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The Best Solar Lights - 2020

Last updated on November 10, 2020
Best Solar Lights

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Our Picks For The Top Solar Lights

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best All-Purpose

Aootek Waterproof LED Security Solar Lights

Aootek

Waterproof LED Security Solar Lights

Overall Take

Bright and SensitiveThese long lasting bulbs are bright enough for any size yard.

  Best for Winter

Brightown Copper Wire Outdoor String Solar Lights

Brightown

Copper Wire Outdoor String Solar Lights

Overall Take

Warm and Cozy LightingWinter gets brighter with these easy-to-install string lights.

  Best for Patio

Brighteck Waterproof Edison Bulbs Solar String Lights

Brighteck

Waterproof Edison Bulbs Solar String Lights

Overall Take

Durable and StylishUse these Edison bulbs for a cafe vibe.

  Best for Summer

KYEKIO Waterproof Torch Solar Lights

KYEKIO

Waterproof Torch Solar Lights

Overall Take

Distinctive Torch LightingThese long-lasting, authentic-looking tiki torches keep the party going.

Avatar
Guide written by Tod Caviness
Last updated on November 10, 2020

Outdoor lighting can do a lot for a house. Accent lights along the path to the front door can provide a subtle and safe welcome home, and the right string lights can turn any patio into a party. They can even be a literal lifesaver when used for home security.

But that comfort and security doesn’t come for free. We’ve all had a groan at our power bill the month after those outdoor Christmas lights come down. Imagine that all year round, and you can see why outdoor lighting is considered a luxury — unless, of course, you get a good set of solar powered lights.

If you don’t know anything about solar power, outdoor lights are a good place to start. This kind of lighting solution might cost a bit more up front, but you’ll continue to save over the years. A good set will soak up the sun during the day, then use that energy to light up your exterior, without a extra penny out of your own electricity bill.

Most solar light kits consist of the lights themselves and a photovoltaic panel. This PV panel should be placed and angled in such a way that it absorbs the maximum amount of sunlight, which is what will power the lights. If you live in a sunny part of the country, you can expect a full night’s worth of power (and then some) out of the power that PV panel generates during the day. If you’re in cloudy or rainy climes, you’ll want to invest in bigger or more advanced PV panels, though even the cloudiest days should produce a few hours of light with most modern solar rigs. A large nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery can also mitigate some of this with its ability to store more power for a longer period of time.

The next thing to consider is what kind of lighting you’ll need outdoors. If you’re looking for walkway lighting, there’s not much need to worry about power. All you usually need is a dim glow in the first few hours of the night, and most any rig can handle that. Some walkway lights will even have the PV panel built right into the light itself, making installation a breeze. On the other hand, you want to make sure that the lights are durable and waterproof, since they will usually be placed low to the ground. One great feature that most walkway lights have is a timer that makes sure they only light up when the sun goes down, or a motion sensor that turns them on as needed.

Patio lighting will need to be a bit more powerful, and these kind of lights usually come with a bigger PV panel to accommodate that. When it doubt, get a few more than you need.

Security lighting will need to be bright, first and foremost. You want something that a potential intruder won’t be able to ignore, so look for something that puts out at least 700 lumens, or 300 apiece if you’re using multiple lights. This usually won’t be sustained, all-night power, so most solar kits will be up to the task even if the weather hasn’t been cooperative.

No matter what you get, rest assured in knowing that you’re saving money in the long run. And thanks to the power you conserve, you’re helping the planet as well.

The Best Solar Lights

1
  Best All-Purpose

Aootek Waterproof LED Security Solar Lights

On the highest brightness mode, these lights are capable of lighting up any driveway. The motion sensor is sensitive enough to detect everything from a passerby to oncoming vehicles. The solar batteries allow them to stay charged up even on cloudy days.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Aootek
Model
2
  Best for Winter

Brightown Copper Wire Outdoor String Solar Lights

These string lights are economical and ideal for festive occasions. They are easy to install and can be placed in a variety of configurations. There are eight separate modes to match any decor.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Brightown
Model
3
  Best for Patio

Brighteck Waterproof Edison Bulbs Solar String Lights

The shape of these bulbs make them perfect for setting up a cafe atmosphere outdoors. They are as sturdy as they look and can stand up to multiple nights of rain. The auto shutoff option gives added convenience.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Brighteck
Model
4
  Best for Summer

KYEKIO Waterproof Torch Solar Lights

These solar torches are just the thing for lighting up a makeshift tiki bar or patio party. They come mounted on stakes that can be lowered or raised to fit the environment. The flickering effect is very lifelike and the batteries can hold a charge for most of the night.

Features


Specifications

Brand
KYEKIO
Model
5
  Best for Beginners

TDYJWELL Waterproof Disk Solar Lights

These lights are meant to placed low in the ground, staying relatively unseen in the daylight hours. At night, they provide soothing, warm white light. The protective cover and waterproof shell ensures they can stand up to harsh outdoor conditions.

Features


Specifications

Brand
TDYJWELL
Model

Our Solar Light Buying Guide

Outdoor lighting can do a lot for a house. Accent lights along the path to the front door can provide a subtle and safe welcome home, and the right string lights can turn any patio into a party. They can even be a literal lifesaver when used for home security.

But that comfort and security doesn’t come for free. We’ve all had a groan at our power bill the month after those outdoor Christmas lights come down. Imagine that all year round, and you can see why outdoor lighting is considered a luxury — unless, of course, you get a good set of solar powered lights.

If you don’t know anything about solar power, outdoor lights are a good place to start. This kind of lighting solution might cost a bit more up front, but you’ll continue to save over the years. A good set will soak up the sun during the day, then use that energy to light up your exterior, without a extra penny out of your own electricity bill.

Most solar light kits consist of the lights themselves and a photovoltaic panel. This PV panel should be placed and angled in such a way that it absorbs the maximum amount of sunlight, which is what will power the lights. If you live in a sunny part of the country, you can expect a full night’s worth of power (and then some) out of the power that PV panel generates during the day. If you’re in cloudy or rainy climes, you’ll want to invest in bigger or more advanced PV panels, though even the cloudiest days should produce a few hours of light with most modern solar rigs. A large nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery can also mitigate some of this with its ability to store more power for a longer period of time.

The next thing to consider is what kind of lighting you’ll need outdoors. If you’re looking for walkway lighting, there’s not much need to worry about power. All you usually need is a dim glow in the first few hours of the night, and most any rig can handle that. Some walkway lights will even have the PV panel built right into the light itself, making installation a breeze. On the other hand, you want to make sure that the lights are durable and waterproof, since they will usually be placed low to the ground. One great feature that most walkway lights have is a timer that makes sure they only light up when the sun goes down, or a motion sensor that turns them on as needed.

Patio lighting will need to be a bit more powerful, and these kind of lights usually come with a bigger PV panel to accommodate that. When it doubt, get a few more than you need.

Security lighting will need to be bright, first and foremost. You want something that a potential intruder won’t be able to ignore, so look for something that puts out at least 700 lumens, or 300 apiece if you’re using multiple lights. This usually won’t be sustained, all-night power, so most solar kits will be up to the task even if the weather hasn’t been cooperative.

No matter what you get, rest assured in knowing that you’re saving money in the long run. And thanks to the power you conserve, you’re helping the planet as well.

DWYM Fun Fact

Solar energy isn’t just easy to install on your driveway. It scales up just as well when it comes to large energy demands, like those of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Tesla was able to set up a solar storage facility capable of powering facilities like the beleaguered Hospital del Nino, and it was able to do it in just a few weeks. That’s a fraction of the time it would take to set up a traditional power station.

The Solar Light Tips and Advice

Because you won’t need to hook up your solar lights to your home electrical system, maintenance is relatively easy. Still, there are a few things you should check periodically to make sure your lights are operating at their full capacity.

First and foremost, check your PV panel for dirt and grime every once in awhile. If your lights aren’t getting power, the panel might be obstructed with pollen, leaves or other debris. A quick wipe can make a world of difference.

Next, check your battery about once a year. While the sun can provide unlimited power, that doesn’t mean your NiCd battery can hold it forever. If it runs down it can typically be recharged or a replacement can be ordered from the manufacturer.


About The Author

Avatar
Tod Caviness 

As a professional writer for the past couple decades and a homeowner for the last seven, Tod Caviness has learned the hard way what vacuum cleaners will actually pick up dog hair and which plants will survive on a Florida patio. His favorite room: The office, with the kitchen a close second.