Make the switch to wireless solar lights now and enjoy outdoor living at its finest. No more dangling cables or having to use your phone’s flashlight to get around! Plus, we have an ultra-practical lighting set that gives you a bonus security feature.
Here are the seven best solar deck lights of 2021 that will leave you spending more time in your backyard while saving hundreds of dollars per year in electricity.
Our best solar deck lights reviews focus on light quality, reliability, and outdoor hardiness. But we’ve also thought about functionality since lighting can be both a security and decorative element in your backyard.
Still unsure which is the best solar light for your deck? Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about each model on our list.
Let’s talk about the product with the best solar-powered deck lights reviews. The solar lights by Hmcity offer a lot of practical features with a high waterproof rating. These LED solar lights aren’t great for just stairs or railings, but rather the entire backyard.
With three lighting modes to choose from, the Hmcity solar lights are definitely versatile.
First, you can use it as an alarm system thanks to its built-in motion sensors. It sheds light on anything that moves for 30 seconds, which is enough time for you to get out of bed, put on your slippers and look out the window.
The next mode is just the regular night light setting, and the last one is a combination. You can leave the solar post lights on dim, but it gets brighter when it detects movement.
Apart from switching functionality, this model can also shine its white light over a 270-degree angle. And to make things even better, the 2021 model has a reflector upgrade, shining the solar deck light even brighter but more efficiently.
Both these additions make up for having only two lamps included in the package.
In terms of reliability, our top pick doesn’t last as long as the two previous products when you leave it on all night.
The good thing is its different light modes can save power, mainly if you only use it as a motion light. And trust us, you want to maximize the energy because it takes 8 hours or up to two days to charge the battery.
To sum it up, our choice for the best solar deck post lights takes backyard deck lighting to the next level by being the complete package for the same price as a pair of wireless earbuds.
Our budget pick comes with 16 lamps in one pack, giving you a lot of light to work with. And thanks to the minimalist design, it fits perfectly on deck railing and steps.
Their brown casing isn’t flashy either and blends into most wooden decks. But don’t worry, nothing sticks out — stubbing your toe while walking up the stairs is almost impossible! It’s a good floor lighting system to go with our solar gutter lights.
As far as performance goes, you can expect these solar-powered step lights to work throughout the night. They charge in less than six hours and automatically turn on when there isn’t enough sunlight.
These deck lights emit warm white light, which is excellent for setting a calm mood. It also makes it easier to see where you’re going. After all, no one wants blinding white lights on a footpath.
Placement is critical if you want these solar-powered lights to last.
With the most basic waterproof rating on the list, these outdoor deck lights can only withstand light rains. The plastic casing can also easily shatter if a rock falls on it.
The best spot for them is in a partially shaded area. Make sure they still have direct access to sunlight and some cover in case of bad weather.
All in all, this package gives you your money’s worth just by the number of solar lights you get. The long runtime and sleek design are already icing on the cake (or deck).
The Solmore solar deck lights have the highest waterproof rating of IP68. They are completely sealed and are therefore submersible and great for pool lighting. The cool blue light color actually enhances any water feature. It’s not extremely bright but does its job illuminating an area.
But more than their waterproofing abilities, these solar deck lights are borderline indestructible. Made of aluminum alloy, they will survive a stomp from an African elephant. I know it’s most likely never going to happen, but you get the point. The internal components are bound to give before the casing does.
The only problem is all that armor makes these solar-powered deck lighting bulky and heavy. Don’t even think about putting these lights on stairs because that becomes a painful combination.
Unlike the sleek budget pick, someone is bound to trip on one of these during the day. And when they do, don’t be surprised if they break a toe. It’s safe to say these big guys are better off underwater, lined up in driveways, or used as marker lights.
Despite the impressive construction of these solar deck lights, they do have their flaws.
For one, they take 12 hours to charge. If you only get a few hours of good sun a day, be prepared to spend a few days just charging them up. Once you have a full battery, you can enjoy the solar deck lighting for a whole night.
Secondly, there isn’t a switch that lets you use up the power when you want. The blue solar lights turn on automatically when it gets dark and discharges until the sun comes up. Ultimately, you spend more time charging the battery than enjoying the lights.
These solar deck lights work well for scheduled events in your backyard but not for everyday use.
Let’s move on to more decorative solar lights starting with the lamps by Othway.
These downward-pointing lights are better for walls than stairs because of their chunky design. Plus, it’s the best way to show off the pattern shining through its honeycomb dome.
The white light is not very bright, shining a little less than a mag light. But a few solar lights in a row gives off enough light to brighten your backyard perimeter.
Similar to the top pick, these lights have a switch inside their dome. However, this is a more basic unit with no motion sensors or light modes.
You can either have it charging and automatically on at night or have it completely off during the day and night. This mechanism might seem like a disadvantage because of the manual operation. And you’re right, especially considering that taking out the dome is no walk in the park.
You might not need any tools to take it out. But the plastic is hard and can break if you squeeze it too hard trying to loosen the hatch.
Despite the troubles of getting inside the solar light, having a manual switch actually saves valuable energy, which takes a while to generate. Depending on how much sun you get, it can take up to 6 hours to charge. But you can only get between 4-8 hours of juice in the battery. You’re better off saving the stored energy when you need it most, like a backyard dinner.
As for the product’s durability, you don’t have to worry about the deck lights during harsh weather. They have an IP65 rating, able to withstand heavy rain and even hail. But with a broader surface area, leaves and debris can rest on top of the solar panels, blocking the light.
The next best solar deck lights on our list can go from simple to fun with a flip of a switch. And don’t worry, unlike the previous item, this one’s accessible. You just need to reach in the hollow shell of the Sunface solar deck lights and pop the top open.
You can set the light mode to warm for a classy, minimalist look perfect for intimate gatherings or just everyday lighting. Feel like having a lively backyard party? Turn the setting to color mode and watch the solar lights change through the colors of the rainbow.
Check out the pretty lights in action.
To add extra flair, lift the shell up and out of the wall. That’s right. These lamps are removable, so feel free to set them solar panel-side down all over your yard. Ta-da, it’s the best solar deck light for instant landscape or walkway lighting!
At first glance, you might think these lights are flimsy because of their mere plastic material. But don’t underestimate the solar panel — it is durable as our top pick. The lights, however, are less bright, shining only as bright as a regular candle.
That’s not much light considering it takes six hours to charge, and they are always on when it’s dark. Then again, these are more decorative than practical. And you get 6 of them in a pack, which is more than most solar deck light sets on our list.
If you want the ultimate dramatic solar lighting for your fence or walls, look no further than the Loftek solar deck lights.
Each lamp has an elaborate pattern on its case. And with the solar deck light on, you’ll see the flower shadow close to the lamp edges. But that’s not all.
Since the warm white light is quite bright, you can also see impressive rays shining out the sides all the way down to the floor — lining up all eight solar lights on a long stretch will definitely wow anyone who sees it.
The best part is that you can enjoy the solar deck light show all night long. Its big-capacity battery takes a while to charge. But it lasts twice as long as the most lights on our list. Plus, the power switch lets you choose when to turn on your light spectacle.
These lights may have the x-factor as far as design goes. But their construction is nothing special. With a waterproof rating just slightly above our budget pick, these solar deck lights can tolerate heavy rain and hits from solid objects.
You also need to clean them frequently because they’re not entirely dust-proof. But don’t worry, the lamp is not fixed on the wall so you can easily take it out. Plus, unlike other choices that need two wall screws, this lamp only needs one in the center – making fewer holes is less damaging to your wall and easier to relocate!
The downsides are they lack motion sensors and are too big to use as solar deck step lights. Placement or installation can be a concern – these lights work best on the wall.
We’re capping off the list with a non-decorative but equally impressive solar deck light. The Siedinlar solar deck lights might not look like much. But they are your next best choice for pool solar lighting if you don’t want a blue glow.
Well, compared to our best pool deck lights, these lights charge 2x faster and work 3 hours longer. Thanks to the highly efficient solar panel and battery combo, you can actually enjoy the lights every night instead of spending days just charging.
Another great thing about this is that the batteries are replaceable. Unlike the pool pick, you don’t have to throw the entire setup away when the usually bright lights consistently turn dim. Plus, the aluminum alloy for these lights is way stronger, able to carry the weight of a loaded school bus without cracking.
Although these solar-powered deck lighting can withstand all weather scenarios, they don’t have a wide or bright light range. It’s a good thing that they are also a few dollars cheaper than the Solmore lights because you definitely need more than a set of 4 lights to illuminate your driveway.
On the other hand, the sleeker design and low light intensity make it an excellent solar deck light for steps. The 3-step installation process is a breeze and should take less than a minute wherever you decide to put them.
Before even looking at the specs of solar deck lights or buying solar deck lights, think about where you want to put them. Do you want to have them on steps or on the wall? Then, you should determine the best color and how bright you want your solar deck lights to be.
This section will show you how those two main specifications affect their functionality and solar energy consumption.
One of the most important considerations when choosing any light fixture is brightness. The rule of thumb here is that the brighter the light, the higher the lumen rating (1). But make sure you choose the brightness based on how you use the space you’re lighting up.
Brighter lights are for function areas like an outdoor kitchen or security uses, while dimmer lights work for ambiance or pathways.
Rating lumens is not as simple as bright and dim. It’s difficult to standardize brightness because the scale is so gradual. Think of it like colors. There are black and white, but so many shades of gray in between. That said, here’s a rough guide to help you determine how many lumens you need for different outdoor settings (2).
One important thing to remember is that lumens are very different from wattage. A lightbulb’s wattage refers to how much energy it consumes. Technically speaking, wattage and lumens are directly related, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Your deck lighting’s color temperature is more critical than its hue. If you notice, most lights are white and described as either warm or bright. Choosing a color temperature depends on your light’s function and is measured using the Kelvin scale (3).
“The colour or warmth of white light is ranked on a scale, The Kelvin scale, the warmer the colour, the lower the colour temperature. Candles being around 2000 degrees Kelvin (k) while daylight typically 5500 – 6500k.”
Warmer solar deck lights appear yellow or orange and move towards the blue spectrum as it gets cooler. With that in mind, warmer lights are best for mood lighting, mimicking candlelights.
Interestingly, research shows that warmer lights relax you while cooler white lights stimulate activity (4). That’s why they use candle-like lights in spas and why security spotlights trigger you to run away!
If you want some flexibility, some solar deck lighting Sunface Deck Lights has multiple color options, including the practical, warm glow.
The solar deck lights on our list fully charge between an average of 6-8 hours. But as with anything solar-powered, direct sunlight is a requirement for charging efficiently.
How you take care of your solar panel also affects charging time. Even the best solar battery won’t charge efficiently or at all if it’s dusty or covered in debris. So, make sure you maintain your solar deck lights properly to get the most out of their service life.
If you notice that your solar deck lights consistently charge slower than before, it might be time to replace the battery.
Despite having the ideal conditions and a clean solar panel, some solar deck lights still charge longer than others. The difference lies mainly in the solar panel and battery life that the deck lights have. Efficient solar panels made from high-quality materials charge faster (5). On the other hand, bigger batteries will take longer to charge.
Some units like the Siedinlar Solar Deck Lights have rechargeable batteries that you can replace, saving you from spending more money on solar deck lights again.
Your solar deck light’s working time mainly depends on its battery capacity. Units like the LOFTEK Solar Deck Lights come with a 500mAh battery, which allows them to work for 12 hours. Then again, in the season where nights are longer, a full charge can last only one use.
That’s where another factor, moderation of use, comes into play. Most solar deck lights automatically switch on when light doesn’t hit the solar panels. Although this is a convenient feature, it also uses up a lot of energy.
Some units like the OTHWAY solar deck lights have a switch to give you control over when to use the stored solar energy. This feature comes in handy when you want to go on vacation and don’t want your yard to lit up while you’re gone. You can leave it off and use the stored energy when you get back.
All outdoor lights have an IP rating on the box that might read something like IP44 or IP68. But what does this all mean? IP stands for Ingress Protection, and it’s a scale of how protected your product is from outdoor elements (6).
“These electrotechnology standards are created to let people know what capabilities the product’s casing has, from water to solid object protection.”
If you were wondering, the two numbers next to IP are not random and signify two ratings. The first number ranges from 1-6 and indicates the product’s protection against solid objects. The second number ranges from 0-9 and represents the product’s waterproof rating. As far as this scale goes, the higher, the better.
Our best solar powered deck lighting has high IP ratings. Let’s take the SOLMORE Solar Deck Lights as an example. It has an IP68 rating meaning it’s entirely dust and shockproof. Plus, it’s safe to use underwater for up to 1 meter, making it perfect for lighting up pools.
Basic specifications are awesome, but bonus features give much more value to your solar deck lights. Here are some cool additions to look out for:
A solar light decking stops working because of either battery or solar panel damage. Another probable reason is an insufficient battery charge. Direct sunlight is a requirement if you want your solar lights to work. Also, check if there are watermarks on the solar panels because these can affect the performance of your solar deck light.
Another reason is incorrect installation. Some solar deck lights have loose wiring and require drilling to install. Be extra careful when working with power tools because you can drill through wires. Lastly, make sure you operate the lights within the optimal conditions indicated in the box.
Solar-powered deck lights can last anywhere between 3-4 years (7). Over time, the battery degrades and needs replacing. Unfortunately, some solar deck lights don’t have removable batteries, and the whole unit needs to be changed.
Consequently, solar panels go through a lot of wear and tear in the outdoors. They can only take so much before they finally give. Keeping them well-maintained will definitely increase their service life.
Yes, outdoor solar lights are worth it. You can save at least $25 annually, assuming you run the solar deck light from dusk till dawn (8). Take note that the value mentioned is for one light only. Things add up quickly when you have a whole wall or fence of lights.
No, it’s not ok to leave a solar deck light out in winter unless specified on the label. Generally, solar-powered products don’t do well in extreme temperatures. They need mild conditions to convert solar energy into light energy (5).
Think of it like running a power cord from your house to your shed in the middle of winter. You need insulation to keep the wires inside from freezing. But unlike this situation, you can’t insulate solar deck lights. Best to keep them running under the ideal temperatures indicated on the label to be safe.
Yes, solar lights still charge if switched off. There are two separate connections in a basic solar deck light. First is the connection between the solar panel and the battery, and the other is the link between the battery and the LED light. Switches only control the connection between the latter and do not affect battery charging.
Dara Brant is the Managing Editor at Green Building Elements. Prior to joining us she covered alternative energy news and local developments at Your Energy Blog. Dara has a passion for sustainable living and wants to do more than her fair share to help build a better tomorrow for future generations. You can connect with Dara on LinkedIn.
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