Garden lights come in five or six different styles, ranging from fixed electric ones to recessed deck lights. They also have different kinds of bulbs. You can buy coloured bulbs, LED chips, or plain white lights. Often, the light comes with its bulbs pre-installed and built-in.
And they’re not always interchangeable, so ask before you buy. Find out if the garden lights can charge on a cloudy day. For areas with gloomy climate, this is a deal-breaker. And ask whether the battery needs replacing. Now let’s check out the top 10 best solar garden lights.
The Best Solar Garden Lights on UK Market 2021
1. Bedler Solar Rock Lights
Solar garden lights are generally waterproof and moistureproof. They’re built to be used outdoors, so they need to be. But this rock light (which you can buy a single or a six-pack) has some added gifts. It has an IP rating of 44, meaning it can withstand solids that are 1mm or larger. It’s also safe from multidirectional garden splash-back, so drizzles are fine.
It won’t work with heavy rain, snow, submersion, or high-pressure sprinkler systems though, so be careful where you position your lights. They come with removable spikes in case you want to ‘plant’ them on the lawn or flowerbed. For decks or pavements, you can screw them into position. These rock lamps are sensitive to sunlight, so they go on and off automatically.
But you have to initiate the circuit by turning on the switch on the underside of the solar light. Keep this switch on at all times – if it’s off, the light won’t charge no matter how bright the sun is. It typically takes 8 to 10 hours for a full charge, and this lasts 6 to 8 hours per charge. Each light has one LED bulb that gives off 8 to 10 lumens at 6,000 to 7,000K.
These plastic rock lights offer subtle lighting for up to 100,000 hours of use. Each light is small enough to nestle in your palm. The smooth ABS construction is ideal for outdoor use.
- Its pumice stone façade helps it blend into the garden.
- These rock lights have built-in sunlight sensors.
- You don’t need any wiring or plugs.
- They’re automated so you might easily forget the ‘on’ switch.
2. Kilponen Solar Garen Lights
Sometimes, a seemingly simple choice ends up being pretty complex. For example, solar garden lights. Should they have motion-sensors or not? You’ll feel safer knowing intruders can’t sneak into your garden. But do you want the yard lighting up every time kitty spots a bug? One solution is to get a multi-mode. Multi-directional garden light like Kilponen.
When you set it in motion-sensing mode, the light flips on in 10-second bursts. That’s long enough to frighten anything away. But you can also set the light to bright no-motion mode for continuously bright illumination. Or dim mode for sustained low light. In dim mode with motion, the light jumps to full brightness when it senses movement then goes back to dim.
This angular light has five lighting surfaces and a total of 118 LED chips. This gives a generous 270° arc of night-time lighting. They come in a pack of 4 with each one giving off 1,200 lumens. The housing of these lights has an IP rating of 65 so it keeps out dust and high-pressure water from all directions. But it can’t survive submersion so mount it high.
Kilponen solar lights come with a 2-year warranty. Their secure house keeps out rain, dust, and frost, and it can withstand heat damage. It’s easy to install – all you need is a screw gun.
- It releases light from five of its surfaces.
- Every light has 118 LED chips.
- The smart-light has 3 operating modes.
- The motion sensor turns on the light for extremely brief spurts – 10 seconds at best.
3. Star LED Solar Rock Light
Can rock lights be too realistic? Ideally, you want it to pass for large glowing gravel. A kind of massive firestone in your yard. But you don’t want it so real that your dogs pee on it to mark territory. This light fits both criteria. The housing does look like a raw, rugged rock. And the resemblance is close enough that you can persuasively position it among unlit stones.
But because the rock light has two reflective surfaces, it can easily ward off Fido’s attention. The main light surface covers 3 LED chips so this solar lamp gives off a bright white light. The solar panel at the top can catch the sunlight, both literally and figuratively. That’s how your light charges. It has an on/off switch to always leave it on to facilitate solar charging.
This solar garden light measures 13cm by 16cm so it’s suitably discreet. But it weighs half a kilo so it’s unlikely to be blown away or carried off by curious foragers. (Whether said foragers are kids or pets.) And the shipping box includes an instruction manual so check it carefully to avoid damaging the garden light. Also, try not to get the lights wet or icy.
While this Star Rock Light is nice to look at, it’s not the best fit for gloomy weather. If water gets into the rock lamp, it will soon stop working. Plus, it needs lots of sunlight to charge.
- The rock design matches your garden décor.
- Every rock has 3 LED chips.
- It ships with a rechargeable battery.
- They’re not waterproof so you may want to raise them off the ground.
4. Gigalumi Mason Jar Solar Lights
Did you ever catch bugs in a jar when you were little? Mostly ladybugs and butterflies, but if you were enterprising, you may have nabbed some glow worms or fireflies. This is like that … but less harmful to insects. These cute mason jar lanterns will and style and playfulness to your garden. And if you’re lucky, they might even attract a few garden sprites!
The solar garden lights com in a six-pack and each jar has a separate string of lights. On gloomy days, you can move the jar to a sunny spot so it can charge more effectively. These mason jar lanterns have a simple design and a gorgeous aesthetic. The solar panel sits on the jar lid and the on/off switch is on the inside of the lid. The jar keeps out dust and rain.
These jars are 5.3 inches by 3.2 inches. It’s not tempered glass, so unpack it carefully. And remember these lights don’t come with mounting masts. So you’ll have to put up wall braces or lantern holders. The lights will automatically turn on at dusk. And if they’re fully charged, they can stay alight for roughly 8 hours. Each string has 15 LED chips in a warm yellow.
These adorable lights will grace your garden path or barbeque table. And yes, it’s a solar light but its solar battery needs one AAA battery to power it. This battery comes pre-installed.
- The mason jars are portable.
- They’re weatherproof and waterproof.
- Each jar has a 3-month guarantee.
- It’s pretty easy for someone to grab a jar and run …
5. Solar Mosaic Garden Lights
A lot of us shy away from coloured bulbs. They seem gaudy and low-class … (and some of those tones send the wrong message!) But what if you could buy white bulbs and still enjoy a rainbow of night-time shades? With these SPV Mosaic lights, you can! They come as a set of sic with three colour combinations – orange, blue, and pink (with other shades mixed in).
These staked lights need to be assembled. The spike sits in a silver tube and the glass is bubble-wrapped, so you have to carefully unpack then put the pieces together. Once completed, the lights are about 1.2 feet tall. It doesn’t have an on/off switch but it does have a plastic tab to break the circuit, so remember to peel it off during set-up and installation.
These solar spike lights are designed and manufactured here in the UK. So they’re tailored for low light and endless rain. They work in winter as well. Because of our extreme weather, these lights can survive heat, frost, and everything between. To maximise our largely cloudy climate, the lights are designed to harvest 25% more sunlight than its competitors.
Stainless steel lights are great for the outdoors. And this set of six can survive harsh weather and brighten your most miserable days. It charges 3 times more effectively than rivals.
- They have spikes for effortless installation.
- It keeps your yard colourful, even during the day.
- The lights come with a 24-month warranty.
- You can only stake them into ‘soft’ ground (soil or grass).
6. Colour-Changing Solar Garden Lights
If you liked the previous solar garden lights, you probably don’t have an issue with coloured beams. So we’ll go one step further. These lights are coloured too – but they flow between multiple shades of pinks, greens, blues, aquas, and purples. The glass is clear when you unpack it, and you need to pre-charge for 24 hours before you stick them in the garden.
These are spiked lights, so while they’re great for lighting garden paths, you need to post them on the grassy side (or in soft earth). And they’re smaller than they seem. The top of the lights is only 5.5cm in diameter, and that’s where the solar panel sits. Given the smaller surface area and the near-constant cloud cover, these lights don’t stay on for very long.
And once you knock off the spike, the light stands at a mere 10cm, barely the length of your palm. And they’re lightweight – individual pieces barely hit 50g. These solar garden lights are better suited for potted plants or patio gardens. They’re not sturdy enough for your main garden area unless you have a terrarium. You can also use them in raised or stacked gardens.
Here’s a set of eye-catching lights that don’t quite measure up. They’re cute and colourful, but given their size and low stamina, you may want to restrict them to window plants.
- They come in sets of 10.
- The lights automatically cycle between colours.
- Sunlight sensors automatically switch the lights on and off.
- They rarely last longer than a year.
7. Aityvert Flickering Garden Torches
Tiki torches in the garden? Unsupervised? That doesn’t sound smart. Unless of course, the torches are fake. Like this set from Aityvert. You’ll be tempted to touch and take a closer look though because these dancing lights are extremely realistic. And while they readily flicker for your pleasure, they don’t get doused by wind, rain, or bad weather. They’re waterproof!
The flames will automatically begin their mesmerising choreography when the sun goes down. It takes 8 to 10 hours of strong sunlight to fully charge these solar garden lights. And at full charge, they’ll flicker for 6 to 8 hours before they need more sunlight. They’re staked lights but the pedestal is made of three of four separate pieces, including the spike.
These extra sections let you adjust the height of your torch from 30 inches to 43 inches or so. Still, the spikes can only sink into soft soil and grassy terrain so pick your positions carefully. The patterns on the sides of the torch cast tantalising shadows across your night-time garden-scape. And the whole set-up has an IP rating of 65. Its built-in battery is 2200Ah.
What does it take to simulate authentic-looking flames? In this case, 96 LED chips housed in stencilled ABS. And this fire keeps dancing regardless of the weather so … let there be light!
- Those flickering flames look amazing.
- The spikes have an adjustable height.
- They double as mood lights.
- It’s doesn’t charge efficiently when the sky is cloudy.
8. Decorative Solar Lantern
We all love shadow play. It’s a fun, low-stakes way to entertain the kids on rainy days. But this solar garden light reverses the game. Its housing is a stencilled globe that throws symmetric shards of light and dark all across the yard. It’s a wrought-iron device shaped like a vintage lantern and echoing that nostalgic era. And it’s relatively waterproof with its IP44.
The lantern does have a replaceable battery, but you need to unscrew t carefully to access the AA 600mAh battery. If you shift the internal wire during battery changes, you’ll ruin the light, so let the guy (or girl) at the solar store do that for you. Iron isn’t waterproof, but the exposed parts of this garden lamp are made or moisture-proof weather-proof polysilicon.
This solar garden light isn’t pre-charged so it needs to sit in the sun for a bit before you can use it. The light is a warm, flame-like yellow but it doesn’t flicker or dance. The colour temperature is 3,200 to 3,500K. The light has an 18cm diameter at the top and bottom with a 32cm diameter across its bulbous waistline. It weighs about 740g so get a sturdy hook.
The rhombic patterns and retro shape of this solar garden light are a throwback. It’s heavier than it looks and can survive UK weather. Just be careful when swapping out the battery.
- The shape and material give the lantern a vintage flavour.
- It has an IP rating of 44.
- You can hang it or mount it on the floor.
- They’re splash-proof but not submersible so maybe a garden table is safer than the floor.
9. Brimmel Solar Bollard Light
If you prefer solar garden lights that are sleek and unobtrusive, this might be the set for you. It’s a bollard light with a slim spiked pedestal topped by a broader solar panel. The main material is high-grade stainless steel with PC panels for solar harvesting. This Brimmel bollard has an IP rating of 44 so it’s splashproof. But its design is safe for ground-mounting.
This is because the long, slim pole raises the solar section above runoff. Unlike other staked lanterns, this one comes with optional screws and rivets. So you can install it on concrete, stone, or any surface. The garden light has a dimmer with three settings – 60, 240, and 600 lumens. The dimmer switch is motion-sensitive and sits slightly below the solar panel.
This motion sensor can detect movement up to 10m away. It has a sensory arc that’s roughly 120°. When it ‘spots’ something nearby, the light brightens for 25 seconds before settling at its previous level. The photocell responds to sunlight, so it automatically turns the light on and off at dusk and dawn. It takes 6 to 8 hours to charge and offers 10 hours of night-light.
This solar garden light is larger than it looks. The solar panel has a 15.5cm diameter and the pedestal is 81cm tall. The spray coating extends the lifespan of this 3,000K garden light.
- It has a built-in dimmer.
- The bollard design is modern and minimalist.
- It also has a motion sensor.
- The 120 detection angle creates a few blond spots …
10. Solar Garden String Lights (Our Top Pick)
String lights are a popular form of garden décor. Especially during the lockdown. But did you know they make solar ones? And this set is the best solar garden light we’ve seen so far. 60 garden baubles are spread out on 36 inches of wire. And while you do need to stretch said cable across the yard, there’s no further wiring involved so you don’t need to pay electricians.
The bulbs themselves don’t absorb sunlight. Instead, the string lights are linked to a staked 18oomAh solar panel. So you can place the baubles anywhere but the solar panel needs to be in direct sunlight. A full charge takes 8 to 10 hours and produces 12 to 16 hours of nightly glow. The garden light has an IP rating of 65 and can be flashing or continuous in 8 modes.
These long-life fairy lights can survive up to 30,000 hours of continuous use. The spike on the solar panel means you can shift it to a sunnier spot if needed. The bulbs are about an inch across. The solar panel is 11cm by 11cm across the top and is 14.5cm tall. Place the panel in a safe position since it doesn’t rise far above the ground. You can even charge it on a table.
- It has an extended lighting time and a long lifespan.
- The solar panel is spiked for easy placement.
- It has 8 usage modes including 7 flashing ones.
- So far, it’s the only solar garden light that needs a little wiring.
Solar garden lights aren’t as bright as electric ones. But they have less glare, so they’ll strain your eyes less. And they dramatically reduce utility bills. Plus, they’re green so they’re kindly on the environment – and on your plants too? So what defines the best solar garden lights?
Solar systems can be quite complex. Especially for home electricals. The basic forms sit on the ceiling and are used for boiling water. But if you want your solar panels to power the house, you have to connect them to your circuits and fuse boxes. For outdoor lights, intricate garden lights might be linked to switches or dimmers. Others respond to sunrise or sunset.
The simplest solar garden lights are spiked or staked. They have sharp ‘legs’ that you push into the ground. These are best for grassy surfaces. If you’re lighting a concrete path or pavers, you may need to rivet or screw the lights into the ground. Some may need to be dug into trenches. Others may need an underground cable system. Check what suits your garden.
Garden lights can be portable (with spikes) or fixed. And fixed doesn’t always mean electrical. It could be a solar panel mounted on top of a pergola or pillar – that’s still a fixed light. You can also select decorative lights, ambient lights, or spotlights. Spotlights serve as accent lighting, drawing attention to a prized garden feature. It could be a plant or a gnome.
Decorative lights could be fairy lights or strips. They’re mostly dotted along fences or draped on tree branches. Ambient lights provide more generalised beams and light larger sections of the garden. Bollard lights are ideal for pathways and garden lanes. It’s best if they’re automated to go on at dusk and off at dawn. Check the duration of lighting and charging too.
What’s your lighting priority? Do you want motion detectors that scare away unwanted visitors – human or otherwise? Motion sensors can trip your garden floodlights when pests (and non-resident pets) sneak into your yard. It can ward off burglars too. But if the lights are for nightly garden jaunts, emphasise path lights. They’ll keep bumbling feet off the grass.
For security lights, consider smart solar lights. You can control them from your phone, even when you’re not in the house. But these lights would have to be wi-fi enabled. So if your home internet is spotty, these lights won’t work for you. Finally, talk to the local council. They probably won’t object to spike lights, but they may have rules about large solar panels.
After thorough research, we recommend buying the iihome string lights. Here’s why:
- Each set has 60 bulbs on a 36-inch cable.
- The globes are about an inch in diameter.
- The warm white light is great for ambience.
- They retain light for 12 to 18 hours.
- This light operates in 8 unique modes.
- Its solar panel is separate from the bulbs.
- The light has a lifespan of 30,000 hours.
- It has an IP65 rating.
- Its superior efficiency performs 17% better than competing solar garden lights.
Do you have solar lights installed in your garden? Show us some photos in the comments!