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Best solar lights 2024: Illuminate your garden for with ease

Brighten up your garden with our roundup of the best outdoor solar lights

Solar lights are an affordable, hassle-free way to brighten and accessorise your garden, enabling you to get more out of your outdoor space. Whether you’re working with sprawling acres, a tidy terrace or a cosy balcony, the best solar lights can help transform your yard, letting you continue to enjoy your garden long after the sun has set. If you don’t want the hassle or expense of installing mains-powered outdoor lights, then solar is the way to go.

Solar lights come in a wide range of different shapes and sizes, and since they don’t rely on mains power they can be placed freely around your garden. This incredible level of versatility makes solar-powered lights ideal for lighting patios, pathways, sheds, decks or just about any outdoor space that could benefit from some illumination.

In this buying guide, we will go through some of the different types of solar lights on the market, and then list our picks of the best solar lights to buy for your garden.

How to choose the best solar lights for your garden

How do solar lights work?

While designs can vary, fundamentally all solar lights work in a similar way, using a solar panel, rechargeable battery and, of course, a lamp. During the day the solar panel is used to charge up an internal rechargeable battery. Once the sun sets, the internal battery is then used to power the lamp. Some lights will turn on automatically when it gets dark, while others use a manual switch.

Where can you place solar-powered lights?

When it comes to positioning solar lights, the only requirement is making sure the solar panel is placed in direct sunlight; anywhere that’s not permanently in the shade should suffice.

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Is any wiring required?

All the lights on our list are self-contained units, with solar panels, batteries and lamps included. There’s no need to wire anything up, and since they’re solar-powered, nothing needs plugging into the mains.

Will solar lights work in winter?

Solar-powered lights will work all year round, even in the colder months when the days are shorter. Less sunlight will mean less charge in the battery, though, so the lights won’t stay on as long in winter.

Are all solar lights built the same?

While all solar-powered lights contain a solar panel, battery and bulb, higher-quality products often feature more efficient solar panels and higher-capacity batteries, allowing them to stay on for longer.

With a wide range of solar-powered lights available, figuring out the best option for you will depend on your personal use case. Are you looking to add atmosphere to your alfresco dining experience? Do you want to decorate the garden for a special occasion? Would you like to improve visibility around your home at night?

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It can also be worth taking note of any advertised IP rating, as this will determine how well the lights are able to resist water and dust ingress. When comparing IP ratings, the first digit refers to dust protection and the second digit refers to water protection. For example, a light with an IP64 and a light with IP66 ratings should offer equal protection from dust, but the latter is more able to withstand water ingress. The higher the number, the better, and for year-round use you will likely want to look for IP64 or higher.

What type of garden solar light should I buy?

Spike lamps: These are great for garden paths, borders and flower beds. Being solar-powered means there’s no worry about wiring, so you can use them anywhere that the ground is soft enough to push them into.

Lanterns: An excellent way to add atmosphere, solar-powered lanterns are available in different colours and sizes, and even with realistic candle effects. They’re a great portable option that can add a warm glow wherever they’re placed.

String lights: Ideal for parties, special occasions and the holidays, solar-powered string lights can be wrapped around posts, railings and trees and draped over fences.

Motion-activated lights: As the name suggests, these lights only turn on when movement is detected, making them great for deterring intruders, and practical for illuminating doorways and paths.

Shed lights: Since they don’t rely on mains power, solar-powered lights are perfect for illuminating sheds, garages and outhouses. Lights designed for this purpose will usually have exterior solar panels connected to interior lamps via a decent length cable run.

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The best solar garden lights you can buy in 2024

1. Signature Garden Premium Solar Lights: Best solar-powered pathway lights

Price when reviewed: From £13 (set of six) | Check price at Amazon Signature Garden Premium Solar Lights

These solar-powered LED lights from Signature Garden are ideal for illuminating paths, driveways, rockeries or just sticking into plant pots. Made from plastic, they’re lightweight and easy to install: simply press the height-adjustable spike into the ground, then pop the lamp on top. The light will charge during the day and then automatically illuminate once the sun goes down.

With no cables to mess around with they can be set up nearly anywhere, and for less than £3 a pop, they’re great value, too.

While these lights come in all black as standard, they’re also available with brushed steel and bronze finishes.

Key specs – Dimensions: 33 x 12cm (HW); Illumination time: Up to 8 hours

2. Linkind LED Landscape Solar Spotlights: Best solar-powered spotlights

Price when reviewed: £56 (set of six) | Check price at Amazon Linkind LED Landscape Solar Spotlights

Linkind’s LED Landscape Solar Lights allow you to direct the light exactly where you want it. They can be staked into the ground and positioned for down-lighting along driveways and paths, up-lighting along walls and fences or as spotlights illuminating trees or other garden features.

The lights work fully independent of one another and with a dedicated solar panel and battery pack built into each unit, there are no wires to mess around with. The lights turn on automatically at night and offer the choice of two user-selectable brightness levels. The brighter setting offers up to six hours of illumination off of a full charge while the dimmer setting allows the lights to run for up to 12 hours. The units are also IP67 weatherproof, allowing them to stand up to year-round use in all weather conditions.

Linkind’s LED Landscape Solar Lights can be purchased individually or in packs of two, four or six lights with the larger packs providing better per-light value.

Key specs – Dimensions: 25.5 x 8.2 x 11.8cm (HWD); Brightness: 6 x 350lm; Illumination time: Up to 12 hours (on low light mode)

3. Whousewe Solar Fence Lights: Best solar-powered fence and wall lights

Price when reviewed: £40 (set of six) | Check price at Amazon Whousewe Solar Fence Lights

Add a splash of light to your fencing with Whousewe’s Solar Fence Lights. With a simple one-screw installation, these lights are perfect for fences, walls, driveways and decks, and can provide up to 12 hours of warm white light from a single charge.

There’s no wiring to mess around with and the lights turn on automatically when it gets dark. You also have the option to choose between standard full-brightness illumination or a dynamic slow pulsing effect.

Each set comes with six lights and each lamp is fully independent, allowing you to install them wherever you like, with the option to add more lamps later. Each lamp is also IP65 rated against dust and water so you can safely leave them out all year round.

Key specs – Dimensions: 10.16 x 5.64 x 11.1cm; Brightness: 6 x 24lm; Illumination time: Up to 12 hours

4. Garlocht Solar Fairy Lights: The best solar-powered string lights

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon Garlocht Solar Fairy Lights

Ideal for adding instant festive flair, these solar string lights are great for wrapping around trees and draping over fences and balconies. There are 50 bulbs across 7m of cable with a spiked solar panel at the far end. Simply leave the solar panel out in the sun during the day to get up to 8 hours of illumination at night.

It’s worth noting that while Garlocht lists these lights as weather resistant, we wouldn’t recommend leaving them out in the rain for extended periods.

Key specs – Cable length: 7m; Number of bulbs: 50; Illumination time: Up to 12 hours

5. HETP Motion Sensor Solar Security Lights 2 Pack: Best motion-sensor solar security lights

Price when reviewed: £26 (set of two) | Check price at Amazon

HETP Motion Sensor Solar Security Lights 2 PackWhether you’re looking to deter intruders or simply find your way to the bins in the dark, motion-sensor lights can be a great investment. While traditional units can be tricky to get wired up, these solar-powered lights from HETP simply need screwing to the wall.

The motion sensor has a range of up to 6m, and you can set whether you want them to illuminate when it gets dark or to operate via motion trigger. At full brightness, the bank of 78 LED lights is equivalent to around a 100W incandescent lamp and should provide up to ten hours of illumination from a full day’s charge.

Key specs – Dimensions: 13 x 18 x 5cm (HWD); Sensor range: 6m; Sensor angle: 120 degrees; Brightness: 1,400lm Illumination time: Up to 10 hours

6. GreeSuit Portable USB Charge Lantern: Best solar light for garages and sheds

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Amazon GreeSuit Portable USB Charge LanternSheds can be pretty dark and dingy places, and the GreeSuit Charge Lantern can solve at least one of those problems. To set it up, simply attach the solar panel to an exterior wall facing the sun and run the cabling inside to the lamp. The lamp features a hook at the base, making it easy to hang wherever is most practical.

The panel trickle charges the battery throughout the day, with a full charge providing around four hours of light. A neat bonus is that the battery is stored within the light, rather than the solar panel, which means that you can disconnect the light and use it as a torch if needed.

Key specs – Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 7cm (HWD); Cable length: 3.5m; Illumination time: Up to 6 hours

7. Gigalumi Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights 6 Pack: Best solar-powered hanging lantern set

Price when reviewed: £33 (set of six) | Check price at Amazon Gigalumi Hanging Solar Mason Jar Lights 6 Pack

These solar-powered mason jar lanterns are a fun and vibrant way to decorate your outdoor space. Each jar features a solar panel along with a string of 40 LEDs inside a rustic glass jar. They look great on windowsills, or as part of a table setting, or you can hang them using their included handles. There’s an on and off switch under the lid, but they’ll turn on automatically once it gets dark.

Key specs – Dimensions: 13 x 8cm (HW); Illumination time: Up to 10 hours