Adding outdoor solar lights to your home exterior is a fun way to illuminate your pathway and driveway long after the sun has set. Add a set in strategic areas to make walkways more visible, or use them to add a touch of ambiance to side yards, rock walls, and garden plots. Only requiring sunlight to charge and shine, these energy-efficient lights are a great addition to any dark outdoor space.
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With the increasing capabilities of LED lights and solar charging, outdoor lighting can now be an energy-efficient and automatic feature available for all yards. From pathway lighting to spotlights, numerous styles are available. All you need is enough direct sunlight, or, in some instances, enough partial sunlight, to charge the lights during the day.
The GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights and MAGGIFT Lumen Solar Powered Lights are weather-resistant lights that stay lit for up to 8 hours each night, illuminating walkways and house entrances for safety and decoration. Both require somewhere around 8 hours of sunlight to recharge. Each pack contains 6 lights, so you need to determine if that is enough for your placement. These are affordable options, so you can buy 2 or more packs without breaking the bank.
If you're looking for lights that don't get in the way of activities, the Bell+Howell Disk Solar Pathway Lights are a good option. Designed with integrated LEDs, providing 6 lumens of light each, these lights are some of the most durable options on the market. Easily installed in the ground, these lights sit flush with your lawn and can handle even the strongest downpour.
One reason many people like outdoor solar lights is because they add a decorative element to their yard. The LITOM 12 LEDs Solar Landscape Spotlights are perfectly suited to highlight features in the yard, such as a flagpole, sculpture, or plant. For a more subtle design, the TomCare Flickering Flame Solar Torches realistically mimic candle-type flames, adding ambiance to any setting.
Those looking to light up posts and add a security feature with solar lighting have many options, including the Davinci Flexfit Solar Post Cap Lights. The URPOWER Wide Angle 3-Modes Solar Lights come with motion-detection settings, adding that extra layer of security in dark areas of your yard.
Our top choice overall is the GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights. With 10 lumens of soft amber light and real glass lenses for a higher level of reflection, these solar lights will light up a driveway, walkway, or any particular area with ease.
Choosing the Best Outdoor Solar Lights
While the concept behind how solar lights work is the same, not all are created equal and suitable for every need. Prices vary, and various designs allow for more customization, making selection a bit more complicated. Consider the following factors as you search for the perfect outdoor solar lights to help you find the best ones.
Brightness: The first thing to consider is where you will be putting your solar lights and how much brightness is needed. The majority of outdoor solar lights measure between 1 and 30 lumens, with 1 being dimmer and 30 being the brightest.
If you're looking for ambiance and a soft glow, your best option may be solar accent lights. To line a driveway or walkway, brighter solar path lights will do the trick nicely and evenly. To highlight a tree or sculpture, consider a solar spotlight, or solar task light, for the brightest effect.
Sunlight Needed for Charging: The charging of the batteries depends on the level of sunlight available in the area you place the solar lights. Certain ones require full sunlight, while others work efficiently off partial sun (which are also good for more cloudy locations). Identify which you need in your yard based on how much sun is available during the day.
Set-Up: Outdoor solar lights come in various installation and set-up options. Once you determine where to place them, decide if you need ones that stake into the ground, hang from tree limbs, or attach to outdoor structures such as porch columns, deck posts, or balconies. Some even come with brackets or hooks for mounting.
Design: Outdoor solar lights come in a variety of designs and styles, so you're sure to find one that matches your home's exterior décor or spruces it up a bit. If your goal is to light up a walkway, you may want to consider a Craftsman design or an unadorned version. Maybe you want to add a design feature and are looking to add a little Victorian design flair. There are even orb designs for a more modern, mysterious effect. For higher-tech options, look for ones that seem to flicker like candles or are motion-activated.
For the most design options, search for accent solar lights. These come in strands or strings of lights, floating ones for pools and fountains, and decorative designs such as flowers or fireflies. Some blink, while some also change colors.
Here are quick answers to some commonly asked questions concerning outdoor solar lighting.
How exactly do outdoor solar lights work?
There is a solar cell within each solar light, a rechargeable battery, LED bulb or light, and a photoresistor. Each of these has its job to do. The solar cell absorbs the sunlight during the day and produces the energy that charges the battery. As night falls, the disappearance of light is detected by the photoresistor, and it, in turn, activates the battery, turning the LED bulbs on.
How long will outdoor solar lights last?
When fully charged, your lights can generally last anywhere from 6 to 10 hours at a time. Certain models shine longer, even up to 20 hours.
As for the solar lights' overall longevity, it will largely depend on the type you have. Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries last up to 2 years if taken care of and can be replaced. The LED bulbs can run upwards to 100,000 hours or more.
How do you care for outdoor solar lights?
Since sunlight getting through is imperative, you will need to occasionally check your lights for dust, mud, or debris and wipe them clean. Harsh weather can cause damage, especially to those with glass outer coverings. During winter or long bouts of cloudy weather, you may want to store them away to maintain their effectiveness once the sun comes out again for long periods.
As the sun goes down, you can easily illuminate your home's exterior with any of the following top 10 energy-efficient outdoor solar lights.
Top 10 Outdoor Solar Lights Reviews
These attractive landscape lights add a decorative element to your walkway, patio, or garden. While not the brightest on this list, these classy lights provide 10 lumens of soft amber color lighting, providing a smooth, comforting (some say romantic) accent to your yard.
Constructed with real glass lenses that allow a higher level of reflection, the light output is maximized. Add a refined bronze finish and warm LEDs, and these will soon become a favorite part of your evening.
These pathway lights come with anti-rust coating on metal surfaces and are completely waterproof, so you can feel comfortable leaving them out long-term.
Installing these lights couldn't be any easier. Under each cap is an isolator tab, which you remove. Next, turn the switch and install it in the ground. They are slightly larger than other pathway solar lights, measuring 19" high and 5.3" wide.
There are customer reports of breakage of the glass lenses when being installed, so prepare harder soil by digging a small hole first, then installing the light.
The GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights come in a pack of 6. You may want to order more than 1 set to complement 2 sides of a walkway or just use the 6 to highlight a front garden area. This is our recommended top pick for anyone looking for sophisticated, decorative, and softly bright outdoor solar lights.
If you have a long driveway or walkway section to light up, this budget-friendly choice enables you to buy more than 1 set or a larger set. While these may be called pathway lights, place them however you like, such as a circle around a fountain or sculpture or in front of a rock wall.
Just because these lights are less expensive doesn't mean you have to compromise on brightness. They provide 6 lumens of light,which is higher than most standard outdoor solar garden lights today.
Charging time takes up to 8 hours of sunlight, and you can expect an approximate 6-8-hour runtime between dusk and dawn.
Measuring 4.9" x "4.9" x 17.01", these solar lights come with warm white LEDs and reflecting light shades, casting an appealing glow over your yard. You will need to remove the tabs on the light covers so they can charge in the sunlight.
Made with high-quality plastic, the MAGGIFT light's solar panel is weather-resistant, rated as IP44 Waterproof, and capable of staying out in rain, sleet, or snow. While strong, these lights are not as durable as more expensive ones but should last several seasons.
Rechargeable batteries are included with the set, and they come with a 180-day warranty. If for any reason one or more doesn't work, simply call the manufacturer's customer service and request a replacement or refund.
Creating a spotlighting effect in your yard draws attention to certain features you favor and want to share. And why not? The LITOM spotlight provides just the right amount of light to highlight these areas, whether they be the front of your house, your pool, a fountain, or particular plants.
The lighting angle is 120" wide, creating a somewhat dramatic effect, which is what it is meant to do. The color of light is classified as cold white, but we find it bold without being ugly or harsh, calling it more of a cool white overall.
We particularly like these solar spotlights because they come with 2 brightness modes: High and low. In high mode, you have 6 hours of running time, while in low mode, you can enjoy up to 12 hours.
Durable due to their construction of high-impact ABS plastic and high-efficient Monocrystalline Silicon, these lights last longer than most others on the market in this price range. With their high IP67 waterproof rating, they can stand up to even the toughest weather conditions, including frost.
As a bonus, wall mounts are included if the best place for these lights is on a porch, deck post, or other fixed structure.
While these lights are perfect for highlighting areas of your yard, they can also serve as security lights, lighting up those dark corners as an extra safety measure. There are 2 to a pack, which, in most instances, is all you need. Rechargeable lithium batteries are also included.
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Light
One of the best ways to add ambiance, illumination, and flair to an outdoor space such as a gazebo, pergola, or patio is to add a set of solar string lights.
The Brightech Ambience Pro string lights come with a 27' strand, allowing you easily to cover a large area. The 12 globe lights, filled with vintage Edison bulbs, are spaced 20" apart for maximum lighting capacity for casual outdoor use.
While the light output is not quite bright enough to read a book, it does light up the area enough for you and your guests to see where to walk and enjoy a nice meal and conversation or celebrate a birthday or other event.
On average, the runtime for these lights is 6 hours, after which they automatically shut off to conserve the battery's power. They need approximately 6 hours of sunlight to fully recharge each day. Customers also report that indirect sunlight works but provides less charge per hour.
The set-up for these lights is a cinch. All you do is clip the included solar panel to a fence, pergola, deck post, or other stationary object and run the strand in whatever direction the structure stretches.
There are more decorative solar string lights out there, but we chose these because of their design, illumination, and durability. While not rated as waterproof, the manufacturer claims they are weatherproof, and customers report they stand up well to the elements. Regardless, these lights come with a manufacturer's 3-year warranty, so it's reassuring that the company stands behind its products.
TomCare New Version Solar Light
While not everyone's taste in decoration is the same, this one checks off a lot of boxes when it comes to providing an appealing decorative element to the outdoors. The TomCare mimics flickering flames, creating ambiance, romance, and fun.
Only 2 come in a package, which depending on where you place them and how you plan to showcase them, may be enough. The included solar panel is impressive, converting up to 17% of the sun's rays to energy. After approximately 8 hours in the sun to charge, these beauties can stay illuminated for close to an impressive 10 or more hours.
The flame illusion is incredibly realistic-looking and provides a soft dancing motion glow that isn't overwhelming or too dim. Another feature we like about these lights is the ability to change the height. The stake is 8", while the lights are 12.6", so combined, you get over 20" in height. For a more torch-like effect, add the optional 12.2" stake extension, raising these lights to 32" tall.
Not only are these lights pretty, but they are also surprisingly durable. Made of waterproof material, you can enjoy them in rain or snow in addition to those beautifully clear nights.
These lights come with a built-in battery, which should last for up to 2 years. A few customers point out that the stake part is weak and shouldn't be forced too strongly when installing in the ground or else it will break. This is especially the case if installing in frozen ground.
URPOWER Solar Outdoor Light
These wireless outdoor solar lights are a great alternative to electric deck lights, allowing you to place them wherever needed with no concern over where an outlet is located. You won't have to give up brightness because these solar-powered workhorses shine as bright as regular lights.
There's much to brag about these lights, starting with their ease of installation. Just hang them up with a nail or even velcro in a location where the sun can reach them.
You'll find this light is equipped with 2 ingenious motion sensor modes. It can act as a regular motion sensor light, turning on whenever movement is detected. You can also leave the lights on continuously, and when someone or something walks by, the light automatically boosts its brightness level.
Designed with 24 LED lights and a built-in rechargeable lithium battery, each light's dimensions are 4.96" x 4.92" x 6.22" and weighs 2.23 lbs. Each pack comes with 4 lights.
The lights withstand the harshest of weather conditions, from snow to the highest temperatures. Use them as floodlights or only as motion sensor lights. The light produced is quite bright, so you may not need them on all night.
Davinci Slate Black Solar Light
You sometimes need a light to illuminate a fence post, the top or bottom of stairs, or a deck. These Davinci Flexfit lights are a top option for this and can fit your 4x4 or 6x6 wooden post,providing enough light to navigate the area safely.
Completely self-contained, you won't need to worry about running wires or plugs or overloading an outlet. Set up the light and let it charge all day. As night falls, the sensor detects the lack of light and turns on automatically. Expect it to run a solid 6-8 hours at a time.
It's important to note these lights are lightweight at 10.7 oz., so you need to make sure they are securely attached to your post. Easily screw them in for best results. You can also set them on a flat surface for whenever you need extra light.
Customers often mention that these lights' size is not true to the post sizes mentioned in their description. However, they sit just shy of a 6x6 post and provide overhang when placed on 4x4 posts. According to the manufacturer, this is normal, and we find it doesn't deter from the overall look or performance of the lighting capabilities.
The exterior of the lights is constructed out of industrial-grade plastic and UV fade protection. Rated at IP44 in weatherproof construction, these lights will last you a long time.
Pearlstar Hanging Solar Light
While string lights are an excellent option for patios, lanterns provide a rustic, backwoods feel that blend in well with certain décors. The Pearlstar Retro Hanging Solar Lanterns add warm light to your patio gatherings for 6-8 total hours, if fully charged during the day.
The circular design is similar to small lanterns and elegantly proportioned and shaped. Their copper tops and clear glass shades make them even more attractive and add to the overall coziness.
Hang them up on posts, walls, or even trees with the durable handle. If you prefer to place them on flat surfaces on your patio, such as a table, you need to know that the light's direction is downward, so hanging them up is a better option.
If you don't get enough direct sunlight on your patio, consider placing the lights out in a designated sunspot during the day to charge up. Weighing only 1.17 lbs. each, you can move them easily. This way, you can assure you have enough lighting to last through your evening cookout or get-together.
Made of durable, high-impact ABS plastic, you won't have to worry about them shattering if knocked over or if the weather turns nasty for days on end.
Some customers have complained that these lights are smaller than they are depicted in pictures, so you must know their correct size before ordering. Overall, the dimensions are 3.5" x 3.5" x 5.5" in total area; while not large, they are plenty big enough to light up a patio.
Bell + Howell Solar Light
The Bell+Howell Disk solar lights are a great alternative to the regular, stick-out-of-the-ground pathway lights you may be used to seeing. Sitting flush to the ground, you won't have to worry about tripping and falling over them. You also won't have to move them when you are mowing the lawn or playing a friendly game of football.
These lights are rated for wet locations,which means they can withstand direct water exposure. As a result, they are safe to use anywhere, including in the ground in those areas where rain and sprinklers frequently saturate everything.
Designed with integrated LEDs, meaning the lights are built into the fixture itself, these are highly energy-efficient, lasting over 50,000 hours. They provide 6 lumens of light each, creating a subtle line of lights showing a pathway's direction.
Customers report these look like they are hardwired into the ground, even though a quick pull will dislodge them for removal. Measure your space and stake them in the ground at even distances for a perfectly lit walkway or driveway, or use them to emphasize a particular area or space in your yard.
While adding solar lights to your pool, pond, or fountain can add an extra element of fun; it can also offer more safety. These floating lights contain LEDs charged by the sun during the day and stay lit at night for up to 8 hours.
The Esuper Floating solar lights come in 4 colors - blue, green, red, and white - and automatically change every 15 seconds. This is a subtle change and isn't irritating to the eyes like quick flashing lights can be.
All you do to get started is to inflate the vinyl ball lights, float them in the water, and let the sun get to work charging them. Each light, measuring 14", is designed with a slightly weighted bottom to prevent them from rolling over or being carried off with the wind.
Naturally, these lights are waterproof, with a rating of IP68. You can also toss them around in the pool during night swimming because their vinyl construction makes them durable. They come with a manufacturer's 1-year warranty as well.
These lights also come with handles so you can hang them up by day to charge or leave them hanging at night for light around the pool.