Best Outdoor Solar Lights | Path Landscape and Spot Lights

Magfit Solar Path Lights LED for Garden

Outdoor lighting is an important feature of a home. Things have moved far beyond the days of a simple porch light to include functionality and looks. A properly lighted walkway or set of steps can prevent a nasty fall. Motion sensor lights can activate when the trash is taken out or when an unwanted visitor begins to snoop around. In this article we investigate the best outdoor solar lights that can be used as path lights, landscape lights or spotlights.

Improvements in the garden and landscape lighting allows homeowners a chance to enjoy their yards after the sun has set. Decorative lighting increases the holiday spirit and the look of that super expensive koi pond filled with algae. Outdoor lighting can also increase the value of a home.

Adding outdoor lighting used to cost lots of money and long periods of time. That has changed in recent years as solar lighting technology has improved. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the best and the brightest solar lights out there.

Best Outdoor Solar LightsTypeGardenlife Rating
SolarGlow Solar Garden LightsPath lightsGGGGLearn more
AMIR Solar Powered Waterproof String LightsString lightsGGGLearn more
Litom Outdoor Solar LightsSecurity / flood lightsGGGGGLearn more
Maggift 8 Pcs Solar Powered LED Garden LightsLandscape lightsGGGGLearn more
URPOWER 2-in-1 LED Solar SpotlightSpotlightsGGGGGLearn more

Why solar power?

There are many reasons to choose outdoor solar lighting over traditional garden lights, including the ease of installation. Today’s garden and outdoor solar lights require no special tools to install them. For most applications, simple household items such as a screwdriver are all that is needed. They do not require electrical wiring because they generate their own power.

Installing outdoor solar lighting can save money. Many of the products available today are cheaper than more traditional hard-wired lights. Because they are easy for a homeowner to install, they do not need to pay an electrician or a landscaper. Once the lights are purchased there are no maintenance costs. They do not add to the electrical bill either.

Another advantage of outdoor solar lighting is location. The only requirement that these lights have is placement in sunlight. Solar lighting does not require a switch or timer to activate them. Well placed garden or outdoor lighting has the potential of improving property value.

Solar lights are more environmentally friendly than other lighting sources. This type of lighting source is another step towards energy independence for the home and the nation. It is also worth mentioning that each year the government and energy companies look for ways to offer discounts and rebates for green energy equipment.

Technology has advanced a long way since Bell Labs introduced the modern solar cell in 1954. Silicone technology has improved significantly since the 1960s. The best solar cells are capable of exceeding a 20-percent efficiency rating. The newer batteries found in solar lamps can withstand harsher environments better than previous generations could.

LED solar lights

LED lights began to appear in the early 2000s. Today, they use about 10-percent of the electricity an incandescent bulb would. All of these things make solar lighting a worthwhile investment.

Types of best outdoor solar lights

Solar path lights

There are various types of solar lights, with some sub-categories worth mentioning. The first and most popular type is solar path lights. These lights are usually placed on the ground near a driveway, sidewalk, or steps. Each unit that lights a pathway is independent of the others.

In most instances, their light shines in all directions. The coverage will vary depending upon the model. Some homeowners will deploy a style that can be mounted on a fence or to a wall.

Motion sensor and security lights

There are also solar lights that are activated by a motion sensor, remaining off unless movement is detected. These lights can be used for lighting a path or for security lighting. When used as a security light they are usually mounted on a wall next to a door or window. These fixtures will usually cover a larger area.

Solar spotlights

An in-between category of lights is solar spotlights. Spotlights focus their light in one direction. The light beam is brighter and more narrow than other solar lights. These lights can be used as a garden or lawn accent and as a pathway light.

Solar accent lights

The second type of outdoor solar lighting is accent lights. They can be used for celebration or for highlighting. String lights are a popular use of accent lightings. String lights can emit diffused light for an evening BBQ or bright colors to celebrate Christmas. They can be purchased as traditional bulbs or as icicles.

Solar lanterns provide a unique look for a deck or garden. A flagpole light points up from the ground and can be used to showcase a particular object. There are solar deck lights that are available that can provide character and visibility. Some pathway and spotlights are available with colored LEDs that make a distinct look for a garden or other landscaping.

How to choose the right garden lights?

Brightness (lumens)

One of the first considerations when choosing the right light is brightness. Some manufacturers will describe the brightness of a light in lumens. Lumens are a unit of measurement that indicates the brightness of a light source. The higher the lumens are the brighter the light will be.

A high lumen rating is a factor in determining what the best outdoor solar spot lights might be. High lumens are also critical for solar lights that are used for security purposes. The best solar path lights, on the other hand, will often have a lower lumen rating. This is because they do not need to overpower a person’s eyesight when they are traveling on a walkway.

Distance and range of light

How far a light needs to effectively shine is also an important factor. Lights that are placed on the ground or are staked a few inches above it will usually have a limited range. Lights that are mounted to decks or fences will usually broadcast lightwaves farther. Flood and security lights that are mounted on a wall or overhang usually require the power to illuminate farther than a path and decorative light would.

The best solar landscape lights may require just enough distance to highlight a few rose bushes or a fountain. Some landscape lighting like flagpole lights, for example, require the ability to light up a flag hoisted far into the air. A factor to consider with lighting that emits a long distance is the direction of the light. Equipment that broadcasts in all directions may be overpowering to look at, especially if the source has a high lumens rating.

Pattern or spread of light

Along with distance, the pattern or spread is also worth thinking about. A spotlight will focus its light into a beam that is usually less than a 45-degree angle. A flood or security light, on the other hand, will spread into a pattern up to 200-degrees or more. Many hanging and pathway lights will broadcast in all directions.

Battery

Batteries are essential for all outdoor solar lights installation in order to operate at night. If possible, find a solar light that uses a nickel-metal hybrid battery. The next best option would be a nickel-cadmium battery, although these batteries are more toxic. If the light does not use one of these batteries then consider changing to one. Also, make sure that the wedge inserted between the battery and the housing is in place. This wedge prevents the battery from functioning before it is purchased. In general, the best outdoor solar lights last for all night with a single charge.

Best solar path lights reviews

SolarGlow Solar Garden Lights

15
Brightness (lumens)

No one tends to buy a single outdoor light, so this set of six stainless steel garden path lights is a great way to get started in one go. Each light consists of a plastic stake, a cylinder body, a clear plastic light covering, and the light housing. The plastic stakes have a nice point for driving the light into the ground. At first glance, the spikes appear too short to hold the body in place but they have a thick taper to them.

The stainless steel body and lid provide a solid feel and look. For those who desire a bright or “cool” white, these SolarGlow products will be of interest. Each light produces 15 lumens of light which can be used in the garden or on the path. These lights are rated for all four seasons. SolarGlow offers a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee on these lights.

Maggift 8 Pcs Solar Powered LED Garden Lights

2
Brightness (lumens)
8
Lights (pieces)

This eight-piece kit would be ideal for someone looking to decorate their deck or garden. Each light contains eight LEDs that produce 2 lumens per garden light. The soft glow they produce is intended for ambiance more than it is for visibility. The metal and plastic body offers a distinguished look to these lamps even during the day.

Magfit Solar Path Lights LED for Garden

Including the yard spike, each lamp measures 11-inches tall. There is a power switch located on the housing, a nice feature for when they do not need to be activated. The shell that contains the LEDs is weather resistant so these lights should be good in all weather conditions. Power storage should not be an issue with this product, as Maggie uses an AAA Ni-MH battery for each light.

A six to eight-hour charge produces eight to ten hours of steady light.

Best solar string lights reviews

AMIR Solar Powered Waterproof String Lights, 200 LED Copper Wire Lights

AMIR Solar Powered Waterproof String Lights
200
Lights (pieces)
72
Length (ft)
14
Working time (hours)
Amir String Garden Led Lights Solar Panel
The first thing that grabbed our attention with these string lights was the photocell. It measures four-inches across and nearly the same in height. This should be capable of supplying enough electricity to run the LED string for nearly 12 hours on a full charge. The plastic stake is long enough to hold the unit in place once it is driven in.

There are 200 LEDs spaced evenly over 72-feet of copper wire that is insulated against moisture. The LEDs produce a nice warm white color. It takes just a little more than eight hours to fully charge the system. Once the battery is charged, it can power the lights steadily or in eight different patterns.

There are two buttons on the back of the panel that are used to change the display modes and to control the power.

Best solar security lights reviews

Litom Solar Lights Outdoor Wireless 24 LED Motion Sensor Solar Lights

Litom Solar Lights Outdoor Wireless LED
24
Lights (pieces)
270
Illumination range (degrees)
420
Brightness (lumens)

Litom has upgraded their motion sensor light and this 24 LED model produces the same light that many 30 LED systems do. This light is small at only six inches by four inches and can be mounted to a wall with screws. One of the clever design features of the motion sensor light is the three angles the LEDs are mounted on. This helps to create a 270-degree wide light cone which lights up more area than other designs do.

Litom - Best outdoor solar lights

The best outdoor solar lights?

The housing is IP65 rated, which means that it can handle all types of weather environments. Another great feature this system offers is three mode settings. The user can set it to activate with motion only or with two levels of lower light that kick into the bright mode when motion is detected. Litom offers customers a 24-month warranty.

Best outdoor solar spot lights reviews

URPOWER 2-in-1 Waterproof 4 LED Solar Spotlight

URPOWER 2-in-1 Waterproof Solar Spotlight for Wall Landscape
2
Lights (pieces)
200
Brightness (lumens)
URPOWER solar spotlights features
Consumers looking for a bright spotlight may be interested in this pair of adjustable lights. Four large LEDs in each housing are capable of producing 200 lumens.

There are two light modes which add a bit of versatility to the set. A four to five-hour charge on the Lithium Ion battery can produce up to nine hours of light per cycle.

The lights are designed to be used all year long, including the winter months. Each light includes a yard stake as well as wall mounting accessories, giving this light even more versatility.

One of the best features of this spotlight is its adjustable light and panel. The light swings up and down while the panel swivels. This allows the user to place the panel and light in ideal positions no matter where their location.
Best Outdoor Solar LightsTypeGardenlife Rating
SolarGlow Solar Garden LightsPath lightsGGGGLearn more
AMIR Solar Powered Waterproof String LightsString lightsGGGLearn more
Litom Outdoor Solar LightsSecurity / flood lightsGGGGGLearn more
Maggift 8 Pcs Solar Powered LED Garden LightsLandscape lightsGGGGLearn more
URPOWER 2-in-1 LED Solar SpotlightSpotlightsGGGGGLearn more

Conclusion – The best outdoor solar lights

Solar power has come a long way over the last six decades. Advances in silicone, computer circuitry, and batteries have made compact outdoor lighting a reality. The addition of LED lighting since the early 2000s has helped to create the brightest solar lights available to consumers. Confidence in these products is growing, and for good reason.

The sheer variety of products available guarantees that a light can be found for just about any need. As some of the products above showcase, the best solar path lights offer enough lumens to highlight a walkway without washing it out. If the best outdoor solar spot lights are required, they need to generate a brightness on par with hard-wired systems. Aesthetics and flair are what make the best solar landscape lights exciting and fun.

All in all, on those spring and fall evenings when it’s still warm, solar landscape lights can extend the day and if you have any children, then can stay out for longer and play in the garden

Make sure to think about the lights discussed above when planning those springtime home improvements! We hope this little guide helped you to find the best outdoor solar lights on the market today. 

When lit, it is even more important for the lawn to look healthy and well kept. Therefore feel free to check out our reviews of dethatchers to keep them ventilated and debris-free, as well as our weed killer series starting with crabgrass!