One of the most overlooked areas when decorating the exterior of your home is the lighting. Solar pillar lights offer an elegant but economical approach to home decor by passively charging in the sun when not in use, saving you money. They also give off a warm glow, which makes any outdoor space feel more inviting to guests and the homeowner.
The foremost reason you might consider using solar pillar lighting is that you won’t need to do any wiring or run any extension cables, and it turns on automatically, making it incredibly easy to use. They also look great on the exterior of a home, along a walkway or even in a garden or pool area. We’ve taken a look at five of the best solar powered lights on the market to help you decide if they’re right for you, and to take the hassle out of looking for outdoor lighting solutions.
Gama Sonic GS-104P Pagoda Lights
Kemeco ST4311AQ LED Cast Aluminum Solar Post Light
GAMA SONIC Acorn Finial Solar Pillar Integrated Light
- 1 Top 5 Solar Pillar Lights
- 2 Where can you use solar pillar lighting?
Top 5 Solar Pillar Lights
Because they charge in the sun, like solar string lights, these pillar lights won’t add to your electric bill, but some are pretty pricey to begin with. And because they’re outdoors they’re exposed to the elements, making durability VERY important as well. You want to be sure you’re using quality pillar lights if you want them to last. We considered these things while we were reviewing different solar pillar lights so we could bring you the best products available.
1. Gama Sonic GS-104P Pagoda Lights
First up on the list is the Gama Sonic GS-104P Pagoda Light. Sleek black exterior featuring a design reminiscent of eastern Asia, this is the perfect product for someone looking to accent an exotic garden with outdoor solar pillar lighting. It has 13 LEDs that illuminate 180 lumens all night, or use the low setting for even more battery life. Integrated solar panels charge the battery in direct sunlight, which should last over 1000 charges. Installation is incredibly easy, just find a flat surface that gets sunlight and drill the light into place, no wires needed. Sadly, it’s also the most expensive solar pillar on the list, and also surprisingly heavy at 9.2 pounds each.
- Perfect product for someone looking to accent an exotic garden
- It has 13 LEDs that illuminate 180 lumens all night
- Installation is incredibly easy
2. Smartlights Tall and Extra Large Solar Pillar
Next is the Tall and Extra Large Solar Pillar from Smartights. This light features a very wide base with a brushed metal exterior and glass panes, perfect for a large flat surface outdoors. An interesting feature of this product that sets it apart from some of the other solar pillar lights available is the ability to wire it to existing electrical setups. This however, is not required as it also has an integrated solar panel that will charge a single rechargeable AA battery while in direct sunlight. It also includes sensors to turn it on and off automatically during the day or night. Something to consider when purchasing this might be its size, as it has a very wide base. Make sure you have space to accommodate it.
- Perfect for a large flat surface outdoors
- Has an integrated solar panel
- Includes sensors to turn it on and off automatically during the day or night
3. GAMA SONIC Acorn Finial Solar Pillar Integrated Light
Coming in third is the Gama Sonic Acorn Finial Solar Pillar. A perfect pillar light for anyone with lighter themed decor, as this product features a speckled, grey resin exterior. Like some of the other solar pillar lights on the list it has no wires, which makes it incredibly simple to install and operate. One unique feature is the acorn shaped top, which is what illuminates at night. It does this using a proprietary GS Solar LED light bulb, which has a 10 year lifespan and looks great. No glass means you don’t need to worry about damaging it and getting broken glass everywhere, great for lighting a backyard or any other area you might have kids or pets. Unfortunately it only illuminates at 100 lumens, meaning it’s one of the dimmest lights on the list. Also, the resin exterior can be a bit weaker than metal meaning the base itself might get damaged, although it will never rust.
- Incredibly simple to install and operate
- GS Solar LED light bulb, which has a 10 year lifespan and looks great
- No glass
4. Kemeco ST4311AQ LED Cast Aluminum Solar Post Light
Coming up next is the Kemeco LED Solar Post Light Fixture. This is the cheapest solar pillar light on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. Illuminating at 100 lumens, this budget friendly light fixture is best suited to areas that only need low lighting. Featuring a more traditional design in black metal and rippled glass, it looks good just about anywhere. It requires only 3 rechargeable batteries (that are included) and direct sunlight to operate, and as usual, there are no wires. A unique aspect of this light is the 3-inch base, which can be fitted around any 3-inch post in your patio, garden or other outdoor space. It also comes with a pillar base so you can mount it as is. The aluminum frame means it’s incredibly lightweight too. Unfortunately the included base seems rather flimsy, so be careful while installing this pillar light.
- Budget friendly
- Illuminating at 100 lumens
- It requires only 3 rechargeable batteries (that are included)
5. Kemeco ST4311AHP 6 LED Cast Aluminum
And finally we have the Kemeco 6 LED Solar Lamp with Planter. The obvious selling point of this light compared to other solar pillar lights is the planter base. The base isn’t large enough to support heavy plants, but small decorative flowers or mosses look fantastic in it. Sitting at 75.9 inches tall it will require a reasonable amount of space if being used under a patio awning or roof. It has an all black, aluminum base and 4 large solar panels on top in a very traditional style. No wiring is required to set it up, it comes on automatically and because it’s aluminum it’s very lightweight. Unfortunately it’s another one of the dimmer lights on the list, illuminating at 100 lumens using 6 LEDs.
- It is aluminum it is very lightweight
- Small decorative flowers or mosses look fantastic in it
- 4 large solar panels on top
Where can you use solar pillar lighting?
When most people think of solar lighting, they inevitably think about all the installation that comes with solar power. That’s what makes solar pillar lights so convenient, the solar panels are integrated into the frame, and most require no wiring. This flexibility allows you to use these lights anywhere that gets direct sunlight most of the day. Even better, like solar fence lights, they’re built to be outside meaning you won’t have to worry about exposing your pillar lights to the elements. They also look great in almost any outdoor setting, from lighting a garden path (much like solar path lights) or creating a more inviting atmosphere near your homes entranceway, to illuminating an unlit pool area or lighting the end of your dock (as you would with solar dock lights). How you light your home says a lot about you, and pillar lights always make a good statement. You could probably come up with hundreds of ways to add a unique touch to your garden or any other outdoor space using solar lighting, just be sure you’ve got adequate sunlight.
Is solar right for you?
Many people are aware of the money saving potential of using solar panels, but are wary of investing a lot of money into an all solar lighting setup. Let’s break down the pros and cons of using solar pillar lights as opposed to traditional, wired lighting. An obvious benefit of using solar power is the long term savings, using only the sun’s energy. Although, the initial investment might be more than some people are willing to spend. Another benefit is that solar lights come on automatically, without a timer. Most solar pillar lights outdoors will last at least 3 years, but with proper maintenance can last much longer. Unfortunately, the efficiency of solar panels degrades very slightly over time and on average power output drops by 0.5% every year. Washing the panels is also required to keep them working at peak efficiency. And finally, a cloudy day can literally leave you in the dark if your products batteries don’t charge all day. Really, just as it does when you’re choosing solar gutter lights, what it comes down to is knowing your outdoor space. If you’ve got a heavily shaded yard, or live in a place where it’s constantly storming you might want to avoid solar pillar lighting, but if you live where the sun shines all year round you could benefit from the reduced energy costs solar power would bring.
Some things to consider
Like solar lamp post lights, solar pillar lights are an amazing investment for most people, you need to make sure you have adequate space, an agreeable climate, and an unshaded outdoor space. This eliminates the possibility of using it fully indoors, and if its under and awning or roof you’ll need at least partial sun during the day. Another issue may be the area you want to mount the pillar lights is in direct sunlight now, but over time is shaded by nearby trees. If you’ve considered all of these facts and still want to use solar lighting then you’re probably someone who can benefit from it, both financially and decoratively. (Looking for more cool solar-themed products? Check out the best solar fountains money can buy!)