10 Best Outdoor Solar Lanterns in 2020 (Review)
Everybody enjoys spending time with family and loved ones in a cozy ambience. For outdoor activities like a dinner in the open or camping, a lighting source is a must-have.
In ancient times, when there was no electricity, people used candles and oil or kerosene lamps to have a source of light in the night. These lamps provided the same atmosphere and comfort that is wanted in these modern times.
Today, you can have a glimpse of the effects of these ancient lamps by selecting the best outdoor solar lanterns in 2020. These lights are generally manufactured with a design that resembles old-style models that mimic the amber and flickering effects of kerosene lamps without the dangers they implied.
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The Best Outdoor Solar Lanterns
1. Aobik Solar Mason Jar Hanging Outdoor Solar Lanterns
The Aobik solar Mason jar hanging outdoor solar lanterns are the most creative and innovative way to illuminate your patio, lawn, or garden.
A solar Mason jar contains several components that allow it to light up the night. The first and most creative one of them is a set of 30 LED lights that are wired together using a single metallic wire to join them. They present an irregular shape when gathered inside a glass jar (second component), making every LED solar lantern unique in its design.
The next components are metal handles that allow you to hang these LED lights in a tree. Finally, the last two components are the source of power for these decorative lanterns: the battery and the solar panel.
Small solar panels are located on the lid of the glass and they are powerful enough as to convert sunlight into electricity to fully charge the AAA battery. Once completely charged, this rechargeable led lantern is able to last between 10 and 12 hours, which is enough to last well through the night. The charging time for this model using solar power is approximately 6-8 hours.
2. Smart Solar 3960KR1 Outdoor Solar Lanterns
The Smart Solar 3960KR1 outdoor solar lanterns are an amazing choice that can be considered to create a warm glow view with an LED candle shape light.
The lantern uses an antique and classic design similar to the oil lamps from ancient times based in an upscale faux metal finish that will not rust and that is water-resistant, as well. These solar garden lanterns can be the perfect companion for a romantic or amazing family night dinner in the outdoors.
This LED lantern is powered by solar energy using two integrated monocrystalline solar panels, that when exposed to direct sunlight, can generate electricity that is able to power a AAA rechargeable battery set (two included) based in nickel-metal hydrate (Ni-MH) technology and with a capacity of 400mAh.
This energy storage capacity of the battery set is enough as to illuminate the night for up to 8 hours if it is fully charged. Two warm white LED’s are located inside the lamp to create a glowing pattern of light that can be visible on any surface.
The Smart Solar San Rafael II lantern is easy to carry and also has a handy off/on switch to activate it, plus a hanging loop to place it anywhere.
3. MAGGIFT 2 Pack Hanging Outdoor Solar Lanterns
Designed and manufactured using iron and plastic materials with a white finish, the MAGGIFT 2 Pack Hanging solar lights provide a subtle and soft ambient glow to any patio or garden.
These hanging solar lights have decorative purposes and use three white light LED bulbs with a lighting capacity close to 4 lumens. These lantern lights feature an Arabic style that resembles other models from the Middle East.
Moreover, as a solar rechargeable LED lantern, the MAGGIFT pack uses a single AA 400mAh nickel-metal hydrate (Ni-MH) battery that, when it’s fully charged, is able to last for nearly 8 hours or more during the night. Also, they typically take between 6-8 hours to get charged when exposing the solar panels located on top of the lantern.
An interesting feature of this model is that the lights automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn, which saves you energy every day and avoids the need to constantly turn the lantern lights on and off.
4. LVJING 2 Pack Hanging Lights
The LVJING 2 Pack Hanging Lights have a small and portable design that makes them easy to carry and easy to store. Moreover, these models include an on/off switch button that automatically activates the lantern at dusk and deactivates it at dawn.
Also, the LVJING light has a soft candle flickering effect that imitates a traditional oil lamp with an amber color feature. The lamp also has two solar panels with an estimated 60mAh energy production included in the top side of this light fixture that powers an internal battery that has a 600mAh capacity.
Moreover, this model features a compact design that is manufactured with metal and ABS plastic materials as well. Furthermore, the brightness that the LED light produces reaches 5 lumens, and the charging times also vary between 6-8 hours when exposed to direct sunlight. Once it reaches a full charge, then the estimated working time of the battery varies between 6-9 hours.
Truly these lanterns are great for sharing experiences with friends and family while being close to the beach and also for patio and pathways decorative purposes. You don’t have to worry about water or harsh weather, since these lights are designed with an IP44 weatherproof protection.
5. Eoyizw Solar Flame Lanterns
The Eoyizw solar flame lanterns have one of the most amazing designs for lanterns on the market. This unique design model features a lightweight and compact design that includes 99 LEDs that have a similar look to a flame-type lamp.
Having a similar light color that simulates a flame illumination, these LEDs also have a flickering effect that imitates the irregular light shape of a flame. Designed mainly for decorative purposes, the lanterns are great to light up family events like a party or a barbecue.
Moreover, these small solar lanterns are manufactured with an IP65 waterproof rating that makes them perfect for all kinds of weather, meaning they can be placed outdoors all year long.
Using a top-mounted dual-solar panel cell, they can constantly charge an internal battery based in lithium technology with a capacity of 1500mAh. After 8 hours turn the LED light on at night to last between 8 and 10 hours. Moreover, the model provides over 40 lumens of light capacity which are not enough to serve as a powerful source of light but that are intended to provide a beautiful ambience.
6. Smart Solar 3900KR1
The second option from the brand is the Smart Solar 3900KR1 San Rafael Mission style lantern.
One of the more reliable choices of garden solar lights, this Smart Solar model is able to sit on any flat surface and can also be hung by using the hanging loop located on the top of the lantern.
This lantern uses two high-performance warm white LED solar lights that can stay on for a long time using solar power. There is also the chance to select a single amber LED light to provide a warmer glowing look.
It’s important to notice that the compact design of the lantern allows it to be easy to store and install almost everywhere in the garden or patio. Using a monocrystalline solar panel, the lantern constantly recharges three replaceable AAA batteries of 600mAh each that provide up to 8 hours of lighting.
Regarding the material of the product, it has been manufactured using an upscale faux metal finish that will not rust and that is made from all-weather poly plastic.
These lanterns are perfect for the entryway to your home or even as solar driveway lights. It’s important to know that the difference between this and the San Rafael II model, is that the San Rafael II is a much smaller product. Therefore, the Smart Solar 3900KR1 models can be considered as large solar lanterns.
7. MAGGIFT 12 Lumens Hanging Lights
The MAGGIFT 12 lumens hanging lights provide one of the most beautiful designs that you will find amongst solar lanterns on the market.
Featuring an Arabic style lamp manufactured with iron and plastic while using a brown finish, the subtle light intensity that is provided gives an ambient glow that fills your garden and landscape with a beautiful and calm setting.
This is the perfect solar lantern, even for indoor applications, with a warm bright LED light that creates a beautiful pattern on the floor or ground. Moreover, the lantern uses 12 lumens for increased brightness.
Additionally, this solar lantern features an on/off switch to activate an automatic function, and it also includes a single AA 1,000mAh Ni-MH battery that is able to last up to 10 hours. Furthermore, it takes around 6-8 hours’ time to charge
8. Twinkle Star 8 Pcs
The Twinkle Star solar powered lanterns have been designed to be the perfect match to light up the landscape areas that you prefer.
Manufactured with a vintage design, these lanterns integrate an automatic light detection system that activates at dusk and turns off at dawn. You will also have a manual switch to activate the lights at will when needed.
Regarding some important specs, the Twinkle Star lanterns have two main installation modes. The first one is through hooks that can be used to hang the lanterns from a tree or from any other support in the air. The second one is a grounding scheme, which allow you to place the lanterns anywhere in the ground.
The patterns of the lantern produce multiple decorative effects that make a beautiful addition to your garden. Moreover, by completely charging the LED solar lanterns’ AAA Ni-MH batteries between 6-8 hours, you will be able to enjoy up to 8-10 hours of light source.
9. LampLust Outdoor Black Lanterns
These LampLust outdoor black lanterns have a very modern and realistic-looking design. The package includes two black metal and real glass products that also include an ivory resin-made solar candle.
Moreover, the design of this LED solar lantern features a warm flickering effect that mimics the glow of a real flame type candle and that suits perfect to provide that beautiful ambience look, making it a great source of light
These lanterns are also weatherproof, making them perfect for outdoor use without the risk of rust or damage of any kind.
Furthermore, this lantern features a single rechargeable AA Ni-MH battery with 600mAh capacity that is already integrated into the lower side of the battery.
LampLust has included four very small solar panels that are specially designed to completely charge the battery within a single day
10. SUNWIND Outdoor Hanging Lights
The Sunwind solar lanterns have a vintage design that makes you believe you are using an incandescent low efficient source of light. However, the truth is that these solar lights use an LED filament bulb that is located inside the Edison-type bulbs. Using solar panels located on top of the lantern, they provide the energy for a built-in battery that powers the LEDs.
As decorative lanterns, these products serve their purpose by integrating a concise pattern design that provides a glow and romantic ambience. This makes it perfect to be hung on trees and make them perfect for solar camping lanterns.
The product has also been designed to automatically turn on at dusk and turn off as dawn rises by activating the on/off switch. Moreover, the light output of the Sunwind model is approximately 5 lumens bright, which is good enough to serve for decorative purposes.
Finally, the Sunwind lantern features a compact design which makes it easy to carry and makes it valuable as solar patio lanterns.
Considering the price available in Amazon you can also think about it as cheap solar lanterns models that you can purchase for your camping trip, for your backyard, or even for outdoor activities.
Choosing Outdoor Solar Lanterns – 3 Features to Look For
Appearance and Design
The main purpose of these lights is to add a beautiful and cozy ambience to your patio, backyard or garden.
Since the idea is that you feel confident and happy about it, the first thing that you must look into is the design of the solar patio lanterns.
There are multiple aesthetics options for you to find the one that fits your taste.
You can choose from modern style lanterns such as the LVJING or LampLust models to Arabic styles such as the MAGGIFT products, passing through vintage type models such as the Sunwind and Aobik Mason jar lanterns and finally traditional ones as the Steady Doggie model
The next factor that you must look into is the battery specs.
The battery capacity in mAh is very important to consider. If you have a good solar resource available in your location, you will do better choosing a long battery capacity type model. However, if you don’t, then it is better that you choose a low capacity one. This will give you a better chance to properly charge the battery every day to the fullest which will optimize its performance over time.
Keep in mind the amount of time that is needed to get large solar lanterns charged and the amount of time that they should have available to work every day.
Lumens and Color of Light
The intensity of brightness is also another factor to consider. Most solar lanterns will have between 5 lumens and 40 lumens. Keep in mind that they are not intended for lighting purposes, but for decorative purpose, so the light intensity will never be high.
Combining this spec with the color of the light (amber, white light, etc.) is also important to consider as it will give you an idea of what you can expect when you turn it on during the night.
How Many Solar Garden Lanterns are Needed to Light an Average Size Yard?
According to HomeAdvisor the average size of a yard in the US is approximately 10 square feet. However, this does not mean that your backyard has this size, so we can use a reference based on the number of solar garden lanterns that you should install per 10 square feet.
Based on the fact that these lanterns are not designed for lighting purposes, we cannot take the basic approach to sizing a lighting system for your backyard. Moreover, we must also take into account that there is an aesthetic and architectural point of view that you must consider.
Therefore, it is recommended that you select only a few solar lights to light up special areas such as a table, garden gnomes or a fountain. This will add an elegant touch to your garden without overwhelming it with too many lights or hanging wires.
If you want to have a super bright backyard, it is recommended that you choose a high lumens model (at least 20) and that you install at least 5 solar lanterns per 10 square feet to reach a 10 lux (amount of light per square meter), which is suitable for decorative purposes.
How to Place Solar Hanging Lanterns Around Your Backyard?
There are three ways to placed hanging lanterns.
The first and most simple one is spreading them across the backyard in a sitting position. You don’t have to worry, they won’t fire up your garden. You can also sit them on small wooden boards installed on the walls.
The second one implies using the metal handles or loops (useful as well for solar camping lanterns) to place them on the walls or exterior sides of the garden (if you have). You will have to install hooks or use moldable glue to hang them.
Finally, the last choice is using string lights designs by crossing wires through the backyard and hang the solar LED lanterns by using the clips or hooks on top of the lantern.
The choice is up to you and to your taste.
Buying Solar Patio Lanterns for Decoration – 3 Tips
Avoid Hanging Wires
One of the best advantages of solar lights is that they do not need ugly wires to get powered; they work only with the energy stored inside the battery.
Use this advantage to display the solar lanterns across the backyard without the need to install wires that cross above your head.
Try to Select the Color Light That Matches Your Furniture
A good decorative touch is that your furniture color matches the colors of your solar lanterns. Generally, you will find bright white, amber and red colors for solar lights. Try to select furniture for your backyard or patio that matches these colors.
Highlight Remarkable Spots
As mentioned before, the idea of these lights is that they add a calm and beautiful ambience to the area that you are lighting up.
One of the best ways to do so is to place solar lanterns in spots across the garden that require some extra light, like the door (place two), a fountain, a tree, flowers, gnomes, a dinner table, etc.