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The 8 Best Outdoor Solar Lights That’ll Brighten up the Night

Best Outdoor Solar Lights
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Updated December 20, 2023

When it comes to outdoor lighting, instead of relying on plugs, extension cords, and electrical outlets to help the lights shine bright, why not use the power of the sun? Solar-powered lights are an eco-friendly way to illuminate your outdoor space. From string lights to lanterns to security lighting, solar lights are the perfect landscape solution for making your outdoors a little brighter. We found the brightest and best solar powered lights perfect for your outdoor space.

Our top picks for the best outdoor solar lights

Best budget outdoor solar lights: LUMABASE Solar Silver Lantern

Not only does this lantern top our list for best budget solar light, it should also be recognized for its modern, chic design. This silver lantern is perfect for patios, deck, or pergola decorating, or accenting your outdoor furniture. Instead of a typical bulb, the lantern is illuminated by an LED candle with a flickering flame which gives off an inviting light you can enjoy while entertaining or enjoying your outdoor space.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 5.5 inches x 5.5 inches x 11 inches
  • Rated brightness: Not listed
  • Charging time: 8 hours
  • Operating time: 6-7 hours, though some have noted up to 12 hours
  • Lights in set: 1
  • Weather resistance rating: Not listed
  • Color/s: Silver

Pros:

  • Great design and adds extra light in unexpected places
  • Flickering LED candle gives a cozy look

Cons:

  • Costs could add up if using these to add accent lighting to a pathway or large outdoor area
Best budget
LUMABASE Solar 5.5 in. x 13.5 in. Silver Lantern

LUMABASE Solar 5.5 in. x 13.5 in. Silver Lantern

Best outdoor solar string lights: Westinghouse String Lights With Color Changing Features

These string lights come with 24 bulbs that can easily change from a soft white light to multiple colors all from the click of the remote—making these solar string lights perfect all year long. The solar powered lights will stay lit for eight hours each night. The solar panel can be installed in the ground or mounted on a wall or fence, offering flexibility when you install your string lights. Tip: String them around your patio umbrella for a fun flourish.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 48 feet
  • Rated brightness: 70 lumens
  • Charging time: Not listed
  • Operating time: 8 hours
  • Lights in set: 24
  • Weather resistance rating: Not listed
  • Color/s: White and color changing

Pros:

  • Color-changing lights and has a remote for the solar panel

Cons:

  • Great light for ambiance, but not full light
Best solar string lights
Westinghouse Outdoor 48 ft. 24-Light Solar Powered Edison Bulb LED String Light with Color Change Feature and Remote

Westinghouse Outdoor 48 ft. 24-Light Solar Powered Edison Bulb LED String Light with Color Change Feature and Remote

Best outdoor solar spotlight: Hampton Bay Solar Spotlight

Powered by 55 lumens, this spotlight from Hampton Bay is a great option to light a pathway or walkway to your home or add some extra lighting in a garden bed. When the sun sets, you’ll get up to eight hours of light. These lights are easy to install, weather-resistant, and the rechargeable battery is already included.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8.1 inches x 3.54 inches
  • Rated brightness: 55 Lumens
  • Charging time: Not listed
  • Operating time: 8 hours
  • Lights in set: 1
  • Weather resistance rating: IP65
  • Color/s: Warm white

Pros:

  • The solar panel is adjustable from the light allowing you to optimize the sunlight

Cons:

  • You’ll have to purchase multiple lights for larger areas
Best spotlight
Hampton Bay 55 Lumens Black LED Outdoor Solar Spotlight with Adjustable Head

Hampton Bay 55 Lumens Black LED Outdoor Solar Spotlight with Adjustable Head

Best outdoor solar security flood lights: Westinghouse 2000 Lumen Triple Head Solar Security Light, Wireless Motion Activated Kit

What’s great about this flood light is there’s no electrical wiring needed, meaning these solar lights offer extra security lighting in areas of your outdoor space that don’t have outlets or electricity. The motion-activated lights are bright with three bulbs that shine at 2,000 lumens each. The sidelights are fully adjustable, so they can illuminate more area. These lights can also be set to a timer so every night your outdoor space is well-lit.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 30.80 inches x 12 inches x 21 inches
  • Rated brightness: 2000 lumens
  • Charging time: Not listed
  • Operating time: Not listed
  • Lights in set: 1
  • Weather resistance rating: Not listed
  • Color/s: Bright white

Pros:

  • Adds bright security light to a place where you don’t have an outlet or electricity

Cons:

  • The plastic housing for the light can look cheap
Best security flood lights
Westinghouse 2000 Lumen Triple Head Solar Security Light Motion Activated (White Finish)

Westinghouse 2000 Lumen Triple Head Solar Security Light Motion Activated (White Finish)

Best Solar Wall Lights: LampLust Solar Sconce Lights 2-Pack With Water Glass

There’s no need to install boring, basic wall lights when you can have a set of these ultra-chic solar wall lights. Each has a modern silhouette that’s visually “softened” by the wavy, water-inspired glass lantern panels. The dusk-to-dawn feature automatically turns lights on at dusk and off at dawn. The lights are easy to install and look great on various styles of homes.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8 inches x 3.25 inches x 2 inches
  • Rated brightness: Not listed
  • Charging time: Not listed
  • Operating time: 8 hours
  • Lights in set: 2
  • Weather resistance rating: Not listed
  • Color/s: Warm White

Pros:

  • A great modern look at a great price

Cons:

  • Sconces are a bit small
Best Solar Wall Lights
LampLust Solar Sconce Lights Outdoor

LampLust Solar Sconce Lights Outdoor

Best smart outdoor solar lights: Ring Smart Lighting

This solar light connects to other Ring devices like lights, doorbells, and cameras and can be controlled through the Ring app or Alexa-enabled devices. This motion-activated light shines at 800 lumens and is great for garages, fence lines, and outdoor areas. Plus, the light can be installed on a flat surface in just a few minutes.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 2.6 inches x 4 inches x 4 inches
  • Rated brightness: 800 Lumens
  • Charging time: 6-8 hours
  • Operating time: 8-10 hours
  • Lights in set: 1
  • Weather resistance rating: IP65
  • Color/s: Soft white

Pros:

  • Easy to install and works with other Ring technology

Cons:

  • The light needs to be installed at least 8-10 feet for proper motion detection. Anything lower and it won’t work properly.
Best smart outdoor solar lights
Ring Smart Lighting Solar LED Wall Light, Black

Ring Smart Lighting Solar LED Wall Light, Black

Best outdoor solar step lights: Genkent Solar Powered LED Waterproof Step Lights

If you need lights on steps or around fencing, try these step lights from Genket. These outdoor step lights are fully charged after six to eight hours in the sun. The lights are also waterproof, so they’re a great option around a pool.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 3.94.25 inches x 2.756 inches
  • Rated brightness: 90 lumens
  • Charging time: 6-8 hours
  • Operating time: 7 hours
  • Lights in sets: 6
  • Weather resistance rating: IP55
  • Color/s: White or yellow

Pros:

  • Has an on/off switch and easy to install

Cons:

  • Set comes with six outdoor solar lights, so you may have to purchase multiple sets to accommodate your steps
Best outdoor solar step lights
Solar Powered LED Deck Lights Outdoor Waterproof

Solar Powered LED Deck Lights Outdoor Waterproof

Best solar outdoor path lights: Kooper Low Voltage Solar Powered LED Pathway Lights

If you’re looking for something other than traditional pathlights, check out these solar lights from Kopper. The hollow-carved design leaves a fun pattern on the ground at night and provides a warm glow on sidewalks and paths. The dusk-to-dawn technology means you’ll have six to eight hours of light from these solar lights.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 29.5 inches x 2 inches x 1 inch
  • Rated brightness: 20 lumens
  • Charging time: Not listed
  • Operating time: 8 hours
  • Lights in sets: 6
  • Weather resistance rating: IP65
  • Color/s: Soft white

Pros:

  • Easy to install and weather resistant.

Cons:

  • Gives a nice glow, but not an ultra-bright light
Best for path lights
Black Low Voltage Solar Powered Integrated LED Pathway Light Pack (Set of 6)

Black Low Voltage Solar Powered Integrated LED Pathway Light Pack (Set of 6)

How to choose the best outdoor solar lights

Solar lights come in a variety of styles and are relatively inexpensive because they aren’t drawing any electricity. When choosing the best outdoor solar lights, there are a few things to consider:

Charge

Solar lights need plenty of sunlight to properly charge–usually around six to eight hours. Once fully charged, the battery will power the light, and depending if the solar light is constantly on or only turns on because of motion, the light should have power for up to eight hours. Choose a light that can be powered all night long so you don’t find yourself in the dark

Brightness

Decide the amount of light you’ll need. From a soft glow, a spot light, or an accent light, the brightness of the light will determine which solar lights will work best. If the intent of the solar light is for security, you’ll need a light that is between 50 and 250 lumens. For accent lights, 20 lumens per square foot creates ambient lighting.

Design

Just like traditional outdoor lighting, solar lights come in a variety of styles and are made from a variety of materials. No matter your style and design preference, you’ll find plenty of solar light options.

How we chose the best outdoor solar lights

We researched solar lights from the most popular brands and selected options based on brightness, charging time, weather resistance, and other factors.

Solar light types

Typically solar lights fall into three different categories: dusk-to-dawn, motion activated, and timer-controlled.

Dusk-to-dawn

These are the most common types of solar lights. Dusk-to-dawn lights use sensors to detect sunlight and will automatically illuminate after the sun sets and remain on until the next day when the sun rises again. Because of their design, dusk-to-dawn solar lights work well as decorative lights around a home.

Motion-activated

To conserve energy, these types of solar lights only activate when motion is sensed. These types of lights are great options for spot and security lights.

Timer-controlled

These types of solar lights allow you to determine when the lights will turn on and how long the lights will stay on. Often, these settings are controlled from an app.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why do solar lamps need batteries?

If you’re using the sun to power lights, you may be wondering why solar lamps need batteries. Solar lights need batteries to store electrical energy, which can later be used to power the lights at night or when there are periods of low sunlight without a supply of electricity.

How many lumens should a solar light be?

It can be confusing when choosing solar lights in lumens instead of wattage. Plus, depending on the type of lights you're installing, you’ll need different lumens. Here’s a short list of recommended lumens for common outdoor lights.

  • Landscape, garden and pathway lights 50-250 Lumens
  • Security lights 700-1400 Lumens
  • Decorative lights 50-150 Lumens
  • Post lights 100-400 Lumens
  • Deck and pergola lights 5-250 Lumens

What is the best brand of solar outdoor lights?

There are many brands to choose from and you’ll ultimately want to choose a brand that creates a product that works for you and your outdoor space. Some of the most highly reviewed brands are Westinghouse and Hampton Bay.

What wattage is best for solar lights?

The best wattage for solar lights really depends on how you intend on using the lights. Solar lights are often measured in lumens. Typically 100-200 lumens or 40 watts is a great option for solar lights that line walkways and driveways. For lights that cover a broader area, choose 1100 lumens or 80 watts to ensure the space is properly lit.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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