Best Garden Solar Lights
All current garden owners listen up; are you tired of barely being able to see the contents of your garden at night? Even in the daytime, are the shadows preventing you from getting a good look at your crops? Or, heck, are you looking for an additional accessory that just happens to light up? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need yourself some garden lights. But, not just any garden lights; you need to highly consider solar lights. As their name implies, they use solar energy gathered from the sunlight to power them. Solar energy has loads of consumer benefits, not the least of which is a reduction on your electricity bill. Simply put, your garden, and you, deserve solar lights.
- Gama Sonic
- On/off switch
- Tempered glass
- Adjustable panels
- IP64 standards
- Waterproof design
- 3 intelligent modes
10 Best Garden Solar Lights
Gama Sonic Lamp Post
Get ready for an impressive build design. Gama Sonic designed their Victorian Lamppost with rust-resistant and weather-resistant powder-coated cast-aluminum. On top of this, each lamp head has beveled glass planes and the solar panel is protected by tempered glass.
Hanging from this lamppost are two downward 13-LED lamp heads that are augmented by Gama Sonic’s own cone reflector. Additionally, each lamp head outputs 200 lumens of light.
When light is not desired, you can merely toggle the Victorian off with the integrated on/off switch. Also, you can manually control the brightness (with the options of high or low).
The battery pack itself is rated to last for up to 1000 charges. With optimal exposure to the sun, you can achieve a full recharge.
Due to the use of solar energy, no electrical wiring is required for setup. Instead, for stabilization, all you need to do is bolt the lamppost onto a concrete pad.
While this may not exactly be what you are seeking for your garden, you may need to reconsider. Besides the unbelievable durability and build quality, the installation is a breeze and the lighting output is very good.
- There is an on/off switch
- It is designed for dusk-to-dawn operation
- The solar panel is protected by tempered glass
- About the only durability concern is the base section
With a waterproof rating of IP64, these lights should be able to handle all kinds of weather year-round. While they are not suitable for submersion, splashes of water will have no effect.
In each solar light, as this is a two-pack, there are four LED light bulbs. Each bulb is capable of outputting 50 lumens and if you do the math, each light has 200 lumens of light.
Thanks to the integrated automated switch, you can program these lights to turn on automatically at night and shut off at sunrise. But, you can also separately adjust both the solar panel and the light angle.
A built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, 2200 mAh, powers these lights and when it is fully charged from the sun (which can depend on various factors) it is rated to last six to nine hours.
If you are aiming to merely install these lights around your garden, it is as simple as sticking the stakes into the ground. However, with the included screws, the option is there to mount them on a wall.
One aspect that users were disappointed in was that the light head and solar panel only pivot up and down. Yet, what is so impressive about this design is its eloquent combination of convenience and durability.
- Both the light and solar panel are independently adjustable
- Can be installed in the ground or on a wall
- Is waterproof rated per IP64 standards
- Only pivots up and down and not from side to side
Two layers of inner loop, that have been tightly-sealed, practically guarantee that these lights are not only waterproof but also weatherproof.
Each light in this pack, which comes with four even though you can opt for only one, has eight integrated LED lights. Each solar light can output 176 lumens but if you get the pack of four, you can amplify this based on how you install them.
Why Litom designed their modes to be changed on the back of their light is another question. But, the modes themselves are fantastic. There is an integrated dim light sensor mode, strong light sensor mode and strong long light mode.
Depending on the design mode you use, the battery life is going to vary. Granted there is no constant motion, with the modes that use sensors to detect movement, it could last all night.
Installing these solar lights is not the issue, as it only requires a few screws. Yet, if you ever want to change the design mode, you will need to remove the screw on top every single time.
Due to the design, it is wise that you find your favorite intelligent mode and stick with it. Removing the top screw every time is not that much of a hassle, but an unnecessary one, nonetheless. No matter, everything else is top-notch.
- Features a weatherproof design
- Integrates three different intelligent modes
- Without constant motion, the batteries tend to last a long time
- The dim setting does not offer much light at all
- You must remove the holding screw on the top to change the mode
URPower 20 LED
It is never bad when a product is designed of solid stainless steel. In addition to this, this design is certified to IP64 standards of waterproofness making it suitable for rainfall.
In each of their lights of this design, URPOWER integrates 20 LED lights. When something moves inside of its three-meter radius, they will then be activated and turn on.
Yes, these are motion sensor solar lights and as soon as they detect motion they will turn on automatically. When the motion stops, they will stay on for up to 20 seconds before turning off again.
With a full charge from the sun, you can expect the incorporated lithium-ion battery to deliver up to 10 hours of continuous illumination.
Everything is included for you to instantly install these lights around your yard and no wires are required. All that is needed is to screw the light on a surface of your choosing (the screws are included).
Perhaps where you can install this light could prove to be problematic for some, but that solely depends on the layout of your garden. If the design works for you, though, this is a fantastic choice due to its motion sensor and waterproofness.
- Features a stainless steel construction
- Included kit has wall plugs, a user manual and two screws
- Has a motion sensor that will detect motion up to three meters
- With the pack of four, several customers have noted that one comes with issues
An aluminum-alloy case provides the protection this light needs and its freezeproof, heatproof, and waterproof construction means you can rest easy when inclement weather approaches.
For a singular light, DrawGreen certainly designed it to pack a powerful punch. While the PMMA lens ensures an even brighter light, it can output 1400 lumens.
As light is typically not necessary in the middle of the day, for energy saving reasons, this has been built with a photocell sensor. As such, during the day the light will shut off and will then consequently turn on at night (in its dim-light mode).
With an advertised battery life of 30 hours on a full charge, this sports one of the most impressive batteries on the market. Add in its energy saving functionality and it becomes clear that optimal battery life was prioritized.
As the on/off button is beneath the panel, turn on the light before you install it. While the installation process is straightforward, do not make this classic mistake.
This is as powerful as it gets for a solar light. Granted there are a few design elements that could be improved, the battery life, insane construction, and immense light output all combine to form a fabulous solar light.
- Its built-in motion sensor can detect objects up to 20 feet
- Has a built-in energy saving mode
- The solar lights can be rotated 360 degrees
- You can’t swivel the control panel
- Would be nice if they turned off instead of staying on dim
The LED lights are protected by a rugged ABS plastic construction which happens to be all-weather-resistant. Indeed, worrying about rain or snow is not necessary.
While each LED bulb for each light fixture only outputs 15 lumens of light, when they are combined in a pathway, the illumination will cover a large distance.
With their built-in technology, SolarGlow designed their solar lights to automatically turn off at dawn (after at least eight hours) and turn on at dusk.
The general consensus seems to be that the battery life is solid, but nothing overly impressive. Yet, some users have reported that one light in the bunch has a shorter life.
In terms of what is required on your part for installation, it does not get much easier than this. As the sun performs all the charging, merely insert the stakes around your garden and you are good to go.
Is each light in this set going to astound you with its lighting prowess? Probably not but as a total package, these lights form to create a terrific pathway for your garden. Plus, they literally can be installed by a six-year-old.
- Backed by a 100 percent lifetime replacement guarantee
- Designed to resist inclement weather
- Simply place the stakes in the ground for installation
- The battery life and light output are not the most impressive
Though plastic may not be the first material you would think of for durability, this hard plastic construction is both durable and waterproof.
Four LED bulbs are integrated into this light and it is highly capable of lighting up your garden and even your pathway if you were so inclined to do so.
As was previously mentioned, you do have the ability to independently adjust the solar panel and the light. In addition to this, there is an auto-off by day and auto-on by night feature.
Some reviewers have stated to the contrary but per its advertisement, up to nine hours of illumination is possible when this is fully charged.
Much like the previous solar light, this is built with a stake that is designed to be inserted into the ground. Once you find a logical location in your yard, insert it in the ground and let the sun charge it up.
It may sound cliché at this point but what a terrific combination of durability and convenience this is. Despite the claims against the battery life, this solar light is the real deal.
- Features an adjustable solar panel and light
- Both waterproof and extremely durable
- The installation is quick and painless
- Some users have claimed that the light does not stay lit for very long
- Would have been a more intuitive design if the light swiveled from left to right
In the case of a windstorm or rainstorm, the weather-resistant design should hold up well (depending on the severity of the storm). For enhanced durability, the LED lights are protected in an ABS plastic housing.
Inside of this lone light source are 60 ultra-bright LED lights. What this delivers is a highly impressive lumen output of 850.
There are three different adjustable design settings for you to select from; UX, which determines the level of darkness required before the light turns on, SENS, which is a motion sensor, and TIME, which determines how long the light stays on once it detects motion.
While there are no specific claims of the battery life, one impressive feat is that the amorphous solar panel does not require direct sunlight to charge.
The light needs to be mounted and because the included hardware is not galvanized, you may want to spring for your own. However, the solar panel is connected via a power cord and this allows you to place it separately.
When it comes to design features, this solar light stands above most of its kind. Yet, the issues with the included mounting hardware and suggested problems with the light triggering in daylight prevent it from ascending.
- Features 60 LED lights in one light source
- The solar panel does not require direct sunlight
- Tilting the solar panel is possible
- The included mounting hardware is not weather-resistant
- Sometimes will trigger in daylight when it is not needed
The problem here is not with the weather-resistance as these lights will perform well under most weather conditions. No, the real issue is that the plastic steaks bend too easily and may not hold up during wind storms.
At only 2.4 lumens per light, this is not going to fully illuminate your garden. However, given that there are eight of them in one pack, they will work quite well for a small garden.
You can manually switch off the lights with the integrated on/off switch feature, which is a nice touch. Plus, the black finish will add to the décor of the surroundings.
Certain elements, such as the intensity of the sunlight and the weather, will affect the battery life somewhat. Yet, expect up to eight hours of illumination with a full charge.
Given that the plastic stakes are not the most durable, be careful when you are sticking them into the ground. Yet, make sure they are in deep enough so they will not tip over.
For those who have large gardens and are looking for pure power, it is in your best interest to stay clear of these lights. Do not go in expecting a massive amount of light. Instead, enjoy that you can stake eight different lights into your garden.
- Each light is weather-resistant
- Comes in a pack of eight solar lights
- Features a black finish to add to the décor of your garden
- At only 2.4 lumens of light, the brightness is not that good
- The plastic steaks are a bit flimsy
While this is indeed resistant to corrosion and water, the build quality, as a whole, leaves a lot to be desired. Given the plastic sides, they may be torn apart by violent wind storms.
Unlike any other solar light on this list, this solar lantern emits seven different colors automatically. The result is a rainbow spectrum that will give your garden a new sense of style.
When night time approaches, this lantern will automatically turn on and as it charges in the daytime, this circle will automatically repeat itself.
The LED lights inside of this lantern have been rated to last up to 100,000 hours.
Given that this is a hanging lantern all that is required from you is to find a suitable location to hang this from; that is it.
Much like the lamppost that started this guide, a hanging lantern will not be everyone’s first choice for a garden light. However, unlike any other light source, this specific design shows off your garden in a unique way.
- Both water and corrosion-resistant
- Features LED lights that will last for up to 100,000 hours
- Emits seven different colors that change automatically
- As the sides are crafted of thin plastic, it may not hold up in storms or high winds
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Its Durability and Weather-Resistance
Most lighting products that you invest in will be for indoor use, generally speaking. If not, though, such as when you are investing in garden lights, you need to specifically prioritize both the durability and weather-resistance of the solar light. Let’s talk about the latter first as it is arguably the single, most important design feature that a garden solar light can have. Unless you plan on uninstalling the light every night, which would completely defeat the purpose of owning it, it will be exposed to Mother Nature and all her mood swings. One way of knowing the waterproof level of any product, including solar lights, is to analyze their IP rating.
An IP rating is consistent with two numbers and the second one is its resistance towards water. The higher the number, the more resistant it is (the scale is from zero to eight). But, waterproofness alone is not enough as the construction as a whole is also vital. Garden solar lights with an ABS hard plastic housing, or tempered glass, or even solid stainless steel are sure to withstand more than one that is designed with cheap plastic.
Their Light Output
The entire purpose of investing in a garden solar light is to illuminate your garden in times where you can’t see it otherwise. If it can’t perform this function, then it is nothing more than a complementary piece of décor; which is not a total waste all things considered. What you need to answer, though, is do you want several solar lights or just one that is capable of mass illuminations? Some manufacturers will include more than one light in their package, maybe two, four, or eight. In this instance, you can install several lights around your garden to create proper lighting. But, how do you determine what kind of light they can produce?
This is where lumens come into play and this is the primary metric used to measure the output of light. For example, a solar light that can output 1000 lumens will be significantly brighter than one only capable of 100 lumens. Yet, again, if you have a pack of four solar lights that can each output 100 lumens, you can have four separate locations have 100 lumens of lighting.
All the Design Features
Be prepared, there is a lot to cover in this section. There are a plethora of design features that you should be aiming to look for when investing in a garden solar light. Given that extra lighting is not going to be necessary for the middle of the day, one of which is automatic on and off feature. With this integrated, your solar lights will automatically turn on in the darkness and turn off at sunrise. As this light is not needed, this can end up saving battery in the long run. In addition, sometimes, solar lights are designed with specific modes of operation. For example, motion sensors.
Oftentimes, in fact, solar lights will have motion sensors integrated into their design (meaning they can’t be shut off). As their name indicates, whenever they detect movement within a specific range (which will differ) they will automatically illuminate. Lastly, some designs will separate the solar panel and the light. In this instance, you may be able to separately adjust them to properly situate the solar panel so it gets optimal sun exposure.
The Battery Life
Unlike any other device in the world of technology, the battery life of solar lights is going to vary from person to person. Not from light to light, even though it will, but each individual person may experience a different lifespan on one charge. Why is this so? It all comes down to how solar energy operates. With a traditional charging method, you would merely plug your USB device into a USB adapter and into the wall. From there, you would wait for your device to be fully charged. But, solar charging is a bit more complicated than that. Certain factors, such as the weather outside and the direct line of sunlight, can affect charging and subsequently the battery life.
On a cloudy day with little to no exposure from the sun, solar panels can still gather energy but they will do so without their normal efficiency. Ideally, a full charge will be achieved on a bright and sunny day. If this is the case and the battery life is still questionable (assuming the solar panel has access to direct sunlight), then you have a beef.
The Installation Process
Solar energy only requires energy from the sun, this you already know. Because of this, wiring is not required and you do not need to plug a power source into one of your outdoor outlets. Instead, in regards to the installation, you need to conclude what type of solar light you are seeking for your garden. Do you wish to have one that is inserted directly into the ground or one that is mounted on a wall or surface? Not all, but some, will come equipped to handle both. However, this will not always be the case.
Basically, if your garden is a decent length away from your home, you may want to opt for solar lights that get staked into the ground. Yet, mounting a solar light on an outdoor wall could suffice if your garden is close enough. Of course, you can also go for something completely different such as a lamp post or lantern. It really is your preference.
Q: How Do You Clean Solar Lights?
Garden solar lights are designed to be used outdoors and you can never predict what type of debris is going to get on them. If you put two and two together, this indicates that you will probably need to clean your solar lights at one point. To garner if they need it, just see if you notice any noticeable dirt and muck either on the outside or the inside. In the case that they do, uninstall them and take them inside. Depending on the solar light, you may be able to physically open it up which can allow you to clean the inside with hot water and soap.
However, if this is not the case, simply wash and clean the casing to improve the brightness. When doing so, apply the same method as before. As a side note, you may want to use distilled water as tap water can leave smudges and smears.
Q: Why Should You Clean the Solar Panel?
Several garden solar lights that were documented on this list come with an integrated light and solar panel. Cleaning the light was just addressed but what about the solar panel? Not only should you perform maintenance on this as well, it could be even more vital. The reason for this is debris and any other substance that gets on a solar panel can negatively affect its performance. What happens is this debris acts as an obstruction when the solar panel is attempting to gather energy from the sun.
To remove any dirt or debris that is present, use either a dry or damp cloth to gently wipe down the surface. Stay away from abrasive materials, such as bleach and Brillo pads, as well. If the panel is excessively dirty, you could clean it with glass cleaner.
Q: What Do You Do When the Solar Lights Are Not Working?
It could very well happen to you. Inexplicably, your solar lights stop working and you can’t figure out why. Do not fret, not all hope is lost yet as the lights may not have reached their lifespan yet. There is a chance that you can perform some minor checks to see if it is a simple fix. For one, make sure both the solar panel and light are cleaned. But, also ensure that the light is turned on. As stupid as it sounds, the on/off switch may have been turned off.
If that is not the issue, is your solar panel positioned correctly to gather energy from the sun? Try to re-position it and let it charge for the day. Still no dice; alright, try to replace the batteries (if you can). Finally, if all else fails, turn off the light and allow it to gather energy for around three days. Turn it on and if it still does not work, there may be electrical issues.
Q: How Long Will Garden Solar Lights Last?
The lifespan of one solar light is going to be dependent on a few variables. One variable is the construction of the solar light and if it is built to withstand the elements of the outdoors. Another factor would be the type of battery that is integrated and how long it will last. To be honest, there are so many components that make up solar lights that this is difficult to answer. The battery could die before anything else; or, the exterior could start to deteriorate first.
As far as the solar panel itself, they are rated to last up to 20 to 25 years. Also, if it uses LED bulbs, they typically have a lifespan of 50,000 hours (sometimes 100,000 hours).
Q: How Should Solar Lights be Stored in the Winter?
Just because most solar lights are built to withstand the unknown nature of the outdoor weather, does not mean they are the best in the winter. Remember the issue with debris falling on solar panels? Well, when snow piles up on them or ice begin to form, it is bad news. It may be in your best interest to store them for the winter. Besides, your garden will not miss them unless you plan to grow in the winter. Still, it is wise to store them.
To do so, first ensure that they are clean and free of dirt and debris. Then, stick them in a storage container (a box will do) and store them in a location that is free from extreme temperatures and excessive dampness.
Q: Can You Recycle Solar Lights?
Yeah, your garden solar light is not going to last you an eternity. If it is damaged beyond repair or has simply reached its expiration date (metaphorically), it may be time to throw it out if you do not plan to keep the parts for anything. Oftentimes, it is asked if solar lights can be recycled instead of being dumped in a garbage can. The short answer is yes but to make sure your city’s regulations allow you to do so, double-check with them first.
If not, check out another recycling facility near your area as some will accept all sorts of obscure items such as radio electronics and computers. Solar lights have many useful parts that are worthy of recycling, so take the effort to do so.
Solar lighting has so many benefits and while this guide was not aimed to explain them all in-depth, it goes to show that even your garden can benefit from them. They are typically very easy to maintain and install and can actually output some impressive lighting. As the old saying goes, the ball is now in your court.