Best Solar Lights of 2020


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Solar lights are a trendy and savvy lighting solution for homeowners and renters alike. They’re easy to use and can provide security, cost savings, and ambiance. The recent boom in popularity has created an overwhelming selection of solar light options and products for consumers. If you’re overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’re here to help. These are the top 5 solar lighting solutions based on customer reviews, product testing, and ratings.

BEST

OVERALL

Solar Spotlights

Solarlightmart Solar Spotlights

Editor Rating   ★★★★★


Do you have a favorite tree, fountain, or statue in your yard? These solar spotlights, sold in packs of 2, are perfect for lighting up any lawn or garden feature. They can also be used to create beautiful effects by positioning them to light up your home.


Traditionally, solar lights have the solar panel built directly into the lighting feature. These types of solar lights do not work well if you are trying to illuminate a tree or an object in a shady area because the solar panel will not get enough light. These solar spotlights are the answer to that problem. They come with a remote solar panel that can be placed up to 16 feet away from the solar lights themselves. The larger solar panel also gives the lights more energy. They shine at an impressive 60-100 lumens. For comparison, the average sidewalk solar light shines at about 10 lumens. Customers also love the softness of these lights.

 

Instead of being harsh white like some other solar products, these lights have a warmer color temperature.

PROS

  • Sturdy cast aluminum construction
  • Exceptionally bright light at 60-100 lumens
  • The lights have a soft, warm color
  • Long battery life (5 to 15 hours on one charge)
  • The solar panel is adjustable to maximize sun exposure

CONS

  • The solar panel connects to the lights by a wire, taking away from some of the wireless appeal of most solar lights
  • More expensive than other solar spotlights on the market

PREMIUM

CHOICE

Solar Security Lights

Aootek Solar Security Lights

Editor Rating   ★★★★★


These are all-around fantastic solar lights and offer a perfect mix of value and quality. A unique feature is the ability to choose a setting based on your needs.


The three setting options are:

  1. Only activate when the lights sense motion
  2. Stay on at full brightness all night
  3. Stay on a dim setting all night and switch to full brightness when the lights sense motion

Putting these lights around your garage, fence, or perimeter of your home will keep you and your family safe. Customers are surprised by how bright these lights are. They consistently exceed expectations, especially for the price. These lights are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, so you can know you’re still protected during a heatwave or a blizzard.


Mounting screws are included, but you might want to consider using nails instead. The button to switch between the modes is on the back of this light, so you’ll need to take it down to reach the button if you plan to frequently change the setting.

PROS

  • Super bright high-efficiency LED lights
  • Three settings allow for customization
  • A cheap way to provide extra security for your home
  • Quality and reliable motion sensor
  • Amazing price point and value
  • Built to withstand extreme weather conditions

CONS

  • Button to switch modes is located on the back of the unit, which can be hard to access if you screwed the light into the wall

GREAT

VALUE

Sidewalk Solar Lights

ArMax Sidewalk Solar Lights

Editor Rating   ★★★★


If you’re looking for traditional solar lights to illuminate your walkway or garden beds, these are your best choice. They come in packs of 4 and have a reasonable price point so you can order a few boxes to line your whole sidewalk. Sure, they’re not the cheapest on the market, but they are the perfect blend of value and quality. Cheaper solar lights may need to be replaced often, but not these. And if you ever encounter an issue, the manufacturer is consistently praised for excellent customer service and support.


Older versions of sidewalk solar lights were connected by cords that posed a tripping hazard. These solar sidewalk lights are completely wire-free. Each light is independently staked into the ground, so you don’t have to worry about tripping hazards. The durable plastic stakes won’t rust, so you don’t have to worry about the weather, either.

PROS

  • Completely free of wires
  • Durable rust-free stakes
  • Add lovely traditional solar light visual appeal
  • Reasonable price point
  • Waterproof

CONS

  • Light is not exceptionally bright
Solar String Lights

Brightech Solar String Lights

Editor Rating   ★★★★


String lights, also called cafe lights, are a beautiful addition to any backyard, deck, or patio. They’re also fantastic for weddings or other special events. These particular string lights are bestsellers. Thousands of customers give them positive feedback and high praise. You can definitely feel good about making this purchase.


The vintage Edison-style bulbs instantly add style and warmth to any outdoor space. Each strand of lights is 48 feet long, with 15 bulbs evenly spaced 3 feet apart. Industrial grade WeatherTite Technology protects these solar lights from all weather conditions. They’re designed to be left outside year-round without worry.


The manufacturer is confident in their product quality. They offer an excellent 3-year warranty on the light strand and a 3-month warranty on the bulbs.

PROS

  • Commercial quality
  • Built to withstand all weather conditions
  • Are dimmable if properly wired to a dimmer switch
  • Multiple strands can be connected together up to 1200 watts
  • Trendy vintage feel
  • Great warranty

CONS

  • Bulbs are made of glass, so use caution when installing. Bulbs can shatter if dropped.
Multipurpose Solar Lights

Urpower Multipurpose Solar Lights

Editor Rating   ★★★★


These solar lights can serve many functions around your home. They can be installed in the ground using their stakes, or they can be drilled directly into a wall or fence making them the most versatile selection on our list.


One of the best features of these lights is their powerful and adjustable solar panels. This means you can tilt the light’s solar panel to take full advantage of the sun, resulting in maximum brightness and more freedom of placement. The solar panel has a 180 degree adjustment radius, and the light head itself has a 90 degree adjustment radius.


Each spotlight has a max of 200 lumens. You can customize the brightness by choosing either the high or low light setting. There is also an on/off switch if you want to conserve battery. By default, these lights automatically turn on at dusk and stay on throughout the night.

PROS

  • Can be installed in-ground or hung on a wall or fence
  • Adjustable solar panels give greater freedom of placement and maximum sun exposure
  • Two brightness settings
  • On/off button feature
  • Each spotlight is 200 lumens

CONS

  • The solar panel can only be adjusted up and down, not side to side

Buying Guide

Solar lights are great for both homeowners and renters. If you’re a renter, solar lights are a good investment because you can take them with you when you move. You can make your space beautiful and personalized without worrying that you’re spending money on something you have to leave behind. Homeowners can enjoy the flexibility to move lights around depending on the season, their landscaping, and their needs.


Solar lights work by capturing energy from the sun and storing it in a battery. This is called the photovoltaic effect. Solar lights charge with the sun’s energy during the day and use the energy stored from that daylight to light up at night. If you stop to think about it, being able to harness the energy of the sun to generate power is an amazing feat of modern science and engineering.


It’s even more amazing that this solar technology is readily available to the home consumer. Large-scale solar panels are financially unattainable for most homeowners, but solar power on a smaller scale is easily affordable and accessible to everyone.


Benefits of Solar


  1. Saves on Electric Costs
    Everyone loves saving money. A huge benefit of solar lights is the cost savings. Because solar lights are powered by the sun, they don’t add a penny to your monthly energy bills. There’s no cost beyond the initial purchase of the lights and possibly replacement bulbs and batteries months or years later. You can easily light your deck, patio, and yard without any additional electricity expenses.
  2. Environmentally Conscious
    We’re all thinking about the environment these days. If reducing your energy use and carbon footprint is important to you, solar lights are a great option. Solar lights produce zero carbon emissions and draw their power from the sun rather than the electrical grid. Using solar lights instead of wired lights outdoors is a simple way to reduce your impact on the environment by using the energy already provided for free by nature.
  3. Security
    Solar lights are a great way to increase the security of your home. First, because they don’t need electricity, they’ll still work in case of a power outage or storm. More home burglaries and cases of vandalism happen during power outages because most houses have traditional wired lights that won’t work without electricity. With solar, your lights will be on even if the power is out. Many solar lights also feature motion sensors, so they’re great additions by your garage or in dark corners of your yard. They’ll help deter home invaders any time of year, with or without a power outage. Some solar lights are designed to look like security cameras, offering you another layer of defense.
    It’s a great idea to put a solar light by your front door, even if you’re a renter. If you forget to leave your porch light on and come home after dark, your solar light will watch your back while you find your keys and unlock the door.
  4. Attractive & Trendy
    You can create any ambiance or setting with solar lights. Use solar spotlights to highlight your home, pool, fountain, a favorite tree, statues, or any other outdoor feature you love. Use solar string lights to create a warm and inviting patio space for BBQs, garden parties, or family gatherings. Solar sidewalk lights can create an inviting entrance to your home and. As an added bonus, sidewalk lighting keeps your friends and family safe as they approach your home.
    The wire-free ease of using solar lights has made them popular for weddings and other outdoor celebrations. Outdoor solar lights are now available with trendy bulb styles like the exposed Edison filament, which is especially popular at weddings.
  5. Easy to Use
    Before solar lights became available on the market, it was much more difficult for homeowners to add outdoor lighting. Adding lights outside meant hiring an electrician to install wiring or braving electrical work on your own. Solar lights are wireless, making them a snap for anyone to install at anytime, anywhere. And with solar, you don’t have to worry about tripping over electrical cords or trying to hide unattractive wiring in your landscaping. There aren’t any wires to hide!
    Solar lights are also easily movable. You can try them in multiple areas until you settle on just the right spot. There are no cords to move and nothing permanent involved in the installation. Some homeowners enjoy moving their solar lights around seasonally, perhaps to highlight holiday decorations or beautiful spring garden beds.
Solar Lights Buying Guide

Things to consider when choosing solar lights


  1. Size/ type of solar panel
    There are two basic types of outdoor solar lights. One type has the solar panel built into the light fixture itself. This was the original configuration of home solar lights. The other type has a remote solar panel that can be positioned some distance away from the lights. The remote solar panel does connect to the lights by a cord, so this is the only time you have to think about wires in relation to solar lights. However, these cords are still much shorter and less invasive than the wires necessary for traditional electrically powered lights.
    Solar panel size varies depending on the product you’re purchasing. Generally speaking, larger solar panels can capture more energy from the sun, thus allowing lights to shine brighter and batteries to last longer.
  2. Amount of sunlight required
    Plan out the location for your new solar lights before you begin shopping around. Does your location get full sunlight, or is it shadier? Make sure to read customer reviews. Better quality solar lights will be able to absorb energy from the sun even in cloudy conditions, but lower quality products may not work at all on overcast days.
    The amount of sunlight the solar panel is exposed to partly determines the brightness of your light and how long it will stay illuminated at night. If the day was overcast, your solar light might not be as brightly lit as it is after a cloudy summer day. Similarly, if the day was cloudy, your battery may not have been able to charge fully, and your light may not stay on all night. If the day was full of bright sun, your solar light should stay on until daybreak.
  3. Weather Conditions
    When you’re shopping for solar lights, check reviews for customer feedback related to weather-resistance. Good quality solar products should be able to be left outdoors year-round in all weather conditions. However, if you live in an environment with extreme weather, it’s a good idea to make sure your solar lights can hold up to the conditions. Some lights are specially rated to withstand sub-zero temperatures, ice, and snow. Other lights are commended for their ability to stand up to extreme heat in tropical or desert climates.
    You should never have to worry about rain; all quality solar lights should be built to resist wetness and moisture. They are, after all, designed to be outside!
  4. Adjustable Settings
    By default, solar lights turn on at dusk and turn off at daybreak. Some solar lights also come equipped with an on/ off switch. This can be helpful if you want to regulate when you use the power stored in your light’s battery. If it’s been a cloudy day, but you’re having a party at night, you could switch the lights off early in the evening and turn them back on later, right before your guests begin to arrive. That way, you can be sure you conserved enough power to keep the lights on for your guests late into the night.
    Many solar lights feature options for brightness level. You can opt to have your lights on a dim setting or at full brightness. Solar lights may also come with motion detectors. These sorts of lights are great to use for home security. My favorite motion-detector solar lights come with three settings. These settings allow you to choose whether you want to keep the lights on all night, have the lights come on only if motion is detected, or keep the lights on dimly but increase in brightness when motion is sensed.
  5. Color temperature
    The color temperature of light plays a role in the kind of atmosphere created by your solar lighting. Lower quality and less expensive solar products often shine bright blue-ish light. Higher quality and more expensive solar products often shine in warmer yellow-ish light. Manufacturers do not always include a color temperature in their product descriptions, so this is a good time to check customer reviews. Many reviewers include feedback on color temperature.
    One color temperature is not necessarily better than another. It all depends on how and where you’re using solar lighting. Bright white light may be better for spotlighting the front of your home, while warm amber lighting may be better to create a romantic atmosphere on your patio.


Final Verdict

Everyone wins with outdoor solar lighting solutions. Because solar lights don’t require wiring, renters can easily illuminate all the places they’ll call home over the years. Because installation is easy and there’s no need to call an electrician, homeowners can easily rearrange lighting for different seasons or to accommodate landscaping and remodeling projects.


Whether you rent or own, solar lights come with amazing benefits. They’re good for the environment, save you money on electric costs, are easy to use, provide enhanced home security, even during a power outage, and are attractive and trendy.


We hope this guide will help you select the solar lighting products that are perfect for you. Happy solar shopping!