The 10 Best Solar Lights to Brighten Your Outdoor Space

With easy installation and multiple design options, Beau Jardin's Solar Pathway Lights are the best around.

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string lights hanging on patio at dusk
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Brightening up your outdoor living area can drastically improve the way your garden or patio looks, and it might even inspire you to spend more time outside when the weather is warm. One great way to illuminate your outdoor space is with solar lights.

With batteries that charge via solar panels throughout the day, solar lights can effectively help your household lower its carbon footprint. Plus, installation is easy because there are no wires to contend with. And because the market for solar lights has boomed as clean energy becomes more popular, there are tons of options, ensuring that you can find the lights that are perfect for your home.

We set out to find the best outdoor solar lights available, judging products by factors like brightness, battery life, durability, style, and waterproofness. That said, it's important to prioritize your personal needs when shopping, whether that means multiple brightness levels, a particular design to match your home's aesthetic, or something else. In the end, the model that ticked all of our boxes was the Solar Pathway Lights from Beau Jardin.

Read on for our list of the best solar lights of every style.

What We Recommend

Best Overall: Beau Jardin Solar Pathway Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: These solar lights are installed easily, come in multiple finishes, and add a decorative touch when lit.

Keep in mind: These are placed in the ground, so they won't work for people looking to light balconies or above-ground decks.

Beau Jardin's Solar Pathway Lights make illuminating your garden easy. They install in moments—all you have to do is push the spike into the ground where you want to place them. And thanks to sensors that detect the brightness around them, they turn on and off automatically based on when they are needed.

These solar lights also add a decorative element to your garden, yard, or walkway. The glass lampshade contains a pattern that creates an intricate design on the ground when the light is illuminated. Plus, these are available in silver, black, and brown finishes, so you can choose whichever color matches your outdoor decor.

Beau Jardin's solar lights are IP65-rated, which means they are water resistant and can last through rain and snow. Their battery life spans from eight to 12 hours, easily long enough for a nighttime gathering. And because they come in packs of both four and eight, you can get the quantity that's right for your outdoor space.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 4 or 8
  • Dimensions: 16.54 x 4.72 inches
  • Water Protection Rating: IP65
  • Light Color: Cool white
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AA
  • Battery Life: Eight to 12 hours

Best Value: Sunnest Solar Outdoor Lights

outdoor lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: These solar lights are a great choice for a backyard birthday party or gathering.
Keep in mind: They're small in diameter, so they won't be as effective if you have large areas to illuminate.

These outdoor solar lights from Sunnest are small (about 2 inches in diameter), but they pack a punch when it comes to brightening pathways. The set of 12 comes out to the least expensive per light on this list, which makes it a great value. The lights have a nail-like design that easily sticks into the ground, and each light emits a bright cool or warm white glow, depending on which style you purchase. The solar lights even come in a multicolor version that automatically switches between seven different colors.

Made of stainless steel, these solar lights can withstand weather elements and have an IP44 water protection rating, so they won't rust if exposed to rain. With just six to eight hours of sun exposure, these solar lights can stay on for up to 10 hours after dark. Just keep in mind, based on their inexpensive cost, that these solar lights might not last you multiple seasons—but they get the job done when you need to brighten up your backyard in a pinch. This makes them a great choice for anyone who just needs solar lights for a birthday party or other outdoor gathering after dusk.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 12
  • Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.1 x 14.5 inches
  • Water Protection Rating: IP44
  • Light Color: Cool white, warm white, or multicolor
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AAA
  • Battery Life: Six to 10 hours

Related: The 10 Best Outdoor Firepits for Your Backyard and Beyond

Best Spotlights: InnoGear Solar Spotlight Outdoor Lights

outdoor lights
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Why you should get it: It's easy to highlight a specific part of your yard with these lights.
Keep in mind: They won't work as well in places that need softer solar lighting, like driveways or pathways.

If you want to draw attention to a specific area of your yard (like landscaping or a flag pole), then these solar spotlights from Innogear can help. In addition to highlighting your landscaping, you might even find that these solar spotlights give you a better sense of security at home. Each light has an adjustable head that rotates 90 degrees and an attached solar panel that swivels 180 degrees—that means you can get the perfect angle for direct sunlight. With two levels of brightness that you can adjust with a switch, the solar lights can last up to six hours on high or 12 hours on low—and it takes about eight hours to fully charge the battery.

The solar spotlights are easy to set up, and they can be installed two different ways. Either stick the stake in the ground, or mount it to a wall with the included screws. Just keep in mind that even though these solar lights are listed as waterproof (and heatproof), the brand doesn't specify the exact water protection rating.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 4
  • Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Water Protection Rating: Not listed
  • Light Color: Warm or white
  • Battery Type: 18650 lithium
  • Battery Life: Six to 12 hours

Best String Lights: Brightech Ambience Pro Solar String Lights

solar powered string lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: These string lights will add ambient lighting to your backyard.
Keep in mind: They aren't freestanding lights, so they need a structure to hang on.

Twinkly string lights are a fun way to add character to your backyard. This set from Brightech has an antique-looking aesthetic with exposed LED Edison bulbs. The 27-foot version has 12 bulbs. You can hang these solar string lights over a patio via poles, along a fence, and under a pergola for a magical ambiance under the stars. These solar string lights last up to six hours before they automatically shut off, so they won't stay on late into the night.

Because all of the lights are attached to a single external solar panel, you don't have to worry about them all having access to direct sunlight. Even though the solar panel is attached to the same wire as the string lights, there's 3 to 6 feet between the panel and the first bulb, depending on which size you get. This allows for plenty of flexibility when it comes to the placement of the solar panel. It can either be placed in the ground with a stake or clipped to a fence or deck. The outdoor solar lights use the brand's own WeatherTite technology, which claims to withstand rain, snow, and wind (up to 50 miles per hour).

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 12
  • Dimensions: 27 feet long
  • Water Protection Rating: WeatherTite technology
  • Light Color: Soft white
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AA
  • Battery Life: Five to six hours

Best Decorative: Gigalumi Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights

mason jar
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Why you should get it: These solar lights double as decor.
Keep in mind: They aren't waterproof, so they might not be ideal for anyone who lives in particularly rainy climates.

If you're interested in trying out more decorative lighting in your yard, check out these hanging Mason jar solar lights that offer a modern farmhouse feel. Each jar is filled with a handful of small LED string lights that shine through the glass sides. The solar panels are placed right on top of each of the screw-on lids, so they have the perfect angle to capture and store the sun's light during the day. Once they've been charged for six to eight hours in the sun, these solar lights can illuminate your outdoor space for up to eight hours.

The Mason jars come with wire handles that can be hung multiple ways—but you'll need to purchase the hooks separately. You can get creative by hanging the jars on tree branches in the backyard or shepherd's hooks along a pathway. The lighted jars can also be used as a lantern by keeping them flat on a table or patio. One downside is that it's unclear whether these solar lights are waterproof or not, so we recommend bringing them inside or keeping them covered when it rains.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 6 jars, 30 lights
  • Dimensions: 3.2 x 5.3 inches per jar
  • Water Protection Rating: Not listed
  • Light Color: Warm white
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AAA
  • Battery Life: Eight hours

Best Post Light: Kemeco Solar Post Light Fixture

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Why you should get it: It's a great choice if you want single lamp post at the end of your driveway.
Keep in mind: Solar post lights can't be hung or placed in the ground.

If you've always wanted lamp posts in your yard or driveway, this solar option from Kemeco is a great choice. In addition to a 3-inch-diameter post, you can also place the solar light on a flat concrete surface with the included mounting base. The lantern-style light is made with metal and textured glass, and it's available in both black and white finishes. Each fixture has its own set of four solar panels on top, so make sure that each light you purchase (they're sold separately) has access to direct sunlight.

Each lamp uses three rechargeable AA batteries that need eight hours of full sunlight per day. If needed, there's also an easily accessible on/off switch on the outside. Before the first use, the brand suggests charging the solar post light for 24 hours with the power switched off. Once you switch it back on, the light will automatically turn on when it's dark out, with the charge lasting six to eight hours. Even though the solar post light claims to be weatherproof, the exact water protection rating is not listed.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 8.8 x 18.1
  • Water Protection Rating: Not listed
  • Light Color: Warm white
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AA
  • Battery Life: Six to eight hours

Best Fairy Lights: Brightown Outdoor Solar Fairy Lights

Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: Solar fairy lights can be used to decorate bushes, balconies, or railings.
Keep in mind: They aren't freestanding lights, so they won't work well on driveways or pathways without something to hang on.

These solar fairy lights from Brightown are ideal for people who want to add decorative lighting to their landscaping. With a separate solar panel that gets staked into the ground, the lights are 33 feet in length with 100 bulbs spread throughout. They don't stand on their own, but they're great for laying on bushes, wrapping around railings or balconies, and decorating trees. Just make sure you're extra gentle while handling the fairy lights so they don't get tangled before they're in place.

They use a rechargeable AA battery that lasts for eight to 10 hours with a full charge. And since they have an IP65 rating, the lights can withstand regular precipitation without damage. The lights come in six different colors, including white, blue, and multicolor. There are also eight lighting options to choose from, which you can change by pushing a button on the back of the solar panel. Just like Christmas tree lights, the different modes include twinkle, alternating flashes, and a combination setting.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 100
  • Dimensions: 33 feet long
  • Water Protection Rating: IP65
  • Light Color: Blue, green, purple, multicolor, cool white, warm white
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AA
  • Battery Life: Eight to 10 hours

Best Fence Lights: Greluna Solar Wall Lights

solar wall lights
Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: They're great for people who plan to keep their solar lights up year round.
Keep in mind: They need to be attached to a structure, so they won't work well in places without fences or decks.

These outdoor solar lights from Greluna have a charming cottage design that's bound to get you plenty of compliments next time you have guests over. With two hidden screw holes in the back, the solar lights can be mounted on wooden fences, decks, and stairs. They can also be attached to surfaces using double-sided mounting tape as an alternative to screws, but you'll have to purchase the tape separately (the screws are included). The lights come in packs of eight, so you might need more than one set to evenly cover your fence or deck.

The outdoor solar lights are IP45 waterproof rated, which means they can hold up to rain and snow (although you may want to bring them inside during a heavy downpour). This, along with the fact that they can be screwed onto your fence, makes them a great choice for anyone who wants to keep their solar lights up year round. Plus, both versions of the lights (yellow and white) have a color-changing feature that will come in handy during the holidays. This mode will automatically rotate between six bright colors, like red, green, and purple.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 8
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.5 x 1.97 inches
  • Water Protection Rating: IP45
  • Light Color: White, yellow, and color-changing
  • Battery Type: Rechargeable AA
  • Battery Life: Eight hours

Best With Motion Sensor: Ring Solar Floodlight Outdoor Security Light

Courtesy of Amazon

Why you should get it: This is a great choice if you're into smart home gadgets (especially if you already own other Ring products).
Keep in mind: Each one costs $90, so they aren't the most budget-friendly solar lights.

The other solar lights on this list automatically turn on at dusk and stay on until they run out of power, but this solar floodlight from Ring takes things up a notch with built-in motion sensors. Whenever it detects movement within 45 feet, the weather-resistant floodlight will automatically turn on its bright lights for however many minutes you choose. You can change this setting (as well as set schedules, adjust brightness, and control the device) by using the Ring app on your smartphone.

To use the smart features, you also need to have a Ring Bridge or a compatible Echo device. If you already have one at home that you use for other smart devices, then you won't have to purchase another since only one is needed per household. Those devices stay indoors, but they're what the solar light uses to communicate with the app and vice versa. It's also worth noting that the solar floodlight uses the brand's own rechargeable battery pack, which lasts up to six months depending on usage.

The smart floodlight uses a separate solar panel that has a 13-foot wire, which makes it easier to place in direct sunlight. The solar panel and floodlight both can be mounted in your preferred location with the included hardware—just supply your own drill. It's also available in both white and black, so you can pick the color that best matches your home's exterior.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 1
  • Dimensions: 5.51 x 10.43 x 4.68 inches
  • Water Protection Rating: IP66
  • Light Color: White
  • Battery Type: Ring Quick Release Battery
  • Battery Life: Up to six months

Related: The 9 Best Outdoor Floodlights for Backyards, Driveways, and Everywhere in Between

Best Rope Lights: Eoako Solar Rope Lights

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Why you should get it: These simple solar rope lights can be controlled with a remote.
Keep in mind: Some of the other options on this list come in various colors, but these lights are only available in white.

Rope lights are generally pretty similar to fairy lights, except for the fact that the lights are enclosed in a flexible plastic tube. These solar rope lights from Eoako can be wrapped around trees or railings, and even molded into various shapes for decorations during the holidays. There's over six feet of wire between the external solar panel and the first of 200 LED lights, giving you flexibility on where you place the solar panel. These lights only come in cool white, but there are other features that make up for the lack of color choices.

These solar rope lights are actually the only option on this list that comes with a remote, which works from up to 23 feet away. There are multiple buttons so you can toggle between the eight lighting modes and control the brightness levels. Like most other solar lights, this set will automatically turn on when it gets dark out—but it also has a timer function that can shut the lights off after three, five, or eight hours.

Product Details:

  • Number of Lights Included: 200
  • Dimensions: 72 feet long
  • Water Protection Rating: IP65
  • Light Color: Cool white
  • Battery Type: Not listed
  • Battery Life: Eight to 12 hours

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.

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