Solar-powered outdoor lights are a cost-effective and convenient option for illuminating your landscape. With their easy installation and lack of reliance on power sockets, you can easily position them wherever you desire. However, before investing, it’s crucial to consider the purpose and placement of the lights, advises Sheva Knopfler, creative director of Lights.com. She recommends evaluating factors such as required brightness, direct vs. dispersed lighting, and potential tripping hazards.
At our Des Moines lab, we conducted rigorous testing on 27 solar lights, which included path lights, spotlights, lanterns, wall-mounted fixtures, and string lights over multiple days. We evaluated their assembly, brightness, design, durability, features, and value after following manufacturer instructions for charging and assembly. We even subjected the lights to unusual tests such as freezing and dropping golf balls on the solar panels. To assess wall-mounted options, we installed 18 models in our own homes and tested them extensively.
Urpower Outdoor Solar Spotlights
Equipped with two LED light units that are sturdy, adaptable, and straightforward to operate.
Our evaluator wasn’t fond of the design, which is more utilitarian and less aesthetically pleasing.
If you want to keep your garden illuminated throughout the night, these outdoor lights from Urpower are an ideal choice. They automatically turn on at night and off in the morning and only require four to six hours of sunlight to recharge fully. Our tester found them easy to set up with a screw and three components that helped with the tilting effect of each light.
“The light has two brightness settings and an off button,” she said, noting that the high setting was best for reading during the brightness test. She described the design as “more of a spotlight with the solar panel sticking out of the stake,” and said it lacked a “classic design” feel to it. Nonetheless, the lights are adjustable and can be placed in-ground or mounted on the side of your house.
These lights also passed our toughness tests with flying colors–they remained intact after being exposed to water, impact, and being put in a freezer to simulate cold temperatures. These lights are also built to withstand extreme heat. Our tester believed this two-pack was “a good bargain” and that these lights were “functional for the features they offer.”
Considering the cost, features, and long-term sturdiness of these outdoor solar lights, as well as the savings in energy and electricity bills, we believe the Urpower solar lights are the best option.
Price at the time of publication: $36
Material: Robust Plastic | Modes: 2 | Motion Sensor: No | Waterproof: Yes | LED: Yes | Units: 2 | Mount Type: Wall or In-Ground
AloftSun Motion Sensor Solar Landscape Spotlights
This spotlight offers durability and water resistance and is a great choice for those who need motion-sensing options. However, keep in mind that functionality takes precedence over style.
The pack of two solar-powered spotlights have an impressive water protection rating of IP68, one of the highest ratings available. In our tests, they withstood pouring water and even survived being dropped from a height of 6 feet.
The lights feature automatic on and off modes, charging during the day and turning on at dusk. They also detect motion within 33 feet. You can choose from three lighting modes, including dim, continuous light, medium-bright continuous light, or a bright, motion-sensing light. Switching between modes can be a bit challenging, but gets easier with time.
Although the design of the lights is basic and not very stylish, they are long-lasting, with an expected lifespan of 40,000 hours or more. The cool white color may not be to everyone’s liking for home use, but they offer good value for the price and features.
As of publication, the cost is $33. The package includes two lights, and the dimensions of each light are 5.43 x 4.33 x 11.81 inches. The battery type is a lithium-ion rechargeable battery with a lifespan of 12 hours.
Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Power Outdoor String Lights
For those who wish to add a soft, ambient atmosphere to their patio, porch or deck, Brightech’s outdoor string lights are an ideal choice. However, if you are seeking solar lights that can improve visibility or security, this product may not be suitable for you. The light bulbs are Edison-style and produce a warm, moody glow, different from the classic Christmas or dorm room string lights. In our testing, the dusk-to-dawn solar lights functioned for nearly 8 hours. The solar panel can be installed using either a stake or a clip, both are simple options, especially for apartments. The cable contains bulbs spaced 20 inches apart and is offered in two cable lengths, either 27 or 48 feet. However, testers discovered that multiple cables can’t be connected together. During durability testing, we hit the shatterproof plastic bulbs and solar panel with golf balls and running water, respectively, with no damage inflicted, except for the panel’s slight tilt. The bulbs and panel were also unaffected after being placed in the freezer. These soft white lights are intended to enhance the overall appearance and mood of your outdoor space, rather than increase visibility. If you desire a warm and inviting outdoor space, the Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights are a good choice. Key product details include 100 lumens, a 5-6 hour operating time, a 6-hour charging time, and a weather-resistance rating of IP44 for the panel and IP56 for the lights. The price at the time of publication begins at $48.
Ring Solar Pathlight
– Color: Black
– Number of lights: 1
– Rated brightness: 80 lumens
– Battery life varies depending on usage
– Weather resistance rating: IP66
– Dimensions: 16.8 in x 4.33 in x 4.33 in
Best Deals Today:
– Best Buy
Reasons to Buy:
+ Built-in motion detector
+ Adjustable brightness settings
+ Compatible with other Ring products
Reasons to Avoid:
– Requires Ring Bridge (sold separately) to connect to Wi-Fi
The Ring Solar Pathlight is an excellent choice for those who already use other Ring products. The downward-facing lights provide great illumination for walkways, and the motion detectors can be set to only turn on when a person is detected, which helps conserve battery life. Additionally, the Pathlights can be connected to other Ring devices to trigger automatic recording when motion is detected.
Although the $35 price tag per light may seem steep, the added convenience and compatibility with other Ring products make them worth the investment. Just be aware that the Ring Bridge is required for Wi-Fi connection and needs to be purchased separately.
Damasque Solar Lantern
– No assembly required
– Convenient on/off switch
– Creates a fantastic atmospheric effect
– Replacement bulb and panel are available
– Can withstand harsh weather conditions
– Takes up storage space
The Damasque Solar Lantern is a winner of the prestigious BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Solar Lantern Buy award. This exquisite steel globe lantern has a charming antique bronze finish and a delicate Moroccan-style pattern that produces a striking visual display when illuminated. The lantern includes a solar panel that powers the bulb and batteries, which are located in the top of the globe. With an easy-to-use on/off switch, this lantern is hassle-free and requires no assembly. To charge, simply leave it in a sunny spot with the switch off for 48 hours, and then turn it on. When the light levels drop, it will automatically turn on and provide up to six hours of bright light. Whether used outdoors for a party or a cozy dinner, the lantern can be placed on the ground or table, or hung up from its handle. While it is priced on the higher end for a single light, it is a sound investment as it comes with a one-year warranty, and the solar panel, battery, and bulb can be replaced at a reasonable price from various retailers. The size of the lantern is 22cm x 23cm. You can purchase the Damasque Solar Lantern from Crocus and Robert Dyas.
What to Consider Before Buying Outdoor Solar Lights
Solar Lights: Types, Brightness, and Special Features
Solar lights come in different types to suit various needs. Pathway lights are ideal for providing visibility and safety to driveways and walkways. Post lights, fence lights, and rope lights serve the same purpose but offer different designs. Decorative hanging lights, string lights, and fairy lights are perfect for setting the mood in backyard parties.
Solar lights come with options for motion detection and light colors to fit your specific needs. The brightness of solar lights is measured in lumens, with higher lumens resulting in brighter bulbs. While a 100-watt incandescent light bulb has approximately 1,500 lumens, outdoor solar lights typically have lower lumens ranging from 1 to 80 lumens per bulb.
Some solar lights have special features that you may want to consider. Some are designed to change colors, giving you more control over your yardscape’s aesthetic. Others have wireless features that allow control from your smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile, some solar lights have motion detectors and only turn on when needed instead of continuously shining throughout the night. Choose the special features that make sense for your specific application.
Q: Do all solar lights have motion sensors?
A: No. There are many solar lights that do not have motion sensors and have only the ambient light sensor to turn on automatically at dusk. Usually, the super-bright solar lights commonly used for security, have motion sensors to maximize the battery time.
Q: How bright should my solar light be?
A: Any solar light capable of delivering more than 1000 lumens is fit for outdoor security or landscaping. You can combine multiple solar lights to get as much brightness as you want. Packs of solar lights with 1000 lumens illumination are easily available. Multiple solar lights also make it easy to cover a larger area.
Q: What are the advantages of using outdoor solar lights?
A: The advantages of using outdoor solar lights include their cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency, easy installation, and safe operation. Solar-powered lights are powered by clean and renewable energy from the sun, so they are very sustainable. Additionally, solar-powered lighting systems do not require any utility connection or expenses associated with electricity or fuel for powering them. Furthermore, most solar lights are designed to be waterproof and can resist extreme weather conditions.
Q: How do outdoor solar lights work?
A: Outdoor solar lights work by collecting energy from the sun’s rays during the day through a series of photovoltaic cells attached to the light fixture. This solar energy is then converted into electricity which powers the light throughout the night when it is dark outside. The light will usually turn on automatically at dusk and shut off at dawn.
Q: How long do outdoor solar lights last?
A: The longevity of an outdoor solar light system depends largely on how well it is maintained and how often it is used but they can generally last up to several years if taken care of properly. Solar LED bulbs typically last up to 50 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs too.
Q: Do outdoor solar lights provide adequate lighting in all weather conditions?
A: Yes, modern outdoor solar lighting systems can provide adequate lighting in all weather conditions due to advances in technology within recent years which have made them much more reliable and durable than ever before. This means that you can enjoy bright and consistent lighting throughout every season without worry.