What is it that separates the best solar garden lights from the riffraff? Ask this question to any knowledgeable person, and you’ll be left confused with the response. That’s because there’s no single factor that makes specific models best and others ordinary.
Apart from providing maximum brightness, the top rated outdoor solar lights have a long lifespan and offer multiple working modes. They are easy-to-install, offer numerous mounting options, and have high-powered batteries that let these models emit bright daylight for hours.
Similar is the case with their exterior. Since they’re made to be used outdoors, the best solar landscape lights are waterproof. You can also rest easy with the knowledge that despite being sturdy, these lighting fixtures create the glow in which you can relax and enjoy the eve.
Apart from that, this article will cover:
- Detailed solar garden and landscaping lights product reviews
- Buying Guide
- Comparison table
Best Solar Lights for Gardens and Landscaping – Comparison Table
Our Top PicksRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
To belie the myth that solar lights’ dependence on battery restricts their lumen output, the Nekteck 2 Pack solar lights churn out full 200 lumens. That’s what allows this model to brighten up everything from your garden to the surrounding driveway and everything up to the patio.
Furthermore, this model comes with two lighting modes. Activating the first will keep the light shining until its battery goes dead. The second mode, meanwhile, is more judicious when it comes to power consumption as it only turns on the light when it’s dark out there.
After a full day of charge, this solar light will keep on shining for 6 to 10 hours. Its flexible design means that you can adjust its light angle up to 180 degrees. You can even tweak the angle of the solar panel (up to 90 degrees) to increase its sun exposure.
Multiple features set this solar garden light apart from the competition. The first among them is its stainless steel construction, which has given this model a touch of sturdiness. It is one of those unique models which can withstand both extremes of weather.
Equally impressive is this light’s ease of installation. All you have to do to get it up and running is to push the light into the soft bed of your garden. It also comes with an automatic sensor that gauges the presence (or absence) of light to turn the light on/off.
This model’s battery timing varies with the setting you’re going to operate it. For instance, if you’re happy with its dim-light setting, the lights will remain on for a whopping 12 hours. Conversely, if it is more brightness that you’re after, the unit will keep on working for 8 hours.
The Garden Bliss solar lights have taken two steps to provide the best value for your money. First, these solar lights cost as much as some of the most inexpensive models in this review. Second, even with their meager price tag, they are available in a pack of 10.
Since all of the lights are LEDs, you can count on them to last more than 30,000 hours. They have a built-in sensor that would turn these lights off on the first hint of dawn. Later on, when the sun has disappeared in the evening, the sensor will turn the lights back on.
Depending on the height of the trees in your garden, you can choose from the two height options on offer. These lights also boost a durable waterproof seal that could withstand all weather conditions. Also, since they measure 4.5 inches in diameter, you can count on them to light up a wide area.
Looking for a pair of lights that could spice up the appearance of your garden? Then you won’t go wrong with the Voona solar LED outdoor lights. They use a combo of classic plastic lens and stainless steel casing to create a star pattern effect on the ground that everybody would fall in love with.
As you can guess from the pretty low per-light output of these lights (only 8 lumens), brightness isn’t their unique selling point. Their ease-of-installation makes up for this shortcoming, and you can quickly install these lights by pushing them into the ground.
Lastly, if for some reason you don’t like their silver color, there’s nothing to worry about. That’s because these lights are also available in a pitch-black pattern. And if you don’t like the black pattern as well, there’s still no need to worry – as you can then exercise its 30-day refund service.
Who says garden lights have to be as dull as the blades of grass underneath them? Certainly not the manufacturer of the Oxy LED solar garden lights. Based on butterfly, hummingbird, and dragonfly designs, these lights will give a festive feel to your lawn.
Although these lights automatically turn on when it’s dark out there, there’s also a manual on/off switch using which you can control their functionality. Provided their solar panel remains under direct sunlight for the whole day, all three lights will provide a working time of 8 hours.
One feature of these lights, which we almost forgot to mention, is their color-changing ability. Also, thanks to their crystal clear acrylic figurines on aluminum poles, these lights require no wiring for installation. Their 30 inches height means that these models will be able to cover more area.
Think the design of solar garden lights cannot get any swankier than that of Oxy LED solar garden lights? You’ll be forced to reconsider your thoughts after looking at this moon-shaped unit. With a crystal ball placed in the middle, it seems as if the moon is cradling a star in its lap.
Once they have swayed your heart with their classy design, these lights will continue to hold your attention with their features. They boast a weather-resistant construction, come with an automatic on/off function and last up to 6 hours on a full charge.
Provided you want to take no chances, you can manually turn them on using the switch on their board. Also, since they are IP4 rated and are made of a combo of stainless steel and glass, these lights can withstand more than a few rainy spells.
Most lights you see on the market come with a single cover that protects them from above. The ArMax Solar Pathway light is different. Apart from having a cover that protects it from falling rain, it is encapsulated in a shell, thereby allowing no moisture to go near the light.
It is the shell that covers it from three sides (below, left, right) that has allowed its manufacturer to declare the light rust-proof. ArMax has gone so far as to claim that provided the cover remains intact, you can even use this light in the snow.
Yet another feature of this solar light that impressed us was its battery life. You know by now that most solar lights’ battery timing falls between the 8 and 12-hour range. This model hits the ball out of the park with its 25 – yes, TWENTY FIVE – hours of battery timing.
Do you like the way sports stadiums around the way are lit up? Then you surely won’t mind the clustered lighting pattern of the Otdair solar ground lights. Available in a pack of twelve, each light contains 8 LEDs to brighten up your garden from one corner to the other.
Apart from the area in front of the LEDs that is guarded by stainless steel, the entire light is made of sturdy ABS plastic. It is the combination of these two sought-after materials that has allowed these solar lights to earn an impressive IP 65 waterproof rating.
The fact that these lights automatically turn on/off saves you from two headaches. First, you no longer have to worry about them remaining on during the day and consuming battery. Second, once it’s dark out there, you can rest assured that they would automatically brighten up their surroundings.
Are you planning to decorate your garden for an upcoming event? These high-quality copper wire lights have what it takes to lend your whole home a festive look. The presence of a bobbin winder in their package means you won’t have to worry about them becoming a mess.
Of the two lighting modes that are on offer, the first is traditional on/off mode, whereas the second activates flashing. You could, therefore, use the first mode when you’re on your own in your garden. The second mode, meanwhile, will further enhance the appeal of gatherings in your home.
Even if it’s raining out there, you won’t have to worry about speedily winding up the wires. The only reason why you can afford to be so careless is that both the solar panel and the string lights are IP 65 waterproof.
The Brightech Ambience Pro Solar lights are the yin to the yang of the Amir solar-powered lights. While the latter are too chic for any conservative setting, these bright lights create an ambiance in which you can just sit back and enjoy the view. In a sense, they create your retreat in your yard.
Furthermore, as they are made with their manufacturer’s WeatherTite technology, you can trust these lights to withstand heavy spells of rain. Also, the fact that the bulbs are made of a strong plastic shell means you don’t have to worry that the absence of an upper cover might expose them to breakage.
What is more, these lights come with a 3-year warranty – the most offered by any light in this review. If that wasn’t enough to hold your attention, their operating life of up to 20,000 hours (which means more than eight years of service even if you use them 8 hours a day for seven days a week).
Best Solar Lights for Gardens and Landscaping – Buying Guide
Here are the factors you need to keep in mind:
Type of Solar Garden Lights
Three types of solar garden lights are available on the market. They include ambient/decorative solar lights, path solar lights, and solar-powered spotlights. All three have positive and not-so-positive points about them which we’re going to discuss in this section.
1. Path Solar Lights
As their name implies, path solar lights illuminate walkaways. They are mounted on stakes and let you push their inner parts into the ground. Only the light remains above the ground, thereby occupying minimal space while illuminating everything around it.
However, when compared with electric path lights, they aren’t that bright. Provided you plan to have the same glow from these lights as their electric counterparts, you might have to use two solar lights in place of a single electric one.
- Occupy minimal space
- Emit soft glow
- The output isn’t extremely bright
2. Ambient Solar Lights
Though not as bright as path solar lights, ambient solar lights provide a warm glow. They are available in various styles, including decorative lanterns, colorful brown glass, and string lights. It’s their chic exterior which earns these lights the tag of decorative solar lights.
Provided you are after soft landscape lighting, you can place these lights in your garden beds. Or you can just mount them on stakes around winding pathways. You can also hang them in the wall behind your seedbed to give your garden a more artistic look.
- Provide a warm glow
- Available in stylish patterns
- Not as bright as path solar lights
Provided you came here looking for lights that could brighten up your entire garden, you won’t go wrong with solar-powered spotlights. That’s mainly because the best solar spotlights match the output of a 40-watt incandescent bulb.
You can take full advantage of their brightness by placing these lights near the doors and in the driveway. Another convenient location spot is in the middle of the garden, with the light’s head directed at the nearest landscape feature.
- Provide a warm glow
- Available in stylish patterns
- Not as bright as path solar lights
Type of Garden Fixtures
The type of your garden fixtures also affect which light will be better for you:
- If your garden has fountains and tall palms: Then make sure you purchase solar-powered spotlights with adjustable heads. Apart from being easy to hide when you don’t need them, these lights let you direct their beam at the nearest fixture to give your garden a luxurious feel.
- If your garden has pergolas or large patios: Ambient solar lights work the best in such settings. You can either mount them on hooks, install them on the ground, or hang them overhead. All your creative skills will be tested if you have such a garden.
- If your garden has winding pathways: Provided your garden has winding seedbeds or located around a dim driveway, then path solar lights are your best bet. These lights let you dot the entire perimeter of or around your garden for both decorative and practical use.
Material of Construction
Following are the materials garden solar lights are mostly made of:
Solar lights that are made of glass can withstand low and high temperatures with ease. They are lighter, less prone to breakage, and won’t shatter. Also, since the surface of the glass is mostly scratch-resistant, it won’t get ugly after being exposed to environmental pollutants.
However, despite all its advantages, you can never bet on the glass to remain shatterproof, especially when rain is falling on it from all sides. Though you won’t have to worry about that as most glass lights have a protective casing that protects the glass from coming into direct contact with rain.
- Less-prone to shattering
- Withstands temperature extremes
- Might break if comes in direct contact with rainwater
As you might already know, ABS solar lights are the sturdiest. They are also waterproof and can withstand the extremes of weather. Hence the reason why, of all the lights in this review, the ones that are made of ABS last the longest.
Having said that, not everything is hunky-dory about ABS lights. While they no doubt last the longest, their shelf-life comes at the cost of their beauty. Repeated exposure to environmental pollutants leaves scratches on their surface, making them look ugly.
- Can endure weather extremes
- Waterproof build
Since they reflect under the watchful eyes of the sun, stainless steel lights look great in the outdoors. You don’t have to worry about them falling victim to corrosion either. As the upper layer of stainless steel contains a copious amount of chromium oxide, which keeps rust at bay.
Unfortunately, while they can resist corrosion, stainless steel lights are less-resistant to the build-up of sand, dirt, and other materials. That means you can’t afford to grow careless about the almost daily cleaning requirement of these lights.
- Resists corrosion
- Looks great in the sun
- Excellent shelf-life
- Susceptible to dirt and dust build-up
Halogen Vs LED
Although there’s no shortage of landscape lighting on the market, LED bulbs and halogen bulbs are more ubiquitous than others. That’s why we have come up with a brief comparison of both so that you can better understand the differences between them and make a smart choice for your garden.
1. Energy Consumption
There is no contest in this area. An average LED bulbs draws only 8 watts of power from mains. Its halogen counterpart, meanwhile, uses a whopping 90 watts. Add to the mix the fact that lighting costs make up almost 40% of a normal household’s electric bill, and LED lights come across as a clear winner.
2. Operating life
LED lights rule the roost in this area as well. Even the most ordinary LED lights have a shelf-life of more than 25,000 hours or 3 years of continuous usage. Whereas the majority of halogen bulbs would say goodbye after about 10,000 hours, or a year of constant use.
LED bulbs are (generally) shatterproof. Halogen lights are not. LED lights are cool to touch after use. Halogen bulbs are so hot for hours that touching them raises the risk of a burn injury. Also, while halogen bulbs contain chemicals, LEDs contain no gases or harmful chemicals.
4. Maintenance cost
As stated earlier, while most halogen lights won’t last more than 1 year, on average, LED lights can last for as many as 10 years. That’s why, on this count as well, LEDs make for a more appealing option.
5. Initial cost
If there’s one area where halogen bulbs outsmart LED lights, it is the price tag of both. Most halogen bulbs cost almost half as much as the LED ones. However, as we have seen until now, LED bulbs compensate for their steep asking price by lasting longer and saving energy.
Waterproof or Water-resistant
Most of us make little to no effort to distinguish between waterproof and water-resistant lights. That even though the terms ‘waterproof’ and ‘water-resistant’ convey different meanings. Here’s how both of them are different from each other.
Provided you live in a rainy area, make sure your lights come with a high ‘Ingress Protection IP’ rating. This rating classifies the degree of protection the light will provide against the ingress of solid and liquid objects.
Waterproof solar lights have their IP rating at 5 or above. Though there’s no need for you to go for lights that are IP rated at 7 or above, as they are uber-expensive and can resist submersion.
Provided the area where you live doesn’t receive frequent rains, you can settle for outdoor lights with an IP rating of 4. Though that’s the maximum rating that you should go for.
That’s because if your area isn’t humid and doesn’t receive excessive rain, even the protective cover around the bulb will be enough to keep moisture at bay. So you don’t need to spend extra for water protection.
Cold light or warm light
Measured in kelvins, the temperature of the light determines whether it is cold or warm. Those lights whose temperature is at or beneath 4,000K are known as cold lights. All the others can be safely categorized as warm lights.
Their respective color also helps us distinguish between cold and warm lights. Warm lights are more like daylight (yellow). Cold lights, on the contrary, are blue or white. That’s why warm lights tend to be brighter.
Having explained their difference, let’s look at which of the two lights will fulfil your requirements:
- Use Cool Lights If: You’re a fan of unnatural environments and want to impart your garden with the artificial look.
- Use Warm Lights If: You like a relaxing, comfortable environment as these lights offer a very natural, soothing tone.
Following are the features on which you shouldn’t compromise:
- Adequate brightness: Measured in lumens, brightness determines the expanse of space which light can adequately light up. Use this method to calculate how much area the solar light you’re looking at might be able to brighten with its hue.
- Certifications: The best solar garden and landscaping lights come with both ETL and Energy Star certifications. The former accreditation serves as a guarantee of the light’s safety. The latter, meanwhile, lets you know that the light which have it is energy efficient.
- Operating Life: As stated earlier, the best solar lights last for more than 25,000 hours of usage on average. However, provided you can afford to pay over the odds, you might get models that last twice as long.
- Low charging time: Since different solar lights require different times to get their batteries fully charged up, we have no exact figure to quite here. That said, the light shouldn’t take more than 4, 5 hours of charging time to last the whole night.
FAQs and Answers
Q: How do solar garden lights work?
A: At the cost of sounding pedantic, solar lights use a small dark panel, known as solar cells, to generate electricity. The solar panel is made of multiple layers of silicone and chemicals. As the sunlight falls on the panel, it excites the positive and negative charges of the cell via a mechanism known as the ‘photoelectric effect.’ Once that happens, electricity is produced.
As common sense tells us, the entire process mentioned in the previous paragraph can only take place when the sun is shining. When the sun goes down, the process stops and the lights, using the electricity stored in the battery during the day, turn on.
Q: Why are the pros and cons of outdoor solar lights?
A: Following are the pros and cons of outdoor solar lights:
- Meager running costs
- Run independently from the power grid
- Easy and cost-effective installation procedure
- Need little to no maintenance throughout their shelf life
- Higher upfront cost
- Not as bright as traditional electric fixtures
Q: Why are solar lights expensive compared to traditional lights?
A: Experts tell us that it is the silicon they use to generate electricity that makes solar lights expensive vis-à-vis their traditional counterparts. That’s because apart from spending money (and energy) to mine the silicon from the earth, a great deal of energy is required to purify that silicone.
Q: Why are my solar lights not working?
A: Following are some of the common reasons why your solar light has suddenly gone awry:
- It isn’t getting direct sunlight: Experts recommend that to shine brightly throughout the night, solar panels must receive direct sunlight for 4 to 5 hours a day.
- Solar panels are dirty: If the solar panel is buried under layers of dirt, its lighting time might nosedive. For this reason, you should clean the panel once in a while.
- You haven’t removed the battery’s pull tab: This problem is common with new lights. Most of them come with a pull tab on their battery which you need to remove for the light to work.
- The sensor isn’t working: Solar lights come with a sensor that turns the light on as soon as it’s dark out there. To make sure that the problem isn’t with the sensor, stimulate darkness by covering the area around the sensor. If the light still doesn’t turn on, the sensor might be faulty.
Apart from pinpointing the ten best solar lights for garden and landscaping on the market, we have also introduced you to the criteria which we used to narrow down our list. Apart from that, we also offered the significant questions which most users have about the working of these lights. Put all the info together, and you now have enough knowledge to select the best solar lights for your yard.