If you have the good fortune to have a backyard, front lawn, driveway and walkway, you know how frustrating it can be to go outside at night only to have to use your phone’s flashlight to get around. That’s where great solar lights can help.
The best solar lights will never run out of power, as long as there’s a steady supply of sunlight to power them, which, unless you live in Alaska, there will be most days. Even if there is less sunlight where you are, the best solar lights will still work, just with diminished power and battery life.
Depending on where the solar light is going and how much light you need, there’s a solar light out there for you. There are smaller stake-style solar lights to push into the ground, lights that hang from wires, wall-mounted solar lights big and small and solar lights ranging from more cutesy styles to those resembling flames to match whatever aesthetic you’re going for.
So check out our picks for the best solar lights below and feel a lot better about walking down the dark side path between your house and the fence.
1. AmeriTop Wireless LED Solar Light
BEST BIG WALL-MOUNTED LIGHT
If you’re trying to cover a large area with one light, you’re going to want a sizable wall-mounted solar light like the AmeriTop Wireless LED Solar Light.
This solar light has a lot going for it: It has three heads for 270 degrees of illumination, 128 LED beads that produce up to 800 lumens of light, motion detection up to 26 feet (less depending on the line of sight) and accompanying auto-illumination and 30-second shut-off as well as a solar panel conversion rate of 20%.
These solar lights will also survive the winter and inclement weather courtesy of their ABS material and IP65 waterproof rating.
AmeriTop recommends mounting the light around 6-8 feet, which can be mounted on metal, wood, plastic or just about any sturdy material, and the light comes with all the screws you need to mount it.
Of course, the light needs about 6-8 hours of sunlight to reach a full charge, but that should be sufficient given that the light should rarely run out of battery due to usage.
2. SEZAC Solar Sensor Wall Light
BEST SMALL WALL MOUNT LIGHT
Maybe you don’t need up to 20-30 feet of lighting, but still want something to mount on a wall for those dark pathways or just in front of your garage. If that’s the case, the SEZAC Solar Sensor Wall Light could be perfect for you.
This little unit charges fully with 8-10 hours of sunlight and detects motion and casts light up to 16 feet at a 120-degree angle. It uses 42 LED lights and offers three different lighting modes: a dim long light mode where the light is always on and dim, strong light sensor mode where the light is always dim but becomes strong upon motion detection and a motion sensor mode where the light is off until it detects motion and becomes strong.
The light only weighs a couple of pounds and is easy to install on any wall or material. And of course, it’s basically weatherproof because it’s made from ABS material.
3. MagicPro Solar String Lights
BEST WIRE-HANGING LIGHTS
Nothing creates an ambiance like light bulbs strung across your backyard or patio. That’s what you’ll get with the MagicPro Solar String Lights.
With 44 feet to work with and 15 total bulbs, you should be able to hang and criss-cross these string lights however you need to add a little bit of classy light outside.
The lights reach a full charge, or about 8 hours of light, through the solar panel in about 6-8 hours, but if you really need that ambiance ASAP, you can also charge the battery via Micro USB, which is super convenient.
In another convenience, if you ever decide to get more lights, you can buy and attach another string of lights to your existing string.
In fact, the parents of yours truly have used these in their backyard for a few years and the solar lights have held up remarkably well, especially given they live in Buffalo, NY, notable for its blustery, freezing winters.
4. Brightown Solar String Crystal Globe Lights
For wire-hanging solar lights with a less traditional aesthetic, the Brightown Solar String Crystal Globe Lights will jazz up any patio or porch with ease.
For a pretty reasonable price, you get 60 LED lights on a 35.6-foot wire that can run for 8-10 hours a night on a full charge. You can also pick up these lights in a multicolor variety or in multiple individual colors, though we dig the warm white bulbs that look like mini suns.
But there are two possible downsides to be aware of. First, these bulbs look like they’re the size of billiard balls at first glance, but they’re actually closer to the size of golf balls, which does affect how much light they actually cast into a given space.
We also found that these solar lights are questionable when it comes to surviving cold and windy weather. If your home regularly faces severe weather you might wish to look elsewhere.
5. BOAER Hanging Solar Lights
BEST HOOK-HANGING LIGHTS
For solar lights that are more beautiful than a practical illumination solution, the BOAER Hanging Solar Lights are perfect.
These LED solar lights are made from stainless steel and cast light for 6-8 hours on an 8-10 hour charge, turning on and off automatically at dusk and dawn.
Alas, these solar lights are much more useful for their looks than their illumination by BOAER’s own admission. The metal encasing only lets so much light out to begin with and the light itself is only about 8 lumens. For a basic comparison, an average 4W LED light bulb produces around 250 lumens of light. In short, that means these solar lights shouldn’t be considered your primary light source as they’ll only light up the areas in their immediate short radius.
But if you don’t mind that (and don’t mind picking up your own wall or stake-style hooks) and just want some pretty solar lights then the BOAER lights will be the best solar lights for you.
6. LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights
BEST STAKE-STYLE LIGHTS
Wall-mounted solar lights and string solar lights are awesome and all, but nothing beats the simplicity of a stake-style solar light that just pushes into the ground.
The LITOM Solar Landscape Spotlights use 12 LEDs and cast light at a 120-degree angle. In terms of survivability, they’re made from ABS material to survive hot and cold weather.
That’s about all there is to this six-pack of landscape lights. They’re simple and they’ll cast a ton of light close to the ground where you actually need light.
But for one potential downside, these solar lights don’t have any motion detection. They turn on and off automatically at dusk and dawn, but they’re either on full blast, on with a dim light or they need to be turned off altogether. That can be a bummer because the full blast setting only works for about six hours, which is majorly inconvenient if you need to be able to count on light all night.
But if always-on solar lights are what you’re looking for or at least not a dealbreaker, the LITOM lights will be the best solar lights for your walkways and yards.
7. KOOPER Solar Garden Lights
CUTESY STAKE-STYLE LIGHTS
We’ve hit most of the basic types of solar lights, but we promised some cutesy-style solar lights and that’s what you’ll get with the KOOPER Solar Garden Lights.
Not only are these solar lights in the form of lilies cute, but they’re also pretty functional too. They work 8-10 hours on a full charge, about 4-6 hours in direct sunlight, and turn on at night and off in the morning automatically. And the stems and leaves are adjustable so you can pose these lights however you like.
But you do get what you pay for here: These solar lights don’t cast too much light and though they might fool people from a distance they don’t look very flower-like up close.
At the same time, these flower-like solar lights are designed to look pretty and aren’t meant to illuminate a whole backyard, so if you’re looking for something more pretty than useful and not too pricey these KOOPER lights will be the best solar lights.
8. Ollivage Solar Torch Lights
BEST TORCH STYLE LIGHTS
Screw tiki torches with their flammable oil and seemingly never functional wicks. These Ollivage Solar Torch Lights give the same flame effect as a great tiki torch with a tenth of the required maintenance.
These solar lights charge in about 6-8 hours and light up for up to 12 hours in summer and five hours in the winter, with about 35 lumens of light. They’re made from, yup you guessed it, ABS material for long-term durability and claim an IP65 waterproof rating.
Just plant the stakes in the ground — at either 32.6- or 43-inch heights thanks to accompanying extension pipes — and the torch will take care of the rest.