The best solar lights for outdoors will help amp up the cozy factor in your garden all year round and give your outside space a lovely warm glow. Solar powered lights are much cheaper to run than their electric counterparts because, just as their name suggests, they are powered by the sun. There's plenty of choice when it comes to finding good quality solar lights for your backyard or patio, including the best solar outdoor string lights. From fairy lights you can wrap around just about anything to solar path lights that can be placed in the ground to help lead the way.
To help you find the best solar lights for outdoor use, we’ve compiled a list of the top-rated options from brands like Wilson & Fisher, Brightright and Luminabright. When using solar lights outdoors, remember to position them in an area that gets a lot of sunshine to ensure your new solar powered lights provide your outdoor space with a brilliant glow all year round.
Many of the best solar lights for outdoor use are super-easy to install. For path lights, you just need to place them into the ground where you wish them to glow, and for solar outdoor string lights, hang them wherever you fancy. Good outdoor solar lights can brighten up your garden even if the sun hasn’t shone its brightest.
Plus, many of the options we’ve listed below are waterproof, meaning come rain, shine, wind or snow you don’t need to remove them. If you’re looking for even more ways to make your garden cozy, check out our guide to the best patio heaters for all-weather use, or gather around one of the best fire pits to toast up some marshmallows.
1. Brightech Ambience Pro solar lights: Best string solar lights
The light bulbs are both weatherproof and shatterproof and can withstand rain, snow and winds of up to 50mph. Brightech Ambience Pro solar lights also come in two different length sizes but due to the lights being solar-powered, you can’t connect one set with an additional set.
If you’re looking for solar lights to shine huge amounts of light down on to your garden, then these are not the ones, because the string lights are designed to provide a soft, ambient look.
Each hanging light bulb has a hook above it so that you can neatly attach these lights to gazebos. The Brightech Ambience Pro lights also come with a three-year warranty - the longest we’ve seen during our research.
2. Signature Garden Solar Garden Lights: Best solar lights for all-weather use
If you’re looking for an attractive set of path lights, look no further than Signature Garden’s 6 pack of solar garden lights. The light stakes come with a pretty sharp point so you won’t have too much trouble pushing these beauties into the ground. The LED lights are made from stainless steel and crafted with solar-powered rechargeable batteries.
This means the sun recharges the outdoor garden additions during the day so they can stay lit during the night. According to the brand, the garden lights can last for eight hours during the night. But perhaps the best thing about these lights? The fact they come with a ‘no questions-asked’ lifetime guarantee.
So if something does go wrong, you can contact the brand at any time for free replacements. These garden additions are a little bit more expensive than other path lights listed in this guide, but the lifetime guarantee helps to offer a bit of peace of mind.
3. Lumina Bright Solar Lights: Best value solar lights
The Lumina solar-powered lights are made with durable materials to withstand the weather and are finished to give a stylish look to your backyard. Designed to be based in the ground, the light bulbs are LED.
Some user reviews do criticize the dullness of the bulbs in each solar light but many noted that the lights lit their yard paths well and gave a similar amount of lighting as a torch.
4. Sunforce 82156: Best mountable solar light
The Sunforce 81256 is a good solar light that you can mount on your garage, shed or fence. It has the brightest LEDs among the solar lights we looked at, 850 lumens.
This is many times brighter than the competition and helps it illuminate objects in a 30-foot radius. The motion sensor helps save battery for when the light is needed. The 15-foot wire that connects the light to the solar panel gives you a lot of flexibility to get the best exposure to sunlight during the day.
This solar light has three dials that let you adjust the sensitivity of the motion detector, how long the light stays on when triggered and how much daylight will turn it off.
5. Wilson & Fisher LED solar lights: Best pathway solar lights
The Wilson & Fisher solar lights are ideal for edging a walkway or creating a pretty pathway in your backyard. The lights are complete with stakes so that you can easily push them into the ground. The lights have an attractive bronze effect finish and also come with a battery so that they will light up on days when the sun isn’t shining so brightly.
Most user reviews are pretty positive when it comes to the Wilson & Fisher solar lights, however, some user reviews did state that the lights aren’t that weatherproof. As well as that, each of the individual solar lights requires a backup battery for cloudy days which would need recharging or replacing during the winter months.
6. Bright Right solar lights: Best in-ground solar lights
The Bright Right solar lights use LED bulbs and can either be placed into the ground or attached to the included stake to raise up off the floor. These lights are water-resistant and because they are solar powered, there’s no wiring or tricky installation to worry about.
Bright Right solar lights do cost more than many similar models though and some user reviews have criticized the brightness of each of the lights. If you want something simple to install, then the Bright Right solar lights will look great in your garden.
How to find the right solar lights for your backyard
Type of Light
The type of solar lights you buy depends on their intended use. Standalone solar lights work best for small areas that don't need much light. Strings of lights work best for walkways, though some can be mounted higher near patios. Post- or wall-mounted solar floodlights are excellent options to install near doors and on patios.
The level of brightness can vary considerably in solar lights. In general, solar lights won't produce as much light as ones connected to the electrical grid, but they can be effective in places where you want more ambiance, security and safety.
If your focus is ambiance and illuminating walkways, then you don't need solar lights with high light output, as measured in lumens. However, if you plan to use the lights for security and illuminating walkways, it's best to choose brighter lights with high lumen ratings, preferably with motion sensors to save on battery power.
Quantity and range
The number of lights to buy depends on the range of each light and the size of the area you want to illuminate. Depending on their intended use, solar lights can cast light from a range of two feet up to 38 feet. Lights with shorter ranges usually come in multi-packs, making them ideal for pathways and near landscaping features.
In this setup, you want the light footprint from each unit to extend as far as that of nearby units; whether or not the light patterns overlap comes down to your personal preferences. If you want lights for outdoor parties or security, they should illuminate a larger area, but you won't need to buy as many.
Some solar lights let you change the batteries when needed to extend the life of the lights indefinitely, though this also means you need to buy replacement batteries occasionally. There are also solar lights with permanent batteries that you can't replace, instead you must replace the whole unit when it no longer works. Lights without replaceable batteries often cost less than the other type, but may be more wasteful.