Best Outdoor Solar Light: Top 5 Picks and Buying Guide

In the market for a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to illuminate your outdoor area? In this article, we review our top 6 candidates for the best outdoor solar lights and share a buying guide to help make the right decision.

best outdoor solar light

The Verdict

If you’re in a hurry for an answer, the winner today is the Aootek Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights thanks to their reliable charging capacity, bright LEDs, and motion-detecting sensor.

The runner-up spot goes to the URPOWER Outdoor Solar Spotlights thanks to their impressive ability to absorb solar energy even in the winter. As for our budget pick, it’s the Brightown Store Outdoor Solar String Lights.

5 Best Outdoor Solar Lights Review

1. Aootek Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights

Specs

  • IP Rating — IP65 waterproof
  • Charging time —  6 to 8 hours
  • Run time — 4 to 10 hours
  • Rechargeable Battery — 2200mAh
  • Dimensions — 3.8 x 3.9 x 8 inches
  • Color— Cool white
  • Voltage — ‎3.7 Volts
  • Brightness — 450 lumens

First up on our list is a very reliable option from Aootek. These Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights feature 3 working modes that you can choose from depending on your needs at the time.

The first mode is security mode, which uses a built-in motion sensor to automatically switch on the light when it detects movement and turn it off after 15 seconds. The upgraded sensor can pick up the motion of people moving up to 26 feet away within a maximum angle of 120 degrees.

The second mode is called “Permanent On All Night”, which does what the name suggests: automatically lights up the LEDs at night and leaves them working until the morning. As for the third mode, it’s a smart setting that turns on the light all night but illuminates brighter if it picks up motions.

The Aootek outdoor solar lights are equipped with a 2200 mAh battery of lithium-ion cell type to ensure a brighter and more prolonged performance. The LED bulbs have wide-angle lighting to enhance illumination utilization, with an impressive brightness output of 450 lumens.

We also like how the solar panel is designed to provide better efficiency when it comes to saving energy. It’s PET laminated and houses premium-quality LEDs, offering a conversion rate of up to 20. 5% with 1. 2W Monocrystalline silicon solar cells.

Additionally, these outdoor solar lights are heat-proof and waterproof with an IP65 rating. They’re sold in 2-count and 4-count packages.

What We Like

  • Features built-in motion detectors
  • Wide illumination coverage
  • Very bright
  • Suitable for security purposes
  • Easy to set up

What We Don’t Like

  • The design a bit dull
  • Has to be mounted to a fence or wall

2. URPOWER Outdoor Solar Spotlights

Specs

  • Material — Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
  • IP Rating — IP64 waterproof
  • Charging time —  4 to 5 hours
  • Run time — 6 to 9 hours
  • Rechargeable Battery — 2200mAh
  • Dimensions — 11 x 7 x 3.5 inches
  • Color— Cool white
  • Voltage — ‎3.7 Volts
  • Brightness — 200 lumens

Outdoor solar-powered lights aren’t made equal, which especially shows around winter when the sun is a bit shyer than the rest of the year. If you’re looking for some solar lights that’ll efficiently draw energy from the sun year-round, then consider the URPOWER Outdoor Solar Spotlights.

You can count on these spots for illumination during any weather as they’re resistant to frost and water with an IP64 rating. Even on cloudy days, you get to enjoy uninterrupted bright light.

Each unit of these solar spotlights is equipped with 4 LEDs that produce consistent light with 2 settings for brightness. They’re designed for you to fix them into the ground via the shipped stakes or mount them onto a wall using screws.

Once you have the spotlights set up in place, you can adjust the position of the solar panels and the direction of the light independently to achieve the perfect illumination angle while maximizing sun exposure. You get to move the solar panel up to 180 degrees and the spotlight up to 90 degrees.

When it comes to charge and run time, each light features a 3.7V 2200mAh battery to give you up to 9 hours of continuous lighting on the low setting and up to 6 hours if you choose the high setting. This is per single charge, which is around  4 to 5 hours of exposure to sunlight.

Thanks to the built-in sensors, the bulbs will automatically light up at night and turn off when the sun comes out, saving energy and supporting a prolonged service life in the process. With its cool white color, this solar outdoor light is ideal for illuminating your yard and landscaping.

What We Like

  • Works well in cloudy weather
  • You can mount it on a wall or stick it into the ground
  • You can adjust the light and solar panel angle
  • Automatically turns on and off

What We Don’t Like

  • On the smaller side
  • Can be a bit brighter

3. The Brightown Store Outdoor Solar String Lights

Specs

  • Material — Copper
  • Color — Warm white
  • IP Rating — IP65 waterproof
  • LED Quantity — 100 per string
  • Color Temperature — 2,700K
  • Total Length — 33 feet
  • Run Time — 8 to 10 hours after fully charged
  • Voltage — 2 volts
  • Brightness — 3 lumens

If you’re searching for reliable string lights to create a cozy atmosphere in your backyard or on your front porch, these Outdoor Solar String Lights from the Brightown Store make an excellent option for illuminating your outdoor space in a decorative way that’s not too flashy.

These string lights glow in a warm white color and they offer users a choice between 8 different lighting patterns. With modes including steady-on, waves, fireflies, and twinkles, you get to change the lighting depending on what you feel like at certain times.

When you purchase this particular package, you’ll receive 2 units of solar string lights. Each string is 33 feet long and carries 100 LED bulbs of 3 lumens brightness each.

The strings are made out of bendable copper, allowing you to set them up in various shapes to experiment with different looks. There’s a 4-unit option available to save you some money if you want to cover a larger area.

If you live somewhere where it often rains or you’re worried about placing these outdoor solar string lights near a pool or jacuzzi, you’ll be glad to know that these lights are rated IP65 waterproof. This means that all the components can survive exposure to rain or water splashes without risks of short circuit mishaps.

As for the run time, these string lights feature a 600 mAh high-quality battery that can produce light for 8 to 10 hours continuously per one full charge.

Additionally, they’re equipped with integrated sensors to detect nightfall and sunrise, automatically lighting up and turning off respectively. These lights are built to maximize saving energy while extending their life expectancy.

What We Like

  • The bendable strings allow you to customize different shapes
  • Has 8 lighting patterns
  • Impressive waterproof rating
  • Lots of value for money
  • Warm, cozy vibes 

What We Don’t Like

  • The strings tend to knot up if you’re not careful
  • Animals may chew on them

4. JACKYLED Solar Step Lights

Specs

  • Material — Stainless Steel + PC
  • Dimensions — 3.2 x .86 x 4 inches
  • Battery — 1.2V/ 1000mAh
  • Solar Panel — Polycrystalline silicon, 2V/120mAh
  • Run Time — 8 to 10 hours
  • Charging time — 6 to 8 hours
  • Power — 0.2W 
  • Brightness — 30 lumens
  • Color Temperature — 6,000K
  • IP rating — IP44 waterproof
  • Working temperature —  14 degrees F to 122 degrees F

Next, we have some solar step lights from JACKYLED, which are an excellent option if you’re looking for environmentally friendly lights to illuminate outdoor ground structures such as walkways, sidewalks, docks, decks, paths, and stairs. 

This model has a reasonably short charging time and longer run time. The featured solar panel is made out of polycrystalline silicon rated at 2V/120mAh and has a wide design to absorb more sun rays more quickly, filling up within 6 to 8 hours.

These outdoor solar lights are powered via a replaceable Ni-Mh 1000mAh battery, ensuring an extended run time of 10 hours maximum. Activating the Auto mode with a press of a button, the lights will automatically switch on when the sun goes down or if the weather gets too cloudy and turn off when the sun rises.

Available in packs of 2, 4, 6, and 16, each unit of these solar outdoor step lights houses 3 high-quality LED bulbs with a brightness output of 30 lumens. The durable stainless steel and PC construction is also weatherproof, offering a waterproof rating of IP44 and a working temperature range of 14 degrees F to 122 degrees F.

As such, these lights will hold up well against all elements and daily use. Not to mention, the installation process is pretty much a breeze since there’s no need to wire anything; you just need to screw the units onto the target surface at an angle that allows sun exposure.

What We Like

  • Energy-efficient solar panel and battery
  • Has a power button
  • Hassle-free installation
  • Modern design
  • Available in cool white, warm white, red, green, orange, and blue colors

What We Don’t Like

  • Unless placed close to each other, these lights are only for ambiance
  • Not for extremely cold weather

5. Aityvert Solar Flickering Flame Torch Lights

Specs

  • Material — Plastic
  • Height — 12.6 to 42.9 inches
  • Battery — 3.7V/2200mAh
  • Charging time — about 8 hours 
  • Run time — up to 12 hours in summer or 5 hours in winter
  • IP rating — IP65 waterproof
  • Brightness — 35 lumens
  • Color — orange
  • Working temperature —  -4 degrees F to 140 degrees F

Last but not least, if you’re looking for a stylish approach to illuminating the outdoors in your household, then these solar torch lights can be an ideal match. As the name implies, these lights offer you warm light in the shape of a faux frame inside a torch construction.

In addition to offering alluring tribal vibes, this unit will provide a flickering light with a rated brightness of 35 lumens.

As for charging and run time, each torch requires about 8 hours of exposure to sunlight. That’ll provide up to 12 hours of illumination in the summer. In winter, it’s cut down to around 5 hours because of the reduced sun exposure.

These torch lights have a variable height that you can easily adjust anywhere between 12.6 inches and 42.9 inches off the ground. Although their design is similar to tiki torches, they’re not quite as tall.

However, these outdoor solar lights are waterproof with an IP65 rating, so you don’t need to worry about weather elements including rain. What’s more, these lights are equipped with a daylight sensor, which triggers the bulbs to automatically turn on when it’s dark and shut off when it’s dawn.

The Aityvert Solar Outdoor Torch Lights come in packs of 2 or 4 units, backed up with a 1-year warranty. 

What We Like

  • Generates a flickering glow
  • The height can be adjusted
  • Easy to install
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

What We Don’t Like

  • Could be more durable

How to Choose the Best Outdoor Solar Lights?

When shopping for the best solar-powered outdoor lights, consider the points below to make sure you make the most out of your purchase:

Lighting Style

First, you need to figure out what style of lighting you want to use outdoors. There are several types to choose from such as spotlights, string lights, stair lights, wide-style lights, and even torch lights.

The decision should be in line with the decor of your outdoor area as well as the purpose of the lights. Are they only decorative? Do you want them for security reasons? Are they meant to light a pathway?

Your answers to such questions will help you determine what lighting style will go better with your outdoor area. On our list, we made sure there’s a variety of styles to appeal to different tastes.

Construction Material

To ensure the longevity of your outdoor solar lights, you should check the materials used in their manufacturing.

For example, if you’re opting for a spotlight, the body needs to be durable plastic to withstand any blows as well as resist the heat that the bulbs generate.

Also, if you’re going with string lights, the material of the wire should be tough yet flexible so you can bend it into different shapes without breaking it in the process.

Water Resistance 

Resisting water is key in any outdoor light because weather elements such as rain and humidity can easily ruin sensitive electronic components. So being waterproof ensures that you get at least a couple of years of use out of your solar outdoor bulbs.

Charging Time vs Run Time

Finally, you also want to check the charging time and run time of the lights then compare them against one another. The charging time refers to the duration it takes for the battery to fully charge via the solar panel, while the run time is how long the lights stay on per single full charge.

The run time, ideally, should be at least a couple of hours longer than the charging time. However, note that the run time can vary depending on your chosen lighting brightness and pattern.

FAQs

What are solar lights and how do they work?

Solar lights have the same appearance as regular electric lights, but they use energy from the sun to operate. So instead of plugging them into an outlet, these lights require exposure to direct sunlight to illuminate the surroundings.

Their operation depends on the presence of solar panels as a built-in part of their construction. The panels house photovoltaic cells responsible for absorbing energy from sun rays during the daytime.

The solar energy is stored after conversion to electric direct current. When it gets dark, an integrated solar inverter usually converts direct current to alternating current to power the light bulbs.

Where should I install outdoor solar lights? 

The best spot for installing outdoor solar lights is somewhere where the integrated solar panel can get around 6 to 8 hours of exposure to direct sunlight.

Wrap Up

Choosing the best outdoor solar lights depends on various factors including the intended purpose, your preferred style, the construction material, as well as the charging time vs run time. Once you figure out what you need from your outdoor lights, the rest will simply follow.

Once again, today’s winner today is the Aootek Outdoor Solar Motion Sensor Lights. These lights feature a reliable charging capacity, bright LEDs, and a motion-detecting sensor.

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