The 10 Best Solar Lights to Brighten Your Outdoor Space
"Solar lights are a great eco-friendly alternative to lighting your outdoor space for your home or a business," said Tisha Domingo, CMO of lighting company Brightech, who added that this type of lighting "can be placed along walkways, over garage doors, along the base of a house or building, or even up in a tree."
No matter what type of landscape lighting you're looking for, this list has plenty of solar options to give you a well-lit backyard. To come up with this list of outdoor solar lights, we researched the category and considered factors like battery life, waterproofness, and user reviews to inform our product recommendations.
Beau Jardin's solar lights earned the top spot on our list because they are easy to install, come in multiple finishes, and can brighten up a driveway or pathway.
What We Recommend
- Best Overall: Beau Jardin Solar Pathway Lights
- Best Value: Sunnest Solar Outdoor Lights
- Best Spotlights: InnoGear Solar Spotlight Outdoor Lights
- Best String Lights: Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights
- Best Decorative: Gigalumi Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights
- Best Post Light: Kemeco Solar Post Light Fixture
- Best Fairy Lights: Brightown Outdoor Solar Fairy Lights
- Best Fence Lights: Greluna Solar Wall Lights
- Best With Motion Sensor: Ring Solar Floodlight Outdoor Security Light
- Best Rope Lights: Eoako Solar Rope Lights
Best Overall: Beau Jardin Solar Pathway Lights
Best Value: Sunnest Solar Outdoor Lights
Best Spotlights: InnoGear Solar Spotlight Outdoor Lights
Best String Lights: Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights
Best Decorative: Gigalumi Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights
Best Post Light: Kemeco Solar Post Light Fixture
Best Fairy Lights: Brightown Outdoor Solar Fairy Lights
Best Fence Lights: Greluna Solar Wall Lights
Best With Motion Sensor: Ring Solar Floodlight Outdoor Security Light
Best Rope Lights: Eoako Solar Rope Lights
The Bottom Line
The best outdoor solar lights for most people are the Beau Jardin solar lights, which can be used to brighten up a pathway, driveway, or garden. They're easy to install and each light has its own solar panel. But if you're looking for something a bit more stylish, you can't go wrong with Brightech's solar-powered string lights that will add a magical ambiance to your backyard.
What to Know About Solar Lights Before Shopping
Type: There are a few different types of solar lights, and they all vary in how they're installed. For example, pathway lights are designed with stakes that you can stick into the dirt next to your driveway or sidewalk. There are also solar lights that can be mounted up high on a wooden fence or deck. If you're looking for something more decorative, you can find string lights and Mason jar lanterns powered by solar energy.
Battery: Instead of electricity or traditional batteries, solar lights use rechargeable batteries that are powered through energy from the sun. Rechargeable batteries don't last forever, so there's a good chance you might need to replace them at some point. Many of the solar lights on this list use rechargeable AA or AAA batteries, which are easily available for purchase online. Since the batteries can simply be swapped out down the line, you won't need to replace the entire light fixture.
Solar Panel Location: Some of the solar lights on this list have small solar panels on each individual light, while others have a single external solar panel that powers the entire set of lights. You might prefer the latter if you want to use solar lights under a porch or covered patio; you'll be able to give the solar panel direct sunlight while keeping the lights where you want them.
Water Protection: Most of the solar lights on this list are water-resistant, which means they repel water to some extent. (This is different from waterproof, which means a product doesn't allow any water to pass through.) These lights will be fine in normal rain and snow showers, but you may want to bring them inside during heavy downpours combined with wind. You'll often see the water protection listed as an IP rating, an international standard that looks like "IP45." The first number indicates how well the item is protected against solid objects like dust, and the second number indicates how well it's protected against liquids. The latter ranges from zero to nine, and the higher the number, the more protected it is from water.
Your Questions, Answered
Will solar lights still work in indirect sunlight?
Outdoor lights work best when they have access to direct sunlight for multiple hours during the day, which is how the manufacturers calculate battery life and runtime. They'll still work on cloudy days or in areas with indirect light, but you might notice that they aren't quite as bright or long-lasting.
Do solar lights work in every part of the country?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar lights work well in most parts of the United States. As long as the solar panels have access to enough sunlight, the lights will work well. Pay attention to how much sunlight your yard gets during the day, and use that to manage your expectations for how bright the lights will be and how long they'll last into the evening.
Are solar lights eco-friendly?
In addition to giving you a sense of security and better visibility come nighttime, solar lights use renewable energy and don't create emissions that harm the planet. And since they use the sun's energy, solar lights won't make your electric bill go up.
Who We Are
This story was written by Amina Lake Abdelrahman, a commerce editor for Better Homes & Gardens. She has been writing about home products for nearly four years. She spent hours researching solar lights (including how they work and the various styles available) in order to come up with this list. Amina also received expert advice from Tisha Domingo, CMO of lighting company Brightech, on exactly what readers should consider when shopping for solar lights.