This guide describes TOP-6 best outdoor solar lights and the way the operate. You will learn the differences between the models which can be categorized in accordance with the mounting configuration or functionality. The guide will also tell you why some models are more suitable for decoration while other ones can serve as a perfect source of illumination. You will also learn why the color is that important and how it influences the brightness. A comparative chart will be very helpful for choosing the right product while the F.A.Q. section will give you answers to essential questions related to the operation and maintenance of these devices.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

For people who are tired of stumbling in the dark or want an extra bit of lighting at an outdoor party, some outdoor solar lighting might be just the right thing. They require little to no maintenance, can last for several years or more, and run on no electricity from a house or disposable battery, leading to no extra cost and being environmentally safe.

How Do Outdoor Solar Lights Work?

According to energy.gov, these devices run off of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity that is directly stored into batteries that are built into the unit. Then, after the sun has set, it uses the energy stored in the battery to power the units.

However, there are a few things that can affect how much energy is stored. If the solar panel is often in the shade, if it is a cloudy day, or if the panel is dirty, then it will collect less or no energy. This can also cause the batteries to die quicker over time.

What Are The Types of Outdoor Solar Lights And Their Differences?

There are several different types: wall-mounted, path and string lights, as well as motion/security ones. There are also flag lights and lamp posts, but these are usually harder to find online or are more expensive than the other types.

The main differences between them are how they are installed and where the solar panels that power them are located. Most of the types have their solar panels built into the lighting unit, but some types like motion or security lights, need their solar panels to be connected through an extension cable while the solar panel is mounted in a high place like a roof.

There is also a functionality difference. For example, wall-mounted models are meant to be more functional while path and string ones are more suited towards decoration or to add more aesthetic appeal.

What To Look For When Buying A Product?

Most of these devices are used with LED bulbs, which is one of the higher quality since they last many times longer than traditional light bulbs. Also, depending on what you are using them for, how long a full charge lasts is an important feature to look at. Some of the cheaper models can only last a few hours while the higher quality ones can last up to 10 hours or more.

Other than that, the only main aspect to consider is what color light you should get. The models that have red, green, or blue colors usually do not produce too much light and are only for decorative purposes. For lighting up dark areas, white and amber are usually the more efficient choice. They also tend to not use as much energy as the others, giving a longer use on a full charge.

TOP 6 Best Outdoor Solar Lights

Take a look at a review of TOP-6 best products within the price range from $40 to $80. Most of them are waterproof and made of sound material as they are intended to operate in the open air. These models mainly differ in the design and the number of hours they can operate after being charged. So the most powerful device can last up to 12 hours when it is fully charged. There is also a model that comes with adjustable lights so that you can set the desirable level of illumination.

12 Pack Solar Path Lights | Sunco Lighting

Solar Path Lights from Sunco Lighting: photo

Type: Path

Full charge lasts: 6 to 8 hours

Purpose: Lighting

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Reduce the chance of tripping over them
  • Waterproof
  • Multiple lights per stake
  • Comes in a 12-pack
  • More expensive than average
  • Shorter lifespan

These devices are rather new with a unique design where nearly all of the unit is in or against the ground. Very similar to pool lights, they are small, round, and very bright while not being blinding or distracting. While the main unit is made from strong plastic, the stake is slightly cheaper, but the design reduces the risk for the head of the unit to fall, causing it to break. 

However, the solar cells are smaller than other models, making it less reliable for longer uses.

Recommended or not? For the price you pay, not. True, the high price could also be because of the fact that it is a 12-pack, but there are more models that come in a 12-pack with a far lower price. While the design is unique, it clearly has too many flaws.

Sunco Lighting: Check the current price

33ft 100LED Outdoor String Lights | Mpow

Mpow Outdoor String Lights: photo

Type: String

Full charge lasts: 8+ hours

Purpose: Decoration or limited lighting

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Comes in a 4-pack
  • Has different modes
  • Bendable and keeps shape
  • Long run time
  • Waterproof and heat-resistant
  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor application
  • Connection between string and lights are fragile
  • Shorter lifespan

This model is one of the most popular right now, coming in either a 2 or a 4-pack. The design goes especially well with holiday decorations, year-round yard lighting, and party decorations. Many people have also been putting the solar panel in a well-lit window and using them indoors, too. 

The main issue with this model is that, if not handled carefully, it is likely to be pulled apart from the string or the string break apart completely. A redeemable feature they have though is that they have different light settings like solid, dimmed, flickering, and more.

Recommended or not? For the total length of lights and the different uses, yes, it is recommended.

Mpow: Check the current price

2-in-1 Waterproof Outdoor Solar Landscape Lights | InnoGear

2-in-1 Waterproof Outdoor Solar Landscape Lights: photo

Type: Path or Wall

Full charge lasts: 8 to 12 hours

Purpose: Lighting

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Brighter than most
  • Bendable lights and solar panel
  • Can be wall-mounted or staked in the ground
  • Long battery life
  • Only available in a 4-pack
  • Brightness not the best for driveway use

The closest things can be compared to are several small, solar spotlights. They are extremely bright when compared to most other models, making them ideal for driveway and walkway lighting. However, one of the biggest problems is that they are easily blinding to drivers and therefore have to be pointed away from any driver's line of sight. Many people have used them for accents on their home plants. 

Recommended or not? Yes, they are recommended mainly for the price value and their high quality of lighting up an area.

InnoGear: Check the current price

Outdoor Solar Garden LED Light Landscape | GIGALUMI

Outdoor Solar Garden LED Light Landscape: photo

Type: Path

Full charge lasts: 8

Purpose: Decorating or lighting

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Comes in a 12-pack
  • Available in several colors
  • Long lifespan
  • Waterproof
  • Cheaper than average price
  • Cheaper quality
  • Assembly is required

The item has a very thin and tall design, a trait sought after by those wanting to decorate their gardens or lawns. They are also one of the least expensive models that come in a 12-pack. and they come in multi-colored and color-changing packs too. If it were not for the fact that they were made out of pretty cheap and breakable material, this would be one of the best products out there. 

Recommended or not? For the person on a tight budget, yes. For everyone else, no.

GIGALUMI: Check the current price

43-Inch Solar Torch Light | Woenergy

Solar Torch Light from Woenergy: photo

Type: Torch

Full charge lasts: 5 to 10 hours (Depending on the season)

Lifespan: 5 years

Purpose: Decoration or limited lighting

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Appear to be actual flames
  • Specifically made for parties
  • More LEDs in each unit than average
  • Weatherproof
  • Stakes must be handled carefully
  • Need more charging time than other products

One of the few models out there that have a warm look, the product looks remarkably like quality tiki torches. They are usually about 2.5 feet tall, but they come with an extender to raise the height to about 3.5 feet. Unlike other models, the battery is a lithium-ion battery, which lasts much longer than lead-acid batteries, the standard. 

They are more expensive than the average 2 or 4-pack, but they are also larger and a different design than the average light.

Recommended or not? For being a great outdoor decoration, a decent price, and for having a unique design, yes.

Woenergy: Check the current price

Ultra Bright 182 LED 1000 Lumen Solar Lights | Lovin Product

Ultra Bright 182 LED 1000 Lumen Solar Lights: photo

Type: Wall and Motion

Purpose: Lighting and/or security light

Advantages Disadvantages
  • 3-part adjustable light
  • 3-switch manual adjustment
  • One of the brightest products
  • Long extension cable for solar light
  • Weather resistant
  • Solar panel must be roof-mounted
  • Only available in a single-pack

One of the few security lights on this list, this model has a unique feature: its lighting unit is separated into 3 parts that are side by side and can be turned in different directions to suit the user's needs. The motion sensor has a 180-degree viewing angle and sits just below the lights. 

The drawback with this model is the fact that the solar panel needs to be installed on the roof in order to get the amount of sunlight needed to power it reliably. It does come with an extra large extension cable for it, though.

Recommended or not? For those who are willing to pay a little extra and can install the solar panel on the roof safely, yes.

Lovin Product: Check the current price

Comparative Chart of Outdoor Solar Light Effectiveness

Product Features

Sunco Lighting

  • Type: Path
  • Full charge lasts: 6 to 8 hours
  • Purpose: Lighting
  • Waterproof

Effectiveness: 8

Mpow

  • Type: String
  • Full charge lasts: 8+ hours
  • Purpose: Decoration or limited lighting
  • Waterproof and heat-resistant

Effectiveness: 9

InnoGear

  • Type: Path or Wall-Mounted
  • Full charge lasts: 8 to 12 hours
  • Purpose: Lighting
  • Can be wall-mounted or staked in the ground

Effectiveness: 10

GIGALUMI

  • Type: Path
  • Full charge lasts: 8 hours
  • Purpose: Decorating or lighting
  • Waterproof

Effectiveness: 9

Woenergy

  • Type: Torch
  • Full charge lasts: 5 to 10 hours (Depending on the season)
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Purpose: Decoration or limited lighting
  • Waterproof

Effectiveness: 10

Lovin Product

  • Type: Wall and Motion
  • Purpose: Lighting and/or security light
  • 3-part adjustable light
  • 3-switch manual adjustment
  • Weather resistant

Effectiveness: 10

FAQs

Do outdoor solar lights need direct sunlight?
In order to be fully charged and run for the maximum amount of time, yes. The amount of time they need to be in direct sunlight varies from product to product, but it is usually between 4 to 8 hours a day.

Do they work in winter?
According to energy.gov, most devices only operate at 30 percent to 50 percent capacity. There are some models that are specifically made for the winter that operate better.

Can outdoor solar lights cause a fire?
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), some outdoor solar lighting products have been recalled in the past for acting as a sort of magnifying glass with the sun, heating things like dry mulch or grass to the point where it can catch on fire.

Do they need batteries?
No, the devices with a battery that is built into the unit. These batteries are self-sustaining. They are usually what cause most outdoor solar lights to finally die.

How long do outdoor solar lights last?
This can vary between products, the light type, and other factors. Usually, they can last anywhere from 20,000 hours to 50,000 hours or more. This is usually between 2 and 5 or more years of continuous daily use.

Pros & Cons of Using These Products

Overall, there are usually more pros than there are cons of using outdoor solar lights. Obviously, the most notable of the pros is that they are environmentally friendly. Because they are growing in popularity, more and more people are using this renewable resource to get as much light as they would be using, minus the use of fossil fuels.

They are also one of the more cost-efficient ways to get lighting since they can provide hours of lighting for free without the need to change batteries or charge in an electrical outlet. Those pros along with the fact that there are so many sizes and styles available and the only maintenance they need is a little cleaning every now and then are what makes these devices so valuable and desired.

Conclusion

Now you know what you may need when shopping for some outdoor solar lights, their benefits, their faults, how they work, what you need to do to maintain them, and what they can be used for today. In the future, we can probably expect solar street lighting, driveway lighting, and tile lighting not long from now.