Included in this guide:
The best garden solar lights might get the most direct use over the summer months, but illuminating your garden for winter is important too. Not only does your garden spend more time in darkness as the night's draw in, but you need to ensure you keep your outdoor space well-lit for traversing it when the sun goes down, or when there's potentially slippery conditions outside.
At the very least, solar garden lights can help improve the view from your kitchen window over the winter months, highlighting key features so that you can enjoy your garden all year round.
However, when investing in solar lights for use outside over the winter months, be sure to check that they're suitable for use in more inclement weather. Some manufacturers won't suggest their products are for use in extreme weather, whether that be rain or frost.
Of course, there are benefits to choosing solar lights over wired-in outdoor wall lights for example. Garden solar lights don't require the hassle and expense of an electrician to install, meaning once they arrive, you can set them charging and use them right away — perfect if you need a quick solution for your outdoor space.
(MORE: Garden Lighting Ideas)
Here are 7 of the best available across different styles and functions to buy right now.
The Best Garden Solar Lights to Buy
Black Solar-powered LED Outdoor Lantern
A decorative, solar-powered lantern for your garden
Battery run time: 8 hours | Dimensions: H 29.5 x W 13.5 x D 13.5cm
One of the brilliant things about garden solar lights is that they're often portable, meaning you can use lamps and lanterns to illuminate an outdoor gathering, whether that's evenings spent relaxing in the garden or dining alfresco.
Getting the light colour and tone right is essential for creating the right ambience, and this lantern, filled with solar powered copper lights, is a great example of how light colour can add to the atmosphere of a space.
It has the additional benefit of looking great in the daytime too and won't be out of place with your other garden accessories.
However, while this lantern will look very pretty when night time falls, it's more decorative than providing usable lighting that will illuminate the space enough. Think of it like candlelight, rather than task lighting in terms of its brightness.
Eva Solo SunLight Solar LED Outdoor Stake Lamp
A contemporary design that proves solar lights can be stylish
Power supply: 500 mAh lithium battery | Dimensions: H 38 x D 13.5cm | Brightness: 50 Lumens
One problem you'll find when searching for the best garden solar lights is that beautiful design and solar panels don't always go hand in hand. Visible solar panels are often a compromise, so a design like this Eva Solo SunLight stake lamp is a great find.
Instead of the tell-tale solar panel that outs your lighting as solar powered, this design incorporates solar cells within the frosted glass lamp. Once in the ground, this will be indistinguishable from a wired-in garden light, but with all the benefits of solar power. The glass is frost-resistant too, so no problem to leave out in summer.
The only downside? The price. At almost £90 per light, it's a premium buy, but if you've got the budget, these offer a beautiful way to bring a solar glow to your outdoor space.
Atlas Solar Powered Outdoor Spotlights
Powerful solar spotlights for directional lighting
Power supply: 2.5W solar panel | Dimensions: H 17 x W 19 x D 3cm | Brightness: 100 Lumens
There's an expectation that solar power lights can offer a dim glow at the most, but the best garden solar lights pack more of a punch than you'd expect.
These Atlas solar powered outdoor spotlights, for example, are surprisingly bright, even giving wired garden spotlights a run for their money (with the added benefit of not requiring additional and expensive electrician work to install).
They come in sets of twos and fours, each set with a separate solar panel; however, the trade off for power and long-lasting lighting from these spotlights is that this solar panel is quite large. It can be placed in a more discreet setting if needed — there's 4.5m of cable between the solar panel and each light, but bear in mind you'll want it in a sunny spot to get the most from your lights.
Smart Solar Lunieres Orb Light
These contemporary glowing orbs also have colour changing setting
Power supply: Internal battery charged by solar (6 hours) or USB (20 hours) | Dimensions: H 17.5 x W 20 x D 20cm | Brightness: 1 Lumens
Some solar lighting is more decorative and ambient than functional, and these solar orb lights definitely fall into this camp. Not only can these orbs be set up to offer a beautiful, diffused glow that will look just as good from the kitchen window as when you're out enjoying your garden in the evening, but they can also be programmed in a range of colours too — a fun feature to change up the atmosphere of your outdoor space.
Super easy to operate, the Smart Solar Lunieres Orb Light also comes with a USB charging cable, perfect for when you've forgotten to make use of its solar capabilities, but still want to use it to illuminate your evening.
Blooma Glend Brushed Silver Effect Decking light
Easy to fit decking lights with no need to call an electrician
Power supply: Solar panel (6 - 8 hours) | Dimensions: H 119 x D 33mm | Brightness: 36 Lumens
These Blooma Glend lights from B&Q are a brilliant way to use solar power lights to improve your garden. Not only can they be placed in flower beds to add light to your borders, but they can be easily retrofitted into existing timber decking, meaning you don't have to pull up your boards to install lights.
They're fitted by drilling a hole of the right size, around 95mm, using a holesaw, which you can also buy a set of from B&Q.
The only issue? They're twice the price of the basic offering of mains-connected decking lights, and while £15 for a set of two isn't extortionate, this can add up over a larger decked space.
HETP Solar Motion Sensor Security Lights
A popular, powerful floodlight powered by solar
Power supply: 2000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery | Dimensions: W 18.4 x H 12.1 x D 9.7cm | Brightness: 2600 Lumens
Many solar powered floodlights have a separate solar panel in order to generate enough power for a suitably bright output — however, this can be bulky and unattractive. This solar floodlight, a top buy on Amazon, has an integrated panel which still manages to achieve a brilliantly bright light that will ward off intruders.
Using a PIR motion sensor, the HETP Solar Motion Sensor Security Light has several modes it can be set to: continuous on; sensor on then dim; and sensor on then off. This means it can be used to provide continuous light when needed.
However, where some solar lights manage to charge well on overcast days and under cover, reviews of this floodlight suggest it works best when placed in direct sunlight. Though 8 hours of charging will provide 12 hours of continuous light, it's much more likely a security light will be used with the motion detector, so even in UK weather, charging shouldn't prove too much of an issue.
Solar Charcoal Sensor Wall light
A stylish solar wall light with a motion sensor
Power supply: Replaceable battery | Dimension: H 23 x Dia 16cm
This solar wall light from Cox & Cox stands up design-wise to many non-solar wall lights for outdoors. It has the durable looks of a wired in wall light, but doesn't require any of the extra, and expensive, work of hiring an electrician. It also makes it possible to put a wall light in a spot you hadn't imagined you could have one without running electricity to the far reaches of your garden.
This wall light not only comes with a solar panel, but a motion sensor with 6m range too, making it work as a security device as well as an attractive light for illuminating your garden.
While £75 may seem a lot for an outdoor wall light, with comparative designs starting from less than half the price, you're paying extra for quality materials and a modern design that cheaper models won't be able to compete with.
Hugh is Digital Editor of homebuilding.co.uk and has worked on a range of home, design and property magazines, including Grand Designs, Essential Kitchens, Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Good Homes. Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture and green homes, and moonlights as an interior designer, having designed and managed projects ranging from single rooms to whole house renovations and large extensions. He's currently renovating a Victorian terrace in Essex, DIYing as much of the work as possible. His current project is a kitchen renovation which involves knocking through walls and landscaping a courtyard garden.
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