Extra Illumination: 11 Outdoor Solar Lights For Your Home
From lumens to charging time, we waded through the technical specifications and narrowed it down to the 11 best outdoor solar lights based on price, brightness, reliability, and of course, style.
But one light shone brighter on all counts. Keep reading to learn which one.
11 Solar-Powered Outdoor Lights For Your Home
Whether it’s slippery steps in winter or outdoor BBQs in summer, solar lights brighten our lives. We’ve reviewed all the different types of solar lights, from security spotlights to festive fairy lights.
Need more information on any of the solar outdoor lights above? Here’s our unbiased review of each one:
When you look at brightness, efficiency, and battery life, it is clear why AmeriTop Solar Lights are the best solar lights for your home.
When you are 26 feet away, the 128 LED lights shine out, driving away the darkness and flooding the yard with light. As long as you are moving, they will continue to illuminate your way.
The lights will linger for 30 seconds after you leave the range. Then they will automatically turn off to conserve power.
Not that there is much to worry about in terms of power. The high-efficiency solar panel and lithium-ion battery ensure that these lights have all the energy they need. If that’s not enough, these super durable lights can withstand anything Mother Nature throws their way.
AmeriTop Solar Lights have the best of everything – all at a great deal. Is it any wonder it’s our best choice?
These super bright lights are like magic. If anything gets too close, the wide-angle beam shines into the darkness. It’s guaranteed to scare any unwelcome guests away from your home – whether they are human or animal.
With IP65, a 2400 mAH lithium-ion battery, and a super-efficient solar panel, these MITAOHOH Solar Lights are reliable and durable for many years to come. The best part? You’ll get four lights in one pack. Now that’s a bargain!
The MITAOHO Outdoor Solar Lights fit the bill for a budget-friendly wide-angle solar light that doesn’t skimp out on durability and features.
When it comes to spotlights, there is one that shone brighter than the competition. At 600 lumens, the LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights are by far the brightest spotlight we reviewed.
But it was not just the bright light that caught our eye. These spotlights come in a wide range of colors at a great price. Virtually indestructible, these lights have a rating of IP67 – they willkeep working even during a flood.
Installation is hassle-free too since it has a stake design. You just have to insert and push it through your yard’s soil, and you’re good to go. Plus, it only takes 6 hours to charge and you’ll get half a day of night illumination.
With 600 lumens and IP67, these lights are bright and durable. Plus, they come in a great variety of colors.
The URPOWER Solar lights are great for brightening paths and highlighting landscape features. The adjustable head allows you to pinpoint the exact spot you want.
The adjustable panel and high-capacity batteries ensure you won’t need to worry that your lights will go out. As a matter of fact, it keeps your yard well-illuminated for up to 9 hours. Once the sun is up, its Auto Dusk to Dawn activation feature will turn off the lights, saving solar energy for later use.
URPOWER Solar Lights are great if you want the flexibility to mount them to the wall or the garden. Both the light and the panel are adjustable so that you can maximize the light and charge. They’re perfect if you are looking for a long-lasting focused spotlight.
Sometimes the place you want to put your light has poor sun exposure. The Frontline Pro Series VI Solar Spotlight is ideal in these circumstances.
With a remote solar panel, you can place the light up to 20’ away from the charger! Now you can have professional-looking lights without the cost of professional installation. Simply stake the lights and place the panels. Viola- you have a whole new look.
How about the working time? You’ll be happy to know this spotlight solar light can continue working for up to 10 hours – provided that it has enough stored solar energy in its battery.
If your patio or backyard doesn’t get direct sunlight, check out the Frontline Pro Series VI Solar Light. The detached solar panel allows you to get the maximum charge, so your lights stay on longer.
Snaz up your garden path with the Red Barrel Studio Bohal Solar Pathway Lights. The metallic finish looks as beautiful in daylight as it does at night. Plus, it is more rugged and more premium-looking than plastic pathway lights, thanks to its stainless steel and glass construction.
You can use all six to light a garden path or scatter them to highlight certain plants. Either way, you will enjoy the warm light they add to your yard in the evenings.
The Red Barrel Studio Bohall Solar lights add light and class to your garden path without adding plastic.
Is your outdoor staircase too dark at night? You can add extra illumination with the JACKEYLED pathway lights.
All you have to do is screw the lights onto your stairs and turn them on. Its automatic dusk to dawn technology will turn on the lights every night at sunset. And the high-performance battery means they will stay on till dawn.
If you want your home to be more lively, choose from one of the many colors available- blue, green, orange, or red. You can choose warm or cool white light if you want a more low-key option.
As for its durability, the JACKYLED Solar Step Lights are IP44 rated, which means it’s safe against dust and tiny particles and splashproof.
The JACKYLED Solar Step lights are an easy solution to light your dark steps. If you’re looking for something to stand out, choose a color to light up your home.
Most solar lights are either motion-activated or stay on all night. But Hmcity Solar Lights combines the two, so you’ll have more control and flexibility to illuminate your backyard or front porch.
Actually, it can do both at the same time. Just select the smart brightness control, and the light will stay on all night AND get brighter when it detects motion.
Now, one package of lights can serve multiple purposes. Hmcity solar lights let you program each to stay on at night, motion-activated, or both!
Turn your existing fence into outdoor lighting by mounting the Davinci Lighting Flexfit Solar Post Cap Lights on to it.
If you have fence posts that are between 4X4- 6X6, all you need to do is mount the lights to the top of the posts, and you are done. Just like that, you can illuminate your fence line.
And with LED lights that last 100,000 hours, you never need to worry about your lights again.
If you are looking to light up your fence line, the Davinci Lighting Flexfit Solar Post Cap Lights are the way to go. All you have to do is mount them. The rest happens automatically.
Having a backyard party with friends? You’ll fall in love with the intimate and cozy ambiance that the Brightech Ambience Pro String Solar Lights creates.
Featuring vintage-inspired Edison bulbs, this solar light adds a certain je ne sais quoi that will make your event unforgettable. Plus, it’s hassle-free to set up. Simply string the lights and wait for the sun to set.
Brightech Ambience Pro String Solar Lights are an easy way to liven up an outdoor space for an event. The vintage Edison bulbs add a retro feel to your backyard gathering.
What brightens up a party better than fairy lights? Colored fairy lights, of course – Lots and lots of fairy lights! And Albelt String Solar lights are 72 feet long with a whooping 200 individual LED lights.
If you don’t think that is enough fairy lights (cause, really, are there ever enough fairy lights?), take a deep breath. You get two strands of lights! That’s 144 feet and 400 LED lights in one box.
But fairy lights aren’t complete unless they twinkle. And these lights come with eight different twinkle modes. Pick from pink, blue, purple, or warm white. And then start thinking of where you are going to hang all those fairy lights.
When the string lights are fully-charged, you can keep the inviting ambiance in your yard for up to 12 hours. You don’t have to worry about turning it off. Once the sun is up, its Auto Dusk to Dawn feature will automatically shut off the LED bulbs.
Whatever the reason you want fairy lights, Albeit String Solar Lights are sure to please. You can choose from a range of colors, and you get a ton of lights. And there’s no such thing as too many fairy lights.
Buying Guide For Solar Powered Outdoor Lights
Solar lights are an easy, inexpensive way to spruce up your path or garden. But, you don’t want to throw money away on lights that don’t work. So, what’s the best way to decide which is the best solar light for you?
Lighting Needs And Types Of Solar Lights
Do you trip over your front step every night when you come home? Or maybe you are looking to illuminate a certain landscape in your garden? Like regular lights, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for solar lights. There are different styles to meet different lighting needs.
There are four main styles of solar lights to consider. The biggest difference between them is how you mount them. And that factor dictates where they work best.
a. Wall-Mounted Lights
Wall-mounted lights screw directly onto a surface like a wall (obviously), a post, or a step. The solar panel is on top while the LED light bulb is below. These lights are great for brightening up steps, decks, and outdoor patios.
b. String Lights
String lights like the Albelt Solar String Lights add a festive atmosphere to your outdoor space. With these, you can bring the party anywhere in your yard. You can hang them from a tree, string them along a fence, or add them to a canopy. And there you have it– instant outdoor lighting decor.
Spotlights focus the light in one area. They are perfect for path lighting and highlighting plants in your garden.
They usually stake into the ground. That makes it easy for you to put them anywhere you want, even at hard to get to places.
Need a good reel mower to cut or trim your lawn? Check out our reviews of the best reel mowers in the market today.
d. Fence Post Lights
Fence post lights are great if you are looking to illuminate your fence line. These ingenious lights mount right to the top of the post. With these, you can use your existing fence posts to light the outside of your property.
If you are looking for a hand-held solar-powered lamp, check out our guide to portable solar lights.
When you are buying a light, you want to know how bright it is. But you are probably used to looking at light bulbs measured in watts. We calculate the brightness of solar lights differently.
Solar lights have lots of tiny LED bulbs inside, rather than just one bulb like a lamp. Rather than measure these bulbs in watts (which only tells us how much power they use, not how bright they are), we measure in lumens.
What is a lumen? Good question. The easiest answer is it is the light output (1).
“More lumens means it’s a brighter light; fewer lumens means it’s a dimmer light.”
That makes sense, right?
Now that you understand what a lumen is, you probably want to know how many lumens you need to light up your space.
To figure that out, you need to know how many “foot-candles” you need. “What the heck is a foot-candle?” you ask. A foot-candle is how bright your light is one foot away.
Finding out how many lumens you need for outdoor lighting is simple. You’ll just need to multiply the area space (in square feet) with the foot-candles.
Different spaces require a different number of foot-candles. We generally prefer a dimmer environment outside. So, an outdoor space surrounded by darkness is going to need fewer foot-candles than an office where you do detailed work.
Here’s an example:
You have a small outdoor patio that is 100 square feet, and you want a five-foot-candles. Multiply the area and foot-candles, and you’ll get the 500 lumens. Our top choice, AmeriTop Outdoor Solar Lights, has 800 lumens, so it’s an ideal choice for your outdoor lighting needs.
We know that solar lights charge by the sun, but how do they really work? Let’s take a look.
Solar lights have a solar panel. The solar panels absorb light from the sun and convert it to energy (2). If we wanted to use our solar lights during the day, we could use that energy directly to power our lights.
To learn more about the details, check out this video. It explains in a fairly non-technical manner how solar cells work.
More cells mean bigger panels. And the bigger the panels are, the more energy they can generate. More energy = longer operating time. But solar cell count isn’t the only factor that affects how much energy you generate.
Sunlight is another factor.
Without sunlight, your solar cells won’t generate any energy- no matter how many you have! So you must place the panel someplace it will get adequate sunlight to charge.
The Frontgate Pro Series VI Solar Spotlight has a remote solar panel that allows you to place the panel in the ideal location up to 20’ away. That way, you can ensure you are getting your maximum charge.
Battery And Capacity
But we want our lights to work at night when the sun isn’t out. That’s where a rechargeable battery comes in. Batteries store solar energy for later use. In this case, at night.
Battery capacity tells you how much energy a battery can store. Certain batteries can store more power than others. This capacity is given a rating in mAH that lets you know how much power it can hold (3).
“Battery capacity is measured in milliamps × hours (mAH). For example, if a battery has 250 mAH capacity and provides 2 mA average current to a load, in theory, the battery will last 125 hours.”
What this all boils down to is- mAH tells you how large the battery capacity is. And the larger the battery capacity, the longer the lights stay on. So, look for a large mAH number.
How do my lights turn on? There are two main types of activation- motion-activated and dusk/dawn.
Dusk/dawn activation works off the sun. These lights sense how much ambient light is around, and when it gets dark enough, they automatically turn on. Once they are on, they stay on until the sun comes up (or the battery dies).
Motion-activated lights, on the other hand, automatically turn on when something moves close by. If you prefer this type of activation, check the sensor sensitivity and range.
Ingress Protection (IP) And Weatherproofing
How about weatherproofing?
Your solar lights will be outside in all kinds of weather. You want to make sure that they will withstand all Mother Nature throws at them. Luckily for you, there is an easy-to-follow system called IP.
The numbers represent the degree of protection provided against intrusions by solid objects (like fingers), dust, and moisture. The first number is for solid objects. It goes from 0-6. Zero means no protection at all, while six means it is completely sealed and dust-proof.
The second number is for liquids- like rain. This scale goes from 0-8. Again, zero means no protection at all. The high end of this scale, an eight, means you can submerge the object in water deeper than one meter. (Think pool lights.)
When shopping for solar light, look for a product with an IP rating of four or higher.
You will find four protected from splashing water. At six, powerful water jets won’t damage your lights- so you know they will survive in harsh weather conditions.
It’s important to realize the meaning of both numbers. Sometimes an IP number can seem counterintuitive. A light with an IP rating of IP46 is more waterproof than one with a rating of IP55. But the IP55 is more resistant to dust.
You don’t need to pay a lot to get a high IP number either. Our budget choice, MITAOHOH 82 LED Solar Lights, is rated at IP65.
Yes, outdoor solar lights are good. Solar lights allow you to use the sun’s energy to light up your property at night, reducing energy costs. Solar lights also provide security by illuminating dark spaces at night.
Yes, solar lights work in winter. All solar lights are weatherproof to some degree. However, some lights are more durable than others. To know how durable your light is, check the IP Rating. It will tell you how tough it is against dust and liquids.
The brightest outdoor solar lights are the ones that produce the highest number of lumens. Lumens are how we measure brightness, just like inches are how we measure distance. The MITAOHOH Solar Lights are 1640 lumens, making them the brightest option on our list.
- Lumens and the Lighting Facts Label – US Department of Energy. Retrieved from- https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/lumens-and-lighting-facts
- How Do Solar Panels Work? – Michael Dar, livescience.com. Retrieved from- https://www.livescience.com/41995-how-do-solar-panels-work.html
- Battery Capacity- Sciencedirect.com. Retrieved from- https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/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.