Have you ever wanted to put decorative lights up outside – perhaps in your shed or on your decking – but have issues about how to effectively power them? Want to spruce up your house or garden but lack of outlets or rainy weather make it near impossible to set up conventional lights? Solar rope lights might be exactly what you’re looking for. Solar rope lights can be used both outdoors and indoors to provide an extra bit of light and improved ambiance at night.
The solar power absorbed during the day will ensure they keep going throughout the evening and in some cases, the whole night. Raw solar energy is collected during the day via solar panels and stored in eco-friendly batteries, this not only saves money on electricity bills but also saves time in installation (no wires or secondary power sources needed) while being great for both your home and the environment.
Almost all models are energy efficient and feature automatic on and off ignition. The tube covers featured by most solar rope lights provide protection from rain, dust and other kinds of debris. Below are reviews from some of our favorite brands and a comprehensive guide to look out for the defining factors to consider when purchasing a solar rope light.
Our top pick is a 40ft, 120 LED solar rope light that can be easily installed and molded in multiple ways. Unleash your creativity with these extremely versatile rope lights that come with 8 light modes and boasts an incredible price to reliability ratio.
Our best budget option from Joomer also is made of a 33ft IP66 waterproof ultra-thin wire that comes with 8 light modes and no need to replace the battery. Extremely versatile and flexible it can be used as a front door, backyard, porch, patio, garden or pathway light. At 10$, this light’s price is almost unbeatable.
A whopping 80ft of quality 240 LED trampoline lights puts this model on our premium list due to its slightly higher price. With 16 color options and 4 light modes that can be chosen remotely. These solar rope lights make a great nightly garden decoration.
How Do Solar Rope Lights Work?
It’s kind of amazing the things which solar energy can power these days, and whilst it might be obvious how a streetlamp with a solar panel built into the top of it might get its power, it’s less obvious when looking at an attractive string of LED lights around a house, a Christmas tree, or decking as to how they could possibly be powered by the light of the sun.
And yet, that’s exactly what’s behind the brilliance and beauty of solar rope lights. Long strings, or ropes of plastic tubing have been fed through with anywhere between 100 and 300 LED bulbs, which through the translucent casing give off an attractive light. Picture Christmas tree lights, or the lights you might have seen running the circumference of a neighbour’s guttering. Either warm white, yellow, or multi-coloured neon, rope lights can be used for just about any function or event, or just on a daily basis to add a little character to your home.
From one end of the tubing, a small wire runs to a stand-alone solar panel. This solar panel can be mounted or staked into the ground just about wherever you like, provided the wire to the rope light extends far enough. Best placed where the panel is likely to get decent, daily exposure to direct sunlight, the panel spends the daylight hours converting sunlight into consumable electricity, which it stores in a battery bank built into its frame. Then, come evening, a light sensitive sensor detects the onset of night and automatically starts sending all of the stored up electricity from the battery into the LED bulbs of the rope light, making them shine brightly throughout the night. Many of the products on this list come with several different lighting modes, in addition to the auto-ON/OFF default mode, and some even come with a remote control and/or timer settings.
But how does the attached solar panel work in the first place? Well, despite there being many different types of solar panel, all panels are essentially just frames comprised of many individual ‘solar cells’. Each cell is made from photovoltaic materials, either polycrystalline or monocrystalline (monocrystalline is the best), which react chemically and physically when exposed to sunlight to produce what we know as electricity. Simple as that, really! Without getting into the detailed physics and chemistry of it, solar cells convert sunlight to electricity the same way plant cells convert sunlight to carbohydrates, which they need to survive and grow. Think about how you and your skin feels when in direct sunlight – happy, healthy and uplifted, right? The same goes for solar panels.
Pros and Cons of Solar Rope Lights
Like all modern technology, there are of course both advantages and disadvantages to installing solar rope lights around your home. We think that you should take a moment to have a look at the key pros and cons of solar rope lights before purchasing any.
- Attractive. Needless to say, solar rope lights are designed to look really nice; it’s why you want to buy them in the first place. These are not designed to act as security or safety lights, but simply to give your outdoor or indoor area a kindly glow, in addition to your regular lighting. Solar rope lights come in a range of eye-pleasing designs and colour combos.
- Affordable. Solar rope lights don’t need to break the bank. In fact, with many models coming in under $10, these are some of the cheapest solar powered products on the lighting market.
- Versatile. You can use solar rope lights just about anywhere you like, and come the holidays can decorate the old Christmas tree with them too. Moreover, many of them come with several different lighting modes, meaning that you can switch from romantic evening for two, to family-friendly play time, to an evening party with friends at the push of a button.
- Easy installation. Straight out of the box, you can plant or mount your solar panel where it’s likely to get good sunlight, string up your rope lights however you like, and let them do their magic! No wiring, no fuss, no expertise required.
- No electricity bills. One of the most attractive qualities of solar powered technology is undoubtedly the fact that it gives you free electricity. Once you’ve paid for the initial product, you can be sure that you’ll not need to spend one single cent on electricity to power it.
- Good for the environment. Not only do wall-plugged rope lights burn through expensive electricity, as they do so they’re unnecessarily harming the environment. Let’s face it, rope lighting is not a necessity, but a luxury, and with luxuries it’s important that we make them as sustainable as possible, so as to keep the earth as healthy as possible. With solar rope lights, that’s possible!
- Dependency on sunlight. We can’t do a pros and cons list about a solar powered product without looking at the most obvious disadvantage. Namely, without sunlight, it won’t work. This may seem obvious, but to those of us used to electricity working in any situation outside of a power cut or a failure to pay our bills, it can come as a shock when solar lighting fails because it’s been overcast for days. Best to ensure that your area gets enough sunlight on a fairly regular basis, before investing in solar tech.
- Durability. Solar rope lights are universally inexpensive, and whilst that’s great news for the wallet, it’s not so great news for the durability of the products themselves. Many of these are made so affordable because the materials they’re made of are generally inexpensive, too. What this means for you, the buyer, is that they may not last as long as you might hope, and whilst they don’t require any maintenance, they may require replacing before long.
The Best Solar Rope Lights Reviewed
Fatpoom Solar Lights
- Brand: Fatpoom
- Color: Multi-color
- Solar-powered and cost-saving
- 8 Colorful Lighting Modes
- IP65 Waterproof
Our top pick from Fatpoom encompasses everything a top of the line solar rope light should be. Reliable, durable, adaptable, versatile, flexible and affordable. This 40ft 120 LED rope light is perfect for creative minds looking to spruce the outside of their home or garden. With 8 lighting modes that include: Twinkle, slow fade, flash, strobe and more. These lights are also perfect as all-year-round lights for a restaurant, bar or club.
Installation is a completely DIY affair, the cords and wiring are highly bendable (can be bent in basically any shape possible) and the lights themselves turn on and off automatically at dusk on a full charge (around 12 hours of consistent light, meaning no manual configuration is needed. They are also completely waterproof and durable with a IP66 water-resistance rating.
- 8 lighting modes (including multi-color)
- Highly bendable without risk of breaking
- 12 hours on a full charge (automatic ignition at dusk)
- Highly affordable
- Highly durable and completely waterproof
- No remote control
Joomer 2 Pack Solar Rope Lights
- Brand: Joomer
- Color: White
- Solar Powered & Auto ON/Off
- Flexible & Bendable
- 2 Switches & 8 Different Modes
Our best budget pick is a set of 33ft ultra-thin rope with 100 very bright LED sources that can be configured with 2 switches and 8 lighting modes. These rope lights are completely solar powered relying solely on solar energy supply with no extra utility electric cost, and no need to replace the battery. Light sensor control means they turn on automatically at dusk and off at day break.
These rope lights are also very flexible and bendable. You can create any shape you could possibly want, this also translates to less of a hassle if you have to store them after use. Finally the Joomer 2 Pack Rope Lights offer improved memory functions, remembering the light modes so you don’t have to manually reset them every day.
- Ultra-thin, bendable and durable rope
- 2 switches and 8 light modes
- Advanced memory function
- Very affordable
- No multi-color option
- Charging complaints in overcast weather
- Shorter cord
- Brand: KUshopfast
- Color: Cool White
- 8 Flashing Modes and 2 Nails
- High Quality Bendable Rope Lights
- IP65 Waterproof
From Kushopfast comes a high-quality solar rope light with a 66ft string supplemented by 200 low-heat LED lights that come in Cool White, Warm White and Multi-Color options. The high-quality PVC tube can be molded into any shape at a wide 360° angle. 8 different lighting modes such as fairy flashing, waves, and slow fade are included.
Up to 12 hours of light are guaranteed on a full charge. The solar panel can also be charged separately without having to move the rope light arrangement. Like most models on our list, they automatically turn on and off. The moment dusk hits, the lights turn on, when morning comes they are back off.
- Very lengthy rope
- High-quality LED lights
- Solar panel can be charged separately
- Each model has only only one color
Homestarry 80ft Outdoor Rope Lights
- Brand: Homestarry
- 16 Colors Changing
- Excellent Flexibility and Tangle-free
- IR remote with 16 single colors
- IP67 Waterproof LED Trampoline Lights
Our premium pick is one of the most inclusive rope lights on the market today. 240 LED trampoline string lights on a whopping 80ft rope make for the longest rope lights on our list. Extremely flexible and tangle free thanks to their silver wire coated in extra-thin waterproof film (IP67 resistance rating). Their 12v low-power adapter also make sure for completely safe use.
The main feature of these rope lights are their incredibly vast lighting capabilities. 16 different colors and 4 light settings including: Four speed levels used for 4 lighting modes, default 3rd speed that make for countless possibilities and a versatility for any event the lights are being used for. You also get a handy designed IR remote to easily control your lights and an outdoor plug-in string light with it. Once the timer is activated the lights will automatically stay 6 hours on and 18 hours off.
- Longest length on list
- Extra-durable and water resistant string
- Advanced safety
- 16 different colors
- Intuitive IR remote
- Shorter lighting time than other models (still automatic on/off that saves energy)
- Slightly more expensive
JosMega Solar Powered Rope Lights
- Brand: JosMega
- Color: Multicolor
- Never needs battery’s, runs on solar power
- Versatile Rope Lights for Creative Design
- 8 Lighting Mode for Creative Light Show
- Solar powered for Portability and Reliability
This 100 LED solar rope light automatically lights up your home at night with these warm firefly lights that come in different color models. Boasting a high solar retention rate, these solar rope lights will be fully charged within 1-2 hours and will stay illuminated at night for around 6-12 hours. On more cloud days, you’ll still get around the same amount of power at night. This specific brand is highly durable as the tubing around the lights is waterproof and can withstand adverse weather conditions, including elevated heat. Also has 8 light settings for creative light shows and increased versatility and usage for any situation or event
- Very durable model
- Good lighting time
- 8 lighting settings
- Effective on dimmer or cloudier days.
- Short cord
- Very small lights
Honche Solar Rope Lights
- Brand: Aluvee
- Color: Warm White
- Malleable PVC Tube Cover
- High Battery Capacity & IP65 Waterproof Benefit
- Highly Quality Solar String Light
- 8 lighting modes including combination
- Indoor and Outdoor Wide Application
A model of rope light noted for its high malleability and flexible string. Composed my very durable and bendable PVC tubes that can be arranged in almost any pattern. The built-in battery is also a great fail-safe for when the solar panel isn’t cutting it. These lights are waterproof (IP65 water resistance rating) making them great as pool lights. With 100 different LEDs on a 33ft rope, they can be placed around any piece of furniture, stairway, pathway, porch or patio. A great energy-saving model as they boast an illumination period of around 12 hours when fully charged. Mainly used for decoration, they can also set the stage for parties or events.
- Long battery and lighting lifespan
- Highly waterproof
- Good solar energy conversion and retention
- Shorter cord
Solar Rope Lights Buyers Guide
When searching for the best solar rope lights, you may want to take some of these factors into consideration:
When looking for a solar rope light, you’re going to want to consider the purpose that you’ll actually use them for. You may be looking for some extra illumination at night or a purely decorative item for a one time event or even some ambiance lighting for a business and not strictly your house (for example a club, bar or restaurant. Know your purpose especially before purchasing a costlier model (you’re not going to be breaking the bank with a solar rope light but a bargain is always a bargain).
All the solar rope lights recommended on this list have vastly different size, with the standard reference measurement standing between 33ft and 80ft. Before you purchase the best solar light for your needs, measure the space where you’ll be hanging them up. Once you have a rough estimate on length, you’ll be able to find the perfect rope light for your deck railings, patio, porch, pathway, trees or any other place you can think of.
Number of LEDs
When searching for the best lighting, you’ll want to consider the number of LEDs per rope. This will determine how much the rope light will illuminate your home or garden. A larger number of lights will be more suitable if you want to decorate/light up a larger area. Consider that these will run for less time because they use more power, solar or otherwise than shorter models.
Color and Light Settings
Ultimately, one of the most important features of any light is well, the lights themselves. Solar rope lights come in various different colors and offering different light settings. The most common are Cool White, Warm White and Multi-Color but there are models that scope between all three or offer even more alternatives. Be careful when choosing, because some models have a fixed color. This can completely change the purpose of an ambiance light compared to a special event or Christmas light for example.
All factors taken into consideration, the Fatpoom Solar Lights are hands down our top choice. While some of other products have similar features, these rope lights offer more colors than all other reviewed models at a killer price. With a high durability, decent length and complete water resistance coupled with increased flexibility and battery time, this model ticks all the boxes when it comes to a valid solar rope light.
Check out our updated Pinterest board with the best solar rope lights:
Each solar rope light is fairly well-priced and won’t put you out of pocket. They range from as little as $5 to around $30. If it’s any more, they’re most likely to be industrial-sized. You’ll easily be able to find the right size for your house or garden for these prices.
Absolutely not! These lights work perfectly inside if you want some accent lighting or decorations for the festive season. They’ll bring a feeling of calmness at night when all the other lights are off. Their flexibility ensures they can be shaped around furniture and stairwells too.
There is no set amount of LEDs that your rope light should have. It depends on the length and the brightness you want. The perfect amount is probably around 100-200 LEDs if you want a reference figure.
A good question, as a common complaint for cheaper models especially is that the solar panels work much worse than advertised. Check the quality of the actual panel in advance, but in any case know that nearly all models come with back-up batteries or can be plugged in as a last resort in case of a cloudy day or any kind of malfunctioning of the panel.
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