The Best 12 Solar Powered Lanterns Of 2021
From funky frogs to elegant lanterns, we dug deep to find the 12 best solar lanterns out there based not only on style but value for money, operating time, and durability.
One can give you realistic flickering candle flames for up to 12 hours! Keep reading to find out which light is the best.
- 12 Solar Lanterns For Extra Outdoor Lighting
- 1. Bebrant Solar Lantern – Top Pick
- 2. LeiDrail Solar Lantern – Runner-Up
- 3. Pearlstar Fairy Light Solar Lantern – Budget Pick
- 4. LuminAID PackLite Solar Lantern – For Camping
- 5. Pearlstar Solar Lantern
- 6. OxyLED Solar Lantern
- 7. Polami Solar Lantern
- 8. Golwof Solar Lantern
- 9. Ulmisfee Store Solar Lantern
- 10. MAGGIFT String Solar Lantern
- 11. MAGGIFT Color-Changing Solar Lantern
- 12. MUMTOP Frog Solar Lantern
- Buying Guide For The Best Solar Lantern
12 Solar Lanterns For Extra Outdoor Lighting
Whether you live off-grid or have an urban patio, solar lanterns are a great way to boost light and ambiance in your outdoor space. Here’s a handy dandy table of all the best ones in the market:
Still unsure of which solar-powered lantern is best for your home? Read on for a more in-depth review of each product. Starting off with our top pick from Bebrant:
When it comes to natural-looking light, the Bebrant Solar Lantern blows the competition away.
You won’t believe your eyes. It seems impossible for 96 LED bulbs to look so much like a real fire. But they do. You will be mesmerized- wondering how they make it work.
Not only do the flames look amazing, but these solar lanterns are also high-quality. Made from super durable ABS and plastic, this outdoor solar-powered lantern has the highest IP rating of all solar lights we reviewed. You can expect it to last for years.
This solar power outdoor lighting also has a large battery capacity. That means if you leave the solar panel in direct sun during the day, you can be watching those flames all night long. Don’t worry about cloudy days, though. If you are having trouble charging, you can charge this outdoor light’s rechargeable battery through a USB cord.
With the life-like flickering flames combined with super-durable construction, extra-large battery capacity, and USB charging, the Bebrant Solar Lantern is the best solar lantern that you can get for your money.
Coming in second is the LeiDrail Solar Lantern. While specs-wise it’s close to the Bebrant lantern, the IP rating and battery power are just a little bit lower, making it our runner-up.
Not only is it durable, but these beautiful metal lanterns are also a showpiece even when it’s not on. Once the stars come out and the lanterns turn on, the attractive pattern is sure to impress your guests.
Rather than realistic flickering flames, this lantern’s light casts a sophisticated peacock feather pattern.
Coming in second best on specs, the LeiDrail Solar Lantern is a sophisticated lighting choice. Rather than a flickering effect, the beautifully crafted metal lantern casts light in the shape of peacock feathers.
With 20 LEDs in each lantern, the Pearlstar Fairy Light Solar Lantern outshines other lights in its class regarding brightness and operating time for the cost. In fact, you get two lanterns for what some other companies will charge for just one.
Made of high-quality ABS plastic, these attractive lanterns have strings of fairy lights inside the globe, adding a touch of whimsy and romance to your patio. Moreover, its miniature LEDs shine a warm, bright light for up to 10 hours.
If you’re not ready to invest in an expensive solar-powered light, the Pearlstar Fairy Light Solar lantern is a great pick.
The LuminAID PackLite Solar Lantern is very different from the other solar-powered lanterns we’ve reviewed. This lightweight, collapsible lantern isn’t going to win any awards for beauty. But if you are hiking or camping, it is the best choice, hands down.
You’ll never need to buy another camping lantern because LuminAID delivers incredible brightness and super-long battery life (though not at the same time). You can charge the batteries fully via a USB cable before you go out into the wilderness. Then let the sunshine on the panel while you are hiking to keep you charging.
Need to top-up your phone? LuminAID PackLite has a USB charging port for off-the-grid phone charging no matter where you are camping for the weekend!
But most importantly, it does what a camping lantern should do. Shine bright. It can reach 150 Lumens in Turbo-mode. That’s way brighter than any other lantern we reviewed. But you can dial that way down to save power.
For hiking, camping, or an emergency backup, the LuminAID PackLite Solar Lantern is an amazing choice. It’s bright, long-lasting, and can even charge your phone. Everything you want when camping and more. Check out our unbiased review of the best solar power battery bank too.
Featuring a classic lantern design and a rustic copper finish, the Pearlstar Solar Lantern adds a vintage-retro flair to your home while illuminating your front porch. The best part? You can hang these solar lights or place them on the table.
But this solar LED light is more than it looks.
Just set it out on a sunny table. Then after the sun goes down, the lanterns will automatically turn on and provide you (and your guests) with a warm, soft glow. You don’t have to worry about the light turning off in the middle of the night because it lasts 6- 8 hours with a full charge.
For the same price, you can purchase either two small solar lights or one large lantern. Or for only a little more, you can get two large lanterns.
Available in multiple sizes, the Pearlstar solar lights provide ambient lighting in an attractive retro package. You can get up to 8 hours of charge from the solar panel.
Jazz up your home with the OxyLED Solar Lantern. Hang these lanterns by the door, or set them along your path. These vintage-style outdoor solar LED lights are a great choice to expand your outdoor lighting while adding style to your outdoor space.
What makes this outdoor solar lantern extra appealing is its attractive flickering LED candle that sits behind plastic and glass panes. So, after a sunny day, you and your guests can chat by “candlelight” created by amber-colored flickering LED lights.
You’ll also get four solar lights in one pack. You can scatter the lanterns in different parts of your backyard and create the perfect light for an intimate dinner or small gathering.
The OxyLED Solar lantern has flickering amber LED lights set in a candle. You can put this vintage-style lantern in your backyard, hang it, or on top of a table.
With the Polami Solar Lantern’s Edison-style lightbulb, open metal cage design, and top shade, you don’t only add extra lighting to your outdoor space. These solar lights also transform your backyard into a modern and industrial-inspired area that your neighbors will be jealous of!
While these don’t cast a lot of light, only about 7-8 lumens, the ambient lighting will liven up your yard.
But, you’ll have to strategically position these solar lanterns in your yard because the solar panels sit on top of the shade. If you put it under a tree or other shaded area, you won’t be able to take advantage of its 6-8 hours operating time.
Polami Solar Lanterns add a touch of character and charm to your garden or backyard. The distinctive shepherd’s hook holds an Edison bulb encased in an industrial metal cage. While light isn’t strong, it livens up space. Just make sure that its solar panel gets enough sunlight for a full charge.
Never feel disconnected from nature again. This lantern’s light will bring nature’s peace even to the concrete jungle.
When night falls, the Golwof Solar Lantern casts a distinctive tree pattern when put on your table or the ground. You don’t have to go outside of your home to turn it on. It uses auto dusk and dawn activation for convenience!
Even during the day, it looks great. Simply place the lantern in a sunny spot, and the solar panels on top will charge the batteries. That way, you make sure you get the full 8 hours of light.
Bring nature to your urban patio with the Golwof Solar Lantern. This attractive metal lantern’s light casts a distinctive tree pattern that transforms your ordinary backyard into an idyllic landscape.
The Ulmisfee Store Solar Lantern transports you back in time with their realistic-looking flickering candle in a Mission-style candle lantern.
Enjoy the warmth created by the flickering light, which you can either place along your paths, hang or just put in the center of the table. All you need to do is decide where they will look best. And since you get two – you get double the light.
These durable, long-lasting lights are perfect if you want to harken back to the feel of a by-gone age. You can enjoy the beauty of candlelight even on a windy night.
If you are looking for a vintage-style light with a realistic-looking candle, the Ulmisfee Store Solar Lantern is a great choice. It is an attractive Mission Style lantern made from plastic.
Why settle for one solar light when you can have eight solar lights? The MAGGIFT String Solar Lantern gives you eight small lanterns strung together over 9 feet.
String them along your pathway or decorate your yard. Each lantern has a 24-lumen vintage Edison bulb enclosed in a wire cage. This makes them one of the brightest solar lights we reviewed.
And more lanterns allow you to light up more of your backyard. Think of the money you will save now that you don’t need to buy a bunch of other lanterns.
The multiple lights are perfect for creating an enchanting atmosphere for the holidays or brightening up a special occasion.
The MAGGIFT String Solar Light has eight individual lanterns strung over 9 feet. Each one has a vintage Edison bulb. These lanterns bring a vintage feel with superior light quality.
No event is complete without color-changing lights. If you aren’t willing to bust out the disco ball, check out MAGGIFT Color-Changing Solar Lanterns.
These tabletop solar lights look like decorative glass ornaments while charging during the day – no one would guess the secret they have inside!
But when night falls, choose the color-changing mode and let the party start. The lights feature both an RGB bulb and a white bulb. Simply flip a switch to change between boring white light and festive party time.
With 10 hours’ worth of charge, these lights will keep the party going all night. The only question is if you can.
You should purchase the attractive glass MAGGIFT Color-Changing Light if you want to liven up a party with long-lasting and color-changing bulbs.
Gardens are alive with animals, and the MUMTOP Frog Solar Lantern is the perfect companion. Around the size of a melon, you’ll find this frog is a bit bigger than your ordinary frog. But don’t hold that against him. He has a lot going for him.
Despite being large, you don’t have to feed him. Just like your plants, he is fed by the sun. And rain and weather don’t bother this frog either.
His body is crackle glass, and he has metal accents making him a quirky addition to the plants and flowers. Every night, he will happily shine a light for up to 8 hours to let you know he is there. What more could you want from your garden residents?
Some gardens call out for quirky animals to live in them. If you are looking for a garden companion, the MUMTOP Frog Solar Lantern will be happy to light up your life.
Buying Guide For The Best Solar Lantern
Solar-powered lanterns not only light up our homes but also bring style to our gardens. But when deciding which light is best, we want to consider more than just how it will look.
This guide will look at the other factors you should consider to find the right solar light for your backyard.
While most lanterns allow you to hang them or place them somewhere, like a table or a pathway, not all do. Some are designed only to be hung, while a tabletop lantern doesn’t hang at all. So, deciding where you want it to go is step one in narrowing down your selection.
Whether it will be on a table or hanging, you must place your lights somewhere to get adequate light. While solar lights can charge in the shade, you always get the best charge in direct sunlight (1).
Also, keep in mind most of these solar-powered lanterns don’t cast a huge amount of light. They are more decorative. But many come with more than one lantern. So if you want more light, maybe you should look for a package that comes with two or even four outdoor lanterns.
If you are looking to illuminate your garden fully, check out our reviews of outdoor solar lights. These solar-powered lamps cast much more light in your yard.
Solar lights are usually made out of glass, plastic, or metal. Often it is a combination of two of the three materials. So, you will want to weigh each one’s advantages and disadvantages when looking at the different materials.
Plastic is lightweight and inexpensive. However, it is not as durable as other materials. On the other hand, metal is tougher but can rust in weather if not cared for properly.
Glass is beautiful but fragile. While it may look nice, you probably won’t want to hang a lantern where the wind could blow it over and break it.
This brings us to weatherproofing.
Activation And Weatherproofing
All the models out there are going to be weatherproof. They wouldn’t be very good outdoor lights if they weren’t. But some lanterns withstand the elements better than others.
The easiest way to know how weatherproof your lantern is to look at the IP rating.
The IP rating is a two-digit number that tells you how impervious an object is to solids, dust, and liquids.
The first number represents solids and dust. The second represents liquids. The higher the numbers, the more resistant the product. Together these two numbers form the IP rating. The International Electrotechnical commission explains the ranges. (2)
“The first numeral refers to the protection against solid objects and is rated on a scale from 0 (no protection) to 6 (no ingress of dust). The second numeral rates the enclosure’s protection against liquids and uses a scale from 0 (no protection) to 9 (high-pressure hot water from different angles). “
But it is important to remember each number represents a different resistance. So a lantern with an IP rating of 45 is more resistant to water than a lantern with an IP rating of 54.
And while dust can be a problem, water is really what we worry about from weather. So make sure the second number in your IP rating is at least a four or higher! That way, you don’t throw your money away on solar lights that won’t hold up to Mother Nature.
If you are looking for durability, our top pick, the Bebrant Solar Lantern, has an IP rating of IP65.
One thing you won’t need to worry about is turning your lights on. Solar lights are super easy to use. Almost all the models out there use dusk/dawn activation. The sun goes down, and the lights come on. You don’t have to do anything at all.
Battery And Capacity
The key to your solar-powered lights is the battery. This is what stores the power the solar panel generates. Without a battery, your lantern wouldn’t turn on when the sun isn’t out-, which is when you need a light.
The greater the capacity the battery has, the more energy it can store. That stored energy is what powers your LED light bulbs. The more energy in your batteries, the longer your lights stay on.
But you should be aware that environmental factors can affect your battery’s capacity (3).
“The temperature of a battery will also affect the energy that can be extracted from it.”
It means you may see varied performance from your batteries in different seasons. Generally, you will find the battery’s performance declines in the winter and improves in the summer.
Battery capacity is going to affect the operating time of your lights. If in summer you get 10 hours of charge in winter, you may only get 8 hours from your LED light.
Solar-powered lanterns are not going to illuminate your whole backyard as a solar-powered spotlight will. That’s not really what they are for.
Instead, they are going to cast a warm glow that helps create ambiance. It’s the same as when you sit around a campfire at night. It’s less about the light and more about the feeling it inspires.
That’s why you will see more about the lights’ style than how bright the lanterns are. But if you want to know how bright the LEDs are, look for how many lumens they cast. While most of these lanterns don’t measure the led brightness, a few of the solar lights do list their lumens.
There is one light that stands head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to brightness. LuminAID PackLite Solar Lantern can get as bright as 150 lumens!
For comparison, the next brightest lantern is only 24 lumens.
Another important consideration is how long the solar lights stay on. Usually, we want our lights to stay as long as possible. But several factors will affect your operating time.
Some solar lights are more just more efficient and stay on longer. But the choices you make can impact that as well. Placement, battery capacity, and brightness are all going to affect your operating time.
To get the longest operating time from your solar-powered lanterns, make sure the solar panel is exposed to direct sunlight so your battery can get a full charge.
With a full charge, most lights will stay lit for about 6- 8 hours. It should be enough time to light up your backyard for a party. If you want a longer operating time, you can check if the rechargeable battery is upgradeable or if a different power source is possible. As long as it gets enough light to recharge, that will give you more operating time.
But if you are a real party animal and want your solar light to last all night without any fuss, check out our top choice. The Bebrant Solar Lanterns come with high-capacity batteries. They stay on for a full 12 hours, so you can keep going until the sun comes up.
The brightest solar-powered lantern we reviewed is the LuminAID PackLite Solar Lantern. This lantern can produce 150 lumens for 3-5 hours in Turbo mode. Using the lantern at this brightness drastically reduces the operating time for the light.
It is difficult to say how long solar lanterns will last. Many factors affect their durability, including materials, design, and quality of construction. A high-quality product constructed of durable materials can last years if it is cared for well.
Yes, it is ok to leave solar lights on all night. They are designed to stay on all night. Most solar lights use dusk/dawn auto-on/off technology. A sensor detects the ambient light level, and when it gets low, the lights turn on. In the morning, when the sun rises and the ambient light level increases, the solar lights will turn off automatically.
- Getting the Most out of Solar Panels. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/articles/getting-most-out-solar-panels
- IP Ratings. Retrieved from: https://www.iec.ch/ip-ratings
- Battery Capacity. Retrieved from: https://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/battery-characteristics/battery-capacity/
Rachael and her husband arrived on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua in 2011. There they founded El Jardin de la Vida, a tropical micro food forest, focusing on Sustainable Living Education. She teaches others to build with natural materials, live off-grid, and appreciate slow food.