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The Best Solar Powered Lanterns

Simplify your life by taking advantage of renewable energy with solar lanterns

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Reviewed by
George Duval
Review
The Best Solar Powered Lanterns
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Solar lanterns are a perfect replacement for your traditional lights that run either on the mains or on fuel. They are clean, renewable, and easy to install. Some, come in designs that prove not just functional but also decorative.

In this article, we will look at some of the best solar lanterns available in the market today. If you are nostalgic for the traditional lamp but don’t want to deal with the “dirty” side of non-renewable energy sources, you will find the options discussed in this article quite suitable for your lighting needs.

Editor’s Picks

Although all the products that we have included in this roundup would make a great purchase, we had to agree that not every product can be a winner. After reviewing many lamps, we had to pick the best among them based on aesthetic appeal, value for money, and durability.

OxyLED 2-Pack Hanging Waterproof Solar LED Garden Lights
Best Design
OxyLED 2-Pack Hanging Waterproof Solar LED Garden Lights

If there is one thing that the makers of the OxyLED solar lanterns have excelled in, it is achieving a great balance of style and practicality. The OxyLED solar lights are simply great to look at and they add style and pizazz to any outdoor space. Although they are modeled after an antique style, they still fit into any setting. The OXYLED solar lanterns are made of a combination of metal and plastic for a final product that is both waterproof and rust-proof.

GIGALUMI 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Hanging Lantern, with Mounting Stake
Best Value
GIGALUMI 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Hanging Lantern, with Mounting Stake

One of the reasons why people install solar lighting is to cut costs. Although the focus is usually on cost-cutting in the long run, you can still cut costs during an initial purchase when you buy the GIGALUMI 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Hanging Lantern.

Most solar lanterns come in a pack of 2, meaning you will have to buy more lamps if you want more of them in your yard. But when you have 8 lamps out of the same box, like Gigalumi, you have enough lanterns to strategically light up your property.

Maggift 2-Pack Rustic Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with 6 Lumens LED bulb
Best Durability
Maggift 2-Pack Rustic Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with 6 Lumens LED bulb

Durability is everything for a product that has to spend most of its time outdoors. Snow, rain, wind, and heat, a reliable solar lamp must be built to withstand all these conditions. Among the models we reviewed, nothing says durable like the Maggift Hanging Solar Lights. They are made of iron, and at the same time, they are also rust proof. There are no glass parts in this product, so you don’t have to worry about breaking them. As the sides of the Maggift lamps are perforated with spiral-like designs, these lamps don’t need glass and opt, instead, for hard plastic, which is interwoven into the iron frame.

How Do Solar Lanterns Work?

Surely something so pretty, delicate and small can’t contain the technology required to work without an external power source… right? Wrong! You might not believe it at first glance, but solar technology has come on leaps and bounds in the decades since its invention, and today has taken its place on the energy market as an affordable, effective, and reliable alternative to the environmentally-damaging fossil fuel and nuclear alternatives.

Solar lanterns are equipped with one or more LED bulbs, contained within attractive glass, metal or plastic housing designed to create rustic, baroque or modern ambiences in your gardens and on your porches and patios. These bulbs, however, still require power, which is where solar panels come in. Blink and you might miss them, but with solar lanterns each unit has its own solar panel, built right into the top. These panels, though tiny, produce more than enough energy to light the bulbs beneath them. They are connected first to a battery, which stores the electricity they generate during the day, and which then feeds this electricity to the bulb below as and when needed.

But how does the solar panel function in the first place? Well, solar panels are essentially a framework of solar cells. These cells are made of photovoltaic material which, like plant cells photosynthesising, react both chemically and physically under sunlight exposure to produce volts of electricity. In essence, these cells are like tiny generators, converting one unusable source of power into another: the sort that we can use, in our everyday appliances and batteries. This DC electricity is fed into the battery, which charges and releases electricity in daily-nightly cycles.

And that’s about it! There’s no wiring, no maintenance; nothing other than the initial purchase is required as solar lanterns are designed to work right out of the box (following an initial charge under direct sunlight, of course). Just hang them up on trellising, fences, poles or patios, somewhere that they’ll get a decent amount of sunlight each day, and watch them brighten your garden and bring a warm, inviting atmosphere to your home come evening. Most models are designed to come on automatically at dusk, and turn back off at dawn (or of course when they run out of juice).

Pros and Cons of Solar Lanterns

We’d be remiss if we didn’t make you aware of both the advantages and disadvantages to small, affordable solar goods like the lanterns in this list. Let’s take a look at the key pros and cons of solar laneterns.

Pros:

  1. Easy to install. Requiring nothing more than a quick initial charge during the day on day one, solar lanterns can be hung up almost wherever you like, without requiring any further wiring or maintenance. For those of use who are complete novices in the solar energy world, solar lanterns are a gentle, fuss-free introduction to the technology.
  2. Affordable. Whilst some solar powered products leave a little to be desired in the budget department, this is thankfully not the case when it comes to solar lanterns. Provided you don’t need too many, you can scoop some really incredible deals here. What’s more: no energy bills will ever be required to power solar lanterns!
  3. Environmentally-friendly. Don’t forget that one of the premier attractions of solar energy (as well as the main reason it’s so necessary in our day and age) is that it utilises a renewable, infinite power source, meaning we can protect Mother Earth whilst enjoying all the benefits of free electricity.
  4. Attractive. Not only is the whole “no wires” thing aesthetically pleasing, the solar lanterns themselves are designed by those with an eye for style. Whether you’re looking for a Moroccan feel, a modern chic style, rustic romance, or homely warmth, you’ll can doubtlessly find a style of solar lantern to suit your taste (and your wallet).

Cons:

  1. Sunlight dependency. As with all solar powered products, the efficiency and effectiveness of solar lanterns depends entirely on the sunlight they are exposed to. You can do certain things to maximise their sun-exposure (placing them in the right place, ensuring no shadows cover them during the day as the sun moves, keeping their in-built panels clean and free of fallen debris and snow), but ultimately if they don’t get enough sunlight to fully charge their batteries during the day, then they might just not work as advertised during the night.
  2. Durability. This comes down to price, in most situations. The cheaper the solar lantern, the more likely it is to be made of flimsy material, which either won’t be as weatherproof as more up-market models, or may just not withstand the weather for as long as other products, requiring replacing sooner.
  3. Size of packs. Unfortunately, it seems that most solar lantern packs come with only 1 or 2 units, and whilst affordable, the price will start to ramp up once you’ve put enough packs in your cart to cover the area of your home or garden you’re looking to light.

Best Solar Lanterns Reviewed

The Best Solar Powered Lanterns In 2021

#1.) 2-Pack TomCare Metal Solar Lantern – Solar Powered, Waterproof, Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with Flickering LED Flame for Deck, Garden, Patio, and Walkway

  • Brand – TomCare
  • Color: Bronze
  • High quality metal with rustproof finish
  • Flickering Flames
  • Waterproof & Solar-powered
2-Pack TomCare Metal Solar Lantern - Solar Powered, Waterproof, Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with Flickering LED Flame for Deck, Garden, Patio, and Walkway

The TomCare solar lanterns are durable lamps made out of metal. They are constructed with rustproof finishing, and have IP65 grade waterproofing, making them ideal for all-weather use. Although the sides of the lamps aren’t made of real glass, the polyplastic material that the sides are made of looks like real glass, giving you enough lighting and allowing you to enjoy the flickering flames within. The flame flickers just like real fire and emits a yellow glow that creates a similar ambiance to candlelight.

The TomCare Solar Lanterns aren’t only functional but aesthetically pleasing as well. The bronze finishing makes these lamps beautiful, whether you place them on a tabletop or hang them outside on your patio. The bronze appearance also makes them a good addition to your garden as it blends in quite well with the surrounding nature.

To charge the TomCare solar-powered lanterns, place them anywhere with access to direct sunlight.

Pros:

  • Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and 12 months warranty
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Waterproof and durable
  • Mimics natural candle lights
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Only 2 in a pack

#.2) 2-Pack LeiDrail Waterproof Outdoor Hanging LED Metal Solar Lanterns for Table, Yard, Pathway, or Party

  • Brand – LeiDrail
  • Color: Black
  • Bright and Beautiful Pattern
  • Peacock Feather Lighting
  • Waterproof System
2-Pack LeiDrail Waterproof Outdoor Hanging LED Metal Solar Lanterns for Table, Yard, Pathway, or Party

These LeiDrail Solar Lanterns are cylindrical lamps with high-quality metal finishing. They have peacock feather design all around them, creating a beautiful effect when the lamps emit light at night.

The lighting system of the LeiDrail lamps is made up of LED lights and a solar battery which is powered by polysilicon solar panels. The LED bulbs emit white light and can light up your outdoors for up to 12 hours as long as they get consistent charging for 8 hours.

Since the LeiDrail solar lanterns are waterproof, you can mount them on your porch, lay them on your pathways, or hang them on a tree in any type of weather. The metal casing of the solar lamps makes the lanterns withstand damage caused by high temperatures.

Pros:

  • The peacock feather design projects beautifully at night
  • Easy to install; no wiring needed
  • 30-day refund and 12-months guarantee

Cons:

  • Only 2 solar lanterns in a pack hence not enough if you have a big porch or garden

#3.) Maggift 2-Pack Rustic Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with 6 Lumens LED bulb

  • Brand – Maggift
  • Color: White
  • Made of iron (white finish) and plastic
  • Perfect for Christmas
Maggift 2-Pack Rustic Outdoor Hanging Solar Lights with 6 Lumens LED bulb

This pair of Maggift hanging solar lanterns is made in true rustic style, with an ancient-looking iron build and an ovular shape. Hanging from a tree, these lamps don’t look like lamps at all, but magical fruits emitting lights. If you want to create a magical effect in your garden, then the Maggift hanging solar lantern is your lamp.

Each of these two lanterns is fitted with 6-lumens LED light bulbs that automatically turn on at night and go off at dawn. Each lantern also comes with one AAA 400mAh NI-MH battery that can sustain the light for around 8 hours when fully charged.

Pros:

  • The lanterns make a great pattern at night
  • The 6-lumens LED gives added brightness
  • Beautiful rustic design
  • 180-day product guarantee

Cons:

  • A bit on the smaller side

#4.) 2-Pack TomCare Upgraded Outdoor Waterproof Hanging Solar Lantern with Flickering LED Flame for Patio, Garden, Deck, and Yard

  • Brand – TomCare
  • Color: Black
  • Flickering Flames Design
  • Solar-powered & Energy-saving
  • Waterproof & Guaranteed
2-Pack TomCare Upgraded Outdoor Waterproof Hanging Solar Lantern with Flickering LED Flame for Patio, Garden, Deck, and Yard

This pair of TomCare solar lanterns is an upgrade of its predecessor. The lanterns are bigger giving you a better lighting experience, and they come with bigger hanging hooks and clips, both of which are detachable.

Each lantern also has an upgraded monocrystalline solar panel that is optimized for better charging efficiency. The thing about monocrystalline panels is that they have a 20.5% energy conversion rate, which is 3 % higher than the conversion rate of polycrystalline panels. Monocrystalline panels also last longer, saving you money in the long run.

In addition, each of these two TomCare solar lights has a larger battery, with a capacity of 2000mAh, making them store more energy to provide you lighting for longer.

The flickering flames on the TomCare solar lights are so attractive that you would mistake them for the real deal.

Both lanterns are made of ABS plastic, which is sturdy and waterproof. This means they can withstand the wear and tear that come with stormy, rainy, and snowy weather. They are also easy to install as they do not come with any wires.

Pros:

  • The package has 45 days’ money-back guarantee and 12 months’ product warranty
  • No installation needed.
  • They have bigger batteries than the previous version (2000mAH battery)
  • Uses monocrystalline solar panel for charging
  • They have a natural-looking flickering flame

Cons:

  • The lights won’t work if you install them too close to each other

#5.) GIGALUMI Outdoor Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights, 6 Pack with 30 Led String Fairy lights for Your Table, Lawn, Patio, Garden, Yard, and Christmas Decorations

  • Brand – Gigalumi
  • Color: White
  • All in One Hanging Solar Lights
  • Multiple Uses
  • Weatherproof and Guarantee
GIGALUMI Outdoor Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights, 6 Pack with 30 Led String Fairy lights for Your Table, Lawn, Patio, Garden, Yard, and Christmas Decorations

The Gigalumi mason jar lights consist of 6 mason jars, each packed with 30 LED string lights to give you plenty of lighting. The LEDs in a jar create a sort of fairy effect, making these lights a great addition to your garden or as mood lighting for your table during a celebration.

Depending on your preference, you can hang up your mason jar lid lights on a tree or lay them on the ground.

The Gigalumi mason jar lights have no wiring and when fully charged in the sun during the day, they automatically turn on at night and provide up to 8 hours of lighting.

To charge them, simply unscrew the lid, turn the switch to ON (The switch is on the jar cover), replace the lid, and put the jar outside to charge.

Pros:

  • The white bright lights create a warm effect
  • Can withstand sunny days, rain, and light snow
  • Comes with a 90-day product warranty

Cons:

  • Too heavy to be hung on an umbrella
  • You have to handle it with care. The jars are made of glass and can break.
  • They cannot withstand extreme weather such as heavy snow.

#6.) 2-Pack Bronze TomCare Metal Heavy Duty Outdoor Hanging Decorative Solar Lights with Flickering Flame

  • Brand – TomCare
  • Color: Bronze
  • Heavy-duty Metal & Retro Craft
  • Long Working Time
  • Waterproof & Solar-powered
2-Pack Bronze TomCare Metal Heavy Duty Outdoor Hanging Decorative Solar Lights with Flickering Flame

The TomCare Solar Lights consist of 2 heavy-duty, waterproof, hanging decorative lights for outdoor use. They are both made of bronze, making them strong and durable. The lanterns are also polished with rustproof finishing making them weatherproof and suitable for all year-round use.

The lamps have retro-style finishing, with clear sides, giving you a clear view of the flickering flames. The flames emit an ambient yellow light. For the best glow, you should place your lamps to charge in direct sunlight.

The lanterns also come with a USB charger, which is great for charging them on days when there is low sunlight. A shepherd hook is fitted on each lamp, allowing you to hang them along your walkway, on trees, or on your patio.

There are two size alternatives for this TomCare bronze solar light. You can choose between the bigger 6.2 x 6.2 x 12.3 inches or the smaller 4.7 x 4.7 x 8.4 inches depending on the size of your property and your lighting needs.

Pros:

  • Two sizes to choose from; a smaller one for better portability and a bigger one for more light
  • Variety of colors to choose from: white, bronze, black, antique silver
  • Flickering flame that looks like a real flame
  • IP65 grade waterproof to withstand all weather conditions
  • Metallic build makes it strong and durable
  • Comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee and 12 months’ warranty
  • Keep the charge sustained with USB charging option

Cons:

  • Does not include a battery. You have to buy one separately

#7.) SHYMERY Set of 2 Waterproof LED Flameless Outdoor Solar Lanterns, for Table, Patio, or Garden

  • Brand – Shymery
  • Can be laid flat on the table or hung up for use
  • Simulate the true flame color, soft and beautiful
  • No wiring, convenient for energy saving
SHYMERY Set of 2 Waterproof LED Flameless Outdoor Solar Lanterns, for Table, Patio, or Garden

These waterproof Shymery lanterns stand at 11 inches tall (minus the hanging hook), making them an ideal choice of outdoor lighting. The frame of the lanterns is made of brushed polysilicon plastic which is built around the glass sides, for a final product that is not only strong and durable but also beautiful.

You get up to 10 hours of lighting on a full charge with these Shymery lanterns. The lanterns require no installation. Whether you are hosting a party, are having a quiet evening in your backyard, or simply want more lighting in your home, simply mount your Shymery candle lantern or lay it on the ground.

Pros:

  • Has 18 months of warranty
  • Stands tall at 11 inches
  • You can mount or lay it on the ground
  • Made of strong poly plastic material

Cons:

  • Only 2 lights in a pack which is not ideal if you need plenty of outdoor lighting for a large space

#8.) 2-Pack TAKE ME Waterproof Outdoor Garden Hanging Lantern with LED Flickering Flame

  • Brand – Take Me
  • Color: Bronze
  • Solar -Powered & Energy conservation
  • Super easy to put together and put in the ground
  • Weather-resistant
  • No wiring required
  • Warm white LED Flickering flameless candles
2-Pack TAKE ME Waterproof Outdoor Garden Hanging Lantern with LED Flickering Flame

The TAKE ME Solar Lantern is yet another well-reviewed waterproof solar lantern made with a 1.2V 45mA solar panel and 600mah AAA batteries, these lights will cater to your energy conservation needs by providing you 8hours of continuous lighting at no extra cost.

The lamps are made of hard plastic casing and strong glass. Both these materials give this item a strong construction that can endure snow, rain, and heat.

The light from the TAKE ME Solar Lantern will give your outdoor event a warm ambiance, thanks to a flameless candle that produces a flickering glow.

Pros:

  • A great substitute if looking for candlelight ambiance
  • You can buy them as a pair or just one lamp

Cons:

  • If you need to light up a bigger space, you will need more than then 2 lanterns that come in the package

#9.) GIGALUMI 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Hanging Lantern, with Mounting Stake

  • Brand – Gigalumi
  • Soft Candle Effect
  • Portable & Sturdy
  • Widely Used
  • Waterproof and Warranty
GIGALUMI 8 Pack Outdoor Solar Hanging Lantern, with Mounting Stake

This item consists of 8 solar-powered hanging lights that can serve as tabletop lanterns or provide lighting in your patio, garden, yard, or driveway.

The lamps are around 5 inches tall and weigh just 4.69 pounds, making them ideal pendant lamps for hanging around an umbrella. The light weight and small size also make them portable. You can take a couple of these lamps with you during your next camping or fishing trip as packing them away will be easy.

A mounting stake is included in the package to securely mount these lamps into the ground, keeping them in place during turbulent weather. The clamp and hook also make it easy to hang the GIGALUMI solar hanging lights anywhere you want.

The LED lights on these lamps give off a soft candle effect that will shift the mood of your living space.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Waterproof and can withstand sunny days and light snow
  • Come with a 90-day replacement warranty
  • The mounting pin provides a more secure installation

Cons:

  • Cannot withstand extreme weather such as heavy snow

#10.) OxyLED 2-Pack Hanging Waterproof Solar LED Garden Lights

  • Brand – OxyLED
  • Color: Bronze
  • High-efficiency Solar Panel
  • Convenient Hook Design
  • Premium Material
  • Gorgeous Pattern
OxyLED 2-Pack Hanging Waterproof Solar LED Garden Lights

Solar lighting doesn’t have to be all about functionality, and the OXYLED is proof of this.

The 2 solar lamps that come in this pack stand tall at 12.2 inches (31 cms), adding more imposing décor to your garden or indoor space.

From an aesthetic perspective, the gorgeous pattern and premium build of the OxyLED lamps make them a worthy purchase. From a functional perspective, you will get the following perks from this pair of lights:

  • Efficient solar panels with 25% conversion
  • Warm ambient lighting that is neither too yellow nor too white
  • 8 Lumens LED lighting
  • Automatic light detection that turns the lamps on at dusk and off at dawn

Pros:

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Strong build
  • Bright Led lighting at 8 lumens
  • Automatically turns on and off in the evening

Cons:

  • Only 2 items in this pack, which may not be enough for a big home or yard

Buyers Guide

There are so many models of solar lanterns available today. Sadly though, not all of them will perform as expected. Lucky for you, there are features you can look for when buying solar lights, to ensure you end up with the best outdoor solar lanterns. These include:

Durability

Go for lamps that are made to withstand any kind of weather. Metal is great because it will never break. On the other hand, unless it is treated with a special coating, it could rust in wet weather after a while. Metal may also be uncomfortable to handle during snowy weather. On the other hand, hard plastic will never rust. But it can break under a large enough impact and overall, it might not last for as many years as metal.

Battery size

A bigger battery capacity means that your lamp can store more power to provide you solar lighting for longer on the same charge. Most batteries for solar lanterns are sized between 1500mAh to 2000mAh. From a cost perspective, it’s always best to go with a rechargeable battery.

Waterproofing

Most people use solar lights outdoors. For this reason, go for brands that have the highest grade of waterproofing. Most of the best outdoor lanterns are made with IP65 or IP44 waterproof grade, making them withstand heavy rains and snowy weather.

A slight leak in your product could create condensation or damage your lamps.

Final Verdict

Hanging solar lights aren’t just useful for outdoor use on your patio or garden. You can also take them on your camping trip or use them as reserve lights in case of a power outage.

The thing about solar lanterns is that they come in a variety of designs to suit different tastes. The Gigalumi Mason Jar lights are more for you if you like the idea of recycling or are big on DIY. The rustic design pendant lights like the TomCare or Maggift are for anyone with a nostalgia for the old-style kerosene lamps. If you want a mix of the old and the new, the bronze brands such as the OxyLED and the LeDrail will do the trick for you.

Pinterest Board

Check out our updated Pinterest board with the best solar lanterns:

FAQs

How do solar lanterns work?

The energy system of a solar-powered light consists of a solar panel, a rechargeable battery, and LED lights for output. You have to put your solar panel outside in the sun for it to charge the battery.
Solar energy is produced by the sun’s UV rays, which are stronger on hot days. The solar panel absorbs energy from the sun, which charges the lantern battery.
When the photoresistor in the lantern detects changes in light at night, the LED lights automatically go on.

Why should I use outdoor solar lights?

Outdoor solar lights are easy to install as they do not need to be wired. You can place them anywhere or move them around as needed.
Since they get free energy from the sun, you will not have to deal with a power bill for your outdoors.
Solar lamps are also safe around water. Use them around your swimming pool or pond instead of electricity.

How should I care for my outdoor solar lights?

Clean your lamps periodically to prevent a pileup of dust and mud. During the winter or stormy days, bring your lamps indoors as they could be blown away.
When not in use, switch the power button to the off position.
Store them in a safe place where they will not be banged around.

How do I get my lanterns to charge on cloudy and snowy days?

The sun’s energy may not be enough to charge your solar lantern on cloudy and snowy days. If your candle lantern has a USB port, you can charge it in your wall socket.

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Author Bio

George Duval

George Duval is a writer and expert in sustainability and environmental studies. After graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability from Florida International University, George began dedicating his life to researching new ways to make the world a greener place. His expertise ranges from organic gardening, to renewable energy, to eating plant-based diets. He is currently writing and editing for a number of publications, most of which focus on the environment.

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