Imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to make the night a little brighter when you’re enjoying the evening with your family on the patio or trying to find your way to the front porch.
Installing powerful solar-powered lights around your house – be they around the guttering, on the porch, decking, or by the pool – is an excellent way of creating an interesting and appealing atmosphere without generating massive electricity bills. The outdoor lights we’re reviewing here are eco-friendly, family-safe, low-maintenance, usually weather-resistant, and capable of producing brilliant, bright light.
Solar garden lights are available in a wide range of types and sizes, making it tricky to find one that matches your home’s architectural style. These lights are loved for an easy installation. Stick them in the ground, and they’ll do the remaining themselves. They capture daylight with the help of a solar panel and switch on automatically at nightfall.
It’s a perfect option for your yard, but how difficult can selecting the best pathway lights for your specific requirements be? The reviews and the guide in this article will help you through.
Let’s have a look at the most popular items in each following categories.
The product that tops our list of solar-powered outdoor lights is Aootek’s 3 mode outdoor solar lights. Though simple in design, it features a square panel of super bright and highly efficient 48 LED lights to illuminate your outdoor spaces. With three operational modes, it gives you enough control over the lighting.
Moreover, the lights have motion sensors that can detect people up to 26 feet and within an angle of 120 degrees. With an IP65 rating, it is extremely weather-resistant. This Aootek product also supports solar panels that are made of monocrystalline photovoltaic cells. All in all, Aootek’s outdoor lights pack a punch that outdoes almost all other products.
These solar-powered lights can also be used as floodlights or motion sensors, bringing peace of mind to owners without the need for additional wiring. The solar panel battery charges in no time and, once fully charged, transform solar power into electricity that powers 28 LED bulbs at a rate of up to 19%.
On top of the affordability aspect, it senses movement from up to 17 feet away and turns on the light for 30 seconds. The lamps in the set of four are easy to install on any plank of wood, building, or smooth surface.
Solar garden lights from URPOWER are excellent for the price it is available at. They easily light up outdoor spaces and are best suited for all seasons —they’re freeze-proof and water-resistant. People who have purchased the product claim that LED lighting bulbs deliver bright light for long hours, even on snowy and cloudy winter days.
URPOWER Solar Lights offer two brightness levels and can be staked in the ground or mounted to the wall, and the outdoor solar panel can be adjusted to get the perfect angle to capture maximum sunlight. Its operation is also automated for ease of use.
How Do Outdoor Solar Lights Work?
They may come in a wide range of lighting styles, with varied aesthetics, functions, and designs, but ultimately all outdoor solar lights work pretty much the same. As a consumer in 2021, we know it’s hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the online marketplace – most suppliers exaggerate the usefulness of their product, and some even downright lie. That’s why we at Semprius pride ourselves on delivering you accurate, factual information on all of the products we rate and review so that you, the buyer, can make the most informed choice. First things first, let’s get to grips with how outdoor solar lights really work.
Whilst alternative energy sources like solar might go right over your head, it’s really pretty simple. Solar panels are simply units which are designed to take energy from the sun’s rays, and convert this energy into electricity which you and I can use in our homes and businesses. They require no additional power source or wiring to do so, and as such are entirely self-sufficient, generating electricity from sunlight whenever they are exposed to the sun, and for as long as they last before general wear, tear, and degradation calls for their replacement (which is oftentimes many years down the line).
The actual science behind solar technology is pretty extraordinary. Solar panels are comprised of many smaller individual solar cells, which themselves are made from thin films of polycrystalline or monocrystalline silicon (monocrystalline being preferable). This silicon is special, in that when exposed to sunlight it undergoes a physical and chemical reaction called the ‘photovoltaic effect’, during which sunlight forces the displacement of electrons from one silicon layer to another. This displacement generates volts of electricity, which are then transferred from the panel into a battery for storage and later use. The photovoltaic effect occurs cyclically and perpetually, whenever the solar panel is exposed to direct sunlight.
In solar outdoor lighting, small solar panels are built into the roofs of each outdoor light unit. When exposed to sunlight the panels generate electricity in the manner described above, and store this energy in a battery housed within the unit. Then, come nightfall when the lights automatically turn on (or are manually switched on by you), all of the electricity stored in the light’s battery during the day is finally put to use, powering the LED bulbs housed in the light’s casing, keeping them shining bright throughout the night.
Some outdoor solar lights come with additional features which expand their functionality: from motion sensors, to light sensors, wireless remote control, or different lighting modes to create ambience or sharpen clarity.
And that’s about the long and short of it!
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Solar Lights
In a similar vein to learning how outdoor solar lights work, it’s important to us that you’re also aware of both the positives and negatives associated with the technology behind them. Let’s take a look at the fundamental pros and cons of outdoor solar lights.
- Free electricity. Since solar lighting effectively ‘plugs itself’ into sunlight, rather than the grid, the electricity it generates is entirely free. Sunlight is a natural, renewable resource which costs you nothing to use. It’s frankly shocking that the entire world isn’t running off of sunlight right now!
- Green energy. And speaking of the entire world… the planet is in the throes of climate crisis right now, and we should all be making the move to renewable energy, dispensing with fossil fuel energy as we go. Converting your garden/outdoor lighting from grid-linked lights to solar lights is a great first step.
- Durable. Solar panels, by their very nature, need to be built to last and to withstand all but the most severe weather conditions. Thus, it goes without saying that the outdoor lights housing the solar panels need to be pretty durable, too. Look after your outdoor solar lights and they’ll last you for years.
- Versatile. Outdoor solar lights don’t just have to be about the aesthetics (though they sure are pretty). These lights can also serve as security lights – especially if fitted with motion sensors – or just as additional safety measures, keeping slippery poolsides and darkened garden paths lit up for all to tread carefully upon.
- Budget friendly. No matter whether you’re rolling in dough or strapped for cash, if you’ve decided you’d like to invest in some outdoor solar lights, you’re in luck. With a wide range to choose from, across an agreeable price range, solar lighting doesn’t have to break the bank.
- Emergency friendly. Even in the event of a power outage, these lights will keep your outdoors bright and well-lit, since they depend on a limitless and reliable energy source, rather than the temperamental grid.
- Sunlight dependent. As with any solar-powered product, these solar outdoor lights require good consistent exposure to direct sunlight in order to meet their full potential. If you live in a low light area, or often experience overcast conditions, you can expect to experience variable quality in the performance of your solar lighting. Ensure that you keep their panels out of the way of shadows during the day, and clean and free of debris whenever possible, so as to maximise their efficiency.
- Variable light quality. Linked to the above con is the fact that light quality and brightness from solar lighting can vary considerably. Not that solar lighting isn’t still a worthwhile investment, but you should just be aware that unlike grid-linked lighting (which receives the same amount of power regardless), the brightness of solar lights will vary depending on the amount of sunlight they receive during the day (think also about the changes in daylight hours during winter, for example).
The Best Outdoor Solar Lights Reviewed
Outdoor solar lights come in a wide variety, ranging from standard solar garden lights to floodlights and much more. Let’s look at the ones that stand out from their competition.
#1 Aootek 3 Mode Outdoor Solar Lights
- Brand: Aootek
- Color: Black
- Motion sensor turns the light on and off automatically
- Smart brightness control
- Permanent On all night
- Sensitive PIR Motion Inductor
- Ultra Bright Lights
- Waterproof IP65 and Heatproof
From the surface, these lights are simplistic: a square of 48 LED lights. But these LEDs are highly efficient and immensely bright. The solar panels that come in the package are laminated with PET making them energy-efficient. The panels are also made of monocrystalline cells.
It sports a sensitive PIR sensor (Passive Infrared Sensor) inductor that can easily detect people up to 26 feet and within an angle of 120 degrees. These solar lights work in three operational modes. The first setting is where the light is permanently on through the night; second is the security mode which is when the motion sensor picks up the slightest motion and switches on immediately; and finally the third lighting option is the Smart Brightness Control mode where the lights remain dimly lit and brighten up as soon as it senses any motion.
Aootek outdoor solar lights come with a rating of IP65 which means it is waterproof and heatproof making it highly durable.
- High Brightness
- Three Power-saving Brightness Modes
- Motion Sensors
- Difficult to Operate
- Less User-friendly
#2 Litom Solar Outdoor Patio String Lights
- Brand: Litom
- Color: Black
- Connectable Edison String Lights
- Energy & Power Saving
- Easy to Install
- Weatherproof and Heavy-duty
- Shatterproof Outdoor Hanging Light
This solar illumination system by Litom comes with 15 shatterproof Edison vintage lighting bulbs distributed across a 48 feet length of wire and is suitable for recreational areas. For some aesthetic illumination, consider wrapping the string lights around trees, gazebos, or the edges of the roof. These lights come with a hanging hook on top of each bulb that can be easily used to install it using zip ties, conventional hooks, or even guide wires.
Litom makes use of weatherproof and heavy-duty plastic lampshades that saves the Edison bulb from any damage. This also makes them resistant to extreme weather like snow, rain, or harsh wind; and therefore, can be left outside all year round.
- Easy To Install
- Shatterproof Lighting
- Aesthetic Design
- IP65 Weatherproof Rating
- Low brightness
#3 Innogear Yard Solar Spotlight
- Brand: Innogear
- Color: White
- Independently Adjustable Light & Panel
- Improved Brightness & 2 Working Modes
- Advanced 1.5W Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Panel
- 2 Ways of Easy Installation
- Outstanding Durability & Quality Guaranteed
The Innogear Yard Solar Spotlight is a two-mode garden or wall light with a simple interface. You can either stake it into the soil or simply detach it and mount it to a wall, thanks to the unique and convenient design. It makes use of advanced monocrystalline silicon solar panels enabling energy conversion that is 30% faster than most of the lights in this segment. Additionally, the solar panels can be rotated at an angle of 180 degrees and the light at an angle of 90 degrees for flexibility.
The two switches allow the light to last for 8-12 hours in the low mode on a full charge, but still only 4-6 hours in the intense mode, which is insufficient for all night use. This light, like a spotlight, will not cover a large distance but instead will generate a more focused illumination.
- Usable as Garden Light and Wall Light
- Adjustable Solar Panel
- 2 Brightness Modes
- Automated Operation
- Limited Area of Coverage
#4 Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Patio Lights
- Brand: Brightech
- Color: White
- Lights Use Vintage Edison Bulbs to Create Great Ambience on Your Patio
- Commercial Grade Weatherproof Bistro Lights with Shatterproof S14 Bulbs
- Install Flexibility Makes this the Best Carnival Light Strand for Weddings, Birthdays and Parties
- LED Solar Outdoor String Lights Specs
Brightech String Lights are known as Italian Cafe Lights thanks to the warm white light they produce that adds to the decorative ambiance of your patios. Unlike other products on our list, the solar panels on these lights are connected with long wires. This design allows you to install the panels on your roofs and the lights can be mounted anywhere inside the house. The performance of these panels purely depends on how many hours they are exposed to direct sunlight. On a sunny day, they can produce enough solar energy to power up these string lights for at least 5 hours.
Each string includes 15 replaceable and highly durable LED bulbs, all of which are shatterproof S14 grade. Brightech provides a 2-year warranty with this product which is yet another great feature. There are, however, a few limitations with this product. One is that it cannot be used as a bright light for maximum illuminations. Rather, its soft white light can also be used during parties and special events. You’ll have to invest in other products if you want extra light in your backyard, deck, or garage. Also, these lights can neither sense movement nor provide automatic dusk detection; therefore, these cannot be used as security lights either.
- Decorative Lighting
- High Durability
- Long Useful Life
- 2-Year Warranty
- Low Brightness
#5 Signature Garden Solar Lights, 6-Pack
- Brand: Signature
- Color: Silver
- 4 Seasons of Garden Lighting
- Set of 6 solar garden lights
- Auto On and Off
- No Ugly Wires
These simple, solar-powered lights will illuminate your lawn throughout the year thanks to its weather-resistant build. Its stainless steel body provides impressive durability through wind, rain, snow, or frost. These lights are strictly used for outdoor lighting due to their special design and can only operate with an off-grid power source. Thus, these lights are not a great option to be used as a lamp post.
These solar garden lights switch on automatically at dusk and switch off at dawn. This relieves you of the effort of manually operating these solar pathway lights. The best feature, however, is that they come with a lifetime replacement warranty, so you can purchase these lights without any worry.
- Lifetime Warranty
- Stainless Steel Construction
- Highly Durable
- Non-detachable Solar Panel
#6 Ring Solar Pathlight
- Brand: Ring
- Perfect for walkways and pathways
- Smart features
- Easy setup
- Powered by the sun
- Ring of Security
These lights illuminate your pathway, offer various brightness modes, connect to Alexa, and therefore can deliver alerts when they detect motion. Motion sensors can be regulated only to detect people’s presence to preserve battery life.
These lights can easily be installed and operated. All-in-all they are great products and provide a quality user experience. However, these lights are sold as high-end products and therefore are a bit more expensive than several other products on our list. Also, you’ll also need the Ring Bridge to connect them to your household Wi-Fi.
- Regulated Motion Sensor
- Wi-Fi Enabled
- Easy to install
- Additional Purchases Required
#7 Aityvert Solar Light- Flame Torch
- Brand: Aityvert
- Gorgeous dancing flames design
- Long working time
- Auto on/off from dusk to dawn
- Easy installation
- IP65 Waterproof and Durable
This high-tech torch lookalike provides flame-like illumination which you may use in your yard. When powered up, the Aityvert Solar Flame Torch lights deliver a 35-lumen shimmering glow, much like an actual flame.
The 2200 mAh battery lasts up to 12 hours which is enough to light up long nights in the winter seasons. These lights can easily be adjusted to various heights, and can also be set up to switch on automatically once it becomes darker outdoors and off when the morning comes.
- Available Separately and in Pack
- Adjustable Height
- Only 2-feet tall
#8 Othway Wall Decorative Solar Lights
- Brand: Othway
- Color: White
- Nice design and decorative light
- Build in sensor and automated switch
- Durable plastic
- Super easy installation
Othway Solar Wall Lights are very compact. They effectively combine usefulness and aesthetics to create an aesthetically pleasing light while also providing illumination to its surroundings. It is vital to mention that they are not very powerful and produce only 12 lumens of light as they mostly serve aesthetical purposes. And, because they have such a low output and are relatively small, they don’t last long either – about 4-5 hours on a full charge. These solar wall lights are quite simple in terms of performance, but they do an excellent job.
- Aesthetically Appealing
- Easily Mounted
- Low Brightness
- Single Mode
- Short Operating Time
#9 Sunnest Solar Outdoor Lighting
- Brand: Sunnest
- Color: Cool White
- Turn on at night automatically for energy saving
- IP44 waterproof grade
When it comes to illuminating paths, these little outdoor lightings pack a punch. The 12-piece kit includes enough lights to illuminate your porch or garden well at night.
These solar garden lights are made of stainless steel and can withstand tough weather conditions for a lengthy lifespan. The corrosion-resistant lights have a watertight coating that can withstand snowy winters too. With eight hours of exposure to the sun, they may provide up to ten hours of illumination.
- Easy Installation
- Stainless Steel Build
You’ll need the finest exterior solar-powered lights to brighten up your backyard or your entire property at night. When buying any outdoor solar garden lights, you must take into consideration a variety of aspects. A few of these are listed below:
Type of Solar Lights
Among various forms of light sources, solar lights are the ideal choice for recreational illumination. But, there really is no one-size-fits-all light that will serve all of your requirements. So depending upon your need, purchase the one that suits you best.
If you intend to use solar lighting to illuminate your backyard, garden, deck, garage, or driveway, please ensure that lamp is powerful enough to reach the entire area. Solar lights are often not as bright as standard outdoor lightings, so research the lumen output before your purchase.
Most solar lights are equipped with lithium-ion batteries that could also be recharged whenever necessary. Before using the lights, complete charging the battery to achieve maximum power efficiency. If you plan to use your solar light nearly every day, ensure sure the batteries are replaced on periodically.
The brightness radius of any solar light is an important feature to consider when determining it’s efficiency. Most common solar lights only illuminate a few feet, so if brightness and security are essential for you, you may have to search for a unit with a longer lighting range, say at least 30 feet or more.
Naturally, everything boils down to whether the features offered by the solar outdoor lights are worth their price. It’s pretty straightforward better the features, higher the price. But there are some exceptions to this popual belief. You just need to know where to look for them.
Aootek Solar Lights stood out as the best product that is currently available in the market. It is offered at a highly affordable price and in a complete package with all the specs and features that you’d expect from an expensive solar light. It has three operational configurations through which you can control the level of brightness. A highly sensitive PIR motion detector sensor is all you need for your house’s security. The PET laminated monocrystalline solar panels act as a great off-grid power source at an impressive 20.5% conversion rate. Overall, for outdoor lighting, this is the product to go for.
Check out our updated Pinterest board with the best outdoor solar lights:
The nicest outdoor solar lights on the marketplace are the ones by Aootek, Baxia, Urpower and the like. These are laden with features that make them stand out from their competitors. They’re easy to purchase on Amazon, and they’re all highly rated by actual customers and reviewers.
Installing solar outdoor lights will help you save energy costs since they are purely powered by sunlight. All you should do is select a sunlit spot and set it there for them to work effectively. Wireless solar garden lights are perfect as they can be used anywhere on the lawn where standard illumination is not practical.
Yes, solar lights perform flawlessly in all weather conditions. We’ve discovered that while all these lights are waterproof to some extent, some are constructed to be sturdier than others. Just look at the IP rating of your solar light to see how resistant it is to weather conditions.
Task lights or spotlights are the brightest solar garden lights produced, and the strongest ones can generate light that is closely equivalent to a 40-watt lighting bulb. That’s still not as intense as a standard outdoor spotlight, so in spots where you need powerful, concentrated light, you might want to double up on the number of lights.
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