Best Outdoor Solar Lights for Landscape Lighting

Last Updated: 30 March, 2019 by David West

Landscape lighting is a fantastic way to ensure that an outdoor space remains as gorgeous during the night as it is during the day. On the downside, it can have a significant impact on your electricity bill, as well as on the environment. The solution? Best solar outdoor lights

Solar lighting has come a long way over the past decades, which means that you can now buy outdoor lights that are reliable, versatile, and sustainable. Of course, landscape lighting is as much an art as it is science. Different types of lighting are appropriate for creating different effects and it is through a combination of the latter that you can transform a dark garden into an inviting oasis.

Today, solar outdoor lights come in all shapes and sizes for all manner of effects. To help you clear a path through some of the options, we’ve put together this guide to the best outdoor solar lights for landscaping and how to choose between them

Editor’s Pick
InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights 2-in-1
InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights 2-in-1
Top Pick for Solar Spotlights
LITOM 24 LED Solar Lights Outdoor
LITOM 24 LED Solar Lights Outdoor
Top Pick for Solar Path Lights
GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs
GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs
Top Pick for Garden Accent Lights
HOSUS Solar Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs
HOSUS Solar Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs
Top Pick for a Tight Budget
GardenBliss Solar Lights for Outdoor Pathway, 10 Pcs
GardenBliss Solar Lights for Outdoor Pathway, 10 Pcs

Best Solar Lights Reviews of 2019

We live during a great time in terms of sustainable options. It’s easy to switch to solar outdoor lighting and one can do so without being forced to compromise in quality or versatility. To give you an idea of what is out there, here is a list of best solar lighting reviews for you to browse.

1

InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights 2-in-1

These solar spotlights by InnoGear are our top pick because of their versatility. They come in pairs and each module features four LEDs for a total output of 200 lumens. Together, they are more than bright enough to appropriately light a path, a front door, or any element of your outdoor landscaping, including flags.

A solar panel is attached to each individual unit, while both the panel and the LEDs can be adjusted to ensure maximum exposure to sunlight and an ideal highlight, respectively. In addition, the lights can be installed using only the tools provided by the producer. You can stick these solar spotlights into the ground and turn them into path lights or you can mount them on a wall or tree for accents.

InnoGear’s upgraded solar landscape lights can be charged after no more than 5 hours of exposure to sunlight. Following a sunny day, they will stay on for up to 6 hours on high intensity settings and up to 12 hours on low. Charging takes place automatically, while the LED lights auto power at dusk and turn off at dawn.

PROS:
  • Highly versatile: can be used as path lights or garden lights, in the ground or on a wall
  • Bright enough to safely light a path or can be dimmed down to serve as accent lights
  • Will last the advertised duration when turned on
  • Will withstand the weather: waterproof and heatproof
  • Decent price for quality ratio
CONS:
  • They come in sets of two, which means you’ll have to buy more sets to light up the same space
2

LITOM 24 LED Solar Lights Outdoor

When adding light to your outdoor space, you’ll want to use spotlights for extra brightness. Solar modules by Litom offer just that. Sold in packs of 1, 2 or 4, each of these outdoor solar lights is equipped with 24 high-power LEDs for a total output of 420 lumens. If you’re looking for bright solar lights for your deck, porch, front door, or garage, these are the best option.

What’s more, the unit is designed with a wide light range in mind so that its angle and area of illumination are increased by as much as 50% compared to other spotlights. It’s also not a problem of its output is more than you need in a particular lighting scenario. Three intensity settings make it so that you can adjust the brightness for an ideal fit.

Finally, Litom 24 LED solar outdoor lights are built to last. They are waterproof and use quality components that increase their lifespan for as long as two years above average. The modules are all equipped with a motion sensor, which is a plus for higher security needs.

PROS:
  • Very bright solar lights with multiple intensity options
  • Designed for a wider angle and area of illumination
  • Weather resistant and durable
  • Equipped with motion sensors
CONS:
  • Fairly expensive compared to other options
3

GIGALUMI Solar Pathway Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs

These solar pathway lights by Gigalumi are as beautiful as they are functional. They are not as bright as spotlights, but they are still brighter than most options built for similar purposes. The light they emit is warm white LED rather than bright white, which translates into a much softer effect when displayed along a path or in the garden.

Gigalumi’s top rated outdoor solar lights feature a bronze finish for an elegant look that far surpasses the cheap and flimsy aspect of plastic. The lens are made of glass and designed in a vivid, attractive pattern that offers more clarity of light when compared to plastic casings.

Each set includes 6 pieces, which makes for an overall decent price, and each piece is equipped with a stake that is easily installed into the ground. The lights charge and function automatically once they are turned on for the first time, and they can easily withstand heat, rain, as well as light snow.

PROS:
  • Bright enough to illuminate pathways or emphasize certain landscaping features
  • Warm white LED light for a softer effect
  • Bronze finish and glass casing for an elegant look
  • Weather proof and automatically operated
CONS:
  • Pricier than other options
  • Plastic stake that might break when forced
4

HOSUS Solar Lights Outdoor, 6 Pcs

One set by Hosus gets you 6 solar landscape lights for a bargain. At 6 lumens each, these are not very bright, which is why you would use them to accentuate garden features rather than walkways or tall trees. With warm white LED light, they are perfect to softly illuminate flower beds or frame a swing to create an inviting backyard.

Like all top rated solar lights, this model by Hosus is wire free. It is easily installed into the ground using an in-built stake, while the solar panel is integrated into the top of each unit for maximum sun exposure. Once the garden lights are positioned in place, they charge, as well as turn on and off automatically.

To become fully charged, these solar outdoor lights require 5 hours of sunlight. After a sunny day, they will last up to 8 hours without additional charging. Though made of plastic, the lampshade is weather-resistant and fairly clear.

PROS:
  • Delicate warm white LED light for soft accents
  • Very affordable compared to similar models
  • Relatively low charging time and decent battery life
  • Weather-proof
CONS:
  • Plastic build may not be as durable as other models
  • Not very bright compared to other options: ideal as garden lights but too dim to illuminate pathways or tall features
5

GardenBliss Solar Lights for Outdoor Pathway, 10 Pcs

Solar landscape lighting by GardenBliss is tasteful and smart. At 10 pieces per set, they are also one of the most inexpensive options on the market. The model is slightly larger and brighter than others and can therefore be used both for accents and in order to light a path. The versatility of these units, coupled with an attractive price, is what places them in the top best outdoor solar lights.

In addition, the lights are easy to install and can be positioned at two different heights. Once set in place and turned on, you don’t have to worry about them again for some time. They will charge automatically, turn on at dusk, and turn off again at dawn. When exposed to sufficient sunlight, they will last for up to 8 hours every night.

Their design is simple and easily matched with any almost any décor. Though they are made entirely of plastic, they are more durable than other, similar models, and they are fit with long-lasting batteries and LEDs.

PROS:
  • 10 Pieces per set for a very competitive price
  • Larger and brighter than other models
  • Easy to install, with two possible levels of elevation above the ground
  • Simple and tasteful, easy to integrate into any décor
CONS:
  • Entirely made of plastic: can be knocked over or broken when forced
6

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CONS:

How Does Solar Landscape Lighting Work?

Solar outdoor lights are powered using energy from the sun. They are equipped with small, individual solar panels that absorb sunlight during the day, convert it into energy based on the “photovoltaic” effect, and finally store it in battery cells.

During the night, the best solar lights are automatically turned on based on the fact that the solar panels attached to them no longer detect natural light. Given a decent battery and sufficient exposure, these modules remain powered until dawn. While bright solar outdoor lights could theoretically be built with any type of bulb, the most commonly used are LEDs due to their efficiency in terms of energy consumption.

Each outdoor solar light comes equipped with a rechargeable battery that is usually depleted overnight. At dawn, once the solar panel is able to detect sunlight again, a new charging cycle begins. Overall, nothing is added to your electricity bill. No harm is done to the environment.

Why Use Outdoor Solar Lights in Landscaping?

Landscape lighting is not new. It was practiced using traditional battery- or electricity-powered light sources long before the optimization of solar landscape lights. Why go solar now? Here are a few good reasons to consider.

Solar landscape lights are cost-efficient

You’ll need a decent number of light sources in order to design a fetching façade for your home or set the right mood in your backyard. Put together, all these lights can stack up to a hefty electricity bill. Not so with the best outdoor solar lights. Sure, the initial investment will be a smidge more costly, but this will be paid off in lower electricity bills in the long run. Also consider that the price of solar landscape lighting is not what it used to be ten years ago. Today, most options are ever-more affordable.

Solar outdoor lighting is more versatile

Picture this. You have the perfect layout for lighting your outdoor space. You know just how to draw attention to the right masonry features, which trees to hang the lights in, and which flowerbeds to emphasize. Then you realize that for every light you want to install, you have to dig trenches in order to route electricity cables. Suddenly, once all the wires are in the picture, the plan doesn’t seem as appealing. You’ll encounter no such problems with solar landscape lights. Most are wireless and easily adjusted, while some can even be installed at a certain distance from their solar panels. Place solar landscape lights to your heart’s content and once you’re bored with one design, easily move things around for a new look.

Solar lights are safer

It’s a good idea to keep your property well-lighted during nighttime, not only to deter potential prowlers, but also to avoid trips and falls. With no cables to route throughout the garden, moreover, solar powered outdoor lights are much safer in case of a fire. Unlike traditional light sources, they’ll also work during a power outage, which is even more of a plus.

Outdoor Solar lights are environmentally sound

This is perhaps the main reason why you should switch to solar outdoor lights. Of course, in order to reduce the negative impact your household has on the environment, several other changes are required, but this is a small and facile step in the right direction. Once you become accustomed to solar lighting in the garden, you might even consider a switch for the rest of your home. Put together, more people doing the same thing actually stand a chance to make a significant difference for the future of the planet.

Solar Outdoor Lights: Types and Uses

Solar Outdoor Lights: Types and Uses

Taking a peek at the best solar lights currently on the market, you’ll quickly notice that there’s a variety of options to choose from. Similarly to its traditional counterpart, solar landscape lighting can be used towards different effects. If you’re going to decorate your outdoor space on your own, then you’ll likely need to know which lights go where and for what reason.

Outdoor Solar lights for accents

Some of the best rated solar lights can appear to be quite dim when compared to other options, but that’s not necessarily a deficiency. In fact, for purposes such as emphasizing small landscape features like flower beds, accent and garden solar lights are most appropriate. These are not as bright, they are usually placed in the ground at a decent elevation, and they are often designed to be aesthetically pleasing. Most of them use warm light tones, rather than bright white for softer effects. String lights can also be used for similar purposes when beautifying a patio, and some varieties are powered by solar energy.

Solar path lights

Path lights are somewhere in the middle in terms of brightness. You don’t want them to be too strong, but they must be bright enough to illuminate a path for safe crossing. Like garden lights, they, too, are usually installed into the ground. For optimal aesthetic effects, they are distributed no closer than 20 feet apart. You want each light to guide your sight from one point in the path to another, rather than provide continuous illumination.

Solar spotlights and motion-sensors

Solar spotlights are very bright solar lights used to light the main pathway through a front yard, the main door, any windows vulnerable to break-ins, garages, or porches and decks. Their purpose is not so much aesthetic as it is to enhance the security of a property. Used appropriately, they can deter potential prowlers, as well as help the household inhabitants avoid unwanted falls. Motion-sensors are sometimes incorporated in some of the best solar lights so as to add an extra layer of security.

What are Lumens and How Many Is Enough?

Many people are used to measuring light sources in watts, but the preferred unit of measurement for LED lights is lumens. The difference is not a major one. While watts measure the energy necessary to power a bulb, lumens measure the intensity of the light generated by the latter. For an average LED light bulb, 100 lumens is approximately equal to 20 watts.

What kind of output should you look for in landscape lighting, then? To highlight important signs or shrubs (especially if the light source is underneath the shrubbery), you’ll need between 100 and 300 lumens, depending on the height of the sign or the density of the plant’s foliage. For a garden light to achieve its dramatic effect, it needs no more than a few lumens, and should not shine brighter than 50 lumens.

To light your walkway, look for units averaging 100 lumens. For a lamppost, make sure your light source is able to output above of 150 lumens. Finally, if you want to light a flag during nighttime using a solar spotlight placed on the ground, look for upwards of 100 lumens and well into 400 lumens, depending on how high the flag is positioned.

Does Solar Landscape Lighting Still Work on a Cloudy Day?

It’s something of a myth that solar outdoor lights will cease to work during a cloudy day or during winter. This is not the case. A solar panel does not require direct sunlight in order to absorb energy, but rather any sunlight at all, even dispersed through clouds. For this reason, a solar light will continue to turn on at night even if the weather was poor during the day.

This is not to say, however, that the amount of direct sunlight does not influence a solar light. The more a panel is exposed to direct sunlight, the longer the LED will stay on during the night. When clouds are up in the sky and particularly during the winter, when days are shorter and nights are longer, a solar light will work at 30% to 50% of its maximum potential. As such, you might notice that the light is dimmer or that it turns off quicker. This is to be expected.

It’s also a matter of components, however, whether a light is more or less affected by the elements. The best solar lights are built with durable panels, batteries, and LEDs and are less likely to falter due to bad weather. Many are proofed against extreme heat, rain, and snow, which increases their overall efficiency.

What are the Best Solar Lights for Your Outdoor Space?

Committed to solar landscape lighting? We’ve put together a list of solar lighting reviews to help you decide which are the best solar garden lights, spotlights, and pathway lights on the market. To optimize your purchase, however, you’ll have to consider a few factors that have to do uniquely with your outdoor space and lighting needs.

These include your budget, the space you’re looking to decorate, but also the landscaping features you’d like to highlight. Remember that different types of outdoor solar lights fulfill different purposes. To obtain an aesthetically pleasing effect, it might be a good idea to consult a few tips on professional landscape lighting.

Using this information, calculate how many lights will be necessary to cover the entire space and how many of them you’ll actually use for the purpose of clear illumination as opposed to décor. You don’t want to end up purchasing a dim garden light for your flag or a spotlight for a few succulents.

Finally, make sure the light you buy has the appropriate hue for your purposes. Most people are appalled by the white light of an LED because they expect a warm white hue similar to that emitted by incandescent bulbs. Many top rated solar lights come in a number of varieties and hues, however, so long as you know what to look for.

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