Best Outdoor Solar Lights: Editor's Top Picks for 2017

Solar lights are a great way of adding beautiful ambient light around your home and garden.

They can provide illumination for pathways and driveways, project light onto a special garden feature, add a festive feeling around the pool, or provide security lighting as a safety precaution against intruders.

Here are our top picks for the best outdoor solar lights.

SolarGlow Garden Lights

SolarGlow Garden LightsThe solar lights are very easy to assemble and install with no wiring required, and they also have an “on and off” switch for when you want to store them away.

SolarGlow also offers a 100% lifetime replacement guarantee.

The packaging is simple, the directions are straightforward, and the product itself is easy to use and is made of quality materials. The best thing about this product is that the lights require no electric wires at all. They are powered by the light of the sun as well as a backup battery.

No plugging in at all, which is a huge plus to me, as I have no outlet near the area in which I need light. They are also bright enough to light a sidewalk or driveway easily.

Keep in mind that this package contains six lights, so if you have a large driveway or a large space to light, you may need a second set. As for assembly, all you have to do is flip the “on” switch on the light, attach the light to the post, then pull the stake out of the bottom of the post and flip it around. Then, stick it in the ground (making sure the area is well-lit during the day) and let the sun do the rest.
These lights also have a contemporary look as they are made of stainless steel. They are lightweight but strong. Not only are they functional, but they can add a great aesthetic to the outside of your home. I highly recommend these solar garden lights.

Pros

  • Good value for price
  • Good quality
  • Pack of 6
  • Sturdy
  • Contemporary Design
  • Exceptional Customer Service

Cons

  • Light output is not very strong

Ohuhu Stainless Steel Solar Garden Lights

Ohuhu Stainless Steel Solar Garden LightsThese super stylish set of six Ohuhu Stainless Steel Solar Garden Lights will make an attractive feature in your garden, while also providing a beautiful soft white light for illumination of pathways or among the foliage in your garden.
The lights are made from high-quality weather resistant stainless steel with a copper finish and the poly-silicon solar panel is integrated into the lid that fits securely onto the glass casing.
Each light can provide very good lighting for up to 6 to 8 hours with a lighting range of up to one foot. You can just set and forget as they automatically turn on at night or in low light conditions and then switch off at dawn.
The lights come with 9 ground spikes and 9 stakes and rechargeable batteries, and they are also available in silver as well as copper. Ohuhu offers a 2-Month Replacement Warranty, a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, and Lifetime Support Guarantee.
The lights come loosely packed with the stakes, lights, and tops in three separate pieces. Assembly is super easy, the lanterns just fit snugly onto the stakes, and the tops twist on into little tabs. The one caveat with the design is the “stake” portion of the pole is just a flimsy plastic + shape. It’s not exactly built for hammering into the ground, so you’ll need to pre-dig your holes or place rocks around it to keep it up. If you apply too much pressure, the tips of the stakes will likely snap off.

Pros

  • Good value for the price
  • Beautiful copper stainless steel design
  • Holds solar power very well
  • Good product guarantee

Cons

  • Not ideal for lighting large areas
  • Stake portion is flimsy plastic

Nekteck Solar Powered Garden Spotlight Set

For a strong source of light with 200 Lumens of power output, the Nekteck Solar Powered Garden Spotlight Set is a great choice. If you want to accentuate a particular garden feature or need an extra source of light for your driveway, the Nekteck solar lights will provide you with a bright warm light for 6 to 10 hours depending on their exposure to direct sunlight. You can even choose a set that provides white light or party-style multi-coloured lights.  The lights are made from durable and weather-resistant reflective plastic housing and the solar panels are extra large to absorb more light, which means they can stay brighter for longer. You can put them into the ground or mount them up on a wall.  One of the highlights of the spotlight duo is that they can be adjusted to 180 degrees, (90 degrees for the solar panel and 90 degrees for the light’s head). There is also a choice of two modes: high/bright light mode or dim light mode.  To get the highest performance out of the solar lights, remember to remove the protective film before using the light and place in a position where they can gather the most sun. Also, the effectiveness of the light may be affected by wintry or rainy conditions due to the solar lights weather sensitivity.   My only minor complaint is that the on off switch is a repeating button, not a toggle. So you don't know what the setting is until they turn on at night.For a strong source of light with 200 Lumens of power output, the Nekteck Solar Powered Garden Spotlight Set is a great choice. If you want to accentuate a particular garden feature or need an extra source of light for your driveway, the Nekteck solar lights will provide you with a bright warm light for 6 to 10 hours depending on their exposure to direct sunlight. You can even choose a set that provides white light or party-style multi-coloured lights.
The lights are made from durable and weather-resistant reflective plastic housing and the solar panels are extra large to absorb more light, which means they can stay brighter for longer. You can put them into the ground or mount them up on a wall.
One of the highlights of the spotlight duo is that they can be adjusted to 180 degrees, (90 degrees for the solar panel and 90 degrees for the light’s head). There is also a choice of two modes: high/bright light mode or dim light mode.
To get the highest performance out of the solar lights, remember to remove the protective film before using the light and place in a position where they can gather the most sun. Also, the effectiveness of the light may be affected by wintry or rainy conditions due to the solar lights weather sensitivity.
My only minor complaint is that the on off switch is a repeating button, not a toggle. So you don’t know what the setting is until they turn on at night.

Pros

  • Attractive bright light
  • Good design
  • Adjustable
  • Can be placed in the ground or wall-mounted

Cons

  • Lights do not hold the solar charge very well
  • On/off switch not a toggle

Hoont Solar Spotlight

Hoont Solar SpotlightThe Hoont Solar Powered LED Spotlight is the perfect choice for lighting up those dark areas around your property like walkways, a porch, or even illuminating a flagpole or your new landscaping.
This fully adjustable light is the ideal choice for a house or an apartment as you can either mount it on a wall or a fence, and it is the perfect choice if you are renting as you can stick the spike into the ground.
With a solid matte black plastic construction, the spotlight can withstand all weather conditions. The solar light has an integrated solar panel and 4 super bright LED bulbs that produce 200 lumens of power for up to 9 hours on a full charge, and a maximum of 50,000 hours over its lifetime.
You can adjust the spotlight and the solar panel to your desired angle where you need the most illumination and to get the best sun exposure. The light is powered by a strong AA rechargeable battery and there is a “auto-on and auto-off” button to conserve battery life.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Solid construction
  • Wall-mounted or in-ground installation
  • Emits bright light
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Not ideal for lighting large areas

URPOWER Wireless Solar Lights (4-pack)

URPOWER Wireless Solar LightsThis four-pack of URPOWER Wireless Solar Lights combines the latest infrared technology to bring you a super bright white light combined with a motion sensor that is ideal for all your lighting and security needs. With a new upgraded design, an extra large solar panel and strong LED lights that have a lifespan of 5 years, these solar lights can provide you with light for up to 12 hours, and a maximum of 50,000 hours.
The motion sensor can detect movement up to 10 feet at a 120-degree angle, and once it detects any motion the bright light will be activated. The sensor turns off after 10 seconds, and the light turns off 30 seconds after the motion has stopped.
The lights have a fully automated on and off switch, and two lighting modes to choose from: high light mode & dim light mode.
To get the best results from the solar light and motion sensor, install the lights so that they face south and make sure they absorb the sunlight directly, and charge the batteries before turning the lights on for the first time.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Emits very bright light
  • Reliable motion sensor
  • Solid construction
  • Two lighting modes
  • Wireless

Cons

  • Not ideal for installing on brickwork
  • Batteries lose charge quickly

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Solar Lights For Your Home

Brightness

Brightness

Most solar-powered lights use LED bulbs that are measured by lumens, which measures the level of power that is produced by the light. 

The output of light can vary considerably from light to light.

Some solar lights can produce about 15 to 20 lumens, which generates a soft light that gives off a warm amber glow, while other solar lights can produce a much higher lumen rating up to 787, which creates a brighter (and more harsher) light.

Garden areas may require a lower level of brightness to give off ambient light, while driveways, walkways around your home, and swimming pools may require a stronger light. A stronger light is especially important if you want to use the light for security purposes.

Ultimately, the brightness of the solar light depends on the brightness of the sun and the amount of daylight it is exposed to, as well as the quality of the photovoltaic cells in the solar panel and the size of the LED bulb.Cost is an important factor and solar lights that use higher-quality photovoltaic cells and larger LED bulbs can cost more, but they tend to produce more light over a greater distance.


Batteries

Batteries

Some solar lights come with lithium-ion batteries, which give you the ability to recharge the batteries when needed. To get the best battery life, recharge the batteries fully before you use them. If you are going to be using your solar light every day, remember to replace the battery regularly.

Battery life depends on the strength of the battery, and some batteries can last from 4 to 6 hours and a maximum of 9 hours.


Settings

Settings

Most solar lights have only one setting like a manual on/off switch, while others have an automatic switch off, so it can switch itself off at dawn and on again at dusk.

Another handy feature is an adjustable brightness (dimming) switch that allows you to adjust the light from a bright and harsher light to a softer glow.

Some solar lights allow you to adjust the direction of the light to wherever you need the light the most.


Lighting Range

Lighting Range

The lighting range of a solar light can be from 1 to 2 feet up to 10 feet depending on the manufacturer’s design.

Most standard garden lights may only shed light for a few feet, so if illumination and security are your goal, then it is a good idea to place one or two solar lights close together or in strategic positions around your property.

Finally, here are some solar light tips before you go:

  • Take the protective screen off lights before you use them.
  • Charge batteries for two or three sunny days before turning the lights on for the first time.
  • Place the lights in an area where they can receive maximum sun exposure.
  • Clean the lights regularly as dirt or grime can build which decrease their lighting capacity.