Solar-powered lighting is a popular alternative to mains powered lights as it’s simple to install (no wiring), affordable, and will save you money on energy costs.
If you’re looking for tips on how to choose solar garden lights, you’ve come to the right place. We have tried and tested more than a dozen products before narrowing down our list to the best solar garden lights that we think will be perfect for your outdoor space.
So let’s get started…
How to Choose Solar Garden Lights?
When shopping for the best solar garden lights, it’s important to match the light to the function you need it to perform.
For example, what area of your garden or backyard do you want to illuminate?
Here are further tips on choosing solar garden lights:
- Determine how much sunlight your outdoor area receives as solar panels require a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day. Anything less than 6 hours and they are likely to underperform.
- Consider solar light’s operating time. Some models last all night with a fully charged battery while others only last 3 or 4 hours.
- Check the type of bulb the solar light uses as LED offers the most efficient and brightest light. Some solar lights use amber LEDs that create a softer glow, so it all depends on your personal preference.
There are different types of solar garden lights, each one used for a different purpose. These include:
Decorative Solar Lights
Decorative or color-changing solar lights aren’t as bright as the other counterparts because they are mostly designed for decoration purposes rather than lighting a dark pathway. These solar garden lights are portable and come in different varieties, such as hanging lanterns, fairy lights, string lights, and ornamental lights that emit a soft glow.
Decorative solar lights are ideal for illuminating low hedges or any remote areas of the garden. Due to their low light output, they are more likely to stay lit for longer. In fact, many quality models can run up to four nights on just one single sunlight charge.
These types of solar lights are typically made from tiles, colorful glass, or metal. The best thing about them is the fact that the lights look just as beautiful during the day as they do at night thanks to their intricate artful designs.
Path or Walkway Lighting
Just as the name implies, walkway or path solar lights are designed to illuminate driveways, paths, walkways, or any other small outdoor area around your garden or home.
Path solar lights are the mid-range choice in terms of light output and price. What’s more, their designs are pretty simple when compared to other types of solar lights. Just like spotlights, path lights are often used in multiples to lighten up a dark walkway. If you want the brightest path, you’ll have to use up to four lights in the same area.
Since solar path lights are just as small as solar spotlights, they can easily be pushed into the ground along a walkway. These lights normally come with flange mounts, hanging hooks, or stakes that give the user a wider placement option. Another interesting feature of these lights is their on-off switches that allow you to store the electrical charge for when you need it most.
Spotlights Or Up-lighting
Solar spotlights are the brightest type of solar garden lights. They are designed to illuminate larger outdoor spaces around plants, entryways, and just about any corner of the garden. Although these lights are brighter, it’s important to bear in mind that they won’t be as bright as a standard 100-watt light – more like a 40-watt spotlight. But that’s still impressive considering solar lights are environmentally friendly and cost nothing once installed.
Solar spotlights are the ideal outdoor lights since they are just as attractive as their decorative counterparts. But bear in mind you will need to buy more than 2 if you want to get the most brightness from them.
There are a number of ways you can mount solar spotlights to shine in any direction. For ground-level lighting, position the light’s stake in the ground so the panel faces the sun. You can also mount the spotlights over garage doors or decks and angle the beam downwards.
16 Best Solar Garden Lights Reviews
There are many options when it comes to buying the best solar garden lights that match your outdoor area’s style. To help you figure out which product works best in your garden, we went on a mission to find the most raved-about solar lights. Our main review criteria were based on the product’s functionality, its overall performance, how well-built it is, and the customer experience of using the product.
After putting more than a dozen solar lights under the spotlight, we’ve chosen the following favorites.
Create an atmosphere in your outdoor space with these solar garden lights that impressively give the effect of a real torch with a flickering flame. Whether you are looking for a romantic ambiance or a gothic setting for your exterior, these little beauties are sure to set the right tone.
These decorative solar lights are sold in a pack of four and produce a soft glow once their solar-powered battery is fully charged. Each solar torch comes complete with two stakes and accompanying fixtures, enabling you to choose from two height settings. They are ultra-simple to install and as you would expect with solar garden lights, there is no wiring required.
Manufactured with durability and thermal resistance in mind, these solar torches are suitable for use all year round and are designed to withstand seasonable weather variations. They also come with an on/off switch that allows you to reserve energy when you’re not using them.
Our reviewers loved the realistic flickering soft amber glow effect that these solar lights emitted and were impressed that they stayed illuminated for a decent amount of time ranging from 6-9 hours and not 12 as stated by the manufacturer.
- Suitable for use all year round
- Energy-saving on/off switch
- Realistic flickering flame effect
- Adjustable stake height
- Runtime sometimes less than 12 hours
Simply enchanting and value for money! That’s the response we got from our reviewers when they saw the pretty light reflections from this pack of 6 solar garden lights, sold by Gigalumi. Unlike many on the market, the lamp covers for these decorative solar lights are manufactured from clear glass rather than plastic or perspex, thus creating a simply charming reflection to illuminate your path or walkway.
The thought put into the design of these lights doesn’t stop at the lamp covers! The exterior casing for the lamp cover and solar panel housing features an intricate design and are both finished in bronze-colored stainless steel. This makes them not only stylish but also suitable to stay outdoors with moderate seasonal weather changes.
Our reviewers liked the quality aesthetics of this product and felt they represented good value. They had a couple of minor quibbles saying it would have been good if the stakes were adjustable to accommodate different height requirements and they would have preferred an on/off switch option to turn the lights off when not required.
- Interesting light pattern
- Intricate detailing on metal frame
- Glass lamp cover
- Stake height is not adjustable
- No energy saving on/off switch
Not exactly color changing solar lights, but possibly the next best thing! These delightfully decorative solar lights are certain to add a splash of color and interest to your outdoor space at night. Featuring a classic mosaic design lamp cover made from glass, each light in this set of 3 is a different color – yellow, blue, and purple. The solar panel casing and stake attachments are manufactured from durable and showerproof stainless steel with a polished finish.
Simply assemble the sections of the solar lights, stake them into the ground in an area with good sunlight, ensure the battery is fully charged, and then sit back and enjoy them at your leisure. No need for any fiddly cable or wiring here!
Our reviewers loved that the stakes were made of stainless steel to match the solar panel caps but would have preferred them with an adjustable height. They also said that at just a 1.2-volt battery and 2-volt solar panel, these decorative solar lights could do with being a little brighter.
- Colorful mosaic design on lamp covers
- Made from hard wearing stainless steel
- Stake height is not adjustable
- Not as bright as others on the market
You’re sure to get admiring compliments and a few heads turning from passers-by with these sleek solar garden lights. Another product brought to you by Gigalumi, they are sold in packs of 12 and feature an uber-cool yet simple stainless steel stake and casing plus plastic lamp cover.
These solar garden lights measure 13.4 inches in height. The plastic casing for the lights and the neat fitting cover that sits into place on top means that they are waterproof and heat resistant, making them a great choice for all year round usage.
They come complete with plastic spikes for staking in the ground and easy to follow assembly and installation instructions. Buying these makes it easy to add contemporary chic to your outdoor space in no time. Our reviewers loved the value for money 12 pack that these are sold as and said it’s best to space them close together to get the best light.
- Modern, minimalist design
- Good value for money 12 pack
- No on/off switch
- Not height adjustable
Have a large backyard that needs lots of lighting? We have found just what you need with this pack of 8 garden lights from Dekugaa. Each light consists of 8 LED bulbs for illuminating up to 10 hours, as long as you charge them in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours.
To use these solar garden lights, simply turn on the switch under the lamp before pushing it into the soil. The outer shell of the lamps is made of stainless steel, which makes them suitable for outdoor use in all seasons.
Customer reviews: users thought these ground lights were an inexpensive way of illuminating their backyard. They also highly valued the fast charging capability of the LED solar lights when their panels face directly up.
- Excellent battery life
- Very easy to install in the ground
- Safe to use around pets and children
- Nothing of significance
AccGuys Solar In-Ground Lights are very similar to the Dekugaa lights. The main difference being cosmetic, with their subtle black paint finish allowing them to blend into the background and become part of your hard landscaping during daylight. Switch them on and you get a powerful soft white LED light to cascade a warm glow all around your garden pathway or decking. Simply push them into the ground and they’re ready to go.
Given the flush low lying nature of these design, you can place them discretely in areas of full-sun for maximum recharge.
- A discrete black paint finish
- Very easy to install in the ground
- Safe to use around pets and children
- Nothing of significance
And now for something a little different in design! Beautiful solar garden lights that are designed to look like antique lanterns containing a candle and flickering flame. These have versatility written all over them. Use multiples of them to illuminate paths and driveways, illuminate your front porch with a matching pair or use them singularly as a decoration and handy way to cast light on your table at night.
Brought to the market by TomCare, each lantern stands 8.3 inches in height and is made from metal that has been given a weathered bronze effect finish. The casing is made from durable poly plastic ensuring you get the best possible view of the authentic-looking flickering flame. Put this together and you’ve got yourself a pair of good looking rust free and weatherproof solar garden lights.
Our reviewers were super impressed with the warm amber glow and the amount of light that’s emitted from the 3.7 volt LEDs. They also loved the versatility of these solar garden lights and the various options that are available for display and usage purposes. The handy hook meant they were perfect for hanging from hooks and tree branches too. They also said that whilst this product had great battery life, there is no way of changing the batteries when they needed replacing.
- Excellent battery life
- Multiple usages
- Safe alternative to real flame for use around pets and children
- Unable to change batteries when they need replacing
Here’s another versatile option to adorn your outdoor space at night time. Sold as a duo these decorative lantern-style solar lights will bring a warm glow to any outdoor occasion – hang them in a tree, place them on a table, scatter them along your pathway, use them to bring extra light to a campfire – the possibilities go on and on.
We love the crackle effect of the toughened glass ball that encases the 30 LED beads. We also love that the glass balls have a flat bottom to keep them upright when they are free-standing. The solar panel housing and the light cover are made from stainless steel, making them suitable for use in all seasons. The hemp rope handle is super cute too.
Our reviewers thought that these would be great for decorating an outdoor space for a party or festival and got enchanted forest vibes from their twinkly appearance. They loved that these gave the option of being moved around to different areas of an outdoor pace.
- Pretty crackle effect is given to toughened glass light cover
- Portable and versatile in usage
- Care needs to be taken when hanging from a tree branch
These highly decorative antique-style lanterns are another fine example of how versatile solar garden lights can be. Create a romantic atmosphere at your outdoor dining area, make a feature of your pathway, create an ambient vibe at your party with these beauties you can be sure to achieve all of the above.
Sold as a pair, these decorative solar lights are designed to look like a flickering flame at night time, once they have been fully charged by solar. The ‘mock flame’ sits behind a durable, weatherproof plastic casing that is ornate in design. Fixed to the top of the solar battery panel is a handy metal ring and clip to ensure secure fixing to a hook or branch.
This set also comes with attachments to stake them into the ground. Oh, just one other thing! If you were ever to get tired of the ‘real flame’ effect, these products are also available to buy as color changing solar lights.
- Ornate design
- Durable and sturdy
- Can be staked into the ground or hung
- Plastic casing means they should not be left outside when not in use
Just one more versatile solar garden lights contender for our list here and this time, who doesn’t love a mason jar to add a touch of retro-chic? These transportable decorative solar lights can be used to hang on hooks or branches, sit atop tables or adorn pathways and decking areas. They are sure to bring a little vintage charm to any outdoor space.
Measuring 5.3 inches in height, this set of 6 identical lantern-style solar garden lights consist of a clear glass mason jar filled with 30 LEDs. They come pre-assembled with a stainless steel screw top lid that houses the solar panel and battery unit. All that’s needed is to switch to the on position, before placing in direct sunlight to fully charge the batteries before use.
Our reviewers loved that there was no assembly required for these solar garden lights. As soon as they are unboxed, they can be placed wherever you choose in your outdoor space.
- Versatile uses – either hanging or freestanding
- No assembly required
- Care needs to be taken when hanging from a tree branch
Litom Solar Stake Light is available in multiple options. Cold white light, warm white, multi-colored blue and purple, or an interchangeable cold and warm white light option.
Featuring 12 LED lights and an adjustable head you can move between 90 degrees and 120-degree beam position allowing this light to be used as a spotlight or path light. A further feature we love is the adjustable brightness, allowing for an intense beam or mellow light beam. A really great option with a solar garden light giving you more flexibility as to where you position that stake. You don’t need to reposition it, simply adjust the power of the light beam up or down.
The stake also features a nice X cross section to prevent the solar light from accidently turning in the wind or if a pet knocks into it.
- The option of warm and cold light as well as color options
- Adjustable tilt head and LED beam strength
- Use as solar stake lights or spotlights
- None at this price
The Nekteck Colored Solar Light offer 200 lumens of multi-colored 4 LED lighting, suitable for use as a path light or spotlight. This solar stake light has a warm white and cool white LED option for those looking for a more conventional color beam.
The solar battery will last between 6-10 hours on a full charge, this will also depend on what power output setting you select. The more power to ask of your light beam the faster it will run the battery pack down. With literally thousands of these color solar stake lights sold, they are extremely popular and highly regarded.
- Multifunctional color changing solar lights
- 200 lumen LED with an adjustable power function
- Adjustable tilt head and adjustable LED beam strength
- Large solar panel fin, but this is how it gets 200 lumen of power
Need even brighter solar lights than the ones we’ve already mentioned? Then how about this pack of 2 LED spotlights from Claoner. These innovative spotlights automatically detect any changes in the environment and change their brightness level accordingly from energy-saving mode to high lighting mode.
The 32 LED spotlights feature 3 brightness modes based on your needs. For 25 hours of consecutive lighting, press once for the low light mode. For 15 hours of nonstop lighting, press twice for medium light mode, and for 8 hours of continuous lighting press 3 times for high lighting mode.
These spotlights are also made of high-quality and waterproof materials that can withstand extreme weather. Simply stick them into the ground or mount on the wall.
But what did the customers think of the product? Users were disappointed with the plastic sealed battery unit as it can’t be replaced or recharged. They also found the spotlights staying lit for only a few hours at night after leaving them to charge for two days without switching them on.
- The brightness covers a wider area than other products
- Batteries can’t be replaced
- Weaker performance than Litom
Looking for a decorative solar light to create a focal point? Then consider this attractive waterproof Morrocan style lantern that will illuminate your walkways for up to 8 hours. The metal frame of this hanging solar light from this lantern is corrosion resistant and rustproof so you can leave it outside all day and all night.
When using the hanging lantern for the first time, remember to turn on the switch. You can hang this lamp anywhere just as long as it can get full sunshine.
Customer reviews: users loved the beautiful pattern of the lantern when lit up. They were especially impressed with how the product survived through heavy rains and winds. They found this decorative lantern quite sturdy and of high-quality materials.
What we love about this decorative solar light is how easy it is to install. The battery is made from nickel-metal hydride, thus guaranteeing long-life performance. Based on all the positive user reviews and the stunning design of the lamp, we consider it as the best value for money product.
- Attractive design
- Durable and sturdy
- Long battery life
- Nothing of note
The Wohome color changing solar lights take us to a completely different place. These novel color changing solar lights are by far the best version we have seen. The fabric lily flower heads really catch the light beautifully and look like a scene from the movie Avatar.
The flower head change in sequence through seven different colors through shades of red, green, and blue. They are supported with a strong irons steel stalk covered in a foliage fabric sheath to add to the realism. When fully charged the color-changing solar lights will last for between 6-8 hours providing a fun and decorative solar lighting scheme to your garden.
- Decorative color changing solar lights
- The best quality flow light we have seen so far
- Red, green, and blue transitioning light
- Solar batteries cannot be changed
These Toodour Color Changing Solar Garden Lights transition through seven different colors including red, orange, green, purple, and blue adding real fun to your garden decoration. To raise the bar one more level they are also a wind chime, adding a lovely sense of mystique in the dark of night, glowing and chiming.
The 6 hummingbirds will glow for 8-10 hours on full charge, and are fully waterproof so ideal for use indoors and outdoors.
- Windchime color changing solar lights
- Color transitions through 7 different hues
- Last 8-10 hours on a full charge
- Not built to last a lifetime
How Does a Solar Garden Light Work?
Solar lights feature multiple crystalline chemicals and silicone that provide layers of positively and negatively charged electrons. The photovoltaic cells are an important part of the light as they need to convert sunlight into electrical current. This works by sunlight passing through the cells and activating the negatively charged electrons before pushing them to the positively charged spaces within the panel. This negative electron is then embedded into the cell’s battery where the electricity is stored. The solar panels absorb the energy from the sun in the battery for current and later use.
During the day, the solar light’s battery gets fully charged and as the night falls, the cells stop converting sunlight. The lack of sunlight is sensed by the photoreceptors on the solar light, which then turn on the LEDs. This is a daily cycle that involves the photoreceptors switching on the stored light automatically every time the night falls.
How to Install Solar Garden Lights?
- Once you have unpacked your garden solar lights and assemble the unit as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve attaching a solar light stake or a hanging hook
- Check to see if your garden light has a battery-saving plastic tag. that need to be removed to make the battery operational This is a small piece of plastic that prevents the battery power source and the light circuit from making contact. Pull out this tag and the battery and light will make direct contact to power the unit.
- If you are using multiple solar garden lights, for example along a pathway or as a lighting scheme in your garden, we suggest you layout all lighting in its final position so that you can review the spacings. Depending on the power of the light source, you will need to space the units 0.5-1.5m apart
- Position any up lights or spotlights in their position, but be sure to check them during darkness and reposition to get the best decorative lighting effect possible. Don’t be afraid to experiment and move the lights around your garden
- Make sure the solar lights are positioned to get full sunlight during daylight hours enabling them to fully recharge each day
Best Solar Garden Lights Conclusion
So there we go and an extensive list of the best solar garden lights for your backyard. Whether you need color changing solar lights, hanging lantern decorative lights, or high performing solar stake path lights, we have shortlisted some of the best products available to buy online.