The 5 Best Garden Solar Lights for Illuminating Your Outdoor Space

Small Solar Garden Light
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best garden solar lights might get the most direct use over the summer months, but they are important for winter too. 

Not only does your garden spend more time in darkness as the nights 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, owning one of the best 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 design all year round.  

Plus, 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.

Here are 5 of the best available now across different styles and functions that you can buy right now. 

The Best Garden Solar Lights to Buy

You can trust Homebuilding & Renovating. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and materials in order to help you choose the best for your home and garden. Find out more about how we test.

Cox & Cox Solar Charcoal Sensor Wall light

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

1. Cox & Cox Solar Charcoal Sensor Wall Light

The best solar-powered wall light

Specifications

Power supply: Replaceable Battery
Dimensions: (H)23cm x (D)13.5cm

Reasons to buy

+
Modern design
+
6m motion sensor 
+
Solar panel included

Reasons to avoid

-
Less suited for traditional gardens

A stylish solar wall light with a motion sensor, this 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. 

It's mildly pricey for what is is, but 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. 


Eva Solo SunLight Solar LED Outdoor Stake Lamp

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. Eva Solo SunLight Solar LED Outdoor Stake Lamp

The best solar lights for lining pathways

Specifications

Power supply: Battery
Dimensions: (H)38cm x (D)13.5cm
Brightness: 50 lumens

Reasons to buy

+
Contemporary, stylish design
+
Automatic and manual options
+
No visible solar panel

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 

One problem you'll find when searching for 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 contemporary design proves solar lights can be stylish; its 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 it can be left out in summer. 

At 50 lumens it's not the brightest, and its price makes it a premium buy, but if you've got the budget, this light offers a beautiful way to bring a solar glow to your outdoor space. 

The lamp takes eight hours to charge in full sunshine then will have 20 hours of illumination, plus the auto function means it can be set to turn on and off automatically at certain light levels.


Atlas Solar Powered Outdoor Spotlights

(Image credit: Atlas)

3. Atlas Solar Powered Outdoor Spotlights

The best solar spotlights

Specifications

Power supply: 2.5W solar panel
Dimensions: (H)17cm x (W)19cm x (D)3cm
Brightness: 100 Lumens

Reasons to buy

+
Bright, powerful spotlight 
+
Multiple mounting options
+
Automatic and manual operation

Reasons to avoid

-
Large, indiscrete solar panel 

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 100-lumen 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. 

The lights 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 Garden Solar Lunieres Orb Light

(Image credit: Smart Garden)

4. Smart Garden Solar Lunieres Orb Light

Contemporary glowing orbs to make a design statement

Specifications

Power supply: Battery, or USB cable
Dimensions: (H)17.5cm x (W)20cm x (D)20cm

Reasons to buy

+
Can be charged by USB cable 
+
Soft, diffused light 
+
Easy to operate 
+
Colour changing setting

Reasons to avoid

-
Dim in comparison to some solar lights

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. 

The battery can be charged by solar for around 6 hours, or using the USB cable provided for longer operation (20 hours).


HETP Solar Motion Sensor Security Lights

(Image credit: HETP)

5. HETP Solar Motion Sensor Security Lights

The best solar floodlight

Specifications

Power supply: Battery
Dimensions: (W)18.4cm x (H)12.1cm x (D)9.7cm
Brightness: 2,600 lumens

Reasons to buy

+
Super bright, with adjustable brightness modes
+
Discreet solar panel

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires direct sunlight to charge 

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 (2,600 lumens) 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 eight hours of charging the 2000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery 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.  

How do I Choose the Best Garden Solar Lights?

Here's some things to consider when choosing one of the best garden solar lights: 

Which type of light?

There are several types of solar lights, each of which has distinct purposes to consider and ensure they meet your requirements. 

They can be used solely for ambience and decoration, or for more practical function such as helping you navigate your outdoor space or providing security lighting. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Spotlights: best for highlighting certain areas of your garden, such as water features or darker spots (so you can see where you're going). Flood lights also have this capability
  • String lights: multiple bulbs positioned on a long cable which are designed for aesthetic effect, rather than the power of spot lights
  • Path lights or stake lights: these provide low-level lighting that can help light the way along a path or flowerbed
  • Wall lights: installed on the outside of your home, they are good for illuminating outside areas and adding security at night
  • Solar lanterns: designed to be hung up or freestanding, solar lanterns don't require any installation

Battery

Some batteries need full sunlight to charge, while others require only partial sun and can still charge under trees or in cloudy areas. This is handy to know if your garden is hidden by large trees. 

Operating time

Many solar lights will perform for days before needing to recharge, but some will only have a run time of a few hours. 

Mounting options

Some solar lights will have multiple mounting options: you can mount them to your house, a patio rail or even hang it from trees. But be sure to know the available options before buying. 

Weatherproof?

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. 

How we Review Garden Solar Lights

Here at Homebuilding.co.uk we like to get our hands dirty and trial as many products as possible, but in the instances where we aren’t haven't yet, such as with the best garden solar lights, we leave no stone unturned to provide you with the crucial information you need to know before buying. 

Our team is passionate about DIY and home improvement (which probably won’t be a surprise) so we already have knowledge about the brands that make these lights. Moreover, we have taken into account user reviews when compiling this buying guide, and gleaned key information from our sister sites such as Real Homes and Ideal Home. 

There's a lot to consider to ensure you buy the best garden solar lights, and we’ve scanned the pros and cons of each product in this buying guide to ensure you feel confident in choosing the right solar light for your garden. 

Jack Woodfield
News Editor

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 


He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.