10 Best Outdoor Solar Lights in 2020 (Review)
Solar power has multiple purposes. Lately, one of the most valuable applications for solar energy has been related to outdoor illumination.
There are multiple fixtures that you can purchase to light up your garden, backyard, doorways, patios, decks, pathways, pools, and other areas of your home. That being said, traditional models need wiring and they constantly consume power from the grid. Traditional incandescent bulbs also need to be continuously replaced.
The best outdoor solar lights in 2020 can serve the same purpose for illuminating and decorating your outdoor areas, but with an important difference: no wiring, no electricity costs, and no bulb replacement.
In this outdoor lighting guide, you will find the top models available for each type of the outdoor solar lights. You will also find valuable tips to decide which model is most suitable for you.
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The Best Outdoor Solar Lights
1. Lemontec Outdoor Solar Lights
The Lemontec are the perfect solution for those customers that are looking for powerful motion sensor lights.
Designed with 62 bright LEDs, these lights have three intelligent modes of operation: strong light, dim light, and strong long light modes. The first mode is intended for security purposes as the light is normally turned off. When the motion sensor detects movement, the light is automatically turned on at bright mode. The dim mode is intended for both illumination and security purposes. This Lemontec product normally operates at dim light but when motion is detected the light turns brighter. Finally, in the final mode of operation, the light simply turns on at bright mode during the night.
The Lemontec motion sensor lights also include efficient solar panels on the top side to harvest electricity when exposed to direct sunlight. This generated DC power is stored in a lithium-ion battery that has a capacity of 3400mAh which can provide up to 12 hours of illumination at night with just 7 hours of charging.
The detection range for the PIR motion sensor is between 10-26 feet and activates the light for 10 seconds unless another movement is detected.
2. Sunlitec Outdoor Solar Lights
Solar string lights are one of the most sought-after type of outdoor solar lights. The reason is that these products consist of a set of LED light bulbs that can be hung for both decoration and illumination purposes.
The Sunlitec model includes 25 high quality LED balls, each one with a lifetime of 50,000 hours distributed across a 27 foot rubber strand. Moreover, an interesting feature of the Sunlitec model is that there is the possibility to extend up to 50 light bulbs on each string.
These lights also have multiple lighting modes of operation such as quick flash, steady light, slow flash, and pulsating light. All of these modes will serve to add a vibrant and different ambience to your porch, yard or patio.
A unique and valuable feature of this product is its two charging modes: solar and USB. The solar charging mode requires 8 hours of sunlight to completely charge the 2000mAh lithium-ion battery while the USB charging mode only requires nearly 4 hours to do the same work. This also allows the user to set the lights for outdoor or indoor purposes.
3. Nekteck Outdoor Solar Spotlights
The Nekteck model is a solar powered yard light that is intended for landscape lighting in your yard, garden, pool, or driveway.
These solar garden lights have been equipped with a 20% efficiency solar. The tilt angle can be easily adjusted to achieve maximum solar energy conversion for the specific location. When the solar cell is exposed to sunlight during the day, it generates DC electricity and stores it in a 2200mah rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
These super bright solar powered LED outdoor lights can be rotated up to 180 degrees to the desired focus angle. They also have four LED bulbs that have a total of 200 lumens of light intensity and act as a remarkable source of light in any environment. This high lumen intensity provides not only a focused illumination, but also security.
They also feature two brightness modes: high (200 lumens) and low (80 lumens) that can be selected by using a switch. They can provide light between 6-10 hours and they are also easy to install by using a ground stake on soft soil.
4. InnoGear Solar Gutter Lights
The InnoGear solar gutter lights are intended for motion detection and security purposes.
This solar powered outdoor lighting model has 36 super bright LED bulbs that turn on automatically as soon as they detect movement within a 26-foot range. They also have four brightness modes between ¼ bright, ½ bright, dim mode with motion detection, and full brightness.
A very important feature of this light fixture is that up to 450 lumens of light can be obtained which makes it one of the most valuable security and motion sensor lights in the market.
They also use a 4.25 x 7.28-inch solar panel that generates electricity under sun exposure and is located on the top side. This is waterproof and heatproof, and it is also protected against scratches and frost for optimum performance in outdoor conditions. InnoGear solar lights use a 2600mAh battery that can work for up to 10 hours at night and include an aluminum pole for wall mounting.
5. Aityvert Solar Yard Lights
Solar lighting for paths is intended to act both as an illumination source and for decoration purposes in driveways, patios, or gardens.
The Aityvert decorative outdoor solar lights are perfect for this purpose and they also have a flickering flame effect that adds a beautiful touch to any ambience.
They use a 2200 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can light up your garden for up to 10 hours in summer and 5 hours in winter after complete sun exposure during the day (nearly 8 hours for charging).
Moreover, these lights also have an automatic feature that detects the presence or absence of light to turn on at dusk and turn off at dawn. No wiring is required for installation purposes and you only need to place the stake into the ground.
The solar panel’s efficiency is 17% and has an 880mW output. Finally, the flame solar LED outdoor lights have an IP65 waterproof rating that guarantees performance in the presence of dust or water.
6. Davinci Post Lights
The Davinci solar lights have an elegant design that works perfectly for lighting up doorways, stairs, railings, patios, and fence decks. The matte textured finish gives a classy style to these solar powered lights.
Designed with two warm white LEDs (3000 Kelvin) that produce 15 lumens in output, these solar powered outdoor lights have an integrated rechargeable lithium-ion battery that has a 300mAh capacity, enough as to provide 6-8 hours of working time after a direct sunlight exposure of 8 hours.
They fit within 4-6-inch post caps but can be mounted on any flat surface without any wiring needed. These outdoor solar lighting fixtures turn on automatically at night, thanks to the photosensor that detects the absence of sunlight and automatically turns the LEDs on.
An important detail of these LED lights is that they can last over 100,000 hours, which is nearly 100 times longer than a traditional incandescent tungsten light bulb can last.
7. Lovin Product Solar Motion Sensor Lights
This upgraded solar light has 182 LED beads with a super bright illumination performance. The wide-angle design, along with the high intensity of light that reaches up to 1000 lumens, makes it one of the brightest models available among solar outdoor lights.
This model has a smart motion sensor that detects the presence of sunlight and deactivates the LEDs during the daytime. It automatically turns them on at night. The built-in PIR motion sensor has a long-distance range that reaches up to 30 feet and has a 180-degree sensing angle.
Unlike other motion sensor lights, the Lovin product allows the user to select the amount of time that the LEDs will stay on when the PIR sensor detects movement. The time range can be varied between 5-180 seconds with a control dial.
8. Yinuo Mirror Solar Lantern Lights
Outdoor solar lantern lights have multiple decorative purposes for gardens, patios, beaches, camping, courtyards, decks and many more.
These decorative Yinuo solar lanterns have a beautiful pattern design that, when combined with the flickering flame effect, provide a unique calm and warm ambience to any area. These lights also use a small solar cell that is located on the top side and that has a 17% efficiency conversion rate. The solar power generated is stored in a 1500mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery that requires nearly 6 hours of sunlight conditions and works up to 15 hours when fully charged.
The manufacturing material for these cheap outdoor solar lights is an ABS plastic material. It has an IP65 waterproof rating that guarantees protection against dust and even against water jets.
Regarding installation procedures, the solar lights have two placement options. They can be placed on a flat surface but they can also be hung as they include a metal ring and clip that allows them to be attached to a string, to a tree, or to a tent. This feature also makes them suitable as outdoor solar string lights.
9. Azirier Waterproof Solar Garden Lights
The Azirier outdoor lights are environmentally friendly products designed for driveway or pathway illumination purposes by using solar power as their source of energy.
These LED lights have 2.4 lumens of cool white light that has been designed for decoration purposes. In other words, the Azirier solar lights will mainly add a warm glowing effect to any outdoor space creating shape patterns on the ground, but will not act as a strong illumination source.
The outdoor lights are also easy to install as they include a strong pike that acts as a ground stake. They simply need to be buried into soft soil, and then activates the ON/OFF button for the automatic function of the solar powered lights.
Regarding some important specs, the Azirier model has a solar panel with a 17mW output. After 6 hours of direct sunlight exposition, it will be able to generate up to 10 hours of illumination at night.
10. Gama Sonic GS-105S-G
Finally, another type of solar light that shouldn’t be overlooked on this list is the Gama Sonic GS-105S, a popular solar lamp post on the market. This classic-style lamp post is the perfect selection for the decoration of any yard, front door entrance, or garden.
The GS-105S lamp post can be installed in soft soil using the anchor system and the included screws, or by attaching the lamp to concrete as well. The lamp post features 10 bright-white LED bulbs that automatically turn on at night and shine at 130 lumens for almost 10 hours after the battery is fully charged. This capacity allows the solar powered lamp post to have a dusk to dawn performance design.
The integrated lithium-ion battery has been designed for a long lifespan with up to 1,000 charges in its lifetime (around 3 years). Moreover, the lamp post is 78-inches tall from base to final and is made of a heavy-duty rustproof and UV protected black resin.
5 Features to Look for When Buying Outdoor Solar Lights
Type of Outdoor Solar Lighting
There are multiple outdoor solar light types and each one serves a different purpose. Therefore, the first thing that you must look into is defining the type of solar light that you want to purchase.
Keep in mind that when selecting outdoor solar lights you must ask yourself: What is the main purpose of these lights? Decoration? Illumination? Security? Where would I place the lights? How many lights would I need? When would I use them?
All of these questions will help you find out the type of light that you are looking for. In any case, in the next section, you can take a look at the available types of solar outdoor lights.
One of the most important factors that must be taken into account when selecting outdoor solar lights is the lumen rating of the product. The lumens give a reference of how bright the light will be. Decorative solar lights will have a lumen output below 30 lumens, while others that have a good illumination purpose will have between 100 and 1000 lumens (only in large outdoor solar lights).
The next factor that must be considered is related to battery performance. Generally, most solar lights will have a lithium-ion battery. When evaluating the battery specs you need to look at the capacity, but also at the charging and working times.
Working times will generally be located between 6-12 hours. This will depend on whether the battery is fully charged within a single day or not. Keep in mind the purpose of the light when evaluating the working time. If it is for decorative purposes, lower working time may not be as important as it would be if it were intended for security purposes with motion sensor lights.
Charging times will often be located between 6-8 hours. Ideally, choose the model that normally requires fewer charging hours. With low solar radiation days, the performance of the battery will be better.
The possibility to adjust features of the solar outdoor lights is highly desirable in any product. Many solar lights have multiple options for lighting modes, especially motion sensor lights. According to the use that you intend to give to the solar light, the possibility to choose bright or low illumination modes will always be valuable, so always keep that in mind.
Some solar powered lights will also have the ability to adjust tilt or orientation angles of the solar panel or the light bulb. This is extremely valuable, as the solar panel’s optimum performance is highly dependent on the tilt angle. The ability to adjust it allows you to obtain maximum performance in any location.
Finally, other factors such as design, creativity, warranty, manufacturing materials, and waterproof/heatproof features may also help you decide between models.
What Are the Different Types of Solar Powered Outdoor Lighting?
There are multiple solar powered outdoor lights in the market. Despite that they have similar working principles, they serve different purposes. Here, you can find a list of the types of outdoor solar lights:
What Are the Different Types of Solar Yard Lights?
There are various types and styles of solar lights for your yard. Some are more suitable for particular areas of your yard, but it mainly depends on what you’d like to do with your lights. You may want them solely for lighting purposes, or your goal may be related to decorative purposes. Here is a list of the different solar yard lights available on the market:
Important Things to Consider When Installing the Lights in Your Outdoor Space
Installing solar outdoor lights is a very simple procedure, but following these valuable tips will help you get the most out of your solar lighting set.
Place the lights where they can receive more sunlight during the day. Look for the spots in your garden or outdoor area that have less shading impact across the day.
Take into account the mounting procedure needed for the light. Some can be simply placed on any flat surface, while others will require to be buried into the ground using a stake. Others can be simply hung on any string or tree.
Visualize the Shape and Patterns
If the solar powered outdoor lights are intended for decoration purposes, then you must visualize the shape or pattern of the lights through your area before installing them. Making a little sketch will do the trick.
Finally, if the lights are to be staked into the ground, then make sure that the soil is soft enough to place the stakes without too much effort. Add water if needed to do the work.
How to Clean Your Outdoor Solar Lights Without Damaging Them?
The key to performing appropriate maintenance to solar outdoor lights is to clean the solar panel that is located generally on top of the light.
Debris and dirt can accumulate on the solar panel’s glass, which can drastically reduce the performance of the PV module and the light itself (either on intensity or working times).
Almost all solar lights will allow you to remove the top cover where the PV module is located. Once removed you can simply use a cloth with a bit of dish soap to wash it gently (do not ever use bleach or any other abrasive material). If the solar panel is separated from the rest of the light (string lights or shed lights for instance) then the process is easier.
Following the same procedure for cleaning the glass or plastic cover that protects the light bulbs is also advisable. Cloudy buildups can be created, which reduces the perceived intensity of the light, even if the battery and LED bulbs are working fine.
Finally, over time, corrosion can also affect the battery. Using a soft brush to remove any white powder associated with corrosion would be advisable. It should come out rather easily