Solar Lights are the most practical and energy-efficient solution for lighting up the outdoors. Apart from providing aesthetical value, they add safety and security to your home and doesn’t require any electricity to be powered on. They can be installed easily on driveways, pathways, walkways, walls, patios, decks, and lawns. So, in this article, we will list out some of the Best Solar Lights you can buy online.
Before buying the best solar powered lights for your home, garden or driveway, here are some important factors / specifications that you have to consider…
- Type and Brightness: Based on your purpose, you have to pick up the right solar light. For example, if you need a security lamp, you have the basic LED Solar Security Lamps. Apart from that, you have to also consider the brightness as well. It is measured in terms of the lumen and below are the general guidelines…
|Solar Lights Type||Brightness Range|
|Step lights||12 to 100 lumens|
|Landscape solar lights||50 to 130 lumens|
|Hardscape solar lights (on wall)||50 to 185 lumens|
|Path solar lights||100 to 200 lumens|
|Pond/Pool solar lights||200 to 400 lumens|
|Motion sensor solar lights||300 to 900 lumens|
|Flood solar light||700 to 1300 lumens|
Note: When it comes to Solar String Lights, they illuminate very less. However, as they have smaller lights and are mostly used for decoration, brightness levels usually don’t matter much.
- Battery: Batteries used in solar lights come in four different types – Lithium-Ion, NiMH, Lead-Acid and NiCad. Among them, lithium-ion batteries are the popular choice as they have higher capacities and still have a small size.
- Solar Panel: They are available in three different types – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous solar panels. Among them monocrystalline solar panels are effective but they are a bit expensive. Polycrystalline and amorphous solar panels are less expensive but have less efficiency.
Our “Buying Guide” has a detailed list of points and factors that you need to look at and consider apart from these three key points.
A list of Best Solar Lights is also provided below – which are carefully picked and selected after several hours of testing and analysis.
The 11 Best Solar Lights in 2021
|Solar Light Kits||Type of Solar Light||Warranty||Buy Now|
|Aootek Led Solar lights||Outdoor Security Light||N.A||Check On Amazon|
|Brightech Ambience Pro Solar Lights||Outdoor String Lights||3 Years||Check On Amazon|
|Tomcare Solar Spotlights||Landscape Spotlights||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
|Litom Solar Spotlights||Landscape Spotlights||1.5 Years||Check On Amazon|
|Baxia Technology Solar Lights||Outdoor Security Light||6 Months||Check On Amazon|
|Amir Upgraded Solar Lights||Outdoor String Lights||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
|Beau Jardin Solar Lights||Landscape Spotlights||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
|InnoGear Upgraded Solar Lights||Landscape Spotlights||N.A||Check On Amazon|
|AmeriTop Led Solar Lights||Outdoor Security Light||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
|Oxyled Solar Lights||Landscape Decorative Lights||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
|Jackyled Solar Step Lights||Outdoor Landscape for Staircases||1 Year||Check On Amazon|
11 Best Solar Lights Reviews
First on our list is an outdoor security lamp powered by solar lights. The Aootek Solar Lights is an LED-based solar power outdoor motion sensor light. This lamp comes with a 15.3 inches large solar sensor and is easily one of the best sellers available.
This Light comes with three operational lighting modes. The first one is a security monitoring mode wherein the motion sensor turns on the light automatically when someone comes by the sensor and then turns it off.
In another mode is, the light is kept on throughout the night and the light becomes bright when it detects any motion. The light’s PIR motion sensor is an upgraded motion sensor detector, and it comes with an ability to detect anyone within a 26 feet distance. The angle of detection for the lamp is around an angle of 120 degrees.
The light comes with a 2200 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Adding to this, the monocrystalline solar panels have a good efficiency of 20.5% at a rate of 1.2 watts of energy.
Made out of IP 65 heat proof and Waterproof material, this outdoor security light is great for night time security and can be easily installed on the porch, over by the patio, in the garden etc.,
- Comes in a pack of 182 LED Lights
- Solar panels of size 15.3″
- Dimming function
- Coverage of 26 feet distance
- Wide-angle depth of 120 degrees
- 2200 mAh lithium ion battery
- Intelligent PIR motion sensor
- Solar panels with a 20.5% conversion rate
- 1 year warranty
The Brightech ambience pro is a string of waterproof solar powered decorative lights. Shaped and designed to give your outdoor or the decorated wall a vintage Italian café look, the pergola lights can be a canopy to be placed over the porch or by the grill too.
With its solar panels, you can get a full charge in just 6 hours of placing the panels under sunlight. This will give them about 6 hours of the runtime and that is long enough for cooking, grilling, and even partying as well.
Made out of commercial-grade waterproof material, the bulbs, unlike the conventional bulbs, are built from S15 Shatterproof plastic and have the ability to withstand winds up to the speed of 50 MPH and also snow or rain too. They’re even heat resistant up to a temperature of 122° F.
As the solar panel comes detached from the lights, the panel can be virtually placed anywhere. This makes it easier for you to place the lights at a desired spot. The solar panels also work on indirect sunlight as well. The length of the line is about 27 feet long and the distance between the first bulb to the panel is 6 feet.
With a 3000k soft white brightness, the bulbs have an overall life span of 20,000 hours. These lights come with about 2 years of manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase. This and their better support adds on to make it a good buy.
- 12 3000K Soft white 1W LEDs
- Detachable solar panels that can be placed anywhere else
- 6 hours for recharge and 6 hours of run time
- Replaceable batteries
- 27 Feet long bulb lines
- Works in indirect sunlight as well
- Shatterproof bulbs with 122° F heat proof and 50 MPH wind resistant
- 2 Years manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
- Great customer support
- Could have had a better battery life
The TomCare Solar Lights are waterproof in nature and offer a garden flicker flame solar light effect. They are safer and energy-saving alternatives to real flame lights. Their soft and mood-enhancing glow will cast a beautiful essence to gardens, parties, and hallways.
Available in packs of 4, these lights have a height adjustment feature. As they come as flames on sticks, you have the ability to adjust the height of the stick to suit your hallways or garden path’s distancing. The maximum the sticks can go is about 43″.
With a large 2,200 mAh battery, the battery is charged using solar power that comes on top of each lamp. It will take up to 8 hours for a full charge and you can use the lights for about 12 hours.
Dust and waterproof in nature, the bulbs are durable and can withstand any kind of weather and the panels are made out of IP 65 Waterproof material. Furthermore, they are very simple and easy to install anywhere. The lights come with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase.
- Flicker Flame styled garden and hallway illuminating solar lights
- Height adjustment feature with about 43″ long sticks
- Easy installation
- Available in packs of 4
- 2,200 mAh battery
- Recharge time is 8 hours
- Up to 12 hours of working time
- Weatherproof with IP 65 Waterproof material
- 1 year manufacturer’s warranty
The LITOM Solar Light is a landscape spotlight and looks like the flicker flame lights mentioned above. But unlike the flicker lights, LITOM is a highly focused spotlight for garden paths or as a landscape light.
With its 12 LEDs, the light has a total of 600 lumens brightness and a wide-angle of 120 degrees with the bulb head being able to adjust to 90 degrees. The rechargeable battery on this light is of 18650 type lithium-ions battery.
Unique and still fashionable, the lights are available in Cold white with color temperature going as far as 6500k. In its two modes of operation, the lights can go continuously for 12 hours in low mode and 6 hours in high mode. For either of the modes, all you need is a 4 to 5 hours of charging under the Sun.
When there is a shortage in brightness, the lights will automatically turn to low energy saving mode. The mode is triggered by sensing the brightness of the lamp automatically by its sensors
Made out of waterproof and heat resistant materials, the build quality of the lights is from High impact ABS plastic and made out of IP 67 waterproof material.
Installation wise, it is as simple as sticking the lights down in the ground or you can also mount it by the walls too. With good quality assurance certifications from FCC, CE, MSDS, etc., LITOM offers a 45 days money-back guarantee and also an 24 months warranty from the date of purchase.
- Simple yet fashionable spotlights for ground or for the walls
- 12 LED-based bulbs with a total luminosity of 600 lumens
- Cold white with color temperature of 6,500k
- IP 67 Waterproofing
- Working time of up to 12 hours in low mode and 6 hours in high power mode
- Charging time of 4 – 5 hours
- Automatic on and off
- Power saver mode when the battery begins to dim
- 18650 Lithium rechargeable battery with 1800 mAh
- 45 days money back with 24 months of warranty
Next on our list is BAXIA TECHNOLOGY BX-SL-101; a four-pack of outdoor security Solar lights.
Similar to the Aootek outdoor lights in terms of design, these outdoor lights can detect any movement within a range of 3 to 5 meters. If someone comes within this range, the lights automatically get turned on and they turn off in 30 seconds after the person leaves.
Each light consists of 28 powerful LEDs (400 lumens), the PIR sensors of this light have a motion sensor range of about 120 degrees. It does not have any dimming or other functions.
With a 1200 mAh Lithium-ion battery, all you need to do is charge the solar panel for about 8 hours and it can light up the lamp for the whole night. As the solar panel comes on top of the lights, make sure to place it with good exposure to sunlight.
Made out of IP 65 Waterproof material, the light is dust and heat resistant and very durable in nature. Baxia provides a 30 days full refund policy and also has a 180 days limited warranty from the date of purchase.
- Available in packs of 4
- Each light has 28 LED lights
- 400 Lumens
- 3 – 5 meters PIR motion range
- Durable and Heat Proof IP 65 Waterproof
- 1200 mAh battery capacity
- 30 days money back and 180 days limited product guarantee
- No dimming or other functions function
The AMIR Solar String Lights is a decoration light mostly bought for parties, Christmas decors and has 100 bright LEDs. With a steady 360 degrees viewing angle, these lights let you shape and view them in any direction possible.
Great for garden, patio and internal decorations, the lights are built from high quality, very thin, and very flexible copper wiring that is coiled into a bobbin winder to prevent any messy formations.
Powered by a separate solar panel, the panels can easily be hidden in bright areas and the copper wire is almost invisible when in dark. The lights have a Warm white color temperature. The total length of these lights is 33 feet and can easily last up to 8 hours.
Flexible and easy to shape, you can shape up the lights to any form factor you wish for by wrapping them about. They are environmentally friendly, have high energy conversion and are completely safe to use.
Both the lights and the solar panels are made out of IP 65 Water, dust and weatherproof in nature. The lights come with a 12 months warranty from the date of purchase makes it a good purchase.
- Aesthetically beautiful string lights with 100 LED
- Warm White color temperature
- 33 feet long with very thin copper wiring
- 2V 100mA Solar Panel
- Up to 8 hours of working time
- Charging time of 6 hours
- Easy to install and flexible
- IP 65 waterproof build material
- 12 months warranty
While most of the path lights are made out of plastic owing to the fact that they might get rusty, the Beau Jardin outdoor garden pathway solar lights are made out of high-quality rustproof glass and stainless steel material.
Built about 17″ high and 5.4″ wide, the garden solar path lights are built from stainless steel and watertight diamond glass shade for outdoor usage. The metal texture touch and the glass material make it not just durable but also aesthetically beautiful looks.
Easy to install and use, you wouldn’t be needing any additional tools for installing it. Just dive it to the ground in place of ample sunlight. The lights are ready to go. The panels come attached to the top of the lights hence charging is direct and easy as well.
As they turn on and off automatically, they don’t even need a lot of maintenance too. Also, there is the fact that the material is made out of IP 65 Waterproof and dustproof material. The solar panels are also highly efficient.
Each Solar light has a 25 lumen output from the diamond-shaped LED light and combined they can light up to 8 to 12 hours. The battery is different from other Solar lights as it contains a 14500 LiFePo4 battery with 600 mAh capacity. It can be recharged in 6 to 8 hours.
Made out of strong ABS plastic, rustproof stainless steel, and not easily breakable diamond glass, the lights come with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase.
- Simple push to install path lights for garden
- Made out of Stainless steel and durable ABS plastic and glass materials
- 8 to 12 hours of battery life
- 14500 LiFePO4 600 mAh Battery
- 25 lumens
- Adjustable height
- 1 Year warranty
- Could have had higher luminosity
The InnoGear 2 in 1 waterproof Solar Lights are pathway model landscape lights that can also be doubled as a wall light as well.
These lights come with a separate light and land spikes unlike most of the landscape lights. The light’s height is fully adjustable. You can drive it in the ground with its stick to become a pathway landscape light or remove the stick and place it on the wall to become a wall light as well.
This light comes with 2 lighting modes, one is the low energy light mode which will burn for about 8 to 12 hours and in its high energy mode, the light runs for about 4 to 6 hours in total.
Automatically turning on and off, the solar panel of the light is attached to the top of the light and it is built with a 1.5W monocrystalline silicon. This lets you charge the lights much faster than any other material in the same sunlight conditions. This material detects any brightness around it which includes bulb lighting or even indirect sunlight. It then channels it, switches on, and stores the energy.
Much like most of the landscape models, this one too does not need any installation for placing in the ground. For walls, it has a set of simple to use screws and can be installed easily. Made out of high quality waterproof and dustproof material, it can withstand high temperatures and harsh weather too.
The light comes normal white color temperature and the battery capacity is 2,200 mAh. These solar lights have 12 month warranty.
- 2 in one model landscape light for pathway or for the wall
- 2,200 mAh battery
- Can work for 12 hours in low mode and 6 hours in high bright mode
- 1.5W monocrystalline silicon solar panels
- High quality ABS plastic and waterproof material
- Easy to install and high reliability
- 12 months warranty
The AmeriTop Outdoor Solar lights have a unique design to it and its ultra wide coverage illumination angle can light up any side without hassle.
The lamp has a three headed design structure that can produce about 6000k of 1600 lumens high brightness output. The light has an Auto Mode which automatically turns it on from dusk to dawn and then turns it off for charging during the day.
The solar panel screen of this light is not attached to the lights and it can be placed anywhere with good sunlight For this, it has a 15 foot cord.
Bulbs of this light have a comparatively higher heat dissipation when compared to other solar LED outdoor lights. The battery can be fully charged for a whole night in just a few hours of charge.
Thanks to the versatile design of the lamp, with its three way fixture it can shine light at a very wide angle. The sensing angle of the PIR motion sensors of this light is large too. These Sensors have a 20% higher sensitivity than general solar lights.
It has a total of 180 degree sensing angle due to its 3 way fixture and it can sense anyone within a 49 feet distance. This can be adjusted by tilting or moving about the hood and the lens of the light.
Made out of high-quality IP 65 dustproof and Waterproof material, the product comes with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase.
- Motion sensor security outdoor solar lamp
- Versatile 3 way fixture design
- 15 feet long chord with a separate solar panel
- 180 degrees Ultra wide coverable motion angle
- 49 feet distance sensing distance
- Automatic turn on and off
- 3,000 mAh battery capacity
- 6000k color temperature with 1600 lumens brightness
- 1 year manufacturer’s warranty
OxyLED is more of a decorative outdoor light than a solar powered bright light for lighting an area. It comes with aesthetically beautifully designed bulb models ranging from a Butterfly, a hummingbird and a dragonfly.
Made out of high quality yet light in weight materials, the bulbs of the light are durable and weatherproof in nature. Also, as they are powered by solar energy, they are the best self sufficient decorative figurine lights you can buy.
Though the charging is automatic, the lights themselves are controlled by a manual on and off switch. The solar panel is built into the lights and it automatically charges the battery during the day and has enough battery capacity to last for about 8 hours of working time.
Just make sure you are placing the lights within good exposure to sunlight or any bright lights during day time. These three lights have a total of 7 color changing LEDs in them. Thus, they add an aesthetic beauty to your garden if you place it as landscape path lights, within flowerbeds, fences and can also be great for Christmas or Halloween decorations too.
These lights have a height of 30″ (about 73 cm in length) and require no specific installation techniques. For such a small product, OxyLED even provides a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase.
- 3 Solar LED lights with different shapes: butterfly, dragonfly and a hummingbird
- Powered by a solar panel that is built
- Adjustable pathway lights with 73 cm (30″) long sticks
- Can change colors from Red, to green to blue
- On a full charge, the lights will be on for about 8 hours
- Comes with 1 year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
Finally on our list is the JackyLED, a set of 8 packs of staircase illuminating solar powered lights. Made out of high quality stainless steel materials, the lights add on to the usefulness and also to the aesthetic sense as a whole.
The Solar Panels are made out of 2V 120mA wide polycrystalline silicon, the lights are capable of absorbing more power and recharging the 1000 mAh NiMH Batteries in just about 6 hours of solar exposure (8 hours max).
Like almost all of the lights in the list, this one too is automatic in its charging operation and is perfect for outdoor steps for virtually free energy lighting for a lifetime. And given the IP 44 weatherproof sturdy stainless steel and high strength plastic material construction of the lights, the lifetime of the lights is large enough as it can withstand snow, rain, heavy winds round the year.
Each of the lights comes with 3 premium quality LED bulbs and the packs are not just available in 8 packs but also in 2,4 and 16 packs as well. You can choose from warm white or cool white light as per your wish.
Simple to install and with good value for money, the lights come with a 30 day money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase.
- Unique design for path lights placed at bottom for steps/staircases
- Available in 2,4,8,and 16 packs
- Each light has 3 LED bulbs
- Available in warm white and cold white lights
- 1000 mAh rechargeable NiMH battery
- 6 to 8 hours of sunlight for a full charge
- Solar Panels are made out of 2V 120mA Wide polycrystalline silicon
- 30 days money back warranty 1 year manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase
- Could have had a better battery for higher pack ranges
What are Solar Lights?
Solar Lights are the modern and alternative source for powering up indoors and outdoors without consuming any natural resources. This advanced technology is efficient and special compared to the conventional lighting method – because it uses sunlight for powering up the lights.
As Solar energy is a renewable source of energy, these lights are considered environment friendly. Now-a-days, so many people are choosing solar-powered lights to power up outdoor areas like driveway, porch and garden.
How Does a Solar Light Work?
The working mechanism of solar lights is actually very simple. A core component of solar light is a photovoltaic panel also known as PV panel. This component will absorb the energy from sunlight during day time. After collecting the energy, it will be transformed into electrical energy and stored in a battery. Usually, batteries provided with solar lights are rechargeable ones.
When sunsets, the solar power lights will automatically detect it and switch on the lights. As sunlight is their main energy source, you have to install these lights where there is more sun exposure. Apart from PV panels, solar lights also have a controller. This component is specially designed to sense the sunlight and automatically turn on/off the LED lights using the energy stored from sunlight.
If you want to know how the PV panels work, then here’s how – they contain several layers of crystalline silicon and some chemicals. These layers have negatively charged electrons and positively charged spaces. Once the sunlight passes through the PV panel, the light energy will excite the negatively charged electrons and pressures them into positive spaces.
1. Different Types of Solar Panels
As technology advanced, solar panels have also evolved. Now solar lights are available in three types – indoor, outdoor and security lights. We have mentioned these types clearly below for your reference.
Now-a-days, these lights have become very popular. Because outdoor lights can not only illuminate the area but also acts a security guard. They will discourage any chance of theft or robbery. As you already know solar lights are powered using sunlight, if these outdoor lights will get more Solar energy, then the lights lasts for a longer time with brighter lights. On full charge, outdoor lights can last up to 10 hours continuously.
There are several outdoor solar light types. We have mentioned brief explanation of them below…
- Solar String Lights – These lights are also referred to as Christmas lights or fairy lights. They are mostly used as decorative lights as you can hang them or wrap them around the trees, shrubs, and backyard.
- Solar Deck Lights – They are also referred to as solar patio lights. They can be installed on patios, staircases, siding, walls, and others to create a vibrant and rich effect.
- Solar Spot Lights – This type of light can be placed above the doors, walls, high areas, and every focal point you want to illuminate.
- Solar Post Lights – If you want to beautify your garden or lawn, then post lights are suitable.
- Solar Flood Lights – These lights can be used to illuminate certain areas and floods like around the house, parking lot, streets, garages, and backyard.
- Solar Fence Lights – As the name implies, they are used for illuminating fence areas for visibility from both inside and outside.
- Solar Lanterns – They are also known as hanging solar lights or garden lanterns. They are compact and portable making it perfect for providing light in remote places, especially in the backyard.
- Solar Wall Lights – If you want to illuminate outdoor walls, then this option is perfect.
- Solar Driveway Lights – As the name implies, they are installed in the driveway so that you can drive or walk safely to your home.
- Solar Walkway Lights – If you want to brighten the walkway making sure the outdoor is not scary or dark, these lights are perfect.
- Solar Porch Lights – These are affordable and reliable lights to illuminate your porch.
- Solar Step Lights – These lights add sufficient lighting to staircases and steps. So, you can happily climb stairs even at night.
- Solar Lawn Lights – These lights add the perfect ambiance to your garden or yards.
- Solar Emergency Lights – They are perfect for emergency cases and power outages.
- Solar Camping Lights – If you go camping a lot, then these lights are a reliable source.
2. Indoor Solar Lights
Just like outdoor lights, indoor solar lights also come in different models. But the main difference between indoor and outdoor lights is that – solar panels in outdoor options are present within them, while for indoor lights, solar panels are installed separately on the terrace or where there is ample sunlight exposure. They are usually used as alternative power backup purposes. Below, we have mentioned several types of indoor lights.
- Solar Shed Lights – If you don’t want to add lights used in the shed to increase your utility bills, then these lights are the right option.
- Solar Desk Lights – These lights don’t come with any cords; so you can carry them anywhere you want.
3. Security Solar LED Lights
These are the most common and popular solar lights. Most of them are installed outside the houses like in the driveways, around the house, entry gate, in front of the houses, and other areas. These lights may look like normal lights, but they double up to be security lights as well. They have in-built sensors with a detection range of certain angle.
When someone walks in the coverage area, then the lights will detect it and automatically turn on the lights. If inactivity is detected, then they will turn off automatically in a few minutes or seconds. They are quite handy and economic as well.
How to Choose Solar Lights?
In this buying guide, we are going to talk about all the essential things that you need to consider while choosing a good quality solar light. Read the information thoroughly to make an informed decision.
The first factor to consider while purchasing solar lights is the purpose you would be using the light for. based on this purpose, you can pick up the right solar light available in the market.
For example, if you need a security lamp, you have the basic LED solar security lamps. But if you need something that has aesthetic and security as well, you have the hanging solar security lamp models.
For desk usage, you have the low-powered and economical focus lamps and for the path lighters, you have the garden path lamps which are both beautiful in their looks and very useful as well.
The next important thing to consider is the brightness provided by the solar lights. Usually, the intensity of brightness provided by the solar light is measured in terms of lumens. Different solar lights are designed to provide different lumen output. The lumen level range varies from 12 to 1500 or above. You have to choose the brightness level based on your purpose or requirement. We have provided common guidelines below for your reference…
- Step Solar Lights – 12 to 100 lumens
- Landscape Solar Light – 50 to 300 lumens
- Hardscape solar Light (on wall) – 50 to 185 lumens
- Path Solar Light – 100 to 200 lumens
- Pond/Pool Solar Light – 200 to 400 lumens
- Motion Sensor Solar Light – 300 to 900 lumen
- Flood Solar Light – 700 to 1300 lumens
So, choose a solar light with lumen rating that is within the range of higher than your requirement.
3. Battery Type
Batteries used in solar lights come in four different types – lithium ion, NiMH, lead acid, and NiCad. If you are looking for long lasting lights, then lithium-ion battery is the right choice. Because they work for longer hours and have higher capacity.
If you want powerful solar lights, then you should choose lithium ion or lead acid batteries. Because they have the highest capacities compared to others. Lithium ion batteries are the popular choice as they have higher capacities and still have a small size. Their lifespan is around 2000 cycles which is higher than lead acid batteries. However, they are expensive than others.
4. Battery Capacity
Apart from the type of battery, you should also check for the battery capacity. Usually, battery capacities (or the amount of energy stored in the batteries) is represented in ampere-hour (Ah) or milliampere-hour (mAh). You have to choose a model with high mAh as it can last much longer.
- Lead acid batteries come with higher capacity (4000 mAh to 6000 mAh)
- Lithium ion batteries have battery capacity from 2000 mAh to 6000 mAh
- NiMH batteries have 2000 mAh battery capacity
- NiCad batteries come with 600 mAh capacity
5. Solar Panel Type and Efficiency
Based on the materials used and design, solar panels are categorized into three types – monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous solar panels.
- Monocrystalline Solar Panels – When it comes to cell efficiency and the amount of sun energy they are capable of converting into electricity, monocrystalline panels are the best ones. Their efficiency ranges from 15 to 21%. Though they are effective, these panels are a bit expensive.
- Polycrystalline Solar Panels – These panels have an energy conversion efficiency of 16%. Though these solar panels have less efficiency, they are available at an affordable price range. And moreover, their build quality is good as well.
- Amorphous solar Panels – They are also known as thin-film solar panels. They are cheaper and have less energy efficiency of about 10%. In some cases, it can be lower as well.
This factor represents how much energy can solar panels produce under ideal climatic conditions. The value of this factor usually depends on the efficiency, surrounding conditions, and build material as well.
As a basic thumb rule, you have to choose a solar light that has a higher wattage value. Because the panels that provide higher wattage will provide brighter and powerful light.
For example, a solar panel with a 10W capacity can provide 10W of electricity per hour. It is usually represented as 10-watt hours. So, if the bulb has a higher luminosity, then you have to go for higher watt rated panels.
As another example, lower power lights that generate a few hundred lumens of light can be powered using 1 to 5W solar panels. But larger lights need 10 to 20W solar panels.
In most cases, large solar panels can generate more wattage. This is true because they have more surface panels for collecting the energy from the sun. Sometimes, you can see high power outdoor flood lights usually have more solar panels for generating more energy and they also have batteries with higher capacities.
7. Recharge Time and Run Time
Charge time represents the time duration required for solar lights to get charged completely for powering up the lights. You have to choose a model that can charge efficiently even on a gloomy day. Once the lights are installed, you have to wait for a day or two for completing the charge.
When it comes to run time, it represents the time duration solar lights can provide light continuously during the night. You have to choose a model that can illuminate the home for a longer duration. Make a note that run time is usually affected by the amount of solar energy the solar panel can harness during the day.
Along with that, both charge time and run time vary based on the locality and time of the year. We recommend choosing a model that has an efficient charge time and run time. Mostly, batteries can be charged completely during the day. Batteries that have low capacity are suitable for areas with bad solar exposure. This will ensure that battery will have a higher chance of getting charged regardless of the less solar exposure.
Usually, 6 to 7 hours of charge time is ideal and when it comes to run time, 10 to 12 hours is suitable.
8. Bulb Types
The main component of solar light is the light bulb as it is responsible for illuminating the area. When it comes to solar lights, different types of solar bulbs are used like halogen, HID (high-density discharge), CFL, and LEDs (diodes).
When it comes to solar lights, LED lights are the most suitable and perfect option. Because…
- As they consume less energy for providing more brightness, LED lights are considered more energy efficient than battery-powered lights.
- When it comes to durability, diodes or LED lights are more durable than other bulbs.
- They have a lifespan of up to 50000 hours. So, this basically means that they will run maintenance-free.
- They have a small form factor which allows generating more compact fixtures.
9. Color Temperature
This factor represents the light color or appearance produced by the lamp. To present in simple terms, it represents the light color produced by the lamp. It is usually measured in Kelvins (K). It is very important to analyze these factors for both indoor and outdoor lights because they set the mood of the room or area. Bulbs that come with lower temperatures provide warmer colors (orange tinted color) similar to candles or incandescent bulbs. Bulbs with higher color temperature will generate cooler and bluish color similar to LED diodes or daylight CFL bulbs).
10. Coverage Angle and Length
Coverage of a solar lamp is an important factor most particularly for a motion sensor solar powered security light. In these lights, you have a PIR motion sensor that senses the movement of the light and then signals the light to turn on.
The light is left turned on as long as there is a movement within its sensor’s vicinity and it automatically turns off when the person leaves the sensor’s range. For this very security feature and purpose, it is important for you to know and pick a good quality solar panel sensor with the right coverage. For a PIR Sensor, there are two factors that are at play to determine its quality.
- Angle of Coverage
This refers to the entire angle in which the PIR sensor can cover the movement. It is clearly depicted in the image below. An ideal coverage angle would be a minimum of 120 degrees. The greater the better but anything post 170 degrees would be a nuisance as the light would be turning on very frequently.
- Distance of coverage
The next important thing to consider is the distance of coverage. While the angle of coverage determines how wide the sensor can sense motion, the distance of coverage will show you how far the sensor can work. A good length is a minimum of 5 or 6 meters but higher is always better and desirable. But too far can also be a nuisance much like the larger wide-angle because the light will constantly turn on frequently without purpose.
Usually, solar lights are installed outdoors so they are subjected to winds, sun, rain, and snow other harsh weather conditions on a regular basis. So, it is very important to purchase waterproof or IP 55 certified solar lights. Because these lights are specially constructed with durable materials that can withstand the surrounding environment properly.
Some of the common materials used for solar lights include stainless steel, cast aluminum, and ABS plastic. These materials are good enough to sustain the outside environment.
Some solar lights have the capability to rotate from the back to front and front to back. This means that you can install the solar lights someplace and change their direction of illumination by just rotating the head. Lights with movability can be versatile as a single light can be used for various purposes and cover a wide range of areas.
Solar lights come in different styles from classic craftsman designs, ethereal-looking orbs to Victorian vibes. There is a light that is suitable for every requirement. If you want a high-tech lighting solution, then we recommend going for motion-activated lights that glow in flickering patterns just like candles.
Solar lights are available in two different setting options.
- Automatic setting – where the lights will turn on automatically at the night and turn off in the morning.
- Manual Setting – You have to turn on/off the switches for activating or deactivating the lights. Some garden lights come with additional features like brightness adjustment.
Some solar lights also come with other features like brightness adjustment which is quite handy if you want to control the brightness range.
Most of the manufacturers provide screws, anchor, extension hinges and user manual along with the lights. These accessories make the installation process much easier. You can install them easily on patio, barbeque deck, pool, or garden.
Actually, LED lights are designed to last for several hours of operation that ranges between 7 to 15 years. If the panels are made up of PV cells, then they can last for around 20 years as well. But when it comes to battery performance, it is not that long. They usually last for 2 or 3 years’ maximum.
While considering this factor, you should analyze whether the price of the light and quality match together. Sometime, people tend to choose cheaper model without considering the quality and other features. Before making the purchase, you have to narrow down the options that come within the budget. By following this, you can save more time and avoid wasting time on products that don’t match the price requirement.
Sometimes, we may purchase a product that turns out faulty after using it for couple of months. In such cases, warranty can be very helpful as you can get it repaired or replaced during this period. Most of the brands give you warranties ranging from 1 or 2 to 3 years too which is great for outdoor lights. Indoor lamp-based lights may not be as fruitful to have warranties.
How to Fix Solar Lights?
Common reasons that stop the solar lights from functioning are bulb failure. Battery failure and panel failure. Below, we have mentioned ways to fix these problems.
- Bulb Failure – Almost all the solar light bulbs come with a simple screw mechanism. LED bulbs are readily available in the market so you can easily purchase and replace them.
- Battery Failure – If the battery is not able to charge, then you have to place the dry battery directly in sunlight and try to recharge it. If this doesn’t work, then you have to replace the batteries with appropriate ones.
- Panel Failure – Sometimes, water inside the panel screen can cause excessive trauma to the solar panels can a failure. If this is the reason, then instead of changing the entire season you can get the solar panels checked by a professional in a DIY electronic store. In some cases, individual cells can be replaced with new ones. If this doesn’t work, then you have no other option but to purchase a new one.
Benefits of Using Solar Lights
There are several advantages of solar lights. We have mentioned some of them below for your reference.
1. Environmental Friendly
Needless to say, solar lights are the most energy efficient ones because they use renewable energy source – sunlight. Apart from that, they play a major role in cutting off the carbon footprint which is usually released daily by industries and factories around the world. By using solar energy, we can slowly decrease the issues caused by using planet’s natural resources.
2. Cost Effectiveness
Compared to conventional lights, solar lights usually cost much more. But when you consider long term usage, they are cost effective solution. When you calculate the price and monthly maintenance of both solar and electrical lights, you will release that the price you invested for solar lights will cover up within few months.
Actually, maintaining solar lighting system is pretty simple as they don’t need much. Because you don’t have to deal with wires, replacing them or installing an outlet for powering up. All you have to do it just check them once in a while throughout the year so that they can last long.
4. Several Styles
Solar lights are available in several designs and styles. They are available in different colors, shapes, sizes and types as well. Some solar lights are designed specifically for certain purpose. Some of designed to enhance the areas aesthetically. So, it will not be too difficult to find the right option for your requirements and expectations.
5. Unlimited Source
As sun will stay as long as earth lives, you will never go out of sun energy. However, during cloudy days and snowy months, it may be difficult to charge up the solar lights.
6. Convenient Choice
If you live in a locality with severe storms, then blackout or power outages are pretty common. Living in darkness can be difficult. Though candles or oil lamps are temporary solution, they pose fire hazard. If you want a permanent solution, then go for solar lights. They are a much safer option in desperate times.
7. No Need for Electrical Wires
Conventional lighting needs power cables for working which can be trip-hazard, especially in wet weather conditions. However, with solar lighting solutions you don’t have worry about that. Standard silicon wafers used in solar panels are sealed in plastic which makes them safe. And there is no need of electrical wiring for installing solar panels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of the issues with solar lights is not due to the panel but due to the batteries. If your solar lights stopped working abruptly, you might want to check out the batteries for their function. If they are well enough, check the panels. If not, change the batteries with new ones.
Cleaning solar lights is actually a simple and easy to perform. As there are wires or cords, the maintenance is pretty simple. As they are self-sufficient, they are much easier to maintain than other devices.
Most of the solar lights are made up of IP 65 water resistant materials, you can clean them easily using a damp wash cloth or damp paper tower. Before that, we recommend to remove any dust from the surfaces and exteriors and surface of the solar lights. Apart from that, you can also use warm water or dish soap for cleaning. This cleaning process is applicable for solar panels as well.
However, while cleaning the internal bulbs, you have to be very careful. You should not apply pressure as it will break the bulb.
Of course, yes. Solar lights can still charge up even if it is cloudy or stormy outside. Though clouds can still transmit some sunlight, the panels may not receive the same sunlight exposure as they normally would. On a regular cloudy day, power received by the solar lights can be reduced to half. In winters, there can be less hours of sunlight and more clouds. In those days, solar lights may run with 30% to 50% less capacity than they would normally do in summer or warmer months.
It is possible to charge the batteries without sun. You can recharge them separately or use any household light for charging it up. For that, you have to simply place the solar panels near the light. The light will act as the sun and panels will convert the light energy into power. Though this source may not be as effective as sun, an incandescent bulb can still charge up to some extent.
When the solar lights are going to be used for some time, we recommend to remove the batteries, charge them up and store. While storing them, make sure to place them in dark place so that they can lose the charge very slowly.
Most of the issues with solar lights is not due to the panel but due to the batteries. If your solar lights stopped working abruptly, you might want to check out the batteries for their function. If they are well enough, check the panels. If not, change the batteries with new ones.
Solar lights can, technically, work in shade as well but not as highly effective as they do in the sun. This is because, in shade, they will not receive as much light ( but if it’s not too dark, they will absorb the available light) to turn into power and store it. But not as much.
In the Solar Light terminology, the F stands for Flashing Lights whereas the ‘S’ stands for static lights. Static is for regular use whereas flashing lights are well, for flashing lights.
Nail Polish can be a good agent for cleaning off solar cells in the solar panel. Clear solar panels will help in capturing more light and thus help store more energy in the batteries.
The Aootek 182 LED is a Solar powered outdoor light that has motion sensors for security too. This light has an upgraded solar panel of size 15.3″s and comes with 3 activity modes. For that motion sensing, it has an intelligent PIR sensor and for battery, it has a large capacity 2,200 mAH lithium ion battery. It’s 120 degree wide angle makes it one of the best Solar Lights to buy online for outdoor use.
While those were our picks, we are intrigued on what you think? You liked our list? Did we miss out on anything? Or do you have any questions for us? If so, feel free to write to us in the comments section below and our product team will write back to you as soon as possible.