with Alexa compatibility
  • Can be set to trigger other security fittings
  • Bright and durable battery

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Sensor is not as active as advertised
  • Durability is questionable

RaLights super-bright solar light – Brightest outdoor solar light

  • Battery capacity: 4400 mAh
  • Charging time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: 12 hours

One of the major flaws of some of the best outdoor solar lights is their low light intensity. If you have a large outdoor space you want to illumine RaLights super-bright solar lights will be your best bet. It makes use of a whopping 298 LEDs that delivers a combined 2500 lumens in brightness. Most of the outdoor solar lights don’t go beyond 100 lumens. This should give you an idea of the brightness you will get with this one.

The lights cover a wide-angle (280 degrees). According to the manufacturers, this light can illuminate an area of 1600 sq. ft. when set on full brightness. Also, they have one of the largest batteries (4400 mAh) you will ever find in outdoor solar light. In dim mode, this should be able to carry you all through the night. Another feature that has been enhanced in this RaLight outdoor solar light is the sensor. The PIR motion sensor can detect objects at 130 degrees.

It has an IP65 waterproof rating which is a huge relief. They can be operated in 3 different modes namely bright light, dim all night, and double safety modes. The first drawback you will likely notice is the huge price tag. Also, they don’t seem as bright as advertised. Like all the best outdoor solar lights, they easily run into trouble during winter. Nevertheless, they are excellent when they work.

Pros

  • Offers 3 lighting modes
  • Larger battery capacity
  • Brightness of up to 2500 lumens
  • IP65 waterproof rating

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not as bright as advertised

Siedinlar Solar Deck Lights – Best outdoor solar lights for driveway

  • Battery capacity: 500 mAh
  • Charging time: 6 to 8 hours
  • Lighting duration: 12 to 15 hours

Knocking down driveway lights is a common home accident. To take care of this, Siedinlar came up with a design that can be screwed to the ground thus eliminating any chance of driveway accident. These deck lights are made of sturdy metals that can withstand a pressure of up to 20 tons. That means your tires can climb on them without causing any harm.

These solar lights have an IP68 rating which is superior to most of the outdoor solar lights on our list. The battery capacity is far the lowest on this list. However using lower energy LED that produces just 6 lumens, they can extend the lighting duration of this light by 12 to 15 hours. At $37 for a pack of 4, these lights are affordable.

Siedinlar is standing behind their product with a 1-year warranty and 24 hours customer service. However, the first problem you would likely encounter with this product is the dimness. If your intention is to make your driveway glow, you need to check elsewhere. Also, when fully charged, it is unlikely that this light will last all night owing to the small battery capacity. If you are lucky to get a set that is in perfect working condition, they give a cool glow that enhances the aesthetics of your driveway at night.

Pros

  • Great pricing
  • Ground mounting eliminates driveway light accidents
  • Up to 15 hours of lighting
  • Withstand up to 20 tons of pressure
  • Offers 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Light is dim
  • Poor battery capacity
  • Durability is a big concern

Sunlitec Solar String lights – Best outdoor solar lights for trees

  • Battery capacity: 2000 mAh battery
  • Charging time: 8 hours with solar panel (3w/5v) and 4 hours with USB
  • Lighting duration: 8 hours

Adding a glow to your trees will not only improve the aesthetics but also make those areas safe at night. The best way to achieve this elegance is by using string lights. One of the best products on the market is the Sunlitec Solar string lights. They come with 25 high-quality LED bulbs. Each of the bulbs consumes only 1 watt and has a 50,000 lifespan. That’s amazing, right? Well, there is more.

It has a variety of lighting modes. So, you can easily switch the mode depending on the feeling you want to elicit. Unlike most of the products on the market, this one has dual charging modes. You will get a full charge with a solar panel in 8 hours. However, with a USB, that time is halved. The USB charging will come in handy during cloudy seasons when you don’t get adequate sunlight in a day.

When you buy this product, you will get a 1-year warranty. It is easy to set up and can improve the ardor of your patio. While the price is not the costliest, it is not also the cheapest—it’s something in-between. One of the greatest setbacks with this product is the fragile nature of the bulbs. They are made of glass and you can easily lose a few during unboxing. The durability is questionable too. However, when it works, it can set the tone for the perfect romantic evening.

Pros

  • Comes with 25 high quality LED bulbs
  • Supports dual charging
  • Each bulb is rated only 1 watt
  • Up to 50,000 hours lifespan
  • Various lighting modes

Cons

  • Bulbs are too fragile
  • Slightly pricey
  • Durability is questionable

Buying Guide for the Best Outdoor Solar Lights

Before shopping for the best outdoor solar lights, it is important to walk around your property at night to see the areas that need lighting. Walk around the same area during the day and see how much sunlight they are getting. This will help you to choose the solar lights with designs that can get full exposure to sunlight in their installed areas. Once you have identified the areas that need lighting, below are some of the features that you should keep in mind.

Battery capacity

When shopping for solar-powered outdoor lights, the first place your attention should go is the battery capacity. The higher the battery capacity, the greater the chance that the light will glow all through the night. Bear in mind that how long the battery will last depends on their percentage charge. This also is determined by the efficiency of the solar panels and how much sunlight they get.

Flexibility

The next thing that you need to consider is their flexibility. The best outdoor solar lights usually have settings that allow you to choose different modes. Some modes allow the light to only come on when motion is detected. Others allow you to choose between dim and bright. Some designs allow you to tilt or adjust the light or the panels to different angles. This is extremely useful considering that solar panels are most efficient when tilt to an angle.

Battery Replacement

Solar outdoor lights make use of Li-ion batteries. Experts suggest that to maintain maximum output you need to change this battery every two years—and one year in extreme weather conditions. Some outdoor solar lights don’t make provision for replacing the batteries. So, once the battery is dead, you have to throw the entire unit away. Always choose a product that has provision for replacing the battery.

Lighting duration

Most solar outdoor lights will last between 6 and 15 hours. However, this will likely depend on the lighting mode. Brighter lights drain the battery faster while dim lights last longer. Your choice needs to have reasonable lighting hours.

Waterproofing

Outdoor solar lights will have to endure serious torture from different environmental elements. However, the most feared element that can easily destroy electronics is water. Since you will be using your lights outdoor, it is paramount to make sure that they are waterproof. An IP64 rating should be your minimum in this regard.

Warranty

Most outdoor solar lights don’t last long especially when used in cooler weather. Also, there are numerous cases of DOA (dead on arrival) deliveries. Therefore, having some form of warranty can save you lots of headaches.

Price

Energy conservation and cutting down on electricity bills are probably the main reasons why many people consider solar outdoor lighting. Therefore, you have to strike a balance between price and durability to make sure that the intended goal is achieved.

What are the benefits of solar-powered outdoor lights?

It is easy to see the potential financial benefits of solar-powered outdoor lights. However, the best outdoor solar lights offer even more. Some of the benefits of solar lights are as follows;

Absence of wires

The absence of wires makes the installation of outdoor solar lights easy. All you need to screw them to the wall or pin them to the ground and it’s done. So, you don’t have to pay any installation fee or call in an electrician.

Easy to maintain

Assuming all your units are working as they should, the only maintenance that you have to do is to routinely clean the solar panels. Other useful tips for maintaining your solar lights include occasional changing of the batteries, charging before first use, and storing in the right condition.

Take it anywhere you go

Unlike wired lights, you can easily remove outdoor solar lights and take them anywhere you go. You can even take them for a camping trip.

Minimizes risk of electrocution

Wired lights can easily harm you if you don’t handle them properly. Solar lights, on the other hand, rarely cause harm because there are no exposed wires. Also, the battery capacity is too small to cause any serious harm.

Environmentally friendly

Solar lights don’t pollute the environment. They harness the natural energy of the sun and won’t encourage the burning of fossil fuels. Some of them are made with recyclable plastics or metals leading to minimal environmental pollution.

Budget-friendly

Some solar lights are affordable. Also, the easy installation eliminates the need to hire a professional.

Variety

There is a large variety of outdoor solar lights. This makes it easier to find the perfect match for your aesthetic need.

FAQ’s

Conclusion

To make sure that your solar lights serve you effectively, it is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Most of them will require you to place them under the sun for 2 to 3 days before initial use. Also cleaning the surface of the solar panels as frequently as possible will enable them to serve you better. In situations where the solar panel is detached from the lights like string light, make sure you keep the panel in a place where it will get maximum sunlight.

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